Letters to the Editor

Public Academy is dream come true

Our daughter has attended Federal Way Public Academy for the last two years. I can sure tell you we have no big-shot budget at FWPA. Our parents are very active in fund-raising, and we contribute every dime raised to the school via our PTSA’s 501c3 status.

The school is an excellent place for seeing a real partnership between teachers, parents and students who come to school to work hard. We are the opposite of the “I am a victim” mentality. We are committed, persistent, creative and quick to roll up our sleeves and get to work on any need that arises.

We have no library. Minimum textbooks. Use both sides of copy paper. We find things on our teachers’ wish lists on eBay and at sales that other school districts have.

We are a tenacious, intelligent and fun-loving FWPA family and love every day we have to learn at our school. We are feisty, protective and extremely thankful for our school and each other. We love America and the opportunities and responsibilities of freedom.

In the fall, we are expanding to grades 6 through 10. Obviously, we cannot fit in our portables anymore. Remember, it is the Federal Way school district that is transitioning from junior high schools to middle schools. We cannot hold more than the 180 students we have in the eight portables and the office in the parking lot behind Illahee Middle School.

Growing from grades 7-8-9 to grades 6-7-8-9-10 will mean 300 students. Our class size is roughly 30 students to one teacher. No problem.

We are the dream-come-true for educators. We choose to be at FWPA. We endure the suspense of a lottery to gain admittance. We drive our students to and from school. We work hard to raise money for our school and teachers. We challenge every student every day. We laugh at the total folly of ever wasting time or wasting anything else.

We offer free tutoring after (or before) school. We will assist any student who has financial need when it comes to extra things we do for our classes. The parents and students fund-raise for expanded learning opportunities like a Shakespeare play, or a science/physics lesson aboard a sail boat.

We do our best to have each class grow together in the teamwork bond of being friends and classmates. It’s quite a challenge with adolescents and truly rewarding to see them grow in maturity, as well as academics.

We have thrived on making do, doing without, and will always reminisce about the good old days in our portables. Are we a bunch of elite overachievers? No, we are a great example of the power of hard work.

Our students come from every elementary school in the district. Shakin’ in their boots? Sure. The rumors are probably rampant that it is tough. Well, the truth is that it is cool to be smart. The students soon learn to manage their time, focus on their studies, keep the TV off and take well-earned pride in their accomplishments.

FWPA is a very upbeat and happy place. There is no finer school in the state. Dr. Griffin founded FWPA on a good idea. We are the living reality of that good idea. Many thanks to Federal Way School Board member Charlie Hoff for his steadfast support.

Maureen Bernardy

Federal Way

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