Hundreds gather to support public education during Edmonds Schools Foundation breakfast

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The Lynnwood Convention Center was the setting for the annual Foundation for Edmonds School District fundraising breakfast Friday morning, as attendees gave generously to support the foundation’s efforts on behalf of students and teachers in the Edmonds School District.

The event raised an estimated $103,200 — a record-breaking amount according to Foundation Executive Director Deborah Anderson.

During the breakfast program, the nearly 500 attendees heard about the range of ways that foundation supports school district initiatives, from providing stipends to cover fees for pre-SAT and pre-ACT tests for students in need to awarding more than $91,000 in scholarships for graduating seniors to pursue post-secondary education.

Breakfast-goers also learned about the Foundation’s Nourishing Network, which began three years ago as a weekend meal program and now also offers holiday meals, hygiene and feminine hygiene kits, and summer meals and activities for hungry and homeless families. The foundation estimates it will distribute more than 4,700 weekend meal kits this year, Anderson told the audience.

Another highlight was the foundation’s collaboration with the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary Club to develop a music lab project, with the goal of both enriching students’ music experience and to reach students who are underrepresented in the district’s music program.

Chris Lindberg, a trustee on the foundation board and a member of the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary Club that puts on the annual Jazz Connection event involving district musicians, introduced videos that highlighted two of these programs. One was the Edmonds Middle School Girls Jazz Band, aimed at encouraging girls to take the musical “risks” necessary to play jazz, and the other was a new music program for students at Scriber Lake High School.

Foundation donations also support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education at Mountlake Terrace High School, and two students from that program spoke during the breakfast.

Mountlake Terrace High School seniors Kira Doan and Kylie Otani noted that they had been hooked on science since they were in elementary school, and that STEM — which draws students from across the district — was a perfect fit for their academic interests.

Both students chose the bioscience pathway at MTHS, and this academic year worked on a capstone project that involved how a cactus species, Opuntia ficus-indica, can assist in cleaning up oil spills.

“During this project we got to reach out to a lot of different people in the scientific community in our area,” Otani said. “One of our mentors was a professor at the University of Washington, who helped us a lot, and we also talked to a chemist at the Seattle Water Quality Lab, which is where we did our analysis.”

The pair presented their project — titled “Testing the Effectiveness of Varying Concentrations of Opuntia ficus-indica Extract on Dispersing Oil in Seawater” — during the 2017 Central Sound Regional Science and Engineering Fair. “While we were there, a judge actually came up to us and told us that our data could be publishable in a peer-reviewed scientific paper,” Doan said, “which is huge for anyone in their scientific career, let alone high school students at some regional science fair.

“It was pretty eye-opening to see what we could accomplish as high schoolers in the STEM program,” she added.

Otani will attend the University of Washington next year, where she will study either biology or molecular biology, while Doan will be enrolled at Western Washington University in the school’s Biology Scholars program.

“We’ve always really known what we wanted to do and really understood our passion for science, but this has really clarified these passions,” Otani said of the STEM program. “And it takes these little-kid dreams that we had when we were young and made them a reality.”

— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel

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