By Jennifer Crain
For many years, Yazna Ruiz made yearly trips to Olympia to visit a friend who was close enough to be family. After her visits, she would return to Costa Rica and, for a number of years, to the neighborhood grocery store she ran out of her cousin’s building.
Every week, customers would come through the small store and stock up for the week on fresh vegetables, sausage, salami, grains, ice cream, and other items. The business was humming when she sold it to move to the United States.
Once stateside, she settled in Olympia where she became part of the local community. Among the friends she had made through the years was Amando Hidalgo, the owner and founder of Tierra Bonita. Hidalgo, a marine biologist, student of ecological agriculture, and advocate for sustainable food systems, started Tierra Bonita in 1996. For the next thirteen years he sold fresh salsa and garlic sauce at the Olympia Farmers Market where his products and his voice for ecological change became fixtures in the community.
When Hidalgo became ill, eventually losing his ability to speak, Ruiz stepped in as his assistant and bought the business from him in 2009. Hidalgo passed away in 2011.
Ruiz’s experience – she owned and operated several businesses before buying Tierra Bonita – prepared her for the daily ins and outs of enterprise. Learning to produce a product, however, was new territory. But Hidalgo was a great coach and the sauce she sells today is made using the same techniques and ingredients that have distinguished it from the beginning.
Tierra Bonita Garlic Sauces retain the characteristic punch, creamy texture, and full flavor that has landed them on eggs, tacos, and (yes) pasta for over a decade. Ruiz says the sauces contain a bounty of raw whole ingredients, including tomatoes, garlic, onion, and cilantro. Vinegar is the only preservative.
The full line of sauces includes Olympia Salsa in three heat levels and Garlic Sauce in original, garlic and cilantro, garlic and pepper, and vegan. Plans for an organic line are in the works.
The salsa will last for up to six weeks but still, she says, “I need to make it every week to keep it fresh for the customer.”
In 2010, following the completion of Enterprise for Equity’s entrepreneurial program, (read their profile of her here), Ruiz designed a new label highlighting the star ingredient, with images of both the clove and the bloom of a garlic plant.
She also did some field research with market customers, adjusting the amount of peppers in the salsa until the heat level was pleasing to the local palate. Reducing the heat doubled her salsa sales. Olympia Salsa is now available in mild, medium, and hot.
Ruiz says she received a lot of support during her seasons at the Olympia Farmers Market from fellow sellers who helped with her children during the long days. Though she continued selling her sauces there through the end of last season, she decided to pursue an alternate business plan to accommodate for her two young children. Enterprise for Equity consultant and graduate, Sash Sunday (co-creator of OlyKraut), has assisted Ruiz in securing new placements in local grocery stores, an effort that’s paying off.
“The thing about Yazna is that she is incredibly tenacious,” says Lisa Smith, Executive Director of Enterprise for Equity. “She took on Amando’s business with integrity and incredible diligence. She’s really done every bit of her business plan by the book. I just think she’s a treasure.”
By Lisa Herrick
Have you ever sipped champagne in The Forest? My initial response to that question was no. Although a bottle of bubbly under a canopy of trees does sound alluring, the champagne breakfast at Christmas Forest appears to be a lovely and upcoming option. On the morning of Thursday, December 5 guests have the opportunity to enjoy a champagne breakfast at the Providence St. Peter Foundation’s Silver Bells Breakfast as part of the week long holiday fundraiser Christmas Forest.
The Silver Bells Breakfast, sponsored by Olympia Federal Savings, includes holiday favors and special entertainment by the North Thurston High School Chamber Choir. The Chamber Choir is a highly talented group of 16 girls who auditioned and were selected to perform at various community events, competitions, and festivals such as Christmas Forest.
Kelle Schalin, Special Events Manager for Providence St. Peter Foundation exclaims, “The Silver Bells Breakfast has turned out to be quite the event of the season—everyone wants to attend. We sell mini-trees, which are 2-foot designer trees. It is a fun way to dress up in holiday attire and get into the holiday spirit.” Schalin explains that many of the guests are either groups of friends celebrating the holidays together or businesses taking out their employees as an expression of appreciation. All those attending are seeking the opportunity to enjoy a champagne breakfast amidst the beautifully decorated holiday trees and wreaths of Christmas Forest but also for the purpose to support the mission and work of Providence St. Peter Foundation.
The Silver Bells Breakfast presents a special program to raise money for the Providence St. Peter Hospital Regional Neuroscience Center, specifically the Stroke Center. Stroke is a foremost cause of serious, long-term disability in Washington State. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain either bursts or is blocked. When this happens, the affected areas of the brain do not receive oxygen and cells begin to die, leading to permanent disability. Prompt treatment of a stroke is crucial, and effective treatments do exist, especially when the patient is able to reach a stroke center during the very narrow window of time that exists to deliver successful treatment.
Jocelyn Wood, Development and Communications Manager for Providence St. Peter Foundation shares, “Providence St. Peter Hospital recently implemented a telestroke network, which allows for emergency bedside video conferencing between rural hospitals and specialized neurologists, so that all patients in a five-county area can receive gold-standard stroke treatment, regardless of their distance from Providence St. Peter Hospital.”
As the sponsor of the Silver Bells Breakfast, Olympia Federal Savings shares in the commitment to Providence St. Peter’s mission as well as efforts to directly support the Stroke Center. Schalin describes the important role that Olympia Federal Savings has played with Christmas Forest over many years. “Olympia Federal Savings has been a long-standing and critical partner with Christmas Forest supporting the Providence mission and helping to expand care. As a long time sponsor of the Silver Bells Breakfast, Oly Fed staffs the breakfast, supplies the fun holiday favors, beautiful centerpieces and lovely champagne. By offering this support, Oly Fed helps us raise the money that Providence St. Peter Foundation can dedicate directly to the Stroke Center. Without their sponsorship we would not be able to offer the Silver Bells Breakfast as a holiday event for the community.”
Annually, Olympia Federal Savings is dedicated to returning at least 5 percent of its profits to the community. However, in the recent years and during these more challenging economic times, Olympia Federal has contributed in excess of 10 percent of profits back to the community. Along with providing financial support, its employees also donate many hours volunteering for a variety of nonprofits. They support cultural events, affordable housing, health and human services, children’s programs, and numerous charitable organizations.
Providence St. Peter Foundation’s Christmas Forest opens on Wednesday, December 4. Located at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia, this five-day holiday fundraiser showcases a festive display of Christmas trees and wreaths decorated by local businesses, interior designers, florists, and talented individuals. Christmas Forest offers an exciting week of events, public viewing times, a gift shop and activities for the entire family.
Christmas Forest provides vital funds to ensure better health for the entire community. Over the past 26 years, the Forest has raised significant funds for life-saving medical equipment and compassionate programs such as No One Dies Alone, Hospice Respite and Comfort Care, and the Providence St. Peter Sexual Assault Clinic. Funds from Christmas Forest also support Providence ministries in Southwest Washington including Providence St. Peter Hospital, Providence Mother Joseph Care Center, Providence Medical Group, Providence St. Francis House, and Providence Sound Home Care & Hospice.
The Silver Bells Breakfast including all Christmas Forest events will take place at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia (2300 Evergreen Park Drive, Olympia 98502). For reservations or more information about any of the Christmas Forest events or public viewings, call 360.493.7981 or click here.
Submitted by Thurston County
Overnight temps in the 20s expected through weekend
Thurston County Public Works road crews stand ready to respond to freezing conditions, but remind drivers that even anti-icing solution and sanding won’t clear every spot. Once temperatures dip below the mid-20s, anti-icing solution won’t stop moisture in the air or on the ground from freezing on the surface, and snow and freezing rain can begin to accumulate, even on treated roadways.
“Your best bet for avoiding the ice is to stay off the road if you can. But if you must drive, take it slow, increase your following distance, and make sure our plows and trucks can get through in your neighborhood,” said Lucy Mills, Road Operations Manager for the county’s Public Works Department.
To stay safe when driving in winter weather, keep an emergency kit in your car that includes bottled water and high energy, non-perishable food, an extra blanket, warm clothes, a battery-powered flashlight and extra batteries. You should also tell a friend or relative when you’re leaving, your destination, and when you expect to arrive.
For more information about the county’s winter road maintenance and how to contact the Public Works Department to report road hazards, go to www.co.thurston.wa.us/publicworks. Follow Thurston County Public Works on Twitter at @Thurston_PW.
Thurston County Emergency Management officials also remind residents to stay safe when winter cold sets in. Residents using space heaters should never leave them unattended while the heater is running, and never leave a space heater on while you or others in your home are sleeping. Residents are also reminded to never use barbeques, gas grills or camp stoves inside for extra heat. Burning charcoal, propane or natural gas lets off deadly carbon monoxide (CO) fumes, and if burned inside your house or apartment, the fumes can build up to deadly levels in just minutes.
For updated information about Thurston County’s emergency response and preparedness, go to www.co.thurston.wa.us/em.
Stay connected with TCEM with social media. Get Thurston County Emergency Management updates on Facebook and Twitter:
By Kathryn Millhorn
There is an Irish proverb which states that “it is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” A sense of community can be built, felt, and fostered through the willingness of its members to share what they have, be it time, goods, or assistance.
SafePlace is a local agency which helps women and families dealing with domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Thurston County. According to Michelle Rodriguez, Communications and Events Director of the United Way of Thurston County, in 2012 there were nearly 3900 9-1-1 calls as a result of such abuse and this event hopes to aid the SafePlace vision of “a community free of physical, sexual and psychological violence and oppression.”
The Women’s Leadership Council has a simple mission: to “positively impact the lives of women in our community by promoting self sufficiency and financial stability through philanthropy and community service.” Members network, educate, volunteer, advocate, and impact women leaders in Thurston County, past, present, and future. Within the 2012-2013 period, they have provided over $50,000 in grants and scholarships to promote these generous goals.
Event co-chair and WLC member Nancy LaPointe believes the Council exists to “fill in the cracks” of needs not typically met by standard grant programs. As a local business owner, the WLC allows her to raise “significant impact and awareness” within other women’s groups and the local community because “we all have a lot of things in common.” LaPointe explains that they chose to hold this year’s Shelter Shower in the fall since “people love to show their generous spirit over the holidays.”
Previous Shelter Shower recipients have been local organizations like Bread and Roses. This year, SafePlace was chosen and their Development Director Thomasina Cooper is thrilled. The event will help meet many needs for their organization and raises awareness not only of their mission but the painful statistics they deal with every day.
“SafePlace is truly honored to be selected as the recipient of the UW WLC 5th annual shelter shower. The gifts from the shower come at the perfect time, when the survivors of domestic and sexual violence need them the most, since they most often flee with only the clothes on their backs,” says Cooper.
“Those who reside at the SafePlace shelter receive all basic needs, including food, clothing, assistance with transportation, self-care items, and items for their children. Needless to say, we fly through basics like shampoo, paper towels and toothpaste,” notes Cooper.
Cooper continues, “The gifts represent so much more than simply the items themselves. They reflect the love that our community feels for the survivors SafePlace is serving, and sends a powerful message that these folks are not alone. The community is here to support them on their healing path. That is why we are so truly thankful to be the recipient of this year’s shelter shower event. We are sure it will be such fun!”
The Shower runs from 5:30-7:30pm at Art House Design (420 Franklin St SE) and will feature wine and appetizers provided by Nineveh Assyrian. WLC members, SafePlace representatives, and one of last year’s scholarship recipients will be among the evening’s speakers. Guests are encouraged to donate items from SafePlace’s Wish List at the event. The Shower is open to anyone, and tickets can be purchased online with proceeds benefitting the WLC Giving Circle.
Submitted by Saint Martin’s University
Ring in the season of giving by partaking in Saint Martin’s Jingle Bell Run, a holiday-themed, five-kilometer race that will take place Saturday, December 7, at 10 a.m. Presented by Puget Sound Energy, the festive event will be held on the Saint Martin’s University campus. Check-in and day-of registration begins at 8 a.m. in the Norman Worthington Conference Center, and the race starts outside of the Hal and Inge Marcus Pavilion. Pre-registered runners can also pick up their packets Friday, December 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Norman Worthington Conference Center.
Participants can run, walk or stroll the five-kilometer route on the University’s wooded campus. A finish-line celebration, featuring Christmas cookies, cider and cocoa, will immediately follow the race.
Those not interested in running a full 5k race can still be part of the fun; registration includes an option to compete in the 1.55-mile run/walk, providing another opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Saint Martin’s University’s campus, as well as a decorated Christmas tree in front of Old Main. The run/walk will begin at 9:30 a.m.
People of all ages may participate and age group awards will be presented. Proceeds of the race will benefit Saint Martin’s Athletics. Parking is free.
“This is the second year we’ve held the Jingle Bell Run, but already the event has proven to be a wonderful way for the surrounding community to support the University while having a great time,” says Katie Wojke, interim vice president of institutional advancement at Saint Martin’s. “We’re confident it will remain an annual, holiday tradition for years to come!”
Registration includes chip timing by Accustat Sports Timing Inc., a race finisher long-sleeved t-shirt and a raffle entry (must be present to win).
Registration fees are as follows: preregistration (until Dec. 4) $35; military $30; high school and college students (with valid I.D.) $5; day-of registration $45; kids 8 and under free (no t-shirt or chip timer included). Additional t-shirts are available while supplies last.
The University’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee will be fundraising for the Make A Wish Foundation before and after the run, in conjunction with the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II. The SAAC is also encouraging participants to bring a canned food item to donate to a food drive the group is hosting throughout the day.
Ti Femme (Amsterdam)
Ti Femme is Helena Sanders. She “currently lives and works in Amsterdam where she also curates a monthly experimental video & music performance evening under the name A/V Club.”
Lori Goldston (Seattle)
“Classically trained and rigorously de-trained, possessor of a restless, semi-feral spirit, Lori Goldston is a cellist, composer, improvisor, producer, writer and teacher based in Seattle. Her voice as a cellist, amplified or acoustic is full, textured, committed and original. A perpetual inquirer, she wanders recklessly across borders that separate genre, discipline, time and geography, performing in clubs, cafes, galleries, arenas, concert halls, sheds, ceremonies, barbecues, and sanctuaries; she toured with Nirvana and appeared with them in “Unplugged in New York”. ”
Submitted by Olympia School District
Tonight the Olympia School Board unanimously passed Resolution 520, which places a Technology and Safety Levy before voters on February 11, 2014. Olympia voters passed technology levies in 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2010. If passed, this levy would be a renewal of the measure passed in 2010, which will expire at the end of 2014. The renewed levy would run from 2015 through 2018.
If approved, the Technology and Safety Levy will help pay for up-to-date technology and key safety projects for Olympia School District students and staff. Among other things, the levy will fund:
The Olympia School District has spent much of the past year conducting a thorough review of its technology use and needs. It convened a Technology Advisory Committee and a separate Technology Think Tank, conducted forums to seek citizens’ feedback, surveyed staff about their use of technology in the classroom and across the district, and hired an outside evaluator to examine the district’s technology functions. District staff also evaluated the 15-year Facilities Master Plan to identify key safety projects the district could undertake right away. That work became the starting point for Resolution 520.
“This is a very well-thought-out, cost-effective levy request,” said Olympia School Board President Eileen Thomson. “After many months of diligent staff work, thorough review and a wide range of input, I am confident the request we have put before our community represents what our schools truly need in terms of technology and safety.”
If approved, the levy’s tax rate for the first year would be $.62 per $1,000 of assessed value, decreasing each year to $.34 per $1,000 by 2018. The owner of a $250,000 home would pay an average of about $9 a month, or $109 a year, for the levy. Combined with other school measures, the total projected tax rate would be $5.33 in 2015.
Submitted by Dr. Kelly Golob for Tumwater Chiropractic Center
What is the greatest gift you could give someone (or for that matter, yourself) this holiday season? How about the gift of Health?
No, we’re not suggesting you wrap up a health insurance card and put it under the tree for your significant other. While that may be a practical idea, it probably won’t win you many style points.
But not to worry, there is a better way to give someone (or yourself) a gift to get excited about that will also go a long way toward improving their Health: A Massage Therapy Gift Certificate.
Massage therapy has a number of proven benefits for overall health and can also be an effective treatment for a wide variety of injuries as well. Massage therapy will relieve stress (not that the holidays are ever stressful!), decrease pain, and make anyone feel more mobile. This is the season where many of us start to turn our eyes towards next year and think about how we might like it to be different than the last. Many of us will come up with new (or recycled) New Years’s Resolutions that have to do with our health, such as starting a regular exercise program, eating healthier, or finding better ways to manage stress. Massage therapy can be a great addition to these resolutions and help you feel better and make it easier to do all of the above.
Oftentimes when we start a new activity or exercise routine there is a normal amount of soreness and discomfort that may make it harder to stick to. Getting regular massages is a great way to keep those normal aches and pains from keeping you from being as active as you would like.
Our office has four highly experiences massage therapists whom are trained in many different therapeutic techniques to be able to offer each person the individualized treatment they need. And whether it is one Massage Gift Certificate for a stocking stuffer this year, or starting a monthly massage therapy program, we can help keep your health goals on track. If you want to make 2014 a healthier, happier, and more active year think about including massage therapy to help get you there.
Kelly Golob, D.C. is a chiropractor at Tumwater Chiropractic Center at 128 D St SW in Tumwater. Their clinic offers a variety of conservative and alternative treatments for musculoskeletal injuries and preventative wellness. They can be contacted at 360-570-9580 or online www.TumwaterChiroCenter.com or find them on Facebook.
Submitted by Signarama
Over the past two years, Olympia’s Signarama .has helped many businesses refresh their brands. It’s time for a role reversal as Signarama unveils its own rebranded look.
“We work with clients all the time to help them rebrand their businesses, including creating new signs, vehicle wraps and other ways to display an impactful brand change,” said Jeff Klingberg, local owner of Signarama in Olympia. “We know how important a company’s image is, which is why we decided to be one of the first Signarama locations in the country to rebrand our store.”
Signarama customers will see a fresh new logo along with a new tagline: “The Way to Grow Your Business,” which replaces “Where the World Goes For Signs.”
Signarama, the world’s largest sign franchise, provides a full range of comprehensive sign and graphic services to both the private and commercial segments of the community. The new tagline is meant to convey the company’s full range of capabilities and to remind customers of the personal attention and custom services Signarama offers.
Since opening, Signarama has been serving the local community with quality products and customer service in a constantly evolving market, offering a full range of comprehensive sign and graphic services, including impactful solutions from digital signs, vehicle wraps, banners, LED signs, to all traditional sign formats.
With brand recognition and local advertising becoming vitally important to small businesses, local entrepreneurs are increasingly relying on Signarama and its trained specialists who understand their unique advertising and marketing needs. Franchisees, like Klingberg, offer personal attention to the business needs of other owners within their communities.
Digital signs and the use of LEDs instead of neon represent some of the latest innovations in the industry. The commercial viability of LED lighting continues to appreciate because of its lower cost, efficiency and environmental benefits, while the digital sign market is expected to reach $13.8 billion in 2017, according to a study by Global Industry Analysts. The U.S. represents the largest regional market in the study.
Signarama is the only sign franchise that offers online design and purchase of signs, banners and more. The e-commerce platform not only enhances the customer experience but allows Signarama owners to remain open for online business 24/7. With state-of-the-art software, equipment, materials and service, Signarama has maintained its position as the industry leader and where local businesses turn for their messaging needs.
As the market leader in a $49 billion industry, Signarama has nearly 900 locations worldwide. The company expects to open 50 more locations through the end of 2013 and have more than 1,200 locations worldwide by the end of 2016.
Port of Olympia Marine Terminal has two main major clients, one is timber export, the other is proppant import. Both clients have questionable environmental impacts. Proppants are used in the hydraulic-fracturing process. Timber comes from clearcutting. Recently, the port has been appreciated for increasing its income to the point where it will no longer be operating at a financial loss. Much of this improvement is due to the hard work of port staffers, and they deserve commendation and congratulations for their hard work. Still, questions remain. If the port's business model depends on activities that harm the environment, then has the real cost to future generations been truly and accurately accounted for?
Here's a video of a recent bulk log carrier, the Aster K, loading up. As of the 1st of December, the Spinnaker SW has been loading logs.
By Leslie Merchant
Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Going up to the counter to pay and discovering your tab has been taken care of or finding extra time on your parking meter? That one small deed can make such a world of difference in your day. Imagine what one small treat would mean to someone in need.
Several Thurston County organizations are hoping to inspire acts of kindness on behalf of local families who could use some help just getting through an ordinary day, much less the upcoming holidays. Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County (BGCTC) is one of several non-profits with ideas to help everyone spread a little joy in the coming weeks.
Adopting a family for the holidays is one act of kindness that makes our entire community a better place. And it is easier than ever, explains BGCTC Marketing Coordinator Christine Hoffman. “People can simply give money or they can shop for a specific family with a list provided by BGCTC. $100 per person in a family is the general suggestion, and people would be surprised to know that the money ends up going mostly towards the basics,” she says. Bills, underwear, bedding, and gas money are a few of the necessities that are in line before gifts are even added to the list.
Hoffman explains how many families find themselves in places they never imagined. She says most folks never expected that they would one day be on the receiving end of the line.
“Our program is a little different (from others in the community) because of the open communication we have with our families. Because we are a club, we can reach out to our members and it’s personal,” says Shellica Trevino, Lacey Branch Director of BGCTC. Trevino describes how, in one case, last year they had a young girl in their Torch Club program who volunteered with others despite the fact that her own family was in need. Inspiring people to give of themselves even during challenging times is the ultimate take away from solid community-centered programs.
“Thurston County is blessed abundantly with the support we receive,” says Trevino.
Trevino echoes the sentiments of other local organizations such as the Union Gospel Mission. Laurie Anderson, Assistant to the Director, says that she “can’t believe the generosity of this community. Our donors are so incredibly generous. They go over the top in many cases because they love to reach beyond the provided lists. Business offices, Christian schools, women’s groups, they all get together (to sponsor a family).” Clearly the joy of giving is almost more satisfying than the joy of receiving.
Anderson explains that despite the number of Thurston County organizations that provide holiday services, supporters are always needed and welcomed. “We really rely on call-ins because most of our families wouldn’t have Christmas without the help of the community. Once we serve our immediate families, we are able to move on to the graduates of our program,” explains Anderson. She adds that little things such as paper towels and toilet paper can really help ease the burden for a struggling family.
Thurston County has its fair share of folks who need a helping hand. Fortunately the number of people eager to help appears to rise with the need. Thirty-seven families alone were adopted through BGCTC last year.
The perfect gift comes in different forms for different people. Adopting a family through one of numerous Thurston County organizations is truly the ultimate gift for everybody in the community. Performing a random act of kindness might just be the perfect gift to give yourself this year.
For a list of organizations that provide holiday services, including Adopt-A-Family programs, please contact Sara Kukkonen with United Way of Thurston County or visit www.getconnected.unitedway-thurston.org.
By Gail Wood
The gift – a small toy pirate’s ship with a one-eyed pirate on the deck – said a lot about Ketchum, the principal at Northwest Christian High School.
Ketchum, who wears a black eye patch, welcomed both the students and the gag gift.
“It was fun,” Ketchum said. “It didn’t bother me. We laughed.”
That moment, Ketchum’s reaction, reveals the true Northwest Christian High School’s principal. His personality, his friendly, good-natured outlook, permitted that encounter. Those students wouldn’t have dared approach their principal if he were a stern, gruff taskmaster.
“He does have a great sense of humor and is easy to talk to,” said Larry Weber, superintendent at The Foundation Campus, which includes Northwest Christian High School.
Maybe what’s most surprising about Terry Ketchum, the son of a pastor, isn’t so much what he’s done – work as a missionary director in Haiti for 12 years and now as a principal. It’s what he’s not – a bitter man, angry at God.
In 2004, while Ketchum was the Regional Education Coordinator for the universities and colleges in the Caribbean region, he was diagnosed with cancer. A pastor noticed that Ketchum’s eye was red.
“The other eye wasn’t,” Ketchum said. “I just thought it was a blocked tear duct or something.”
It was cancer. His eye, eye socket and eventually a portion of his cheekbone were removed. After wearing a fake eye for several years, he opted for the black patch. He’s adjusted.
It’s Ketchum’s reaction that’s been his best testimony. In his darkest moment, his light, his Christian faith, shined bright.
“There are moments,” Ketchum said. “But I’m hoping God can use it.”
The cancer, the struggle and the loss, have changed him, giving him more insight to pain. He’s now more compassionate because he’s walked in the shoes of sorrow.
With perhaps a sharper sense of empathy as a result of cancer, Ketchum said he’s more sensitive in his role as a principal. While he wouldn’t say cancer should be a prerequisite to being a principal, it’s given him a different insight.
“Because I’ve had several years dealing with this,” Ketchum reflected about his cancer, “I’m able, on a different level, able to identify with (high school students). There’s still a neon sign over my doorway – Principal. Beware. So, I still have to deal with that.”
But that heavy hand, that disciplinarian voice, is not how he operates. Through humor and a carefully constructed image, there’s an open-door approach staff and students have with Ketchum. There are not many principals who have a banjo hanging on their office walls, or a pirate ship on their bookshelf.
“I love to have fun,” he said. “I love to engage with the person. This job is about people.”
Surprisingly, he said it’s not about books, grades and transcripts. Well, not entirely.
“It’s a lot more than head knowledge,” Ketchum said. “Transcripts. GPAs. SATs. Yes, they’re important. But that’s not the bottom line for me. We’re here for the whole person development.”
And that is a cooperative effort, involving teacher, administrator and parent.
“We’re here to come alongside with the parents,” Ketchum said. “We don’t try to do away with the parents here. We work with the parents. They’re the primary educators, according to God. We’re not.”
Besides teaching prayer in his Bible class, Ketchum employs students for it. The other day in class, Ketchum, who is in his fifth year at Northwest Christian, asked students to pray for him. That transparency, admitting a weakness and a need, was a good teaching point for that class for two reasons. It showed Ketchum’s reliance on prayer and it engaged the class in prayer.
“Prayer is crucial,” he said.
It’s been a circuitous journey for Ketchum. As a child, with his dad moving to different Nazarene churches to pastor, they lived in Utah, Nevada and then Washington, moving to Snoqualmie when he was in second grade. Then, in 1963, when he was in fifth grade, his family moved to Olympia.
At Olympia High School, he met the love of his life, Kathie. Eventually, they married while they were juniors at Northwest Nazarene College in Idaho. Terry remembers their first date.
“We went to a Seattle Symphony performance,” Ketchum said, then after a pause for effect, added with a chuckle, “With the whole school.”
Kathie, who teaches English literature at Northwest Christian, was presented the teacher of the year award last year. The Ketchum’s have been a double blessing for Northwest Christian.
When Weber first met Ketchum, he addressed him as Dr. Ketchum. “I did it out of respect,” Weber said. “He said, ‘No, it’s Terry.’ That shows me he’s a humble man.”
And that’s the type of leadership Ketchum has given, a roll-up-the-sleeves leadership. It’s not been a job for Ketchum. It’s been his passion.
“You can’t be in education if it’s just a job,” he said. “It’s not an 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. job. You do what you love doing. Primarily, you’re doing it for your love of Christ and the betterment of this generation and the impact this generation will have. I love these kids.”
Each day, Ketchum pulls out a class picture of one of the grades at his school and he prays for them.
“We don’t know when Christ is going to return,” Ketchum said. “We tell them that we’re praying for them. Until Christ does return, we’ve got their backs.”