I was very surprised when I read the April 8th Letters to the Editor. All us 5th graders were very upset to hear that someone thought we had been forced on our positions because of the very advanced vocabulary we had in our letters. My father even disagreed with my position! I hope you know that we are very active in our writing and take it as a compliment that you think we couldn’t have written it. I’d like to thank you for voicing your opinion and telling us what you thought of our letters.
Sarah Hickey, 5th grader at Wellington
In response to Dennis Dearing’s letter to the Editor published April 8, 2013:
To my students’ credit, they came to their own conclusions without coercion by their parents or teacher.
Educators seek opportunities to connect their classroom lessons to their students’ world so learning is authentic and personally applicable. In a unit about persuasive letter writing, what could be better than a chance for students to research a local topic that affects them and provides a real way for their young voices to be heard by their community?
The students took personal interest in the issue of the Wellington Hills County Park, near which many of them live. Over a period of several months, each student thoroughly researched the park’s design features. They read articles written by those for and against the park. As a result of that work, they formed their own strong opinions.
By researching a topic thoroughly and using well-documented facts, logic, reasoning and powerful words to persuade others, they learned lessons that will serve them as they progress in their classroom education and beyond. They also gained the experience of allowing their individual voices to be heard in a public forum. These young community members boldly risked putting their voices out into a public (mostly adult) audience —many for the first time. Some of their parents disagreed with their child’s opinion, but felt it worthwhile to give their child permission to publicly voice their own opinion. I hope these students will remember these lessons well.
They will also remember the unintentional lesson of being misunderstood and misrepresented. I’m encouraging my students to take what was not intended as a compliment and think of it as a tribute to their efforts. When children write so persuasively, using their own dynamic vocabulary and passionate voices, that they are perceived as having been coerced into their views, that is very high praise indeed. I hope they will continue to learn to use their voices, vocabulary and passion in ways that will shape their world and ours.
Well done, students, well done!
Karen Zehm, 5th grade teacher, Wellington Elementary
What’s so wrong about a Value Village? Surely it’s not the storefront; it looks like any other store in that strip mall. It’s not ugly; it’s better than an empty storefront and it’s not even in the Woodinville downtown. It seems to come down to the store’s offerings: low-price items.
Apparently, affordable stores and the people who shop at them just aren’t part of our vision for Woodinville. Instead, our vision is about exclusion. It’s clear that not all residents live in expensive houses, especially since 16.7 percent of district students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Still, we ignore the economic needs of low-income individuals. Still, we insist on making our city more expensive under the guise of “beautification.” Why do we act like our rich residents are the only people who matter?
Taking issue with Value Village and concerning ourselves with “sprucing up our city” sends the message that low-income residents don’t belong and, in fact, are making the city uglier.
If we really want to spruce up our city, I would start by adopting a more inclusive attitude. Until then, I will not be proud of Woodinville.
Celina Gunnarsson, Woodinville
... As many remember, the old Northshore School District administration center was located in the Ricketts building in downtown Bothell. The Ricketts facility was originally an elementary school constructed in 1948. As the district grew, this building no longer met our needs and was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain.
In 2002 the school board asked voters to approve a $12.5 million bond for a new administration facility. Once approved, the Board received reports on possible locations, vacant land and building design. Construction and land costs came in at $18 million, above what voters approved. Then the Monte Villa property became available: large facility, ample parking, centrally located. This 6-year-old property had originally been built for $17.5 million. The district was able to purchase it for $6.4 million, well below its original value and well below what voters had originally approved.
It is a beautiful building, which includes many “extras” we would not have approved on a new construction. This deal was definitely a win for our schools and community.
As co-chair of the 2014 levy/bond committee, I hope this purchase serves as an example of how our district and Boards are excellent stewards of our tax dollars.
B-Z Davis, co-chair Citizens for Northshore Schools
This month the Northshore Community Kitchen — a joint Northshore Council PTSA/Northshore YMCA program — will celebrate its first anniversary, made possible by generous and on-going support from several local businesses, community organizations, PTA units, individual donors, Northshore School District and a wonderful group of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. Over the summer, Farms for Life will be providing weekly deliveries of fresh produce, and we’ll be harvesting the benefits of two YMCA-spearheaded mini gardening projects.
Since it began in April 2012, the Kitchen has prepared and distributed almost 3,000 once-a-week ready-to-eat meals to 37 families (141 people), and since October 2012 over 600 once-a-week sack snacks to 25-30 students attending the after-school Hang Time program at Kenmore Junior High. Since February, the Kitchen has also provided some of the items for the 595 sack snacks going to the 85 students who attend Hang Time at Northshore and Skyview junior highs.
In addition to the weekly meals, the families who’ve enrolled with the Kitchen have the opportunity to pick up a bi-weekly “extra” bag of non-perishable food items courtesy of the Y’s participation in the Totes To Go program.
The Northshore Community Kitchen is part of the Northshore Nourishing Network, a collaboration of local groups working to alleviate hunger insecurity in our community. On Monday May 20 members of the public are invited to attend a presentation by registered dietitian Susie Fox about the links between hunger and obesity and how hunger can hurt children, families, and communities. Following the presentation there will be an opportunity for everyone to connect with Northshore Nourishing Network groups, learn more about what they are doing, and find out how to help.
The presentation will be held at the Bothell United Methodist Church, 18515 92nd Avenue NE, Bothell, 98011, May 20 from 6- 8 p.m.
Sue Freeman, Social Services Chair, Northshore Council PTSA