Archive for the ‘Student Voices’ Category

Weston Dill is a double threat — he can shoot and write. (Photo courtesy Jenny Dill)

With Washington state schools closed down for at least six weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re offering all Whidbey Island students a chance to be heard and stay connected.

Weston Dill, who wrote the following report on his favorite basketball player, is a 4th grader at South Whidbey Elementary.


Zach LaVine is an amazing basketball player and I will prove it to you.

Since I can remember, Michael Jordan has been my favorite basketball player.

The first time I saw Zach LaVine was in a slam dunk contest, he was wearing a Michael Jordan “Space Jam” jersey.

He was 19 years old. HE WON with a perfect score of 50!!

I think we have a lot of similarities.

Zach LaVine was born on March 10, 1995 in Renton , WA.

He was born into an athletic family.

His dad Paul LaVine played for the Seattle Seahawks and his mom Cheryl played softball in college. He also has 3 sisters.

Here are some amazing things about Zach LaVine: his awards are two-time NBA slam dunk contest champion, also NBA All-Rookie Second-Team (2015) and Pac-12 All-Freshman Team (2014).

Also, First-Team Parade All-American (2013).

AP Washington state player of the year (2013) and Washington Mr. Basketball (2013).

Zach LaVine went to Bothell High School.

He was a point guard and their main ball handler. His number was 14.

In 2013, his senior year, at 6’5” tall he averaged 28.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

He was the number 12 shooting guard and number 44 player overall in the nation.

Zach LaVine went to UCLA for college.

He played point guard. His number was still 14.

His stats were: 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists average per game, even after a six-game shooting slump.

He attended college for one year, from 2013-2014. After that he entered the NBA draft.

Zach LaVine was in the 2014 NBA draft.

He got drafted in round 1, pick 13 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played for them from 2014-2017.

In 2017 he got traded to the Chicago Bulls for a four-year 80-million dollar contract.

It was a big deal to him since Michael Jordan was his idol and Michael Jordan played for the Bulls.

Zach LaVine still plays for the Bulls. He is #8, small forward and shooting guard.

This season he averaged 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game.

His career high is 49 points with the Bulls in 2019. His net worth is now six million dollars.

Zach LaVine is also a role model off the court.

He loves to give back to the community. He gave 500 Thanksgiving meals to a local food bank.

He recently gave 12,500 meals to the Seattle Food Bank because of the coronavirus outbreak, to give back to his hometown.

At home he loves to play one on one with his dog in his backyard.

He also was on the Disney show “Kirby Buckets” in 2016.

He partners with Adidas, Uptime, Finish Line and Panini.

He is hard working and I look up to him.

Zach LaVine is my favorite basketball player currently playing.

He has the best dunk in my opinion. He is on my favorite team and loves Michael Jordan just like me.

Both of our parents train us hard and push us to our limits.

His dad would come up with amazing drills to help him be the best player he could be.

Every day I work on drills with my mom and my dad comes up with new ones too.

I think we have a lot of similarities and I hope to be as good as him someday, maybe even better.

We both love the game of basketball.

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The coronavirus has delayed Chris Cernick’s senior soccer season, but he continues to work hard every day. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

With Washington state schools closed down for at least six weeks due to the spread of coronavirus, we’re offering all Coupeville students a chance to be heard and stay connected.

Chris Cernick is a senior at CHS who plays soccer and basketball.


All my life I always had dreams, but never anything that I stuck to until my 8th grade year.

It was an impossible dream I used to call it.

It was a dream that my heart and soul depended on.

You see I had never really been so deeply connected with one idea, one sport and one dream.

I started playing soccer my 8th grade year due to the help of my dad starting a coed rec team that still runs today.

My dad was my first ever coach and the one to really stir me towards my dream.

I remember the first day of practice he gave out soccer homework and I just laughed thinking if I hate school homework then why would I like soccer homework!

So I went on throughout that whole season not doing the homework and did not do as well as I would have liked to.

Well one day I got bored and decided to try the homework because I had nothing better to do.

To my surprise I enjoyed it and once I started I couldn’t stop.

This is the day I will remember for the rest of my life, this is the day I decided to take on my impossible dream.

After this day I started training every day for up to two hours a day till the end of my 8th grade year.

Then I decided to start watching videos on YouTube and watch soccer games, so I could learn from the masters.

In the summer I started training up to four hours a day and was starting to see huge improvement.

I went from 30 juggles with a soccer ball all the way to 100 by my freshman year, but I wasn’t quite at the varsity level yet.

I lacked game experience and fell under pressure every time I played.

Then my sophomore year came around and I was at 1,000 juggles and fairly confident with the ball, but not enough for varsity.

I played JV instead and scored two goals in one game and was one of the only players to score at all in the entire season, along with Jonathan Partidawho scored one as a defender.

That game was the first JV win in a long time and it was finally where I came out of my comfort zone a lot more.

It came at the end of the JV season and to my surprise Coach Nelson wanted me to move up for the playoffs.

I played a few minutes in each of the games and was just happy to get the game experience.

During the next summer I was determined to make varsity and I knew the only way I could do that is if I found some game experience.

So I started playing with adults in Oak Harbor who at the time were quite a challenge.

I would go every Tuesday and Wednesday of my junior year and still manage to practice about two to three hours a day.

My junior soccer season came and I finally had made that next step up by not just making the varsity team, but starting as well.

At the end of the season I had two goals, one assist, and a lot of fun.

After this season, I decided that the next step up would be college level soccer, and with this I knew I had to start making sacrifices.

I quit my job and stopped hanging out with my friends as much to devote all I had towards my dream.

I joined a select team in South Whidbey and met a very inspiring coach who had been a semi-pro.

I learned a lot of things during that short season and became a completely different player.

While doing this I was still putting in 2-4 hours a day and when I didn’t have practice I started putting in from 6-10 hours a day.

Fast forward to my senior season and I am ready to play college and just a completely different player all together.

If you saw me last year to now it is like a night and day difference. My confidence is at another level as for my skill, strength and speed.

Then the virus comes in and I think of it as just another obstacle in the way of my dream.

You see without sacrifices there can be no victory.

I see this sacrifice as just another opportunity to push me towards achieving my dream. I’m putting in the work and practicing eight hours a day over this brief obstacle that keeps me from my senior season.

My whole life I have had people tell me my dream is impossible and to get with the so-called program of life, but here I am now putting everything into this dream because I believe it is possible.

I may not be the best, but I guarantee, there is no one on this Island who puts in as much work as I do.

That’s the difference between a pro and a semi-pro.

In order to do something impossible, you have to do what others won’t.

Some people say I don’t have a life because all I do is practice, but in order to achieve greatness, you have to sacrifice who you are for who and what you will become.

Anybody who has told me my dreams are impossible have already given up on their own and these people who once had dreams are not living life, but are slaves to their own lives.

Soccer is my passion and it’s what gets me through my life, so I’m going to continue to take the impossible route then just settle for the easy comfortable route.

I will live my impossible dream.

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Coupeville junior Kylie Chernikoff is a volleyball star on the rise. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

With school closed, the Wolf spiker gets creative. (Joanne Chernikoff photos)

Spring arrives in all of its colors.

Get creative.

With schools shut down as the world battles the spread of the coronavirus, Coupeville students are finding different ways to show off their scholastic and artistic skills.

CHS volleyball star Kylie Chernikoff is a titanic terror on the floor, where she shreds opposing defenses with nasty spikes and booming serves.

Off the court, however, she is an outgoing, extremely positive young woman who seems to greet everyone with a huge smile and genuine kindness.

Chernikoff is also a blossoming artist, as shown in the pictures above, where she turned her bedroom into her home room art class using acrylic paints and markers.

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Artwork by Jaimee Masters

With Washington state schools closed down for at least six weeks due to the spread of coronavirus, we’re offering all Coupeville students a chance to be heard and stay connected.

Jaimee Masters, who created the artwork seen in this story, is a junior at CHS who plays volleyball and tennis.

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Ben Smith hauls in a pass during a practice. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Smith rumbles for yardage during a game at Kittitas last season.

Smith and departing senior Sean Toomey-Stout embrace after Coupeville’s final game. The Wolves finished 5-4, the program’s first winning record since 2005. (Deb Smith photo)

With Washington state schools closed down for at least six weeks due to the spread of coronavirus, we’re offering all Coupeville students a chance to be heard and stay connected.

Ben Smith is currently a junior at CHS.

With any school, football is probably the most exciting sport for anyone to go to or watch despite the team’s level of performance, but for the past few years that hasn’t been the case with our school.

Everyone has been doubting, and looking down on our program like we’re floating half-dead in the water.

Clearly getting a winning season wasn’t enough for everyone to open their eyes and see what our program has turned into.

I’m tired of all these fools who wanna try saying our team is this and that and we’re “garbage” when all these people could be on that field playing, but they’re not.

So all these people sitting back being talkers are the ones who have no remorse for team or community and only care about trophies and don’t look at the little things.

Over 50% of our team last season was made of FRESHMEN and we still came out positive on the season and some of those freshmen even started.

When do you ever see that many freshman starting on a varsity team?

People don’t see the talent in all these younger guys coming up; most choose not to have faith in them and worry about the big age group.

As little or big as they can be, I will always have faith and protect the guy next to me.

This year you WILL see Coupeville Football in the postseason. There’s NO way around it.

I’m doing my job like everyone else should be as well, being in that weight room, staying on top of my stuff; I’m even going to three camps before damn spring ball.

By my own freshman year, I lost a lot of love for football and before that I was a little boy loving the game so much and I was about to just give it up.

When Coach Marcus (Carr), and all these guys came around, we were doing something really no other coach has ever constantly been on you for, weight room, grades, camp, food, everything a football player should be taking care of.

This didn’t get serious until coach KB (Kwamane Bowens) started talking to me about college.

I have never wanted to ever go to college, even just to go play football.

With how far I was getting with these guys, I realized it’s much more than the effort you put in, it’s the guys around you who are meant to be there for you, who show you moral support, who are your mentors.

Without any of that, you’re all in this on your own.

I wanna finish my senior year with a statement, 30 years without a conference championship … that’s gonna change and people can laugh at me as much as they want or say it’s the same thing we say every year.

I’m setting my foot down and putting this out for the whole world to hear.

Not for one second I doubt any of my team.

If I gotta brawl for any of these guys, you know I’ll do anything to protect them from having their season ruined like mine was.

We need them stands PACKED every Friday night, people are gonna remember this and when it happens, they’re gonna keep coming to our games after this year is done.

It’s all cause of our coaches, our commitment of our players who before school was shut down came in every day at 6:30 AM to lift weights every other day, after school, running routes in the gym.

These are the guys who are gonna make a change to the program.

If you one of these guys doubting our program and you ain’t even on that field. Stop it right now!

You wouldn’t have an ounce of care to step on that field and do what not a lot of people would wanna do and put their bodies on the line.

Your opinion is irrelevant, as well as last season, a winning season ain’t gonna be enough to keep the hype alive, so a conference championship it is.

The only opinions that matter are the people who continue to believe in us.

People are gonna remember the times they doubted us, what I said and they’re gonna try and act like they’ve been with us this whole time.

They’re nothing but sleepers who been sleeping on us.

We will be conference champions this year.


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