Mariner belongs at the top

By Rebecca Carr | Mar 29, 2010

Mariner High School is competing for a once-in-a-lifetime honor – to have President Barack Obama come speak at the 2010 commencement ceremony in June. It’s a long shot to be sure – thousands of schools throughout the country are battling to become a part of history, in Obama’s Race to the Top competition.

Visual Communications students Vinh Tran, Dennis Tran, Lewis Do and Robin Jones, with help from their Mariner classmates, shot extensive footage of the school’s numerous academics, sports, and activities.

Somehow they condensed their school’s rich history and embracement of diversity into a two-minute, tightly edited synopsis of the many cultures that make up the staff and student body.

There’s more to this competition than a clever and picturesque video, though. The Department of Education takes into account a range of performance statistics including daily attendance, standardized test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment. Mariner is matching its numbers against schools across the nation in the hopes of making the final six.

Those videos will be up for a public vote on sometime in the near future.  The top three vote getters advance to the final round, where President Obama himself will pick the winner.

Mariner is blessed to be a school rich in diversity. Principal Brent Kline estimates at least 43 different languages spoken in the homes of Mariner students. While that can present its challenges, it also comes with numerous opportunities to learn, to grow and to meet new people and try new things that otherwise the students and staff may never have experienced.

This video somehow captures all of that in two short minutes.

Students dance, play sports, build guitars, create art and study for tests. Teachers David Broadhead and Robert Robinett passionately and kinetically engage their classes. (Watch for a perfect shot of Kline’s classic, over-the-spectacles Principal Face at about 1:35.)

Mariner icons such as the giant propeller out front, and Mariner’s mission statement: Literacy is Power and Freedom, flash by among the action scenes.

We’re proud of the students and staff of Mariner, both for their ongoing work to embrace diversity and for sharing their successful community model with the world.

We applaud the boys for their creative and inspiring video work, and Visual Communications teacher Audrey Sharp for her leadership and inspiration.

The boys credit both Kline and Sharp with encouraging them to reach high and pursue their dreams, and to help them acquire the skills and knowledge to do so.

Kline and Sharp deserve a lot of credit here, but they’re only a representative fraction of the dedicated staff – from custodians and lunchroom personnel to teachers, para-educators and administrators – who are committed to going above and beyond to ensure every Mariner student can make the most of every opportunity available.

Should President Obama choose Mariner High School – and we feel he would be wise to do so – the students will have accomplished a feat that millions of their peers can only dream of.

But even if Mariner isn’t in the final six, the lessons learned and insight gained – both from working on the project and from watching the video  – will last a lifetime. 

We encourage everyone who lives in the Mukilteo School District to support Mariner in its effort to become part of history.

Watch the Beacon, both online and our print edition, for announcement of the final six. If Mariner is fortunate to be among the elite, follow the links to the page and vote for our Mukilteo District school as often as permitted in the contest rules. 


For a link to the video, check the main page

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