“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”
Ralph Marston

As we now enter Winter Break as a school community, I found myself reflecting on this quote as students and staff were leaving for a much deserved reprieve. The silence of an empty high school is an eerie thing, and it was within this silence that I found the opportunity to be thankful for those with whom I spend my days.

I am thankful for our amazingly dedicated staff. Regardless of the job people hold at Mt. Spokane, the level of care and excellence they bring each and every day is inspiring. They motivate me to bring my best self each day.

I am thankful for our empathetic, diverse and talented student body. 1500 students from ages 14-18 bring an energy that is indescribable, and their achievements and challenges make me excited to do what I do each day. Truly, they are the best.

I am thankful for a community that supports our students passionately. The packed attendance at concerts and athletic events that took place over the last few weeks cemented this truth. It is this kind of support that allows our school to evolve in our mission to serve students.

And so, as I make my way from the office for some time with my family, please know I am thankful beyond measure. I am the lucky one.

I wish everyone in our community a safe, memorable and joyous holiday season. While a few days away will be a needed time to rest and reflect, I’m excited and confident that 2017 will be our best year yet at Mt. Spokane High School.

Happy Holidays!

Go ‘Cats!

“Mr. Nelson”

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Wildcat DECA – Simply the BEST!

Mt. Spokane DECA competed in the regional competition on December 6th at SFCC with 18 other schools and over 900 competitors.

MSHS DECA qualified at least one person/team in every event they competed in and is sending a record number of  85 competitors to state, which will be held in Bellevue March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

Mt. Spokane competed 5 individuals or teams in the Individual Decision Making and Team Decision Making Events with the top 8 qualifying for state.  In the Professional Selling, Advertising, Promotion Plans, and Entrepreneurship events the top 6 qualified for state.   85 out of 141 competitors qualified! Go ‘Cats!

Mt. Spokane earned 37 of the available 96 spots in individual events including:

Apparel & Accessories

1st Alexis Desautel
3rd Tarienne Hoke
4th Anna Warner
7th Klaire Perry

Automotive Services Marketing
3rd Makayla Whitehead
5th Bradley Guevarra
6th Gavin Lemon

Business Financial Services
1st Heather LaCaze
3rd Jaden Hardy
7th Michael Tsuchida
8th Jacob Waters

Business Service Management
8th Jacob Morton

Food Marketing Service
3rd Hannah Madsen
6th Sukhleen Bolina
7th Gianna Parish

Hotel and Lodging Management
7th Megan Billeter

Human Resources Management
1st Andrew Sonneland
2nd Michelle McDonald
4th Hannah Sparber

Marketing Comunications
3rd Hanna Hess
6th Camryn Demarest
7th John Grieshaber

Quick Service Management
1st Nick Haynie
5th Ashton Wilber
6th Josh Rostollan
7th TJ (Tarek) Benton

Restaurant and Food Service Management
2nd Jaden Fleming
3rd Rebekah Neal
4th Devin Wiseman
5th Nicole Roman

Retail Merchandising Service
2nd Haley Milligan
6th Alyssa Powell

Sports and Entertainment Marketing
1st Lucas Thompson
2nd Brooke Pefley
4th Hayden Roberts
6th Jacob Carr
8th Brianna Carr

Mt. Spokane had 18 teams qualify out of 56 team event slots possible!

Business Law and Ethics Team Decision Making
1st Natalie Craudell and Emily Fry
7th Dakota Ervin and Jordan Quinlan

Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making
1st Kelsey Byus and Ava Figon
5th Baylie Moe and Bria Schwald
7th Rachel Linton and Maddie McDermott

Financial Analysis Team Decision Making
1st Jared Mehring and Sam Spears
2nd George Johnson and Adam Sonneland
5th Josie Martin and Shanley Oakes
6th Docker Davis and Cade Neuman
7th London Sanders and Lucas Smith

Hospitality Team Decision Making
5th Caleb Countryman and Annop Hothi
6th Ryan Alm and Risone Ama

Marketing Communication Team Decision Making
3rd Abbey Miller and Molly Stanford

Sports and Entertainment Team Decision Making
1st Jinna Brim and Meghan Tabacek
5th Erika Brooks and Baylee McHaney
7th Miahna Waters and Haley Schnug
8th Logan Anyan and Luke Clark

Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making
1st Sydney Campbell and Jesse Dupuis

Only 6 spots in each event go to state.  All but 1 of the competitors Mt. Spokane DECA entered in the events listed below qualified for state.

Advertising Campaign
2nd Lindsey Carlson and Halle Hanson

Fashion Merchandising Promotional Plan
2nd Katie Maher and Elizabeth Redmond

Entrepreneurial Innovational Promotional Plan
6th Payton Stiles and Preston Bingley

Financial Consulting
2nd Dylan Hathaway

Professional Selling
2nd Dayton Hammond
3rd Blake Peterson

Hospitality and Tourism Professional Selling
1st Preston Bingley
2nd Savanna Romero
4th Dawson Kamalu-Nako



Parent Survey – Please Participate!

Calling all MSHS parents!

Please consider taking a short survey that will be used to help our improvement efforts at Mt. Spokane. This survey will be open through November 28th, and the responses will guide action steps to make our school a better place for all involved!

Click HERE to be transported to the survey.

Thank you for your participation!


Wildcat Volleyball – What a Season!

What an ending!

The Mt. Spokane volleyball team entered the 2016 State Tournament in Kennewick riding a wave of momentum. After defeating Garfield High School of Seattle in a “winner to state” match last Tuesday, our girls celebrated Veteran’s Day weekend by matching a feat that has only happened once in our school’s twenty year history: they qualified for the state title match.

While the magic of the tournament came up just a bit short against a talented Lakeside High School team (Seattle), there was nothing but pride from the MSHS section of the Toyota Center. Congratulations to our talented girls and their coaches! We are thankful and proud!

Go ‘Cats!

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A “Typical” Tuesday


Initially, that’s how I may have described this Tuesday in October. Then, after just a few minutes to think, I realized that “typical” hardly defines what happens at Mt. Spokane High School. To be frank, it’s not an appropriate descriptor at all.

Consider for a minute what happened on this “typical” Tuesday:

* Multiple students engaged me with a “good morning”, “What’s up, Mr. Nelson?”, or a simple “Hi” as I made my way through our hallways. Always sincere, and usually delivered with a smile, these small interactions are so incredibly appreciated. I’m very thankful for our students.

* English teachers gathered to discuss their students and department before classes started. All in attendance were engaged, and their collective focus was so clearly on the well-being of our students. To say I was, and am, appreciative would be a gross understatement. I’m very thankful for our teachers.

* Throughout the day I interacted with each of our four counselors. Our discussions ranged from graduation requirements to students in crisis, and each time I left their offices I felt a sense of ease as I trust them so completely with our students. I’m very thankful for our counselors.

* Very casually, I stepped into a classroom that was supported with dedicated para-educators. Working one-on-one with students, I watched two different students open up and engage with professionals that, truly, help make our school feel the supportive way it does. I’m very thankful for our para-educators.

I could go on and on about our custodial staff, cooks, administrative assistants and specialists, (and I probably will in another blogpost), but my point is simple: Tuesday wasn’t too typical, and it’s because of the people I work with each day.

Thank you for entrusting me to do this job. What a day!

Go ‘Cats!


Bailey Nowlin – One Cool ‘Cat

Many MSHS students find themselves engaged in activities outside school, and I’m happy to highlight sophomore Bailey Nowlin who has achieved much this past year.

4-H, Junior Rodeo and the Mt. Spokane Equestrian team are all avenues that Bailey has found success.

Due to her hard work and skill, Bailey competed at the Puyallup State Fair at the beginning of September representing Spokane County 4H where she qualified for both Performance and Gaming.  What accomplishments!

Bailey and her horse Ada also finished 2nd in the Barrels with a Reserve Champion and Silver Medal out of over 100 riders. Congratulations, Bailey, on your successful run!

In addition to the aforementioned awards, Bailey is also a kind and selfless person and dedicated student.  We are proud that she is a Mt. Spokane Wildcat and look forward to hearing of her future success!

Go Bailey!  Go’Cats!

MSHS & 2nd Harvest – Community Partners

Taking care of Mt. Spokane students is always our first priority, and thanks to a new partnership with 2nd Harvest Food Bank, our students will have the opportunity to receive support in a new and innovative way.

2nd Harvest and At The Core work with schools and community partners to provide Bite2Go: weekend food supplies for students in need during the school year. Thankfully, Mt. Spokane has been chosen as one of three pilot high schools for the new Bite2Go XL program. Bite2Go XL kits include a diverse mix of healthy, teen-friendly, nonperishable food items to cover meals and snacks over the weekend. Each week, Mt. Spokane Link Crew students will build custom bags of food to be distributed discreetly and anonymously to our students in need.

Recently, Link Crew students took a field trip to 2nd Harvest to sample food and gain a greater understanding of the process.  Truly, we are thankful to Chris and Brenna Sloan, (also MSHS community members), for their support and guidance.

Only $300.00 a year/ $25 a month is enough to sponsor one student for meals and snacks on the weekends for an entire school year. Currently, our school goal is to raise enough money to feed 30+ students.

Anyone interested in supporting this program can visit and click on the ‘Make a Difference’ button. Thanks for your consideration!

Go ‘Cats!

Bell 2016 – What a Week!

What a week!
The annual “bell” week is always special within our community, and the 2016 version did not disappoint. From the decorated stairwells that welcomed students on Monday to the Catmania volleyball match on Thursday to the culminating events on Friday including a pep assembly, incredible tailgate, memorable band performance and hard fought football game, we have much to celebrate at Mt. Spokane!
Today I find myself thankful for our students who worked incredibly hard to create memories for one another.
Thankful for staff members who expended numerous hours to organize and lead opportunities for our students to engage.
Thankful for my administrative teammates who were truly ‘present’ all week long with our students. These relationships matter.
Thankful for our neighbors at Mead High School. Without them, and their commitment to their community, this week would not be the same.
Thankful for our second-to-none booster club. No one tailgates like MSHS, and the atmosphere created by these selfless people is so incredibly valued.
I tell people frequently how fortunate I feel to be at Mt. Spokane High School. This is the truth. Thanks for allowing me to serve in the capacity I do.
Go ‘Cats!
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Homecoming Week 2016

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Welcome to Homecoming Week 2016! Each year Homecoming Week brings a flurry of activity, and this year is even more jam-packed for students! Here is a day by day guide to help families soak up everything that is happening in and around Mt. Spokane! MONDAY – 9/26 – HOMECOMING DRESS-UP DAY = RED, WHITE & […]

Fair Opportunity Project – A Planning Guide

I often receive e-mails from for-profit organizations attempting to sell various curricular or intervention-based tools. While I understand their perspective, most of these e-mails, after read, are not worthy of consideration.

When the Fair Opportunity Project e-mailed, I was intrigued by their mission:

“We believe that all students should have free access to the best college application and financial aid information, regardless of background. We want to make the information and resources that elite private college counselors sell to all students available for free. And we’d like your help with that.”

Simple. To the point. Focused on students.

As I glanced through their guide, it was evident that the 20+ college students, 10 advisors, and 200 high school counselors from across the nation understood their intended audience. As such, I’m thankful and excited to share their work with our students and families.

In addition to finding the guide on our homepage, I’ve linked a pdf copy to this blogpost. In terms of responding to our MSHS ‘Why?’ statement, (read below), it does so thoroughly!

Empowering People – Abolishing Apathy – Creating ‘What’s Next’ – We are MSHS

Thank you, Fair Opportunity Project!

Go ‘Cats!