CHS Food Pantry

A Seattle high school’s food pantry moves to a coffee shop to help feed the community

This article was published in the Seattle Times, March 29, 2020 | View Source
Written by Nicole Bordeur, Seattle Times staff reporter

Two days after Cleveland High School closed on March 11, when teachers and staff were allowed access to clean out their rooms, Ray Morales suddenly remembered the food — the pantry, supplied by the YWCA and available to any student who needed it.

Morales, who has been Cleveland’s assistant principal for six years, knew that the pantry — filled with trail mix, dried fruit and nonperishables like oatmeal — had just been replenished, and filled a crucial need for students who needed a snack, a meal or something to eat over the weekend.

“The food pantry items always go,” Morales said. “And the thing is, it’s for everybody. Just because a student doesn’t qualify for free-and-reduced lunch doesn’t mean they come from well-off families, just that they don’t meet the requirements.

“It’s open for everybody,” he said. “As it should be.”

After Seattle Public Schools closed Cleveland — and later Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all schools in Washington state to close through at least April 24 to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus — Morales collected what was in the pantry, along with other food donated by the staff from their own rooms. At the suggestion of the school’s attendance specialist, Morales reached out to Luis Rodriguez, the father of a Cleveland student and owner of The Station coffee house on Beacon Hill.

“We suggested The Station be a place for families and community members to pick food up,” Morales said. “And of course (Rodriguez) was like, ‘Absolutely.’”

School staff notified Cleveland families via email and social media that there was food to be had if people needed it.

“But this is also for the community,” Morales said.

He also reached out to his sister-in-law, who works in the Bellevue School District, to see if anyone she knew would want to contribute to the new pantry at The Station.

“It was crazy,” Morales said of the response. “Every single person who came into The Station asked about the pantry, and how they could help. It inspired folks to donate food or do things on their own.”

In days, the pantry went from serving the school and the neighborhood to anyone who needed it.

“Some people knew, and the word just spread,” said Leona Moore-Rodriguez, Luis’ wife.

On a recent morning, the counter along the coffee shop window was covered with several dozen eggs — donated by Glo’s Cafe on Capitol Hill — bananas, peanut butter, cans of soup, tuna and beans, boxes of macaroni and cheese, granola bars, drinks, and travel-size shampoo and soap. There were plastic gloves, and boxes and bags for packing and, in a fridge under the counter, milk donated by nearby Filipino restaurant Musang. There were also two bags of comics and magazines for younger people.

“I think some people feel self-conscious like it’s for the poor,” Rodriguez said. “But this is for everyone. This is for the community. People who lose their jobs, have less money or no money.”

Regular customer Jessica Ramirez came in for coffee. She told a friend who had just started a job — and had a smaller, starting paycheck — about the community pantry.

“I know a lot of people in between,” said Ramirez, who works for a foundation that serves indigenous organizations and is drumming up donations for the Workers Relief Fund at Casa Latina.

“It’s been nice to see people coming together for those in need,” Ramirez said.

Just before noon, Kwong Fan, 75, came in for some food. He’d read about the food pantry online and took the bus from Rainier Valley.

“I’m low on food and I don’t want to go to the store,” he said. “I can save some money. It’s hard.”

He took a few cans of food and some eggs and asked Rodriguez for one bottle of milk, then another.

“Thank you,” he said once, then twice. Before he left with a couple of bags, he must have said it six times.

“Why let the food go to waste?” Rodriguez asked. “We are an activist coffee shop, here to help the marginalized, black and brown folks. And this is what Ray Morales does as a teacher.”

Said Morales: “The Cleveland staff planted the seed, but The Station is the prime vehicle to get this out and inspire other folks.”

Rodriguez hopes it inspires his sons and others who may be drawing themselves in during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are going to remember this moment for the rest of our lives,” Rodriguez said. “So you ask, ‘What were you doing then?’ My kids can say that their mom and dad were out there helping.

“That’s all we have, right?” Rodriguez said. “Leave something behind.”

The Cleveland Journal

Race and equity education expands to student team

By Anna Ni & Maxwell Brooke, Staff reporters
Note: A reprint from The Cleveland Journal

Joseph Lenzo
Joseph Lenzo believes it is important for schools to focus on eliminating opportunity gaps

In a country where students of color have surpassed the white enrollment in public schools, conversations around racial equity are becoming a necessity. In order to facilitate a better relationship between a diverse student body and a predominantly white teaching staff, Cleveland’s race and equity team have made it their goal for teachers to become more aware of racial injustices, implicit bias and integrate race and equity in the classroom. Restorative Circle Coordinator Chev Gary said school leaders make sure racial equity is held high at Cleveland by incorporating it during staff training. “Over the course of the time our racial equity team has existed, our administrators have done a really good job of prioritizing all-staff learning time and focusing it around things that support racial equity in our school,” Gary said. “It’s important for the staff time to be something that supports teachers, but also end up supporting students.” Math teacher Joseph Lenzo is a newer member of the race and equity team. He believes the workaround racial equity at school is important for eliminating large opportunity gaps between white students and students of color.

“Our goal is basically to eliminate racist conditions in school in order to allow all students to thrive, be supported, and to have access to quality education,” Lenzo said.

“It’s all about the students and really just making the conditions right for everyone to be successful and trying to fight historic prejudice in the system.”

Chev Gary
Chev Gary is a restorative circle coordinator and a member of the Race- &-Equity-team

While Cleveland does its best to combat racism, people are not perfect and incidents still occur. What happens when a conflict regarding race and equity arises in a classroom? Gary said most of the time students are impacted because of either miscommunication that has to do with race and identity or microaggressions – brief and common daily behaviors, whether intentional or not, that end up sending negative and derogatory messages towards specific people or groups of people. For example, a microaggression would be a teacher failing to properly pronounce a student’s name even after they have been corrected.

“A lot of the time there isn’t anything that happens after microaggressions occur, and that’s the problem,” said Lenzo. “So, what we try to do in our professional development is to allow teachers to process and see those incidents that they may not have noticed before,” Gary stated that larger incidents tend to be brought to him or his restorative circle partner, Jamil Harding, because students are able to request restorative circles, which allows them and their teachers to mend relationships, making them a key resource in improving the environment at school in regards to race and equity. In addition, Cleveland’s race and equity team now include a student group. This team is new, but members of the race and equity team believed it was important to hear student voices in order to know how to best support them.

Sophomore Ismahan Weheylie was invited to be a part of the student Race & Equity team.
Sophomore Ismahan
Weheylie was invited to be a part of the student Race & Equity team.

Sophomore member Ismahan Weheylie is on the student equity team. “We just come together once every two weeks, and we talk about important issues and how we can come together as a community and school to solve them,” Weheylie said. Weheylie said the discussions are important so students can talk about how to improve the school community. “You don’t just come here for school; it’s a place where you should feel comfortable and safe in,” she said. Though students had to be teacher-nominated in order to participate in meetings, current members are working on finding a way to be more inclusive towards all students who may be interested in sharing their voice. “Already, that’s forcing us to have to come up with a method where students can nominate students,” said Gary. “Because maybe there are people who can really enjoy being a part of that team and make an impact.”

CHS Memorial Forest

A feeling of pride

'A feeling of pride' - Cleveland High School war memorial — a forest in Issaquah — is rededicated

By Susan Kelleher Seattle Times staff reporter

The school’s alumni who died in wars are remembered in words and deed Friday, as classmates place a monument amid the beauty of a forest purchased just for them during World War II.

By Susan Kelleher Seattle Times staff reporter

Jenny Rose stood in front of a new granite monument at the edge of the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest on Friday morning and recalled her childhood friend, Iggy.

“He was just a little guy,” Rose said, “but he was always the one who was laughing.”

She and Iggy grew up in the shadow of the old Rainier Brewery, two among a multiethnic pack of kids who wore the red-and-white colors of Cleveland’s Eagles, and sang the school song with gusto, she said.

When Iggy was drafted into the U.S. Army in the late 1960s to fight in the Vietnam War, Rose and her friends corresponded with him regularly.

“And then one day, the letters stopped,” she said, choking back tears.

Seeing his name — Ignacio E. Duro — etched in granite at the memorial forest for the first time on Friday was a healing moment, she said, one that connected her to four generations of Eagles who gathered to rededicate the forest in a ceremony that has honored Cleveland’s fallen alumni for more than 72 years.

The forest dates back to World War II, when schools around the country feverishly raised money for the war effort. Well-funded schools raised enough for a tank, a jeep, even a plane for the U.S. military. Cleveland’s working-class students raised $300 between 1943 and 1944, said John Barton, the Cleveland High School Alumni Association vice president.

Barton, Class of ’54, said students were embarrassed that they weren’t able to raise more. That year, at the suggestion of their principal, they used the money to buy 131 acres of logged land in what is now Issaquah. Students worked to restore the land, planting trees and building trails and facilities for visitors.

Cleveland High School Memorial Forest

After World War II, students in Cleveland’s metal shop made a brass plaque with the names of alumni who died fighting the war. They attached it to a large, flat boulder situated in a clearing amid Sitka spruce, big-leaf maple, Douglas fir and Western red cedar.

Another plaque was attached to honor two more alumni who died in World War II, and a third plaque was added to include alumni killed in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Every year, the school and association honored them in a ceremony at the forest on the Friday before Memorial Day. Three years ago, the plaques were pried from the rock face and stolen.

Roger Startzman, the forest’s caretaker, said a homeless man living in the forest may have taken them, along with virtually every other sign in the forest and on surrounding properties.

“Who knows why?” he said.

The alumni association was aghast. They decided to raise funds for a replacement — a granite one that in Barton’s words would last for thousands of years, be difficult to move, and have little resale value.

Members geared up for a fundraising campaign, but a single donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, cut a check last year for the entire amount: $13,064.32.

Now, all 43 fallen alumni are etched on a single granite stone prominently seated at the head of the meadow closest to the entrance.

Startzman, a Navy veteran who has overseen the forest for the past nine years, said the monument’s placement has created a more sanctified feeling to the grounds.

“It gives you a feeling of pride to be here,” said Startzman, who served in Vietnam during the 1970s.

Service remembered

Some veterans at Friday’s ceremony were older than the monument, and they recalled their own service or that of fallen friends.

Emil Martin, 94, Class of ’40, who served in the South Pacific during World War II, remembered his friend Robert Kennewick, who played baseball, football and basketball, and also worked on the stage crew during theater productions in high school.

Kennewick was a member of the Cleveland High French Language Club, Hi-Y, the Boys’ Club and the High School Coordinating Class, according to “Honored Dead,” Patricia Sullivan Rosenkranz’s book about Cleveland’s fallen veterans. In 1941, he was elected class president.

After high school, Kennewick worked at Boeing, studied engineering at the University of Washington and enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1943. It was a life trajectory that any current Cleveland student would recognize.

But Kennewick was killed a year later, flying a B-17 bomber over Germany when another, damaged B-17 crashed into him.

During the ceremony, Brent Jones, Seattle Public Schools’ chief strategy and partnerships officer, said the memorial forest is an apt metaphor for trauma and the power of nature to heal.

The forest, he said, had experienced the traumas of being twice logged, burned in parts and scarred by railroad tracks. Over the years, it had been neglected.

But those traumas, he said, camouflaged the underlying beauty of the place, and the renewal it is now experiencing.

“This forest is a place of nurturing and teaching,’’ he said. “Look around you. New trees have been planted and are thriving. Youth Corps have created trails and bridges. The camouflage of trauma and neglect has given way to a rebirth of environmental learning and preservation.”

The new memorial, he said, was not merely a replacement of names but “a way to connect with the aspects of humanity that make us all better people.”

And so all those many years ago, the students at Cleveland who worried about the value of their gift may now take comfort in knowing they may have given the most enduring gift of all.

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2006 Memorial Ceremony

A high school’s forest of memories

To keep dry from a heavy downpour, students and alumni from Cleveland High School huddled shoulder-to-shoulder under umbrellas and awnings at the entrance of an Eastside forest that students purchased 60 years ago to memorialize their peers who died in World War II.

The 10th annual trek of students and alumni to the Cleveland Memorial Forest on Friday was cut short by the rain, but not before Cleveland senior Clara Ulugalu could be seen drying the wetness from her cheeks.

Ulugalu got emotional after she and senior classmate LaSharon Walker acted as color guard during the half-hour ceremony. After 1957 graduate Bernie Moskowitz played “Taps” on a bugle, the two students raised the flag from half-staff to full, then lowered, removed and folded it into a neat triangle.

It was the first year that current students were given the honor of raising and lowering the flag at the ceremony.

“I am honored to learn how to do this and then to be able to do it,” Ulugalu said. “Because we all know what the flag stands for.”

The students also know what the forest stands for.

Cleveland’s graduates from 1943 and 1944 raised $500 to buy the forest, 131 acres near Issaquah, as a combined senior-class gift — a way to pay homage to peers who had made the supreme sacrifice for their country.

Forty-one men — 30 veterans from World War II, seven from Korea and four from Vietnam — are memorialized at the forest, their names engraved on three bronze plaques. They are called “Fallen Eagles,” a respectful nod to the mascot for the Beacon Hill school.

Ed Boprey, a 1945 graduate who attended Cleveland during the war years, said the upperclassmen raised money through plant sales and selling recyclables, such as newspapers, tires, and batteries. One teacher helped out with a $100 loan.

“All the teachers were behind the effort,” Boprey said.

They still are. Faith Beatty, who has taught at Cleveland since 1981, considers it her responsibility to educate her students about the memorial forest, and the stories behind it. The forest is owned by the Seattle School District, and while there is no indication the district plans to sell the forest, Cleveland alumni are never secure in that belief. The land is now worth several million dollars.

“I strongly believe we have to keep this a memorial forest,” Beatty said. “So I have to educate my students about it all the time so they will continue to carry the banner for us. The students need to feel that they are part of this forest.”

About 35 of Cleveland’s music and drama students attended the ceremony, which has taken place annually since 1997, always on the Friday before Memorial Day. A choir sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the drumline performed. Students read short bios of some of the dead.

They also recited poems, such as this one by classmate Jemeika Berry:

Honored, marching courageous hearts

Through our city’s streets

Joyous youth tainted

Overwhelmed by the touch of lethal steel

Boys made men

Sent to be our land’s choice

To join in battle on foreign soil

To be the chosen few.

Eight alumni also attended the ceremony, including Dick Kennewick, a 1941 graduate whose twin brother, Bob, was killed over Germany on Dec. 9, 1944.

“This forest is a symbol for all of the kids in Seattle who died in World War II, and other wars, too,” Kennewick said.

Most years, the seniors venture past the flagpole deeper into the forest to the Memorial Rock, where the plaques are placed. This year, it was just too muddy.

The school district uses the private forest, located off a winding stretch of Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road, as a center to teach about nature and ecology. Cleveland freshmen visit the forest soon after enrolling, but the Memorial Day ceremony that allows students to mix with alumni is the most meaningful visit of the year.

“My hope is we won’t lose any more Cleveland students to war,” said Alison Sing, a 1964 graduate.

If that happens, he said, at least the Cleveland Memorial Forest is there for them.

Cleveland High School seniors LaSharon Walker, left, and Clara Ulugalu, both 18, raise the flag to start the ceremony Friday at Cleveland Memorial Forest.

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Memorial gets a new marker: Flagpole hoisted in memory of Cleveland High alumnus, vet

New housing developments creep closer and closer to the Cleveland Memorial Forest on the east side of the Sammamish Plateau halfway between Issaquah and Fall City. A new school sits a home run away from the fence that encircles the second-growth preserve.

Yet when Cleveland High School’s graduating classes of 1943 and ’44 paid $500 for the 131-acre forest, it was miles from civilization. The students wanted to create an outdoor monument to alumni of the Seattle school killed in World War II.

Today, bronze plaques on a giant boulder, called Commemorative Rock, list Cleveland High students killed in that war and the Korean and Vietnam wars. Friday, another marker will be added to honor veterans: a flagpole.

The 58-year-old sylvan tribute to fallen soldiers and sailors never had a way to fly the U.S. flag, but some alumni and their families have fixed that. Don Case, Gordon Parker, and Pat Coluccio, along with grandchildren of another alumnus, recently installed a commemorative flagpole. A dedication ceremony will be at 11 a.m. Friday. The celebration coincides with Cleveland High’s 75th anniversary.

Memorial flagpole dedication

Cleveland Memorial Forest, 11 a.m. Friday; guided walks to Commemorative Rock, 10 a.m. and noon. Directions: Interstate 90 east to Issaquah, take Exit 17, turn left at end of ramp onto East Lake Sammamish Parkway (Front Street). Turn right at second light onto Issaquah-Fall City Road, remain on road for about four miles. Cleveland Memorial Forest will be on the left side of the road.

World War II casualties inspired the original purchase. Patriotic fervor, ignited by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, inspired the flagpole acquisition and installation.
It began last fall with a meeting of the oversight committee responsible for the memorial. The group meets regularly in the forest, accompanied by the background sounds of wind in the trees and birdsong.

In the group are three Cleveland High alumni, representatives from the city of Seattle, King County Parks Department, the Land Conservancy of Seattle and King County, students from Cleveland and Garfield high schools, school-board members and an ecologist.

“After 9-11, someone looked around and commented on the lack of a flagpole,” said Case, of the 1948 graduating class. The Auburn resident and organizer of the project, recruited Parker and Coluccio, both from the class of 1947.

Case talked to the extended family of Jim Rohletter, a Cleveland High graduate, veteran and World War II prisoner of war. The family donated $1,000 to buy the flagpole and a commemorative plaque.

Rohletter’s adult grandchildren provided the muscle power to install the flagpole.
Grandsons Tom Jenner of Seattle, Dave Miethe of Shoreline, Ken Jenner of Snohomish and grandson-in-law Brian Smith of Everett dug the 3-foot hole, mixed and poured a concrete base and helped the alumni raise the 25-foot aluminum pole into place.

Getting the flag was the easy part. “We bought one that flew over the U.S. Capitol,” Case said.

More time-consuming was the months it took getting permission from the Seattle School Board, the school maintenance department and the oversight committee to install the pole.

The forest rarely is open to the public because it’s considered a private memorial and a unique classroom, not a park. The Seattle School District uses the preserve, estimated to be worth $15 million, for ecology and wilderness-survival programs.

At Friday’s ceremony, the plaque memorializing Rohletter also will be unveiled. He was a guard on Cleveland’s 1937 Metro League championship football team coached by John Cherberg. Cherberg went on to coach football at the University of Washington and then was elected lieutenant governor.

“We all grew up hearing our grandfather’s stories about the football team,” said granddaughter Jamie Curtismith of Everett. “He graduated from Cleveland in 1939 and joined the Navy in 1940. His ship, the USS Pope, was sunk in the Philippines in 1942, and he was a prisoner of war.”

Curtismith said Rohletter didn’t talk about his POW days, but the experience devastated his health, particularly in later years. He died in 1980.

“This plaque and flagpole aren’t just about my grandfather,” she said. “It is also to honor his football teammates, coach John Cherberg and all Cleveland POWs.”
Case said at least six Cleveland graduates were POWs during World War II. The two surviving POWs, Tony Ferruci and Louie Pavone plan to be at Friday’s ceremony.

To understand how important the 1937 city championship was, Case said, people, need to know that Cleveland had been the eternal athletic underdogs.
It is also appropriate, said organizers, as a way to start the Memorial Day weekend.

“Flying our country’s flag from this pole will not only honor Jim, but it will also honor all veterans from Cleveland High School,” Case said.

By Sherry Grindeland – Seattle Times Eastside bureau

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Keeping the faith with Cleveland High

It was fitting and appropriate that the Washington state Supreme Court recently declined to review lower-court decisions rejecting an attempt by several Cleveland High School alumni to take over the Cleveland Memorial Forest.

The alumni feared the forest’s owner, Seattle Public Schools, might one day sell the 131-acre swath of second-growth forest on the Sammamish Plateau. Despite the district’s denials, the Cleveland loyalists sought the ultimate assurance: suing to have the land placed in a trust on behalf of students.

Their intention, to preserve the forest as a natural classroom for students and honor Cleveland graduates who died in World War II, was well-meaning but misguided. The original intent of the students, who in 1944 raised $300 to buy and donate the land to Seattle schools, will remain honored by the district.

District administrators and School Board members say there is no plan to change the forest’s use as a learning center and a memorial to the 29 Cleveland alumni who died for their country during the Second World War. Even as the district grapples with budget shortfalls, cashing in the land has never been an option.

Instead, school officials appear to understand the tremendous value the forest holds as an educational tool. Students make annual treks to the forest for ecology studies. High-school students receive hands-on lessons about forest management and other environmental issues by maintaining the trails and buildings.

The School Board is talking about putting a levy before voters in 2004 to pay for building repairs, fencing, and parking improvements. Cleveland High plans to update its plaque honoring their war dead to include alumni who have died in conflicts since World War II.

These plans don’t add up to the district seeking to profit from a gift. They add up to a district spending impressive resources to maintain this natural preserve. The current publicity should ensure the district doesn’t even begin to think about selling the forest lands.

Cleveland’s alumni and the school district are actually on the same side. They both want children to benefit educationally from the memorial forest. Too bad precious dollars had to be spent finding this out.

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Fire Destroys Forest Lyceum Near Fall City

It may have burned for several days, but the fire that destroyed a lyceum on the Issaquah-Fall City Road wasn’t discovered until school maintenance workers went to the site last week to ready it for the new school year.

Les Eaton, a King County fire marshal’s investigator, said there is no way to determine how the fire started in the open-air structure, rebuilt five years ago by Seattle’s Garfield High School students in the 131-acre Cleveland Memorial Forest.

Neighbors say cars often were parked along the road and that the building, deep inside the forest, was frequented by young people having parties.

“There were scorched beer cans and the kind of stuff you wouldn’t find at a supervised school activity,” Eaton said.

The original 25-by-60-foot structure, with a fire pit and chimney cone hanging from the rafters, was built in the 1970s. It was later condemned because of a badly decaying roof, said Tom Hudson, forest ecology teacher at Garfield High.

In 1994, Garfield students, teachers and parents pitched in and rebuilt the roof. King County gave the school a $25,000 grant for materials.

Hudson, who said a half-melted plastic gas can was found in the bushes, said the site has been a target of vandals for a number of years. Other small buildings on the site have been broken into and graffiti scrawled on buildings.

“Kids from schools on the Eastside use it regularly for keg parties,” he said.

The forest is used for ecology lessons and wilderness survival programs. Hudson’s students also conduct interpretive outings for elementary students throughout the school district.

Hudson said plans are under way to raise money to buy materials to rebuild the lyceum.

The forest, halfway between Issaquah and Fall City, was purchased by students in the Cleveland High School graduating classes of 1943 and 1944 to honor classmates who were killed during World War II. Anyone with information on the fire is asked to call the King County Fire Marshal’s Office at 206-296-6670 and ask for Les Eaton. All calls will be kept confidential.

Louis T. Corsaletti
Seattle Times Eastside Bureau

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New Course For Seattle Schools — At Ceremony, Stanford Promises Progress

The rededication ceremony for the 131-acre forest was to be the last public appearance for outgoing Superintendent William Kendrick. Today, John Stanford takes the helm.

Stanford drew upon the words of poet Robert Frost to say the district is at a crossroads.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference,” he recited from “The Road Not Taken.”

Stanford told those gathered yesterday at the Issaquah-area forest that he intended to take the 46,000-student school district down a path of progress and increased opportunity for students.

Kendrick, who has served as superintendent for nine years, said he plans to take a break from working but wants to remain involved in some aspect of education in the Northwest.

Kendrick said he was proud of the school-community partnerships such as the one that made the re-dedication of the 52-year-old educational forest possible.

King County, the city of Seattle and the Department of Agriculture each provided $50,000 to help upgrade facilities on the site, but more money and supplies are needed to get the forest ready for expanded use, officials say.

The forest-improvement campaign began with a phone call two years ago from City Councilwoman Sue Donaldson to School Board member Linda Harris. Both were looking for ways to involve inner-city kids in positive activities. That’s when they took up board member Ellen Roe’s idea of turning the Cleveland forest into a learning center.

The forest, a memorial to Cleveland students killed in World War II, was purchased by the 1943-44 graduating classes at Cleveland.

This week, 35 students from 18 Seattle-area schools have been participating in a summer “survival camp” led by Garfield High School science teacher Tom Hudson.

As students Nichole Dimmer, a Franklin High School junior; Erin Williams, a Cleveland freshman, and Kimberly Jones, a Cleveland sophomore, trekked past stands of alders, cedars and hemlocks, they discussed such topics as where to find mushrooms that glow in the dark and how to use a slug to soothe a skin rash.

“You get to learn a lot of stuff” in the forest, Dimmer said, including how to climb trees the way loggers do and how to survive four days in the woods.

Hudson, who’s brought students here for the past eight years, said the school district has a real asset in the forest and should take greater advantage of it.

“We go back to the classroom and we look at each other differently after a weekend in the woods,” he said.

To contribute to the Cleveland Memorial Forest restoration project or to get more information, contact Hudson at Garfield High School, 281-6040, or 400 23rd Ave., Seattle, WA, 98122.

Tyrone Beason

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Tragedy Gives Kids’ Camp Plan New Push — Forest Site Would Serve As Center For At-Risk City Youths

Sometimes tragedy accomplishes what no amount of politicking could.

The drive-by slaying of a Ballard High School student in March could revive a Seattle School Board member’s decade-old dream of transforming a little-used tract of forest land northeast of Issaquah into a youth camp for environmental learning.

For much of the year, the Cleveland Memorial Forest, off Issaquah-Fall City Road, sits empty and padlocked.

Originally purchased for $300 by students from Seattle’s Cleveland High School in 1944 as a living memorial to students killed in World War II, the forest now is worth $10 million to $15 million and includes second-growth forest and a spawning-salmon creek.

There are trails through the woods and a few run-down buildings, but the 131-acre property is hardly used except for occasional school field trips.

For years, Seattle School Board member Ellen Roe has been trying to change that.

She and two Seattle legislators, state Reps. Marlin Appelwick and Ken Jacobsen, have talked off and on for a decade about trying to find the money to turn the forest into an outdoor learning center for local schoolchildren and at-risk youths.

But the idea stalled because there was no money and because of the sheer number of public entities that would have to become involved in the project: the cities and school districts of Seattle and Issaquah, the county and the state.

Then, last March, one bullet fired out the window of a passing car killed 16-year-old Melissa Fernandes. The gang-related drive-by shooting, the first to take place on school grounds in the city, shocked residents and prompted a lot of soul-searching about how to stop youth violence. One of the many phone calls to the school district in the days that followed Fernandes’ death came from Kym Allen, an aide to City Councilwoman Sue Donaldson.

She called School Board member Linda Harris and asked what she could do to help with any anti-violence projects underway in the district. Recalling Roe’s idea for the Cleveland forest, Harris began making phone calls and pulling together people from the city, the county, and the state.

The group has been meeting informally since May and recently chose Ron Snyder, principal of Alternative School No. 1, as project director.

“This could become a great learning opportunity for kids all over the area,” Harris said. After Fernandes was killed, “the whole sense of the community was `We can’t just let this happen.’ Hopefully, this will be one good thing that can come out of that tragedy.”

The plan calls for an environmental learning camp for schoolchildren from the Seattle and Issaquah school districts to get hands-on experience learning about forestry, ecology, conservation, and fish biology. In addition, at-risk youths from the schools, or perhaps juvenile offenders, could be put to work building trails and doing upkeep on the property.

“We’ve got kids who’ve never been in a forest before,” Harris said. “You can see that would be a pretty overwhelming experience.”

No school-district money is available to develop the idea. Instead, the group will compete for grants to get the project started.

Snyder, who will oversee the project, said it may cost about $100,000 to get the program started, then about $125,000 for staff training and $100,000 in operating costs and salaries for a director and a secretary.

To keep it going after the grants expire, Harris and Roe are exploring the idea of a challenge course, which uses ropes suspended above the ground and other obstacles to teach teamwork, leadership and self-esteem. The course would be used by students and rented to corporate groups and others to finance the schools’ use of the property.

The goal is to have the project operating by next spring or summer.

Watching the property fall into disuse has been disappointing to the Cleveland students who originally put up the money to purchase the property, said Byron Coney, a Seattle attorney, and class of 1947 member.

“We do want to see it continued” as a lasting legacy to their classmates who were killed, he said.

Complicating the deal, though, are questions about zoning, the state’s Growth Management Act and a proposed new development nearby called Grand Ridge, which could lead to 2,500 new dwellings southwest of the Cleveland forest.

A preliminary agreement between project developers and King County calls for the owners to set aside more than 2 square miles of land as open space. Some of that area has been designated as wetlands and is fed by the same stream, Canyon Creek, that runs through the school district’s property.

Harris and Roe envision combining that wetlands area with two parcels of undeveloped county land on each side of the Cleveland forest. The county land alone would more than double the size of the proposed learning camp to nearly 300 acres, making it possible to open it up to the public as well as students.

The county currently has no plans to develop its land, said county parks planner Sharon Claussen. It’s too early to know how all the pieces will fit together, but the idea is compatible with the greenbelts and open spaces the county is trying to carve out in East King County, she said.

Jolayne Houtz

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5 Years Later, Still A World Of Threat

When the 1944 yearbook staff at Cleveland High School wrote about “the shattered conditions of the world,” they meant World War II, which had turned their classmates into soldiers, workers or residents of internment camps.

Fifty years later, the 1994 “Aquila” staff alludes to very different forces at work – gangs, violence, poverty – that also threaten to shatter the world graduating seniors now confront.

Celebrating their 50-year high-school reunion, about 45 members of Cleveland’s class of 1944 and their spouses returned to the high school yesterday, many for the first time since graduation, and got an up-close look at how dramatically their school has changed.

Principal Ted Howard said the school struggles to meet the needs of students who have almost nothing in common with students of a half-century ago.

Their school, which had been essentially all-white, now is made up of 72 percent minorities, including 50 percent Asian Americans.

The school has computer labs, its own radio station, computerized databases in the library, drug-and-alcohol counseling, an anger management class, and a bilingual program.

Almost 40 percent of the students speak a language other than English at home, and 43 percent live with only one parent. A dozen street gangs are represented at the school, which has two security officers, Howard said.

“Whoever heard of having AA classes in school? It’s a very different world today,” said alumna Pat Clifford of Seattle. “I’m impressed with how they make do, how they adapt. It’s part of the Cleveland spirit, I think.”

The world her class of 129 graduating seniors entered was focused on the war.

The June 8, 1944, school newspaper, the Cleveland Journal, reminisces about “all the pre-war things we had like our swell Ski Club (and gas) . . . and more than anything we remember the boys who used to roam our halls and now are remembered by all when we look at our (war) service plaque in the main hall.”

Through then-Principal Kenneth Selby, the class helped buy 160 acres of forest near Issaquah as a living memorial for former students killed in World War II.

The paper is sprinkled with ads for war bonds, Boeing jobs “for vital war work” and ads from Pacific Telephone & Telegraph hiring senior girls as operators “to put servicemen in touch with their homes.”

The yearbook from the class’s sophomore year shows eight Japanese-American students in the class. By 1944, they were gone, most of them in internment camps.

The yearbook notes the school’s support for the war in the form of paper and tin salvage drives, bond booths and girls making “fracture pillows” for wounded soldiers.

This year’s yearbook has pages devoted to the Filipino Club, the Chinese Club, and the Technology Club. One girl writes about her love for her “homies” (friends) and her fear that she could lose one “to an argument or unexpected decisions.”

Clifford said most of the changes at the school had been for the better. “We used to sit and memorize dates – how ridiculous in today’s world,” she said.

But she felt saddened by the violence and lack of values she sees in some students today.

“We were innocent then, I guess, but we were taught values like honesty and accountability,” Clifford said. ” . . . You wonder what kind of discipline there is today.”

But some were heartened to see that school spirit still means the same thing for today’s students.

One of the reunion organizers, Audrey Hopkins, visited the school a couple of times this year in preparing for the event and noticed a banner hanging in the hallway:

“Welcome to the friendliest little school in the Western Hemisphere.”

“That much hasn’t changed,” Hopkins noted with satisfaction.

Jolayne Houtz

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Kenneth Selby, School Official, Known For Breadth Of Interests

Kenneth E. Selby, former assistant superintendent of Seattle’s schools during the 1940s, was always into something, his family said.

Mr. Selby died on July 21 in an Everett nursing home of pneumonia. He was 92 years old.

Tree farming, jewelry making, ceramic making, and book writing were just some of the hobbies Mr. Selby tackled after he retired at age 66.

But even then, crafts and horticulture could not distract him from his first love – children.

It was not unusual for the former elementary school principal to have busloads of school kids visit his tree farm for a lesson in raising trees or the history of plants, said his son-in-law Stephen Clark.

Mr. Selby’s tree farm was a family retreat as well as an educational laboratory, said Joan Clark, his daughter.

Picnics, games, camping, and swimming in the lake Mr. Selby made by building a dam across one of the waterways of the farm were among Mrs. Clark’s favorite wilderness activities.

The farm is on Wood’s Creek, about 10 miles east of Everett near Machias.

Mr. Selby was also instrumental in developing the 120-acre Cleveland Memorial Forest near Issaquah, which is owned by Seattle Public Schools.

The land was originally purchased and dedicated to World War II veterans by a senior class at Cleveland High School where Mr. Selby was principal, Stephen Clark said.

“He could do no wrong, everybody loved him,” said Joan Clark.

Mr. Selby also had a flair for poetry and sometimes challenged his students to a battle of verse.

“He could recite poetry by the hour and he used to say he could recite more poems than all of them put together, and he always did,” said Stephen Clark.

Mr. Selby’s habit of memorizing poems became a family tradition when his grandchildren started emulating him at fireside gatherings, Joan Clark said.

Mr. Selby was born Nov. 12, 1899, in St. Paul, Minn., and later moved to Bellingham. He spent the latter part of his life in Seattle.

He received his bachelor’s degree in education from Western Washington University and his master’s degree from the University of Washington.

Mr. Selby remained a strong family man and rarely thought of himself, even after the death of his wife 20 years ago.

A family outing on a rented houseboat was Mr. Selby’s first planned activity after his wife’s funeral.

“You couldn’t find a better father anywhere,” said Joan Clark, who reminisced about the times her father would rock and sing to her whenever she had a cold.

“He had quite a repertoire of songs,” she said.

Mr. Selby is survived by his daughter, four grandsons and seven great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be Friday, July 31, at 10 a.m. at Purdy & Walters at Floral Hills Funeral Home, 409 Filbert Road, Lynnwood.

Penelope M. Carrington

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