A previous year's Mayor's Scholars, wearing their jackets.
If you're looking for a little uplift, you could do worse than yesterday's announcement of the 26 Mayor's Scholars, "middle school students in good standing who are 'unsung heroes,' who have overcome obstacles or met challenges in their lives and demonstrated commitment to their community". The city provides a list, but a couple neighborhood blogs (Beacon Hill Seattle, Central District News) give us some more detailed profiles.
For example, Meany Middle School 7th grader Mohammed Jagana "has wowed school audiences with his performances of "We are the World" and "I Believe I Can Fly", speaks out against gange [sic] violence, helps with child care at his church, and tutors elementary school students."
The winners get $500 each to put toward school or charity, and also get a Mayor's Scholar jacket (which we really hope won't get them teased or beat up or anything like that).
On a similar note, Danny Westneat had a great column yesterday on Bailey Gatzert's unconventional athletics program and Jamshid Khajavi, the guy who runs it--now as an unpaid volunteer. Writes Westneat:
In 15 years, Jamshid Khajavi, who came here from Iran, has built one of Seattle's poorest inner-city schools into the quirkiest of sports dynasties. All as a way of mentoring kids.
Sports like Frisbee. Pingpong. Stair-climbing. If Mr. Jamshid had his way, which so far he hasn't, all students would be required to do yoga every day before class...
Last week, the Bailey Gatzert Ultimate Frisbee team won what is billed as the largest youth Frisbee tournament in the world, Spring Reign, held in Burlington, Skagit County. It won playing in the middle-school division, even though it is a K-5 elementary school.
It's definitely worth reading the whole column. One bummer, though: Fearing cultural/religious tensions, Khajavi turned down a KCTS request to film a documentary on the program, "focusing on the cultural novelty of immigrant Muslim boys and girls playing Frisbee together in America". That would have been a fascinating documentary.