Monthly Archives: June 2019

Everest closes the year with its Celebration of Learning

By Molly Pigot and Karla Santana

Staff Editors 

As the school year is coming to a close, Everest Public High School is in the full swing of Expeditions and has just held the Celebration of Learning. This is an annual event held to demonstrate what students have done in their Expeditions courses and to award students who have proved that they are upstanding community members.

Students presented final products to teachers, faculty, parents and other students to show off what they accomplished over the year in their Expeditions courses. Classes like Cooking Fundamentals and Introduction to Visual Art had work displayed for attendees to observe what they could produce as a result of taking these courses.

Everest has a unique Celebration of Learning in that the presentation of student awards for core classes also occurs during this event. The combination of class presentations and awards reflects the celebration’s  spirit of celebrating student achievements in learning.

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Students of the Psychology course presented their “why do people…” projects during the Celebration of Learning. In this project, students seek out the answer to a question about why people do certain things. Topics ranged from “why do people murder” to “why do people sleep.” Students explore the science behind these human behaviors in this research-based project.

Students enrolled in the Independent Learning program shared what they have been working on all year in their courses. They prepared visual presentations to share their projects with other students, parents and faculty. The Independent Learning program allows students to explore their passions through Internships or self-directed projects.

“I really love the idea that students get to present their work at the end of the year,” one sophomore parent said. “Seeing what they spent the year working on is super rewarding.”

The awards ceremony that took place during the event is a tradition at the Everest Celebration of Learning. Core teachers present six Core Characteristic awards to their students to recognize the efforts students have made over the year. The Core Characteristic Awards each represent one of Summit’s core characteristics: respect, responsibility, integrity, compassion, curiosity and courage.

Other awards like the Expeditions Griffin Award and the Community Impact Award were presented to students who showed upstanding involvement in the Everest Community. Everest senior Jennifer Valencia received the Griffin award for her passion for journalism and how effectively she ran the course. Everest senior Ignatius Hayer’s engagement in the community and his influence at Everest earned him the Community Impact Award.

See below for a video about the Celebration of Learning at Everest:

Everest Photo Editor Karla Santana put together this video. Everest Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Valencia won the Expeditions award shown at the end of the video due to her leadership in the Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism course, which functioned as an Independent Study.

Rainier’s community says hard goodbyes to its Dean of Instruction and Culture

By Keith Dinh


Rainier’s community, over the last year, has made many lasting memories with its Dean of Instruction and Culture, Aileen George. While her decision to leave was a hard one to make, there are many students and faculty in the community who will greatly miss her, as she has made a lasting impact on them.

On Friday, April 19, Rainier Dean of Instruction and Culture Aileen George gave a public announcement that she will be stepping down from her role as dean come the next school year.

Rainier students, especially female students, have expressed their feelings about Ms. George’s departure; her role made a difference in the community and for the school, and she served as a voice for all students. Her absence this upcoming school year means that there could be less female representation in the administration; if another female administrator is not hired, female students will likely feel the loss.

Isela Mosqueira, a Rainier Spanish teacher, spoke of her favorite memories with Ms. George from the past year and gave a heartwarming goodbye as she said, “My favorite memory is at our staff retreat; Ms. George brought a karaoke machine, and we had the most fun ever doing karaoke and hanging out that it just wasn’t on school campus. That’s probably one of my favorite, most fun memories with Ms. George … [To Ms. George] You have made Rainier a better and brighter place, and we’re going to miss you a lot, but I’m also so excited and so happy for you in your next adventures, and I love you!”

See below for more on the Rainier’s community’s perspective on Ms. George’s tenure:

Rainier bids farewell to its principal after five years under his leadership

By Keith Dinh


For the last eight years of Rainier’s history, Executive Director Jesse Roe has been there every step of the way. Starting his career in 2006, Mr. Roe taught in NYC for five years before moving to California to teach at Summit Tahoma. During this time, Tahoma and Rainier shared a campus, which is where Mr. Roe taught as a mathematics teacher for two years. After those two years, Mr. Roe joined the Summit Academics team and was then offered the position of Executive Director of Rainier in his second year on the Summit Academics team. As one of Rainier’s longest-serving staff members, Mr. Roe has made many relationships with other faculty members, and his personality, in how he is always calm in all situations, is what many in the community remember him most for.

On Friday, April 19, Rainier Executive Director Jesse Roe gave a public announcement that he will be stepping down from his role as principal come the next school year.

In the following weeks, members of the Rainier community have expressed their mixed emotions on Mr. Roe’s departure. Both students and staff members continued about their days without much change, yet many of them still do not know what to make of Mr. Roe’s decision to leave Rainier. Through many of their words, the impact that Mr. Roe has had on Rainier’s community is very clear, and his absence in the next year will be a foreign feeling to members of the community.

Edward Lin, the Chemistry teacher at Rainier, expressed his gratitude toward Mr. Roe when he said, “Oh, so many things … I started literally the same year he became the director, so this is both of our fifth year as teacher and director, so … yeah … I just want to thank him for the last five years of not just obviously hiring me, but also to, kind of, the guidance and mentorship that he’s provided over the years.”

Correction: June 14, 2019

An earlier version of this article misstated that Mr. Roe has served Rainier’s community for the past seven years, where he has actually been a part of the Summit community for eight years. Mr. Roe also started his career as a teacher in NYC for two years (not with Summit Public Schools) and moved to California join the Summit team at Tahoma. Mr. Roe then taught mathematics for two years, took part in the Summit Academics team for another two years, and was then offered the position of Executive Director of Rainier.

See below for more on the Rainier’s community’s perspective on Mr. Roe’s tenure:

Denali students showcase Expeditions work at annual Celebration of Learning

By Charlie Cassel, Angela Hwang, Jacob Jasper and Evangeline Si

Staff Writers

Students and families gathered on June 5 at Denali High School to commemorate the learning the students have done during the last weeks in Expeditions. People streamed from classroom to classroom, viewing the various projects.

Celebration of Learning is an annual Summit event that occurs at the end of the school year. Each class holds an exhibit to showcase the students’ best work, and students show off their knowledge to parents and friends.

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“I liked how they did the big group meeting at the beginning….[and] how each student has presentations. They seem to be knowledgeable about what they’re talking about,” Denali parent Heather Chen said.  “I’ve been to these for about six years now, and this one is really nice because there are so many people. It feels very celebratory.”

The Multimedia Political Journalism class was tasked with covering the Celebration of Learning. Students floated around the event, covering the event and interviewing attendees while parents read and viewed their previous work.

Students in the Intro to Programming course showed off their eight week long projects and programming skills to parents and students. Video Game Programming created games and held an arcade for the celebration.

Creative Writing held a poetry slam for the Celebration of Learning. Students read their poems in front of a classroom full of students and parents. There was a three way tie for second place. The first place winner, Evangeline Si, spoke about the experiences of being Asian-American.

Stage Combat presented several mime fight scenes in the opening ceremony. Due to the shortage of time, most of the stage combat material was cut.

Visual Arts put up tri-folds filled with their art. Students brought their parents in, providing background information as needed. “She likes this class because she has been doing art since she was a little kid, and she is a good artist.…She really enjoys painting and that’s why she’s doing this,” said Sandeep Khanna, a Denali parent. Mr. Khanna’s thoughts were common among the various Denali parents at the event.  

The Psychology course set up tri-folds that explored the reasoning behind various topics, including falling in love and procrastinating. “It’s so awesome! The students are putting together such fabulous presentations, so I’m learning a lot of things that I didn’t know before. Like, I just got explained why people become serial killers,” Denali core teacher Evelyn DeFelice said.

The Adulting course, which was covered by the news channel ABC7 in mid-January, presented trifold presentations on self-care.

College Readiness had computer powerpoint presentations on their college plans. Students explained their work and their future plan choices to parents and friends while also answering questions.

Human Sexuality’s instructor was not present, but the students presented a powerpoint on the effects of porn and sexting.

Students in the Entrepreneurship course practiced their crafts by creating trinkets and snacks. The students traveled around campus and sold their items to others. One student, Renata Duarte, sold bottle caps with pictures of Pokemon on them while another student, Caroline Notaro, sold snacks called “Magic Bars.”

The Wilderness Expeditions course made a campfire and spoke about what they learned. Later, they made s’mores, offering them to various passerbys.

Students who participated in Independent Studies or Internships made posters and presentations about their accomplishments and what they learned.

“I’m really really impressed! I like knowing a lot of really weird stuff, and there’s a lot of really weird stuff in there [Psychology]….But sometimes when you’re as old as I am, you think you don’t have much left to learn,” Denali parent Thomas Berry said. “I’ve only stopped at two places so far and I’ve learned a bunch of different things. I think it’s great.”

Click this link to see Denali’s newsletter for more information about the Celebration of Learning showcase. 

See below for a video of the event:

All-day Wilderness teaches students to find enjoyment in nature

By Hazel Rothrock and Justin Casillas

Staff Writers

Not many students get to explore Death Valley, but the All-day Wilderness class does. Wilderness teacher Melissa Bernstein and Expeditions Executive Director Lucretia Witte decided to take the All-day Wilderness class on a four-day trip to Death Valley to close the school year.

The All-day Wilderness course features a variety of outdoor activities in many different unique locations, along with a chance to experience overnight camping trips. “We designed a whole trip, created an itinerary and then executed the trip,” Denali freshman Andrew Larkins said. 

“Being able to go on trips and getting to know others better is pretty cool,” Denali freshman Daniel Gandi said.

See below for a video about the All-day Wilderness course:

Creative Writing gives students a space to explore themselves

By Andrea Castilleros

Staff Writer

In their freshman year, students read creative novels in their English class. Now, the Creative Writing as Performance Expeditions course gives them the chance to write their own stories. The course gives students the chance to express themselves through their writing.

“I was able to express my emotions about a certain circumstance that happened in my life. It was my favorite because I was able to incorporate my feelings into it and really show who I was and the person I had become during that time,” Denali junior Andrea Atayde said.

Creative Writing instructor Liz DeOrnellas explained that teaching the course also helps push her to further develop her own craft. “It gives me more motivation to actually continue writing my own stuff and to publish my own stuff,” she explained.

See below for a video about the Creative Writing course:

Botany will be offered as a new Expeditions course

By Molly Pigot

Everest Editor-in-Chief 

Coming to Expeditions in the 2019-20 school year will be Botany, a brand new course that will be offered at Everest and Rainier. It will be taught by current College Readiness teacher, Jane Rieder. This course offers a new type of learning experience for students interested in plants and Life Sciences.

Botany is the study of plants. Naturally, this course will feature learning about plants, their identity, structure, place of origin, etc, but it will also feature a lot of interesting off-campus learning experiences. This is a very hands-on course that is STEM-based. This class is similar to a biology course but provides a more in-depth understanding of plant life.

When explaining this course, Ms. Rieder stated, “I have been very passionate for a long time about having more STEM offerings in our Expeditions curriculum, and I’m hoping that this will be a part of that.”


Botany teacher Jane Rieder

Ms. Rieder has a lot of experience in education, having previously taught math, Education Pathways and, most recently, College Readiness; however, she has an undeniable passion for Botany. She has put a lot of care and thought into this course, which will make this class all that more enjoyable.

Ms. Rieder reaffirmed her excitement, stating: “I love teaching; I love being in front of students; I love fostering people’s curiosity … planning for Botany has been really unique in that it’s [been] fun and I don’t want to stop.”

See below for a video about the new Botany course:

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