Chalk Talk

Rachel Oden’s fifth-graders take a break in competing in the Helen Haller Elementary Jog-a-thon. From left are Ayrthon Clites, Kiana Robideau, Kailyn Lopez, Audrianna Bennett, Meghan Barnum, Paola Villegas and Mary McAleer.  - Photo by Asma Weber
Rachel Oden’s fifth-graders take a break in competing in the Helen Haller Elementary Jog-a-thon. From left are Ayrthon Clites, Kiana Robideau, Kailyn Lopez, Audrianna Bennett, Meghan Barnum, Paola Villegas and Mary McAleer.
— image credit: Photo by Asma Weber


In late April, students took part in a Jog-a-thon during P.E. classes. Students in grades 1-5 ran, jogged or walked laps around the track to earn money for programs including art sessions, second-grade swim lessons at SARC, Cougar Writing Conference, family movie nights, Robotics Club and more. Makenna Hillman, a first-grader in Christine MacDougal Danielson’s class, is to be congratulated for being the top fundraiser. Another notable achievement was made by Dallin DeSpain, a fifth-grader in Sheri Suryan’s class, who ran 21 laps (5.25 miles) in 35 minutes. Sarah Castell, physical education teacher, said, “Thanks to all our supporters, including the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) which sponsored the event, we were able to raise $2,685.”


In honor of Earth Day, Teresa Thorson’s second-grade class read a book of poems called “Dear World” by Takayo Noda. The poems are written in the form of a child’s letter to the Earth and the creatures that dwell there. The students then wrote their own letters, using some of the ideas modeled by the author in the book. Enjoy our letters to Dear Earth and its inhabitants.

Dear Ocean, Tell me why are you so blue? Why do you have lots of fish, sharks and octopus? Please tell me how many weeds you have. Thank you for all your beaches we walk on! Your friend, Shane Tenneson

Dear Stars, I like how you are so shiny and sparkly and so pretty at night in the sky, shining at me. Stars, how are you so pretty? Stars, how are you so sparkly? How are you so shiny? Skylehr Greenway

Dear Flowers, I like you and I am sorry that people kill you. I want to change that people watch where they are going so they don’t kill you. Why are you so pretty? Can you speak, please? Why do you make air so we can breathe? Tell me, please. Why do you make your own food? Thank you for the air so we can breathe. Sincerely, Brianna Zapien

Dear River, Why do you go in a way like an obstacle? Why do you wave back and forth? People like you, River, and I like you, too. River, you sparkle like the sun in the sky. Thank you, River, for giving us water. Please tell why you carry some people away. I am sorry, River, that people throw stuff at you. Can you answer my questions? Your friend, Sierra Milles

Dear Shark, Why do you swim in the water, but not walk on land? Please chatter that to me. How many fish can you eat in a day? Please chatter that to me. How many times in a year do you attack people? Please chatter that to me. Why do you swim so fast? Please chatter that to me. I like you shark, but can you talk? Phooey! Love, Emma Sweeney

Dear Ocean, I’m sorry for polluting you. Why do you hold salty sea water? How do you hold yourself up? Too much trash can kill sea animals. I am sorry. Jayden Aiken

Dear Squirrel, So puny and so weak, tell me how you dig a deep hole under a leaf by the great oak tree. I’m sorry if my dog chases you. Please tell me how you survive with all those predators. I know you don’t know how to read, so ask someone to help, because you’ll like this part. Thank you for spreading all those seeds. From, Orin Ledgerwood

Dear Flying Squirrel, How do you go so high? Please tell me. Can I glide with you? Please tell me your valuable secret. I want to know. Can you flap your arms or wings? Can you come down? I want to know. Please tell me your secret, flying squirrel, please. Your friend, Erika Dickinson

Dear Owl, Why do you sleep when we are awake? Why do you fly so quietly? Why do you have such soft feathers? Please tell me why you have such sharp claws. Please tell me why. I thank you for catching mice. Cohen Riley

Dear Ocean, How can you make waves? Tell me, do you like fish in you? Please tell me, do you like the sea plants? Please tell me, why are you blue? Your friend, Ricardo Hernandez

Dear Earth, Sorry for not picking up after ourselves. Sorry for not listening. Sorry for killing flowers. Sorry for breaking the rules. From, Chaya Cruz




Eighth-grade students in teacher Tracy Barnes’ Leadership class were given an opportunity to participate in a cultural exchange when they undertook an assignment to write letters to middle school students a half a world away. Lissa Karapostoles, a 2010 graduate of Sequim High School, is serving in Armenia as an ambassador of the Peace Corps and she works with school children on improving their English vocabulary skills. Lissa, with the help of her mother, Caity Karapostoles, a school district employee, asked the American students to write letters describing themselves, their school, family life, pets and hobbies. The Armenian students were thrilled to receive correspondence from America and promptly replied with neatly handwritten cards and colored drawings. In addition, photos of the young Armenians were included to help identify the authors. By calling her mom’s cell phone during a predetermined time when Caity was in Mrs. Barnes’ classroom, Lissa spoke from Armenia to the eighth-graders and shared some of her experiences since living in Armenia.

Some eighth-graders shared their reactions:

Max Koonz: Ms. K (Lissa) told us how she had to travel by bus to another Armenian village in order to mail off her students’ letters. The village post office had never mailed anything to America before and there was an amazing amount of paperwork that had to be filled out!

Maia Binswanger: The Armenian students wrote to us in English, but the wording they used was a little odd. They don’t use much slang in their speech. Also, in their culture, they are not encouraged to smile for picture taking, but we could see in the photographs they sent that some of them really wanted to smile.

Liam Stevenson: Our two countries are very different. It made us realize how good we have it in America. Ms. K told us the homes of her Armenian students’ don’t have running water. They take a lot of pride in what little they have, though. Religion is a big part of their culture.

Johnathan Stipe: The Armenian students live near Mount Ararat, where it is believed that Noah’s Ark rested after the great flood, and this is very important to them. Also, they have very different ways of celebrating holidays than we do. They jump over bonfires on Valentine’s Day and they also have water fights. That might be fun.


Why cook dinner at home when you can eat out and support our ASB at the same time? Please consider coming out for our Sequim Middle School McTakeOver from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, at the Sequim McDonald’s. Our ASB will receive 40 percent of all dine-in and drive-thru sales during that time. We also will be selling coupon books inside the restaurant for $5 each that are valued at $34.

Sequim High School


Five high school students represented Sequim at state competition for National History Day on May 3, held at the Green River Community College campus in Auburn. National History Day competition offers students the opportunity to compete in five categories: exhibit, paper, performance, website and documentary. They can participate as individuals or in a group of up to five people.

All the work by participants is done outside the classroom. This level of competition included 15-20 of the best entries in each category from throughout the state. Recognition was given to the top six finishers in each category.

Anthony Creasey (sophomore) took sixth place with his individual exhibit titled “Conflicting Ideas of the Government’s Economic Involvement during the Civil War Era.” A student team consisting of Mikaele Baker, (junior) Brenna Neal (junior), Hannah Patterson (freshman) and Dustin Shofstall (junior) placed fifth in the group website category for their project titled “The New Deal – A New Definition of Freedom.”

Sequim Middle School teacher Todd Beuke is the advisor for after-school History Day Club for middle school and high school students.


Important dates:

May 15 is the Digitools Bypass Test at 3 p.m. in Room E-3.

Cheer try-outs are held May 19–22 from 3-5 p.m. in the auxiliary gym.

Auditions for “Les Miserables” are set for 6 p.m. May 19-20 at the high school auditorium. Robin Hall is the director and John Lorentzen the music director.

Performance dates are July 17-19, July 24-26, July 31 and Aug. 1-2. See


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