EAST Spring Report

In 2003 an article in the North Coast Journal deemed the educational approach in the EAST program a “new paradigm”. In this program “students are required to undertake work on local issues. And while most teachers judge students by how they perform on tests, EAST facilitators judge their charges by how they apply their learning to cooperative, hands-on projects.” Today the educational seed planted more than eight years ago has blossomed into a powerful tradition of service and learning that has earned national recognition.

Students of the Eureka High School EAST Lab have been empowered to take on the challenge of addressing community wide issues. They have completed a series of service projects that have resulted in a deep and lasting impact on our community. Simultaneously, students were challenged to put the lessons and skills they have learned in the classroom into action. The resulting service-learning events benefit all involved. The following sample list of projects completed clearly illustrated what students can accomplish when given the chance.

EAST Students presented in San Jose at the National Service Learning Conference. Students organized and two booths at the conference. One featured the overall impact of the EHS EAST Lab on our school and community. Another focused on the impact of Drive 2 Stay Alive. Students shared stories of the impact of our service projects with schools from around the country as well as earned for a $7,500  grant to extend the “Drive ‘2’ Stay alive project to all of Northern California.

The EHS EAST Lab’s effort to curb distracted and impaired driving was acknowledged by State Farm insurance as one of the top 10 programs in the Nation. As a national leader the Drive "2" Stay Alive project was awarded $6,000 by State Farm insurance to take their project to the National Service Learning Conference in San Jose in March. The efforts to integrate the lessons of the dangers of distracted and drunk driving in the classroom were very effective in educating the students of EHS about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving. Project organizers hosted a conference of attended by Arcata, Hoopa, McKinleyville, and Fortuna High Schools. At the conference students shared the curriculum that made them a national finalist in 2009.  Inspired by the efforts of Drive “2” Stay Alive, State Farm agent Paul Nicholson purchased “Fatal Vision” goggles to for our partner schools. These goggles allow partner schools to put effective driver safety programs in place. The total value of the goggles distributed was approximately six thousand dollars.  

As a national leader school EHS EAST students are attempting to set an example and provide resources to empower students from our entire area to make better decisions when the get behind the wheel. Their presentation in San Jose earned them another $7500 to continue their efforts and present at the National Service Learning Conference next spring. Following the conference, Drive 2 Stay Alive students have remained active orchestrating Drive Safe Drive Smart events, continuing the run activities on Campus, and working with a new partner high school, Ferndale.

Though the board of supervisors proclaimed 2009 the year to “drive to stay alive”, Clearly student’s ongoing efforts has created a vibrant program that will continue to impacting our area far into the future. Dawn Arledge of the Humboldt County Office of Health and Human Services has mentored this project.

On April 17th, 2010, Leah Grams Johnson hosted the first ever “Heart of Heath Fair” for the entire community. Participants were able to access blood screening, examinations for skin cancer, and clinical breast cancer exams. fifteen agencies and businesses we available for visitors to consult.

The EHS Blood Drive collected 199 units of blood in the fall this year breaking its previous record for donations. This is the largest Blood Drive in Humboldt County. The EAST spring season effort saw 216 students go through the donation process. In the process students learned valuable lessons about the importance of keeping a blood reserve. The Humboldt County Blood Bank is a key mentor for the student organizers of the Blood Drive and has come to count of EHS each year.

The second annual MS Walk was held at EHS on April 17th, 2010. This project raised $36,000 for the fight against MS and to raise awareness about the battle against MS in our society. Project director Amy Strombeck recruited 40 teams in the and exceeded the totals from last year.

On April 25th, 2009 EAST students orchestrated the first ever MS Walk for Humboldt County. Project organizers Laura Kramer, Kelly Hillegeist, Vivie Smith, and Tia Strombeck brought the community together to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis. Together participants departed Eureka High School and walked through Eureka in neon orange. There were over 180 people who walked, and more than $25,000 was raised for the National MS Society, sending funds for research and clinics.

EHS EAST students organized the marketing effort for the spring play, Pippin. Students designed and printed posters, t-shirts, and hand bills.  Project director Alex Berkowitz worked with local media outlets to create public notices and following the play documented its success on bulletin boards and scrapbooks.

The "Take Another Look" Project created a calendar depicting "then and now" photos of local historical places with a story. The final product illustrates a mastery of graphic design and historical research.  Students sold more than 800 calendars. Funds from the calendar sales were used to help fund student travel to state and national conferences. Calendars are still available for $5.00. Work has begun on the calendar for 2011.

The Veteran’s Day Project presented on the meaning and importance of Veteran’s Day to elementary, middle, and high schools in November. Assemblies included speakers, student created films, and historical presentations.

EAST student Kylie Day orchestrated the logistics of the North Coast Classic Wrestling Tournament in January. This included scheduling and training score keepers, organizing awards, and sending out information to the nearly two dozen teams in attendance.

EAST Students and basketball players Nikki Powell and Lorena Reynolds orchestrated the Breast Cancer Awareness night for the EHS girls varsity basketball. Students created activities to educate students and to raise money for the fight against cancer.

Hailey Sicotte director of A Better Christmas collected of gifts and materials that were placed in 300 stockings for homeless and needy children with our district. This is the fifth year that EAST students have completed this project. In addition, Dustin Freeman ran the Angel Tree project which collected larger gifts for students within our community. More than 100 gifts were collected at EHS.

On May 14th Eureka High School will hosted its 5th Annual Youth Ready to Respond”, a disaster preparedness conference for nearly 200 4th and 5th grade students from our area.  A number of community partners will present a series of seminars that will provide 4th and 5th  grade students will have  the opportunity to learn:

  • How to use a fire extinguisher.
  • What to do if a fire occurs in their home.
  • Traffic safety rules for pedestrians and bicycles.
  • Principles of basic first aid.
  • How to create their own emergency and disaster kit.
  • The correct way to call 911.
  • How to respond to a Tsunami warning.
  • The dangers associated with electrical lines.
  • What to do if they encounter a wild or stray animal.
  • How the Sheriffs department conducts search and rescue missions.

In 2009, this event brought together 210 students from Alice Birney, Washington, and Lafayette Elementary Schools and eleven local agencies and partners.

Community partners generously volunteering their time to educate our youth include, Humboldt Fire District 1, Eureka Fire Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Red Cross, Eureka Police Department, Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, PG & E, Paul Nicholson of State Farm Insurance, and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department. The event is funded in part from a grant from the Eureka High School PTSA.

On May 15th, 2010 the sixth Annual Ride For Life took place at the Ferndale Fairgrounds. This eight hour event challenged teams of equestrians to raise money to assist the American Cancer Society in their fight against cancer. Essentially this is the Relay for Life on Horseback.  The Ride for Life was a huge success raising another $18,000 while the event in Red Bluff raised $25,000.

In the past year event founder Holly LaCount has established her own non-profit organization, Humboldt Equestrian Relay Organization. Last Spring the Ride For Life year the event generated $18,000. In five years the “Ride For Life” has earned about $75,000 for the American Cancer Society.  This event has been emulated in Red Bluff, California and in Clinton, Arkansas.

On April 30th, the EHS EAST Lab hosted the fifth annual Battle of the Bands. Nine musical groups took part from four area schools. More than 300 spectators took it all in. The top prize went to solo act, Amy Kae of Eureka High School. Amy took home nearly $600 in prizes. The Outlet was second and Stitched Heart was third.

In 2009 eight bands from five high schools took part in The Battle of the Bands. EAST student organizers awarded Stitched Heart from Saint Bernards the top honor.

Upcoming EAST Projects:

The Eureka High School EAST Lab entry in the Kinetic Sculpture Race is busy preparing to defend is title as Kinetic Grand Champion.  Currently the team is seeking sponsors for their 2010 craft.  In 2009 – “The Art of the People” -- earned the title of Grand Champion for 2009.  Pilots Tess Krause and Alex Crowe "aced" the course, completing the 43 miles of roads, sand, and water in less than 8 hours.  The title of "Grand Champion" is awarded to the craft that displays the best combination of speed, art, engineering, and of course pageantry. Under the tutelage of mentor Al Krause and supported by a pit crew of James Stokes and Peter Boze, the team conquered the course.  Moreover, the artistic theme invited spectators to make their own artistic imprint on the sides of the craft. Al Krause has worked with our Kinetic racers for the last six years and deserves praise for his willingness to donate hundreds of hours of his time and his immense expertise to our students.

This was the eighth consecutive time the EHS EAST Lab has entered the Kinetic Sculpture Race and the second time it has earned the title of grand champion. The constant mention of the "Eureka High School EAST Lab machine" on the radio and the TV coverage reminded us all of what students can accomplish when given the opportunity.

On May 21st and 22nd  2010, students from the Eureka High EAST Lab will orchestrated the Youth Relay For Life to benefit the American Cancer Society. A team of more than a dozen students are tackling the logistical, educational, and recruitment tasks needed to put on 24 hour event for young people hoping to help in the fight against cancer. This student run event is the only event of its kind in California and only one of 10 in the nation.  Project organizers are hoping to recruit 40 teams from all the area schools and raise more than $40,000. Over the past eight years student organizers have raised approximately $185,000.  The American Cancer Society mentors students working on this project.

The Historical Mural Project is creating three 10 foot panels featuring images from Eureka’s Past. Each panel will depict a fifty-year period; 1850-1900, 1901-1950, and 1951-2000.  Students are working with Ray Hillman to create captions for the images on display. Upon completion banners will be placed at schools, libraries, and businesses.

The final touches are being placed on the EHS Disc Golf Course and tournaments are being planned for the spring. Student leaders are directing the preparation of tee boxes and the removal of non-native tournaments. Playing the course will provide students with the opportunity to exercise and learn about the forest as students walking the course will see markers reminding them of the impact of non-native plants.. Over the past two years, The EHS Disc Golf Course project received a grants totaling more than $2000 from the PTSA, Humboldt Area Foundation, the ASB, and outside donors to purchase the final baskets needed to complete a nine hole course in the forest around Albee Stadium.

Currently, there are about 40 projects underway in this service learning program. The largest challenge the class will face is the Academic Fair which will take place June 3rd.

Finally the EHS EAST Lab would like to thank the many community members that have stepped forward to assist the EAST Lab students in their effort to address community issues. In this time of economic strife our community remains generous.  So hats off and tanks you to: Chapala Café, Taylor Landscaping Supplies, Paul Nickolson Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Humboldt Towing, Suddenlink, Bay Directories, Eureka Natural Foods, Myrtletown Body Shop, Pepsi, Ferndale Fairgrounds, Humboldt Bay Horse Club, Pete’s Fencing, Arabian Horse Club of the Redwoods, and Northern California Paint Horse Club, United Rentals, Bounce-a-Rama, Humboldt Creamery, Jill McDonald Real Estate, Trinity Diesel, and Wing Inflatables.

Thank you to our community partners and mentors: Kiwanis of Henderson Center and Humboldt Bay, Fin and Feather, Humboldt Access, Solo-Sport, County Blood Bank, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Posse, Eureka Fire Department, Eureka Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Humboldt County Fire District 1, the Project Serve Office, the Zane Administration, Eureka City Schools, and Al Krause.

EAST Lab students are challenged to craft a service project that creates a powerful and lasting legacy. To find out more about what is going on in the EAST Lab call 476-1632 or contact Ron Perry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.