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Jubilee REACH receives WEA Community Partners Award

Jonathan George, representing Jubilee Reach, receives the Community Partners award from Washington Education Association vice president Stephen Miller. - Daniel Nash
Jonathan George, representing Jubilee Reach, receives the Community Partners award from Washington Education Association vice president Stephen Miller.
— image credit: Daniel Nash

The Washington Education Association on Monday awarded Jubilee REACH for its work with students and families in Bellevue.

The Community Partners award was given at Tillicum Middle School, where site activities coordinator Jonathan George received it on behalf of the organization in front of an audience of students in “Club Jubilee.” The club currently operates athletic and academic programs in seven middle schools and one elementary. The program began with a single soccer team at Highland Middle School; today, its scope encompasses seven middle schools and one elementary.

The award included an endowment for $500 for the organization to continue operations.

“It’s an honor,” said George, himself a 2006 Bellevue High graduate. “I have such a great team working with me.”

Tillicum Principal Dion Yahoudy said Club Jubilee has given middle school students an opportunity to compete in organized sports in a low pressure “no cuts” environment, and was responsible for the school’s first girls golf team.

“It’s the difference between just putting cones on the ground and putting together actual sports teams,” Yahoudy said. “Organized games, teams, team t-shirts, everything. And when these kids go on to high school, they’ll be more confident trying out for the teams there, because they’ve had practice.”

The club also offers academic clubs such as chess and robotics, as well as tutoring services. None of the services come at cost to the district, Yahoudy said.

Bellevue Education Association President Michele Miller noted that REACH donated space for tense negotiations between the Association and the District in 2011.

The Community Partners award is given once a year by the WEA Committee for Human and Civil Rights, after selecting from a pool of nominees.

Jubilee REACH was nominated by Tillicum teacher Kim Hays, as well as by Bellevue High School teacher and BEA president-elect Mark Morrow.

“It’s about community partners, and you have to recognize what they’ve done for people all across Bellevue,” Morrow said in a statement during the ceremony. “You have to recognize we’re all a little better off.”

 

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