School briefs | Islanders in force at state ensemble music competition

Islanders in force at state ensemble music competition

A large group of Mercer Island High School musicians will represent the school at the state solo and ensemble competition in April, following their qualification during the Eastshore League Solo and Ensemble Contest.

Heading to the state competition are the percussion ensemble, percussion quartet, woodwind quartet, brass quintet, Ziv Feinberg playing trumpet, Chris Brosius playing trombone, Cai Redmond playing tuba, Julian Banbury playing bassoon, Elizabeth Chang playing flute, Woody Jacobson playing bass clarinet and Annelise Giesburt playing viola.

There were also 11 entries from Mercer Island who earned alternate spots.

Fine Arts Showcase exhibit features local students

Later this month, local student artists from across all grade levels in the Mercer Island School District will exhibit their best work during the Fine Arts Showcase at Mercer Island High School.

The annual event, to be held March 23 and 24, will feature displays of student artwork from kindergarten through 12th grade and performances by the all third-grade choir, MIHS bands, choirs, orchestra and drama students.

The event is free, but a donation from all adults is requested. The funds go to helping support the district’s various art and creative programs. The minimum requested donation is $7 for a single ticket.

Visit for more information, or contact Barb Hallgren at Barb_Hallgren@misd.wednet.ed for more information.

Four MIHS students in Washington aerospace program

Four members of the Mercer Island High School student body are currently participating in the Washington Aerospace Scholars program.

The program, which is conducted by the Museum of Flight in Tacoma, is a competitive NASA-created program for high school juniors. In phase one, which the students are currently in, they complete weekly online assignments and quizzes, on top of their regular school work and activities.

Reid Jackson, Kyle Shanafelt, George Lejnine and Rosanna Lui are representing MIHS during the phase one program, currently in session.

“We are very pleased and proud of your success,” said Superintendent Gary Plano to the students, who were honored by the School Board during the Feb. 25 meeting.

The 2010 group from MIHS is the largest for the school. There are 247 juniors in the program from throughout the state. At the end of phase one, if students meet the requirements, they could be invited to phase two, which is a summer residency. Up to 160 students will be invited, based upon their performance in phase one.

Phase two consists of working on projects with local engineers and teachers to design a human mission to Mars, as well as touring engineering facilities and other hands-on engineering challenges.

Students still crowd AP classes

Participation in Advance Placement classes and exams continued to rise last year, according to the 6th annual AP Report to the Nation results, as compiled by the CollegeBoard.

Student participation has continued to rise since the group began compiling information five years ago, with 17,274 students in the class of 2009 taking an AP exam at some point in their high school career.

The most popular tests in Washington were the English, U.S. history and English literature tests, while the calculus test fell into fourth.

Approximately 26.7 percent of the 2009 graduating class in Washington took at least one AP test during their high school career. The national average is 26.5 percent. Washington only fell behind the national average in testing subjects in art and language, with fewer students taking those tests.

For more information on the report, visit