Chalk talk

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■ Our students successfully completed an astounding one million IXL math problems. The PTA and Sodexho Food Services purchased popsicles for all students to enjoy at recess as a reward for their hard work. Each student has a user name and password assigned to them and is given time throughout the school year to sign in and complete problems based on their current math level. Performing these problems is in addition to completing their regular math work. It truly has been a nearly all-school effort. The staff is so proud of the students’ efforts and we anticipate the numbers will continue to rise, as students acquire new math skills. For more information about IXL (I-Excel), visit the website at
— Abby Hare, secretary

■ Fourth-Grade Sequim Destination Imagination Team earns 14th place in the world!
What an amazing accomplishment considering this is the first year Sequim has participated in Destination Imagination! The “Lugnuts” were one of 68 teams in their division, competing against teams from Poland, Turkey, China, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, among other countries, along with all the teams from the U.S. Their project involved a feat of engineering and marketing, and required them to showcase their individual talents. Blake Wiker played the ukulele and sang an original song accompanied by Riley Scott. Then Riley performed a magic trick with ropes. Johnny Young was point man working the team-designed machine and Erin Gordon pitched the sales presentation. Destination Imagination emphasizes creativity, teamwork and problem-solving and provides six challenges from which students from elementary through university level can choose.
— Tricia Billes, teacher


■ A volunteer reception was held May 25 for volunteers at Helen Haller Elementary in appreciation for their service to Haller students. Receiving the annual “Making A Difference” Award from Haller were husband and wife, Jean Monro and Chuck Lamb. Donna Greenough was co-recipient of the award. Volunteers are selected from nominations from teachers for their participation in their classrooms throughout the year. Haller has 150-plus volunteers who listen to children read, tutor in math and many other subjects during their time at Haller. The reception was just a small token of our appreciation for what these wonderful people do for our children.  
— Pat Davis, Helen Haller Elementary School office

■ Students in Ione Marcy’s first-grade class listened to Greg Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea.” During the discussions, students decided they wanted to help out Mr. Mortenson’s charity foundation, Central Asia Institute. Over the course of four months, they collected “Pennies for Peace” to help build schools for girls in the remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mr. Mortenson’s mission is “to change the world … one child at a time” and like him, students know that education is the way that all children will have better choices in life. Throughout the months of reading and sharing, some children shared their tooth fairy money to donate; another child shared with her parents about how little the children in Korphe, Pakistan, had - she says her parents cried and gave her $20 dollars to donate!  
Marcy was aware of the negative press surrounding Mortenson and his nonprofit organization, and she did receive a letter from the Central Asia Institute. They explained a bit about the allegations and how one particular year is the focus of the “60 Minutes” show’s findings and that they will cooperate to answer any questions in the weeks ahead, as will Greg, when he recovers from his surgery.
Marcy pondered the news from the papers and the television show and then shared with her class questions regarding her concerns. She says, “I have to say that I know from his book that he had trouble managing the business side of the charity (he says it there in his own words) and that he finally got people to help, but above all of this is his message, which I truly believe. It is that Education is the way to Peace and that without it, there is very little choice for a different life for the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan. So I gave the choice to my students to continue with the donation or give it to another charity. They all voted to stay with Pennies for Peace. One of my students, Dominic Riccobene, stated it this way: ‘I don’t care what the news says, I still believe in Greg. He’s a good guy!’ With that support, we continued on our path.”
Together, students collected a little over $178 dollars and wrote letters to Mr. Mortenson to let him know what they thought of his book and his work. The following are sample of some of the letters.

Dear Mr. Mortenson,
We love your book, Three Cups of Tea because we want to build lots of schools. I want to donate to build schools in Mexico. Many parents don’t have enough money for their kids there too. I use to live in Mexico, but now I live in
Your friend,
— Samantha Gonzalez

Dear Mr. Mortenson,
Our First-Grade class loves Three Cups of Tea. You got sick and went to Korphe. We like the people there.
I learned that land mines are dangerous and I want to read Stones into Schools.
— Xander Hatt

Dear Greg Mortenson,
I like your books and thank you for building schools.
Your friend,
— Aaron Gaylord

Dear Mr. Mortenson,
I loved the Three Cups of Tea book. I collected pennies for peace. I liked the part where you climbed K2. You are a great mountain climber. Did you get sick climbing a mountain?
Thanks for building schools. Where do you get all the money from?
Your friend,
— Cody Hendershot

Dear Mr. Mortenson,
All of us thought about the story, Three Cups of Tea. I was impressed with all the details and word choices and the places and characters.
One day, when we were doing dishes, I thought about a jar that we have by the sink with pennies. We decided to get a bag and get all the pennies and I collected them. I wanted to give them to you so you can build schools for children. We are going to the bank and we are going to send the money to you. Are you going to make another book?
— Ethan Knight

Dear Mr. Mortenson,
I like what you did for the children of Afghanistan and I wish you could finish climbing K2. It would be awesome to go around the world and build schools and meet people. I collected pennies for peace. My dad has lots of change so he lended some to me to give to you to make schools. I’m looking forward to reading Stones into Schools. It seems interesting.
— Caleb Liebert

Dear Mr. Mortenson,
Thank you for building schools. I know how it feels to never see your kids because my dad works in Olympia and he works as a state representative so I never get to see him. My class read Three Cups of Tea and I liked how you tried to climb K2 and put your sister’s necklace on it.
— Jack Van De Wege

Dear Mr. Mortenson,
Our First-grade class read your book Three Cups of Tea. I liked the part where you climbed K2. I would like to climb a mountain too. I learned that climbing a mountain would be hard because you got so sick and you couldn’t make it.
— Dominic Riccobene

Dear Mr. Mortenson,
Our first-grade class loves your book Three Cups of Tea. I want to hear Stones into Schools. I think it will be great.
— Abbygayle Delong

Dear Mr. Mortenson,
I liked all the details you put in Three Cups of Tea. I liked when your daughter, Amira did a show and tell at her school right after her new baby brother was born.
I learned that it is very hard to live in Korphe, Pakistan, because they have very little food like meat.
I hope every child in Pakistan has a school. Thank you for doing all the hard work of making schools and getting all the money for them.
My mom is going to read, “Stones into Schools.”
— Mayhsa Deol

■ First Teacher activities:
Friday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m. — Craft Time with Darinda Hagstrom
Monday, June 13, 10:30 a.m. — Reading Time. Antonia Krupicka-Smith, children’s librarian from the Sequim branch, is our guest reader. Every child attending Reading Time receives a free book.
Tuesday, June 14 — WIC (Women, Infants and Children). For more information about the WIC program, contact Pam Walker at 417-2275.
— Cynthia Martin, director, and Nicole Brewer, parent coordinator.


On Sunday, June 12, there will be a Senior Banquet at 5:30 p.m. at Sequim Community Church. This is for seniors only. Baccalaureate will follow at 7 p.m. Baccalaureate is a nondenominational inspirational service celebrating a time of completion and a time of looking forward. All seniors, their parents and the public are invited to attend. Attendance at this service is not a function of, or required, by the high school. Seniors are to bring their caps and gowns for the service (please leave your tassel at home).
— Lora Millet, secretary

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