CHS Pics | Ribbon cut at Central District’s new ‘Community Living Room’

It wasn’t a very pleasant day to show it off but residents, community leaders, and city officials made do Sunday with a ceremony inside the Central District’s Garfield Community Center to celebrate its new outdoor “living room.”

The Community Living Room was conceived as a gathering space for the neighborhood and features barbecues, benches, a large picnic table, game tables, a beautiful seating stone, and a large flexible space for events. When the doors are open to the Garfield Community Center gym and multipurpose room, the indoor and outdoor spaces will connect and provide a new welcoming space for the community.

Continue reading

CHS Pics | Cal Anderson at center of Seattle anti-Trump protests

Chanting “Not my president!” and “Black lives matter,” hundreds of students from 23rd Ave’s Garfield High School marched to Cal Anderson where they joined hundreds more Monday afternoon in a citywide student walkout in protest of the election of Donald Trump. The rally marked the second day in a row the Capitol Hill park has been a central gathering place as Seattle’s citizens protest the election results and plot solutions to counter Trump’s expected policies and push ahead to fix whatever broken political processes resulted in his victory.

Sunday, hundreds attended a “Love Over Hate” gathering organized by a group of SPU marriage and family therapy students as an opportunity for Seattleites to come together for a non-political show of “love, support, and togetherness.” Sunday afternoon included singing, sign making, and, yup, even some protest. A portion of the gathered crowd opted to march from the park and made its way downtown.

Images and video from both days of protest are below. For more on local efforts to do more than march to push back on the Trump victory, check out our coverage of Sunday night’s Post Election Community Forum held at 11th Ave’s V2. Continue reading

Security bolstered for Garfield football game amid backlash to team’s national anthem protest

The reaction was widespread, divided, and intense last week after the entire Garfield High football team voted to kneel during the national anthem for the rest of its season as a silent protest against racial injustice.

While many were supportive, backlash against players, coaches, and the school was in some instances extreme and threatening as news of the demonstration spread nationwide. Seattle Public Schools does not publicly address safety issues concerning specific students or staff, but a spokesperson said the school and Seattle Police are taking precautionary measures during Friday night’s game.

“There will be increased SPS safety and security presence at the game,” said SPS spokesperson Luke Deucy. “SPD will also increase police presence at the game.”

23rd Ave’s Garfield will be back at the SW Athletic Complex Friday to play Chief Sealth and will once again take a knee during the anthem. CHS has learned some family members of Garfield players will be wearing white t-shirts as a display of solidarity with the team’s decision to take a knee. Continue reading

Garfield High football players plan to kneel for national anthem

The Central District’s high school football team is planning to join a number of professional and student athletes nationwide in an ongoing demonstration against racial injustice during the school’s Friday night game.

The Garfield Bulldogs will travel to West Seattle where the entire team has decided they will kneel for the national anthem and continue to do so for the rest of the season. Coach Joey Thomas tells CHS the decision came out of ongoing conversations the team has had about race and social injustice. Students were particularly motivated to do something after learning about the rarely recited third verse of the Star-Spangled Banner, Thomas said, which celebrates the killing of rebellious slaves.

“One thing we pride ourselves on is we have open and honest conversations about what is going on in this society,” Thomas said. “It led kids to talk about the social injustice they experience … and it led to coaches to talk about what we go though. We’re teaching life skills through sports.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting for the national anthem during the NFL’s preseason, sparking a national debate over the gesture. Kaepernick cited police brutality and the killing of unarmed African Americans as primary reasons for his demonstration. Thomas, whose father and grandfather served in the military, said those who argue the protest is disrespectful to service members are misinformed.

“It’s because they are over there fighting for our rights that we can stand for what we believe in,” he said. “It’s because of our military that we can have this silent protest.” Continue reading

Plan would boost Seattle community centers: free programs in the CD, possible LGBTQ hub on Capitol Hill

A plan to address social equity by boosting Seattle’s community centers with “free or low-cost community-centric programs” will be part of Mayor Ed Murray’s 2017 budget proposal. If the money is approved, the Central District’s Garfield Community Center will have more free use and community programs while Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center could be tabbed as an LGBTQ community hub.

“Seattle’s community centers are a vital piece of our parks and recreation system and we must ensure these spaces meet the needs of all residents across the city,” said Mayor Murray. “In my proposed 2017 budget, I will call for the expansion of community center hours, staffing and programming, and eliminate drop-in fees and make scholarships easier to attain. We must ensure that as we grow, we do so equitably, and our recreational spaces must be safe and accessible places for everyone.”

Part of the strategic plan announced this week calls for the creation of a “hub-centric” pilot program: Continue reading

Here’s why John Boyega and a bunch of droids were at Garfield High School Friday

Garfield High School has hosted some pretty intense competitions over the years. Friday, it was robot vs. robot.

Microsoft held its 2016 Imagine Cup and Robo Cup Hackathon at the 23rd Ave school’s campus and brought along one if its droid-friendly pals as actor John Boyega joined the event as a celebrity judge. Congratulations to Team Greece, by the way, for its Imagine Cup victory with its “novel ICT-based approach for bullying detection and intervention.” Correction: Team Romania came out on top with its “app for monitoring balance and posture.”

The real competition of the day went down in the Quincy Jones Auditorium and Gym where teams from the Garfield computer science club built a fleet of robots for a servo vs. servo battle of tennis ball soccer. Continue reading

Central District church burglary, graffiti investigated as hate crime

Sunday as its congregation prepared to celebrate the church’s 67th anniversary, leaders at the Central District’s Curry Temple CME arrived to find a terrible mess inside the 23rd Ave house of worship and hateful messages spray painted across the walls.

“Our church has been vandalized & items were stolen,” a message posted to the church’s Facebook page reads. “We had worship service we also had our 67th anniversary celebration at 3 o’clock the Devil is a Lie we should not be defeated and no weapon formed against us will ever prosper.”

Police are investigating the burglary and vandalism as malicious harassment, the state’s hate crime statute. The damage and messages are similar to the destruction that happened last month at the Africatown Center. In that investigation, police said a volunteer had been arrested in connection with the case.

At Curry Temple, the church is vowing to overcome the damage. A donation page has been set up and parishioners and the community are planning to gather Saturday at 10 AM for a prayer vigil and “call to action.”

“We are calling for Faith based leaders and Community leaders & Members to come together, stand with Curry Temple in Solidarity in [the] the Central District,” the announcement reads. “We are like a tree planted by water we shall not be moved.”


Seattle Symphony celebrates music teacher’s three decades at Garfield High

(Image: Friends of Garfield Orchestra)

(Image: Tom Wolken via Friends of Garfield Orchestra)

Tuesday night, the Seattle Symphony hosts a community leader who has been helping Central Seattle students grow their love for music for 30 years at Garfield High School.

Marcus Tsutakawa began leading the orchestras at Garfield way back in 1985 after joining Seattle Public Schools in 1979. Tuesday night, his Garfield Symphony Orchestra will join the Seattle Symphony to perform Debussy’s La mer in a tribute to Tsutakawa’s three decades of work:

Seattle Symphony celebrates the 30th anniversary of Garfield High School Music Director Marcus Tsutakawa in this family-friendly concert. Music Director Ludovic Morlot conducts Garfield High School Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony as they share the stage to perform Debussy’s La mer (“The Sea”). Doors open: 1 hour prior to performance

The 7 PM performance at Benaroya Hall is free — you can RSVP here.

Tsutakawa’s connections to the area go beyond music. His father George Tsutakawa’s sculptures and art can be found across the city — including a fountain on the 15th Ave campus of Group Health.

CHS Pics | Garfield ‘Walks In’ for education


Students, faculty, staff, and supporters took another route to showing solidarity and strength in the call to support schools and education funding in Seattle Thursday morning. A morning of “walk-ins” took place across the district — and the country — in the early hours before first bell, including a rally and walk-in at 23rd Ave’s Garfield High School:

The Seattle Education Association has joined communities around the nation that are Walking in for public education.  On the morning of Thursday, Feb. 18th, parents, students and educators and community members will rally in front of school across Seattle.  There they will deliver powerful messages about our vision for public education and then walk into the school together in a show of solidarity.

“There is plenty of money for the art teacher for my kids’ school, we just have to build a movement big enough to make them follow the law,” Garfield teacher and education activist Jesse Hagopian said during his time at the microphone Thursday morning. Continue reading

Garfield choir teacher fired for drinking alcohol during class trip to New Orleans

A popular Garfield High School choir teacher has been fired after she admitted to drinking alcohol during a March school trip to New Orleans. Seattle Public Schools broke the news about Carol Burton’s termination with a Friday night press release last week.

The superintendent found that numerous district policies, protocols and field trip guidelines were violated. Such violations included the consumption of alcohol by staff, allowing chaperones to consume alcohol, allowing boys and girls inside each other’s hotel rooms, ignoring curfew, and no random room checks conducted after curfew.

The firing comes after SPS hired a private investigator, a former U.S. Attorney, to look into claims that multiple school policies were violated during the trip.

The field trip has been marred in controversy since allegations emerged earlier this summer that one male student groped two female students in a hotel room. A chaperone was also alleged to have “engaged in inappropriate contact” with a student.

SPS declined to give media interviews about the firing which caused a backlash among some students and parents who say Burton was a scapegoat for SPS. Burton told KOMO, “I had 2½ alcoholic beverages on this trip and they are, without a doubt, the most expensive drinks I’ve ever had in my life.”

The New Orleans incident joins follows controversy over another Garfield school trip after the investigation of a sexual assault in 2012.

UPDATE: This article has been updated with a more clear description of the previous controversy related to a Garfield school trip. We have also removed reporting on schools-related budget issues from the post.