Tag Archives: Olympic High School

Guy rents billboard for prom-posal

When Jacob Ness was considering how to ask his girlfriend Abby King to Olympic High School’s prom he wanted to pull out all the stops.

Ness had seen messages of a personal nature on the Mentor billboard near the Warren Avenue Bridge in East Bremerton and, “I just thought that putting that up there would be the mother lode of everything that would be up there.”

He rented the billboard, $80 for three days over a weekend in late May, and roped Abby’s mom, Patti King, in as an accomplice. The two drove Abby to the sign blindfolded. Abby was understandably apprehensive. They spun her around and pulled off the blindfold to reveal the message. Abby was speechless with surprise.

“It worked out perfect,” Jacob said. “I went over and touched her, and she grabbed onto me and started crying.”

In short, she said, “Yes.” Oly’s prom is Saturday. Jacob and Abby will wear outfits that match in what Jacob describes as “seafoamy green.”

Prom-posals, extravagant public displays of affection related to that all important dance, are nothing brand new (the first one that actually got media attention was in 2001, according to a recent article in Time). But the stakes have escalated within the past few years, as teens vie to come up with the most original and clever way to drop the question. And always there is the requisite posting on social media.

Prom-posals are delivered on footballs, vehicles and T-shirts. Guys write them on pets and on themselves. Food — and for some strange reason, chicken — seems to be a trend.




Someprom-posals are romantic in a quirky way, inappropriate way. One of my son’s friends last year pretended to get hurt while playing soccer. The girl he asked was in sports medicine and rushed to attend to him. He lifted his pant leg to show the word “Prom?” on his calf.


Yet other other prom-posals, like sunburning the word “prom?” on your back, or reclining in your underwear with rose petals and a giant teddy bear, just seem like a bad idea out the gate.


Journalism standards for bloggers and story commenters

Jumping into the question of journalism education as we did with the story on the end of the program at Olympic High School is a special challenge for a reporter.

For one, journalism is a subject matter we ponder every day. So a story like this lends itself to a little navel gazing.

Secondly, to do a story like this it’s helpful to talk to journalism experts, which means putting our interviewing skills on display in front of experts. I stammered a lot in the first interview and pulled myself together for the second. It helps sometimes to pretend to be a radio host.

Third, while we’re not on the level of the entertainment industry when it comes to self congratulation, we do sometimes tend to think highly of ourselves, or at least of what we do for a living. Knowing this is important and makes it possible to approach the subject fairly.

We provided some indication how many journalism programs are out there in the high schools. I’ve since received an answer from all but one of the principals I asked. Here’s the list of local high schools and whether they have a journalism class and/or a newspaper/online news outlet.

Bainbridge — Yes on both.
Bremerton — No.
Central Kitsap — Yes to both.
Kingston — No. One year there was a club that put out two editions.
Klahowya — The course catalog shows there is a journalism class and the school does have a newspaper.
North Kitsap — Yes, but both could be cut next year.
North Mason — No.
South Kitsap — Yes on both, but are considering whether to continue.

For me one of the more interesting points to the story was made by Le Anne Wiseman, director of the High School Journalism Initiative for the American Society of News Editors. Early last decade our industry’s downfall was predicted and sometimes celebrated by those who figured a nation of bloggers would take up the news gathering role we in traditional media had done. It is true that anyone with an Internet connection can be a reporter and that maybe about 0.5 percent of those who started blogs have yet to grow tired of writing for them. (That statistic is phony, made up to exaggerate. The actual figure in 2008 was 5.5 percent, according to this story quoting a stat from Technorati. To be considered among that 5.5 percent you had to update your blog once in the past four months.)

Bloggers didn’t go away, necessarily. Many of them migrated to Facebook, Twitter and to the end of stories written by traditional journalists. That is reality, one that would be better if everyone of them employed journalistic standards in commenting and editorializing. (The best editorial writers do some reporting; they don’t just regurgitate talking points.) People complain about commenter anonymity, but I’m fine with anonymous commenters if they are good reporters.

So I would love to see every student in every high school in America required to take at least one rigorous journalism course. I want them to be required to interview both or all sides on an issue, to consider how their own biases could be affecting a story, to continue digging when something doesn’t make sense, to go back and ask more questions and to subject what they write to an editor or multiple editors. Chances are the new world of online chatter would not change all that much. But even a little would make me very, very happy.

Oly’s Bob Barnes started teaching when we didn’t know how wonderful it was to not know

Bob Barnes, Olympic High School principal, started work as a teacher 42 years ago. For the last 13 years he has been principal at Olympic High School. He is retiring at the end of the year. We will have a story on him on Tuesday.

To get an idea of what 42 years in education means, or how the world and education have changed in that time, watch comedian Pete Holmes talk about not knowing, and how beautiful that was.

Cutie and the New Girl separate

Our condolences to the Gibbard family on the sad news that Olympic High School grad Ben Gibbard and his wife of two years, Zooey Deschanel, have separated.

Seriously, I’m kind of sad about this. I love the depth I see in Death Cab for Cutie music and I’ve always thought Deschanel was kind of cool. I’m not sure why any of us bother to get our hopes up for celebrity couples, but why not? They both seem likable.

I guess I won’t be seeing the two of them at my house. You can still come over, Ben.