Recapping some top stories of 2008

With the year 2008 quickly winding down, it’s a good time to recall some meaningful accomplishments of the past 12 months.

With the year 2008 quickly winding down, it’s a good time to recall some meaningful accomplishments of the past 12 months. In no particular order of importance, they should include:

The Music Project

Was that Sanjaya Malakar who flew in special from New York to support Bernadette Bascom and the students from the Secondary Academy for Success (SAS) at the first Music Project producer’s party? It certainly was. The popular “American Idol” performer spends most of his time in the Big Apple “working on my music.”

If you didn’t come away from that performance properly pumped, then music and creativity are not part of your DNA — quoting Bernadette.

As one tear-struck mother who attended this first fund-raiser commented, “The gift Bernadette is giving the students is truly life changing, as is evidenced when you see them on stage. There may be sorrow in their eyes, but there is also joy and hope in their hearts. Watching that performance of The Music Project and feeling just a bit of the hope that these children feel was the most profound experience I have had in a very long time.”

The party raised more than 60 percent of the project’s $20,000 operating budget for the balance of the school year, assuring that this program for the under served can not only be continued at SAS, but possibly expanded to discover more Olivias, Jazmyns, Colins, Kendras and Taylors at junior high and elementary schools in the Northshore district.

The Music Project is the brainchild of retired SAS math teacher Jim Geiszler, who with Bernadette, have more plans in the works than one can possibly count.

Future museum

The DeYoung family home built in 1932 in Woodinville will eventually become a museum for the Woodinville Heritage Society, joining Bothell as the second Northshore community to have a repository for local history. The opportunity to acquire the home of the early day Woodinville family required quick action by the society. Lowell and Al DeYoung, two of six children reared in the Dutch colonial-style home, stepped up to acquire the property where the home presently resides near the Woodinville Methodist Church. It took more than a half million dollars to close the deal this month.

The brothers will donate the property to the society. The society worked closely with neighbors who had inquired about parking and congestion issues. Those were resolved pleasantly and the city put the compliance issue into high gear so all parties can be assured that the museum project is a real possibility.

Now the real work begins, notes society president Phyllis Keller as she and members look to a two- to four-year span to make the museum a reality. But with a museum in the offing, membership is bound to grow, with volunteers to follow.

‘Three Cups of Tea’

Little did the University of Washington, Bothell realize how much the graduating class of ’08 had hit the jackpot when it lined up Greg Mortenson to be commencement speaker last June. Mortenson was the subject and co-author of a New York Times bestseller, “Three Cups of Tea,” a riveting story of the power of the humanitarian spirit that captivated the reading public far more than one could have imagined at the time he spoke to UW-B graduates. Over a decade, Mortenson has built 55 schools in the forbidding terrain and remote villages of Pakistan, many of them former strongholds of the Taliban. (It was easily my favorite read in 2008).

Board certified

Four Northshore teachers this year became “board certified” by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards — considered the ultimate in teacher development commitment and performance. The foursome included Inglemoor High math teacher Tera Graham, Bothell High math teachers Jason Allan and Sandra Sikonia and Skyview Junior High physical-education teacher Brett Geller. Washington state ranks high in national board certification.

No price hike

The more than 3,000 employees of Evergreen Healthcare could hardly have been more pleased than to have heard that their health-insurance premiums would remain static in 2009. That was the news delivered in a welcome memo from CEO Steve Brown that the hospital would cover more of the employee premiums in 2009.

And, sharing a personal recollection: It has been 20 years since the untimely passing of friend and school superintendent Dr. Frank Love. At his memorial, the family shared Frank’s favorite quote:

“Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love: and then for the second time in history of the world man will have discovered fire!” – Teilhard De Chardin.

I’m looking forward to chronicling more accomplishments in 2009 for Reporter readers, entering my 48th year as a Northshore citizen.

John Hughes was owner-publisher of the Northshore Citizen from 1961 to 1988 and is active in local nonprofit organizations.