Getting your license is one of those big moments you only experience once in a lifetime and many people have a “getting my license” memory or story.
My memory involves three trips to the Department of Licensing. Each time my goal was to leave the place as an official licensed driver, but I kept forgetting some form of paperwork or bringing the wrong relative.
Becoming a new driver can be an unfamiliar, but rewarding process. Independence comes with a new license and teenagers often begin to feel more responsible. You know you’re really growing up when you no longer mistake the gas pedal for the brake.Julianna Yakovac is headed to her night class at South Puget Sound Community College.
Thurston County is a great place to live when you can drive. Teens have the opportunity to become more involved in their community when they have the freedom to drive. Raquel Parada has gotten her permit recently and is ready for her license. “I’m looking forward to the freedom once I get my license and being able to drive on my own,” she says.
Local volunteer organization, gyms, parks, and community places are all gathering spots to visit on the road towards adulthood and allow an individual to expand involvement in the world of Thurston County. Students can venture off on their own and explore. Why not take a day trip to Seattle or Ocean Shores? Buckle up that seat belt and hit the open road.
However, before teenagers get behind the wheel, there are important lessons to be learned to better insure their safety. “Never trust other drivers,” advises Julianna Yakovac, a junior at North Thurston High School. “Just because they have a blinker on, doesn’t mean they’re turning.”911 Driving School teaches new drivers the rules of the road.
Students can enroll in a driver’s education class at the age of 15. Here they will learn the rules of the road. Before my first day of driver’s ed, I didn’t even realize that as a driver you were always supposed to be on the right side of the road (unless it’s a one way street) and I was very concerned about how I would figure out which lane I was supposed to be in. “Before I ever got behind to wheel I was nervous about uphill parking, driving in busy areas and especially the freeway,” Raquel says.
Julianna has been driving for about a year now, but she too had concerns when she first started. “No one ever told me how to pump gas. The first time I tried I ended up sitting in my car for a while trying to find the lever that opened the gas tank. My car is older so it doesn’t actually have a lever. You have to open the gas tank from outside, but how was I supposed to know that?,” Julianna shares.
In Olympia, there are many options for driver’s education classes. 911 Driving School and Cascade Driving School are both very popular choices, but there is also the option of enrolling in driver’s education classes at local high schools. When taking a driver’s ed class, students already have their permits allowing them to drive with the instructors. At the end of the course, they need to pass both a written exam and a physical driving test. Once completed, it’s off to the Department of Licensing for the real deal.
After passing, teens are issued an “Intermediate License” lasting until they are 18. These licenses do not afford teens all the privileges of veteran, adult drivers.Cascade Driving School is a popular choice for many local high school students looking to take driver’s ed.
During the first six months with a new license, teens can only drive alone or with immediate family and passengers over the age of 20. Carpooling is not an option for new drivers until after the six-month mark. While this may seem restrictive, it is important for new drivers to focus without distractions.
During the second six months, a new driver may carry up to three passengers under the age of 20 who are not family members. Additionally, drivers are not allowed to drive between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. for their entire first year unless accompanied by someone over 25. And of course, it is unlawful to text or use a mobile device while driving. All restrictions are lifted after a teen has reached one year with a license with a clean driving record.Local insurance agent Ronelle Funk hands out a reminder of the consequences of distracted driving to area teens during texting and driving presentations at local high schools.
Teens and adults alike should never use their phones while driving. Cell phones are involved in nearly 1.6 million automobile related accidents annually. In 2010, it became illegal in Washington State to operate a cell phone while in a running a vehicle. With new technology and social media it can be hard not to reach for your phone in the car. Snapchat and other time-sensitive “look at me now” apps have taken over and although it is tempting to send messages while driving, it’s extremely dangerous and illegal. How do teens deal with the temptation? “I silence my notifications, plug my phone in and leave it alone,” Julianna Yakovac shares.
Being a new driver is very exciting, especially for teens. But along with the added freedom comes added responsibility. Following the law, keeping yourself and your passengers safe, is priority number one. No one wants to be the cause of an accident. Keep your eyes on the road, Thurston County.
For full details on teen driving in Washington State visit the Department of Licensing’s web site here.
Charlie Chaplin is synonymous with old Hollywood and the silent film era. And while YouTube, Netflix, Tumblr, and Instagram represent the more common media in our modern lives, a fascination with the glamour and drama of silent film remains. All across the country, audiences still flock to film festivals and showings of these classics as they have for the past 10 years at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Olympia.Live music is part of the authentic silent movie experience. Photo courtesy: Dennis James.
While they may be called “silent films,” a precursor to the “talkies,” there’s very little silence during these cinematic experiences. The films are accompanied by period-authentic music played on The Washington Center’s 1600 Wurlitzer pipe organ played by master organist, Dennis James. Organ music was the original accompaniment for silent films and theater-goers of the past and present enjoy the live musical component as an essential component to the silent film experience.
Michael Cordier, Marking Director for The Washington Center shares how a silent movie showing is a “full sensory experience not to be missed” explaining that the organ, literally “vibrates through you engaging you in the film in an entirely different way.”
The Washington Center’s organ, and it’s location, has a history of it’s own. Originally the Liberty Theater, opened in 1924, the venue was renamed The Olympic Theater in the 1943 where the Wurlitzer organ was used often. The organ was removed to storage when The Washington Center opened its doors in 1983. Local musician Andy Crow was instrumental in the refurbishment of the organ and its eventual re-installation in 1995, an event celebrated with a dedication concert by Crow on October 1 of that year.Dennis James has been playing The Washington Center’s Silent Movie Series since it’s inception in 2006. Photo courtesy: Dennis James.
The organ itself is worth hearing, even without the backdrop of a classic silent film. However, the films, paired with the powerful, authentic musical scores played by organist Dennis James, are an experience like no other. James is well known throughout the country. He is credited with bringing silent films back to the Northwest in 1988 through a successful silent film series at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, leading to his hire as House Organist there. He introduced “Silent Movie Mondays” at the Paramount and expanded in 2006 to The Washington Center in what he describes as “a long running, well received professional series for the past 10 years.”
A long-time colleague of organ champion Andy Crow, James shares how with Crow’s prompting he made the trip to Olympia to see the Wurlitzer for himself.Dennis James will be in command of The Washington Center’s mighty Wurlitzer organ for each of the Silent Movie Series shows, as he has for the past 10 years.
“I finally visited the hall and instrument in 2006 and found it to be a world class instrument ranked within the top ten such instruments anywhere. It is the finest theatre pipe organ in the entire Northwest, professionally maintained and perfectly matched to the theater’s acoustics and the dedicated purpose of historical silent film revival presentations, presented in the authentic manner,” says James. “I am thrilled to return each year to present the most recently restored silent films presented in a manner that closely matches how they were seen by the film-going public when they were first released 100 years ago in 1916.”Dennis James entertains a full house during a silent film showing where the musical score is just as important as the images on screen. Photo courtesy: Dennis James.
Celebrate 100 years of silent film history, and 10 years of silent film enjoyment at The Washington Center, with the Silent Movie Series this year. The series includes three classic silent films from three decidedly different genres. The first, showing on January 31, is The Charlie Chaplin Comedies. Chaplin’s iconic image is what comes to mind for many people when they think of silent films. The showing includes Behind the Screen, The Rink, and The Pawnshop, all originally release in early 1916, making their showing a historic, 100-year celebration of Chaplin’s craft.
The second film in the series features the 1916 production of Sherlock Holmes featuring popular stage actor William Gillette know for his stage portrayal of the character. The 1916 film was thought to be lost until a copy was found in the fall of 2014 in a vault in France. This debut film, showing February 28, along with James’ well-researched and authentic live organ score is sure to delight fans of the ageless sleuth.Charlie Chaplin is the iconic actor of silent film and is featured in the January 31 showing of the 2016 Silent Movie Series. Photo courtesy: Dennis James.
The third showing on March 20 is a western double feature of Hell’s Hinges and The Americano, again, both 1916 original releases. Complete with gunslingers, a frontier town, and a forbidden love story, the action on the screen will be heightened by James’ dramatic accompaniment on the impressive Wurlitzer.
“If one loves movies as do most moviegoers do today, seeing and hearing them as they were originally intended is an experience that simply should not be missed,” shares James.
With the Silent Movie Series at The Washington Center, the general public is able “to experience fully realized and critically-acclaimed, period-accurate accompaniments to silent films, focusing on the original period-release music actually written for silent films when they were first circulated,” continues James.Silent films have retained their appeal over 100 years after they were first introduced. Photo courtesy: Dennis James.
And anytime you can “feel” the music in your seat, you know it’s going to be a good show.
Click here for a short video of The Washington Center organ in action, played by organist Dave Wickerham.
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts Silent Movie Series
512 Washington St. SE in Olympia
Tickets: $20 adult / $5 Youth (through age 14)
Purchase for all three shows: $48 (available through January 31)
Sunday, January 31 at 2:00 p.m. – Charlie Chaplin Comedies
Sunday, February 28 at 2:00 p.m. – Sherlock Holmes
Sunday, March 20 at 2:00 p.m. – Western Double Feature – Hell’s Hinges and The Americano
As I write this, there is a glimmer of sunshine peeking through the rain clouds. I know it won’t last long. I am contemplating putting this post aside and instead rushing outside for some Vitamin D. I love living in Olympia and the Pacific Northwest winters are far better than the downpour of snow in Boston, but sometimes I just yearn for a day or two (in a row, please Mother Nature) of 75 degree sunshine with blue skies. I return now to my appreciation for rain that makes us green.
Here’s what is going on around Olympia this weekend.
Submit an event for our calendar here.
ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at email@example.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our events calendar.
No matter the occasion, flowers always seem to make the perfect gift. Whether spoiling that special someone or surprising grandmother on her birthday, flowers never fail to brighten someone’s day. However, if you’re new to giving flowers, you may find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed with options. With so many different varieties of flowers and so many meanings behind them all, knowing which flowers to gift to a new girlfriend versus your boss can be challenging. Luckily, Michelle LaPraim, owner of Elle’s Floral Design in Lacey, is here to help cut out the guesswork with these straightforward tips for stress-free flower shopping.When to give flowers Experienced florist Michelle LaPraim is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to selecting the right flowers for any occasion. Photo courtesy: Elle’s Floral Design.
We all know flowers are a big hit for holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, but LaPraim says Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Administrative Professionals Day and Bosses Day also dish up big numbers when it comes to flower orders. Knowing which holidays are busiest is important if you want your flower order to be ready on time. If planning on ordering flowers for Valentine’s Day or one of the other holidays mentioned above, be sure to place your order early, many days (or weeks, even) in advance of the occasion.
While the aforementioned holidays may be the busiest time of year for florists, there are numerous other occasions where gifting a bouquet is appropriate. Birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones are equally appropriate times to present someone with flowers — and you can never go wrong with surprising someone with a bouquet, just because.
In addition to happy celebrations, flowers are also an appropriate way to console someone who is grieving or ill. Whether attending a funeral or visiting a sick friend at the hospital, flowers have a way of saying what words often can’t, making a bouquet an ideal gift for individuals going through difficult times.Tips for choosing an appropriate arrangement LaPraim says red roses convey a message of respect, love and courage, making them a popular choice for occasions like Valentine’s Day or a wedding anniversary. Photo courtesy: Elle’s Floral Design.
When gifting flowers for Valentine’s Day, roses are an obvious choice, but whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, you can never go wrong with presenting the recipient of your gift with a bouquet or arrangement of their favorite flowers.
LaPraim says this rule particularly applies to relationships, and, if you don’t already know what your significant other’s favorite flowers are, there are some subtle ways to find out. “As relationships grow, flowers become symbols of different events and milestones in our lives together,” LaPraim explains. “Take note of her favorite flowers — the varieties at your wedding, flowers you sent her when you first started dating, or the ones she buys for herself. Those will have great meaning and impact.
While favorite flowers and seasonal arrangements are usually a failsafe choice when gifting flowers for a holiday or milestone, there are some occasions where you may want to include more meaning behind your bouquet. LaPraim says this is especially true when presenting flowers at a funeral.
LaPraim says traditional flower choices for a funeral or memorial service include: lilies, gladioli, carnations, chrysanthemums and roses. While different flower types evoke certain feelings, color also plays a big role when it comes to sending an underlying message. For example, LaPraim says white roses evoke reverence, humility, innocence and youthfulness, while red roses convey respect, love and courage. If you want to share a message of love, grace and gentility, LaPraim says pink roses are the way to go.
If you are unsure what flower variety or color embodies the message you are trying to share, your florist is your best resource.Alternatives to a traditional bouquet A colorful arrangement of your sweetie’s favorite flowers is always a safe bet when presenting a bouquet. Photo courtesy: Elle’s Floral Design.
Both classic and timeless, bouquets are always appropriate. However, if you feel like switching things up a bit, LaPraim recommends gifting a flowering plant or garden arrangement. LaPraim says these types of flowers make the perfect “just because” gift. “A fabulous flowering plant or a garden-style arrangement with greens and soft pastel hues — no matter what the flower — will send the message that you care.
For more information, general inquiries, or to place an order, visit Elle’s Floral Design online or in person at its Lacey location. (And don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is just a few short weeks away!)
Elle’s Floral Design
730 Sleater-Kinney Rd SE in Lacey
From today's Inbox:
Slow Food USA's Executive Director, Richard McCarthy, will be speaking at 7pm on Wednesday February 3rd at The Evergreen State College (Seminar II, lecture room C1105) about the connection between the Slow Food movement and farmers' markets. The presentation is open to the public. This event is co-sponsored by Slow Food Greater Olympia and two programs at The Evergreen State College - Practice of Organic Farming, and Ecological Agriculture: Healthy Soil, Healthy People.Google Plus One Facebook Like
Submitted by Top Rung Brewing
On January 30th we will release the fifth beer in our Pale series. “Equinox Pale” will be the fifth in our Pale Ale’s released since early 2015. In each Pale release we will highlight and celebrate a different hop. Equinox has a pronounced aroma profile with citrus, tropical fruit, floral and herbal characteristics. Specific descriptors include lemon, lime, papaya, apple, and green pepper. It was developed by the Hop Breeding Company in Yakima.
Top Rung Brewing is a 10-barrel production brewery with tasting room at the brewery. Top Rung Brewing is a destination for craft beer drinkers to enjoy their beverage and view a production brewery facility. Our tasting room is family friendly and while we will only offer snacks, we partner with local food trucks as well as allow patrons to bring in their own food of their choice or have it delivered.
Equinox Pale Statistics: ABV: 6.2%, IBU: 60, SRM: 10
After you turn 40, I no longer think you can qualify as a groupie but I would classify some friends as dedicated Pink Martini fans. When we learned that the band, which mixes jazz tunes with classical music and old-fashioned pop from around the world, would be performing at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, we quickly bought tickets.
It’s not uncommon for Pink Martini to invite special guests on stage. We were all in awe when we heard the first few notes from the clarinet of David Hales, a Timberline High School senior. In fact, my friend leaned over and said “you have to write a story about him.”
Partners in Music Education
Pink Martini bandleader Thomas Lauderdale is passionately interested in music education, and in providing opportunities for young musicians. The band has a long history of collaborating with young artists.Storm Large, vocalist for Pink Martini, belts out a tune while David Hales plays his clarinet. Photo credit: Timothy Nishimoto.
Collaborations with Portland-based youth orchestra and choir programs have been so successful that the band decided to take the program on the road and engage with local high school musicians while on tour. “It is as important as it is fun for the band to share the magic of a lit stage and an engaged audience with young artists who are putting in all those earnest hours behind the music stand,” says Pink Martini’s Claire Dennerlein.
“We are passionate about putting our community on stage and bringing educational opportunities for youth,” shares Jill Barnes, Executive Director of The Washington Center. “We also attract and bring world-class performers like Pink Martini to South Puget Sound.”
“So to put these two areas together was truly magical, and such a perfect example of our mission,” adds Barnes, reflecting on Hales’ performance on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, in front of a packed house.David Hales appreciates the connection to clarinet music that he shares with his mother. Photo courtesy: SOGO.
“One of the greatest things about being in this band is knowing when we’ve had a connection with budding musicians. Having the chance to perform with them on stage is even more special,” says Timothy Nishimoto, vocalist and percussionist for Pink Martini on performing with young musicians such as Hales.
Hales first picked up a clarinet as a fifth grade student. His mother played the instrument into college, but Hales said he wasn’t permitted to touch her clarinet for quite some time.
“(Playing the clarinet) is a way that I can relate to my mom. It gives us something to talk about besides video games and schoolwork. As our interests have diverged, music has become more important,” says Hales.David Hales’ performance with Pink Martini was the first time that he was on a live mic. He is shown here with lead vocalist, Storm Large. Photo courtesy: Anne Hales.
“David has become a very mature musician with some really extraordinary musical ability. He has great opinions about the music and often brings me a new perspective I had not seen in the music,” comments Timberline High School band instructor, Cal Anderson.
While Hales plans to continue playing the clarinet after graduating from Timberline, he hopes to focus his college education around math and science.
Playing with Pink Martini
Hales heard about the call by Pink Martini for audition tapes from his piano accompanist, Jennifer Bowman. “David is a natural musician,” comments Bowman who has worked with Hales for four years. “He simply feels the music in a certain way.”
Bowman adds that Hales was very diligent in preparing his audition tapes. “These types of experiences show kids that you never know what will come up, if you prepare and practice,” shares Bowman. “It’s great to be able to show kids what is possible and that there are many interesting, various paths to be part of really cool things in music.”While having played clarinet solos before, David Hales says that his experience playing with Pink Martini was a first for him. Photo credit: SOGO.
Hales played “Hang On Little Tomato” on his clarinet, with Storm Large, a lead vocalist for Pink Martini and the entire band. “It was not a technically difficult piece, but it was a different style than I’m used to playing,” reflects Hales. “I’m not familiar with the old-timey jazz sounds so most of my work was not on studying the notes but getting a feel for the embellishments of the tune.”
While easily the largest crowd that Hales has performed in front of, he says that he was not as nervous as he had expected. Hales and Pink Martini played an earlier concert to over 800 local students. “Pink Martini was very accepting and friendly. It helped to talk with the group before,” says Hales.
In March, Hales will have another solo opportunity with Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO), where he has been a member for about four years. “David is a great player and is always prepared with technique. His musicianship shines,” explains SOGO’s Music Director and Conservatory Orchestra Conductor, John Welsh.
“David is always perfecting his craft and is a tireless member of the orchestra,” adds SOGO conductor, Greg Allison. “He is still working on passages from the music when other students are gone and we often have to force him to put his clarinet away.”David Hales performs with Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO) and will be featured in a solo during the March 6 concert. Photo courtesy: SOGO.
“I think that kids can accomplish a lot of awesome things when the adults around them support them and trust them. Opportunities like this show kids how professionals at the top of their game approach their performances,” adds Anderson.
“It was incredible to watch David perform, and I’m sure this will be a night he won’t ever forget,” summarizes Barnes.
“David just killed it onstage. He’s a natural – a rare combination of strict training, yet laid back stage presence. He was a joy to sing with,” said Storm Large after performing alongside Hales.
Watch David Hales perform with SOGO on March 6 at The Washington Center. Tickets to the winter concert can be purchased here. Visit The Washington Center’s calendar to pick up tickets to other outstanding music and arts programs traveling through Olympia.
Parents, did you see that sunshine? I mean the 45 minutes of inspiration to take your children outside to stretch legs, have some fresh air and family fun. The 45 minutes that dissolved into more rain while you grabbed their attention, transitioned from inactivity, debated where to go and what to do, got ready, brushed teeth, made snacks and did the endless other things that kept you captive from actually reaching the sunlight. It reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s short story, “All Summer in a Day,” in which people on Venus only witness the sun for an hour every seven years and one poor girl misses it.
My hearty friends go out anyway, as I should more often. For solid reasons, our children need some time outdoors daily. If you need convincing, there are plenty of articles on the subject. However, although we have many local parks and trails, we can’t always take advantage of them due to time or other constraints. Even a 10 minute walk up the street and back can revive our spirits, invigorate our senses and create some family time.Free and easy, everyone loves a fort.
Of course there are times when we just can’t go out. It’s too wet, cold, dark, late or we’re busy. We are house bound with our children in the doldrums. Google defines doldrums as “a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression.” The second description also fits children in winter months: “a [region of the ocean] with calms, sudden storms, and light unpredictable winds.” During Pacific Northwest doldrums, we need plenty of options and the flexibility for kids to change activities as needed.
Betsy Faro is a retired educational professional with heaps of success stories, plus eight grandkids who benefit from her expertise. She teaches how children need “stations,” different activities to rotate through while stuck indoors. I’ve never known a child who didn’t love time at her house.Grandma Betsy knows how to engage kids in creative play.
At Grandma’s we see water play. This doesn’t have to mean running water, which drains the pocketbook and environment. It can be a calming bath with toys or a sink full with bubbles and interesting kitchen gadgets. The next station may be artsy-craftsy. Special requests often prompt ideas, such as, “Could you paint me a rock paperweight to keep the mail all in one place?” or, “I’d love some new art for the fridge!” Let them sort through recycling and choose pieces, then see what they create with some glue, tape and other bits of stuff.
Creative stations can lead to a string of needs much like the storyline in Laura Numeroff’s book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and its sequels. Numeroff’s books are a great way for you and your child to acknowledge the need for shifting activities on doldrum-ish days and discuss how to work together in those situations.Simple art projects can foster healthy, creative times.
Reading, of course, is another play station. We all know that taking at least 20 minutes a day for literacy’s sake is crucial to children’s academic development. Read with your child. Read to them, or listen to, anything that holds their interest. A forced read is not a fun read, and our kids thrive on positive attention and involvement, so make it something you are into as well. I can hardly bear listening to the book on Minecraft, but as long as he’s reading I will listen (or at least feign to).
The references to PlayStation and Minecraft will have many thinking about contemporary dependence on screens. All I can say is, “guilty.” I try to limit the time, and yes I often fail. I do dangle screen time sporadically as a reward after other activities, like chores.Siblings work together to finish a good puzzle.
Believe it or not, chores can be fun. Add safe dishes to water play time. Make room tidying a scavenger hunt while speed sorting. Play mini-figure or Barbie hide and seek while putting laundry away. Competition can also add stimulation. Shoot hoops with recycling (no, not glass!). Offer points for awesome bed making. Race at folding towels. Create Household Olympics. Make another fun activity the reward. You can put on your bed sheet cape and hero up a bit.
Another expert is Merry Trejo, brilliant teacher and parent. I envy her ability to prompt kids into action. She proves the success of creative messes. Asking her advice, she offers old-school stuff like puzzles, dolls, board games, Legos, cardboard and duct tape creations, and forts. Her four busy children, aged 5 to 12, are evidence that it all works.Three dimensions objects are fun to paint.
The key seems to be attitude, which is free. Let fickle winds and occasional storms pass through the cozy calm of winter doldrums. Empower yourself by relaxing about messes, and your children with choices and creativity. Motivate with involvement, and then encourage independent play. We’ll manage. Spring will return.
Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our complete event calendar.
When Amy Earley started the girls wrestling program at Yelm High School nine years ago, she had a mere eight girls on her roster.
A slim initial turnout, but what the squad lacked in depth, it made up for it in talent.
“We took three of those girls to state our first year and all three got state medals out of it,” Earley said. “They all graduated though and I came back with my assistants the next year and I said, ‘If you want to coach, you have to recruit a team.’”
The coaching staff more than delivered.
“They came back with 25 girls and we haven’t slowed down since,” Earley said. “Our numbers usually range from 20 to 30 girls every year.”
This year has been no different with the Tornados featuring nearly two dozen female wrestlers.The Yelm High School girls wrestling program is in its ninth season, constantly seeing 20 to 30 wrestlers turnout.
It’s a consistent turnout most boys wrestling programs would be envious of as few girls programs in the state can lay claim to those lofty numbers year after year.
However, the construction of the program by Earley did not come easy. There was plenty of obstacles and resistance along the way which could have derailed the team prior to it taking off.
Despite the fact that the Tornados had been a powerhouse in boys wrestling for quite some time, highlighted by the team’s first state championship in 2010 and state runner-up performances in 2008, 2009 and 2012, it was an uphill battle for Earley and her staff to reach their current status, making what the program has accomplished even that more impressive.
“It wasn’t in the beginning. It certainly wasn’t as welcoming for the girls as it is now,” Earley said about the local support the program received during its infancy. “Everyone thinks it’s the boys that drive it, but we practice separate from the boys. We have a separate schedule than the boys.Junior Bree Hyder, a transfer from Hoquiam, was a state placer last season.
“The boys have been great,” continued Earley. “They support the girls now, but it hasn’t always been that way in Yelm. There was a time when they didn’t want this. We had to fight to get to where we are at. Now, the boys will now come in our mat room and help coach the girls. They’re wrestling partners with them. They want the girls to be successful.”
And with 30 plus state medals to their credit, that’s what the Tornados, who finished 10th overall as a team at last year’s state meet, have been for nearly a decade.
“I don’t need athletes. I need girls that will come out here and work hard and try,” Earley said. “Being athletic is great. It’s a bonus. I have a no wrestler left behind policy. I don’t care if you are not the best wrestler in the room. I am not going to leave you behind. We’re going to put just as much attention toward you as the state-level girls and that’s how you build a program.”
But that occurs only after the girls step into the mat room. How does Earley constantly get the high numbers to even turn out? Easy, she relies on the ever-true word-of-mouth method.The Tornados finished 10th at the state meet in 2015.
“My girls are my recruiters. Coaches always ask me, how do you get these numbers and I tell them I work for the state in Tumwater. I live Tumwater. My girls recruit,” Earley said. “Mainly (they recruit) on social media and in the hallways. They get their friends to turn out and those friends bring more friends. My whole approach to coaching is for them to have fun. We just really encourage the girls to recruit.”
That was the case for junior Jasmine Welch, a first-time wrestler this season.
“I didn’t even know we really had a wrestling team,” Welch said. “My friend talked me into it. I just wish I found it sooner. As soon as I started, it was amazing. I wanted to get more exercise and I was always sort of a roughhouser, so why not give wrestling a try? I was iffy at first, but as soon as I started I knew I loved it.”
The team is led this year by seniors Kaylin Wilson, Bailey Erickson, Madison Holmes, Mykaila Reach and Julia Sylstad with Chelsea Rochester headlining a strong sophomore class.
One new face is Hoquiam transfer Bree Hyder, who placed sixth in the 100-pound division at state last year as a sophomore and whose presence gives the Tornados a stronger chance at once again placing in the top 10 in state.
“We have a great feeder program in Yelm and we pull the middle school girls up with us so we can work with them during their seventh and eighth grade years.” Earley said. “It’s tough to compete for a state title until you get depth, until you have state champion-level wrestlers and you have to start that when they’re little. I think with this group we have coming up, with this freshmen group and the group of eighth graders we’ve been working with for two years, they’re going to be tough because they’ve been working with our seniors.”
“Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing.” House Speaker Paul Ryan may not be local but he could easily be describing the 15-year success story of Thurston County’s FastSigns and owner Grace Kendall.
Corporate longevity studies show that only 26% of small businesses are still around after 15 years. For those that survive and thrive, customers can trust their ability to adapt, succeed, and provide quality products. Say marketers, “You can’t accidentally be in business for 25 years. Obviously, your company has done many things right and has been through a number of transitions more or less successfully—at least they turned out all right in the end even if there were bumps in the road.”
Despite changing formats, needs, and product popularity, Grace Kendall has adapted with the industry. A 24-year Army veteran, she purchased the local FastSigns franchise, from the previous owners wishing to relocate, when it was less than two years old. She saw the business as “a good opportunity” with military retirement approaching.The Lacey-based FastSigns business is owned by a 24-year Army veteran.
Kendall chose FastSigns because “the franchise name is very well respected; it’s always in the top rated franchises.” While the industry has shifted into more digital formats and away from traditional cut vinyl signage, she and her team will gladly sit down to discuss any project, need, and the best return on your advertising investment.
These days the “single most effective form of advertisement per dollar” comes from vehicle wraps says Kendall. FastSigns reports that “by advertising on your vehicle, you can generate more than 600 visual impressions for every mile driven, according to the American Trucking Association.” Grace moved into a 2,800 square foot location in 2013 specifically to include an automotive bay. Since then, they’ve completed such projects as a camouflage wrap for a touring USO bus that took 24 man hours.Grace Kendall’s team has wrapped 28 cars for the Washington Army National Guard.
A veteran herself, Kendall is “very proud” to work on military jobs and has completed signage work on the nearby JBLM campus and wrapped 28 cars for the Washington Army National Guard. They’ve also tackled projects for Amazon, O’Blarney’s, and custom Braille and ADA-compliant room signs for Silver Leaf Residences on Olympia’s west side. Grace admits she “really enjoys doing architectural contract work and project management” around the region.
With a small but growing staff, the FastSigns team prides themselves on quick turnaround for any need. Kendall invites anyone to call or stop by so they can “ask lots of questions, determine what you’re trying to accomplish, and provide a range of low to high end solutions.”
While “getting to the bigger companies to explain all we can do has been a challenge,” she stresses that “we’re primarily consultants and strive to satisfy the customer’s needs and expectations.”Grace Kendall and her FastSigns team promote businesses across our region.
Over the years, Grace has come to appreciate local partnerships for advertising and networking. She regularly sponsors ads on television and online news sites, facilitates customer feedback through surveys and direct mailings, and belongs to such organizations as the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and the Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce where she’s an active board member.
Most signage jobs can be completed within 48 hours and no request is too big, small, or odd. FastSigns can facilitate business branding, mobile and digital marketing, and event materials ranging from corporate to community. Kendall encourages anyone with questions to call and schedule a time to meet. This “makes it as convenient as possible” for the customer and clears her calendar to focus entirely on their needs and specifics.
You can schedule a consultation online, by calling 360-438-3800, or emailing email@example.com. View lists of promotional products, visibility strategies, and completed projects on their local website. Let Grace Kendall and FastSigns’ 15-year success story help your company, event, or career succeed as well.
Submitted by The Gift Gallery LLC
With Christmas behind us, it seems like the perfect time to breathe a sigh of relief that gift shopping is over for another year. But the truth is that searching for something fun and unique to give a loved one is a year-round challenge, and one of the most daunting holidays is still ahead of us – Valentine’s Day.
Whether you have been married for decades or your love is still young, there is no shortage of ways to creatively capture the spirit of your romance with a unique gift. Move over, chocolate and roses – don’t we all want to receive something truly personal and one-of-a-kind from our loved ones? Something that has real significance to our story?
The Gift Gallery LLC in Tumwater strives to make this challenge just a little easier. From professionally appraised jewelry pieces to silly, sweet, or one-of-a-kind handcrafted items made by local artists, we carry special gifts to honor every loved one. We can even wrap a custom gift basket containing items hand-picked by you! Think outside the box this February, and let us help you choose a gift that will truly capture the heart of your Valentine.
Submitted by The Rochester School DistrictJayden White, a Grand Mound Elementary School 5th grader, will sing in the state Youth Honor Chorus.
Praises are being sung for two Rochester School District (RSD) choir students by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA). The girls have received top honors by being selected to participate in WMEA All-State choirs.
Grand Mound Elementary School’s (GMES) Jayden White will participate in the Youth Honor Chorus. She is in 5th grade and sings Soprano. Jayden will be joining 570 other outstanding young performers in bands, choirs and orchestra. Nearly 1,800 students auditioned for the opportunity. They will gather on February 13 in Yakima, WA. “Singing makes me feel powerful,” shared Jayden, who previously has been chosen for other solo honors in her community.
Mariah Nelson, a freshman at Rochester High School (RHS) who sings Alto 2, was selected for WMEA’s High School All-State Choir. On February 10-14 in Yakima, she will join 1,030 musicians in band, choir and orchestra who were chosen from 2,559 who auditioned. Mariah has been selected two other times to participate in honor choirs. In addition to voice, Mariah is teaching herself to play the guitar and looks forward to drum lessons in the future. She is considering pursuing music in college.Mariah Nelson, a freshman at Rochester High School (RHS) who sings Alto 2, was selected for WMEA’s High School All-State Choir.
Both young women were selected through auditions after the opportunity was shared with them by their school music teacher, Mrs. Julia Gaul. The audition process is quite difficult requiring different rhythm reading, scales, echo patterns and ear training as well as a solo performance,” said Gaul. “I am extremely proud of the hard work these girls have put forth to not only participate in this opportunity, but in making themselves better musicians and vocalists.”
Studies show students who participate in the arts perform better in school and life. Learning through the arts — including visual, dance, music and theatre — contributes to the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, imagination and creativity. Art can bring every academic subject to life and enhance student engagement, as well as improve student learning in all subjects.
Gaul, who is the Choral Director at RSH and Music Specialist at GMES, also shared that another 12 RSD students in 4th and 5th grade will participant in a regional honor choir in Longview. That event is sponsored by the Southwest Washington chapter of WMEA.
Rochester School District provides rigorous academic programs to more 2,200 students, preparing them for lifelong learning, rewarding careers and productive citizenship. The district’s students and staff have received numerous state awards, including being named a 2013 and 2014 Washington State “School of Distinction.”
Steve Davis is a documentary portrait and landscape photographer based in the Pacific Northwest. His work has appeared in American Photo, Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, Russian Esquire, and is in many collections, including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Seattle Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the George Eastman House. He is a former 1st place recipient of the Santa Fe CENTER Project Competition, and two time winner of Washington Arts Commission/Artist Trust Fellowships. Davis is the Coordinator of Photography, media curator and adjunct faculty member of The Evergreen State College. He is represented by the James Harris Gallery, Seattle.