Threat of violence causes controversy
By Isabelle Spence, Co-Content Editor
On Wednesday, Nov. 14, police action was taken against two freshmen at the school concerning threats of possible violence. The situation prompted conversation throughout the school — students discussed the severity of the punishment, as well as the administration’s response.
The events leading up to that response began a day earlier.
High school students and their families received an email on Tuesday, Nov. 13 from principal Danny Rock, informing the recipients that a rumored threat of violence had been reported and investigated, and was ultimately unsubstantiated. The email also contained a call for more information from the student body.
This email prompted several students and community members to reach out to the administration with further proof of a violence threat. Using this new evidence, the administration quickly developed a plan of action that involved working with and establishing police presence at the high school to ensure the safety of the student body. On the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 14, teachers were also briefed thoroughly on the situation, and encouraged to remain present and visible throughout the school that day...Read More
School district implements new safety protocol
Aidan Janssen, Reporter & Designer
The school district has recently begun training for a new protocol focused on dealing with potentially dangerous students who may commit violent acts against other students, teachers, the community, or themselves.
Previously, the three schools within the district had informal ways of dealing with potentially dangerous students. Using his experience with organizational response, new superintendent Slade McSheehy constructed a response team of school district employees and created a protocol. The team will be trained on the protocol, giving the whole staff a better understanding of how to handle a potentially dangerous situation.This training is now being implemented by school administrators, including high school principal Danny Rock, in a step towards increased school safety.
“This represents, I think, a good and appropriate tightening up of how we respond to student, parent, or staff concerns around safety,” Rock said.
The purpose of the protocol is to...Read More
Islanders protest as part of national movement
By Mari Kanagy, Co-Content Editor
On Thursday, Nov. 15, islanders marched along with of tens of thousands of people across the country, rallying in support of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Fifteen days prior to the protests, President Donald Trump forced attorney general Jeff Sessions to resign. Sessions’ resignation led to the appointment of Session’s chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, as acting attorney general.
Whitaker has been vocal in his opposition to the Russia investigation — a look into possible ties between Russia and the Trump administration. He previously supported the defunding of the investigation...Read More
Embedded Honors faces possible reintroduction
By Isabelle Spence, Co-Content Editor
In order to expand learning opportunities for interested students, the English department is considering reintroducing an embedded honors course to its curriculum as early as the upcoming spring semester. The program would be a continuation of a similar program last year, in which a focus was placed on creating an equitable learning environment
The embedded honors curriculum was initially introduced to the school last spring semester. In the system, honors students would be integrated within the regular English classes. These students are then given supplemental readings, take part in out-of-class discussions, and teach their findings to the rest of the class. The quizzes or tests for the embedded honors students have extension questions and cover additional material not discussed class...Read More
Comedians compete around Vashon
By Catherine Brown, Reporter
Every year, Vashon families gather at the Vashon Theatre on Thanksgiving Eve to watch the Seattle International Comedy Competition. The event is in its thirty-ninth annual run, and Vashon has been participating for 15 years.
The competition takes place over the course of 26 days, and 32 comedians compete to win cash prizes. This year those who place tenth and above will win between $500 and $5,000.
The competition began at Unexpected Productions in downtown Seattle on Nov. 1. From there, various performances took place at different event spaces around the Seattle area. The five finalists will perform live at the Vashon Theatre tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 21...Read More
New legislature to tackle district funding
Milo Carr, Reporter
With the end of the midterm elections came new state representation. These legislators will have a significant impact on multiple issues pertaining to Vashon, including what many see as a lack of funding within our district.
At a public meeting on Nov. 8 to discuss the school funding crisis, District 34 representative Joe Fitzgibbon confirmed that by 2022, the school district may be facing significant financial troubles, including a deficit of nearly $600,000.
Recently elected senator Joe Nguyen has promised to help resolve this issue. He intends to focus on correcting the way the Washington state government calculates money distribution for each school throughout the state. Nguyen finds the current system is problematic, and he hopes to address problems specific to Vashon...Read More
Trump Administration attempts to redefine gender, threatens Vashon community
By Isabelle Spence, Co-Content Editor
In late October, the Department of Health and Human Services released a memo stating plans to redefine the term ‘gender.’ This redefinition could have sweeping consequences for the LGBTQ+ community, both nationally and locally.
The Trump administration’s new characterization would define gender as “unchangeable, and determined by the genitalia someone is born with.” This definition differs from the current medically-accepted definition, which defines gender as a state of being tied more closely to social and cultural differences than to biological ones.
Many have pointed out the flaws in the Trump administration’s definition, as it diminishes the validity of trans and non-binary people.
“Gender is how a person feels inside,” QSA faculty adviser Aaron Marsh said. “It is the maleness, femaleness, or mixture, or maybe even non-feeling, of personal identity that emanates out of a person. [A person can] feel it, but you can’t necessarily see it from the outside.”
However, this lack of accurate representation is not the only issue people have with the redefinition.
“It’s repetitive, because we already have [the word] sex, which is … the sex you’re assigned at birth,” QSA student-president Dimitrius Brown said. “I don’t see the point of redefining gender as something that there is already a definition for.”...Read More
Phillips contributes to numerous school activities
By Klara Plenk, Reporter
From athletic secretary to main office worker, bus driver to club leader, commercial driving instructor to longstanding school district employee, Char Phillips has come to head a wide variety of high school jobs and activities.
Phillips’ journey began in Everett, Washington, where she grew up. She attended both Washington State University and Central Washington University to pursue a Degree in Recreation and a minor in Art and Physiology. Following college, Phillips held a variety of jobs, including ski instructor, boarding ranch caretaker, and camp counselor.
In 1981, Phillips moved to the island. While she initially worked as a carpenter and in a grocery store off-island, the long commute quickly prompted her to begin looking for a local job...Read More
Getting Involved: Broadcast
By Garrett Mueller, Business Editor
At nearly every school game, performance, and board meeting, there is a group of students hidden in back corners or above the crowd working with professional film equipment to document the event. This is the broadcast team. Made up of eight members, this small group does a lot of unnoticed behind-the-scenes work in the district and community.
Broadcast gives students the opportunity to learn about the operation of technical broadcast equipment while also gaining experience for a possible future in film, audio engineering, or radio.
“[Broadcast] has taught me a lot, and it is going to teach people a lot about technology and responsibility,” said senior broadcast member Lars Cain.
The team usually covers school sports competitions, Open Mic, guest performers or musicians of talent, graduation ceremonies, Strawberry Festival. They occasionally go off-island to film projects published on the Voice of Vashon webpage. Many of the filmed sports events are live-streamed on youtube at the VHS Riptide Broadcast channel. Broadcast tries to remain discreet during events while still managing to capture the action....Read More
Arts & Entertainment
“The Hate U Give” brings controversial topics to the table
Alex Ryan, Reporter
“The Hate U Give” brings police brutality, violence, and racism to the table, as viewers watch a teenage girl move through life following the death of her best friend, shot and killed in front of her by a police officer.
Based on the award-winning novel by Angie Thomas, “The Hate U Give” is a well-made movie that gives a true representation of the book.
The movie focuses on Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), a high schooler who is torn between two different worlds. Her home in Garden Heights, is a low-income community plagued by drugs and gang violence.
Starr’s parents want a better life for her, but not one that will require her to leave their tight-knit, community-oriented, albeit often-violent town. Because of this, Starr attends a private, upper-class high school with a mostly white student population. This commute to a new town and school adds controversy as Starr encounters new types of people...Read More
"Bohemian Rhapsody" thrives under pressure
By Elizabeth Lande, Co-Copy Editor
I walked into the Admiral Theater wanting to enjoy the new Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” — I’m an avid fan of both the band and Freddie Mercury for the way in which they inspired an entire generation by being unapologetically themselves.
I exited having been thoroughly entertained. Although the movie struggled to capture Queen’s legendary persona, it is fabulous as a standalone film, a celebration of the band’s momentous impact on music.
The movie is well done, a more than decent drama about the journey of a misfit group in the ‘70s and ‘80s. It has fabulous cinematography, and every shot in the entire two-hour movie is expertly crafted.
The acting is phenomenal — I was utterly blown away by Rami Malek’s performance, and won’t be surprised if he earns an Oscar nomination in January. Malek is also supported by a strong secondary cast, most notably Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor)...Read More
School’s Instagram Meme Account Acquires New Admins
Sylvie Koefoed-Nielsen, Reporter
During September of this year, junior Renz O’Meara passed his school-famous Instagram account, @vhs_memes_ on to a new anonymous owner.
Over the past few months, this account has become extremely popular among the school’s students — amassing over 360 followers, well over half of the school’s population.
“I was super excited the first week when it got 36 followers,” O’Meara said. “I thought ‘that’s amazing!’ I never expected to get [around] 360.”
O’Meara was inspired to create an account after watching several Instagram accounts for different groups, such as sports clubs or classes around the school. O’Meara wanted his account to cover all sorts of student experiences at the school...Read More
Local play shows truth through dark comedy
By Clara Atwell, Editor-in-Chief
The #MeToo movement has been a topic of controversy and empowerment throughout the United States and the rest of the world for the past year. So far, the movement has grown significantly due to women of all walks of life telling their stories of sexual misconduct. On Nov 30 and Dec 1 and 2, Torena O’Rourke, an island resident, will present her play titled, “My Mother, MySelf,” to tell #MeToo stories and foster dialogue in our community around the topic.
The play is described as a raw, dark PG-13 comedy aimed at sparking conversation around the issues of women’s rights and sexual abuse. It follows four mother-daughter pairs living in Seattle and the effect that facing the obstacles of domestic abuse and sexual assault has on them.
Last year, O’Rourke moved to Vashon from the Tri-Cities, where she worked for 30 years as a mental health therapist, primarily interacting with domestic abuse victims, juvenile offenders, and victims of the sex-trafficking industry...Read More
Island activists share their stories
By Elizabeth Lande, Co-Copy Editor
Sitting on an upturned bucket in a Tacoma food co-op in 1980, Peter Serko is recovering from both a peanut butter-induced choking fit and a stranger’s announcement that their brothers are lovers. It’s a complete surprise to Serko, who’s thankful he’s still sitting.
So begins Serko’s one-man play titled “My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg,” a chronicle of both his brother David’s fight against AIDS, and Serko’s personal journey of activism and discovery.
Peter and David grew up in a close-knit family in Upstate New York, but their six-year age difference acted as a barrier to their relationship.
After Serko left for college, the brothers lived in largely separate worlds, with David remaining in New York to pursue his passion for the performing arts and Serko living on Vashon as a stay-at-home dad.
Their dynamic changed completely in March of 1988...Read More
Students break down barriers through art for World AIDS Day
By Halle Wyatt, Reporter
Art has always been a way activists have communicated with the world. Just as AIDS activists did in the 1980s, the high school’s students are teaming up with the David Serko Project to use art to spread their own message about AIDS to the Vashon community.
To honor Vashon’s celebration of World AIDS Day, students in John Rees’ Literature and the Elusive Now class and Kristen Dallum’s AP Studio Art class are working to create an art installation titled “Lost to Aids” to honor the AIDS activists of the 1980s.
Peter Serko, founder of the David Serko Project, is spearheading the project, along with several other events occurring during the four-day celebration. Serko created the projects in hopes of better educating teenagers about the AIDS epidemic.
“I’ve been very interested in bringing this story to younger folks because [teenagers] had no idea this happened,” Serko said. “You’ve learned a lot about HIV and AIDS as a result of being in school, but you have no context to understand it.”...
AIDS should not be forgotten
By the Editorial Staff
The HIV and AIDS epidemic was at its worst in the ‘80s and ‘90s. However, it’s important to remember that the effects of AIDS are not a thing of the past.
The disease continues to affect certain groups disproportionately - such as the gay community - just as it did when the AIDS movement first gained national headway. Despite the monumental scientific developments in AIDS treatment, we believe it is crucial that the disease remains something of which we are cognizant, as the crisis has not stayed behind in the twentieth century.
Though it remains incurable, AIDS can be treated — the first treatment was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1987. Infection rates of HIV have fallen in the general population since the epidemic peaked in the U.S. in 1995. This is partially due to education and treatment surrounding the disease, making it far easier to avoid...Read More
Intersectional feminism unites women
By Sylvie Koefoed-Nielsen, Reporter
You probably hear people frequently throwing around the word “feminism,” but many misinterpret what it means to be a feminist in the modern world. In order to be a feminist, one cannot expect women to conform to their own expectations of them, and they must be aware of the various experiences of sexism for different women in different cultures.
Feminism is a movement advocating for all genders to receive equal rights. This includes allowing women to make their own choices surrounding their bodies, to do what they feel empowers them, rather than following rules set by others. Intersectional feminism is the effort to make feminism more inclusive, and give everyone a space to advocate for gender equality...Read More
Student body must learn to be LGBTQ+ allies
By Katherine Poston, Reporter & Designer
With the current politicians and policies present in the American government, it is clear that LGBTQ+ rights are being reduced, questioned, and ignored.
As a member of an age group that will shape the future of our country, I believe it is our responsibility to become LGBTQ+ allies as government actions continue to limit the rights of this community.
The department of Health and Human Services wrote a memo in early October detailing the potential redefinition of the term gender. It proposed that “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate ... shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex ”
According to a 2016 study from the Williams Institute, approximately 0.6% of adults in America are transgender, meaning about 1.4 million people who identify as transgender will be affected by this law, if it passes the federal legislature...Read More
Fall sports athletes advanced to state
Milo Carr, Reporter
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Eleanor Yarkin competed in Pasco for the state cross country championship. Yarkin placed 125 out of 159 competitors.
To qualify for state, Yarkin first competed in a league comprised of five teams, where she had to qualify in the top seven runners on the high school team. After advancing to districts, she placed in the top 14 for a berth at state.
At the state competition, Yarkin ran the 5-kilometer race — 3.1 miles — in 23:08:06 minutes.
This is Yarkin’s second year competing on the cross country team, as well as her second year running at state. Yarkin finished out the season strong, despite having shin splints, which hindered her performance...Read More
Van Egmond to attend UW on crew scholarship
Eleanor Yarkin, Reporter
Towering above the crowd at six feet three inches tall, Connor van Egmond’s presence in a room is hard to ignore. On the water he is no different: van Egmond has excelled at crew, making him stand out in the rowing community.
Van Egmond began rowing in 2013 and plans to attend the University of Washington (UW) in the fall of 2019 — along with fellow senior Rohin Petram — on a crew scholarship. Petram currently rows for Vashon Island Rowing Club (VIRC) and is excited to row alongside van Egmond.
“In the time that we have rowed for different teams, [van Egmond] and I have grown as rowers,” Petram said. “To come back together after two years will be the crossover episode of the century.”
UW is ranked among the top rowing programs in the United States; six members of the Under-23 men’s eight team that won gold in the World Rowing Championships last year were UW rowers.
“I was surprised [that they offered me a scholarship] because this is one of the best teams in the world recruiting me, and it was wild, thinking of rowing for them,” van Egmond said.
Van Egmond is excited to be part of the team culture that has developed over the course of the UW’s long tradition of rowing...Read More
Isa Sanson-Frey radiates on both court and stage
By Bella Crayton, Co-Copy Editor
Isa Sanson-Frey may be only a freshman, but she’s already well known in the community for both dance and volleyball, landing lead roles in local dance productions and gaining a varsity spot in her first year on the high school’s volleyball team.
Sanson-Frey has been dancing for nine years, becoming a stand-out performer at the Vashon Dance Academy (VDA). Her past roles have included Jiminy Cricket in “Pinocchio,” Jane Banks in “Mary Poppins,” and Snow White in “Snow White.”
Sanson-Frey’s dancing consumes large amounts of time from her weekly schedule, but she also makes room for another of her passions: volleyball.
“I focus mostly on dance, but I really, really enjoy volleyball while the season is going,” Sanson-Frey said.
Sanson-Frey began playing volleyball in sixth grade and continued the following season as a seventh-grader. Though an injury sidelined her in eighth grade, Sanson-Frey rejoined volleyball this season as a freshman.
At the very end of this season, Sanson-Frey made it onto the varsity team — a rare accomplishment for a freshman.
Finding time between school and sports can be a challenge for Sanson-Frey...Read More