Tag Archives: Marcus Whitman Junior High School

Life in rewind, what career would you choose?

SOUTH KITSAP — Gotta love those junior high kids, so fluid, like mercury, they could flow any which way.

I was once in junior high, hated it. High school was much better. In the midst of boomer-dom, nearly 57, I’m quite content.

Four years ago, I was invited to the annual Marcus Whitman Junior High School Career Fair to be a “presenter” on the joys and demands of journalism. They’ve asked me back each year, and I say, “yes,” because I really do love junior high kids. Blank slates, with baggage. Spontaneous, self-conscious, wise beyond their years. Funny. Endearing.

The fair was Tuesday. I distributed advice — this is one thing I love about being old — and 30 or 40 Kitsap Sun pencils. We used to hand out refrigerator magnets, but times being what they are … The pencils were a hit. I noticed, however, that the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s table had candy scattered all over it. Drew quite a crowd. Next year, Butterfingers, for sure.

The students were asked to fill out a card with stickers showing the different tables they had visited. There were many representatives of potential career paths to choose from: veterinarians, beauticians, an airplane mechanic (also a popular stop), restaurateurs, a dance instructor who is now teaching the children of children she had when she started her independent business at 15. That would be Tanya Bleil-Johnson of Just for Kicks School of Dance in Port Orchard (in photo).

A cartoonist lamented the slow demise of print media and stressed the need to “reinvent” himself. Welcome to my world, except the Kitsap Sun, while expanding its web product, continues to print the daily edition. I get to listen to the comforting sound of the presses cranking to life each afternoon. The earthquake-like thunk of rolls of newsprint on the loading dock. One student told me that while her peers get most of their news — if they bother to look at the news — online, she still loves the feel, sound and smell of the newspaper. Gotta love that.

I also got a kick out of another student, a guy, who is set on becoming a Navy SEAL. The elite commandos have been getting a lot of press, what with the killing of Osama bin Laden and the recent rescue of aid workers in Somalia. But this young man had held his goal since since he was a child. I have no doubt he’ll measure up and serve his country proud. He may have to ditch the ear plugs somewhere along the line, however.

Cruising around in between groups of students, I spoke with Sue Kunkel, a CAT scan technologist representing St. Francis Hospital (in photo). Radiology is so much more than X-rays, Kunkel said. There are sonograms, utrasound, nuclear medicine. This reminded me that, had I not become a journalist, I might have gone into the medical field. You see the connection, right?

I once thought of going into nursing. For a time, during and shortly after college, I worked in long-term care, with the elderly. Later, when the terms “journalism” and “pessimism” seemed to go hand in hand, I seriously considered retraining as an X-ray tech or other imaging specialist. If I had it to do all over, I’d probably gravitate to the field of public utilities and water quality.

Which brings me to the question ‘o the day: What career paths did you consider but not take? What about your career path do you wish you had known when you were in junior high school? What advice would you give yourself as a junior high student about career choices?

Thanks. Look forward to hearing your responses.

Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun reporter

South Kitsap Native Holly Mattson Alive and “Thankful”

Friends of South Kitsap native Holly Mattson will hold a benefit concert for her on Sept. 30 at Neumos
nightclub in Seattle
to help her with steep medical bills incurred from a horrific July 26 car crash that claimed the life of her friend Douglas W. Simmons III of Fife, also originally from South Kitsap.

Changes are pending against the Auburn woman who hit the car Simmons was driving broadside. The woman allegedly was traveling at speeds up to 80 miles per hour while fleeing a Federal Way police officer when the collision occurred.

Mattson, who was a passenger in Simmons car, has rough days since the accident but remains the upbeat person friends from Marcus Whitman Junior High School and South Kitsap High School remember. She is taking “baby steps but in the right direction,” she said on a recent Facebook post.

Mattson only learned that Simmons had died after she got out of the intensive care unit.

“My ex-husband and my three boys all came in and surrounded my bed,” Mattson said, in an e-mail to the Kitsap Sun. “They said I had to know and proceeded to tell me. I stopped them after hearing about Doug’s death. My heart was instantly broke.

“He was such a good guy and the waves of tears hit me without warning over him,” Mattson said. “He was a wonderful dad and family was the most important thing in the world to him. He was a true man in his walk in this life.”

Mattson, formerly of Oregon and the Seattle area, for now is living with family in Port Orchard. She is somewhat overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that has buoyed her since she first remembers regaining consciousness in the hospital.

“I am so humble over the outreach from everyone on this whole tragic event. I really cannot even form words other then being ‘Thankful,’” she said. “You ask how I am right now. I am better then yesterday. I say that I feel like my heart, my mind and my body are broken, but honestly, my spirit has been strong throughout and I owe that to all the love and support of friends and family.”

Find the story on Mattson’s heroic recovery in today’s Kitsap Sun.

Friends, spearheaded by Dave Dayton, also formerly of South Kitsap, now of Seattle, have organized this concert at Neumos, entitled “There is a Light That Never Goes Out.” The concert will feature 10 bands covering The Smiths, a 1980s rock band (details below).

I didn’t realize how eerily poignant the name of the event was until I looked for The Smiths on You Tube and found this video.

“There is a Light That Never Goes Out”
What: A benefit concert for South Kitsap native Holly Mattson.
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 30
Where: Neumos, 925 East Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98122-3816; (206) 709-9442
More Information: Find organizer Dave Dayton on Facebook, e-mail
openheart_70@yahoo.com or visit www.neumos.com.
Bands: Leeni, Like Lightning and Guests, Bradford in Taxco, Leslie Beattie,
Trentalange, Mikey Davis (Calligraphers), Joshua Morrison, The Small Change,
Aaron Mannino and The Missionary Position.