Introducing Our 2011 Graduates!

It is with great pride that we announce the graduation of our eight seniors: Halla Anne Benet-Stone, Alexander Miles Harper, Andrew Richard Haupt, Jacob Sheldon Hunter, Nathan Sheldon Hunter, Anika Britt Lavine, Amy Elizabeth Spens, and Alexander Kenneth Webb.

We are delighted with our Senior Class’ accomplishments.

All of our graduates will be attending a four-year college in the fall and all have received academic scholarship monetary awards from the colleges they will be attending.


Halla will be attending Evergreen State College and received Evergreen’s Academic Achievement Scholarship.




Miles will be attending Evergreen State College in Olympia and received Evergreen’s Academic Achievement Scholarship.


Drew will be attending Evergreen State College in Olympia and received Evergreen’s Academic Achievement Scholarship.




Jacob, a National Merit Commended Scholar, will be attending Whitworth College in Spokane. He received Whitworth’s ‘Mind and Hearts’ scholarship, and was awarded their ‘Math Talent’ scholarship award. He is the recipient of the Washington State’s Academic Honors Award, which places him in the top 10% of all high school students in Washington State.



Nathan, a National Merit Commended Scholar, will also be attending Whitworth College. He received Whitworth’s ‘Mind and Hearts’ scholarship, and was awarded Whitworth’s ‘Physics Talent’ scholarship. He is the recipient of the Washington State’s Academic Honors Award.


 Anika will be attending Occidental College in Los Angeles where she was awarded their ‘Honors Scholarship’. She received Washington State’s Academic Honors award.

Amy, a National Merit Scholar, will be attending Bowdoin College. She is the recipient of the University Women’s Club Scholarship in addition to scholarships from the College Board and Bowdoin College. She was awarded Washington State’s Academic Honors Award.




Alex will be attending Evergreen State College in Olympia and received Evergreen’s Academic Achievement Scholarship.




We are honored to have had the opportunity to lay the groundwork for our students’ academic careers, and look forward to hearing of their future accomplishments.   The world needs their many gifts, and it is with full hearts that we send them onward!

Hillside’s Stage Shines with As You Like It – June 16 -18

We’ve set the Hillside production of AS YOU LIKE IT in the proximate 30s. The action in the original careens between a French city and the pastoral forest of Arden.  In our production, the city is an eastern U.S. metropolis, and our countryside exists somewhere in pastoral Appalachia.  In this world, between mobsters and moonshiners, we find our banished lovers searching for love and restoration.

Rosalind, considered by scholar Harold Bloom to be among Shakespeare’s greatest and most fully realized female characters, leads us on a delightful gender-bending romp through a pastoral setting in which love can’t help but blossom with the coming Spring.

You will definitely want to join us for the fun.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.

And don’t forget to go to get your show memorabilia and other Hillside goodies at our very own Hillside Shop! All proceeds go to support Hillside programs.

Hippies, crazy hats and ties…oh my

The week of April 25th through 29th featured the first annual Spirit Week at Hillside.  On Monday,  students came to school in their pajamas with their favorite stuffed animals in tow.   Tuesday, the classrooms were filled with hippies and various clashing shades of tie-dye.  Crazy hair and crazy hats abounded on Wednesday.   Thursday,  seemed almost “normal” until you realized that everyone was only wearing black or white.  The week ended with formal Friday, and students looked very sophisticated in dresses, shirts and ties. This week of fun, led up to the first annual club-style dance in Hillside history and it was a great success.

On Friday, the school was completely transformed into a night club,  complete with twinkling string lights and a black light dance floor.   Black light reactive décor was hung all over the ceiling and walls.   All of the work to decorate,  organize and advertise this event was  accomplished by the Dance Committee: Ari Schrier, Alden Littlefield, Charlie Catino, Amy Spens, Carter (Andreas) Wyatt, Corinna Nelson, Silke Vandenbossche,  Danielle Parter, Audrey and Riley Miller under the direction of Sherrie Littlefield and Monique Catino.

The dancing started at 7:30 pm,  with a retrospective of songs through the decades starting with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry in the 50’s to  The Beatles, Beach Boys, and the Who in the 60’s.
The 70’s featured a few classic disco tunes by the Bee Gees and of course the YMCA by the Village People which segued into the 80’s with Michael Jackson:  Beat It,  Thriller. Rounding out the decade iconic 80’s new wave:  Safety Dance, Walk like an Egyptian and the B-52’s Love Shack blasted.  The 90’s decade featured U-2,  Jett, Green Day and the dance ended with the 21st century pulsing strains of dance club hits by Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, Katy Perry, Usher and more.  The students decked themselves out in white and wore glow stick bangles in almost every combination imaginable.  It was “glow-rific”!

Many thanks to all those students who brought potluck snacks and drinks and showed their community spirit by dancing the night away.  Additional thanks and kudos to the dancing, dance chaperones:  Luke and Laura Colasurdo,  Amy and Brian Stotts, David and Sherrie Littlefield.

Matt Coopersmith – Man of action and now a black belt!

A week ago tomorrow, Matt Coopersmith was awarded his back belt in Taekwondo by Master Lee.

Matt with Master Lee

Matt studies Taekwondo at Lee’s Martial Arts in Newcastle.  He started in kindergarten and is…”really happy and proud to receive my black belt after working towards it for so long.”   To advance to a black belt requires both the mastery of technique and deep concentration to focus one’s power. It is truly an impressive achievement!

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art. Wikipedia says that “[i]n Korean, tae (태, 跆) means “to strike or break with foot”; kwon (권, 拳) means “to strike or break with fist”; and do (도, 道) means “way”, “method”, or “art”. Thus, taekwondo may be loosely translated as “the art of the foot and fist” or “the art of kicking and punching.” Since 2000, Taekwondo and Judo are the only two Asian martial arts that are included in the Olympic games.

During his test Matt broke three boards at once and if you wonder how that is done, just look at this amazing video.

Kathy Fruge-Brown to show at Whidbey Island Gallery

Lake Sammamish Idyll | 42″ x 252″ | vitreous enamel on seven steel panels

Fresh off the installation of Lake Sammamish Idyll in the library at Ardmore Public School in Bellevue, Kathy will be showing work next month at the Rob Schouten Gallery on Whidbey Island.

Floating Logs, Lake Sammamish | oil on canvas | 22″ x 28″

From Kathy’s artist statement she tells us: “I am a painter and printmaker with a long-standing interest in landscape. The river and forest surrounding my Pacific Northwest studio are a constant source of imagery and spiritual nourishment to me, and for the last several years have been the major subject of my work. My landscape paintings are all done
outdoors from life, usually in oil on canvas, though I often do smaller pieces in oil on paper.”

Cedar Stump with Hemlocks | oil on canvas | 28″ x 22″

The show which will run from June 3 through June 29, will feature her oils on canvas as well as her work in vitreous enamel on steel.

For more of Kathy’s work go to her website.

The artist’s reception is June 3rd from 5 to 8pm.
Rob Schouten Gallery
Whidbey Island
765 Wonn Rd #C-103
Greenbank, WA  98253

Corinna Nelson Soars to New Heights!

On Saturday, June 4th, you will find Corinna Nelson with the other members of the Youth Fly Team under the flying trapeze tent. The show begins at 7 pm at SANCA, the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts in Georgetown.

Corinna just before she got caught!

In between all her commitments, she answered a few questions for us.

What is your favorite maneuver that you will be performing?
My favorite maneuver that I will perform is a back-end bird’s nest.

What is the hardest maneuver you do and why?
The hardest maneuver I do is the swing, because even if I get it really, really good, it will always need work.

And how many years have you been doing the flying trapeze and would you recommend it to others?
I have been doing flying trapeze for one and a half years and I would totally recommend it to others because it is really fun.  Just remember not to look down!

To learn more about the show go the SANCA website

And to see some of her feats of daring watch this video taken by her father, James Nelson.

Corinna- Flying Trapeze Performance 12-2010 at SANCA-Seattle

Amy Spens teaches us how to win awards: Get dirty!

On Tuesday, May 17 at the Chamber’s 32nd Annual Awards luncheon Amy Spens will be receiving a Community Award for Environmental Excellence from the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.  The award, which is normally given to an adult, recognizes her work for and commitment to the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.

Amy and Friends at a Mountain to Sound Event

So how does a high school senior win such an award?  It is probably best to let Amy tell you in her own words. “Most of my outdoor volunteer work has happened with the Mountains to Sound Greenway. When I was little I was one of those kids you can’t keep clean. I’d ruin one pair of jeans in the dirt, then change into a fresh pair and roll into a mud puddle. Needless to say my mom was not pleased (and now I understand why!)”

Amy hiking on Granite Mountain

“Nowadays, I still love playing in the dirt, and volunteering with the Greenway gives me plenty of opportunities to work with my hands, teach others, and yes, get dirty. After almost 3 years I’ve accumulated over 400 volunteer hours, led multiple Summer Camps for kids from 11-18, and spoken in front of the director of the National Forest Service to convince him of the Greenway’s importance as a National Heritage site (the speech was also for the “America’s Great Outdoors Act”.)”

“Additionally, I just found out that I’ve been chosen from almost 800 applicants to receive a Teens in Public Service internship for the summer. Teens in Public Service partners with local non-profits to provide students ages 13 to 19 with minimum-wage summer jobs in a variety of categories: seniors homes, conservation groups, and summer-school tutoring programs; all receive TIPS interns to work 20-30 hours a week, for 6-8 weeks. I’ll be working with the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society on grounds maintenance, plant collection/documentation/mapping, volunteer event coordination, and public event organization. I’m very excited to be working outside in the sunshine all summer!”

And just in case you were wondering, yes, this is the same Amy Spens who is a National Merit Finalist this year.

Guess getting dirty pays off.

The Stars Come Out At Hillside!

Late last month, the Hillside 8th graders shared some of what they learned in their astronomy night with the Hillside Community in during Astronomy Night. The students each developed a travel advertisement for a location in our solar system. Brochures, posters, and even sandwich boards worn by Ari and Andreas told guests of the wonderful sights and activities to be found at destinations such as the Asteroid Belt, Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, and Saturn. Potential travelers were also warned of hazards such as being poisoned by hydrogen sulfide clouds on Venus, or freezing to death on Neptune.

Although the advertisement projects were wonderful, the highlight of the evening for me was watching the students’ presentations on their chosen astronomy topics. The students prepared well and presented themselves professionally, teaching their parents, peers, and teachers about their chosen topics. We learned about the astronomical significance of ancient European megaliths, the life and discoveries of Johannes Kepler, the causes, myths, and history of eclipses, the life cycle of stars, the life of an astronaut, the history and future of Mars exploration, the fields of astrochemistry and astrobiology, and the potential for deriving energy from space based solar power in the future. It was a fascinating evening, and I think the students impressed even themselves with what they were able to accomplish.

Hillside’s Alex Nolan opens in “Macbeth”

 Alex Nolan, one of Hillside’s own veteran actors, will be taking the stage tonight at Studio-East’s production of Macbeth, directed by Simon Pringle.  Alex will be lending her considerable talent and experience to the roles of Duncan, King of Scotland and Siward, Earl of Northumberland, general of the English forces.

The play, known among theatre circles as “The Scottish Play” because it is said to bring bad luck if the actual title is spoken, is a tale of brutality and deception.  It shines a light on some of our more base instincts.  It’s not an easy play to perform under the best circumstances but the teen ensemble has had some unusual challenges.

The decision to do the play came only in January.  Alex was actually out of town competing in a horse show when the rumors began to fly that the ensemble would be given the opportunity to perform.  A little later the “official email” arrived giving the members a choice between Twelfth Nightor Macbeth. Alex and her fellow actors were hands down in favor of Macbeth.

The late announcement lead to a shortened rehearsal period worked around other groups that were using the space – not the easiest of conditions.  But Alex refers to her fellow actors as “dedicated, hard working, loving what they are doing and exhausted.”  In fact, they are so engaged in the process that the group is hoping to mount their own production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a park this summer.

Alex as Starveling in Studio East’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Asked what has been the most challenging aspect of the production for her, Alex points to the scene where Siward learns that his son has died in battle.  Alex wants to convey the depth of feeling behind Siward’s stoic façade; to get the audience to reflect on the loss before the moment is swept away by the dramatic entrance of McDuff with Macbeth’s bloody head.

Alex has spent a lot of time honing her theatrical skills. She went to theatre camp until she was twelve or thirteen, spent some time with the Bellevue Youth Theatre, joined Studio East’s Teen Ensemble for their recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and of course has had many wonderful roles in the dramatic productions staged at Hillside.

Alex loves being part of the Hillside drama program, “Jean does a great job with it, teaching kids the skills needed to be good actors and building their confidence at the same time.” She explained, “If you’re going to be in a play, you need to trust in others, and be able to live up to the trust others have in you…. I love how many people come out of the Hillside drama program willing to take risks and to look silly, knowing that the play will be better and they will have more fun for having done so.”  Alex also appreciates the improvisational work she does in the weekly drama class, “That is actually a pretty rare thing in youth theater today; a solid improv education can be a huge deal. I know lots of really talented young actors who freeze up when you ask them to act without a script. So I’d say the Drama program at Hillside is fantastic.”

Please go see the performance. It should be an amazing show. And then come back here and share your experience in the comment section of this post.

“Macbeth” will be performed by Studio East’s Teen Ensemble on April 29, 30 and May 6, 7 at 7:30.  More info at (425) 820-1800 — all tickets $10.

Picture Post #2