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School briefs

School District refinances bonds

In an effort to save taxpayer money, the Mercer Island School Board agreed to refinance a portion of the district’s outstanding bonds, thanks to lower interest rates. In total, the move, which was approved on Sept. 11, will save Island taxpayers about $550,000 over the next six years. The savings are returned to taxpayers through reduced tax levies and are not eligible for district expenses. “This is a direct savings to our community members in the form of taxes they expected but will not have to pay,” Superintendent Gary Plano said.

During last Thursday’s meeting, the School Board approved the issuance of $8.6 million in refunding bonds, thereby allowing Plano to execute the bond purchase contract. The school district has been monitoring bond market conditions over the past 12 months. Recent interest costs have averaged 2.9 percent on the new bonds compared with 4.7 percent on the old debt.

Islander wins poetry contest

Sixth-grader Katie Wold will have her first poem published this year in the poetry anthology called “A Celebration of Poets.” Her poem, “Quiet Is,” was selected for publication after winning distinction in Creative Communication’s national youth poetry contest earlier this summer. Wold was selected as a Top-10 finalist in her age group (grades 4-6), earning her poem a spot in the published anthology. Wold also won a $50 savings bond. Poems are selected for their literary merit, creativity and social significance. Creative Communications awards over $13,000 per year in Language Arts grants to further student writing.

“Quiet Is:”

Quiet is

The first snowflake touching down.

Barefoot walking in a cool stream.

A secret shared by two.

The wind whipping through the grass.

Waves lapping on the shore.

And me,

Smiling through it all.

National Merit semifinalists

Nineteen MIHS students have been nominated as National Merit semifinalists. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation released the list on Sept. 10. A total of 16,000 students nationwide were elected as semifinalists. The qualifiers can continue in the competition to become a national Merit finalist. Approximately 90 percent of semifinalists go on to earn scholarships as finalists, according to the corporation. In order to become a finalist, high school juniors must complete the Preliminary SAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Students must also have an outstanding academic record, high SAT scores, be endorsed by their high school principal and demonstrate strong leadership skills and community involvement. The following students are semifinalists for the Class of 2009:

Michael Chien, Matthew Jensen, Harrison Lucas Owens, Colin Ramsay, Zachary Rowe, Derek Schulte, Murad Ulityonok, Matthew Vincent, Anna Vogel, Rebecca Yoda, Michele Zemplenyi and Inar Zhang.

Hats Off

MIHS graduates Justin Louie and Laura Rasmussen graduated from Washington State University last month. Louie received a Bachelor of Arts in communication and Rasmussen earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science. Both students graduated from MIHS in 2004.

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