Posts Tagged ‘Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools’

Heidi Mayne rises up out of the Whidbey waters as she and others complete a circumnavigation of the island, raising $27,000 for Coupeville teachers and students. (Photos by Morgan White and James Steller)

Getting ready for a run with a view.

The bike gang, hard at work.

Always fuel up before competing.

Attacking the hills and enjoying the new coating recently put down by county crews on the Kettles Trail.

Year three was a rousing success.

A group of Whidbey Island athletes successfully pulled off “Circumnavigate Whidbey 2019” this weekend, raising $27,000 for Coupeville students.

The event, started by James Steller, benefits the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools, which provides support, grants, and scholarships.

Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, athletes ran, biked, and swam their way around Whidbey, traveling the complete length of one of the longest islands in the USA.

Andrew Wyman and Neil Rixe took home unofficial honors as iron men, with the former doing all sports and all distances, while the latter hit the bike like he was in the middle of the Tour de France.

“He biked a zillion miles and never lost speed. Superhuman!,” said an impressed Steller, who threw down the equivalent of two half Ironman Triathlons himself this weekend.

Pat O’Hara joined the core group for day one’s activities, while Greg White was in the thick of things on day two.

Also completing full legs (or more) were Grant Steller, Cole White, Jameson O’Hara, Korianne Emerson, Heidi Mayne, and Alysha Emerson Best.

Giving things a true family feel, kids of all ages jumped in to run bits and pieces of the event, making for “a lot of feels.” 

Pulling off a multi-day event required the help of a large, enthusiastic support crew.

Among those who gave up their holiday weekend to make the magic happen were chief planner Karen Price, support drivers Chic Merwine and Terry Welch, photographer to the stars Morgan White, and the indispensable duo of Amber Wyman and Holley Steller.

Shell Puget Sound Refinery, where James Steller works, made a substantial donation to the event, while money also came from a wide variety of others.

“It is not possible without our amazing community,” Steller said.

“I also want to thank the teachers and administrators of Coupeville Schools, who make a difference in our children’s lives every day!,” he added. “You are loved and appreciated and this is the least we can do for you!!!! Till next year!”


For more info on what the Community Foundation does, pop over to:


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Multiple ways to support a good cause. (Photo courtesy James Steller)

“Circumnavigate Whidbey” is back, but with a twist.

An annual fundraiser for the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools, it’s headed into its third go-round, with the hope of attracting the most participants yet.

The first two years featured creator James Steller (and later a few friends) circling Whidbey by means of running, bicycling, and swimming.

This time out, they’re offering local athletes a chance to participate in two non-competitive “half-Ironman triathlons,” while tracing the 160-mile perimeter of Whidbey Island.

The event goes down Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31-Sept. 1).

The first day, athletes launch from Mickey Clark Field (behind Coupeville Elementary School), head South, then work their way back to Coupeville.

Day two will start in the same place, but everyone will head North.

Each day will consist of 13 miles running (split into several legs), a mile swim, and the rest taken up by biking.

Participants will stick together on the journey, regardless of pace.

The event wraps with a community potluck at the end of the second day.

Those who want to help support the Foundation, but not hit the roads and waters, can donate to the cause, as the poster at the top of this article indicates.

The Foundation, which was started in 1977, provides scholarships to students and grants to teachers, helping keep Coupeville education humming along.

For much more info on the foundation, or “Circumnavigate Whidbey,” pop over to:


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Do it, for the kids.

It’s a win-win.

Take part in the “Dine Out 4 Kids” program and you get tasty treats while Coupeville children reap a financial reward.

The program, which bounces around and is supported by numerous local eateries, touches down at the Front Street Grill this coming Monday, Jan. 14.

A portion of sales generated that day will be donated to the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools.

That organization, which has been going strong since 1997, provides “an extra measure of support” to teachers and students, providing scholarships and grants.

One of those grants can be seen at work in this vintage video featuring a number of young students who went on to be top Wolf athletes and students in later years:


For more info on the Foundation, pop over to:



Disclaimer: I’m a big promoter of the Foundation and its work, which is why I’m running this article.

Front Street Grill does not advertise with me … but probably should. Just sayin’.

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“Circumnavigate Whidbey 2018” brought out the fans. (Photos courtesy James Steller)

Steller (left) teamed with Neil Rixe (center) and Greg White to complete a two-day journey around Whidbey Island.

A rousing send-off as the runners hit the track at Coupeville High School.

Steller slices through the waters off of Whidbey.

Fathers competing to benefit their children (and many others).

They ran, they biked, they kayaked, they swam, and they raised some big bucks.

A pack of athletically-inclined Coupeville parents put in 19 hours of outdoor activity over Labor Day weekend, pulling off “Circumnavigate Whidbey 2018: The Traverse” and raising $21,000.

James Steller, Greg White, Neil Rixe and Andrew Wyman piled up more than 150 miles as they worked their way around Whidbey Island.

Money raised through donations goes to help the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools, which funds educator grants, awards scholarships to graduating CHS seniors, and provides assistance to financially disadvantaged students.

Founded in 1997, the group’s mission is to “provide an extra measure of support to students and educators at Coupeville Public Schools.”

Steller, a marathoner and endurance runner, launched the inaugural “Circumnavigate Whidbey” last year, and this time around was joined by fellow parents, which lightened the assault on his body (at least a little).

“I love where we live. The people and this island’s beauty and rural nature are amazing,” he said. “Our families and friends are special!

“The finishing lines were so heartwarming,” Steller added. “Each day we were tired, but the loud cheers from the big crowds made it all worthwhile.”

The group was almost down a member at the start, as Wyman was in a bad bike accident while training, but he was able to bounce back and participate in the running part of the event.

As they navigated the waters and road of Whidbey, the group came face-to-face with Orca whales while kayaking.

All four men are fathers of school-age children, and their offspring came along for the adventure, as support staff, and, in some cases, putting in miles running with their dads.

“It was really fun to have the Coupeville kiddos with us for portions of the course,” Steller said.

Numerous people helped to make the weekend event a success, and Steller sent a special thank you out to one of them.

“I want to recognize Chic Merwine, the president of the Foundation, who just recently retired from his job at Coupeville schools,” Steller said. “He dedicates so much of his life to the district and has made such a big difference.”

Whether they provided assistance, cheered from the sidelines or chipped in with money, the many members of the community who backed the event will see it pay off in the coming months and years.

“The folks and businesses that supported the effort with donations – thank you!,” Steller said. “There will be at least 15 or so innovative and enriching grants for teachers that will affect so many of our Coupeville students because of you!”

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