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11:20 a.m. – Cascade Middle School Cafeteria

September 1, 2009

11:20 a.m. – Cascade Middle School Cafeteria

Scott Weide ’00 sticks out in the lunchroom. As students fill the large cafeteria, Weide wanders into the school wearing shorts and a PLU T-shirt. On his back in a toddler carrier is 10-month old Zoe. She has dad’s smile. She couldn’t be happier to make an appearance at school. Although the biology teacher is on paternity leave, Weide and his daughter make the trip to school for lunch everyday. They have a recycling program to run. The students enjoy seeing Zoe and wave to her as they line-up to separate their lunch recyclables. Zoe waves back with a smile.

Weide doesn’t have to do this. But, he started the program. And he enjoys getting the students excited about “green” efforts, such as salmon restoration and water-quality testing near the school.

“Education has to be relevant to their community,” Weide says. “Show them and not just teach out of a book.”

11:25 a.m. – Cascade Middle School courtyard

Aaron Lee is looking for Carlos.

About 15 minutes ago, an aide invited the eighth-grader to go for a walk with her around the track to burn off some energy. That lasted about two minutes.

For Carlos, who is finishing up his time at Cascade in special education, sometimes it’s like that. Sometimes it’s take a stroll. Other times it’s hide-and-seek.

Lee’s frustration sparks through his brown eyes. He honestly doesn’t know what’s to become of Carlos when he leaves Cascade. His family is homeless now, living in a hotel. Carlos admires an older brother, who is now in prison. The tolerance here for his sometimes violent outbursts may be a thing of the past next year.

Lee finds Carlos strolling toward the 400 building.

“Carlos, come talk with me and let’s discuss what you need from us over the next nine days,” he tells the boy, whose height allows him to look Lee straight in the eye.

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