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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New Vision holiday dinner

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

The aroma of a traditional home-cooked feast wafted through the doors of New Vision Alternative School in Post Falls on the last day of school before Christmas holiday break. In keeping with a 15-year-old tradition, which is how long New Vision has been in operation, a full Christmas dinner was served for its 69 students and their guests, faculty and friends.

Sherie Patano is the principal at New Vision. This is her first year at the alternative school. Previously she was the assistant principal at Post Falls Middle School, and before that she was at Post Falls High School for 20 years.

“Talk about fun – this is such a sense of community,” Patano said. “The staff cooks the turkeys and the kids bring a side dish, and the kitchen contributes potatoes and dressing.”

She said that the kids can bring their family, or whomever they want, because for some of them, this was their best day of the year. Many of the students were participating in community service projects, including making Christmas cards for the residents at Guardian Angels Homes, a nursing home down the street.

Good tidings were evident, as alumni returned to take part in the event. Andi Fehling used to be the secretary at New Vision and is now retired, but she comes back every year to help with the serving. Her daughter, Tia Crawford, filled her position at the school. Jason Jones, 18, and his brother Anthony, 19, both came back to enjoy the meal. Jason is now at North Idaho College finishing up his GED; Anthony graduated from New Vision.

Pete Marion is the school resource officer. He covers eight schools in Post Falls.

“These are good kids; they just needed a second chance,” Marion said. “This gives them another chance at graduation. Their chances of success are much better.”

New Vision students are in grades 9 through 12. Most are kids who had difficulties academically or socially at Post Falls High School, according to Steve Hansen-Barber, a counselor and teacher at New Vision. He helped establish the school 15 years ago.

When it was time to eat, it was Hansen-Barber who called for everyone to “Line up and eat!”

Sophomore Breanna Lancaster, 16, has been at New Vision for four months. She left Post Falls High for academic support. She had two of her friends, Michelle Parker, 16, and Matt Moore, 17, juniors at Post Falls High, as her guests.

“The teachers are way better,” Lancaster said. “They make it understandable, but they’re strict about rules, though.”

New Vision seniors Josh Jacobs, 18, and Amber Lancaster, 18, were sitting with Brittany Gray, 17, a junior. They were waiting for the line to thin out. Jacobs has been at New Vision since his sophomore year. He plans to attend NIC next fall and eventually own his own business.

“I want to have a restaurant/club somewhere in Coeur d’Alene,” Jacobs said. “It’s a dream I have.”

He worked as a prep cook at a restaurant in Post Falls, and he said he knows plenty of chefs.

Lancaster also plans to attend NIC and study elementary education. Gray wants to attend NIC and then work as an advocate for animals, perhaps in an animal rescue facility.

It was a full house, with some really good-looking and yummy-smelling food. The students and their guests really seemed to be enjoying themselves. The holiday spirit was alive and well at New Vision.

Military academy nominees

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Larry Craig have nominated more than 30 students to military service academies for the class entering in 2005. The students’ applications will be forwarded to one of the four U.S. service academies, where final selections will be made by each academy.

Tim Brennen of Athol was nominated to the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy. Matt Colla, Coeur d’Alene, has been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Chris Goodwin, Hayden, was nominated to the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Tyson Metlen of Moscow was nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy. Sean Lissy of Sandpoint was nominated to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Nominate your young hero

Do you know a young hero in the community, a child or teenager seeking to improve the quality of life, safety and/or the environment of others? If so, consider nominating them for the first-ever Alexandra Scott Butterfly Award, presented by Volvo Cars of North America to celebrate young everyday heroes.

Alex Scott was the little girl who died last August at the age of 8, from cancer. She raised $1 million by selling lemonade in her determination and commitment to fighting pediatric cancer.

Visit by Jan. 10 to nominate a child hero you know. Volvo will donate $25,000 to the Butterfly Award winner’s charity of choice.

Students of the Month

Lakeland High School has announced Students of the Month for November.

Sophomore Marissa Duncan plays volleyball, enjoys horseback riding, being outdoors and hanging out with friends. She plans to pursue a career in interior design.

Junior Melissa Rostkoski enjoys reading, shopping, music and spending time with family and friends. Melissa would like to study cosmetology after graduating from high school.

Senior Natalie Hawkins participates in cheerleading, track and weightlifting. She plans to attend the University of Idaho and study athletic training.

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