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December 18, 2013



Blackwell students turn sweet treats into art By Neil Pierson

If anyone strolling through the library at Blackwell Elementary School wasn’t filled with holiday spirit, Julie Sanders probably perked them right up. Sanders, the mother of a sixthgrade student, was the architect of the school’s inaugural gingerbread building contest last year. She organized its return Dec. 13, and she helped guide Blackwell students and parents through a maze of houses, cabins, barns and other structures made from the traditional holiday treat. Sanders did it all while wearing a splendid green, white and red elf costume, drawing plenty of smiles and giggles from the children. “This is my baby,” said Sanders, who studied art in college. “I believe in this, bringing art to the school.” Last year, she said, the school hadn’t come up with a Christmasoriented celebration, so she approached the PTA and former principal Mike Anderson with the

Photo by Neil Pierson

Kindergarten student Adam Brandt used dozens of circular-shaped candies to decorate his gingerbread cabin.

Photo by Neil Pierson

Blackwell Elementary students gather around Julie Sanders, the lead organizer for this year’s gingerbread house building contest. idea of letting students make gingerbread art.

This year, she had to convince new principal Jim Eaton the

project was a worthwhile idea. Participation seemed to indicate

it was – entries ballooned from 32 to 65, and with siblings working together, there may have been 75 or 80 students involved, nearly 20 percent of the school’s enrollment. Although every child got a small prize for simply participating, the competition aspect was ratcheted up a notch this year. Students were allowed to vote for See GINGER, Page 7

Skyline student body steps up for pediatric cancer research By Neil Pierson

Teenagers are generally a competitive bunch, and Skyline High School tried to take advantage of that during its Winter Wonder Week fundraising campaign. From Dec. 9-13, the school’s Associated Student Body leaders organized a series of fundraising activities to benefit the Ben Towne Foundation, a local organization that supports pediatric cancer research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. The ASB brought in donations through an acoustic music night; a “Buff Puff” volleyball tournament that featured a match between the Skyline varsity squad and staff members; and a “Pack the Rack” basketball doubleheader against rival Issaquah, where students were encouraged to wear blue shirts in support of cancer research. But perhaps the most vital part of the process was a daily change drive that included four boxes – one for each grade level at Skyline. “If you put coins into your grade’s box, that adds to your total, but if you put cash into your box, it subtracts from your grade’s total,” said Diego Graterol, the ASB’s director of fundraising. “So what you want to do is put

Photo by Neil Pierson

Skyline High School student body leaders Diego Graterol, left, and Tony Elevathingal help generate interest for the school’s change drive Dec. 11. Skyline raised money toward pediatric cancer research during its annual Winter Wonder Week. coins in your grade’s box and put cash into other grades’ boxes to try to sabotage them. “It gets the classes competing against each other, and they want to bring in extra money because

of that. So it’s been a great idea.” ASB President Tony Elevathingal said students put their generosity on display – they raised $800 through the music event alone. There was plenty

of motivation to help because an anonymous donor is planning to match up to $150,000 in donations to the Ben Towne Foundation during December. The foundation, which has

chapters in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Maine, was started in 2010. It memorializes Ben Towne, a 3-year-old boy who died in 2008 from a high-risk form of neuroblastoma, one of the most common cancers among infants and toddlers. Alison Maners, a Skyline social studies teacher and ASB adviser, had already been helping to raise money for the foundation and connected her students to it. “She came to our ASB board with the idea, and we loved it, so we just went with it,” Elevathingal said. Maners said ASB officers plan a community service project every year, and much of the work they do is aimed at helping Skyline students and programs. “But we also want to recognize there’s a larger picture and a larger community,” Maners said, “so (Winter Wonder Week) has traditionally been about picking a different group that expands beyond the borders of this school.” A key reason to help the Ben Towne Foundation, she said, is the organization puts 100 percent of its donations toward its cause – accelerating pediatric cancer. Despite the fact the cancer is one of the top three causes of death in children 15 and under, the 12 See WINTER, Page 7



December 18, 2013



By Greg Farrar

Ryan Kinnear, Skyline High School freshman, swims the third leg of the 4x100-yard freestyle relay race Dec. 10 in his foursome’s victory over Eastlake and Redmond.

Skyline edges Eastlake in KingCo swim showdown By Neil Pierson

For Skyline to earn a pair of victories in KingCo Conference action last week, the Spartans needed help from their seniors, but also from their freshmen and sophomores. Skyline got first-place times from seniors Paul Jett and Nick D’Alo, and key contributions from underclassmen Nick Nava, Jacob Leahy and Ryan Kinnear to defeat Eastlake (94-91) and Redmond (103-77) in boys swimming and diving action Dec. 10 at Redmond Pool. Jett won the 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes, 3.52 seconds – narrowly missing the automatic state-qualifying time of 2:03.20 – and also placed first in the 100 freestyle (51.17). In addition, Jett helped the Spartans win the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, and his performances could be indicative of a big season to come, Skyline coach Susan Simpkins said. The X-factor may be his ability to stay healthy, the coach added. “He swims really well, but you never really know what happens in the winter,” Simpkins said. “But I think he’ll do really well.” Fellow senior Ryan Collins also contributed to Skyline’s two winning relays, and he’ll be looking to build upon a junior season in which he qualified for state in the 100 butterfly. “They’re just team lead-

ers and can show the way,” Simpkins said of Collins and Jett. D’Alo swam to a win in the 50 freestyle, and his time of 23.79 seconds was less than a second away from an automatic state berth. Skyline’s younger swimmers also had key contributions. The Spartans trailed Eastlake heading into the final event – the 400 freestyle relay – before freshmen Leahy and Kinnear teamed with Collins and Jett for the win in 3:35.07, giving Skyline enough points to come out on top. Nava, a sophomore, filled in for Collins in the 100 butterfly and churned out a first-place, district-qualifying time of 56.73 seconds. Kinnear and Leahy turned in three runner-up finishes that proved vital. Kinnear battled Jett to the wire in the 100 free, finishing in 51.50, and also placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.25). Both times were good for berths into the district meet. Leahy finished second in the 500 free (5:40.79). Kinnear’s older sister, Katie, won seven individual state titles during her Skyline career, and is now competing at UCLA. Simpkins is expecting good things over the course of the season from her roster of 58 swimmers. “About 20 of them are brandnew swimmers,” she said. “The

rest of them are all coming back … and a lot of them have improved from last year, as well as our strong freshmen that came up.” Eastlake didn’t hold on for the victory against Skyline, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of Wolves coach Kate Agnew. “We were outgunned on the last relay, but I couldn’t ask for more,” Agnew said. “The boys swam great. We had a lot of boys step up their best times and score points, so that was good. We’re missing a couple of our key contributors today.” Eastlake star Edward Kim – the reigning 4A champion in the 100 fly and 50 free – was competing last week at the junior national championships in North Carolina. The senior is expected to swim when the Wolves meet Bothell and Lake Washington on Dec. 19. Eastlake didn’t score its results against Redmond. The teams will meet again in January for an official conference dual. With Kim out, junior Jackson Berman had a chance to shine. He’d already qualified for state in the 500 free, and he kept his momentum going with a winning time of 5:00.22. “I’m really trying to go for the Eastlake record, which is like 4:46,” Berman said. He also won the 100 backstroke (59.44) and swam the See SWIM, Page 9

Photo by Dale Garvey

Eastlake’s Marijke Vanderschaaf (31) tries to corral the ball as Woodinville defenders Mackenzie Campbell (44) and Gabby Phillips (23) surround her. Vanderschaaf scored 16 points in Eastlake’s 65-56 win on Dec. 13.

Eastlake girls weather foul trouble, top Woodinville By Neil Pierson

The Eastlake Wolves know they can’t always have their five best players on the floor at the end of a game, but they’re not worried about it. The Wolves collected 25 personal fouls, and four of their starters spent significant time on the bench Dec. 13 against Woodinville. But the foul trouble didn’t stop Eastlake from earning its third straight win to open the KingCo Conference girls basketball slate, 65-56, in front of an energetic crowd at the Eastlake High gymnasium. Eastlake’s depth proved valuable as senior post Maggie Douglas fouled out late in the fourth quarter, and fellow starters Marijke Vanderschaaf, Rachel Lorentson and Lauren Mittenthal each finished with four fouls. “Our fundamental principle is family, and that we can just kind of rely on each other to pull

weight and deal with people in foul trouble,” head coach Sara Goldie said, “and I think we did a pretty good job early in the season on that.” Early in the game, the Wolves (3-1 overall, 3-0 conference) relied on their defense to stay in front. Woodinville (1-2, 1-1) used a lot of four-guard sets, Goldie said, and Eastlake had to find ways to neutralize the Falcons’ strong perimeter shooters. “We know that if they get hot and get on a roll, we’ve got an uphill battle,” the coach said. Douglas, who stuffed the box score with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals, said the Wolves often switched from their usual matchup 2-3 zone defense to a man-toman defense. The strategy paid off as Woodinville managed only 18 points in the first half “They were just so quick to shoot threes, so we figured that See BALL, Page 9