Awards & Recognition for Bellevue Students and Staff

Congratulations to the following Bellevue School District students and staff who have received state or national recognition for their hard work, dedication and talent. 

Spiritridge Students Place First at International Future Problem Solving Competition

June 23, 2015
Congratulations to Neil Chowdhury, Jake Donner, Lucas Hou and Carina Sun, fifth graders at Spiritridge Elementary School.  These students placed first in the Junior Division (grades 4-6) at the Future Problem Solving (FPS) International competition.

FPS is an international organization in which students from around the world participate. FPS’ mission is to help students design and promote positive futures at an international level through problem solving by using critical and creative thinking.

Global Issues Problem Solving, a competitive component of FPS, is a four-person team activity in which participants apply a six-step creative problem solving process to resolve the underlying problem presented in an imagined situation, termed Future Scene, in two hours. Topics for the Future Scene include global issues in the areas of business and economics, science and technology, and social and political areas. After students practice twice on two different topics, they complete a state qualifying test. If they qualify for state, they will compete against all other state teams for first place. If a team wins first place at state, they qualify for internationals. At the international level, students compete against 13 other countries and more than 40 states. This year the international competition was held in Ames, Iowa and the topic was Intellectual Property. Washington has had FPS teams for many years, but Spiritridge Elementary School created its first team this year, coached by Ms. Michelle Benzinger.

Helping Hands at Cherry Crest

June 22, 2015
Every year fifth graders at Cherry Crest Elementary give a class gift to say thank you as they graduate.  This year the fifth graders decided to give a gift that keeps giving.  The class came up with the idea to create the Cherry Crest Unity Fund, aligned with the school’s focus on commUNITY.  They voted on organizations that they wanted to fundraise for and landed on Congregations for Kids and Backpack Meals for Kids.  Both organizations resonate with the students because they help kids in Bellevue.  The overall intent of the fund is to support the community that they live in, by giving back and helping others in need.  

To raise money for the two organizations, students sold $10 tickets for two breakfast fundraisers at Applebee’s.  The restaurant is closed for breakfast, but occasionally holds pancake breakfasts for fundraisers.  The fifth graders greeted customers, brought them to their assigned table, took orders, served food and bused the tables afterwards.  Applebee’s staff did the cooking, but everything else was run by the students.

“To see our 11-year-olds get behind an effort like this – it was great,” said fifth grade parent and class gift committee member Parul Shah.  “They understand how lucky they are, and they have a sense of civic responsibility.”

Students raised close to $3,000, which will be split between the organizations.  Parul hopes future fifth grade Cherry Crest classes will carry on this new tradition and continue to support the kids in need in Bellevue as their annual gift to the school. 

“I think it will be very meaningful when these fifth graders come back to visit Cherry Crest in a few years, and they see that the Unity Fund is still contributing to Congregations for Kids and Backpack Meals for Kids, and each year more and more kids are being served,” said Parul.  “They started something that will keep on giving – that will be something that will be a part of who they are forever.”

Student Leaders Selected to Attend Young, Gifted and Black Conference

June 9, 2015
Congratulations to the 30 students who were selected to attend the University of Washington’s Young, Gifted and Black (YGB) Conference in May.  Students who attended have a 3.0 grade point average or better and are engaged student leaders who are involved in a multitude of activities supported by local community based organizations.  This was the first time Black students from the Bellevue School District, in 9th, 10th and 11th grade, in partnership with the Bellevue Family YMCA, participated in the event.  Although the district has a small percentage of Black students, BSD made up the largest percentage of students from any group that attended this year's YGB Conference. 

The BSD student leaders were joined by 100 other students from around the area and were inspired by sessions on college readiness and preparation.  The students listened to several presentations and engaged in breakout sessions related to their own culturally relevant experiences. 

The University of Washington's YGB Conference highlights African American history and culture that aims to motivate and empower attendees, promote self-esteem, social consciousness, cultural awareness and the importance of higher education.  

Tillicum Named School of the Year by ISA

June 5, 2015
Congratulations to Tillicum Middle School who was recognized at the Embassy of Spain in Washington D.C. as one of the top International Spanish Academy (ISA) schools in the nation.  Tillicum was awarded second place in the middle school category for “Colegio del Año” or “School of the Year.”

“This award recognizes Tillicum Middle School’s ISA program as an advanced language program that shows excellence in content and language integrated learning methodology using Spanish,” said Tillicum Principal, James Peterson. 

The competition is organized by the Embassy’s Education Office.  It is open to public, private and charter schools nationwide that seek to improve foreign language competence in their students. 

“The award confirms what we here at Tillicum already know; we have an incredible team of Spanish language teachers providing high quality instruction and learning for students in a manner unsurpassed throughout the country,” said Peterson.  “This award recognizes the overall strength of our advanced language programs in Bellevue.” 

At the award ceremony, Tillicum also received two other certificates.  One certificate was from Grupo Anaya in recognition of academic excellence and grants the school $400 in books.  A second certificate was awarded by Instituto Cervantes and grants the school two licenses for virtual classroom, an online Spanish classroom.  Students can use virtual classroom to improve their Spanish skills on a daily basis with this program.    

PTSA Recognizes Bellevue Students with Scholarships

May 29, 2015
Congratulations to the students who were recognized at the Bellevue PTSA Council Annual Awards & Recognitions Dinner held on May 28 at Bellevue Big Picture School. 

Alice Hurd Memorial Scholarships for Outstanding Community Service:
Nickolas Schleiff, Bellevue Big Picture School
Hailey Sturgill, Bellevue High School
Po Bodin, Interlake High School
Amelia McDermott, International School
Grace Dy, Newport High School
Griffin Paulson, Sammamish High School

Bellevue Parks Scholarship for Dedication to Bellevue Parks:
Jonathan Malyon, International School

Dr. Michael Riley Memorial Scholarships for Academic Excellence:
Anna Strigenz, Bellevue Big Picture School
Serena Harber, Bellevue High School
Meera Srinivasan, Interlake High School
Ahrif McKee, International School
Joo Hyun Kim, Newport High School
Cory McCarten, Sammamish High School

Celebrating Reflections Award Winners for 2014-15

May 29, 2015
The Reflections programs supports the arts programs in the Bellevue School District.  Several council winners were recognized by the Washington State PTA Reflections Program and one student was recognized by the National PTA Reflections Program. 

WSPTA Reflections Award Winners:
Visual Arts-Award of Merit – High School (Grades 9-12) – Michelle Bae, International School
Visual Arts-Award of Merit – Intermediate (Grades 3-5) – Julia Santamaria, Clyde Hill
Visual Arts-Outstanding Interpretation – Primary (Pre K-2) – Hosannah Choi, Somerset
Music Composition-Outstanding Interpretation – Middle School (Grades 6-8) – Jake Lee, Odle Middle School
Dance Choreography-Award of Merit – Intermediate (Grades 3-5) – Tessa Cosper, Bennett

National PTA Reflections Award Winner:
Visual Arts-Primary Division – Award of Excellence – Hosannah Choi, Somerset

Bellevue School District and the City of Bellevue Named a 2015 Recycler of the Year

May 27, 2015
Annually, Washington State Recycling Association recognizes individuals, businesses, government agencies and community organizations with Recycler of the Year awards.  Recipients of the awards are distinguished for their outstanding contributions to strengthening and expanding recycling and waste prevention practices across the state. 

This year Bellevue School District and the city of Bellevue were the recipient of the “Youth Education – School District’s Green Genius Zero Waste Cafeteria Challenge,” award. 

The award recognized a few outstanding achievements:

  • ALL schools in the district have reduced garbage dumpster sizes or pickup frequencies.  Schools are at a 50 percent or higher recycling rate, with the top school at 75 percent.
  • All schools have composting collection.
  • Elementary schools are switching to reusable trays
  • A districtwide requirement since 2011 called the “Green Genius” program for all schools to participate in achieving annual resource conservation goals.

The district and city’s “Zero Waste Cafeteria Challenge” was also spotlighted in the award.  The elementary school contest has been highly successful and competitive, with 90-95 percent of all elementary schools participating annually, resulting in more than 7,000 students each year learning how to reduce waste at lunch and at home.  

Interlake Senior Wins National Merit Scholarship

Congratulations to Interlake High senior Brian Baek, one of 2,200 winners nationwide of a college-sponsored National Merit Scholarship. 

Baek received the scholarship from the University of Chicago. 

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. 


Bellevue Students Recognized by 5th Avenue Awards

Photo by Rick Edelman

May 21, 2015
Congratulations to the drama programs at Newport and Sammamish high schools for being recognized by the 2015 Fifth Avenue Awards honoring high school musical theater.  This year judges viewed 104 productions.  The winners will be announced on June 8. 

Newport High School performed Tarzan and received four honorable mentions for: Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Lobby Design and Outstanding Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Non-Singing Role by freshman Connor McKenna as Clayton. 

Students at Sammamish had two nominees and one honorable mention for their performance of The Sound of Music.  Junior Caetlyn Conklin as Elsa received an honorable mention for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Support Role.  Senior Sada Adams is a nominee for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Featured Ensemble Role.  She played Sister Margaretta in the show.  Sophomore Chloe Bechtold is a nominee for Outstanding Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Non-Singing Role for her performance as Frau Schmidt.  

Bellevue Students Triumph in Washington Future Problem Solving State Bowl

May 19, 2015
Students in grades 4 through 12 were challenged to devise solutions for the problems related to ‘Enhancing Human Potential’ in the Washington Future Problem Solving (FPS) State Bowl at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood April 15-17. Several Bellevue students from elementary to high school qualified to compete in the state level.  Michelle Benzinger and Sheuli Chowdhury coach Spiritridge students, Debby Benzinger coaches Odle students and Michael O'Bryne coaches Interlake students. The FPS program stimulates critical and creative thinking skills, encourages students to develop a vision for the future, and prepares students for leadership roles. 

2015 State Global Team Problem Solving Competition Awards

Junior Division (Grades 4-6):

1st Place: Spiritridge Elementary

Team members: Neil Chowdhury, Jake Donner, Lucas Hou, and Carina Sun

Intermediate Division (Grades 7-9):

1st Place: Odle Middle School
Team members: Derek Zhang, Ben Krautwald, Aaron Wu, and Abhinav Bandari

3rd Place: Odle Middle School
Team members: Alex Li, Patrick Kim, Caleb Lee, and Ethan Ling

Senior Division (Grades 10-12):

1st Place: Bellevue Independent (Team PRISM)
Team members: Rana Bansal (Lakeside), Po Bodin (Interlake), and Renhao Hu (Newport)

2nd Place: Interlake High School
Team members: Kathleen Chen, Grant Chen, Mayhul Arora, and Patrick Liu

3rd Place: Interlake High School
Team members: Andrew Xue, Jerry Xu, David Hwang, and Erich Liang

State Individual Awards

Intermediate Individual Problem Solving
1st Place – Eshika Saxena, Odle Middle School

2nd Place – Aditya Kannan, Odle Middle School

Intermediate Scenario Writing
1st Place – Surtaz Khan, Odle Middle School,

Senior Scenario Writing
3rd Place – Ayana Harscoet, Interlake High School

The first and second place winners are moving on to compete internationally. The 2015 International Conference will be held at Iowa State University June 10 - 14. The topic is ‘Intellectual Property.’ Future Problem Solving Program International involves thousands of students annually from Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. Learn more at

Three Bellevue Students Win Corporate-Sponsored National Merit Awards

Three Bellevue School District students were among 1,000 high school seniors who won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. 

Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage. 

Winners from Bellevue are:

Sheuli Chowdhury, Interlake High School

Karl Hou, Newport High School

Ellie Ungar, Interlake High School

National Merit $2500 Scholarship Winners List Includes 7 Bellevue Students

May 6, 2015
Seven students from Bellevue have been named National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners.   This year’s competition began in October 2013 when 1.4 million juniors in 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/MNSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.  Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named Semifinalists on a state-representational basis.  Only these 16,000 Semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition. 

From the Semifinalist group, 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.  By the conclusion of the 2015 program, about 7,600 Finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of about $34 million in college scholarships.

National Merit Scholarship Winners:

Bellevue High School
Kevin Guo

Interlake High School
Karthik Meiyappan
Meera Srinivasan
George Sun
Winston Wright

Newport High School
Allen Lu

Sammamish High School
Cory McCartan

Bellevue School Students Semi-finalists in FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award

March 27, 2015
The Dark Knights team has been selected as a FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Global Innovation semi-finalist. The team was invited to present their innovative solution to a panel of judges during the 2015 FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, April 22-25. The Dark Knights will join 19 other teams, who have been chosen from 527 entries from 22 countries worldwide.  

Students from three different Bellevue schools were in a rookie robotics team this year, along with a student from another district Ayasha Foster. The BSD team members are Neil Chowdhury, Aditya Sinha and Joshua Wang from Spiritridge; Keala and Theresa Pinpin from Puesta del Sol; and Michael Pinpin from Tillicum.  The team won innovative solution awards in both qualifier and semifinal levels during FLL World Class competition in Washington. Their innovation is called ‘Rewrite with a Smartwrite’. Their solution involves a stylus called Smartwrite which interacts with an app, ReWrite, to help sufferers of agraphia and other writing disabilities learn to write again. This invention will reduce the need for a professional therapist for people with these illnesses.

The FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award, presented by XPRIZE, encourages teams to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems. More information can be found at

Newport Places 2nd at National Orchestra Festival

March 23, 2015
On Friday, March 20, Newport High School was awarded second place at the National Orchestra Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This was Newport’s first time to enter the highly competitive event. The festival is the most prestigious nationwide orchestra event in the United States, attracting the top orchestra programs from around the country. Judges recognized the winning schools for their superior performance, musicianship and overall quality.

Newport's Chamber Orchestra is composed of 43 students, and led by Christine Gero. Teamwork, dedication and a common goal for excellence contributed to the orchestra's well deserved second place!

Sammamish High School Wins $10,000 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom 'MVP Award'

March 23, 2015
Symetra and the Seattle Seahawks have awarded Sammamish High School with the 2014 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® “MVP Award.”  Sammamish will use the $10,000 grant to fund an innovative student achievement program focused on growing student interest and awareness of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions.

The winning program, called “Engineering Projects in the Community” or EPICS, was announced at a March 20 luncheon at CenturyLink Field celebrating all 16 Puget Sound-area Symetra Heroes in the Classroom winners from the 2014 NFL season. Sammamish High School Principal Tom Duenwald was on hand to receive the $10,000 check from Jim Pirak, Symetra’s senior vice president of Corporate Marketing and Investor Relations, and Mike Flood, Seattle Seahawks vice president, Community Relations and Special Projects. Duenwald was joined by Elayne Grueber, an engineering and physics instructor at Sammamish High School and a 2014 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom recipient.

“EPICS is a unique program that provides students with an amazing leaning opportunity. They design, build and deliver real products to solve engineering-based problems that meet the needs of nonprofit organizations,” said Duenwald. “The program’s goal is to grow student interest and awareness of STEM professions, particularly in underrepresented female and minority student populations. Students work through an engineering design process that teaches them to solve open-ended problems and develop many transferable skills. Albert Einstein said, ‘The value of an education is not the learning of many facts, but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks,’ and this is exactly the opportunity students have in the EPICS program at Sammamish.”

The Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program honors K-12 teachers for educational excellence throughout the NFL football season. Each of the 16 Puget Sound-area schools with a teacher/Hero is eligible to submit an MVP Award proposal. Nominated programs are evaluated on a range of criteria, including innovation, feasibility and demonstrated need.

Clyde Hill Reading Team Wins Silver Medal

March 19, 2015
Congratulations  to the Clyde Hill Reading Global Challenge Team, the Phoenix Birds (Sam, Kavya, Trudy, Jacob, Rachel and Ben), on your silver medal win in the 2015 East Regional Grand Challenge of the Global Reading Challenge, an annual program sponsored by King County Library Services (KCLS).

The Global Reading Challenge asks teams of 4th and 5th graders across the country to read a selection of books. Teams then challenge other teams to answer questions about the books.

Bellevue High Wrestler Wins State Title

March 17, 2015
Congratulations to Bellevue High wrestler Christian Villani who won the 3A state title for the 152 lb weight class! 

The wrestling state championship, also known as Mat Classic, took place Feb. 20-21 in Tacoma. 

Two Sammamish Athletes are State Champions

March 16, 2015
Congratulations to Nykaela Dodson for becoming the All-Around state champion in Gymnastics.

And congratulations to Jacob Tower becoming the state champion in two swimming events: 100m Freestyle and 50m Freestyle where he also set a meet record.

State Swim Champs!

March 16, 2015
Congratulations to Bellevue and Newport High boys swim teams for clinching the state championship titles for 3A and 4A respectively!  The teams captured their titles on Feb. 21 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. 

Newport claimed the title for the second year in a row, with a compiled 199 points.  The 400 yard free relay team placed first with a time of 3:10.18. 

The Wolverines racked up 406 team points with three first place finishes in the 200-yard medley relay, the 200 yard free relay and the 400 free relay. 

Eric Bartleson coaches the Newport Knights, and Bellevue is coached by Andy Hay.  

Coaches of the Year at Newport High School

March 10, 2015
Newport High School’s gymnastics team had award-winning leadership this year!  Melissa Baker was named 4A “Coach of the Year” and Courtney Amonsen was selected as “Assistant Coach of the Year.”  The State Coaches Association nominates the candidates and selects the winners.  This is the 5th season for both coaches with Newport's gymnastics team. The team placed second in the league and in districts this year.

Odle Symphony Takes First at NW Orchestra Festival

March 9, 2015
For the second year in a row the Odle Academy Orchestra won the first place prize in their division. The orchestra impressed the judges with performances of the Overture from Rossini's Barber of Seville, Intermezzo from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, and the Finale from Dvorak's New World Symphony.

Odle's Symphonic Orchestra also competed and placed 3rd after an outstanding performance of the Finale from Tchaikovsky's 2nd Symphony.

The NW Orchestra Festival invites orchestras from Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Nevada.

BHS Girls Soccer Coach Honored as Regional Coach of the Year

February 4, 2015
Varsity Coach Matt Dorman was selected National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Region Coach of the Year.

The NSCAA recognized Coach Dorman at the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia.

Bellevue Assistant Principal Named 2015 Academic Assembly Distinguished Award Winner

January 8, 2015
Congratulations to Newport High School’s Assistant Principal, Lance Balla, who was selected by the College Board as the 2015 Academic Assembly Distinguished Award winner for the Western Region.  The award recognizes those who have offered meritorious service to their profession and proven ability as a “leader of leaders.” 

The award also recognizes individuals with exemplary contributions which enhance the aims and professional activities of the College Board and for outstanding professional outreach on behalf of students over an extended period of time.  Balla will be formally recognized at the Western Regional Forum in Newport Beach, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015.

“Lance is an innovative leader and influential spokesperson for important issues in education not only in the Bellevue School District, but also on the national stage and specifically with College Board,” said Curriculum Developer Cathy Wellington.  “Lance advocates for rigorous education for all students and has been an invaluable asset for our district. He is well deserving of this distinguished service award.”

Tillicum Choir Wins Holiday Song Contest

December 23, 2014
Tillicum’s Advanced Choir of seventh and eighth graders was awarded $1000 from Bellevue Schools Foundation for their rendition of “Winter Wonderland.”  Students were asked to write new lyrics about the Foundation to the tune of an original holiday song.

“Asking our students to exercise their creativity and vocal cords on behalf of the Foundation so as to earn a $1000 prize seems like the perfect way to express our appreciation to our donors,” said Bellevue Schools Foundation executive director Roxanne Shepherd.  “While enjoying the holiday video, donors are reminded of the Foundation’s gratitude knowing their money wasn’t spent buying and mailing cards, but put to work supporting student music.”

“Students tackle a “real world problem” – helping a nonprofit spread holiday greetings in a fun way that stands out during a busy season – working collaboratively to earn money for the choir.  And, of course, we are so proud of the students and delighted to have them represent us to our community.  It just works all the way around,” Shepherd said.

Additionally, the students delighted district central office workers with holiday songs on Dec. 17, expressing their appreciation to the staff for their support and all that they do. 

Watch a video of the students performing the award-winning song.

Puesta del Sol Teacher Honored as Hero in the Classroom

December 19, 2014
Fourth grade teacher Kjell Mattson was named Hero in the Classroom on Tuesday, Dec. 16 by Symetra and the Seattle Seahawks.  Mattson was awarded $1000 for his classroom by Symetra and received two tickets to see the Seattle Seahawks face off against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 28. 

Sixteen Puget Sound K-12 teachers will be honored during the 2014 NFL season through the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program.  

Big Wins for Bellevue Robotics Teams

December 11, 2014
On December 6th, over two dozen First Lego League (FLL) teams from the Bellevue School District participated in the Edmonds Regional.

Bellevue Big Picture school had three teams comprised of students in grades 6-8 score in the top 12. Two of their teams advanced to the state semi-final:

  • Team 1623, the Metallic Panthers, received the Research Award, which recognizes a team that utilizes diverse resources to formulate an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the problem they have identified. The team researched the learning of languages for their project.
  • Team 1624, the Jungle Knights, received the coveted Champion’s Award, which recognizes a team that embodies the FLL experience, by fully embracing the Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the Robot Game and Project.

Elementary students came up big as well. Ardmore, Cherry Crest, Phantom Lake, Puesta del Sol, Sherwood Forest, Somerset, and Woodridge all sent teams to the regional. Impressively, four elementary teams qualified for the state semi-final after competing against middle school teams:

  • Team 11078, the Go-Go Gadgets (Woodridge), received the Judges Award. This top honor celebrates the team that exemplifies the core values of FIRST in their relationships with other teams and by their demonstrated gracious professionalism.
  • Team 14394 (Cherry Crest) received the Outstanding Research Project Award.
  • Team 14392 (Cherry Crest) received the Gracious Professionalism Award.
  • Team 11421 (Cherry Crest)

Four Interlake High School Students Perform with the 2014 NAfME All-National Honors Ensembles

November 5, 2014
Congratulations to Interlake High School students, Rolanda Fu (violin), Emily Sun (violin), Trey Sakazaki (alto sax) and Chance Sweetser (trombone), for being named to the 2014 NAfME All-National Honor Ensemble sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Together these four Interlake High School students joined the most musically talented and skilled high school students in the United States for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: performing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 29, 2014.

Fu and Sun who study under the direction of Dr. Shira Katsman are two of only four students from Washington State named to the 150 member Symphony Orchestra, while  Sakazaki and Sweetser, under the direction of Interlake High School’s David Kim and Paul Gillespie, are two of just three Washington State students named to the 150 member Concert Band.

District social worker named Distinguished School Social Worker of the Year

October 29, 2014
Longtime Bellevue School District social worker Piper Sangston was named 2014 Distinguished School Social Worker of the Year at the annual Washington Association of School Social Workers conference. 

Bellevue teacher Enid Smith Becker named Secondary Level Educator of the Year

October 14, 2014
Enid Smith Becker, who teaches at Bellevue’s International School, was named Secondary Level Educator of the Year by The Washington Art Education Association.

“Enid is deeply committed to her students being able to express their creativity through many forms of media and in supporting them to high levels of mastery,” International School Principal Jen Rose said in a press release.

The award is given to a Washington state teacher that has extensive history of highly accomplished teaching at the high school level. 

Bellevue Student Named Semifinalist in 2015 National Achievement Scholarship Program

October 14, 2014
Haelan Nunn, a student at Bellevue High, was named a semifinalist in the 2015 National Achievement Scholarship Program.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program, conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, is a privately financed academic competition. It was initiated in 1964 to recognize academically promising black students throughout the nation and to provide scholarships to a substantial number of the most outstanding program participants. 

To advance to the finalist level in the competition, semifinalists and their school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

International Principal Jen Rose recognized for educational leadership

October 14, 2014
Jen Rose, Principal at International School, was selected by the UW College of Education for the University Council for Educational Administration Excellence in Educational Leadership Award.

The award is given to school administrators who have made significant contributions to the improvement of administrator preparation. 

Bellevue Students Win National Merit Scholarships

September 23, 2014
Bellevue students were among some 2,500 Merit Scholars chosen from 15,000 finalists in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. Factors considered included academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

Bellevue National Merit Scholarship winners include:

  • Tiffany Chen, International School
  • Aashka Damani, Interlake
  • Menglan Ji, Interlake
  • Michael Kim, Interlake
  • Stafford-Ames Morse III, Interlake
  • Oliver Hu, Bellevue High
  • Audrey Chen, Interlake

College-Sponsored National Merit Scholarship Winners from Bellevue include:

  • Varun Dhananjaya, Interlake
  • Tanner Peterson, Interlake
  • Ottomar Shih, Interlake

Bellevue Schools Ranked Among Top in the Nation

September 10, 2014
School ranking lists are out for 2014 and Bellevue schools have once again been named among the best in the nation.

The International School was ranked 32nd overall in the country by The Daily Beast. Also ranked were Newport High at 158th, Bellevue High at 310th, and Interlake High at 407th. Also by The Daily Beast, the International School, Newport, and Interlake were ranked in the top 100 for rigor, and the International School was also ranked in the top 100 for graduation rate and ACT/SAT scores. According to The Daily Beast, criteria used to rank schools included: “college-level courses and exams, percentage of students with free or reduced lunch, as well as SAT and ACT scores.”  

Additionally, Newport High School was ranked 219th in the country on the “America’s Top  High Schools” list by Newsweek.

Bellevue Teachers Honored as Symetra Heroes in the Classroom

September 10, 2014
Medina Elementary teacher Susan Muller and Sammamish High teacher Elayne Grueber were both named Symetra Heroes in the Classroom last week. 

Mueller and Grueber were named Teachers of the Week and were honored both at their respective schools and at the Seahawks game vs. Green Bay on Sept. 4. Both received two tickets to the game, and each school received a $1,000 donation. 

Throughout the 2014 NFL season 16 Puget Sound area K-12 teachers will be honored for educational excellence through the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program. 

Interlake Junior Places at Intel International Science & Engineering Fair

June 11, 2014
Meera Srinivasan, a junior at Interlake, won the second award for Environmental Sciences at the Intel ISEF in Los Angeles. Meera was awarded $1,500 for her project "P.A.H. (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) Mixtures: Using Zebrafish to Elucidate Mechanisms of Toxicity."

Millions of students around the world compete for an opportunity to advance to 450 regional fairs. Winners of the regional fairs advance to the Intel ISEF.

Team of Bellevue students win Warren Buffett's "Grow Your Own Business Challenge"

May 19, 2014
Tyee students Krystal and Kei and Somerset student Allyson, won the 3rd annual Secret Millionaires Club "Grow Your Own Business Challenge". The competition challenged kids to create original business ideas. Krystal, Kei and Allyson created a business idea called WiseGuide which they presented to Warren Buffett and a panel of judges at a Grand Prize Event in Omaha, NE. WiseGuide is an online community that helps connects people with grandparents and the elderly.

Bellevue Students Qualify for US Presidential Scholars Program

May 18, 2014
Of the three million graduating seniors in the class of 2014, 3,900 qualified for the US Presidential Scholars Award. Twenty of those students are from the Bellevue School District; three of them were named semifinalists.


  • Jenny Jin, BHS
  • Alisha Saxena, IHS
  • Stafford-Ames Morse, IHS


Coral Bays-Muchmore (IHS); Irving Chen (NHS); Johan How (SHS); Menglan Ji (IHS); Rona Ji (IHS); Julia Liu (IHS); Charles Lu (IHS); Arielle Menn (IHS); Ottomar Shih (IHS); Akshath Sivaprasad (IHS); Alex Tang (IHS); Yanisa Techagumthorn (IHS); Thomas White (BHS); Matthew Zhao (NHS); Joseph Pooley (IHS); Kevin Liu (IHS); Mira Liu (IHS)

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Odle Student Wins First Place in World Citizen Essay Contest

May 14, 2014
Odle Middle School seventh-grader Anirudh Prakash's essay won First Place at the World Citizen Essay Contest, among nearly 450 entries from across WA state. Anirudh will be presented his award at the June Council meeting, where he will meet the Famous travel-author Rick Steves is the keynote speaker and award presenter for this year's awards ceremony. 

Excerpt from Anirudh's essay Piracy: A Conspiracy to Shun Ancient Growth is below:

“Although the Oscar-nominated Captain Phillips shed the spotlight on Somalia last year, current events research had already sparked my curiosity about the horn of Eastern Africa. Like Peter Pan craving Neverland, I dared to venture into an unconventional travel on the rarely chosen path…I would question international organizations and tourists…I would dig deep into a young pirate’s origin…I could help earn a well deserving respect for a misunderstood ancient settlers’ nation with a vibrant past.”

Science Infinity Club Places 4th at the National Science Bowl

May 5, 2014
Bellevue students Sagarika Samavedi (Odle) and Veenadhari Kollipara (Highland), along with their team Science Infinity, took home 4th place in the middle school competition at the National Science Bowl in Washington D.C.

The National Science Bowl is a nationwide competition that tests students across all areas of science and mathematics and is run by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This year over 5,000 middle students and over 9,000 high school students competed across the entire country.

Sagarika and Veenadhari reached the national competition after placing 1st in a regional competition. At regionals they were joined on the podium by Odle students Anirudh Prakash, Colin Tang, Evan Tung, Gabriel Shen and Matthew Shum who, together as a team, placed 3rd.

Bellevue Students Earn Awards at the WA Future Problem Solving State Bowl, April 2014

May 5, 2014
Eighty-six Odle Middle School and 50 Interlake High School students won top honors in the Washington State Future Problem Solving Bowl held at the Warm Beach Conference Center from April 14-16. Teams and individuals were challenged to devise solutions to solve problems related to this year’s topic, land transportation.

Senior Team Competition:

  • 3rd place: Interlake High School (Daniel Becker-coach) Mahalaxmi Elango, Jessica Jiang, David Li, Julia Chen
  • 2nd place: Bellevue Independent Team, PRISM (Coach Rajesh Bansal) Rana Bansal, Po Bodin, Renhao Hu, Hari Mahesh
  • 1st place: Interlake High School (Daniel Becker-coach) Aashka Damani, Akshath Sivaprasad, Mathi Manavalan, Mira Liu

All first, and many second-place winners will move on to the International FPS Conference at Iowa State University June 12-15. Odle coaches are Mrs. Debby Benzinger, Mrs. Joan Boyd, and Ms. Emily Elzea. Daniel Becker coaches the Interlake students.

Read more here about the Individual Winners...

Bellevue Chemist Wins State Competition and is Heading to Nationals

April 28, 2014
Several young chemists from the Bellevue school District participated in the Washington State You Be The Chemist Challenge on April 19th, 2014 at Chief Kanim Middle School. There were over 90 students from thirty five schools across King, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties took part at this year’s challenge. All the participants took a written test as a qualifier from which 31 students were selected for the electronic rounds. There were four electronic rounds each consisting of fifteen multiple choice questions. Students with lowest scores were eliminated at the end of each round.

Aum Upadhyay, a 7th grader from Odle Middle School, emerged as the state winner. Veenadhari Kollipara (8th grade, Highland Middle School) was 2nd runner up. Additionally Colin Tang and Anirudh Prakash from Odle Middle school were tied for the grade level winner. Aum Upadhyay will be traveling to Philadelphia for the National You Be The Chemist Challenge.

Six Bellevue Students Receive National Merit Scholarships

April 28, 2014
Six Bellevue students are among this year’s National Merit Scholarship winners.  They were chosen from more than 8,000 finalists in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program.  Most of the awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends between $500 to $10,000 per year, some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Winners of the scholarship are judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Interlake High: Coral Bays-Muchmore, Clarine S. Long, Sarah K. Williams, Justina J. Chen

International School:  Brandon S. McNerney

Newport High:  Adrienne T. Chen

Newport Rocketry Club Advances to Nationals

April 28, 2014
One year ago the Newport Rocketry Club didn't exist. This year they are heading to Virginia to compete in the national Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) after qualifying as one of the top 100 teams out of 700 in the country.

With 5,000 annual participants, TARC is the world’s largest student rocket contest and a key piece of the aerospace industry’s strategy to build a stronger U.S. workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In one of the most difficult challenges in the competition’s 12-year history, teams must design and build a model rocket that can travel to exactly 825 feet and back within 48-50 seconds while carrying precious cargo — two raw eggs that must return safely to the ground undamaged.

The Newport Rocketry Club has more than bragging rights on the line. Winners of the national competition receive $60,000 in scholarships and prizes along with a trip to England to compete in the international competition.

Odle Students Bring Home Washington State Elementary Chess Trophy

April 14, 2014
On Saturday, April 12, Odle Middle School was represented at the Washington State Elementary Chess tournament, which includes K through 6th grade students from all over Washington state, one of the most competitive regions in the country for elementary chess.

Seven Odle students (Zachary Zhang, Andrew McKeehan, Lance McKeehan, Tara  Reddy, Nikata Singh, Sanford Long, and Benjamin Mousseau) represented all Odle programs:  Gen Ed, GMSP and Prism. Seventh graders competed in an open category spanning grade 7 through adult. Sixth graders competed within their grade level for individual trophies and in the grades 4 through 6 overall category.

The Odle 6th graders successfully accumulated points for their performance and ended up bringing home the 8th place Team Trophy in Grade 4-6 category. This is an impressive victory considering only five 6th graders participated, compared with some other elementary school teams with double and even triple the team size.  Three of our students finished among the top twenty 6th graders and brought home personal trophies for their performance.

Additionally nine Odle Middle School students (Derek Zhang, Nathaniel Yee, Aditya Kannan, Shifa Somji, Jason Yang, Subham Behera, Dorian Clay, Rahul Sehgal and Gabriel Shen) participated in the WA State Middle School Championship. It is an individual championship with no team category. One student (Dorian Clay) won first place in the K-9U1300 section. In the Open section, three of the students placed in the top 15 finishes.

Bellevue Educators Receive Grants

March 24, 2014
East-King School Retirees’ Association presented grants to four Bellevue School District educators this month.

Bellevue High School’s Stephanie Kubej received funds to purchase a document camera and accessories for use in her English classes. Instead of scanning pages at the copy machine, she’ll be able to use the camera to project and magnify texts and student writing for all to easily study.

Three elementary school teachers also received grants. Chelle Swim requested money to purchase sets of math manipulatives for use by all three first grade teachers at Phantom Lake. Nancy Mowat at Sherwood Forest was presented funds to purchase “We Both Read” books for joint use by K-5 students and their parents. Ardmore’s librarian, Jan DuBois, was awarded a grant to purchase a collection of non-fiction books that focus on science topics.

The East-King unit of the Washington State School Retirees’ Association meets monthly throughout the year and welcomes active and retired school employees at its meetings. The more than 430 members of the East-King unit raise funds year-round so they can assist active educators in need of extra funding for projects and programs.

Odle Middle School Wins 9th Consecutive MathCounts State Championship

March 19, 2014
On Saturday March 15th, 10 Mathletes, who won their qualification from Mathcounts Lake Washington Chapter Competition in February, represented Odle Middle School in the 2013-2014 MathCounts Washington State Competition. About 160 students from across Washington State participated.

Once again, Odle won first place in the team competition. This is the ninth year in a row that the Odle Mathcounts Team has won first place in this competition. This year’s Odle team members are: Colin Tang, Sophia Zhi, Anthony Lu and Richard Dong.

In addition to the team win, our Matheletes performed well in individual competition. Three students finished in the top 4, and overall 9 students placed in the top 20:

Colin Tang (7th grade) 1st place
Anthony Lu (8th grade) 3rd place
Richard Dong (8th grade) 4th place
Adrian Fan (8th grade) 5th place
Eshan Kemp (7th grade) 6th place
Daniel He (8th grade) 9th place
Sophia Zhi (8th grade) 12th place
Zong Zhang (8th grade) 13th place
Daniel Lee (8th grade) 18th place

Colin Tang, Anthony Lu and Richard Dong will be representing our state in the 2013-2014 MathCounts National Competition on May 9th, in Orlando, Florida. First place team coach from Odle Middle School, Qi Lu, will be the WA state coach for this year's national competition.

Odle Academy Symphony Orchestra Wins First in Division at NW Orchestra Festival!

March 10, 2014
The Odle Academy Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Barney Blough and comprised of 80 students from the Mr. Blough's Academy Orchestra and Mr. Roberts' Academy Band, came together to perform as a full symphony orchestra this past weekend at the NW Orchestra Festival in Gresham, Oregon.  The group took home the First Place Trophy in its division!  Past divisional winners include such noted music programs as those of Roosevelt and Garfield High Schools of Seattle.  This is truly a huge accomplishment, and all of the students, parent chaperones, and members of Friends of Odle Music are justifiably proud and thrilled.

The Odle Academy Symphony Orchestra is made up of mostly eighth grade students.  The Odle Symphonic Symphony Orchestra, mostly seventh graders, also competed at the NW Orchestra Festival and performed admirably.  Altogether, 133 students represented Odle with distinction.  For the past month and a half, all of the students participated in special rehearsals and concerts conducted by Mr. Blough, devoting many hours to perfecting their performances.

Interlake Senior Commits to Play Division 1 Lacrosse at Princeton

Interlake senior and three-sport athlete Camille Sullivan has committed to play NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse at Princeton.  Sullivan has been co-captain of the Bellevue East Lacrosse Club for three years and helped lead the team to a state championship in 2011.  She’s also been named to the All-America team, All-State team and All-Academic team.  In addition to lacrosse, Sullivan is also a four-year letter winner in both basketball and soccer.  Sullivan maintains a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Bellevue First Lego League Teams Take on Nature’s Fury

Elementary school teams from Bellevue came up with some innovative solutions to tackle “Nature’s Fury” at the recent North Sound First Lego League (FLL) Regional Competition in Edmonds.  Teams participating in the FLL competition were required to develop a solution to a problem dealing with a natural disaster, while also displaying teamwork and collaboration.  Teams also programmed a Lego robot to perform missions on a Lego playing field. 

Teams from Ardmore, Bennett, Medina, Newport Heights and Puesta del Sol were among the 53 teams competing at the Edmonds regional.  The Puesta del Sol teams (pictured) did very well.  Team 2323, the Mustache Monkeys, placed sixth and advance to the state semi-finals in early February.  Team Phenomenon and Team Stormbots placed 37th and 42nd, respectively.  The Stormbots also received a special Core Values Inspiration Awards, which celebrates a team that is empowered by their FLL experience and displays extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit. 

Update:  The Mustache Monkeys from Puesta del Sol received the "Gracious Professionalism Award" at the state semi-finals.  The award recognizes a team whose members show each other and other teams respect at all times.  They recognize that both friendly competition and mutual gain are possible, on and off the playing field.

Bellevue Students Chosen to Participate in 2014 WMEA All-State Music Ensembles

117 student musicians from Bellevue schools have been selected to participate in the upcoming 2014 All-State Music Ensembles.  The ensembles are sponsored by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) and will perform at the WMEA state conference in Yakima in mid-February.  Congratulations to the following students:

2014 WMEA All-State Chamber Orchestra
Bellevue:  Christine Kwon, Gina Lee, Bryan Oh
Interlake:  Audrey Chen, Rona Ji, Darren Leung, David Li, Chance Sweetser, Jerry Tsui
Newport:  Steven Kim, Jamie Sanidad

2014 WMEA All-State Concert Band
Bellevue:  Taylor Hill, Oliver Kou, Olivia Tsang,
Interlake:   Bradley Bartos, Andrew Cao, Josef Kauffman, Charlene Kwon, Aldous Root, Trey Sakazaki, Rebecca Xie
International:  Timotheus Letz
Newport:  Victoria Chen, Myungki Keven Kang, Shelley Liao, Zirun Kevin Wu
Sammamish:  Jenny Kim

2014 WMEA All-State Jazz Band
Interlake:  Carlos Eiene

2014 WMEA All-State Jazz Choir
International:  Ahrif McKee, Julia Pyke

2014 WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir
Bellevue:  Oliver Hu, Riley McGinn, Drew Stuart
Interlake:  Kara Duval-Fowler, Lincoln Gee
International:  Jonathan Malyon, Edwin Smith, Mark So
Newport:  Chido Chang, Niki Johnson, Emily Kohl, Jordan Sanberg, Annie Wan
Sammamish:  Alicia Murowchick, Samantha Ruhl

2014 WMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra
Bellevue: Kristine Choi, Jungwoo Lee, Athan Liu, Sarah Oh, Hannah Tsai
Interlake: Brian Baek, Rolanda Fu, Alice Hsu, Pramod Kotipalli, Grant Lee, Jason Lee, Connor Murphy, Emily Sun, Stephanie Zhang
International:  Lucas Chen
Newport:  Sarah Davis, Claire Hillier, Kelsey Luu, Brie Mortensen, James Park, Peyton Schmidt, Kevin Xu, Katie Zhao

2014 WMEA All-State Treble Choir
Bellevue:  Samantha Fredman, Lara McSherry, Roxanneh Mousavi
Newport:  Chloe Collins, Carly VanDongen
Sammamish:  Sophia Burroughs

2014 WMEA All-State Wind Ensemble
Bellevue: Sean Mahoney
Interlake: Mina Liao, Matthew Saathoff, Nicholas Teoh
Newport:  Auden Durant, Ethan Ong, Erica Sanidad, Sam Spicer

2014 WMEA Junior All-State Band
Chinook: Sarah Ihn, Andrew McDonald
International: Jacqueline Lu
Odle: Juia Dai, Sten Hoffman, Ethan Solomon
Tillicum:  Maddy Bixby, Kieran Matz, Gunnar Virgin
Tyee: Alexa Gherman 

2014 WMEA Junior All-State Orchestra
Chinook:  Dianne Lee, Jiao-Jiao Lin
International: Christina Joo, Rachael Koo
Odle: Michael Huang, Jonathan Kuntz, Anne Lim, Aman Mohammed, Glen Oh, Matthew Shum, Akshay Venkatesh, Chen Xu, Jay Yang, Eric Zhu
Tillicum: Keila Fujinaka, Adeline Hillier, Leo Li
Tyee: Michelle Lin, Fiona Yang

2014 WMEA Junior All-State Choir
Highland: Anna Trohimovich
Tillicum: Sarah Shank, Ruby Barnes
Tyee: Kayan (Sissi) Wang, Devrim Eryurek, Connor McKenna

Newport Jazz Students Invited to Swing Central Jazz Band Competition

The Newport High School Jazz 1 Band, directed by Todd Mahaffey, is one of just 12 high school jazz bands from across the country selected to participate in the ninth annual Swing Central Jazz Band Competition and Workshop in Savannah, Georgia.  In late March, Newport students will travel to Savannah, where they will work with jazz masters for three days, perform in several showcase events around the city, and compete for the coveted Faircloth Award.  Students will also have the opportunity to attend a number of performances at the Savannah Music Festival. 

Nineteen Bellevue Teachers Receive National Board Certification

Congratulations to the nineteen Bellevue School District teachers who recently earned their National Board Certification.  National Board Certification is the highest credential available to educators.  Teachers who are National Board Certified must complete a rigorous process and meet high standards regarding what educators should know and be able to do.  They demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the education of students, as well as their own professional development and growth.   With 19 new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), the district is among the top five districts in the state in the number of new NBCTs.

Newly certified National Board Certified Teachers in Bellevue:

  • Joseph Achelphol
  • Karen Berry
  • Stephanie Brown
  • Adrienne Dickinson
  • Jenni Eicher
  • Shari Gehrke
  • Karen Greytak
  • Jennifer Hampshire
  • Ann Harkness
  • Taryn Hope
  • Kimberly Kaufman
  • Katherine Kikawa
  • Kevin Kincaid
  • Christina Maricich
  • Lisa Neshyba
  • Tracy Nishimura Shulman
  • Melinda Pederson
  • Allison Snow
  • Rachael Yeager

See all NBCT teachers in the Bellevue School District

Newport Heights Wins Green Genius Cafeteria Challenge

Newport Heights Elementary recently won first place in the district-wide 2013 Green Genius Cafeteria Challenge, sponsored by the Bellevue School District and the City of Bellevue.  Newport Heights generated the least amount of lunchtime garbage among 13 competing schools.  By recycling, composting food scraps and saving their leftovers, Newport Heights generated less than a third of a garbage can of trash during the two-week contest.

Cherry Crest Elementary placed second in the Green Genius Challenge and Phantom Lake Elementary came in third, with each generating a little more than a third of a garbage can of trash during the challenge.

As the winning school, Newport Heights will receive a “Recycle Robin” award made from recycled materials and a special assembly delivered by Radio Disney Team Green.  Congratulations to all the winners and participants who did a fantastic job of reducing waste, composting and recycling. 

Thank you for serving our students, staff and community

We want to take this opportunity to thank outgoing Board members, Paul Mills and Mike Murphy, for their years of service to our students, staff and community.  Mills joined the Board in 2001 and Murphy in 2007.  As part of the district's five member School Board, they provided tremendous insight into district work and direction.  Thank you!

Newport High Graduate Scores Perfect AP Exam

A recent Newport High School graduate is one of only 33 students in the world to earn every point possible on her Advanced Placement (AP) Microeconomics exam.  2013 Newport graduate Amy Hou received a perfect score on the AP Microeconomics exam taken last May.  She earned every point possible by answering every multiple-choice question correctly and earning the maximum scores on each of the problems in the free-response section of the exam.  Hou was a student in Caryn Heffernan's AP Microeconomics course.  Hou currently attends Emory University.  Read more

Sammamish High School Named Microsoft Mentor School

Sammamish High School has been selected as a Microsoft Mentor School for the 2013-2014 school year.  It’s one of only six schools in the United States and just 80 worldwide to receive the recognition for their innovative use of technology to transform education.  Participation as a Microsoft Mentor School means Sammamish will have the opportunity to share valuable experiences, lessons and best practices with Microsoft and other schools and educators, while also working to promote ideas to innovate in teaching and learning.  The school will have the opportunity to develop a pitch for a technology plan to be presented at the Microsoft Education Global Forum next spring in Spain.  Read more

Lake Hills Teacher Named "Symetra Hero in the Classroom"

Lake Hills kindergarten teacher Megan James was named a “Symetra Hero in the Classroom” during a surprise school assembly in late October.  James was nominated for the award by a Lake Hills parent.  She’s one of 16 teachers across the Puget Sound region recognized for their ability to make a real difference in students’ lives; for going above and beyond their daily responsibilities; and for helping students build life skills.  James received a donation for classroom supplies and tickets to a Seahawks game, where she will be recognized during an on-field presentation.

Interlake Volleyball, Newport Girls Swim Teams Named Academic State Champions

The Interlake High School volleyball team and Newport High School girls swim team have been named Academic State Champions by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.  The award recognizes teams with the highest average GPA in their sport and division.  The Interlake volleyball team, coached by Melissa Brodsky, had a team average GPA of 3.871.  The Newport swim team, coached by Eric Bartleson, had a team average GPA of 3.786.  Both teams will be recognized at the upcoming state championships.

International Teacher Named Finalist for National Math & Science Teaching Award

International School teacher Isabel Lee Holt has been selected as a state-level finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).  Holt has spent the majority of her career teaching 10th grade and AP Biology at International.  She’s one of 8 teachers from across the state to receive the nomination.  The PAEMST is the highest honor for K-12 math or science teachers and is given annually to teachers from each of the 50 states.  Finalists are selected by a statewide committee.  National award recipients will be announced in the spring.  

Interlake Student Named Semifinalist for National Achievement Scholarship Program

Interlake Senior Jonathan Harvey-Buschel is one of 1,600 high school seniors nationwide selected as a Semifinalist in the 50th annual National Achievement Scholarship Program.  The program, conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, recognizes academically promising black students throughout the nation.  Semifinalists have the opportunity to compete for approximately 800 Achievement Scholarship awards worth about $2.5 million.  Recipients will be announced next spring.

Interlake High Chamber Orchestra Places Third in National Competition

The Interlake High School Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Shira Katsman, recently earned third place in the school orchestra division of The American Prize competition.  Interlake was selected from applications reviewed this summer from all across the country.  The American Prize recognizes and rewards the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings.  Judges commented that Interlake’s orchestra had a “generous depth of tone, good intonation… performances with a sense of direction and considerable expression.”

District Receives Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling Award

The district has been recognized as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling by King County's Solid Waste Division.  This is the third year the district has received the award.  The district was recognized for employing an aggressive recycling and waste reduction program in which all schools are required to participate.  All schools in the district have completed all three levels of the King County Green Schools Program.  Read more  

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist List Includes 44 Bellevue Students

Forty four students from Bellevue have been named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists.   Semifinalists received the highest scores in the state on the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).  They represent less than one percent of high school seniors across the nation. 

To advance to the Finalist stage, Semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application, have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed by a high school official, write an essay and score well on the SAT.  Finalists compete for 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth about $45 million.  Finalists will be announced next spring.

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists:

Bellevue High School
Oliver Hu
Laura Reifsnyder
Benjamin Sheeran

Interlake High School
Coral  Bays-Muchmore
Jia Wen Chan
Audrey Chen
Justina Chen
Aashka Damani
Arjun Dave
Varun Dhananjaya
Steffen Felt
Kevin Ji
Menglan Ji
Rona Ji
Emily Jiang
Eli Kerry
Michael Kim
Darren Leung
Sarah Lim
Kevin Liu
Mira Liu
Clarine Long
Christopher Lu
Stafford-Ames Morse
Elise Nakatsu
Avanti Nambiar
Leonard Ngo
Tanner Peterson
Alisha Saxena
Ottomar Shih
Akshath Sivaprasad
Ashwath Srikanth
Alex Tang
Arthur Wall
Sarah Williams
George Wu
Rachel Wu

International School
Tiffany Chen
Julia Joo

Newport High School
Adrienne Chen
Irving Chen
Jonathan Meng
Lynn Zhang
Matthew Zhao

Odle Student Wins National Chemistry Competition

Congratulations to Odle Middle School student Eshan Kemp, who took home top honors at the 2013 National You Be the Chemist Challenge this past summer in Philadelphia.  Kemp emerged as the 2013 National Champion following nine rounds of competition designed to test students’ knowledge of chemistry concepts, important scientific discoveries, and more.  Kemp advanced to the nationals after winning the state championship last spring.  

Enatai Student Wins National Creative Writing Contest

Congratulations to Enatai fifth grader Erin Stark, whose essay won the national “Celebrate America” creative writing contest.  Stark advanced to the national competition after her essay on the theme “Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants” placed first in the state competition.  The nationwide competition is judged by U.S. senators, award-winning authors and noted journalists.  Erin has been invited to read her essay at an event in San Francisco.  Her winning entry will also be printed in the Congressional Record.  Enatai fifth graders Malia Yamamoto and Eva Richards also placed second and seventh, respectively, at the state competition.

Interlake Students Place at Intel International Science & Engineering Fair

Interlake students Alisha Saxena and Meera Srinivasan wowed the competition at the recent Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (IntelISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona.  Saxena, a junior, won third place in the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering category for her project, “A Microprocessor Controlled Device with Cloud Connected Sensors for Improving Cardiovascular Health and Workout Efficacy.”    Srinivasan, a sophomore, won fourth place in the Microbiology category for her project, “Rett Syndrome: Determining the Optimal Viral System for Gene Therapy.”  IntelISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.  

Bellevue Bands Hit High Note at 2013 BHS Jazz Festival

More than 50 bands from across Washington and Oregon competed at the 31st annual Bellevue High School Jazz Festival.  The student musicians took part in two days of competition, each of which ended with a finals concert in the brand new Performing Arts Center at BHS.  The following Bellevue schools placed at the top of their division:

Junior High School
First place:  Chinook Middle School, directed by Todd Mahaffey
First Place:  Sammamish High School, directed by Mark Wilbert
Third Place:  Interlake Jazz 2, directed by Paul Gillespie
First Place:  Interlake Jazz 1, directed by David Kim
First Place:  Newport High School, directed by Cory Edwards
Outstanding Soloists
Spencer Edgers, Newport Jazz tenor saxophonist; Danae Greenfield, Newport Jazz piano; Ben Zobel, Newport Jazz clarinet; Stanley Ruvinov, Interlake Jazz Bass; Carlos Eine, Interlake Jazz Tenor Saxophone; and Ben Acone, Sammamish Jazz piano.

Interlake Senior Named 2013 Presidential Scholar in the Arts

Interlake High School senior Ben Kadie has been named a 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholar.  Kadie is one of only 141 seniors nationwide to receive the honor, which recognizes students' accomplishments in academics or the arts.   Kadie was recognized as one of the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.   Scholars are chosen based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and commitment to high ideals.  Kadie will receive a medal at a White House ceremony in June.  His film, “The Painted Girl,” will be screened at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Four Bellevue students win National Merit Scholarships

Four Bellevue students are among this year’s National Merit Scholarship winners.  They were chosen from more than 15,000 finalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program.  Winners of the $2,500 scholarship are judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

International School:  Katherine Becker
Newport High:  Isabel Chien, Emily Zhang
Interlake High:  Margaret Locke

Tyee Students Featured in Health Lesson Videos

Two new videos on a state website feature Tyee Middle School students using mallets, rubber tubing and some mashed apples to learn an important lesson about how their bodies get proper nutrition.   Their hands-on and a bit messy seventh grade nutrition lesson was captured on camera for a training video for teachers across the state, demonstrating best practices around the Health Trek lessons.  The “Nutrient Wise” and “Think Before You Drink” videos can be seen on the website of the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (select the Middle School tab).

Five BSD students win corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarships

Five students from the Bellevue School District have received corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarships.  Winners were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met the criteria of the scholarship sponsors.

National Merit Boeing Scholarship
Interlake High School:  Graham Jordan, Kayla Miller, Haoming Wang
International School:  Margit Lund
Newport High School:  Shannon Ren

Interlake Jazz Band Takes First Place at Reno Jazz Festival

Interlake High School's Jazz Band placed first in their division at the annual Reno Jazz Festival, which attracts some of the best high school bands in the nation.  Interlake was the only high school in Washington selected to perform in the festival's showcase awards ceremony.  Interlake's Jazz Band is directed by David Kim and Paul Gillespie.  Watch their performance at the Reno Jazz Festival

Medina Third Grader Eva Lindberg is the Washington State Winner in the 2013 Doodle 4 Google Contest

Eva’s doodle for “My Best Day Ever” is a colorful drawing of a Day at the Island.  She says on her best day ever, she would play with the island monkeys, snakes, turtles, parrots and ants before heading home at sunset.  Eva won a trip to New York City for the national awards ceremony.  Voters will choose the national finalists from the 50 state winners.    Vote for Eva’s design

Two Tyee Middle School students were among the 250 State Finalists nationwide.  View Leah Chen and Eva Smerekanych's designs.

Bellevue students recently took top honors at the Washington Future Problem Solving State Bowl

Students who finished in first and second place advance to the Future Problem Solving International competition this June at Indiana University.  The competition stimulates critical and creative thinking skills, encourages students to develop a vision for the future, and prepares students for leadership roles.

Individual Winners:

First Place:  Camille Richards, Odle Middle School
First Place:  Alex Tang, Interlake High School (placed 10th at International competition)
Second Place:  Michael Kim, Interlake High School
Third Place:  Huadian Zhang, Interlake High School

Scenario Writing Competition Winners:

Second Place:  Michael Kim, Interlake High School
Third Place:  Aashka Damani, Interlake High School

Team Winners:

First Place:  Odle (Mehek Dedhia, Surtaz Khan, Gabriel Shen, Vaughn Poon)
Second Place:   Odle (Jacob Zhang, Maxwell Zhang, Colin Tang, Ethan Ling)
First Place:  Interlake (Jiaqi Chen, Mahalaxmi Elango, David Li, Jessica Jiang) -- placed 10th at International competition
Third Place:  Odle (Terrance Wang, Nikolai Warner, Andrew Xue, Jenny Xu)
First Place:  Interlake (Sheuli Chowdhury, Zeynep Ertugay, Laetitia Zhang, Kathleen Zhu
Second Place:  Interlake (Akshath Sivaprasad, Mathi Manavalin, Mira Liu, Aashka Damani) -- placed 7th at International competition
Third Place:  Interlake (Clarine Long, Douglas Mui, Sarah Williams, Yanisa Techagumthorn)

In addition, one junior team from Odle (Rasika Obla, Eshan Kemp, Anirudh Prakash, Eshika Saxena) ranked  third in junior presentations.  Interlake participants this year were coached by Daniel Becker, and Debby Benzinger and Joan Boyd coached the Odle teams.

Tyee Middle School students and Teacher Karen Barkley received the "Commitment to Community" Award

Tyee Middle School students and Teacher Karen Barkley received the "Commitment to Community" Award at the 2013 American Red Cross King County Heroes Breakfast for their fundraising efforts for Superstorm Sandy relief.

After learning in class about the human impact on natural disasters, students raised more than $800 in a week. Most of it was collected during Halloween trick-or-treating. Watch the Red Cross video about Tyee's Commitment to Community.

International Student Invited to Aspen Music Festival and School this summer in Colorado

International School eighth grader and violinist Christina Ding has been invited to attend the Aspen Music Festival and School this summer in Colorado. Aspen is a prestigious orchestral and operatic summer music festival, which offers students a combination of one-on-one instruction and professional performance experience.  Ding is one of about 600 students from around the world who were invited to attend, out of an estimated 350,000 applications.

Interlake High School Chamber Orchestra's Excellent Rating

The Interlake High School Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Shira Katsman, earned an “Excellent” rating at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in Rhode Island. The Interlake orchestra was one of seven high school orchestra from across the nation who participated in the finals of the national competition.

District Jazz Musicians Earn Rave Reviews

Talented jazz musicians from Chinook Middle School and International School earned rave reviews at the Jazz Northwest Festival in Spokane. The Chinook Jazz Band, under the direction of Todd Mahaffey, was awarded first place in the Middle School division.  The International School band, under the direction of Andy Rubesch, was awarded third place in the A/AA High School Division.

Interlake High School Counselor Named "Super Counselor"

Congratulations to Interlake High School counselor Mary Beth Gunson, who has been named the March 2013 “Super Counselor” by, a website designed to help students plan for their next steps in planning for college, careers and life.  Ms. Gunson was nominated by a student, who described her as “incredibly energetic and thoughtful” and someone students know they can count on.  Read more

Odle Mathletes Win First Place

Odle Middle School “mathletes” won first place at the 2013 Washington State MATHCOUNTS Competition. Members of the winning team are Patrick Wang, Colin Tang, Allen Yang and Erich Liang.  As first, second and fourth place finishers overall Wang, Tang and Yang will represent Washington at the national MATHCOUNTS Competition in Washington, D.C. in early May.  Tang also won first place in the written contest.

Principal Eric Ferguson Named a King County Earth Hero

Congratulations to Highland Middle School Assistant Principal Eric Ferguson, who has been named a King County Earth Hero at a School. Ferguson works with Highland’s Green Team and recruited students to help with the school’s new composting stations.

Tyee Students are Big Winners at Washington State Chinese Language and Talent Competition

Students from Tyee Middle School were big winners at the recent Washington State Chinese Language and Talent Competition. Teacher Rongfen Sun Burford shared the following results:

Public Speech in Chinese
First Place - Andrea Scallon
Third Place – Sarah Ea
Honorable Mention – Angela Ea

First Place – Leah Chen

China Knowledge Bowl
First Place – Angela Ea, Sarah Ea, Janet Jue, Sonya Lao
Second Place – Jessica Wang, Sharon Zhang, Miku Hanatate, Jocelyn Dawson

Chinese Singing
Second Place – Jocelyn Dawson and Janet Jue
Third Place – Sarah Ea and Angela Ea

Bellevue Students Chosen for 2013 NAfME All-Northwest Music Events

Students selected for the 2013 NAfME All-Northwest Band, Mixed Choir, Treble Choir, Orchestra and Jazz Band will perform at the NAfME Northwest Division Conference in Portland, Oregon in mid-February.  All-Northwest represents six states, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Wyoming.  Congratulations to the following students:

2013 NAfME All-Northwest Band
Rona Ji
Fred Kim
Madie Melcer
Matthew Saathoff
Chance Sweetser
Nick Teoh
Sarah Kim
Alexander Tu
Benjamin Zobel
Bryan Oh 

2013 NAfME All-Northwest Jazz Band

Spencer Edgers
Andrew Lovett 

2013 NAfME All-Northwest Mixed Choir
Tobi Du
Jaya Joshi
Annie Wan
Kara Duval-Fowler 

2013 NAfME All-Northwest Orchestra
Brian Baek
Audrey Chen
Darren Leung
James Shogren
Stone Cao
Sarah Davis
Catherine Li
Jamie Sanidad
Amanda Sun
Grace Kim
Gina Lee 

2013 NAfME All-Northwest Treble Choir
Jane Korneygay
Hope Webster
Alicia Murowchick

42 Bellevue Students Chosen to Participate in 2013 WMEA All-State Music Events

Students selected for the 2013 WMEA All-State Concert Band, Symphonic Choir and Symphony Orchestra will meet and perform at the Washington Music Educators Association conference in Portland, Oregon in mid-February.  Congratulations to the following students:

2013 WMEA All-State Concert Band
Christine Kwon
Olivia Tsang
Isaku Kamada
Trey Sakazaki
Tiffany Tien
Tim Letz
Zi Bing Chang
Auden Durant
David Gustafson
Irene Hwang
Kevin (Myungki) Kang
Chloe (Chungeun) Lee
Bobby Shih
Christopher Spicer
Samuel Spicer
Nathaniel Wu

2013 WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir
Sam Fredman
Erica Lee
Salmon Gee
Melanie Strickland
Josh Baez
Tyler Choi
Dylan Lawyer
Winston Lin 

2013 WMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra
Elvis Gracia-Mendez
Delaney Ugelstad
Maddy Lisaius
Maggie Locke
Emily Sun
Jerry Tsui
Haoming Wang
Jenny Wang
Renhao Hu
Andrew Joung
Steven Ki
Tae Hyun Kwon
Tommy Liao
Heaven Lin
Emily Lo
Kirill Polyanskiy
Erica Sanidad
Rebecca Putnam

The Newport High School Football Team Named 2012 4A Football Academic State Champion

The Newport High School Football Team has been named the 2012 4A Football Academic State Champion in the WIAA/Dairy Farmers of Washington/Les Schwab Tires Scholastic Awards ProgramThe award recognizes teams or groups that maintain a high collective academic standard, with the team with the highest average GPA named Academic State Champion.  The Newport football team’s average GPA is 3.314. 

Curriculum Developer Patty Shelton has been named the 2012 Educator of the Year by MOHAI

BSD Social Studies Curriculum Developer Patty Shelton has been named the 2012 Educator of the Year by the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle. The award honors an individual in Washington who “demonstrates dedication, innovation and excellent in the areas of history, geography and civics education.”  Shelton has worked with MOHAI for more than five years.  She has helped plan exhibits and develop education initiatives and projects, including special artifact kits called “People on the Move,” which are used in fourth grade classrooms throughout Bellevue. Shelton is a Sammamish High School graduate who has worked for the district since 1984, both in the classroom and as a curriculum developer.

BHS Football Wins the Class 3A State Title

Bellevue High School Football team wins the Class 3A State Title. With this win, the Wolverines have won five straight state championships and ten of the last twelve.

Bellevue High School Boys Water Polo Team Wins State, Newport Finishes Third

The Bellevue Boys Water Polo Team won the 2012 State Championship and also earned the No. 1 ranking in the state.  This is Bellevue's second consecutive state championship win.  The Newport team finished in third place.  Players from both teams made All-State Teams.  Read more... (Seattle Times)

Newport Wins the 2012 WIAA 4A Girls Swimming & Diving State Championship

Newport wins the 2012 WIAA 4A Girls Swimming & Diving State Championship with a point total of 217. The NHS SWIVE team had strong performances in all events including the 200 free relay (2nd place), the 200 medley relay (3rd place) and the 400 free relay (3rd place). Go Knights! Read more... (Seattle Times)


Please send us the recipient’s name, school, grade and a brief explanation of the award, as well as your contact phone number.

Submissions must fit the following criteria:

Recipients are current BSD student or staff
They are a top finalist (first, second or third place)
It is a state or national award that is directly related to their instruction in the Bellevue School District.

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