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 lifeatthecore.org 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!


MSHS Marching Band – What a Start!

Last spring, just before leaving for summer break, the Mead Transportation Department let me in on a little secret: our band was getting a new bus.

While this may not seem like a big deal to some, the years of wear and tear on the original “Red Baron” were starting to become more evident. Now, after a fresh paint job and modifications, our hard-working band students and staff members will roll to their competitions in style!

Check out the video of the bus being displayed via this link: CLICK HERE.

Additionally, check out our marching band at the University High School preview showcase on Saturday, September 24th!

Congratulations, Scott Jones, James Layman and all of our talented musicians. . . you deserve it!

Go ‘Cats!



The First Day

The first day.

For those who know me well, it’s no secret that I love my job. It’s not an overstatement, it’s the truth. “Love” captures how I feel about the community I serve, the students I have the good fortune to meet and know and the unbelievably talented people I watch work magic in classrooms each day. Mt. Spokane High School is a special place, and today reminded me of this truth.

Helping frightened and self-conscious 9th grade students with lockers to discussing college plans with seniors to mucking through the process of schedule changes, life in a high school has never been better. That’s what I see.

When people talk about “those teenagers” or “those high school kids” in a negative way, I typically cut them off. Then I invite them to where I work. We’re not perfect, we have our flaws, but I’m proud to be a part of Mt. Spokane High School.

What a great first day.

Go ‘Cats.




Hello, Summer!

And. . . it’s summer!

It’s hard to believe that school has almost been out for a month. As I glanced at the calendar this morning, mid-July is almost upon us and activity is once again bustling at Mt. Spokane.

Today I was greeted by the sounds of our drumline, marching band and color guard as they begin the process of preparing for another memorable year. Then, after walking through a bright and quiet commons, the noise that accompanies student/athletes lifting weights quickly welcomed me upstairs to the weight room. Truly, I am in awe of the dedication that so many of our students, advisors and coaches have to MSHS and their respective programs. . . I am thankful.

Thus far, this summer has been a difficult one for me to embrace. The tragic accident involving two of our students continues to weigh on my thoughts, and I’m hopeful that all those impacted in our community continue to reach out and seek help. Thank you to everyone in and around Mt. Spokane for supporting the Roach and Balbi families as I know they have felt your thoughts and prayers.

Now, as we all take this extended time away, I wish everyone the best for memorable times spent with family and friends. 2016-17 is going to be a GREAT year at Mt. Spokane, but taking some time to reflect and prepare is definitely needed until we’re all back together on Tuesday, September 6th.

I’m very thankful to serve in the position I do at MSHS. I know I’m the lucky one.

As always, go ‘Cats!

“Mr. Nelson”