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Kitsap seniors take alternative routes to success
Walking the halls of Eastside and Westside Alternative schools, youll find hands-on teachers working alongside students eager to learn. Two of those students, both seniors Eastsides Lindzey Lien and Westsides Tory Chapel ?model the alternative school mission: To provide a comfortable learning environment free of social strain, while offering one-on-one teaching to help students excel.
A musician, aspiring marine biologist and working girl all in one, Lien is a Kitsap County native.
Bouncing around schools, attending Kitsap Lake Elementary, Silverdale Elementary, Ridgetop Junior High, Central Kitsap Junior High and Olympic High, Lien found her groove as a sophomore, transferring into Eastside.
Once I got to Eastside I started to like school, she said. Its been a really good experience.
Its really nice to go at your own (working) pace. And Ive met a lot of nice people.
Discovering a love for marine life while attending Ridgetop, Lien said she hopes one day to explore the Great Barrier Reef.
I was just kind of exploring different elective classes, she said of finding marine biology. There are so many job you can do as a marine biologist.
Lien said snorkeling vacations to Hawaii have further sparked her marine interest.
Its so amazing, she said. There are so many creatures and life, its just really cool.
But Liens interests dont stop at the ocean; shes open to the possibility of becoming a music producer. A fan of what she calls folk rock, Lien enjoys the music of Brand New, Death Cab for Cutie and Honorary Title.
If you listen to the lyrics they are really inspiring, she said. The music is easy to listen to.
A reflection of her easy-going personality, Liens passion for music resonates with her at school.
I try to be nice, to be carefree, she said. I like to get along with everybody.
Eastside student coordinator Robin Campbell praised Lien for her ability to coalesce at Eastside, blending in with her peers and finding success in the classroom.
Shes just been a breath of fresh air, Campbell said. Shes had strong goals from the beginning. She has really come out of her shell in terms of academics.
As graduation nears, the prospect of leaving Kitsap County intrigues Lien, who hopes to attend either Western Washington University or Whatcom Community College.
I want to move to Bellingham, she said. Thats my favorite place (in Washington).
Until then, however, Lien said she will continue to spend time with friends and work with children as a babysitter at Silver Ridge Elementary School, a job she said has helped her become patient.
They (the kids) are in the stage of their life when they dont want to listen to anybody, she joked, explaining she works with children ages kindergarten to sixth grade. Theyve taught me how to be more patient with people.
And while Lien represents success at Eastside, Chapel does the same at Westside.
She spends her days as a teaching assistant for teacher Lindi Zuber, while excelling in reading, writing and science.
My favorite subject is science, Chapel said of her classroom preference. Its easy for me to understand, its interesting and not repetitive.
Chapel first arrived in Kitsap County as an 8-year-old, moving from Virginia Beach, Va. First a Jackson Park resident, she settled in Silverdale at 9 and has stayed ever since.
After hopping around schools she found Westside, developing close relationships with teachers, especially Zuber.
Shes just an amazing girl, Zuber said of Chapel. Shes as sweet as can be. When shes asked to do something she steps up to the plate.
Balancing classwork with teaching-assistant duties, Chapel prefers to be workmanlike rather than in the limelight.
What comes to mind is shes very humble, student advisor Silvery Brown said. She has a 4.0 (grade point average) and youd never know it.
With a 4.0 grade point average, Chapel figures to have plenty of college options, if thats the path she chooses.
Id like to be a librarian, she said, explaining that the University of Washington is the only in-state campus to offer a library science major, the route she hopes to take.
Like most people, the weather bothers me, she said of sticking around Puget Sound. I think Id like to have more options than (UW).
Excelling in the classroom, Chapel praised her Westide teachers for helping her succeed.
The teachers are great, she said. They are personable and approachable.
Also a fan of soap operas and reading and writing fantasy, Chapel said Westside has helped her find a niche in and out of the classroom.
(Sometimes) people dont understand alternative schools, she explained. Its not like other schools where you go in for one subject, are done with it and leave. Since there are less students, you get more one-on-one time (with the teachers).
Principal Richard Arena echoed Chapels sentiment.
We have a lower number of students, a lower student-teacher ratio, he said, and because of that, (the teachers) help the kids and answer their questions. They develop that personal relationship.
For both Chapel and Lien, the alternative schools have proved a perfect fit.
As the principal at both schools, Arena is proud to call Chapel and Lien his students and soon-to-be graduates.
They are both great girls, he said.