Skip To Main Content

Color1 BG Container

District Nav

Landing Nav

Good News March 8, 2016

  • Good News Announcements
Good News March 8, 2016

Five FWPS Students Honored as Act Six Scholars

Federal Way Public Schools joins families, schools, and communities across the Pacific Northwest in celebrating our 2016 Act Six scholars.

Five Federal Way Public Schools student-scholars will receive Act Six scholarships this year. They make up over 20 percent of the 22 emerging urban and community leaders selected across the Puget Sound Region.

To be named among these student-scholars is quite an accomplishment. They were selected from over 700 applicants following a rigorous three-month process that assessed their distinctive leadership, academic potential, and commitment to making a difference in their communities.

Ruhama Berta, Thomas Jefferson High School, and Andrews Boateng, Decatur High School, were selected as Act Six Scholars by Whitworth University; Omar Miranda Garcia, Todd Beamer High School, and  Elissa Cadena, Thomas Jefferson High School, are Pacific Lutheran University Act Six Scholars; Jesus McCloskey, Thomas Jefferson High School, was selected as a Gonzaga University Act Six Scholar.

Act Six seeks to develop urban and community leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities. Since the program’s inception, 64 cohorts of ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation Act Six scholars have enrolled at eight Northwest colleges and universities.

Congratulations, Act Six Scholars, you are great examples for all Federal Way schools’ student-scholars.

Sisters Compete in Regional Braille Challenge

Two Federal Way Public Schools students, Marianne Faletogo and Goddess Ma’alona-Faletogo represented Federal Way Public Schools in the regional Braille Challenge Competition, which was held February 27 here in Federal Way at St. Luke's Lutheran Church.

Marianne is a first grade student in the Dual Language Program at Sunnycrest Elementary. She participated in the Apprentice category of the Braille Challenge, competing with 1st and 2nd graders in braille spelling, braille proofreading, and reading comprehension tests.   

Goddess, who happens to be Marianne’s older sister, is in the eighth grade at Totem Middle School. Goddess competed in the Junior Varsity category against other 7th, 8th and 9th graders in braille spelling, braille proofreading, reading comprehension and graphs tests.

Both of these young ladies are served by the district’s Vision Program. These girls were selected for the regional competition because of their advanced skill levels. Vision Program teacher Diana Warren explains that the competition involved four hours of very intensive work and included sites across the U.S. and abroad.

Once the results come back from this competition, we’ll know if Marianne and Goddess will be traveling to the National Competition in May.

Congratulations, Goddess and Marianne!

Decatur ASL Teacher Ron Podmore Acknowledged

For the past 20 years, Ron Podmore has taught American Sign Language, STEM and college-readiness classes at Decatur High School, touching the lives of hundreds of students in that time. Ron has recently been named the Centralia College Foundation’s Distinguished Alumnus,  the first deaf person to receive this honor. In fact, Ron is a man given to “firsts” – in 1999, he became the first deaf teacher to earn the Golden Apple Award, and he was the first deaf American to earn National Board Certification, in 2009. 

His accomplishments and sphere of influence extend beyond the deaf community, and well beyond Federal Way. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Ron made multiple round-trips to Washington, D.C. where, as a member of a 10-person team, he helped write the rigorous national board exam standards for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Foundation. Those standards are now in place and available for future applicants. 

Ron has done extensive humanitarian work overseas and, in his free time, has published two books. He also was the authorized biographer to Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin.

Ron is a 1987 graduate of Centralia College, and later studied at Gallaudet (pronounced Gah-luh-det) University in Washington, D.C., and at Western Washington University, the Lewis and Clark College of Law, and Pacific Lutheran University.

Congratulations and thank you, Ron!  You make us proud!

Nineteen Students Honored for All-State Honor Music Ensemble Participation

Nineteen students from across Federal Way’s schools traveled to Yakima in mid-February to participate in the Washington Music Educators Association All-State Honor Music Ensembles. This is an annual event run by the association as part of its Music Educators Conference on Presidents' Day weekend each year.

Students auditioned last fall and were chosen from among student musicians state-wide to be a part of these select ensembles. Guest conductors from around the country were brought in to rehearse and conduct the All-State groups. These students are to be highly commended for being among the best student-scholar musicians our state has to offer.

We would like to recognize the following students tonight:

  • Participating in the Junior All State Youth Choir: Hayley Johnson, Kailyn Nelson and Lana Cory from Camelot Elementary; Kyla DeLaCruz of Kilo Middle School.
  • Participating in the All-State Chamber Orchestra: Dayoung Cheong and April Kim, both from Decatur High School.
  • Participating in the All-State Concert Band: Danny Klein, Decatur and Kevin Lee, Todd Beamer High School.
  • Participating in the All-State Symphony Orchestra: Lyla Klein, Decatur High School, Angie Kong, Federal Way High School, and Ellie Kim, Thomas Jefferson High School.
  • Participating in the All-State Chamber Orchestra: April Kim, Decatur High School.
  • Participating in the Junior All-State Orchestra, Kevin Ta, Lakota Middle School and Thomas Hyun, Sacajawea Middle School.
  • Participating in the Junior All-State Band: Lugman Shibly and Tyrasia Haeup-Woolfolk, both from Lakota Middle School.
  • Participating in the Junior All-State Mixed Choir: McKenzie Nichols, Sacajawea Middle School.
  • Participating in the Junior All-State Treble Choir: Taylor Harmer, Sacajawea Middle School.
  • Participating in the All-State Treble Choir: Celeste Cayetano, Todd Beamer High School.
  • And, finally, participating in the All-State Jazz Choir, Jonathan Nguyen, Todd Beamer High School.

Congratulations, musicians!

State Champion Wrestlers Receive Recognition

The Washington State MAT Classic was held at the Tacoma Dome on February 19 and 20, and concluded with four Federal Way Public Schools students bringing home state wrestling championships. As district Athletic Director Jerry Peterson notes, that’s a remarkable feat.

Two of them are Todd Beamer High School seniors, including Federal Way’s only female state wrestling champ this year, Hailie Parker. Hailie entered the tournament ranked as the top wrestler in her weight class thanks to a great season with only one loss. She was the team captain this year, leading by example and always there before practice to set up the mats. She has participated in wrestling since elementary school and plans to continue to compete in college.

Fellow Todd Beamer senior Adrian Avena is a four-year varsity letter winner and has even traveled to Japan with two of his teammates to wrestle in a foreign exchange program. He won four tournaments this year and was voted by coaches at one of those tournaments as an outstanding wrestler. Adrian has enlisted in the Marines and is headed to basic training this summer.

Federal Way High School’s Andrzej Hughes-Murray managed to do what no Eagle wrestler has done in 28 years: bring home a state championship. Andrezj had 41 wins and no losses this year. He takes advanced classes and is a Cambridge U.S. History class tutor. He’s also an AVID student, and has participated in WE Act. He is going to Oregon State University this fall on a football scholarship.

Leviticus Arizpe, a Decatur High School student in his senior year, became the first four-time state placer in Decatur High School history at this year’s tournament. He was third in state his 9th grade year, fifth as a sophomore, and third as a junior before winning the state title this year. Leviticus is also an IGNITE mentor and active in his church.

Congratulations to our wrestling champs!

Retiring Decatur Wrestling Coach Thanked

Finally, we want to honor Decatur Wrestling Head Coach Mike Bressler, who was selected by other coaches at the Mat Classic as the Washington State 4A Coach of the Year. Mike is retiring after 18 years as a Social Studies teacher in Federal Way Public Schools and as the head coach at Decatur. In 18 years, he’s taken a nonexistent wrestling program to a state contender, winning several league and regional titles, and twice taking second in state.

Thank you for your long service, Mike, and best wishes on your journey.