Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - Oct. 30, 2015

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories

Graveside and Memorial Services planned for Drama teacher Brian Senter

A Memorial Service in honor of Walla Walla High School Drama Teacher Brian Senter is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31 at 11 a.m. at the Walla Walla High School large gym. A public graveside service for Senter will be held Friday, Oct. 30 at 1:30 p.m. at Mountain View Cemetery (2120 S. 2nd Ave.). Wife Mary Senter sends her sincere appreciation to Walla Walla Public Schools for its support and kindness during this extremely difficult time. 

Brian Senter Obituary - Provided to the district by the Senter family

Brian Kenneth Senter - February 3, 1965 – October 24, 2015

Beloved husband, father, brother, son, teacher and friend Brian Senter died October 24, 2015 due to injuries sustained in a car-pedestrian accident. He was 50 years old. Brian was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Robert and Patricia Senter. He was their only son, joining older sister Pennie and later his younger sister, Barbara. The family moved to Reardan, Washington when Brian was 14 years old. After high school graduation, Brian earned his Bachelor’s degree with a triple major in Education, Theater and English from Whitworth University in Spokane, and it was there that he met the love of his life, Mary Reese Senter. They were married March 25, 1989, and the following 26 years were filled with the love of their beautiful children, deep friendships and adventure. Brian’s love of acting brought him to complete an MFA program at the University of Washington, after which he enjoyed a professional acting career in Seattle and Los Angeles, and finally led to his most successful role, as a high school teacher to hundreds of students over 16 years in the Walla Walla public schools, with the last 11 years at Walla Walla High School as director of the drama program.

Brian’s family life was rich beyond measure. His relationship with each of his children was singular and unique; he connected with each of them on their individual terms. At home, he enjoyed sharing his love of cooking with his children and spent many memorable hours in the kitchen with his family, talking, baking, teaching. Brian was a resourceful handyman and could fix absolutely anything. With his wife, Mary, he enjoyed the solid foundation of family from which he drew great peace and strength which he could then share with others.

Brian exemplified the Orthodox faith principles of unconditional love and acceptance of everyone, no matter their circumstances. His chosen patron saint, Saint John Maximovitch, was the caretaker of many orphaned children worldwide just as Brian was the caretaker of the many young lives he encountered.

The recent words of others speak well to Brian’s person and character.
- “Mr. Senter gave me the space to be myself. He gave me immense grace by his own example. He gave me the picture of empathy to emulate. Mr. Senter could take one look at me and know exactly what was going on in my heart. It was a gift I have not seen elsewhere, his uncanny knack for sensing emotions.”
- “Such a wonderful, talented and extraordinary man. The creative souls he touched in this lifetime will live on in the world and in our hearts. We will honor his memory with all our strength.”
- “Brian Senter was a man who made the world better by compelling us to think, to care, and to engage others to do the same. If you knew Brian, you know the void he leaves behind. If you didn’t, know he was a symbol of hope for our future.”
- “Senter saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”
- “There isn’t a ladder high enough to get over the bar you set, Brian. You were and always will be the most indigenously talented actor I have ever known.”
- “There are two types of people in this world. Brian…and everyone else.”
- “Ridiculously literate, sardonic, wry, outrageously talented, painfully complicated, mercurial, hilarious and passionate.”
- “He wouldn’t want us to dwell on his passing, so if you pray or meditate or care to empathize, put that energy toward helping those less fortunate than yourself and make the world a better place.”

Brian is survived by his beloved wife, Mary, and children Hirut, Owen, Liya, August and Ruth, his mother Patricia, sisters Pennie and Barbara, and his parents-in-law John and Elaine Reese. He is also survived by a multitude of family, friends and students each of whom he held dear in his heart. He was preceded in death by his father, Robert. A graveside service will be held at Mountain View Cemetery on Friday, October 30 at 1:30 p.m. and is open to the public. A public memorial will also be held at the Walla Walla High School large gymnasium on Saturday, October 31 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made through Herring Groseclose Funeral Home to support the Brian K. Senter Fine Arts Scholarship being established as an ongoing form of assistance to students wishing to pursue higher education in the Fine Arts.

“Turn your thoughts away from what will soon pass away and turn them towards what is eternal. Here you will find the happiness that your soul seeks, that your heart thirsts for.” Saint John Maximovitch

Superintendent Search survey deadline draws near

An online survey now open through Nov. 2 on the district website – www.wwps.org. This survey seeks to find the leadership characteristics and qualities the community is looking for in a new superintendent. Former Walla Walla Superintendent and search consultant Dr. Dennis Ray of Northwest Leadership Associates facilitated several focus group meetings this week to hear staff and community input.

“The new superintendent will help shape the vision and direction of the district for years to come,” said School Board President Sam Wells. “Now is the time to get involved and help us find the best person for this important position.”

Interviews are scheduled to begin in February with the new superintendent named in March. The new superintendent’s first day in the district is July 1.

School board executive session, public work session, regular meeting - Tuesday, Nov. 3

- Tuesday, Nov. 3
- 4:45 p.m.: Executive session - Review performance of public employee and real estate (not open to the public)
- 5:30 p.m.: Work session - Educational and Operations replacement levy discussion (open to the public)
- 6:30 p.m.: Regular meeting (open to the public)
- Location: District Office School Board Room (364 S. Park St.)

ThoughtExchange community “star” phase closes Sunday evening

Walla Walla Public Schools is now in the second phase of the Fall 2015 ThoughtExchange community engagement activity focusing on quality education. Over the past two weeks nearly three hundred participants shared 800 thoughts on the topic of quality education. The process now shifts to the “star” phase where others align their priorities with the thoughts of others. Invitations to participate in the “star” phase were sent out recently and will remain open through November 1. Those who did not receive an invitation may visit the district website at www.wwps.org to self-register. This process is available in English and Spanish. Results from the Fall 2015 ThoughtExchange community engagement will be made public in November. 

Remember to Vote - November 3

Ballots for the November 3 General Election have been mailed out to voters. Voting is an important civic responsibility. Voter registration forms for future elections are available at all district schools and the district office.

“We feel it is critical to teach and model this very special right to our youth,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Jordan. “Please join me in casting a ballot in the upcoming November 3rd general election.”

Free showing of Paper Tigers documentary at Cordiner Hall

The Health Center, Whitman College Student Engagement Center and Walla Walla Public Schools have teamed to bring a free public showing of Paper Tigers to Cordiner Hall Thursday, Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. The Paper Tigers documentary follows a year in the life of an alternative high school that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students. This film explores how Walla Walla's own Lincoln High school and The Health Center have become promising models for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and health disparities that affect families. Join us in celebrating this film, and the success of Lincoln High School.
Event details
- Paper Tigers Documentary showing
- Thursday, Dec. 3
- 6:30 p.m.
- Cordiner Hall, Whitman College (46 S. Park St.)
- Free to the public
- Learn more and register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/paper-tigers-screening-tickets-18890587255

Garrison Night School begins next month

Walla Walla Public Schools in partnership with Walla Walla Community College is offering Garrison Night School Adult classes. Registration for English classes in ESL levels 1 through 4, Computer class, First Aid/CPR will be held in November  at Garrison Middle School from 5:30 to 8 p.m.  Classes will begin Monday,  November  23 at  6 p.m.    Spanish classes will also be offered again this year.  The beginners class will be held Monday and Wednesday and the advanced class on Tuesday and Thursday  from 6 to 8:00 p.m.  Registration for Spanish classes will begin October 26 at the Walla Walla Public Schools district office located next to the YMCA on Park Street any time between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  If you have any questions regarding either program, please contact Melito Ramirez at (509) 526-8638.

School Stories

Lincoln High School plans Fall Festival today

Lincoln High School's annual Fall Festival is today  from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Lincoln High School gym at 421 S 4th St. There will be a variety of games for kids to play. Wear costumes and visit. Open to all elementary students at no charge!  Bring a can of food to support the BMAC food bank!

Community invited to Wa-Hi’s Trunk-or-Treat Halloween event tonight

- Friday, October 30
- Wa-Hi Science Parking Lot
- Event Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m.
- Free treats for all kids
- Canned food donation requested

Drama students say the show must go on

The cast and crew of the fall drama production the “A Long Bridge Over Deep Water” have elected to go forward with the play following the death of teacher and director Brian Senter. Rehearsals resumed Tuesday. The play is 10 vignettes woven together in documentary fashion and explores themes of tolerance, diversity, acceptance, and religion. A full dress rehearsal is planned for Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at Walla Walla High School Performing Arts Auditorium. Donations for this performance will fund a scholarship account for the drama program in Brian Senter’s honor. The play’s opening night is Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at Walla Walla High School Performing Arts Auditorium.

“A Long Bridge Over Deep Water” Performance Schedule:
Thursday, Nov. 12 (public viewing of dress rehearsal – donations accepted) – 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 13 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 14 – 7 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 19 - 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 20 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 21 – 2 p.m. (matinee)
Saturday, Nov. 21 – 7 p.m.
*All performances are at the Walla Walla High School Performing Arts Auditorium

- Adults $12, Students and Seniors $6
- Drama donors are seated prior to seating of the general public (It’s all general admission with no reserved seating)
- Purchase tickets online by visiting the Walla Walla High School web site: Online payments section - https://intouch.wwps.org
- Tickets may also be purchased at the ASB office Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (in person)
- Box office opens one hour prior to performance if tickets are available

Walla Walla High School college visits schedule

- Corban University: 11/2 @ 9:30 a.m.
- Western Washington University: 11/4 @ 8:30 a.m.
- University of Puget Sound: 11/5 @ 10:30 a.m.
- Linfield College: 11/5 @ 1:00 p.m.
(All events are in the Wa-Hi library)

Community Stories
City Parks & Rec Update

Registration is open for the following programs:
Fencing - November 11 - December 13, 2016
Beginning (Ages 9 - 17) Cost - $38
Intermediate (Ages 9-17) Cost - $48

Winter Tennis Camp - January 11-15, 2016
Beginning - Advanced (Ages 10-18) Cost - $75
Quickstart (Ages 4-10) Cost - $55
For more information on these programs or to register, please go to www.wwpr.us. Like on Facebook! www.facebook.com/wallawallapr

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