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The WIAA believes that school activities matter, and here's why...

READ:  The Case for School Activities




Isabel Chien
Lakeside (Seattle) HS


Brayden Konkle
Burlington-Edison HS


October 2018

Kaylee Gresko
Orting MS

James Morgan
Mattson MS



Grant Garrison, Orting HS
Teamwork, community and perseverance cover just a few of the values that embody high school sports and activities to cross country and track athlete Grant Garrison. A junior at Orting High School, Garrison has received three varsity letters, two for cross country and one for track. He is currently pursuing his fourth letter for track which will be decided at the end of the spring season 2018. On the track team, Garrison primarily races the 1600 meter in which he recently broke the five minute barrier.

“When I first started out, [my teammates] were really inspiring to run with,” Garrison said. “I felt like I got along with everyone, and I wanted to be out there with them so I kept improving and persevering.”

One of Garrison’s landmark achievements in cross country happened at the end of his sophomore season when he first broke 20 minutes. Then in his junior season, he broke 19 minutes, and one month later broke 18 minutes.

“When I first broke under 20 minutes, everyone was improving that day,” Garrison recalls. “Everyone was just happy with the times they were getting.”

He also received Second Team All-South Puget Sound League for cross country. These achievements earned Garrison “Most Improved” on the Orting cross country team for two seasons in a row. This coming fall, Garrison has been nominated as the cross country team captain. Even after all this personal growth and improvement, Garrison likes to talk about the team’s successes.


Garrison receives Eagle Scout Award
“You can still have a team community even though it’s a very individual sport,” Garrison said. “It’s a lot of encouraging others, pumping each other up for the races.”

Garrison is also a member of the school jazz band, concert band, National Honors Society, Tri-M Music Honors Society, Spanish Club, and Knowledge Bowl. Outside of school, Garrison is an active member of Boys Scouts and recently achieved his Eagle Scout award. To complete his Eagle Scout, Garrison chose to help build baseball benches for Orting Parks and Recreation.

“[Garrison] sets an example on managing a lot of activities,” head cross country and track coach Eric Johnson said. “He manages them all extremely well, he’s always spot on, he knows when it’s time to study and buckle down.”

Musical talents also stand out for Garrison, as he earned first chair tenor saxophone in the school jazz band. Over the years, he has switched amongst the clarinet, bass clarinet, and finally landed on tenor saxophone. As a member of Tri-M Music Honors Society, Garrison and his fellow classmates participated in music education for elementary students.

“We hosted a way to introduce elementary school kids to music,” Garrison said. “We showed them different instruments and how to play them.”

Garrison, right, during a jazz band performance
As a junior, Garrison enrolled in a handful of AP courses and maintains a 3.8 GPA. He received an AP Scholar award from the College Board, because he earned a score of three or higher across multiple AP tests. He is currently preparing to take the SAT for college placement scores. Garrison desires to pursue a career as a pilot and has decided he will either join the Air Force ROTC, or attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a specialized aviation school in Florida.

“I like to travel a lot,” Garrison said. “I think it would be a fun time to be a pilot…I want to see the world.”

Coach Johnson admires Garrison’s attitude and recognizes the hard work he has put in to running over the years. Dependable, communicator/listener, and sets an example are just a few of the characteristics that Coach Johnson uses to describe Garrison, and he does it all with a smile on his face.

“When I think of him, I always think of a big smile,” Coach Johnson said. “Even though he has all these obligations, he seems to have the time allocation down. Everything he does, he does it well.”

Of all the benefits of sports and activities, Garrison mostly enjoys the social aspects, getting to spend time with friends and make new memories.

“It’s so fun to be on that team, hanging out with friends and meeting new friends all the time,” “I always want to be there, it’s a fun time.”

Garrison, left, with cross country teammates

Garrison built baseball benches for his Eagle Project

WIAA student leadership committee. Sophomores:  applications accepted in the spring.
$5,000 scholarship opportunity for graduating seniors. Apply November 1-April 1, 2017.

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   News & Headlines Archive
T-Strong at Kent Meridian

While sports are a natural arena for rivalries and competition, the Kent Meridian Football and Cheer programs have used this season as a chance to promote unity and sportsmanship throughout the North South Puget Sound League (NSPSL).


The Royals cheer squad and football team brought attention to Childhood Cancer Awareness month this September by implementing a "#TaylorStrong" awareness campaign.

A member of the KM coaching staff has a family friend whose son Taylor was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  The “T-Strong” campaign was started to support his fight. Taylor loves to watch student-athletes in uniform under the Friday Night Lights. These student-athletes have become heroes to Taylor, and the KM Royals have chosen to show Taylor how many “heroes” he has here in Washington State.

Cheer coaches Erica Wolfskill and Gerald Spalti explained the campaign further, “As a way to spread awareness and show this little boy that we have his back, KMHS Cheer and Football teams have been meeting their opponents’ mid-field, prior to kick off, to take one massive photo for Taylor.” 

 Amidst the fiery emotions that come along with competition, Kent Meridian and its opponents have created space for cross-team camaraderie and uniting for an altruistic movement.  
“While yes, we are bringing awareness, we are also showing that all schools in this league can unite for a cause. We are always looking for ways to promote and encourage sportsmanship…what better way to do so than to unite for a cause.”

Throughout the season, visiting coaches and players from schools such as Auburn Riverside, Hazen, Kentlake and Mt. Rainier have participated in the campaign by joining the Royals at the 50-yard line for a pre-game photo.

“This campaign has made so much of an impact that the new slogan for every game is to be “T-Strong," said Wolfskill and Spalti.

The KM Royals hope to use “#Taylorstrong” as a symbol of awareness for all students, regardless of their challenges, and to show that no matter what happens on the field, it's what you do off the field that can really make a difference.

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