Page 1

INSIDE: Caps off ... Island Life, A10



‘Classy’ Class of 2013 goes forth from South Whidbey By BEN WATANABE Staff reporter The 118 graduates from South Whidbey High School could be identified by all the things they weren’t. The class of 2013 wasn’t the return to the state championship class. It wasn’t the class that killed the senior parade through Langley. It wasn’t the class that had prom off the island. It was the classy class, at least in the faculty choice student speaker’s opinion. The class of 2013 was also the year of leaders. “We’re the classy class,” said Kyle Simchuk, the school’s ASB president. “We’re the problem solvers, or we’re going to be the problem solvers.” Plenty of problems await the Falcon graduates. College courses lay ahead for many of them, trade schools for others. Some of them will take trips to Europe, Africa or South America, uncertain when they’ll return to the states. For those students that venture overseas, one of the school’s two valedictorians had advice for any would-be globetrotters. “Don’t use ‘YOLO’ (you only live once), an uneducated version of carpe diem for those not in the loop, as a reason to get a tattoo from a street vendor in Tijuana,” said Kellen Field, who graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. Graduation was a smooth ceremony, other than a rocky, emotional beginning for the school’s principal, John Patton. In the auxiliary gym, a waiting and staging room for the graduates, Patton lined them up in order along the perimeter of the court. He told them it was time and to remember their cues. Fighting his emotions, he put the megaphone down and uttered, “I hate this part.” The students rallied around their faculty leader. One yelled, “We love you, Patton.” Encouraged, he responded in kind. “I love you guys.” Once in the main gym packed with family, friends and other supporters, Patton turned to humor in his address to the graduates. Turning into a financial advisor, he cautioned against writing checks because they don’t manifest money if there’s none in the account and signing up for a credit card just because it comes with a free T-shirt. “You’ve passed the HSPE, EOCs, SAT and ACT,” he said.

Ben Watanabe / The Record

German exchange student Lisa Haufler, Merissa Dahlman, Serafina Durr, Sarah Swanberg and R.J. Barker erupt with laughter before their graduation ceremony begins June 15 at South Whidbey High School. “But can you cook rice without it sticking to the pan?” “When you’re on the mainland, also called the United States, that latch on the door is called a lock. Lock your doors.” A few student performances punctuated the ceremony, first from the school’s jazz band, featuring five seniors in their caps and gowns. Josh Bishop performed “Climb” alone on guitar and vocals. Later, Bishop returned with the help of the jazz band seniors Connor McCauley, Zoe Hensler, Lucy Rock and Sylvie Kaul-Anderson, as well as Sam Turpin and Anna Hood and performed “93 Million Miles.” Its refrain echoed the common sentiment throughout the commencement that South Whidbey is their home, “No matter where you go, you can always come back

home,” sang Turpin. The senior class president parroted that notion at the end of the ceremony. “This will always be the place we call home,” said Elliauna Madsen. Student choice speaker Lennox Bishop thanked her peers for being themselves and allowing her to be herself. Simchuk told his classmates to remind themselves that many have had similar scholastic experiences until this point. He asked the graduates who have been enrolled in South Whidbey schools since kindergarten to stand. Most of them stood. SEE GRADUATES, A10

Prosecutor, judges continue fire at Recovery Services By JUSTIN BURNETT Staff reporter Another error by Island County Recovery Services that nearly led to the unjust incarceration of a patient and the recent revelation that the treatment center was under review by state regulators for months spurred decisive action by law and justice leaders. On Monday, Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks, in cooperation with Superior Court Judges Alan Hancock and Vickie Churchill, announced the immediate cessation

of new defendants to the county’s drug courts. “The latest incident and my knowledge of the (state) reports have pushed me one step closer to terminating the programs,” wrote Banks in an email to the Island County Board of Commissioners. “I am convinced that we are failing the public and our drug court participants by allowing them into our program with this treatment provider.” Under the umbrella of Island County Human Services, the drug and alcohol recovery center opened

its doors in July 2011. It offers outpatient services and partners as the treatment provider for the county’s adult and juvenile drug courts. Human Services Director Jackie Henderson, who is also a Coupeville Town Council member, could not be reached for comment for this story but she defended the organization and its staff during the board’s Wednesday work session. She, along with Island County Recovery Services Manager Mark MacNaughton, cited a lack of resources — funding and staff — as the primary source of the treatment

center’s shortcomings. In an unusual and bold move, Henderson also announced she will not seek proposals from alternate and private treatment providers, even if directed to do so by the commissioners — her bosses. When asked by Commissioner Helen Price Johnson to clarify that position, Henderson responded, “With all due respect, that means I won’t do it.” Last month, drug court leaders made the equally unusual move of publicly charging the treatment center with a slew of allegations

before the board. Citing issues from sexual misconduct and the use of abusive language to repeated errors and tardy patient assessments, the group requested the board immediately begin looking for alternate service providers. Perhaps the most serious claims concerned instances when drug court patients were nearly sentenced to undeserved jail time based on incorrect information provided by recovery services professionals. According to Banks, a similar SEE RECOVERY, A6

ou ou th ac th lit

sc kn h w er ta pa kn a ye th on

South Whidbey Record, June 19, 2013  
South Whidbey Record, June 19, 2013  

June 19, 2013 edition of the South Whidbey Record