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June 2013 Issue 7, Volume 22

2013 Convention


Business Conducted at Convention

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hank you to all who joined us to celebrate our 100th Annual Convention. I hope you were inspired by the keynote speakers, energized for your Leadership Academy Crystal Award winners recogupcoming term as a nized at the Awards Breakfast: Michelle Bartholomew, PTA officer, grew in Kim Golding, Janice Kutzera, Kimberly Montague, your knowledge and Michelle Nims, and Sharon Pfeiffer understanding of the association and your role as a volunteer leader, and made connections with other PTA leaders in your school community and across the state. I also want to thank the many individuals who volunteered their time to make this convention a success, and especially the convention planning committee: Linda Hanson, Novella Fraser, Heather Gillette, Mary Kenfield, Andrea Bown, Cheryl Child, Wayne Di Iorio, Erin Fleming, Mike Fleming, Leanne Hawkins, Celeste Hoffman, Dawn Mota, Kerrilynn Robinson, Moneika Rupert and Dori Tate. Delegates at WSPTA’s 100th Annual Convention elected the following WSPTA officers: President--Heather Gillette; Vice President--Barbara Martin; Secretary--Leanne Hawkins; Legislative Director--Sherry Krainick; Leadership Director--Dori Tate; and Membership Director-Caroline Brown. Also elected for the at-large members of the WSPTA Nominating Committee were Charlotte Kemble, Janine Kotan and Theresa Ramey. Congratulations and thank you for your willingness to serve this association. Proposed bylaw amendments 1-4 and 6 were adopted as printed in the Voter’s Guide. Bylaw amendment 5 was not adopted. With the exception of Proposed Resolution #14 (Tobacco Settlement Money), which delegates voted to send back to the Resolutions Committee, and amendments made to Proposed Resolution #27 (Equitable Educational Opportunities), the resolutions were adopted as proposed in the Voter’s Guide. The amendments to Proposed Bylaw Amendment #27 included inserting the words, “especially related to race, income and special needs” after the words, “...disparities for all subjects tested, at all grades” in the 1st Whereas statement, and inserting the words, “and social emotional learning” after the words “...math and science” in the 2nd bullet of the 4th Resolved statement. Proposed Resolution #27 was adopted as amended. n The

Child Advocate

a Washington State PTA parent involvement publication

Washington State PTA 2003 65th Avenue West Tacoma, WA 98466-6215 Website: www.wastatepta.org Email: wapta@wastatepta.org Phone: (253) 565-2153 or 1-800-562-3804 Fax: (253) 565-7753

VISION:

Contents

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Jeff Charbonneau Shares How Zillah High School Overcomes Obstacles

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Forest View PTA Awarded Outstanding Local Unit of the Year

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Helping All Students Reach Their Dreams at Toppenish High School

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Karen Bryant Discusses Physical Education, Health and Wellness

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Erin Jones Encourages PTA Members to Consider Their Legacy

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Felisha Battle Discusses Today’s PTA

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Governor Jay Inslee Delivers Message About Education

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PTA Men’s Essay Contest Winners

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The Child Advocate is published online every month from September through May by the Washington State PTA, 2003 65th Avenue West, Tacoma, WA 98466-6215, (253) 565-2153. Contributors are welcome. Call the State PTA office for guidelines. Whenever PTA is used it also refers to PTSA. PTA is a registered trademark of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. Novella Fraser, OutgoingWashington State PTA President Heather Gillette, Incoming Washington State PTA President Kathryn Hobbs, Washington State PTA Executive Director Karen Fisker-Andersen, Editor

“Making every child’s potential a reality.”

MISSION:

PTA is: n A powerful voice for all children, n A relevant resource for families and communities, and n A strong advocate for the well-being and education of every child. The Washington State PTA accomplishes the mission of PTA by

• Speaking on behalf of children and youth in the schools, in the community, and before governmental bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children; • Supporting parents* in developing skills to raise, protect and advocate for their children; • Encouraging parent*, teacher, student and community involvement; • Promoting opportunities for positive outcomes for children; and • Being a financially stable, well-managed organization that promotes diversity, provides quality service, models best practices and values its members and employees. *Parent may include adults who play an important role in a child’s family life since other adults (grandparents, aunts, uncles, or guardians) may carry the primary responsibility for a child’s health, welfare, education and safety.


Jeff Charbonneau Shares How Zillah High School Succeeds Despite Obstacles how to take care of yourself so your group is self-sufficient,” he explains. “This is important because in work and in school you have to know how to work in a group, but to be successful in group work, you first need to be able to take care of yourself.” As an assistant drama director, he gives students the courage to try new things and to excel to the best of their abilities. He also is the advisor for the yearbook and encourages kids to look into the past and learn from the legacy of the students who came before them. “There are social disparities among every generation. In the class of 1919 just as in my student’s class, they had the same hopes and dreams for their future,” Charbonneau related. As ASB advisor, he teaches students that “sometimes in order to make something beautiful, you have to put some work into it.” From this, students learn about citizenship.

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eff Charbonneau, a teacher from Zillah High School and selected as the 2013 National Teacher of the Year, spoke at this year’s WSPTA Convention. Zillah High is located in a rural agricultural community in Eastern Washington. They are a minority majority high school with 50% of their school population receiving free and reduced lunches. In terms of funding, Zillah ranks 9th from the bottom in dollars per student, yet Zillah High School has a 96% graduation rate. In fact, when students graduate from Zillah High School, they have almost earned an Associates of Arts degree, with 69 college credits currently available for students to earn on-site. Charbonneau shared with PTA members how their school is able to succeed, despite the obstacles they face.

or engineering, he really sees his job as teaching confidence, self-sufficiency, courage, legacy and citizenship. “When you stop looking at the robots and look at the faces of the kids instead, you can see they are learning confidence that they can and will achieve if they simply step up to the plate and try. I don’t care that I create the next generation of scientists, I care that I create the next generation -- that’s what’s most important,” he said. To instill confidence, Charbonneau takes students, along with parent chaperones, into the mountains for an outdoor adventure and they learn self-sufficiency. “You have to know

“I teach students of all backgrounds to be successful no matter what the circumstance because that’s what I’ve been asked to do, he said. “We also work as a team--parents and educators--we are a unified voice for the children.” Charbonneau has been instrumental in creating the STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) program at Zillah, and also spearheads the robotics program, but he explained that rather than teaching robotics, chemistry, physics

The Child Advocate, May/June 2013

Finally, Charbonneau explained that to teach kids to overcome the obstacles they face, they need to learn that they cannot stop what they are doing and let someone else take care of them; but rather, kids need to learn that they can get up and find their way around or over the obstacles they face. n

Mary Jean Ryan Selected 2013 Friend of Children Award Recipient

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his year’s Friend of Children Award was awarded to Mary Jean Ryan, the Executive Director of Community Center for Education Results, (CCER), an organization that has made a truly significant difference to hundreds of children throughout the state. Her organization staffs the Road Map Project, a community-wide effort that is working to provide dramatic improvements from the time a child is born, through college, and into a career. The Friend of Children Award recognizes one or more individuals or organizations whose work on behalf of children has exemplified PTA’s vision that every child’s potential become a reality. n

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Forest View PTA Awarded Outstanding Local Unit of the Year

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orest View Elementary PTA in Everett is only 6 years old and they are this year’s Outstanding Local Unit of the Year. They will represent PTAs from Washington State at the National PTA Convention in Cincinnati next month. “The Forest View Elementary PTA was lucky to have a really strong foundation laid for us by the original board of directors in 2007 that came from several different schools and PTAs,” said Forest View PTA president, Laura Peterson. “Working from that foundation and with their mentorship, we have continued to grow our membership and strengthen our programs each year through the help of our generous families and volunteers.” Forest View PTA enjoys a good relationship with school staff and administration. Staff participation at their PTA events makes it even more enjoyable for the students. Some of their free events include a PTA-sponsored “back to school” carnival each year in September, a school-wide science day that includes a science based assembly for all the students and multiple paid and volunteer presenters for all the

various grades, a family health and safety night that included local vendors, an international dessert night that included a Native American Potlatch ceremony and a buffet of international desserts donated by parents. They also hold a variety of other events with a nominal admission fee, including a school dance, bingo, and gingerbread house night.

Ray Kusumi Receives 2013 Outstanding Service Award

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ay Kusumi is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Service Award. The Outstanding Service Award is the highest volunteer service award presented by the Washington State PTA. Kusumi has been involved in PTA for 19 years. At the local unit Ray Kusumi is joined by his family to receive the WSPTA Outstanding level, he served at Kennydale PTA Service Award in leadership roles on various comcurrently serves as the PTSA president, and mittees including newsletters, after-school pro- has also served this PTA as newsletter editor, grams, scholarship committee, Watch DOGS, and in various other leadership roles including art docent, Reflections, teacher appreciation, senior graduation events, teacher appreciation carnival and auction. At McKnight Middle and the booster club. At Renton PTSA CounSchool PTSA, Kusumi served as newsletter cil, Kusumi served as newsletter editor, vice editor, president, legislative chair, scholarship president, and president. At the State PTA level, committee chair, parenting seminars chair and he served as the newsletter editor for region 9, also served on the school improvement team the Bylaws Committee, Technology Commitand helped to review the school’s anti-bullying tee, the Elections Oversight Committee, and as curriculum. At Hazen High School PTSA, he Outreach Chairperson for Region 9. n

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They fund their PTA budget with an annual Fun Run in October and usually have enough extra funds to contribute to the school for technology, playground equipment, and IXL (electronic math program for all the students). Forest View PTA also uses its resources to support arts education by sponsoring an art docent program in the classroom and participating in the NPTA Reflections Program, and supported legislative advocacy by sending representatives from their PTA to Focus Day and the WSPTA Legislative Assembly. They were awarded first place in PTAs Taking Significant Action program for an exceptional program involving special education students. The PTA focused on adapting their big events to make them more accessible for special needs students. Forest View PTA held mini-events like carnival, gingerbread night and dance in the special education classrooms during school so these students got to participate in the fun as well. Additionally, they provide reserved seating for families with special needs at their before-school parent events and early entry to Bingo. Forest View PTA was also recognized as an Honor Unit and received the Standards of Excellence award, reaching gold level distinction for each of these achievements. They also received first place awards in website and communications categories. Congratulations Forest View Elementary PTA and thank you to your service to children! n

a Washington State PTA parent involvement magazine


Trevor Greene, National High School Principal of the Year, Keynote Presentation

Helping All Students Reach Their Dreams at Toppenish High School

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Greene remarked on these challenges, “We accept who we are at Toppenish. We don’t worry about the ‘what if ’s’. We deal with our reality.” One statement that drives the success of Toppinish High School is, “Your existence gives me hope.”

revor Greene, the 2013 National High School Principal of the Year, and principal at Toppenish High School, spoke to PTA members at the Awards Breakfast. Toppenish High School is located in Eastern Washington on the Yakima Indian Reservation. They serve 780 students, with an 85% Hispanic and 10% Indian population and 95% of the students receiving free and reduced lunches. They have students whose parents work the night shift at the casino, students whose parents are migrant farm workers and students who are responsible for getting their younger siblings to school and caring for them after school.

Judy Morgan Receives 2013 Honorary Lifetime Membership Award

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he 2013 WSPTA Honorary Life Membership Award was presented to Judy Morgan, a PTA volunteer who contributed significantly to the development and growth of PTA for over a decade. The Honorary Life Membership Award recognizes and honors an individual for continued and dedicated service to all children and who has demonstrated a commitment to “making every child’s potential a reality”. Morgan has served in a variety of PTA leadership positions at the local, council, region and state level. She served five terms as a local unit secretary, two terms as council secretary, and one term as council vice president. At the state level, she served as region director and secretary. She also chaired the Bylaws Committee, WSPTA Scholarship Committee, PTAs Taking Significant Action Committee, served on the Elections Oversight Committee, Nominating Committee, Leadership Committee, Outstanding Newsletter/Communications Committee and Scholarship Committee. n

“We have to teach our students that they can achieve, because we are keepers of hope, not dashers of dreams,” he explained. Another philosophy important at Toppenish is that “everyone is with someone.” Greene explained that when people work together, everyone achieves more. Greene believes that every student deserves an adult advocate at the school. A small group advisory period at Toppenish High allows teachers to establish a daily mentoring relationship with students during their four years in high school. At the advisory periods, mentors help students plan for high school and beyond, and help them navigate through the education

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system. “The students need us to help them, not rescue them, to help them navigate and reach their potential,” he explained. One program that Greene highlighted in his presentation was their special education program. Toppenish High now has a daily PE class for their severe and profound special education population. “The adaptive physical education strengthens their muscles to achieve things they have never had to achieve before,” Greene said. “This gives students with high challenges and opportunities to change their lives.” The STEM program at Toppenish High is also achieving phenomenal success. He attributes this success to the flexibility that allows students to take classes in any sequence and the willingness of teachers to go above and beyond to help students achieve. “My belief with our students is that everyone wants to be a part of something great. Sometimes we don’t know how to get there, but if we work together we can achieve beyond what is expected,” he concluded. n

Karen Bryant Discusses Physical Education, Health and Wellness

eattle Storm President and CEO, Karen Bryant, spoke to PTA members on Friday, May 3, on the topic of physical activity in children. “The Seattle Storm has been a longtime advocate for the physical activities of kids. It is absolutely critical to their well-being. This knowledge is reinforced by both research and the results you see in the classroom” Bryant said. The Seattle Storm’s most recent endeavor is the “Take Your Health by Storm” initiative. The Storm will engage staff, owners, players and coaches to inspire the fans, community, and families to create positive changes in their lives. Look for information on this program to be announced soon. She also reminded PTA members that they are role models for their children. “By taking

The Child Advocate, May/June 2013

charge of your own physical activity and health and wellness, you will be impactful for your kids,” she said. She also spoke about the importance of team sports as it relates to overall health and wellness of children. “Team sports teaches kids how to work hard, what it means to be a good teammate, what it means to win, lose, get up after defeat, what it means to go forward, what it means to prepare to be successful,” Bryant said. “ The impact team sports particularly has on girls, given the issues of body image, bullying, and the self-esteem that sports can bring, as well as belonging to something greater than yourself, and sharing success with others, finding comfort in like minded friends is very powerful and hard to get anywhere else,” she explained. n

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Erin Jones Encourages PTA Members to Consider Their Legacy ideas onto paper, was called ‘stupid’ by his teachers for most of his life, but this same boy was able to sing a 70-page operetta at Carnegie Hall in Latin when he was only 14 years old. Clearly this is a gifted student who is anything but stupid. “The number one job of every adult—parent and teacher—in a child’s life is to reflect the brilliance of the young people who come into their lives,” she said.

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rin Jones, Federal Way Public Schools’ Director of Equity and Achievement and recently recognized by the White House as a “Champion of Change,” was the featured speaker on Saturday, May 4. In her message, she shared stories of her own children and reflected how all children, despite where they start in life, have a potential to be great. “When a child believes he or she can, they will; and they will go beyond. That is the legacy that we can leave behind,” she said. Her first story focused on her adopted daughter and how the words she heard at an early age from her biological mother, impacted her belief about going to college. “Words have life, but can also bring death,” Jones shared. By investing in her daughter’s education and expanding her experiences, she shared that her daughter is now finishing her third quarter at community college and when she graduates from high school next year she will already have earned her Associates of Arts degree and has dreams and plans for a four-year degree. She encouraged PTA members to find the gifts in every child. Her oldest son, who has a learning disability that makes it difficult to translate

Jones challenged convention attendees to consider the demographics of the student population at their schools and compare it with their PTA membership. She urged PTA leaders to do more to reach out to the under-represented populations or those who are disenfranchised or on their own. “If you just put a general invitation out to join PTA, you will only get the people who look like you,” she said. “In my school district, I was the only one of color that used to show up at PTA meetings,” Jones said. She explained that sometimes we need to be intentional about laying down what is comfortable to reach out to ensure that all children can succeed. “Don’t think that just because you’re white or that you don’t speak their language, that your voice isn’t powerful enough to transform their lives,” she said. Jones closed by asking convention attendees what kind of a legacy they want to leave behind. “One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to own who you are, own your beauty and the talents you have inside. Don’t allow yourself to be molded into someone else,” she said. n

Barbara Justis Receives Outreach Champion Award

B arbara Justis was honored with the 2013 Outreach Champion Award. A new award this year, Outreach Champion Award is presented to a volunteer PTA leader who has demonstrated dedicated service to all children and families by cultivating collaboration, fostering inclusiveness, championing the cause of the underrepresented and promoting equity and opportunity for all. Justis served the State PTA this past year as outreach chair for region 11 and has also served as vice president at McClure PTA in Yakima. In addition, she has been involved with a number of other organizations. She is a trained member of the COH-BMN speaker’s bureau for the National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) Circle of Hope Birth Mother Network. Justis is a mentoree for Freedom House Ministry, which is made up of passionate dedicated women who mentor and encourage women who have come out of jail. She a part of the YAK-V-PAC (Yakima Veteran Parent Advocacy Committee), which sponsors workshops in the community for veteran parents and families that are still involved in the system to provide support, training and workshops surrounding parenting and empowerment. Justis is also a survivor of child sexual exploitation and a testimonial speaker for “OurVOICE.7”- Christian Peer Support Team. n

Felisha Battle Discusses Today’s PTA

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elisha Battle, Director of Membership Marketing at National PTA, spoke to PTA members about today’s PTA. She explained that male engagement is increasing in PTA, as well as the growth of non-traditional PTAs, including ones centered on specific audiences such as senior citizens, and a renewed emphasis in reaching out to diverse populations in school communities, and a greater effort to reach new schools and communities.

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“In our second century, we have an obligation to maintain the PTA’s strength and relevance and our size matters because our voice must rise above all others to ensure that children’s interests are heard and defended. It is not enough to recruit more parents and educators to join established PTAs, we must reach out to new schools and communities to the benefits of PTA membership,” Battle said. An idea to attract action-oriented members

to existing PTAs, PTAs can participate in National PTA’s rejuvenated Schools of Excellence program and earn this distinction. It is designed to help PTAs strengthen the familyschool partnership and make measurable progress together in one of three areas: Education, health and safety, and arts and cultural exploration. For more information, go to http://www. pta.org/Excellence. “Your steady support, selfless leadership, and incredible passion, are building our children’s tomorrow through today’s PTA,” she said. n

a Washington State PTA parent involvement magazine


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Governor Jay Inslee Delivers Message About Education

overnor Jay Inslee made a special appearance at the convention on Friday, May 3, to discuss education. “We share a similar vision and that is that every child should have access to a great education that is fit for the 21st century,” Governor Inslee said. He acknowledged that to fully fund Washington’s educational system, difficult choices must be made such as ending tax breaks. In addition to being committed to education and ensuring it is fully funded, other priorities for him this year include addressing STEM education, increasing high school graduation rates, and focusing more attention on early childhood education.

“Washington State ranks 4th in the nation for technology based companies, but 46th in participation of science and engineering graduate programs. This means we’ve got the jobs, but are not educating our students to do them,” Governor Inslee said. He described a scenario that over the next five years about 30,000 Washington State jobs will not be filled. In order for students to graduate from our schools with the right set of skills to get these good paying high tech jobs, Governor Inslee explained that we need to realign our educational system from grade school through high school and beyond. “My vision is that every child has an option to get high tech jobs,” he said.

PTA Men Essay Contest Award Winners By Justine Teoh, 7th grade, Gateway Middle School Male role models are vital to children’s lives for many reasons: encouragement, help teaching life lessons, and helping children understand new material are things they provide. One male role model important to me is my swim coach, Ken Rice. Coach Ken is an exemplary role model because of his patience, consideration of others, and good humor. He uses encouraging, not negative or ill chosen language to influence me. Some influences Ken had on me were that I had more confidence, consideration of others, and the knowledge that dedication pays off. Essentially he was a positive male role model in my life. Before the focused training that Ken gave us, I was skeptical about my swimming ability, and reaching my goals. Subsequent to his arrival as our coach, new techniques were taught to us with the encouragement that we learned and continued them. Following through on those techniques caused my efficiency to increase. I worked harder at practice, yet I wasn’t as tired as before. Feeling better after practice and about my swimming led to more self-esteem. Confidence also came from achieving season-long goals such as my 200 butterfly. In that event, I started with over three minutes and with the conditioning throughout the season, decreased my time to 2 minutes and 43 seconds. Another example of my increased confidence was my position during swim practice. I used to stay in the back even though I beat most of the people because I thought I was average. Then Coach Ken came along and showed me that I had the ability to excel in swimming. Despite that, not just swimming, but school work was affected too.

The Child Advocate, May/June 2013

Governor Inslee also pointed out that one out of four students are not graduating on time in our schools. “We need to re-engage students at risk of dropping out by linking high school education with skills training and real life experiences, apprenticeships, partnerships with employers so students understand the relevance of high school,” he said. There is also a need for more emphasis on early childhood education in our state. Governor Inslee explained that research demonstrates that the best time to reach children is during their early childhood years and that a dollar spent on early childhood education can translate into as much as $17 in returns. “We are an innovative state. We lead the world in aerospace, we lead in software, we lead in e-commerce and now we are continuing to lead. To do that, it comes back to education. Our students are the greatest resource we have and that’s where we need to put our investments,” he concluded. n

Self confidence from swimming carried over into my school work. Therefore my grades rose because of better scores. Swimming became more worthwhile and I began leading my lane because I knew I had the ability to. In addition to confidence, coach Ken taught me the consideration of others. At swim practice, he didn’t interrupt anyone and eventually we silenced ourselves when it was his turn to speak. Additionally, during practice and training, he considered our thoughts before making a final decision. Based on his example, I found myself interrupting others conversations less and letting others state their thoughts before stating mine. By utilizing criticism to improve my swimming ability, I improved during his time as coach. That helped my school work because I did better on assignments when I knew what needed work. Considering others feelings has helped me improve overall as a person. Dedication pays off. It’s very true anywhere, but especially in swimming. Coach Ken brought this into perspective. Swim practice is where I needed major dedication, since it was the end of the day when I lacked energy and will. Training hard when I didn’t want to paid off for me in getting numerous best times that season. Ken made me work hard so that I got all my necessary work in, even on my lethargic days. Also, he helped our group achieve goal times and mentally improve. In retrospect, that showed dedication because Ken didn’t give up on us and he achieved his goals of improving our swimming. Personally, focusing and working hard on something is satisfying because goals are accomplished. During difficult projects, the reminder that finishing was required, got the job done. If I wasn’t as dedicated to my education and to swimming, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am now. In conclusion, Coach Ken’s influences on me has changed my life from the seemingly minute affect on impoliteness to the self-respect for my work and the lesson of dedication. He will always be a vital role model to me.

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PTA Men Essay Contest Award Winners By Emily Jean Larson, 1st grade, Silver Lake Elementary What is a role model? A role model is a person you look up to and want to be like someday. My role model is my dad. He is really my stepdad, but I never knew my real dad and my dad is the only dad I have. I found out when I was six. I was happy, not sad, because my whole life he was my dad, not because he had to be, but because he wanted to be and he is the best dad in the world. Every day he goes to work so I have a good life. My dad is a plumber.

When I get sad, my dad cheers me up. He takes me to get ice cream. He takes me to the daddy daughter dance. He is always there for me. My dad taught me true love is something you show, not something you say. Even though he had a hard life, I have the best life a girl can ask for because my dad chose to love me. It takes a strong and loving man to adopt a child like my dad did. My dad turned his life around and he changed mine too. I want to be loving and strong like my dad, that’s why my dad is my role model. yourself to actually achieve something.

By Ben Smith, 8th grade, Beaver Lake Middle School I thought that I was done. The game that I loved playing more than anything in the world, I was not going to play again. I was quitting. There was no doubt in my mind. I just sat out for two months with a broken collar bone that I had suffered in the championship football game at the end of November, and once all my hard work and rehabbing was complete, I came back only to play three minutes of the game. So there I was, after two seemingly never-ending months of sitting on the bench watching my team play, I was still sitting on the bench watching my team play for 95% of the game. I was defeated. Sure, I’ve lost in basketball. I’ve lost games and I’ve lost plays, but for the first time, I felt like I had lost at life. And defeat felt like a blowout like at the end of games when you are loosing by 30 points and the other team stops trying and starts joking around and laughing and it feels like they are mocking you. At the of January I felt like my coach and my team were all mocking me and I felt like I was worthless to the team. And I was right, I needed to quit. My mom came to me one day noticing how discouraged I was and said that maybe we could find a different club to play for, but I was skeptical. But I still had a burning desire to play basketball, so only one week later I found myself in an office park warehouse turned into a basketball gym--Eastside Basketball Club or EBC--talking to the head of coaches. Now this meeting is a blur because as soon as I heard, “Yeah it would be great if you could come to practice and we’ll see how it goes,” my hearing shut down. All I could think of was I would not miss this opportunity, so I practiced with the “B” team and they put me on the roster. However, I was not satisfied. I started training with the coach at EBC named Nick. I trained with Nick for an hour every week through the summer and as I reminisced to think back to the first couple of weeks, it was hard. I missed nearly all my shots. My broken collar bone had messed up my form and I didn’t know how to give it everything I had, so my stamina was poor. Nick taught me humans can give so much more than we think we can and the key to going longer and harder is all mental. I learn that, among so many other things, the key to succeeding is having the mental edge. I started developing a chip on my shoulder and it turned into the model I have today--K1N2--which is an abbreviation I made which means you can knock me down once, but you can’t knock me down twice because I have the confidence that I won’t make the same mistake twice. I embodied this from Nick. He showed me that you need to believe in

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It is hard work. My dad’s whole life has been hard. He grew up in motels and he stopped school at 14. He was homeless at 16 because his parents were sick. For 10 years my dad tried to find happiness. At 26, he found it when he met my mom and me. I was only one. Since then, I have had the best life.

Yet, in my second year at EBC, I had put in the work over the summer and on off days and still was not producing on the court. One day in the middle of one of my one-on-one trainings with Nick, I hit five or six shots in a row. He stopped passing me the ball and coaching me on my technique. At that moment, there was not a sound in the gym. He said, “I don’t get it. You work harder than anyone else and you need to shoot more in games and if anyone has earned the right to shoot the ball, it’s you.” That brought me back to summer and all the hard work I put in and the chip on my shoulder was reformed. From that day on, I decided that I had worked too hard not to show it on the court. So, like life, I just decided to take it one step at a time. I started to take more command of my team in practice and when in scrimmage, which is easy to do with two other strong influences in my life--my coaches of my team, CJ and Sam. CJ and Sam were truly teachers. Sure my teammates and I learned a ton about basketball in being players on their team, we also learned about life because as much as we’d love to, you can’t play basketball forever. This winter I’m sure that every time we stepped into a gym, we left it cleaner than it was when we got there. It wasn’t just enough to play hard in basketball when you’re on their team, you were also expected to play hard at life. Whether that’s just picking up basketballs in the gym after practice or a game, or having integrity at school, or respecting our parents; it didn’t matter, it was all the same to them. Just like I learned in life, there are no little things, because often times you don’t expect it, it’s the little things that make a difference; therefore, making those little things, into big things. What a difference their teaching made to our team. We had each other’s backs. We may not have been best friends off the court, but when we stepped into the court in between the lines, we were like brothers who couldn’t be separated. We were our brothers’ keepers. And now to think back to January of last year, where I was being mocked by my teammates to now, when I have the best teammates I could ever dream of, the difference is clear. And I can thank CJ and Sam for that because my playing also improved and I know that my teammates have my back. Today I can say I am fortunate to have three mentors that gave me one of the best experiences of my life. They saved my basketball career. Nick gave me the confidence and the work ethic to do and achieve anything in life. CJ and Sam showed me the path to becoming a man that they would be proud to know. I may not have mastered all of the skills and mentalities just yet, but you better believe that I will reach it someday and no one will knock me off my path towards them.

a Washington State PTA parent involvement magazine


The Child Advocate - May 2013