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Why not me? Scriber Lake teacher speaks at conference


Last updated 10/26/2018 at Noon

As I anxiously waited my turn to speak at a Friends of the Children fundraiser, “Inspiring Greatness,” I listened to the announcer while he spoke about one of the foundations most dedicated partners, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his Why Not Me foundation.

Slowly, the lights started dimming, and in all four corners of the room, Wilson appeared on large monitors to address the audience.

He apologized for not being able to attend, and then started speaking about how important the work Friends of the Children is doing to make mentoring possible for our most underrepresented students in the public education school system.

I work at Scriber Lake High School, which is an alternative school of choice housing around 250 students, in the Edmonds School District. Often a refuge from the more common high school experience, Scriber provides one of the most nurturing environments I have ever been a part of since becoming an educator.

For some students, however, there may be a need for readjustment or assistance in getting back on track. This is one of the primary focuses of the program I run, appropriately titled the Student Transition Education Program (STEP).

At some point during the 2016-17 school year, a new student, Kalicha, entered my program. I would soon find out that Kalicha was a Friends of the Children recipient, which meant she had a mentor.

Nakeya, Kalicha’s mentor, became one of the most important individuals I would work with in helping to guide Kalicha toward graduation.

We consistently worked together for about two years, keeping Kalicha pointed in the right direction. Helping with schoolwork, participating in meetings, providing documents and staying in contact with me were but a few things Nakeya provided as Kalicha’s mentor.

The work Nakeya put forth paralleled some of the best communication I have experienced since becoming an educator. Her work was a necessary component in guiding Kalicha toward her high school graduation.

When Nakeya asked me last year if I would be interested in being a guest speaker for Inspiring Greatness, I was honored.

Mentoring is near and dear to my heart, because I know there is a need for it in our public education school system, especially as it pertains to those students who have been historically underrepresented.

I believe in the power of and need for mentoring so much so that I asked my husband, Matthew Bowers, to mentor one of my past students for the Washington Youth Academy last yea – simply because there was a need.

Now, a certified WYA mentor, Matthew Bowers continues to volunteer mentor some of our students at Scriber Lake as a supportive community member aware of the needs of our students.

While not everyone has the time or opportunity to volunteer in the schools, there are opportunities to support mentoring.

Mentoring makes such a difference in students’ lives, especially for underrepresented youth.

If you cannot give of your time, please consider donating to organizations like Friends of the Children (www.friendskc.org/). If you visit the website, I guarantee your heart will open to the power of mentoring.

If still not convinced, ask Russell Wilson. I’m sure he will share his thoughts!

Janet Bowers is a teacher and administrative intern at Scriber Lake High School in Edmonds.


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