Tag Archive | "2008"

Alaska schools boast diversity — Profiles of multicultural students

Alaska schools boast diversity — Profiles of multicultural students

By Tegan Hanlon and Marc Lester
Alaska Dispatch News


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage has some of the most diverse schools in America. In fact, East, Bartlett and West are the three most diverse public high schools in the nation, according to a University of Alaska Anchorage researcher.

But what do we know about the students who make up the statistics?

The Anchorage School District and Bartlett High School pointed Alaska Dispatch News toward Yvette Stone’s Anatomy and Physiology class, a challenging elective that meets early in the school day. There, students volunteered to talk about their backgrounds, interests, challenges, and some of the moments that have shaped the adults they’re becoming.

Taken together, the stories open a window into the world of teens and their diverse experiences that are more than skin-deep.

Meet some members of the class:

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith has one tattoo on each forearm. On his left, a purple ribbon pays tribute to victims of domestic violence, particularly his mother.
She pulled her sons out of a bad situation. “We’re pretty much survivors,” he said.

Patrick, a quiet talker with an easy smile, is built like a football lineman – which he is, standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 290 pounds. On Patrick’s right arm, thick black ink spells out “Rylee,” the name he and his girlfriend chose for their daughter, who wasn’t yet born when ADN spoke to him.

He remembers the day she took a pregnancy test. She cried a little. “We’ve been trying to help each other as much as we can,” he said.

As a senior, Patrick has spent hours in parenting classes and has learned some of the important aspects of becoming a father.

“You have to care for another human being,” he said. “You have the responsibility of being there and always helping and I think it’s going to be stressful, but fun.”

Patrick became a dad a few days later on Oct. 4. Rylee was born a little more than 8 pounds, 21 inches long and healthy. Life became hectic quickly and Patrick took some time off from school. But he has since returned and said he plans to graduate in the spring and go to the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Anna Vang

Anna Vang was in the sixth grade when her mom died. Her dad passed away a year later. “Everything just went by too fast,” she said.

Her mom had cancerous tumors that doctors found when Anna was in elementary school. If she got home from school and cars crowded the street, she knew her family had arranged for a shaman to come. On those days she thought, “Oh no, not again.” It seemed weekly.

The shaman would come to present offerings, sometimes mounting a bench to travel to the spirit world. The family would get a chicken or a pig to sacrifice – whatever the shaman wanted. They bought food to feed those who came to the home. “Hmong people are very religious,” said Anna, a junior who now lives with her older sister.

Anna has 16 brothers and sisters – some of them step-siblings. The family lives by strict rules. She rarely goes out with friends. Anna said she lost some ties to traditional Hmong religion when she lost her parents. She’s considering a career in pediatric medicine.

As a junior, Anna does well in school. She balances classwork with taking care of her brothers. When her sister and brother-in-law aren’t home, Anna is in charge. She’s currently teaching her brothers to cook rice.

She’s also careful how she teaches them. She doesn’t scold them with harsh words. Instead she’ll just say, “Don’t do that next time.”

While Anna must act like an adult a lot of the time, she still gets scared. When that happens, she sometimes seeks comfort by talking to her grandmother’s spirit.

Tessa Heckert

Tessa Heckert knows what it’s like to be the new kid in school. Her family packed up what they owned in Ohio two years ago and moved to Alaska.

Tessa walked into Bartlett as a sophomore and only knew her two sisters, a senior and a freshman. “It was quite terrifying,” she said.

She eventually started talking to people, making friends and building a new community. Her advice for newcomers? Just reach out to others. “Whether it’s just as simple as a smile or saying ‘Hello’ or saying ‘Hey, I’m new here. I don’t know where I’m going,’ ” she said.

Now, Tessa has crimson-colored hair and a big smile and often talks in quick sentences punctuated with exclamation points. She feels at home in Anchorage and at Bartlett – a place pretty different from her previous school, which was made up of mostly white students. “I come here and there are just so many different kinds of people,” she said.

At Bartlett, Tessa, a senior, finds that people embrace their differences and respect each other. “It’s like ‘Oh my gosh, you’re from the Philippines? I’ve never been there!’ That’s really cool!” she said.

That exposure has changed Tessa. She encourages her friends more in whatever they choose to do, even if their interests stray from her own. It’s a trait she hopes to inspire in future generations when she becomes a teacher.

Pather Thao and Jaia Thao

While Pather and Jaia Thao look a lot alike, they’re not a matching set.

They have the same dark eyes, straight hair and petite builds. They both speak quietly but quickly and have a lot to say. They’re driven and focused straight-A students. However, both want recognition as distinct individuals with different personalities.

“She is like the light and I am like the shadow,” said Jaia, the more focused, quiet and studious twin. “People always compare us – Who’s smarter? Who’s taller? Who’s prettier?”

Still, they have a lot in common. That includes a competitive streak with each other, for grades and for attention from Mom and Dad.

“We love being praised by our parents. They’re like everything to us,” said Pather, the more indecisive, open and outgoing twin.

The two also share an understanding of their circumstances. Their parents had tough childhoods and continue to struggle financially.

Pather and Jaia moved to the United States from Thailand in 2004. They live in a trailer in Anchorage. Their parents work as custodians and tell Pather and Jaia that when they were young and living in Laos, they had to sneak out to go to class, so the girls should feel lucky.

And they do. But they also share a fear of failure. “You want to get a better job so you can support your family,” Jaia said. “And that’s why we’re working so hard. But if you fail, you’re never going to be better off in the future.”

Kasiah Malietufa-Lauofo

Kasiah Malietufa-Lauofo is trying to make good choices and lead by example for both his siblings and friends. His parents, Samoan and Filipino, are both hardworking and laid back, he said, “but they’re also strict at the same time. They always tell me, ‘Keep your head in the books.’”

Kasiah grew up in Anchorage and has seen some friends party and turn to drugs. A girl he knew got shot and died. “It was overwhelming,” he said.

Back home, he knows it’s not always easy for his parents. They depend on him to look after his younger siblings. He makes sure they wake up on time, eat, and pitch in with cleaning the house. Kasiah doesn’t plan to stop helping his family anytime soon.

Adrianna Tosi

Adrianna Tosi has learned to appreciate her family. She loves her four younger siblings because they can make her laugh in any stressful situation.

But she worried about squeezing them all, plus her parents, into one car this summer for a long road trip from Arizona to Alaska. “I thought it was going to be terrible, but it really was a good experience,” she said. “We got closer. There were a lot of fun moments.”

Adrianna credits her parents with teaching her everything from cleaning skills to people skills. They taught her how to confront tough situations.

Panulee Lee

Panulee Lee really likes anime. In some ways, she identifies with her favorite character: Naruto, a cheerful teenage ninja who wants to become the village leader. “He’s a really friendly person,” she said.

Panulee was born in Thailand. She remembers playing in the dirt. She moved to California in 2004 before arriving in Anchorage. At first, she didn’t have many friends. She was kind of quiet. “If you talk to me, I’ll talk back,” she said. “If you don’t talk to me, I’ll just sit here.”

Panulee has four brothers and one sister. Her mom takes care of the family and her dad works as a school janitor. The education he got in Thailand didn’t really transfer to the United States, she said.

Isabelle Suh

Isabelle Suh was once an intern for a program that taught English to Anchorage’s refugee population. She felt like she could relate to some of their challenges.

Born in Alaska, Isabelle lived in South Korea from age 6 to 13, living in an apartment tower that overlooked other apartments in the country’s second largest city.

When she moved back with her mom, she had to relearn English. “In middle school I felt like I was different and I felt judged. And I didn’t like the classes I was in because I didn’t know what I was doing,” she said.

Like some students she later assisted, she was motivated and got out of ESL classes in just two years. Now, when her mom texts her in Korean, Isabelle responds in English.

As a senior, she thinks about how the little things can make a big impact.

Isabelle doesn’t go out for fun until her work is done. She would just feel guilty about it. Though a 4.0 GPA might not sound much different from a 3.5, she knows that achieving higher marks can open up many more options.

Bella Mailo

Bella Mailo’s determination is clear. A straight-A student, she was nearly able to graduate from high school early. She says she’ll become a Marine one day and hopes that will help pay for her further education.

“When I have a goal, there’s, like, nothing you can do to tell me I can’t do it,” she said.

Bella credits her mother, who worked hard and was strict but also understanding. She never shied away from conversations other parents might find difficult to address.

“I don’t think many of my friends’ parents talk to them about sex and birth control and all of that, but my mom told me that she wanted me to hear it,” she said.

So they went to Red Robin and talked over dinner. “She can literally get anything out of me if she feeds me.” At the end of most school days,
Bella will cook dinner for her dad, who is recovering from a stroke. “We kind of spend as much family time as we can,” she said. This is not the first time her family has dealt with a medical crisis. When Bella was 3, her younger brother died of a rare form of leukemia. She has few memories of that time. But she does remember the tears. She also remembers the doctors and their positive attitudes. That might just be the reason she’s aiming to go to medical school to become a pediatrician.

Mrs. Yvette Stone

Yvette Stone won’t wait until the end of her teaching career before she judges how successful she’s been. She’s doing that every day — each class period, even. She does it when her brain is working overtime as she drives home in the evenings. “Did you forget to say hello to that kid?” she asks herself.

Yvette has spent 11 years at Bartlett teaching more than medical career classes. She’s teaching students grit — to stay focused when life’s challenges seem to drag them down. She may have more than 150 students, but she’s trying to catch the one who might be slipping away.

“I cut them a little slack, but then I say, `You know what? You may have something going on at home, but this is your ticket. You can pull yourself out of it.’” Yvette wants you to know that Bartlett defies any stereotypes you might have for it. Those who would judge these kids as underachieving don’t know how far some have come despite disadvantages. Those who judge the school don’t see young people staying, by choice, to do school work until 5 p.m. They don’t see these kids act so accepting of one another, never preoccupied by racial differences.

They don’t see these kids work hard to make their teachers proud.

For those students, Yvette is helping them see beyond their stresses. (end)

Posted in National News, Vol 35 No 1 | 1/2-1/8Comments (0)

‘Gran Torino’ falls short on depiction of Hmong

By Andrew Hamlin
Northwest Asian Weekly

For all their fascinating culture and history, Hmong rarely get depicted on film. Read the full story

Posted in At the Movies, Vol 28 No 2 | 1/3-1/9Comments (0)

Russians sentenced for 19 hate killings

Russians sentenced for 19 hate killings

Young Russian men convicted of murdering 19 people in a string of hate attacks enter a glass cage to hear their sentences in Moscow City Court on Monday, Dec. 15. Some of the defendants wear masks to cover their faces from the media. Photo by Sergey Ponomarev and provided by The Associated Press.

By Paul Sonne
The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Seven young men who murdered 19 people in a series of hate crimes were sentenced to prison Monday, Dec. 15, amid a surge in racist assaults, xenophobia, and neo-Nazism in Russia.

Fears of an explosion in violent racism were further heightened earlier this month with the gruesome beheading of a Tajik migrant worker near Moscow. Read the full story

Posted in Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26, World NewsComments (0)

Filipino wrecking machine set for UFC debut

Filipino wrecking machine set for UFC debut

Mark Munoz. Photo provided by Sherdog.

By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly


That’s how Mark Munoz describes himself outside of the cage in a recent telephone interview with Northwest Asian Weekly. Munoz, a family man with a wife and four children, lives in a quiet Southern California suburb.

Inside the mixed martial arts cage, he is known as the “Filipino Wrecking Machine.” Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a violent contact sport that combines boxing, wrestling, and multiple martial arts disciplines, and is fought inside a caged ring.

Munoz, 30, is undefeated at 5-0. In Munoz’s last fight on Dec. 3, 2008, he beat his opponent by technical knock out in just over two minutes. This victory impressed the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) so much that Munoz was notified that he will be fighting in the UFC which is considered to be the major leagues of the MMA. The UFC told him to be ready to fight on one of its fight cards in March, April, or May 2009. Read the full story

Posted in Sports, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (0)

Angry Ford dealer blasts imports in controversial ads

By Russ Bynum
The Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Georgia (AP) — A Ford dealer, angered over the proposed bailout of U.S. automakers, blames the nation’s sour economy on Congress and criticized buyers of Japanese cars, calling the vehicles “rice ready … not road ready” in a radio ad. Read the full story

Posted in Business, National News, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (0)

Crime on the rise in the ID?

By Ryan Pangilinan
Northwest Asian Weekly

On Wednesday, Dec. 10, members of several International District businesses met with a handful of officers from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to discuss the recent rash of robberies in the neighborhood as well as how to bridge the communication gap between merchants and law enforcement. Read the full story

Posted in Community News, Features, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (0)

Will milk companies pay up for making babies sick?

Will milk companies pay up for making babies sick?

Sanlu Group Co. is a state-owned dairy company in China that was at the center of the milk controversy earlier this year. Families are suing the company for a total of14 million yuan ($2 million USD). However, the government says they are still investigating and rejected the suit. Photo provided by Falun Dairy.

By Gillian Wong
The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — Some Chinese dairy companies will likely have to pay for a compensation plan being prepared by the government for families of hundreds of thousands of children sickened by tainted milk powder, the Health Ministry said Dec. 10.

The ministry said that six babies likely died and 294,000 infants suffered urinary problems from drinking milk powder tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.

“I think that the likelihood is high that the compensation will come from the companies, because the government is now paying for the screening of the children and other related treatments,” ministry spokesman Mao Qun’an told The Associated Press after a news conference. Read the full story

Posted in Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26, World NewsComments (0)

Some festive cheer around the Northwest Asian Weekly/Seattle Chinese Post newsroom

Some festive cheer around the Northwest Asian Weekly/Seattle Chinese Post newsroom

Both newspapers thought it would be fun to participate in a holiday decorating contest to make the newsroom feel more like home. The staff split into four teams and were given a blank 6 by 10 foot wall or a 3 by 14 foot set of windows to carry out their ideas. Each team was lucky enough to have its own graphic designer. Judges from the community picked the best decoration, though results will not be announced until Dec. 19. Read the full story

Posted in Cultures, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (0)

Turnaround time: Flagging Huskies get new coach

Turnaround time: Flagging Huskies get new coach

The Sarkisian family introduces themselves to Seattle at a press conference held Dec. 8 in the Don James Center at Husky Stadium. Steve Sarkisian (left) stands with wife, Stephanie, and his daughters Ashley, 5, and Taylor (newborn). Son Brady is 3. (Photo provided by Richard Kilwien.)

Steve Sarkisian is the new head coach of the Washington Huskies. He will be succeeding Tyrone Willingham, whose 4-year tenure concluded with a winless season, the first time in the team’s 119-year history at the institution. Sarkisian’s experience as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach is hoped to boost the team’s offense and improve their star quarterback, Jake Locker. One of Sarkisian’s main objectives is to improve recruiting right away, a crucial step in bringing the Huskies back to its glory days.

Sarkisian was born March 8, 1974. He attended West High School in Torrance, Calif. He began his playing career in 1992 at the University of Southern California (USC) as a member of the baseball team.

He later transferred to El Camino College, a two-year community college in Torrance, where he played his first two seasons of college football. As a freshman in 1993, he earned All-Mission Conference honors. In his sophomore season, he was named JC All-American. Read the full story

Posted in Community News, Profiles, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (1)

Cantwell announces landmark partnership between Washington state and Chinese ports

By Staff
Northwest Asian Weekly

On the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and representatives from the U.S. Department of State, the Port of Seattle, SSA Marine, the City of Tacoma, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced on Dec. 15 an innovative partnership to develop energy efficient and environmentally sustainable ports. Read the full story

Posted in Community News, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (0)

Lend a hand: Volunteer with friendly nonprofit board

Helping Link is a nonprofit organization governed by a group of talented and giving volunteers. Read the full story

Posted in Briefs, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (0)

American South sees more diversity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Recent U.S. Census numbers show Nashville’s suburbs have become dramatically more diverse over the last seven years. Read the full story

Posted in National News, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (0)

International students hurt by financial crisis

By Hawkins Teague
The Associated Press

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — When the financial crisis hit the United States in September, it caused many Americans to panic. What most didn’t realize — but what is all too clear for Murray State University’s international students — is that the crisis actually caused the U.S. dollar to increase in value relative to some nations’ currencies. Read the full story

Posted in National News, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (0)

Happy good eating! The importance of tradition in food

Happy good eating! The importance of tradition in food

Images by Stacy Nguyen

By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly

My mom banned turkey from our Christmas table this year. The reason why is because she doesn’t want to buy a vat of peanut oil or set up our industrial propane-fueled five-gallon deep fryer or risk third degree burns and disfiguration.

I know — so lazy.

Around this time of year, many of us go through these trials and tribulations just to make a genetic dud of a bird taste just “all right.” Why?

Well, there’s something to be said about tradition. We repeat these rituals because it stirs happy memories in us. Asian Americans are in a unique position because many of us didn’t learn about Santa Claus or pumpkin pie from our parents. This education came from TV and school. Read the full story

Posted in Food, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (1)

Taiwan, China launch direct shipping, air links

Taiwan, China launch direct shipping, air links

This vessel will be able to freely cross between China and Taiwan, something the governments of both countries hope will boost their economies. Photos provided by Xinhua News Agency.

By Debby Wu
The Associated Press

KEELUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwanese jetliners and cargo ships left Monday, Dec. 15 for China to open a new era of direct air and shipping services with the mainland, formally ending a nearly six-decade ban on regular links between the rivals.

The passenger flights and sailings reflected perhaps the most dramatic improvement in relations between the two sides since they split amid civil war in 1949. Read the full story

Posted in Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26, World NewsComments (0)

New Thai PM faces deep divisions, poor economy

By Ambika Ahuja
The Associated Press

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Thailand’s new prime minister faces the difficult task of unifying a country torn apart by months of violent anti-government protests — demonstrations that battered the key tourism industry just as the global economy was slipping into its worst crisis in decades. Read the full story

Posted in Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26, World NewsComments (0)

Protester killed during voting in Indian Kashmir

By Aijaz Hussain
The Associated Press

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Voters cast their ballots in the fifth phase of state elections in Indian Kashmir on Saturday, Aug. 13, as scattered clashes between protesters and government forces left one person dead. Read the full story

Posted in Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26, World NewsComments (0)

1994: Deep thoughts for the holidays

1994: Deep thoughts for the holidays

By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly

Image by Stacy Nguyen/NWAW

Here are some unconventional thoughts for you to ponder over:

Why is Santa Claus not female?

Why should Santa Claus be a male? Read the full story

Posted in Cultures, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (86)

What does your holiday look like?

What does your holiday look like?

Northwest Asian Weekly asked you to send in your holiday photos for the chance to earn restaurant gift certificates, and you answered! We recieved great submissions of many unique decorations. Here are the finalists. Thank you! Read the full story

Posted in Cultures, Vol 27 No 52 | 12/20-12/26Comments (0)

Underdog Pacquiao beats De La Hoya

Underdog Pacquiao beats De La Hoya

WBC lightweight champion Manny Pacquiao throws a right to Oscar De La Hoya during the third round of their welterweight boxing match in Las Vegas, Saturday, Dec. 6. (Photo taken by Eric Jamison and provided by the Associated Press.)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — From five-star hotel lounges to army camps to Manila’s slums, Filipinos celebrated a victory by boxer Manny Pacquiao that gave this country a break from its financial worries.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a key supporter of Pacquiao, congratulated him by phone after he beat Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas.

“His triumph is again a great unifier of Filipinos,” Arroyo spokesman Jesus Dureza said. “While he was an underdog to bookies and matchmakers abroad, he was already a winner to all Filipinos.”

Amid many problems hounding the country, Pacquiao was a “saving grace,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said. Read the full story

Posted in Sports, Vol 27 No 51 | 12/13-12/19Comments (0)

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