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Launching New Opportunities for Latina Students from Walla Walla

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under School's Out News, STEM

By Rudi Bertschi, Program Supervisor, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

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Brent Cummings, Director of Forward Space Project part of Walla Walla SD, along with program participants joined by Superintendent Dorn and Representatives Kagi, Walsh & Moscoso.

Yesterday, OSPI’s 21st Century Community Learning Center grantee, Walla Walla School District, launched its eighth weather balloon in two years. This one soared from the Capitol grounds here in Olympia in the presence of Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Representative Maureen Walsh (16th District), Representative Ruth Kagi (32nd District), Representative Moscoso (1st District) and several other legislative staff and aides. 21CCLC Project director Brent Cummings and his staff, along with 12 high school sophomores (they first did this as middle school students) – all Latinas – executed the launch from between the Legislative Build and the Temple of Justice.

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Governor Inslee joins Reps Kagi and Walsh after the balloon launched.

Our out-of-school-time partner, School’s Out Washington, produced yesterday’s showcase event to tout the importance of out-of-school-time learning. Superentendent Randy Dorn, Senator Andy Billig (3rd District), Marcie Maxwell – Senior Education Policy Advisor at the Governor’s office, plus the legislators included above, legislative staff representing several other legislators across the state, and various other supporters were on hand to greet the students in the Cherberg Senate Office Building. The balloon launch itself took place just outside Governor Inslee’s office window – and sure enough, he couldn’t resist coming outside for a closer look at what was going on and to talk with the students.

Governor Inslee told us that each day he recognizes the most inspiring person he meets, and today he announced that person is Brent Cummings, our 21CCLC project director. Then, on the spot, the Governor removed his lapel pin and pinned it on Brent (certificate to follow)! Wow! Just Wow! Walla Walla has made us proud again and made a strong case for 21CCLC and great out-of-school-time learning.

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Soaring Past the Capitol Building

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Here’s hoping for a Seahawks Victory!

After the launch, our girls went to the Senate gallery where they were recognized from the floor. Senator Mike Hewitt offered a resolution commending the students for their work and achievement, whereupon Lieutenant Governor Brad Owens and the entire Senate rose to applaud the students. Needless to say, these young women are walking on a cloud and will likely remember this day forever.

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Weather Balloon Taking Off!

By the way, nary a student asked, “When will we need this in real life?” Experiential education is real life. We can all be grateful to be part of a program that gives us leverage to do so much good.

Learn more about the benefits of Expanded Learning Opportunities in School’s Out Washington’s latest brief


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