Local attorney brings to life immigrant child realities
By Clara Atwell, Editor-in- Chief  At the front of a crowd of passionate Vashon community members stands Molly Matter. Preparing to tell her story of advocating for Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the United States, she takes a deep breath and lights a glass prayer candle.
  Before she begins her emotional account, she notes that telling this story is an essential part of the healing process, and asks the crowd to take a moment of silence to recall the first time they heard about the separation of children from their parents at the border.
  Matter is a local voting rights attorney, owner of Amend Law LLC, and chair-elect of the Washington State Bar Association’s Civil Rights Section. In the past, she has primarily worked to investigate voter suppression and to educate communities on their voting rights...Read More

Local designer examines clothing industry, predicts trends
By Isabelle Spence, Co-Content Editor   One only has to look down the halls of the high school to see a parade of ever-changing trends in clothing. The fashion industry is constantly working to meet the cycle of supply and demand generated from the adolescent community. This leads to an emphasis from clothing companies on predicting upcoming trends and analyzing changing styles.
  Erin Bowman works in this field, as a designer for Young Ones Apparel, a clothing company based in Seoul, South Korea. The company’s satellite office in West Seattle houses Bowman and six other employees...Read More


VHS Robotics Team goes to state
Aidan Janssen, Reporter & Designer

  Robots play an integral part in today’s society which is more than likely to grow it in the near future. Vashon robotics team #5961 is exploring the possibilities that this technology has to offer.
  The Vashon PTSA robotics program has existed within the school system since 2007, this will be the sixth time they have reached state. However, this year’s team is made up of, for the most part, an entirely new group of members.
  The team is comprised of eight members: eighth graders Caleb Cullimore and Oliver Proffit, freshman Tyler Huffman, sophomores Grace Carroll Chance Mentink and Atticus Bates, and juniors Cazmire Cullimore, Henry Profit, and Matthew Jones. They are organized by Bruce Johns, a parent volunteer who is also a Systems Support Analyst for Canon Solutions America. This year, the team qualified for a statewide robotics competition that will be taking place on February, 10th at Showare Center in Kent. Free for spectators at 11am...Read More

Graduation location surrounded by debate
By Garrett Mueller, Business Editor

  Rumors have been circulating throughout the senior class that the class of 2019 will have their ceremony in the gym. The speculations have left many students upset and confused.
  Last year, due to the construction of the new track and field, graduation was held in the gym. This led to the general community being shut out of the ceremony because each student was limited to 10 tickets.
  “Graduating in the gym obviously wasn’t the ideal situation, [but] when I think about how little we were affected by the construction and how great the new field is, I believe that going through graduation in the gym was a fairly easy sacrifice to make,” 2018 VHS alumna Sam Knight said. “While the gym circumstances may have not been ideal, that didn’t change the day for any of us.”
  The senior class began speculating about the location of their graduation in December. Some believed that district policy, stemming from fear of damaging the new turf, would not allow chairs on the field...Read More

Teens Leading Change is heading to DC
By Milo Carr, Reporter
  Teens Leading Change (TLC) is the school district’s drug-prevention committee, a group working to reduce drug use at the high school. Last year, the mostly-sophomore group traveled to Florida, where they focused on strengthening bonds in the Vashon community. This year, the group is flying to Washington D.C. for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) conference.
  The trip will last from Feb. 2 to Feb. 7. During this time, TLC will meet with multiple experts to collaborate and build upon their strategies for further combating teen drug use.
  Sophomores Catherine Brown, Lucy Rogers, and Leela Henson will attend the conference, along with chaperones Lisa Bruce and Peggy Rubens-Elis. The group will meet other students from across of the country as well...Read More

Bakker to Retire in June
Eleanor Yarkin, Reporter

  Susan Bakker, the high school office manager for over a decade and a key member of the staff, has announced that she will retire at the end of this school year.
  Bakker’s position entails a wide variety of responsibilities, but handling the school’s finances is a central part of her job.
  “I’m in an unusual position as office manager,” Bakker said. “Sometimes I have to tell students, staff, and even Mr. Rock, ‘No, we can't do that,’ or ‘We don't have the money.’”
  Bakker also organizes substitutes, office assistants, supply inventory, volunteers, school security, and the details of graduation. Additionally, she ensures that teachers and students have the materials they need to be as successful as possible.
  “[Bakker] is always willing to do whatever needs to be done and get it done correctly,” athletic secretary Char Phillips said. “She’s got a great sense of humor and she is always upbeat and ready to make changes.”...Read More

Arts & Entertainment 

2019 Oscars are a wide-open race
By Elizabeth Lande, Co-Copy Editor  Now in its 91st year, the Oscars have been a hallmark of the movie industry for decades, celebrating the actors, producers, directors, and those even further behind the scenes for their excellence in filmmaking.
  So, as a major movie buff, I present to you my predictions for the top five categories of the 2019 Oscars. Inaccuracies aside, it’s gonna be a wild ride.
Best Original Screenplay
  In this category, I’ll cut right to the chase; it’ll be “The Favourite.” I was impressed by the other nominees — “First Reformed,” “Vice,” “Roma,” and “Green Book” — but “The Favourite” has it one hundred percent. Oh my word, the dialogue. Nearly the entire movie is a verbal battle of clever comebacks and witty cynicism. It’s refreshing, it’s hysterical, and I think it’s more than enough to secure the win.
Best Director
  If we’re talking true excellence here, the very best of 2018 directors, then I find it hard to believe that this Oscar will go to anyone except Alfonso Cuaron. “Roma” is, for lack of a better word, amazing, and Cuaron’s work has led it to a total of 10 nominations...Read More

Student energy brings “Mama Mia!” to the stage
By Alex Ryan, Reporter

  The high school drama team is excited to share their upcoming spring musical, “Mamma Mia!,” with the Vashon community. Auditions began on Tuesday, Jan. 29, and performances are scheduled for the first three weekends of May.
  According to drama director Stephen Floyd, this particular play has been a long time coming to the high school.
  “I’ve had “Mamma Mia!” on my list of musicals I want to do for a few years,” Floyd said. However, this is the first year the play is allowed to be performed by smaller groups in the United States. Floyd believes the delay was caused by the ongoing Broadway production in the United States.
  Students have also campaigned for “Mamma Mia!” They are hoping it will bring a fresh look to the stage.
  “‘Mamma Mia!’ has more fun songs [than previous musicals] that the audience can really enjoy,” drama advocate Sky D’artell said.
  However, product...Read More

Upcoming Events February 2019

Hippo Campus
  Wednesday, February 6 - Thursday, February 7
  The Neptune<>
  Tickets starting at $25
“Becoming” by Michelle Obama; book tour
  Friday, February 8
  Tacoma Dome
  Tickets starting at $175
Alexandra Blakely
  Saturday, February 9
Justin Timberlake
  Sunday, February 10 - Monday, February 11
  Tacoma Dome
  Tickets starting at $80...Read More


New York-style pizzeria to open on island
By Halle Wyatt, Reporter

  Many recognize Michael McConnell’s name from the well-known Caffe Vita and the Neapolitan-style restaurant, Via Tribunali. Now, he’s expanding his business to the island with a New York-style pizza place. The currently unnamed pizzeria is expected to open its doors in early summer. The restaurant will share space with Pollard Coffee’s new cafe, next door to Relish.
  Robin Pollard started Pollard Coffee in 2012, roasting her coffee and running the business from home. She met McConnell through her husband, Chris Camarda, and his own business, Andrew Will Winery. Pollard and McConnell connected over their shared love of coffee.
  “We developed a bond,” Pollard said. “He’s been very forthcoming in terms of sharing his 25 years of… running a coffee business… He’s really been a mentor for me.”
  McConnell approached Pollard about sharing a restaurant space after he purchased the building.
  “It seemed like a perfect opportunity to not only grow my direct sales business, but to also have a stronger presence here in the community,” Pollard said. “All the stars lined up.”
  The pizza will be made from a family recipe passed down to Vinny DeGrezia, a close friend to McConnell, and the founder of Bensonhurst J & V Pizzeria in Brooklyn. The mozzarella cheese is made from New Jersey cow’s milk and the tomatoes are grown in Napoli....Read More

Viaduct closure lengthens commutes, increases Seattle traffic
Eleanor Yarkin, Reporter

  The Alaskan Way Viaduct (AWV) is currently being replaced by a tunnel which has been under construction since 2013. The change in urban geography will have far-reaching and permanent effects in and around Seattle. The closure of the AWV on Friday, Jan. 11 has lengthened commute times for islanders and commuters alike who have depended on the AWV for years.
  Having closed permanently, the AWV is being replaced by the new two-mile State Route 99 (SR 99) tunnel. The closure and subsequent tunnel construction were prompted by earthquake safety measures. Currently, Seattle is undergoing a three-week gap between the closure of the AWV and the SR 99 tunnel opening so that work crews can realign on and off ramps to connect to the tunnel. Traffic disruptions from continued construction are projected to last about six weeks...Read More

New off-island students are welcome in the high school
By Isabella Crayton, Co-Copy Editor

  High school students are traditionally notorious for their habit of spreading gossip. Lately, rumors have been swirling in regards to the topic of the school district’s acceptance of new off-island students, most notably speculation surrounding extra recruitment efforts for off-island students, talk of additional and previous commuters being shut out of the school, and even the ferry system not being able to handle an increase in commuter students.
  According to high school principal Danny Rock, none of these rumors are true.
  “Would we like more commuters? Yes, actually, we would like more commuters next year,” Rock said. “Can we handle them in the middle school years? Not really. But we can handle them in the high school.”
  The rumors of increasing or decreasing off-island recruitment has a suspected origin. In 2009, rates of resident island students were dropping. The district turned to off-island recruitment in order for the...Read More

Vashon cafes contain many wonders
By Elizabeth Lande, Copy Editor

  Resolutions are made to be broken. At least that’s what I tell myself when I abandon my “no sugar” decree and begin my cross-island trek to find the best cafes and pastries Vashon has to offer. It’s a serious undertaking, and I’m considering three categories in my final ranking: atmosphere, cost, and, most importantly, taste.
  I begin at the Vashon Baking Company. I’m still tempted to call it “Bob’s Bakery” because I’m a sap for alliteration, but I’ll address it correctly in this article.
  It’s a nice little space, as I’m sure most people on Vashon can attest to, with metal stools at the window counter, looking across Vashon Highway to the Village Green. The glass case of house-baked goods is a tempting phantasmagoria, and I’m hard-pressed to narrow down my choice to just one option.
  In the end, I go with a bear claw. It’s not an overly friendly price, and I’m suddenly reminded why I rarely treat myself to breakfast out. Still, as I sit at the counter and watch Vashon roll by, I’m impressed by the pastry itself. The almond paste in the middle is initially off-putting, but I eventually warm to the flavor.
  Next, I pull up outside Cafe Luna. As I walk in the front door, I immediately smile at the scene: small clusters of Vashonites sitting at mosaic-top wooden tables, leaning over mugs of coffee and chatting lightly of various anecdotes. The red walls are adorned with paintings by a local artist...Read More


An outsider’s take on America
Sylvie Koefoed-Nielsen, Reporter

  In November of 2012, I moved to the Seattle area from Marlborough, a small town in southern England. Marlborough isn’t known for much besides its two obscure claims to fame: it has Britain’s second-widest high street, and it hosts the college that Kate Middleton attended.
  When my dad told me that he’d been offered a job in Seattle, I had the same sort of excitement as if I had just been told we were going to the candy store on the way home. I was nine years old and didn’t have a very strong grasp on what it meant to move to another country. As it turned out, that move to America was a wonderful opportunity, but it also caused feelings of great loss and confusion.
  In addition, I had no clue what I was signing up for...Read More

College tuition should not be fully subsidized
By Lewis Kanagy, Online Editor

  Tuition prices seem to be rising uncontrollably, and pointing fingers at the government — calling for fully subsidized “free” tuition — has become a common response.
  The current student loan debt total in the United States sits at around $1.5 trillion, and has continued to climb over the past few decades. Paying for college tuition has become a growing concern, and it is developing into a significant limiting factor in determining where people can attend school.
  There are two main reasons for this increase. First, more people are going to college — according to the Pew Research Center, there were 9.8 million full-time students in 1990 compared to the 15.9 million in 2012...Read More


More is needed to prepare students for college application process
By the Editorial Board

  Going through the college application process is one of the hallmarks of senior year. The process is exhaustive and involves a great deal of organization, money, and above all, time. For many students, this comes with a lot of difficult unknowns. To help with this stressful process, many students turn to college counselors, parents, and siblings who have either recently experienced the application process or have spent considerable amounts of time researching it. However, this leaves students without such support at a disadvantage.
  As the editorial board, we understand that preparing an entire senior class is an incredibly difficult task. We appreciate the work the guidance counselors put in, on top of their many other duties, to prepare us for college. They each help us with SAT details, write an estimated 60 personalized letters of recommendation, and set aside 50-minute sessions to teach us as much as they can. This is even more notable as they also aim to help students who are not on a four-year college track.
  However, the responsibility should not rest entirely upon our counselors. There are improvements that would allow seniors to gain more from the preparatory process. A key part of the solution is additional support from senior teachers...Read More


Lack of political diversity on island creates echo chamber
By Isabelle Spence and Mari Kanagy, Co-Content Editors

  Vashon is home to an eclectic, homogenous group of people. From north to south, many believe Vashon houses one political community that shares the same opinions and perspectives. But is this true?
  While each individual community member has a varying set of experiences that set them apart from the rest, the statistics for Vashon show broad strokes. According to Data USA, 91 percent of the community is white. Best News reports that nearly 70 percent identify as liberal, an overwhelming majority of the population.
  These similarities throughout the Vashon community often lead to the assumption that everyone holds the same opinions. However, this simply reinforces a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  “The more you restrict diverse perspectives, the more likely you are to reinforce your own view and augment any pre-existing biases,” island psychologist and PhD holder Valerie Harrington said. “So to the extent that people on Vashon restrict themselves to a Vashon-centric experience, they’re more likely to reinforce what they’re already thinking.”
  Harrington likens the self-selection of one’s community to social media. People often view only the perspectives that they agree with. Harrington believes this can contribute to oversight and an underdevelopment in social awareness...Read More


Girls basketball team sharply improves
Catherine Brown, Reporter
  This year, the girls basketball team’s hard work has been met with clear success. The girls have proved to be a strong team on and off of court. They are winning more games this year than they have in recent seasons and are building a strong team relationship.
  The team has won 10 of the 16 games they have competed in, a sharp improvement from last season. Head coach Rob Kearns says part of this success can be attributed to the team’s willingness to compete in games and tournaments outside of required play. Last year, players missed games a total of 31 times.
  Beyond this, the team has been working to improve their bond with one another, strengthening the group dynamic...Read More

Henley stands out on cheer team
Klara Plenk, Reporter
  To senior Lauren Henley, cheerleading means more than any other school sport. Her dedication is evident, and this year, she was made co-captain for both fall and winter cheer. The position requires skills related to team-management and a sense of responsibility.
  With the help of her co-other captain, Maggie Raymond, Henley is responsible for teaching cheers; leading the team at games; assisting with stunts; and organizing the dance, music, and structure of assembly performances.
  “She is a great captain, a good leader, [and] knows how to explain what we are supposed to do,” cheerleader Bea Quarta said. “You can see that she really [enjoys] cheering.”...Read More