As a longtime local resident, voter, and taxpayer, I was delighted to hear the news that a local coalition of South King County school districts --including Highline -- has won full funding in a bid for Race to the Top federal grant money. This is fantastic for Highline students, and other students throughout South King County.

I understand that the money will be used to promote the district’s work in STEM--science, technology, engineering and math education--and I know it will be well and wisely spent.

But I'd also like to take this opportunity to reflect that the arts and humanities, too, are part of the mandated core curriculum and I hope they won't get overlooked in the enthusiasm for all things STEM.

Instruction in arts and history helps young people understand and navigate the differences in cultural perspectives. It also helps students master positive forms of expression and learn how to collaborate.

I urge Superintendent Enfield and the Highline School Board to do their utmost to ensure that students are given equitable access to and sequential instruction in these vital areas as well.


Press release:

The 2012 Bittner Flute has been awarded to Catalina Corvalan Frugone, a 9th grader at Global Connections High School and the daughter of Alfredo Corvalan and Karen Frugone in SeaTac. The award recognizes exceptional talent in a young flute player and was presented at the Rotary Club of Des Moines.

The Bittner Flute is a sterling silver Gemeinhardt instrument donated to the Highline Music4Life™ program by Nancy Bittner of Seattle’s University Sunrise Rotary Club.

The recipient is selected annually by secondary school music teachers in Highline Public Schools on the basis of talent and long-term interest in studying music.

Catalina is a member of in the Global Connections Band. She will have use of the Bittner Flute for the 2012-13 school year.

It will be re-acquired by Highline Music4Life next spring for any repairs and other maintenance that are needed over the summer.

Highline music teachers will select the next year’s recipient next fall.

Catalina will be eligible to compete for it again at that time as long as she is enrolled in Highline Public Schools.


Highline Public Schools press release:

Thanks to the very generous Highline community, the Global Connections High School wind ensemble will travel to Washington, D.C. January 18 to perform at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Music Festival.

“I am delighted to announce that our $60,000 goal has been met and exceeded,” said Rick Harwood, Principal of Global Connections High School. “Our community has demonstrated in a big way just how much it cares about all students.”

Many individuals and organizations pitched in to reach the goal. Parents hosted potlucks, and students sold Entertainment Books. More than 50 percent of the funds were raised at a special event, An Evening of Jazz and Friends.

The largest individual donation came from Congressman Adam Smith, an alumnus of Tyee High School. Rep. Smith made a personal visit to the Tyee Educational Complex, where Global Connections is located, to congratulate wind ensemble students.


It’s the time of the year when we pause to give thanks. BLT has much to give thanks for. I have volunteered at BLT for over seven years. I have seen the theater grow, both in quality and stature. I have seen it go from people looking surprised and asking, “Burien has a live theater?” to people coming up to me in a store asking, “What is playing now at the theater?”

BLT has been blessed with wonderful donors who are making better live theater possible. BLT donors give in every amount from $1 to $5,000. Every donor is amazing, and every donation deeply appreciated.

BLT could not operate without the hundreds of hours of volunteer time put in by BLT’s fantastic volunteers. BLT is all volunteer. Because of their generous help, BLT is doing some of the best theater in the county.

BLT is most blessed by a great audience. Theater is no fun to do for yourself and a hand full of your friends. BLT’s audience comes from Vancouver, B.C. to Portland, Oregon and everywhere in between. Most come from within 20 miles of the theater, but others drive for hours just to join in the fun here at BLT.


Press release:

An Evening of Jazz and Friends, a fund-raising event benefiting the Global Connections High School Wind Ensemble, was a sell-out success! Generous individuals, businesses, and community organizations contributed more than $27,000 to send the Wind Ensemble to Washington, D.C., to play at the Presidential Inauguration Music Festival. The school, where nearly 80 percent of the student body qualifies for free- or reduced-price lunch, needs $60,000 to pay for travel and accommodation for the band members.

The success of this event was made possible by many community members and organizations. “Our community extended its generosity to these students in a way that I have seldom witnessed,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “I thank each and every individual, business and organization for their tremendous support. They demonstrated how very deeply our community cares about its students, as well as the power of community collaboration.”


Press release:

Dates: Dec. 7; 7:00pm
Location: Highline Performing Arts Center – Burien
Tickets: $15 (seniors $10, 17 & under free with a paid adult ticket) or 206-246-6040

KidSounds, YouthSounds and TeenSounds join forces for their annual holiday concert, a program that will give families a festive start for their holiday season.

In addition to singing some of their favorites songs from past years: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Home for the Holidays, and Deck the Halls, the youth will also perform traditional carols and contemporary Christmas songs.

Helping to celebrate Northwest Associated Arts (NWAA) Youth Choruses’ 10th Anniversary Concert will be a special guest appearance by SilverSounds Northwest, NWAA’s newest group of retired folks who believe “You’re never too old to rock ‘n roll.”

For a special treat, Artistic Director Paula Hawkins has invited back all former singers from any of NWAA’s Youth Choruses to join the singers onstage for a grand finale number.


ChoralSounds Northwest will feature "I'll be Home for Christmas", Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, Dec. 9, at 2:00 p.m., at the Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien. Tickets are $15 to $25, those 17 & under free with a paid adult ticket. or 206-246-6040.

The public is also encouraged to attend a free preview concert for a taste of the show the prior Sunday, Dec. 2, at 2:p.m. The half hour preview takes place at Glendale Lutheran Church where the choir rehearses, 13455 2nd Ave. SW, in

ChoralSounds Northwest is part of Northwest Associated Arts, which includes KidSounds Northwest, YouthSounds Northwest, TeenSounds Northwest and SilverSounds Northwest.

The presentation includes singing, instrumentation, dance and acting, plus a poignant first act with an uplifting resolution. A soldier is overseas at war while his wife and daughter are left to celebrate the holiday season without him. Then, unexpectedly, he returns home for Christmas.

UPDATE: ChoralSounds NW, "I’ll be Home for Christmas" runs Dec. 8 & 9; Topical but family-friendly
Photo credit: 
Photos courtesy ChoralSounds Northwest

Pictured right, Artistic Director and Burien resident Brian J. Winnie, who begins his second season with ChoralSounds Northwest, presents "I’ll be Home for Christmas" Dec. 8 & 9 at the Highline Performing Arts Center, Burien. Pictured left is a festive moment from a prior production.

Hotel committee declines to fund symphony that does not put 'heads in beds'

Because times have changed from what many adults remember about their school experience, SeaTac Police Chief Jim Graddon told SeaTac lawmakers Oct. 9, a full-time police officer is needed at the Tyee High campus and Chinook Middle School.

The council members agreed and unanimously voted to renew the School Resource Officer (SRO) contract for the adjoining campuses.

Councilmember Pam Fernald noted constituents question her about the program.

The police chief said that a police officer has much more authority than a school district security officer. With arrest powers, a police officer can deal more effectively with weapons, drugs or an unruly student at school. The officer can also handle problems off school grounds, he added.

With the officer already on site, there are fewer 911 calls from the school, which would have taken officers off patrols, he added.

Especially in the middle school, a police officer can also develop relationships with students and serve as a mentor, he said.

“Just one person deciding not to go in the wrong direction would be worth it,” Graddon declared.

Much more to Brat Trot than racing

Highline Schools Foundation press release:

Thursday, Oct. 4 is the last day register online for either the Brat Trot 5K or Short Course race:
5k Solo Race 
The 5K race begins @ 1:00 PM (at the corner of 10th and 152nd) 
» $35.00 registration (through 10/4 at 11:59 PM US/Pacific) 
» $40.00 day of and day before registration (Oct 6th & 7th, in person only)

Short Course Race (about 1 mile) 
The short course race begins @ 1:40 PM (at Lake Burien Park)
» $30.00 registration (through 10/4 at 11:59 PM US/Pacific) 
» $35.00 day of and day before registration (Oct 6th & 7th, in person only)

There's more to Brat Trot than just racing! Check out the calendar below for dates and times of all the weekend events!
Friday, October 5, 2012
Brat Trot Team Pub Crawl:
It's a new take on the old Pub Crawl

Individuals register (online at, then form teams of 2 or more. Check in with your team at the Tin Theater between 6 and 7 pm on Friday, October 5th. We'll get you going on a team scavenger hunt of sorts-to local pubs and other nearby B-town businesses!

Students to witness Oath of Office and Presidential Address

Press release:

The Global Connections High School Wind Ensemble has been invited to participate in the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Music Festival in Washington D.C. and attend the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.

Global Connections is located on the Tyee campus in SeaTac.

The Global Connections band is one of only four in the country invited to participate with no audition, by recommendation of a national adjudicator.

“Some of our students have never been out of this community. This is an opportunity they never imagined possible,” said Principal Rick Harwood. “Many are children of immigrants who came to America for a better life. To be able to participate in one of the most significant events in American society is huge.”

Nearly eight out of ten Global Connections students live in poverty. The 37 students in the wind ensemble must raise $60,000 in order to make the trip.

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