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Good News April 12, 2016

  • Good News Announcements
Good News April 12, 2016

National Merit Scholars Commended

Each year, out of about 1.5 million National Merit entrants, 50,000 students with the highest qualifying PSAT test scores are recognized through the National Merit® Scholarship Program. In September, these high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist. 

We have already honored one National Merit Commended Scholar, Grant Hall of Federal Way High School. We are proud to announce tonight that we have five more National Merit Commended scholars with us, all from Thomas Jefferson High School. Their names are:

  • Isaiah Bush
  • Nicholas W. Crossman
  • Joshua Guest
  • Sandra O. Ojeaburu
  • Benjamin Richmond

These students’ PSAT scores are among the top one percent of all scores across the nation.

But that’s not all: three Federal Way Public Schools students have recently been notified that they are finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition:

They are Mohammed Ramzan, of Thomas Jefferson High School, Sharon Choe, of Federal Way High School and Julianna Siemssen, who graduated from Todd Beamer at the end of last school year.

These scholars’ PSAT scores put them among the top half of one percent of scores of all students nationwide who tested last fall.  Mohammed and Sharon will continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than 32 million dollars, that are offered this spring. 

We want to acknowledge the students in the district who distinguished themselves and their schools by achieving commended, semifinalist, and finalist status. Congratulations!

Battle of the Math Brains Winners Congratulated

Meredith Hill Elementary’s first annual Battle of the Math Brains took place on Friday, March 25 with 100 students, grades 4 and 5, representing eight schools.

Meredith Hill teachers Sandy Scott and Joan Bunting as well as community volunteer Tom Clymer teamed up to organize the event, which was designed to be fun for the spectators as well as the competitors.

In the fourth grade, first place went to the Nautilus Mathketeers, consisting of Hana Mai, Brandon Lo, and Nhan Nguyen -- a third grader! 

In the fifth grade, the Nautilus Math "Pi"rates, Caleb Hyun, Reika Iwase, Emma Ross, and Seth Colombelli-Silva, took first place.

Hana’s dad David Mai coached these two top-scoring math teams.

Thank you, our community members, teachers, parents, and scholars that help make afterschool math competitions such as these happen. We appreciate your commitment to mastery of mathematics.

Thomas Jefferson Math Team Places First in State

Continuing the math theme, Thomas Jefferson High School’s math team scored its fifth consecutive first-place finish in the 23rd annual Mu Alpha Theta State math contest on March 26th.  

This powerhouse team of 26 took 3rd in six categories of competition, and 2nd in six categories. And they took first place in nine separate categories. 

Five of the team members had first place wins – Julia Sheats, Brian Kim, Nick Kim, Ellie Kim, and Orgil Batzaya. Orgil alone had four first place wins, one in every category he entered.

The Thomas Jefferson Math Team is accompanied by coach and TJ math teacher Tom Norris, who has taken the team to multiple state victories in his 23 years of coaching. An added note, the team has placed in the top 10 nationally for 22 straight years.

Congratulations to our talented math scholars!

Decatur Dance Team Honored as State Champs

We would like to acknowledge the Decatur Dance Team, who are State Champs in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s four-A Military dance division. The competition was held at the Sundome in Yakima on March 25th.

The team’s coach is Lindsay Starr-Dye, the assistant coaches are Autum Hopkins and Sydnee Williams, and the staff advisor is Carol Edmonson.

These young women are academically talented as well as gifted: Sixteen of Decatur’s 25 dance team members are in Advanced Placement or Running Start classes. They have an average team GPA of 3.15 and nine of them have accumulated GPAs of 3.5 or higher.

Congratulations to the Decatur Dance Team!

‘United in Greatness’ Student Rally Organizers Thanked

This evening, we want to showcase the “United in Greatness” Student Rally that took place on March 26th. The rally offered a welcome opportunity to showcase the incredible talent and potential of our student-scholars.

Nearly 600 people were on hand for an impressive showcase of our scholars’ talents that included singing, dancing, reciting poetry, a parade of academic and athletic champions, and more. 

Organized by students from the four comprehensive high schools, the event drew a diverse crowd of students, families, staff, dignitaries, and community members.

Many thanks are due to the following students for their hard work and inspired thinking in planning the rally:

  • Tyler Lum from Decatur High School
  • Jaime Yuk from Thomas Jefferson High School
  • Juan Gutierrez from Federal Way High School
  • Abdul-Malik Ford from Todd Beamer High School

We would also like to invite all of our student performers and athletes who participated in the rally up to the front of the room at this time.

In addition, we want to acknowledge Cordell Pickens of Decatur, who designed the United in Greatness t-shirt and staff members Randy and Darlene Kaczor who made it all come together. With us tonight, too, are many of the student performers.

We appreciate all of your hard work in creating a rally our community will not soon forget.

Wild Waves Recognized for Donation to Student Rally

We want to give tremendous thanks to Wild Waves owner Jeff Stock and Wild Waves General Manager Todd Suchan, whose generous $10,000 donation helped fund the United in Greatness Student Rally. Mr. Stock is unable to attend this evening, but we would like to welcome Mr. Suchan to accept this certificate in recognition of this donation.

Federal Way Public Schools appreciates Wild Waves’ contribution which was integral to the success of the student rally and to our community. Together, we are united in greatness.

Sherwood Forest Elementary Students’ Buddy Spot Efforts Honored

Tonight we want to acknowledge Sherwood Forest Elementary's second and third grade student-scholars and Teacher Molly Callender. These scholars set out last year to improve their already great school by doing something positive for students who need a friend during recess.

They decided to create a designated area of the playground where students who were feeling lonely or sad could go. The Buddy Spot was implemented this year, with student leaders taking turns overseeing the area. The leaders help their fellow students find someone to play with, along with something to do.

Teacher Molly Callender notes that “They are making change on a playground in what looks like a really small way.” In fact, it’s big.

Kids are not only using the Buddy Spot to find friends, says Principal Alisa DeSart. Students who are bored are going to the Buddy Spot to increase their awareness of activities to do that are constructive and healthy.

KING5-TV even came out and captured a news story about the Buddy Spot. Way to go, Sherwood Forest students, the Buddy Spot is something to be proud of!