Donations and basketball dominate board meeting


Public education has evolved far beyond the traditional three r’s – readin’, ritin’ and ‘rithmetic.

At La Conner Schools three other letters – C, T and E – are helping spell success for students.

CTE is the abbreviation for Career Technical Education, an increased district emphasis the past few years, most notably Daniel Castillo’s home construction class that is building a tiny house.

The program’s mission hasn’t gone unnoticed.

The La Conner Rotary Club donated $1,000 to the district’s CTE curriculum, gratefully accepted by school board members at their Feb. 27 hybrid meeting.

The Rotary Club funds coincided with Superintendent Will Nelson reading aloud Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation of February as CTE Month and stressing the positive impact CTE instruction is making on Washington students.

“We’re excited about CTE,” Nelson said, “and we know the board is invested in CTE so that those students who go to technical school or right into the workforce will be well prepared.”

The board was also thrilled to receive $2,063 from parent Ida Edwards to help fund the senior class end-of-year trip to Knott’s Berry Farm in southern California.

“This is a great contribution,” said Deyo, mindful that the Class of 2023 had significant fundraising opportunities wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nelson estimated that the class remains about $4,000 short of its goal amount. But senior advisor Theresa James said momentum is building as spring approaches.

“We’ve had a lot of community members step up,” James said.

Deyo anticipates it’s a trend. “I just know the community will come together on this,” she said.

School board student representative Eleanor Drews, a senior, said students and student groups are engaged in ongoing fundraising efforts.

“All donations will be gladly accepted,” said Deyo.

The board also approved overnight trip requests for the high school girls’ basketball team, pep band and cheer squad to attend the state 2B Hardwood Classic in Spokane last week.

The board wants to discuss use of non-neutral post-season sports venues with Washington Interscholastic Activities Association officials. The recent Northwest Bi-District basketball tournament was hosted by league rival Coupeville.

Even though the La Conner girls were top seeded in the district tourney bracket, disputes arose prior to their game with Coupeville as to which team would be granted home status and all that goes with it. Higher seeded entries are designated as the home team for each tournament contest, said board member and legislative liaison John Agen.

Nelson said he spoke with Coupeville administrators about the home team status flap.

Deyo acknowledged contributions made by the late Jim Frey, who died in January. He served the district variously as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator for 13 years in the 1960s and 1970s. Frey returned to coach the 1986 Braves football team.

“This was his building,” Deyo said. “He is the type of person we need to recruit and keep at our school. He was an amazing person.”

“He was fair and compassionate,” added Agen. “He engaged with everyone.”

Plans are afoot to dedicate a banner to Frey and the undefeated 1968 high school football team and perhaps honor the coach’s memory with a plaque at the base of the Whittaker Field flagpole.

The board formally congratulated Beth Clothier on her promotion from assistant to director of teaching and learning.

Finally, the basketball coaching staffs received board praise for guiding their respective teams to Bi-District titles and state tourney berths this season. Lynette Cram, a Lady Braves assistant coach attending her final meeting as a board member, said the La Conner boys last qualified for a state regional appearance in 2020. The La Conner girls, ranked sixth overall, received an automatic bid to the Hardwood Classic bracket in Spokane last week.


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