Gov. Inslee honors local students with visits to MTHS, Edmonds CC

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Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife Trudi Inslee had a busy Friday in southern Snohomish County that included visiting Mountlake Terrace High School and Edmonds Community College to hear about successes in programs at both schools.

Inslee arrived at Mountlake Terrace High School around 1:30 p.m. and began in the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) lab, where he heard about different study tracks students can take and different projects students have been working on.

Aerospace students highlighted a wind tunnel in their lab and how they use it. In a recent project, students stripped a golf ball of its dimples to see how would affect how it performed in the wind tunnel. Other students displayed a wooden bridge that could hold over 1,000 pounds.

Robotics students demonstrated a soft robotics actuator which functions from air compression and had been printed in one of the lab’s 3D printers. Bioengineering students displayed research being conducted with the University of Washington on combatting harmful effects of pesticides using genetics.

“It’s amazing what’s going on here,” Inslee said. “I can tell the legislature that investing in STEM programs will pay back. These students right here will go on to cure cancer.”

Inslee then moved to the school’s journalism program and met with the staff of the award-winning student publication the Hawkeye.

Computers around the room displayed photos taken by students and front pages designed by student editors. Managing Editor Isaac Otis explained the Hawkeye‘s mission of upholding the first amendment and delivering truthful reporting.

“As members of the Hawkeye, we strive to uphold the values of the organization,” he said.

Hawkeye staff members displayed a multimedia data journalism project that showed a significant number of students getting their news from social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. Recently, the Hawkeye has put an emphasis on delivering news through these outlets to better reach a wider audience.

Inslee urged the students to consider a career in journalism. He pointed out the need for quality journalists with a recent growth in number of false news stories from non-reputable news sources appearing on social media.

“We need you now more than ever,” he said.

Hawkeye staff members honored Inslee with a pin that is typically awarded to exceptional senior staff members of the publication.

On the way to his last stop at Mountlake Terrace High School, Inslee was stopped by the school’s basketball coach, Nalin Sood, who gave Inslee a gift of socks, a Mountlake Terrace basketball sweatshirt and a framed photo of Inslee from his basketball playing days.

To conclude the visit, Inslee then dropped into the music room to hear a preview of what the Jazz 1 band will play at Essentially Ellington in New York City in May. The MTHS Jazz Band is one of 15 bands nationwide selected to perform at the event. Inslee asked if they were fundraising for the event and gave jazz instructor Darin Faul $20 toward the trip.

Then, not needing much of an introduction, the band took the floor, playing two pieces while the governor and his entourage tapped their toes and bobbed their heads.

Inslee was so moved by the performance, he awarded the band his pin, naming it his “Jake and Elwood Blues Brothers Best Band 2017” award as he pinned it on trombonist Andrew Sumabat.

Inslee selected Sumabat to be the recipient of the pin, as he said Sumabat’s solos “blew us away.”

After a whirlwind 45-minute visit at Mountlake Terrace High School, Inslee traveled to Edmonds Community College to hear from students who received opportunity grants and to see the school’s Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) building.

Opportunity grants are state-issued financial aid that are awarded to students with significant financial need. Among the grant recipients Inslee met Friday was a paralegal student and single mother of three who said her oldest son is now excited to go to college after seeing his mom succeed in school.

After a private meeting with international and DACA students, Inslee moved into the SET study room to meet with engineering students.

Student Trustee Lia Andrews told the governor she felt inspired by his commitment to sustainability and access to education.

“The greenest thing you can do is study engineering,” Inslee said, adding that engineers are the ones capable of creating environmentally friendly technology.

–Story and photos by Natalie Covate

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