McKenzie Fysh, a senior at Liberty High School, has found her passion in music therapy. It is the perfect way to combine her talent on the piano with her desire for helping others. Fysh’s musical journey started in kindergarten, as she often left class to play the piano that was located just outside the classroom. Her teacher, recognizing Fysh’s love for music, encouraged her parents to sign her up for lessons. The rest is history.
Today Fysh regularly plays the piano at local retirement homes, a journey that started by visiting her own grandparents. The positive effect the music had on their community was apparent from the first time she played for them and their friends. The residents’ moods changed from withdrawn to engaged, and Fysh didn’t think twice about returning to play, calling this the most rewarding musical experience in her life thus far.
Fysh attended Interlochen Arts Camp, a prestigious music camp in Michigan, this past summer, and is part of the Liberty High School Choir. With her newly made connections over the summer Fysh hopes to gain entrance to a music therapy program at a college or university on the east coast.
Tiffany Yamasaki has already had a huge senior year – she has been selected as a member of the All-National Honor Ensembles, Mixed Choir for the second time. Yamasaki will come together with nearly 300 other students from across the country in Grapevine, Texas from November 10-13 for a weekend of rehearsal and a one-time concert.
Last year was Yamasaki’s first year as part of the All-National Choir, and she says it was the best and most rewarding musical experience of her life. While she admitted it was overwhelming at times, it was incredible to be part of a choir of people that had never met, but sounded amazing together instantly.
Yamasaki is part of Liberty High School’s Choir, and hopes to continue her music studies after graduation. She is looking into music industry programs at various colleges as she wants to learn both about the recording and production aspects of a career in music.
When Robin Callahan joined the Issaquah Schools Foundation in 1999, little could she guess that within just three years she would become its Executive Director. While her drive and passion to support children and families was apparent to all whom she met or interacted with, how many could have predicted that the power of her advocacy would take the Foundation from an entity raising $220,000 supporting two programs, to a foundation raising $1.7M underwriting a myriad of programs? Countless children, families, and teachers have benefited from her leadership.
Robin has said that she sees endless opportunities to help children reach their potential. While some tend to categorize struggling students as “at risk youth” or “English language learners”, under Robin’s guidance, the Foundation has recognized that all children struggle,whether a highly capable child who needs extra challenges, a child that connects to school through the Arts, or one who never felt connected at school until they joined the robotics club. As Washington State continues to lag behind the nation in per-pupil funding, Robin and the Issaquah Schools Foundation have come alongside the District, its families, staff, and students, to ensure that all students have access to programs that help them flourish.
Today the Issaquah Schools Foundation is a model for school foundations nationwide. Robin will be taking her own brand of relentless optimism for the mission of school foundations to assist the National Schools Foundation in how to work with district personnel in developing programs that meet the needs of their communities as well as effectively development donor relationships and raise much needed funding for schools across America.
From all of us at the Issaquah School District, our heartfelt thanks for your vibrant vision and leadership. Friday, September 16, 2016 is officially Robin Callahan Day in the ISD, but your legacy and the strength of the Issaquah Schools Foundation moving forward will be working for kids every day.
Congratulations to Neil Lasher, Security Officer at Issaquah High School, on being named 2016 SSO of the year by the Washington School Safety Organization.
Neil has been with Issaquah High School since 2003. One of the many things that stands out about Neil is his ability to build strong relationships with both students and staff at IHS. He is truly a part of the community! Neil is always proactive with the safety of the campus, and can be counted on to keep his cool under pressure. Issaquah High is very fortunate to have such a great security officer! Congratulations!