by Espen Swanson, Madeleine Bentley, Anna Zacovic, and Ben Reinach
We've reached the end of the semester, and so must end the regular postings of the Inkless Link. We'll keep you updated on future plans. Thanks to our readers, and as a special treat, we're uploading our holiday video issue, shown on Dec. 17 at WSA. The accompanying trailer and bloopers are coming soon. Happy Holidays!
Last Friday a survey was sent out asking about homework load, stress, and sleep. Students swarmed to the survey in hopes of giving teachers an insight on the homework, and on Friday the results will be released.
by Guest Contributor Ben Taylor
Photos by WSA parent chaperone Randy Near
Last Thursday on Nov. 15, students from Julieta’s ninth and tenth grade Spanish class ventured across the water to Seattle for a field trip. Besides participating in a Spanish scavenger hunt in the Seattle Public Library and eating at the Bolivian restaurant Copacabana in Pike Place Market, they went to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) to learn about ancient Peruvian culture. We asked Ben Taylor, a tenth grader, to write an article about the exhibit for The Inkless Link. So, without further ado, a review of SAM’s PERU: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon by Ben Taylor:
Care to take a step back in time to one of the world’s greatest civilizations? The Seattle Art Museum's current historical gallery, PERU: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon, displays the treasures and culture of the powerful Incan empire as well as the history of Peru itself. With over 300 exhibits that are making an appearance for the first time ever in the United States, this is one gallery that you don’t want to miss.
From Oct. 17 to Jan. 4, you can witness the many historical artifacts, some of which have never before been seen outside of Peru and that represent the culture, rituals, conquest, and colonization of the country. Each step you take is like another decade through time. Your journey through time begins with a beautiful time lapse film of Machu Picchu, and from there you learn about is discoverers, the colonization, early culture and so on until you reach Peruvian modern art that has been created recently.
What is truly impressive is the amount of craftsmanship and detail that goes into these precious gems and metals. A simple cup can have intricate patterns that cover the entire surface with perfectly cleaned gems placed around it. This only becomes more impressive when European influence comes into the mix. You can see such attention to detail in such works as Depósito eucarístico con forma de pelícano (Eucharistic urn in the shape of a pelican), which will take your breath away with its grand scale and aesthetics, orThe Golden Octopus, the most famous of all the pieces in the gallery.
Its not just the most precious of metals and jewels that are impressive, but also the small clay vases and figures. While the more valuable works express the traditions and the wealth of Peru, it’s the wood and clay that shows what the commoner from what we now consider modern day Peru would create or own. It is almost a shame that the intricate creations would be used for such simple things as holding water.
SAM’s PERU: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon is an exhibit that would be a shame to miss. You don’t need to be a huge art buff to be able to appreciate the magnificence of these artifacts. Going through will give you a whole new appreciation for Peruvian culture, the Incan empire, and its predecessors. So go and discover the treasure for yourself!
by Rebecca Osborne
Between the days of Oct. 21 to 25, Ally Week, a program created by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (also known as GLSEN), came to West Sound Academy. It had first arrived in 2011 after two students formed a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). They wanted to bring Ally Week to WSA to raise awareness of and help stop bullying of LGBT people. “It’s still important even though we’re a small school to make a stand,” says Susan Trower, the staff advocate of the GSA. Ally Week encouraged students to become allies of the LGBT community and learn about the effects of anti-LGBT bullying initiatives.
GLSEN was created in 1990 to create equality in a school setting regardless of sexual orientation and gender orientation and expression. However, Ally Week was established until 2005, and it has been an annual event ever since.
Students and teachers alike showed their spirit by wearing purple and putting on “I Love Allies” and “I’m an Ally” stickers. “Ally Week is not necessarily about allies but about forming one respectable bond across all orientations and gender expressions,” says senior Gab Vogt. Gab is the president of the GSA, and she believes Ally Week stands as an opportunity to strengthen the alliances and bonds in the WSA community.
Last week allowed many to show their support of the LGBT community. Some international students, for instance, are allies despite coming from a country that is less supportive of LGBT rights than the U.S. The students at WSA wore purple to show their support.
by Espen Swanson
Last week, I sat down with the screen on my sister’s laptop propped open, ready to interview WSA student Aidan Moore, a good friend of mine. Aidan is spending the 2013-2014 school year as an international student in İzmir, Turkey. The Inkless Link thought Aidan might have some interesting stories and thoughts on his experience so far. He also was able to share some of his hopes for the rest of the year.
Aidan related how after flying for hours on end, a layover in Amsterdam, and a connecting flight from İstanbul to İzmir, the host family greeting him was not the same one he had been communicating with since August. Aidan explained that he “just walked out of baggage claim, and there was this person that I didn't recognize with a sign that said my name on it. And then there was a lady holding a baby, and other people, and I was really confused.”
He says that he really wants “to learn Turkish, to have somewhat of a personality to all of the people who don't speak English. I'm a person who only lives through my translator, sometimes I can't explain it all.” He is also hoping that his schedule will allow for more extensive travel, as he has greatly enjoyed what he has been able to do so far.
At school, he has to juggle the monumental task of learning a new language with a surprising number of classes, “I have like fifteen classes. Let's see, there's Geometry, Algebra II, Physics, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Turkish Literature, Turkish Language, German, Spanish, English, Music, a different music, I think that's it, it's a lot.”
Read more about his school, expectations, and more in the full transcript here.
Click here to visit Aidan’s blog, where he shares more stories about his experience on a (somewhat) regular basis.
Click here to visit Aidan’s Flickr page, which he updates with photographs of his most recent adventures.
For the past 14 years, on the first day of November, hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and occupations begin to type. On Nov. 30 of last year, 341,375 people clicked "Validate My Novel" to publish the fruit of their labor of the past month. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is about to begin its 15th year, and hopes to open the door to the creation of several hundred thousand more new worlds.
NaNoWriMo was started in July of 1999. Founder Chris Baty and 20 friends decided to each write a 50,000 word novel in a month. They wrote from July 1 to Aug. 1. The second event was held in November and included an official website, 140 participants, and a set of rules: you must start from scratch, it cannot be co-authored, you must write a novel, and you must validate it with NaNoWriMo to verify that you actually wrote 50,000 words.
While the second year was far more successful, year three was when it really took off. Over 5,000 participants signed up at the beginning of the month. The next year brought the count up to 14,000, and participants this year will likely exceed last year's figure. By 2008, NaNoWriMo had produced over 1.6 billion words. This venue has served as a jumping off point for several known novels that have since been traditionally published, such as Sara Gruen's New York Times Best Seller,Water for Elephants.
I have participated in NaNoWriMo for two years, and though I've never made it to the vaunted 50,000 word goal, this year I will embark on my third attempt. Participating entails a major time commitment, and requires a will of iron to persevere. In order to reach the goal of 50,000 words, one must commit to writing between 1,500 and 2,000 words per day. Throughout the month, participants are encouraged to continue through "pep talks" written by NaNoWriMo staff and various well-known authors. They often offer up strategies such as advising writers to write without input from their "Inner Editors," and to save editing for after the completion of the first draft. The program continues to involve participants even after the end of the month by periodically sending tips on how to revise their novels and orchestrating other smaller programs like "Camp NaNoWriMo,” which happens during the summer months and includes an online “cabin” community, where people assist each other in their writing goals.
Experiences with and opinions on NaNoWriMo vary. WSA humanities teacher Allan Batchelder describes it as a "chance to share with and receive feedback from a vast community of writers, from beginners to award-winning authors of best-selling novels." However, former English and Creative Writing teacher Eleanor Johnson questions the process by saying, "NaNoWriMo is a splendid way to get many pens and keyboards moving, but I do not think that November should be designated National Writing Month (...) In my limited experience, students who have taken on the NaNoWriMo challenge come to school exhausted and have difficulty completing writing assignments and other homework." Eleanor goes on to suggest that the event take place in an alternate month such as January or July. She says that though she acknowledges the program provides benefits to some, all writers are different, and NaNoWriMo is not for everyone.
Though fraught with new challenges at every turn, NaNoWriMo presents an unequaled opportunity for growth and self-discovery. And you might have fun! Participating in a program like NaNoWriMo is also a fantastic CAS opportunity, thoroughly fulfilling the Creative component, several times over. Whether or not NaNoWriMo is a good fit for your personal writing style, it's definitely an opportunity to undertake new challenges, and is something that, even though you may not finish, is worth trying.
by Anna Zacovic
Anneong! Hei! Xin chào! Ahoj! Salam! Merhaba! Ni hao! Do you know what these words all share in common? They all mean hello! Two of the main things that set West Sound Academy apart from public schools are the wide variety of cultures, and the large number of international students. While a public school may have five or six international students spread throughout a student body of 1,000 or more, WSA is host to 23 students from nine different countries. Ranging from eighth graders to seniors, these students make up 23 percent of our student body!
Coming this year for the first time are students from Slovakia, and Tunisia. There are also students from other countries who are returning from last year. Becoming an international student provides a chance to experience different cultures and learn about foreign countries, as well as to become globally aware. But it's not all sunshine and daisies. Being away from home for so long can make anyone homesick, even with the ability to call or Skype their families. Upon arriving in America all of these students have been welcomed into another family. Twelve of our international students live with host families this year and the other 11 live at Murphy House, where they enjoy more independence but still have common activities and gather as a family. Murphy house is located in downtown Poulsbo and is run by Valerie Allen-Keane.
One of the students living in Murphy House this year is 11th grader Yaochan Li. Penelope, as she likes to be called, is from Chengdu, Sichuan, China and this is her first year at WSA. She's here with the Cambridge International Program, she decided to come to America because she liked the school system. Since coming here, one of the things that she has been able to do that she wouldn't have been able to do at home is go rock climbing with her classmates. Just like Penelope, Tamara Kocurova is at WSA for the first time. Tami is living with WSA Office Manager Angie Gangi and her family. Tami is a 10th grader from Bratislava, Slovakia and she's here with the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE). Tenth grader Diep (Demi) Phug is here with CIEE from Hanoi, Vietnam. “Sometimes I miss my family and Vietnamese food so much, but I always can get over it because my life here is so great with my host family, friends and teachers,” says Demi.
Returning to us is senior Hossein Farahmand. This year he's here with a student F1 visa rather than as part of an exchange program. Though he faced some logistical troubles getting here from his hometown of Shiraz, Iran, Hossein has returned to join our senior class and graduate from WSA. Coming from Askim, Norway, senior Bjorn Jalborg is here with the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). For Bjorn, “the hardest part is probably being away from your friends for so long, but then again, it will feel even better meeting them when you get back home.” In addition to Hossein, we've also had the pleasure of welcoming back 11th grader Soobeen Heo from Daejeom, South Korea. Last year she was hosted by Director of Admissions Lisa Gsellman and her family, but she is now living at the Murphy House. Last year she was here with CIEE, this year she changed her visa and is here independently. For Soobeen, the biggest difference between houses are the rules, “I feel more free because before I had to do some activities with my host family but now I have more free time.”
Last year WSA had its first Turkish international student, Sıla Önder, and although Sıla could not return, WSA was pleased to welcome Muhammet Özcan, a senior from Istanbul, Turkey who is here with the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study. Just like Demi, food was a big difference for Muhammet and he says it was the biggest cultural shock. “Without Turkish bread, life is so hard. Eating from different cuisines, however, were amazing.”
Although they may be far from their homelands and families, the international students at WSA seem to have found another home and family here in America. And just as they learn from us, we learn from them. Whether it's a silly word in a different language, a new food, or a new holiday; our cultures are woven together stitch by stitch. Even if they are only here a year, the friendships created continue to blossom, and remain with us forever. Jalga! Hade! Tạm biệt! Čau! Khodafez! Güle Güle! Bye bye!
by Anna Zacovic
In honor of “Girls Day,” West Sound Academy had a showing of the new movie Girl Rising on Oct. 11. Directed by Richard Robbins, Girl Rising follows nine girls from nine different countries in their journey to get an education. These girls are Sokha from Cambodia, Ruksana from India, Suma from Nepal, Yasmin from Egypt, Senna from Peru, Azmera from Ethiopia, Amina from Afghanistan, Wadley from Haiti, and Mariama from Sierra. The movie opens with Sokha preforming a Cambodian dance, and then moves on to her story. The stories of the girls were written by authors who were paired with each of them. Each author was from each of the girl’s countries of origin. The stories were voiced over by famous actresses, including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchette, Selena Gomez, Priyanka Chopra, Chloë Moretz, and Freida Pinto.
In between each story, the movie introduces statistics on how an education can help girls prevent diseases, and help their country. One of the statistics given was that 66 million girls in the world are not in school for reasons such as poverty. The film ends with the story of Amina, an 11 year old bride and mother. All of the girls appear as themselves in the film except Amina and Yasmin, who were not shown for their own safety.
Before the movie screening, Director of Admissions Lisa Gsellman introduced Tami and Demi, two exchange students who were brought to West Sound by CIEE, a study abroad organization that is partnered with the Girl Rising Project. When the film ended, students Madeleine Bentley (11th), Dhoha Jerbi and Sarah Herrington (12th) led a group discussion. Each of the students brought a unique perspective and different experiences to the discussion. Dhoha, an exchange student from Tunisia, talked about her cousin, who forced his religious beliefs onto his wife. She also and mentioned several other situations of women who were being oppressed and unfairly treated in her country of origin. Sarah has lived in many places around the world, including Dubai, and shared a story of a family friend whose husband died while they were living in Dubai. The woman, as Sarah explained, had to get the permission of a man to get control of her bank account and custody of her children. The night ended with an open discussion for the audience, where a parent commented that in order to change others we must first change within ourselves. “Change must come from within,” she said.
The night of Sept.10, Head of School Barrie Hillman gathered WSA’s parents to introduce them to the school year and give them a chance to experience a taste of their child’s class schedule.
Barrie began the evening by highlighting the important role that parents play in the life of their teens. “I believe that adolescence should be very hard. Because life is harder. In fact, I believe that adolescence should be a series of miserable moments punctuated by points of joy. Because of this, I believe that parents are the star quarterbacks on WSA’s team,” she stated. Following that, nine students, one staff member, and a parent joined Barrie on the stage. She gave each of these volunteers a box that was labeled a different month. As Barrie went through the different months, the participant with the corresponding boxes pulled out objects that related to the events Barrie was describing. For example, while Barrie was advertising for the school auction, which takes place in November and brings in financial aid for 45% of the student body, the students pulled out a chain of paper dolls where one in five had scholarship certificates glued onto their chests.
The boxes were then turned around one by one to reveal the many steps a parent can take to be involved at WSA, beginning with “Enroll Student” and ending with becoming a “Host Family.” Barrie introduced the staff to the parents and then released the parents to experience their student’s Monday classes in seven-minute slots. Student volunteers helped by directing parents around the campus. Parent Kara Swanson described the teachers as “enthusiastic” and added, “This year felt much more like the teachers were designing their programs towards the cohesive goal of IB, and even more importantly, the skills and strategies needed to be successful in a program like IB. I heard several connections made between classes that actually worked in tandem academically. This I appreciated. It felt like a serious academic coursework that was organized and purposeful.”
by Espen Swanson
Use of electronic devices is increasing at WSA, as the school finds ways to utilize them in order to simplify processes and deepen learning. Over the summer, families received letters from Head of School Barrie Hillman, about the new policy regarding electronics. The policy requires each student to own a laptop, and imposes new restrictions on Internet usage. However, many students were not really aware of the policy, even after two weeks of school. "Not really, no. I signed it, but I don't really know what it is," said student Eleanor Uyyek (8th). "It's about the same as last year, except that they tried to block things," Lulu Horn (9th) offered.
Regarding internet use, the student handbook states that "any personal e-mailing, chatting or web-based calls, Internet access, gaming, data-streaming or use of social media not intended for school assignments, or any activity considered to be cyber-bullying, is prohibited." In response to whether students can still find ways to get around the newly implemented Internet limitations, Barrie said, "If kids want to do shenanigans, they're going to do it, but let's not invite them." As far as cell phone use, she added, "part of what we're doing in not allowing cell phones is protecting kids from themselves. Everything is retrievable, even if you delete it, it's not gone."
Knowledge about the policy is mixed, though staff members are better informed. "My understanding is that it is a bring your own device policy, which is new." teacher Kim Uyyek said. Another teacher, Jen Silvernale, said that she prefers WSA's policy to those of previous teaching posts, "because students need limitations with some level of freedom." Students have also noticed that some things that they believe can enhance their educational experience have been blocked. "Music sites. I work better with music," affirmed Jackson Vogt (9th).
The new policy is certainly a change from previous years, now requiring laptops, and blocking some sites from student use. Many students aren't fully aware of all of the changes from previous years, but Barrie says this is just a transitional policy and she has big plans for the school on the technology front. We'll just have to see what the future holds.