2018-19 Accomplishments

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2018-19 Accomplishments


OHS students help canned food drive

The Olympia School District is proud of our students and staff who achieve amazing successes every day. In an effort to recognize and celebrate those achievements both inside and outside the classroom, we have compiled a list of academic and extracurricular accomplishments that involve members of the Olympia School District community.

This list is by no means comprehensive, so please let us know if there are additional accomplishments we have missed so we can add them! With your help, we will capture all of the amazing accomplishments in our district and celebrate student achievement, continuous improvement and 100 percent commitment to quality and excellence in all things!


September 2018


Classroom visitors bring Constitution to life at McLane Elementary

For Constitution and Citizenship Day, Melisa Walker’s first-grade class was visited by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese, who is also an Olympia School District parent. Judge Lanese explained the judicial process and how he helps others in his role as a judge. He talked about working with police officers and attorneys when there is a court case and evidence.

OHS Unified

Olympia High School recognized with National Banner Recognition by Special Olympics

Over the summer Olympia High School received notification from the Special Olympics that it had received National Banner status as a Unified Champions School. OHS was one of just 220 schools (elementary through college) in the country to receive this level of recognition.

Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) Annual Breakfast raises $71,126 for the Principal's Emergency Checkbook Fund

Made possible by the generous support of businesses and individuals throughout our compassionate community, the PECF allows our principals to meet the emergency needs of students and families in our district in real time.


1:1 Initiative launches at Reeves and Thurgood Marshall Middle Schools

The 2018 passage of the OSD Technology and Safety Replacement levy sets the stage to provide each student with computing tools that can be used every day, from any place, to support their learning. These tools will promote higher-level thinking, engage students in the learning process and prepare them for life after graduation.

Students grades 6-8 at Thurgood Marshall and Reeves Middle Schools will receive a district-owned Chromebook to use at school and home during the school year. The 2019-20 school year will bring about more Chromebook use in the Olympia School District.


October 2018


Thurgood Marshall and McLane honored with School of Distinction award

Marshall School of Distinction PhotoThurgood Marshall Middle School and McLane Elementary School have each been recognized as a 2018 School of Distinction. The award is presented annually to the top 5 percent of schools statewide that have made sustained improvement over the past five years in English language arts and math.

This is the first year that McLane Elementary has been named a School of Distinction and the second year in a row for Thurgood Marshall Middle School.

Capital HS student accepted to Washington World Fellows program

Over the summer Capital High School student Daniel Neary was accepted to the Washington World Fellows program. Neary was chosen from among 300 applicants from across Washington state for his clear academic drive, his enthusiasm for new learning and his demonstrated personal determination to succeed in whatever he pursued.

This fellowship is a study abroad and college readiness program that is the result of a partnership between the Office of Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, Central Washington University (CWU), the Association of Washington Generals (AWG), and the Honorary Consulate of Spain.

OSD Communications expands to include text messaging

Mid-October, the Olympia School District offered text-messaging communications to OSD families. This was via an opt-in text that was auto-generated by School Messenger and sent to all families that have cell phone contact information entered into Skyward.

Lundberg and Bands

Capital High School recognizes retiring band director Dan Lundberg

On October 18, Capital High School put together a very special evening for long-standing Band Director Dan Lundberg. After 41 years of service to the Olympia School District, including 35 years teaching at Capital HS, Lundberg will be retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

All Capital High School band alumni were invited to meet-up prior to the CHS football game versus Central Kitsap HS, and to bring along their instruments. During the pregame, band alumni joined the CHS band as they took the field at Ingersoll Stadium.


ORLA welcomes new glass “Shelter” art

The Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA) is the proud owner of a new art piece titled “Shelter.” This piece of art was inspired by a description of ORLA: "This place is full of activity. It's like a beehive." Made possible by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission, “Shelter” is a collaborative effort between the selected artist, Diane Hansen, and the ORLA community.

Seven OSD students named National Merit Semifinalists

Seven Olympia School District (OSD) high school seniors have been named semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Students qualified for the award by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The Olympia School District National Merit Semifinalists include Jimmy Pham from Capital High School. Semifinalists also include Harry Boo, Gordon R. Elwood, Yufan R. Mou, Naisan Noorassa, Daniel P. Saelid and Addison Sterner from Olympia High School. 

Roosevelt Elementary joins in October Walk N Roll

Roosevelt Elementary students participated for the first time this year in a Walk N Roll program sponsored by Intercity Transit. Olympia now has six elementary schools participating in this walk to Roosevelt ES Principal Sean Shaughnessy participates in Walk n' Rollschool event. Jefferson Middle School also joined our October Walk N Roll, celebrating International Walk to School Day.

Musicians crossing street


Olympia HS students perform in “Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown”

When the show “Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown” came to the Washington Center on October 26, four Olympia High students played alongside the professional musicians on stage.

The show pits Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction against Beatles tribute band Abbey Road in a musical showdown for rock dominance.

Student views materials at career fair

District hosts annual Career & College Fair 

More than 80 colleges & universities, community and technical colleges, military, apprenticeship programs, scholarship, career and volunteer organizations were on hand at the annual Career & College Fair to answer questions and provide information about programs and opportunities available. Students were encouraged to bring questions regarding their pathway options, as well as a list of representatives they were interested in meeting.

OSD Partners with the Olympia Police Department to present A.L.I.C.E Training

The Olympia School District has partnered with the Olympia Police Department to present the A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) training to our staff and students.

The number one goal of A.L.I.C.E. and our school is to keep students and staff safe and away from harm. The training is basically an enhanced lockdown drill. A.L.I.C.E. gives staff or students the option to evacuate or flee an area if that is the best course of action.


This training also teaches staff and students, particularly in middle and high school, to be prepared as a last resort to “counter” – apply skills to distract, confuse and gain control.

We have given careful consideration to presenting the A.L.I.C.E. training in an age-appropriate way. Students in grades 6-12 will be trained by staff and/or Olympia Police officers on the full A.L.I.C.E. protocols.

WA State Fair PaintingOlympia High School students take home a variety of ribbons from WA State Fair Art Show

Olympia HS students took a variety of ribbons in the Washington State Fair 2018 Jr/Sr High School Art Show including a first place in Best in Show, 7 first places, 3 second places, 3 third places and 8 placings in Honorable Mention. In addition, one OHS piece took first place in the Patriotic category. 2 pieces were also selected as People's Choice of the Day. Art mediums ranged from watercolor, to pastel, to elaborate pen sketches and more.  



November 2018


ORLA and CHS students selected as 2018-19 Student Board Representatives

Anna McClatchey, a junior at Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA), and Grant Erickson, a senior at Capital High School, are this year’s student representatives for the Olympia School District Board of Directors.

Classified School Employees of the Year selected

Congratulations to three Olympia School District employees selected to receive this year’s Olympia School District Classified School Employee of the Year award.

Classified Staff Member Honored

This year’s honorees are:

  • Travis King, paraeducator at Centennial Elementary School. This is King’s fifth year at Centennial Elementary, where he works as a behavior technician.

  • Denise Pigue, paraeducator at Garfield Elementary School. Pigue is in her fourth year at Garfield Elementary School, where she works as a behavior technician. She has worked for the district since 2008.

  • Todd Thornton, head custodian at Roosevelt Elementary School. Todd has worked as head custodian at Roosevelt Elementary for four years and for the district since 2006.


Capital and Olympia High Schools' girls' volleyball teams excel at state tournament

Capital High School girls' volleyball placed third in state tournament out of sixteen teams. Olympia High School girls' volleyball placed sixth.

Capital High School junior Maia Nichols is named 3A state player of the year

The Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association named Nichols 3A state player of the year. 

Veteran and students

Arizona State also offered Nichols a scholarship for beach volleyball to play for the Sun Devils.


Schools across district celebrate our Veterans

Students throughout the district honored veterans this month with color guards, music, guest speakers and special events including the landing of an UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter on campus.



December 2018


Visual Arts Program inspires young artists

The Visual Arts Program is in its fourth year, bringing a variety of art techniques and expertise into elementary school classrooms throughout the school district. This program began in 10 classrooms and has grown to 52, giving students the opportunity to learn from volunteer art docents and emulate famous pieces of art.

Canned food drive raises thousands of cans

WMS Students Fundraising for Canned Food Drive

Olympia schools have been busy with canned food drives in the weeks leading up to Winter Break. Friendly competitions between classes and schools, as well as all-school challenges, have generated a flurry of activity throughout the school district. With help from elementary and middle schools in the Olympia High School attendance area, Olympia High School donated a total of 71,390 cans to the Thurston County Food Bank. In a similar collaborative effort, Capital High School donated just under 15,000 cans to the Thurston County Food Bank.

Olympia School District creates custom app

The new Olympia School District custom app was made available in December 2018 for download on iPhone and Android. Parents can use this app to search breakfast/lunch menus, bus routes, upcoming events, staff directory information, school announcements, district news and more. Anyone can use this free app to stay up-to-date on news and information from our district.

School board approves student outcomes at December board meeting

Members of OSD Board of Directors

The school board shared the draft student outcomes beginning in August with staff, students, families and the community and asked for input during in-person focus groups and on an electronic feedback form. After reflecting on that initial input, the board made some revisions to the draft student outcomes on October 1 and again on October 29, 2018. 

Directors approved the outcomes at the December 10, 2018 school board meeting. They read:


Our students will:

  • Outcome 1: Be compassionate and kind.

  • Outcome 2: Have the academic and life skills to pursue their individual career, civic and educational goals.

  • Outcome 3: Advocate for the social, physical and mental wellness of themselves and others and be hopeful about the future.

  • Outcome 4: Have the skills, knowledge and courage to identify and confront personal, systemic and societal bias.

  • Outcome 5: Discover their passions, be curious and love learning.

  • Outcome 6: Be critical thinkers who contribute to and collaborate with our local, global and natural world.


January 2019


Avanti students creating zinesAvanti hosts Student Led-Ed Camp

Avanti High School hosted their second annual Student Led-Ed Camp. The camp is led by students, with guidance from teachers. Students live-updated a digital schedule throughout the day and served as “ambassadors” for the discussion rooms. Last year, students from Aspire joined Avanti students for the camp. This year, NOVA students attended, adding diverse voice to the discussions. 

High School Students participate in DECA 

During the DECA regional conference, 37 of Olympia High School's students advanced to state. Students took 4 first places, 9 second places, 7 third places and 5 fourth places. For Capital High School, 30 students advanced to state. CHS took 9 first places, 3 second places and 4 third places. Six students from the Olympia Regional Learning Academy also attended. Prana Brockmeyer, an 8th-grader at ORLA, took first place in Quick Service Restaurant Management. The Distributive Educational Club of America (DECA) is a co-curricular organization for high school marketing students. A wide range of competitions were offered in the January conference, including advertising, marketing communications, retail and entrepreneurship. 

Olympia High School boys swim team wins overall team championship at South Sound Relays

The Bears win 6 out of 11 events at the Ninth Annual South Sound Relay. They finished with 930 total team points and took first place in the overall team championship. 

Olympia High School freshman Tony Ponomarev swims in state-qualifying times

Tony Ponomarev, a freshman on the OHS boys swim team, posted two official Class 4A state qualifying times and is an NCAA Division I. He posted 48.55 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle and a 1:44:89 in the 200 free. 


Student cuts blanket projectOSD students throughout district honor Martin Luther King Jr. 

Thurgood Marshall Middle School students spent the Friday before MLK Day participating in roughly 30 service projects throughout the community. Other schools participated in a spaghetti dinner at their school, watching theater production of "Ruby Bridges" including a Q&A with the actors afterward and "theme" days which focused on service within their school. 


February 2019


Capital Cheer Team at State

Capital High School Cheer Team Competes at State

Saturday, February 2, the Capital High School Cheer Team came in fourth in the 2A/3A/4A Game Day Small Division at State.

Reeves and Jefferson Middle Schools host Middle School Options Nights 

On February 26 and 28, students had the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of middle school options including: Thurgood Marshall Middle School Citizen Science Institute (CSI), Jefferson Accelerated Math & Science (JAMS) program, Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA) hConnect and iConnect programs and the Capital High School International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

Cast for Mary Poppins play gathered on stage

The OSD Players present Mary Poppins

The OSD Players presented Mary Poppins during four performances, raising close to $30,000 in support of the Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF). OSDEF provides thousands of dollars to teachers and other staff to pay for supplies or projects that aren't covered by school district funds. (Photo credit: Luke Longnecker)

Capital High School hosts 14th annual "Live to Dance" competition

The event included 64 performances of 29 teams and 627 athletes. This is the largest regular event of the year for Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) High School Dance teams. 

Johanna Chhay is named Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County Youth of the Year

Johanna Chhay posing in front of Capital Lake

Johanna Chhay, a junior at Capital High School, has been named 2019 Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County “Youth of the Year.” The Youth of the Year competition takes place on the local, county and state level, finishing with the national level. Chhay competed against other winners within Thurston County to win the 2019 Youth of the Year nomination. She will now advance to the state competition.

JAMS students at Jefferson Middle School REACH New Heights

Students in Jefferson Middle School's Reading 

Three students dressed up for play: Sherlock Holmes and others

Enrichment and Arts Cohort for High-Achievers (REACH) solved mysteries this past semester. The REACH students pored over the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe, looking for clues to make the perfect plays.

JMS students selected their favorite stories and adapted them into script format. They presented their work to the general public with two productions: And Then There Were None and Sherlock Holmes.

Capital High School boys basketball team advances in State Tournament 

Capital High School boys basketball team came out on top 48-41 against West Seattle in the first round of the State Basketball Tournament at the Tacoma Dome.


March 2019

Teacher Cristy Havens poses in front of ORLA building
Cristy Havens selected as Elementary Educator of the Year

Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA) teacher Cristy Havens was selected as the Washington Association for Learning Alternatives (WALA) Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) Elementary Educator of the Year. Havens was nominated by ORLA hConnect & MAST teacher Laura Herman and the ORLA administrative team.

Board recognizes Teachers of the Year and National Board Certified Teachers 

The Olympia School Board recognized this year’s Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year, the new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT), as well as those who have renewed their NBCT certification during the March 11 school board meeting.

Two staff members pose with Teacher of the Year winnerTeachers of the Year (the board recognized):

Olympia School District Elementary Teacher of the Year:

Devin Alexander, reading intervention specialist at LP Brown Elementary School. Alexander has worked at LP Brown Elementary since 2006.

Olympia School District Secondary Teachers of the Year:

Lorraine Manning and Marion Sheridan, Special Education Life Skills teachers at Olympia High School. Manning joined the district in 1996 and has worked at both Olympia and Capital high schools. Sheridan started in 1998 and has worked at Olympia High School ever since.

The school board recognized:

  • New NBCTs: Emily Hamilton of McLane Elementary School, Amy Hill of Pioneer Elementary School and Marisa Castello of Olympia High School.
  • Renewals: Tania Albert, Kelly Boyer and Kristen Soderberg of Olympia High School; Charleen Hayes and Trisha Douay of LP Brown Elementary School; Melissa Johnston-Cota of Capital High School; and Candyce Burroughs and Jodi Boe of Washington Middle School.

Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees!

Young artist of "Green Monster" poses for camera

Hansen ES student's "Green Monster" art wins international competition

Elliot Beagle, a 7-year-old at Hansen Elementary School, enjoys drawing a variety of art pieces including a certain competition-winning green monster. Elliot joined 19 other young artists whose drawings of imaginative monsters were selected as part of an international competition. Jasper Wong, a pop culture artist, took the winning designs and reinterpreted them into a design for PLAE, a company that specializes in artistic shoe and T-shirt design.

Aaryan Verma, a 3rd-grader at Centennial Elementary School, finishes 1st place in the South Sound Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The South Sound Regional Science and Engineering Fair was held at Pacific Lutheran University. Aaryan's science experiment "Greasy Chips" won 1st place at this regional competition.

GeoBee contest winner stands in front of RMS logo

Reeves MS student named semifinalist in GeoBee competition

Dylan Borden, a sixth-grader at Reeves Middle School, has been named one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee Washington State Competition on March 29. The GeoBee competitions test the participant's knowledge of countries, oceans and cultures around the world. To qualify for the state GeoBee, winners at the schools took an online qualifying test. The 100 top ranked students in each state qualify for the state championship.

OSD students compete at state DECA conference

More than 4,000 students from Washington state competed in the DECA state conference February 28-March 1. Students who placed in the top 5% at state qualify for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in April.

11 Capital High School students placed in the top 5% in state:

  • International Business Plan: Maddie Jansen, Alexis Maki, Kaya Kirkendol
  • Student Store Team: Bela Valdenegro, Katie Moore, Keegan Wentworth, Kyle Johnson, Emma Boyd
  • Chapter Campaign for Entrepreneurship: Tommy Ly, Kaya Kirkendoll, Maddie Jansecolln


Capital High School DECA students pose at competitionRunner-up in Sports and Marketing: Carson Collard

8 students at Olympia High School received medals for top finalist in their categories:

  • Business Finance Team Event: Catherine Bell and Lindsey Lucenko
  • Business Finance Team Event: Amaya John and Olivia Cai
  • Entrepreneurship Team Event: Emily Church
  • Food Marketing: Luca Myers
  • Hotel and Lodging: June Marie Brittain
  • School Based Enterprise Team: Tyler Woods, Paige Adderley, Lily McGuigan


The School Based Enterprise Team also achieved Gold Level recertification.

Three students from Olympia Regional Learning Academy also participated in the state conference:

  • Quick Service Restaurant Management: Prana Brockmeyer
  • Principles of Hospitality and Tourism: Atalanta Bella-Rogol
  • Principles of Hospitality and Tourism: Archer Hansen


Congratulations, students!

Muthuu poses at Capital High School

Capital HS senior Muthuu Svs receives the Distinguished Regents Scholarship from Washington State University

Muthuu Svs, of Capital High Schoo, is one of only 12 students across Washington state to receive the four-year, full-tuition Distinguished Regents Scholarship from Washington State University. 

Olympia High School receives National Unified status 

OHS is one of only 233 schools in the United States to receive National Unified status for their commitment to inclusion. This status is given by the Special Olympics to schools who have met 10 national standards of excellence.


Students from Thurgood Marshall MS's Citizen Science Institute participated in STEAM Alliance Conference

Students from Thurgood Marshall Middle School's Citizen Science Institute (CSI) program were invited to participate in Governor Jay Inslee's STEAM Alliance Conference on climate change. Just 15 schools were invited to attend from all of Washington state.


Together with CSI teachers Matthew Phillipy and Tom Condon, students researched and presented information about the impact of climate change on the Capitol Lake estuary.


Students gather around at Starbucks with coffee cups in hand

OHS accounting and FBLA students tour Seattle Starbucks

Olympia High School teachers Kelly Boyer and Skip Fabritius took 13 Accounting/FBLA students to Seattle for a tour of Starbucks World Headquarters.


The Oly contingent was excited to meet Jill Walker (Senior Vice President of Corporate Financial Services & Chief Accounting Officer) as well as Curt Freeman (Vice President and Controller) on the panel in addition to many other integral staffers. Students learned about corporate affairs, networking, college paths to employment and the importance of passion in your learning.



April 2019


Three students and two teachers pose in front of brick wall

Students win top awards at state science fair

Veda Svs, an 8th grader at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, won first place at the state science fair for her stellar project, “Turn that Sound Down.” Veda and three students from Jefferson Middle School placed in the top categories at the state science fair. At Jefferson Middle School, 6th grader Shravya Gupta dubbed her project “Spinning, Twirling, Wow, my Head is Whirling.” She placed first in the junior division and Broadcom MASTERS, which will allow her to compete in the national competition. Aarav Verma, a 6th grader at Jefferson, created a project called “Wind to Works,” winning first place in the junior division and also Broadcom MASTERS.


Middle school student presents her science fair project, standing in front of her display boardAarav’s younger brother, Aaryan, a 3rd grader at Centennial Elementary School, recently took first place for his science experiment “Greasy Chips” in the South Sound Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Harshini Saravan, a 7th grader at Jefferson, competed for the first time in the senior division at state. Her science project “Speed it Up, Break it Down,” studied enzyme reactions and how they are affected by temperature using a solution from potatoes and hydrogen peroxide. She placed second at the state science fair.


Painting in pastel colors of a girl

Olympia HS art students win awards at 2019 Capital Region ESD 113 HS Art Contest

Olympia High School art students won a variety of awards at the 2019 Capital Region ESD 113 HS Art Contest for their stunning art pieces. Six OHS students will be going on to the state competition. Two OHS students were CWU Scholarship winners and one student was awarded "Peoples' Favorite Choice."


Yihang Chen also had her art selected for OSPI's permanent collection and received a $200 award at an award ceremony. Her piece, "Self Portrait," was painted in goache and was inspired by her sister's psychology class and the question, "How do we know we are real?" 


Olympia HS students win awards at Scholastic Art and Writing Contest 

Several Olympia High School students participated in the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest at the 2019 Capital Region ESD 113 HS Art Contest. Two students won the Gold Key Award and Silver Key Award in their respective categories. Three students received honorable mention for their art pieces.


Excited student observes a monitor that a health care specialist points to

Students participate in OSD Health Care and Career Fair

A big thank you to more than 40 local health care providers who shared about their careers with aspiring medical students during a recent OSD Health Care Career Fair at Olympia High School. The event featured numerous hands-on demonstrations at booths set up throughout the high school Commons. Students were invited to practice sinus surgery, take vitals, try ultrasound-guided injections, learn CPR, practice intubations, learn about the brain and spine, look through a microscope at cancer on the cellular level, and more – all on computer screens, slides, plastic dummies or other items designed to simulate a living person or organ. The event was planned in coordination between the district’s College and Career Readiness department, Providence Medical Center and OHS student ambassadors led by Career Center Counselor Jen Boelts. What a great learning opportunity for our students!


OHS students receive Dick Nichols Award 

The Rotary Clubs in Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater recognized each comprehensive high school with the Dick Nichols Award. This award was named after a civic leader who used to broadcast sports games on the radio. Olympia High School seniors Bea Asomaning and Jordan Kamimura were the recipients of this award and a $1,500 scholarship.

Bea broke a long-standing discus record at OHS that was held by OHS legend Kris Larson who went to UCLA and led the nation in the discus. Jordan is an amazing student and swimmer.


New members inducted into OHS Athletic Hall of Fame

The Olympia High School Athletic Hall of Fame inducted new members on April 27. Among the inductees is former Bears' football coach, Bill Beattie. Under his coaching, the Bears had 10 league championships and 17 playoff appearances. Steve Senna, Shelly Cooper Wilson, Trent Matson, Kathleen Juergens Penner, Katie Ryan and Austin Kelly will also be receiving the Lifetime Achievement award.


Capital High School Thespians win multiple awards at 2019 Festival

The Capital High School Thespians won multiple awards in the Washington State Thespian Festival 2019.

Large group of high school thespians gather for a photo outdoorsThe following students scored in the top 10 percent at the festival and were invited to audition for the showcase: Ben Churchwell, Gracen Bayer and Johanna Chhay. Bayer’s “Stay True” was the Showcase winner for the Short Film IE category. Her film was shown during the festival’s opening ceremonies. This is the fifth year that the Capital High School Thespians have had a winner in this category.

Chhay was recognized in her audition for showcase in the solo musical category. She was also given a score of excellent for her short film submission, “Through His Eyes: A Short Documentary.”

The following students were recognized with a score of excellent for their performances at the Individual Events competition: Nathan Altman, Lena Curry, Brenner Farr, Kaylene Sandoval, Phoenix Lowdermilk, Ben Churchwell, Johanna Chhay and Gracen Bayer.

The troupe was also recognized as a Gold Medal troupe for the sixth year in a row. To win this title, troupes must complete a series of activities. This is the highest of three levels.

Being named “Best in Fest” was the crowning accomplishment for the Capital High School Thespians. This is the highest honor given at the festival and is only awarded to schools with the top score. 

Student and librarian named 2019 Literacy Champion Award winners
Congratulations to Garfield Elementary librarian Katy Beattie and Olympia High School freshman Mruthula Mohanvaanathi, who are this year’s South Sound Reading Foundation Adult and Youth Literacy Champion Award winners.

Katy Beattie
Garfield Elementary Principal Brendon Chertok nominated Beattie for the award. She has been the school librarian for three years and has built a library “that is responsive to student interests and reflects the diversity of our school.” Chertok also wrote in his nomination that Beattie opens her library every morning for families and students so they can sit and peruse books, talk and enjoy activities “that have brought our community together.”

Mruthula Mohanvaanathi

Olympia High School ninth grader Mruthula Mohanvaanathi, nominated by her mother, served as a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club after-school tutoring program in grades 6-8. As a volunteer, she visited the club two days a week to help students in grades 1-3 with their reading and math homework. She also read books to children and answered their questions, all while helping them try new vocabulary words.

High school students work alongside legislators to program LEGO robots
Students and legislators lean over a table as they build robotsIt’s not every day that legislators work alongside high school students to build and program robots. The FIRST robotics team from OSD and other neighboring school districts held their inaugural Legislator Invitational. Legislators and students built a robot from LEGOS and programmed the robot to follow a black outline in the shape of Washington state. Four large tracks were set up in the center of the Columbia Room in the Legislative Building where the event was held. If programmed correctly, the color sensor attached to each robot would guide the robot around the track.

Brenda Diettrich, high school robotics coordinator, says the event was “a way for legislators to see what the money is doing.” The event was hosted by Rep. Vandana Slatter and Sen. Sharon Brown, co-chairs of the Science Innovation and Technology Caucus. For many students, this was their first time in the Capitol building. “They were in awe,” Diettrich said. Legislators were just as enthusiastic as the students as they rooted through LEGO bins and carried their completed product to the boards for a test run or two.


Olympia High School accounting students visit Alaska Airlines

Skip Fabritius, a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher at Olympia High School, led his accounting students on a tour last month of Alaska Airlines in SeaTac. Isabel Anteau, a senior at OHS, says, “Not only did employees from multiple departments talk with us, the CFO actually sat down and took his time telling us about the company face-to-face!” Students also had the opportunity to fly in the simulators that pilots use for training, including both taking off and landing a “plane.” They toured the control room where planes are tracked and the weather is monitored. Additionally, plane technicians shared with students about plane engines and repair work, including the expenses of running an airline.



May 2019


Happy middle school students gather around songwriter Wanz in music roomWanz inspires Thurgood Marshall Middle School songwriters

Michael Wansley, an American songwriter and rapper best known by his stage name Wanz, visited Thurgood Marshall Middle School, inspiring students in their own creative pursuits. After giving a presentation and singing at a Thurgood Marshall Middle School assembly, Wanz workshopped with a smaller group of students after school to talk with them about life, writing music and their dreams for their futures. These Thurgood Marshall Middle School students are a part of The Bridge Music Project, a local nonprofit organization that teaches youth how to express themselves through songwriting.


OSD Communications Team receives awards at WSPRA conference

Congratulations to Susan Gifford and the Olympia School District Communications Team for receiving three “Best in Category” awards for video production, writing and marketing campaign at the Washington School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) annual conference. 


Four students stand with their instructor outdoors Olympia HS students compete in National Economics Challenge in New York

A team of four Olympia High School students competed in the National Economics Challenge in New York. They placed second in the nation out of nearly 1,200 teams. After the competition, the students had the chance to do some sightseeing in New York, including Central Park, Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. Thank you Brian LeTourneau for coaching these students! 


Olympia HS computer coding students create projects

Andrew Woodbridge’s Exploring Computer Science classes are inventing a variety of projects to make our world a better place. Students brainstormed with representatives from Olympia Orthopedics, Morningside, Developmental Disabilities Administration, staff from the Olympia School District and other members of the community to come up with project ideas. The Olympia High School classes are split into 11 teams with 11 different projects. One team is working on gamifying physical therapy movements to reduce the monotony of some of the exercises. Another team is creating a joystick for toddlers with mobility challenges to operate with ease. Another project includes what they are calling a “magic mirror” that will alert users with visual disabilities which pieces of outfitting match. The outfits will each be fitted with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag.


High school students perch on edge of stage and pose dramaticallyCapital HS hosts leadership event "Inter High" 

Angel Elam, Leadership and Marketing teacher and DECA adviser at Capital High School, describes Inter High as a “leadership day.” High school students from Adna, Yelm, Kitsap, Lake Quinault and other districts in Educational Service District (ESD) 113 gather annually for this great event. These leadership students have a chance to collaborate and share ideas on how to make their schools an even better place. For this year’s theme, students chose the phrase, “Even though the world is large, one person can make a world of difference.” Elam says her favorite thing about the event is hosting it at Capital High School. “It’s a great challenge for my kids and a chance for them to be a servant-leader to the other schools,” Elam says.



June 2019


Four OSD schools named 2017-18 Washington State Recognized Schools 

Green banner graphic of Washington State Recognized School

Boston Harbor Elementary School, McLane Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School and Avanti High School have been named Washington State Recognized Schools. These schools won this award for growth measured by the Washington School Improvement Framework, as well as achievement in English Language Arts (ELA) and math proficiency. 


Two middle school teams place at robotics tournament

We'd like to give a shout-out to our Olympia School District teams who competed in the South Sound STEM Robotics Invitational (SSSRI), a tournament for robotics held at Washington Middle School. In the Rookie Division and Veteran Division, Washington MS teams took 2nd place. In the Veteran Division, Reeves MS and Onalaska MS tied for 3rd. Congrats, teams!


High school boy stands in apron in front of his trade show boothCapital HS marketing students host annual trade show 

Aspiring Capital High School entrepreneurs learned it takes hard work, organization, product research and a stellar sales pitch to run a successful business. The trade show is a culminating project each spring for Marketing and International Baccalaureate (IB) Business Management students. Each year marketing students partner with local businesses of their choice to create their trade show booth and product displays. The entrepreneurs showcased their products and a portfolio of research they assembled as part of the experience. Advanced marketing students managed the trade show and were responsible for logistics, promotions and more.


Bill Kallappa receives Community Leadership Award

Bill Kallappa, interim director of the Nisqually Tribe Education Department and new member of the State Board of Education, has been recognized with this year’s Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership Award for his outstanding contributions to education. Throughout its history, the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) has been involved in honoring and recognizing outstanding educational administrators and those individuals in other professions who have made extraordinary contributions to K–12 education.


Olympia HS students win National Merit Scholarship 

Every year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards scholarships to outstanding students who meet specific requirements. The scholarship is based on PSAT scores, as well as a final essay written by students. This year, two Olympia High School students received a National Merit Scholarship.

For his essay, Gordon Elwood selected a Walt Whitman quote that he has admired since the 7th grade, taken from the poem “Song of Myself.” He wrote about the journey during high school as he began to define himself outside of his social circle. Gordon is planning on attending Williams College in Massachusetts.


AJ Sterner, another National Scholarship winner, also was inspired by one of his creative pursuits. He wrote his essay on a solo ensemble performance in high school. AJ will be attending the University of Arizona in the fall and is planning on studying engineering.


Reeves MS bands study music in Tacoma and Seattle

High school students play instruments within sweeping hall with organ in background

Reeves Middle School band students had an opportunity to study music in both Tacoma and Seattle. Their field trip started with a visit to the stunning Lagerquist Concert Hall at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma. Students had the chance to perform a variety of pieces, as well as attend a clinic offered by PLU band directors Dr. Edwin Powell and Dr. Ron Gerhardstein. 

The band students also had the opportunity to visit the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. Band teacher Randy Grostick talked with the students about the OSD Student Outcomes, approved this year by the Olympia School Board. Students had the opportunity to learn more about a Foundation that focuses on reducing inequities related to poverty, health and education. Grostick tied this to Student Outcome 1: “Be compassionate and kind.” The band students also had a chance to see how Student Outcome 6 plays a vital role in the world: “Be critical thinkers who contribute to and collaborate with our local, global and natural world.”


WMS Tech Arts student creates model of cafe on 3D printer

Student grins as he sits in front of his school computer

Washington Middle School student Quinn Baker helped Vice-Chairman of the WA State Business Enterprise Program, Robert Ott, “see” his cafe for the first time. Ott visited the middle school’s Tech Arts class to talk about his journey since the incident that left him completely blind 20 years ago. 


Following Ott’s presentation to the WMS Tech Arts class, Teacher Brian Morris presented Ott’s idea of creating a 3D model of his business “Bobby Jay Café,” to his Tech Arts classroom. In a letter of appreciation to Morris’s class, Ott wrote: “I was offered a wonderful gift in return.” Quinn praises his tech arts class, and instructor, saying, “It’s a great class with great experience, and I’m really glad I could have it all three years of middle school.”



July 2019


Group of students and teacher hold awardCapital HS Thespians receive musical theater award 

The Capital HS Thespians received the Excellence in Musical Theater Award from project Ucan for their stellar performance of "The Theory of Relativity." Congrats, Capital HS Thespians! We look forward to seeing your future performances in the 2019-20 school year.


OSD students place in FBLA nationals 

Students had a successful week at the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) nationals in San Antonio, TX. Olympia High School freshmen Rahm Pathi and Dhanush Sunchu took 7th place in Digital Video Production. Both students had the chance to partner with industry professionals to produce their presentation. OHS sophomore Haneol Lee was elected National Western Region Vice President and will be representing 10 states and over 24,000 members. We'd also like to give a shout-out to OHS sophomore Sathvik Nallamalli for helping in Lee's campaign.


Four students stand in front of their school holding award certificatesWashington MS students take 1st place in Group Chinese Language Arts 

We would like to recognize the four Washington Middle School students who took 1st place in Group Chinese Language Arts for the 2019 Washington Chinese Language and Talent Competition: Jack Mou, Audrey Shen, Garal Wang-Panoke and Izayah Qiu. In addition to placing 1st in Group Chinese Language Arts, Mou won 2nd place in Individual Public Speaking, Shen placed 3rd in Group Poetry Recitation and Wang-Panoke also placed 3rd in Group Poetry Recitation.