Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
May 16, 2016
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photos: Eric Johnson
Program Coordinator: Brad Stark
          Great total!: Fund-drive coordinator – a.k.a. “the ringleader” – Jodi Harland told the club May 16 that $18,000 has been dona  ted or pledged by sponsors for the club’s fund drive to benefit needy children at Holmes Elementary and other West Central and North Side Spokane schools.  Club President Lenore Romney conferred the ringleader title as she praised Jodi’s efforts and members applauded.  The early total does not include the $50-a-head ticket revenue for the June 2 Mexican-themed dinner, which also will include silent and oral auctions to boost the fund-drive total near the $25,000 goal.
          A Spanish adventure
          Giovanni DeLeon, a junior at North Central, leaves June 19 for a one-month student exchange visit to Alicante, Spain, which is an hour southeast of Madrid.  Following Giovanni’s visit,
                    his exchange partner, Alvero Brotons, of Alicante, will visit Spokane for a month.  Giovanni visited the club May 16 to thank members for their support.
          Alicante is a Mediterranean port city of 330,000.  Its area has been populated for 7,000 years.
          Chris Lynch, who is helping to coordinate the exchange, said both students will discuss their experiences at a club luncheon.
A very good year at NC
          As the school year nears its conclusion, it’s time for report cards.  Judging by North Central High School’s notable achievements, NC is at the top of the honor roll.
          Principal Steve Fisk shared the good news with club members May 16.
          The graduation rate – recently a concern at all Spokane high schools – should hit an impressive 92 percent this year.  “I’m super proud,” Fisk said, commending the team effort of the students, their families and the “strong relationships” built with NC faculty and staff.
          The rate was second only to Ferris among Spokane schools, he said, noting the remarkable achievement comes with a higher-than-average percentage of students on free and reduced-price school lunch plans in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.  “Poverty doesn’t ensure bad behavior,” Fisk said.
          Fisk, NC’s 13th principal, also cited the mentoring efforts of his predecessors -- club members, Chris Lynch and Sandy Fink.  Lynch was the 12th  NC principal; Fink, the 9th.  Steve also said his dad was a school superintendent, “so it runs in the family.”
          Noted for its break-through science lab, NC is Spokane’s only “7-12 school,” Fisk said.  Some 60 7th grade students were enrolled last year in the landmark science program which features “analyzing genetics” of a variety of species.  Another 60 will be enrolled this fall.
          Fisk proudly noted that U.S. News and World Report ranks N.C. as the best high school in Eastern Washington.  “Our goal was just to be better than Lewis and Clark,” Fisk said.
          Setting high expectations is a big part of the equation of success, he said.  “Some kids will say they have too much homework – and some of the parents will say that, too,” Fisk said, adding that the proof is in the achievements.
          When asked about the 7th-graders fitting in with older students, Fisk said in most cases the younger students have elective classes together and eat together.
          “I come from a small K-12 school, where the little ones are with the big ones,” and it worked out fine, he added.
          Fisk said that for a variety of reasons some 200 students “disappear” from middle-school enrollments, as some parents are reluctant to enroll their children at that tender age.  They resort to home schooling, parochial schools or other learning environments.  Some of those students end up in NC’s science-driven classes, he said.
          Fisk shared an interesting bit of research on “first in family college choices.”  A show of hands indicated many club members were first in their family to go to college.
          Fisk’s research on the 2015 NC class showed that half of that group of graduates attended community college and half four-year schools.  Six of the science class “genome” students were included and enrolled at UW, WSU or EWU.
          He also thanked the club for sponsoring five Hoopfest teams, with registration and T-shirts.