By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Internship won

Brookings-Harbor High School (BHHS) student Stephani Zavala’Luna will work as a paid interpreter for Spanish speaking adults with disabilities in Portland this summer, according to an announcement made at the Brookings-Harbor School Board meeting April 10.

Zavala’Luna earned the position through the Summer Work Internship for Transition program or SWIFT, which is linked to the Youth Transition Program (YTP) taught by Michelle Prudden at the high school. She will live in the dorms at Portland State University during her seven-week internship.

SWIFT is funded by the Oregon Department of Human Services and Vocational Rehabilitation, according to Prudden. The program is only available to youth who are enrolled in YTP.

Zavala’Luna was chosen for the internship – sponsored by Easter Seals through its Latinos Connection – after working for Prudden last summer in a job linked to her Paths 2 the Future class.

Prudden noted the Paths 2 the Future class is part of an ongoing research project with the University of Oregon.

Zavala’Luna said she is proud to be able to help people who have limited knowledge of English and disabilities find jobs. She said she wants to help immigrants become citizens after she graduates.

“The truth is people don’t know how hard people work to come here (to the U.S.) to get jobs,” she said. “They have to cross deserts and rivers, but come here for opportunity, and I want to help them.”

Zavala’Luna said people in those countries start working at 9 years-old, and only those who can pay are able to attend school. She contrasted these limitations to the wealth of opportunities available in the U.S. as reasons for people immigrating and wanting to become citizens.


Robotics teacher Gary Suter said his students wanted to thank the board for holding a special meeting earlier in the month to approve their trip to the state robotics competition — and joked it should be pre-approved next year “because we’re going.”

The team won a regional championship, Suter said, and were picked for an alliance by two other teams so they could compete at the state level.

“They (our students) know bigger schools have bigger budgets,” he added, “but we know we can play with them now.”

The BHHS Robotics Team 4110 — the Deep Space Niners — was invited this year to participate in the Pacific Northwest for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology District Championship for the first time since the team’s inception in 2012.

Ten student members of the robotics team traveled to the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington for the event.

The invitation followed a first-place victory by the Niners in the 2019 Pacific Northwest District Lake Oswego Event March 29 and 30. Other first-place winning teams formed an alliance with BHHS, including Team 4043 NerdHerd of McMinnville and Team 4488 Shockwave of Hillsboro.

To compete at the next level, teams must be chosen for an alliance and then compete as a three-team group.

The team did not place high enough in Tacoma to make it to the national competition but they made it through the whole season without a breakdown, and that was their goal, according to Suter.

Co-captain Ethan Warner said this year was as far as the team has ever gone in competition.

Backup-driver Jacob Bensen said the trip was enjoyable as well, while safety officer Annie Nation prided herself and the team on their safety record.

The Buoy

BHHS teacher Dane Tippman has released the seventh issue of the Brookings Buoy. Student contributors include Jacob Benson, Abigail Gisler, Trinity Sayne, Lukis Sandberg and Makaela Schiro.

The student-written paper includes articles about Sperm whales, God of War 2, the upcoming spring musical, an E-Sports Team and American Sign Language.

Tippman credited graphic arts teacher Judy Durkin for laying out this issue “and adding some snazzy new graphics.”

“Our hope is to get students trained,” he said, “so that the students can be the ones doing the layout.”

Previous Buoy issues were assembled by Jessica Tippman, a BHHS alumnus.

Reach Boyd C. Allen at