Updated: Chiawana football team, DECA club earn state kudos

Murrow News ServiceJanuary 27, 2014 

Chiawana High School’s DECA club and 4A State championship football team were recognized with a resolution by the state House of Representatives on Monday in Olympia.

MATT BENOIT — Morrow News Service

— State legislators honored a visiting contingent of Pasco school administrators and students on Monday for recent achievements by Chiawana High School.

House Resolution 4666, introduced by Rep. Susan Fagan, R-Pullman, recognized Chiawana's 4A state championship football team.

The team scored 14 points in the final 55 seconds of its championship game against the Camas Papermakers last December, winning 27-26.

Chiawana’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) organization and its advisor, Leslie Bell, were also recognized Monday. The club won a $25,000 grant through a national safe driving contest last November.

DECA gained enough safe driving pledges from students and the community for State Farm’s “Celebrate My Drive” competition to rank among the top 50 of more than 4,000 schools entered nationwide.

Chiawana senior Haley McLaughlin led the project and attended Monday’s salute.

“It was a really good thing,” McLaughlin said. “We got more recognition for our school, for Pasco ... with the state football championship, too, it’s really put our little city on the map.”

After posing for pictures on the House floor, the Chiawana delegation spent the day meeting with area legislators, including Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla-Walla, and Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.

“It’s always nice when our kids and staff are recognized for some of their achievements,” said Chiawana High principal John Wallwork, who handed out posters of the championship football team to legislators.

Pasco School Superintendent Saundra Hill, Board President Sherry Lancon, Vice President Ryan Brault and board members Scott Lehrman and Steve Christensen also made the trek to Olympia.

Christensen, who is also the school board’s legislative representative, said visiting the capitol and meeting with legislators was eye-opening, especially since it’d been decades since he’d visited.

“I haven’t been here since I was in high school,” Christensen said.

Students Neydeen Martinez, a Pasco High senior, and Ovidio Castillo, a Chiawana junior, took in the sights and sounds of the legislative process.

“As a student, you get to see a totally different perspective,” Castillo said. “Because when you’re at school, they’re making decisions for you, but you don’t know what’s happening and what decisions they’re making.”

Washington State University student Matt Benoit: 509-947-9277, mbenoit@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @Matt_Benoit_

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