Frequently asked Questions
Do I need to register for the summit?
YES. ALL ATTENDEES, BOTH STUDENTS AND ADULT CHAPERONES, MUST REGISTER TO ATTEND
When I tried to register, it said that registration had closed. Is there a waitlist I can get on?
Unfortunately, we are unable to have a waitlist for the summit. Registration is capped at our capacity plus 30 percent, which takes into account the substantial number of no-show attendees on the day of the summit.
I forgot to register/registration is closed. Can I just show up to the summit?
Only registered students will be guaranteed admittance to the summit. If an unregistered student shows up on the day of the summit, they will be required to wait in the will call area until all registered students have been processed. In the event that there is still space available after all the registered students have been admitted, unregistered students will be admitted in the order that they arrived. After we have reached capacity, any remaining unregistered students are required to leave the campus for liability purposes.
Why can’t middle school aged students attend?
Although we have allowed 8th grade students to attend in previous years, the summit is now reserved for high school students only for the following reasons:
Maturity level: The planning committee strives to bring presenters and topics to the summit that speak to current events and issues important to young students of color. As many of the topics discussed revolve around the dense and multi-faceted issue of social justice, many middle school students do not have the comprehension level needed to both engage in, and respect, this dialogue.
Behavior: Attending the summit requires students to have the strong personal responsibility and critical listening skills that are more common in older students; we simply do not have the staff or the ability to continuously monitor individuals who need to be reminded consistently to behave appropriately.
How long is the summit?
The summit is an all-day event, from approximately 8:00am to 4:00pm.
What if I arrive late?
We cannot facilitate late arrivals. Our registration and check-in tables open at 8:00 am sharp and close promptly at 9:15 am when the keynote speaker begins. IF YOU ARRIVE AFTER 9:15 AM, EVEN IF YOU HAVE REGISTERED, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE SUMMIT.
Cost, Location, and Programming
How much does it cost to attend?
The summit is FREE to attend.
Where is the summit?
The student summit is located in the Student Union Building (Bldg 8) on the Highline College campus, with adult chaperone programming located in Building 7. Individual student workshops are held in various classrooms on campus; students are escorted by summit volunteers to and from these classrooms.
Do I need to bring my own food?
No. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided for you.
What workshops will I be attending?
Workshops will be assigned as students are processed through the registration table the day of the summit.
I want to see a particular workshop presenter. How can I ensure a seat in her specific workshop?
To ensure equal workshop sizes, students are assigned a workshop. Students are not able to choose their workshops. However, workshop presentations are thoroughly screened by the Y.E.L.L. Planning Committee to ensure each workshop is equally informative, engaging, and impactful.
For Adult Chaperones
I’m an adult chaperone for a school/organization but I don’t know which students I’m bringing yet. Can I just hold some spots?
No. All attendees (both students and adults) must be registered individually to attend. We can NOT hold spots under any circumstances.
I’m a chaperone and some of the registered students I was supposed to bring can’t come. Can I substitute different students in their place?
No. If a student or adult has registered but is unable to attend, they cannot substitute another individual.
As a chaperone, will I stay with my student throughout the day?
No. Adult chaperones/attendees and students are on different activity tracks in different buildings. The summit is for the students and part of the impact of the summit comes from being able to have real, open dialogue. Please respect this space and understand that you will be reconnected with your students at the close of the summit.
I’m a chaperone who is bringing multiple students. Can I send you a list of the students attending instead of registering them all?
We greatly appreciate attendees or adult chaperones registering themselves and/or their students. Having attendees or chaperones directly enter their information increases accuracy, so we politely ask that you register attendees individually.
I want to see a particular workshop presenter. How can I ensure a seat in her specific workshop?
As the summit is geared focused and created for high school aged females, chaperones are not permitted to sit in on these workshops; adult chaperones are able to view the keynote speeches remotely but have a fixed adult chaperone agenda in an adjacent building.
This is a valuable, transformative event that I want to be a part of. How can I get involved?
If you would like to volunteer at this year’s or a future Summit, please contact Rashad Norris or Rickitia Reid.
My students received a t-shirt/lanyard/giveaway item. Do adult chaperones also receive giveaway items?
Unfortunately, adult chaperones are ineligible to receive giveaways. As Highline absorbs the entire cost of the summit, we decided to limit giveaways to students to increase the quality and quantity of items they receive.
Will all my students stay together if I bring a group of students?
One of the values of the summit is to encourage meaningful conversations and create new friendships. In order to facilitate this, students are assigned to workshops by individual rather than by school. Some students in you group may end up in the same workshop by chance, but it is highly unlikely that you student group will stay together for the entirety of the summit.
Terisa Siagatonu is an award-winning poet, teaching artist, mental health educator, and community leader born and rooted in the Bay Area. Her presence in the poetry world as a queer Samoan woman and activist has granted her opportunities to perform and speak in places ranging from the White House (during the Obama administration) to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France. The most memorable moment in her career was receiving President Obama’s Champion of Change Award in 2012 for her activism as a spoken word poet/organizer in her Pacific Islander community.
With numerous viral poetry videos garnering over millions of views collectively, Terisa's writing blends the personal, cultural, and political in a way that calls for healing, courage, justice, and truth. A Kundiman Fellow, her work has been published in Poetry Magazine and has been featured on Button Poetry, CNN, NBCNews, NPR, Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, The Guardian, BuzzFeed and Upworthy.
Since the beginning of Terisa's poetry slam involvement in 2010, she has been a member of several award winning slam teams, including the 2017 inaugural Root Slam Team, helping her team to place 5th in the nation at the National Poetry Slam competition in Denver, CO. When she's not competing, she is coaching college poetry slam teams and mentoring young writers in writing workshops throughout the country. Terisa is one of the co-founders and organizers of The Root Slam, a free bi-weekly poetry venue based in Oakland, CA, voted the 2017 and 2018's Best Open Mic venue in the Bay Area.
Offstage, Terisa creates and facilitates workshops, leads artistic and professional development trainings, provides mental health clinical support, and delivers keynote speeches across the country on issues that inform her 10+ years of community work involving: youth advocacy, educational attainment, Pacific Islander/Indigenous rights, climate change, LGBTQQIA rights, gender-based violence, and others. She holds a Bachelors degree in Community Studies and minor in Education from the University of California- Santa Cruz and a Masters Degree in Marriage/Family Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC), aiming to use her background as a mental health clinician and poet to bridge the gaps in our quest for collective healing and liberation.
Veronica Very is a creative visionary leader who loves in truth and speaks her truth in love. She is a dynamic speaker who is known to organize powerful experiences that activate consciousness, raises awareness and reaches people where they are. Veronica is an inspiring activist for voice through storytelling that transforms, heals and liberates. In 2016, Veronica founded Wonder of Women International. Wonder of Women creates sacred space through workshops, retreats, and conferences to inspire Black women and girls of color to find their voice; stand in their truth and celebrate their wonder by telling their story. Wonder of Women is currently on national tour with the largest public health organization for Black women: GirlTrek. Wonder of Women is also organizing a 2020 Women Leaders Delegation to South Africa where Veronica received the vision to launch the movement. Veronica established an impressive career that intersects hospitality, politics, entertainment, and beauty. Corporations such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts; Nordstrom, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, MAC Cosmetics and Stellar International Networks have all benefited from her passion for people and top notch programs and projects. Highlighted events include key organizer for President Barack Obama's Re-election Luncheon at the Seattle Paramount Theater in 2011; Stellar Women Leadership Delegations to China; C200’s Pacific Northwest Conference; and Seattle Sweden Week featuring Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria. Veronica enjoys partnership in business and love with her husband Hiawatha D. Together they lead HV Black Art Design. She will forever mourn and cherish the memories of her late daughter AshleAriane “Ash” Amor (28yrs), who passed away, July 31, 2017, from complications related to Sickle Cell Anemia.
Nine years ago, when she was 8 years old, Aliyah Cook of Centennial, Colorado, asked a question to her mother, “Why have I been in this school district for 4 years, yet have never had a teacher of color?” Her mom simply replied, “I do not know, why don’t you write a letter to your principal and ask?” That started Aliyah’s journey as an advocate for social change. Because of writing that letter, Aliyah became a youth keynote at the young age of nine on the importance of kids of color having teachers and role models who looked like them. This led to her school hiring an African American teacher. Then almost six years later on June 6, 2014 the governor signed into law, House Bill 14-1175 also known as Aliyah’s Law, requiring the Colorado Department of Education study and develop strategies to increase and improve the recruitment, preparation, development, and retention of high-quality teachers of color in elementary and secondary schools in Colorado. Today, Aliyah Cook is 17 years old and is most passionate about issues that affect women worldwide, violence against people of color and prejudices against those that identify as LBGTQ. Her heart for advocacy and civic engagement as she seeks to be a voice for the voiceless continuously grows. Other advocacy work in which Aliyah has been involved is sharing both locally and nationally, her original spoken word “Black”, which describes the challenges and beauties of growing up African American. Aliyah is also passionate about helping bring awareness to rape culture and victim shaming in schools, on campuses and society in general. Lastly, she is committed to understanding politics and the constitution to be a better advocate and to pursue political leadership. In April of 2019, Aliyah will compete at the national level for the “We The People” competition in Washington DC where students demonstrate their knowledge of government and the constitution through defending their position on various bills, laws and cases by participation in simulated congressional hearings. The Fields Wolfe Foundation has honored Aliyah as the youngest recipient of the Courageous Citizen’s Award. She was also recognized as an outstanding youth by AKA MuMu Omega Chapter. Aliyah dedicates more than 100 hours a year to serving her community and will graduate this year with a 4.2-weighted GPA. She plans to enter college in the fall and study International Business with a minor in Spanish.
Born to a teenage mom into a life of poverty and abuse in an area called the Blackbottom of Detroit, her life circumstances could have deemed her another statistic. But through mentors, education, exposure to living abroad, determination and grit, Elycia beat the odds. Today she is fluent in Japanese, the recipient of many awards for her work in the community and the President & CEO of a mentoring organization. Elycia has helped thousands of young people, especially girls to face their challenges and use their story to pay it forward and inspire others.
Tammie Holmes is a 56 year old mother and grandmother, born and raised in Seattle Washington. In 2017, Tammie earned a Chemical Dependency Professional degree from Highline College. Tammie currently works as a Chemical Dependency Case Manager/Group Facilitator with young single mothers who are recovering from child sexual abuse, drug addiction, prostitution, and homelessness. She relates to these young women, because their stories are her past stories. Tammie struggled for years with past childhood trauma, which led to a 20 year drug addiction. In 2007, she surrendered her will and has been drug free since that time. Ms. Holmes is also an Outreach Chaplain, focusing on the homeless population.
Lizbeth is a student at Grays Harbor College pursuing her Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership. She grew up dreaming of being someone who mattered; someone who could make a difference in her community. Obtaining a degree in Organizational Management will provide leadership skills and develop professional responsibilities that she will utilize in her future job in higher education. With that being said, Lizbeth always thought she was going into teaching until she joined TRiO and saw a whole new world in education, especially for students like her, first-generation and a child of immigrants.
Sarina is a TRiO Student Support Specialist at Grays Harbor College and works with students who are first-generation, low-income, and/or have a disability. She is a first-generation student who overcame higher education obstacles, and graduated from Western Washington University in 2017. After graduation, she served her community as an AmeriCorps member at Highline College with Workforce Education. Sarina thought she was going into the medical field or public health until her Highline supervisor became her mentor. When the AmeriCorps term ended, Sarina worked at Bellevue College as a Financial Aid Program Coordinator for Workforce Education and served high-barrier students. She recently moved the Aberdeen, WA to continue to serve students and to be a mentor for first-generation students.
Kimberly Walker is an inspirational speaker, national beauty queen, motivator and the non-profit founder & CEO of Curves Beautifully Empowered. Her passion is to inspire and motivate women and girls to embrace their curves; to see, to accept and soar into their personal awesomeness. Kimberly defines empowerment as the promotion of self-actualization of one’s inner beauty and power.
I am WO-man. A WO-man who is an Educator, Writer, Mentor of Beautiful Black Young Ladies, and Visionary Leader. I've been in the field of Education for 8 years and I have excelled in this field - going from teacher to teacher leader to Assistant Principal within 5 years - all while focused on culturally responsive pedagogy and social justice and equity. I am currently working in the Tacoma Schools District at Lincoln High School as an Assistant Principal.
I am a Peacemaking Circle Keeper & Coach, Educator, and certified mediator. My passion is lifting barriers between people and opening up authentic and compassionate communication. Young people are the future and I love holding spaces where their voices and lived experiences are honored. I am an Air Force veteran - airplane mechanic.
Felicia Shaviri is on a mission to tell everyone within earshot or afar, the importance of the role they play in the world. A former Correctional Deputy turned author and Wellness Coach, Felicia believes every person has the ability to turn their life around regardless of the circumstances. "I stand fast with an unbending belief that there is always an opportunity to learn and grow with every experience. Each experience offers us endless possibilities to live the life we desire." A native of Chicago's Englewood District, she now lives between Milton, WA and Henderson, NV where she resides with her husband and three children. Felicia is a Professional Fitness/Wellness Coach, Certified Life Coach, Voice Over Talent and the Founder/CEO of SheRox Fitness and Wellness based out of Henderson, NV.
Theresa R. Hardy, founder and executive director of Inspirational Workshops, is passionate about giving people tools they need to be successful in their personal and professional world. She has traveled through life overcoming internal and external obstacles by using the tools offered in IW workshops and life coaching program. Theresa is dedicated to igniting the fire; contributing to individuals tapping into their untapped potential. She has worked with young women in the YWCA Central Family Emergency Housing, as well as staff and youth in Seattle Public Schools, and Seattle University.
Substitute Teacher by day, Girls Track Coach by night and single mom 24/7! Danielle grow up in the area of Tacoma where she’ll tell you about who she excelled as a athlete but not so much in her academics. Danielle is passionate about empowering and inspiring our youth, especially females of color, through her life’s experience and “trusting in her struggles.”
The Director of Programs for Project Girl Mentoring Program, I attended Everett Community College and The University of Washington Bothell- not only did I find my voice but my passion for life was ignited with purpose. My area of studies include Society, Ethics,Human Behavior, Education and Diversity in society. I truly believe in sharing our truth to affirm and inspire others to dream in color. When we nurture a young womxns ambition, it encourages her to realize her that there is beauty in power; making her unstoppable!
Amber Huffstickler is a woman of many talents and is adamant about discovering the many talents in others. For about 12 years, she has been hosting conversations that aim to promote personal and community resilience. At this point in her life, she is deep in the exploration of her multiracial identity. Amber is a graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and currently lives near Olympia, Washington. She uses her BA in International Development and Social Change and MA in Teaching to ask powerful questions and lead the way to powerful responses.
Ashley Kay Smith
I currently work at Meadowdale Middle School where I am the College and Career Readiness Specialist as well as the Head C-Team Girls Basketball Coach at Meadowdale High School. My purpose in life is to let young people know they matter and that they are wanted and needed in this world.
Dr. Gail Marie Kuhnly
Driven by the "firsts" in life, Dr. Gail has pioneered on many fronts. As the first African American to receive a B. S. in Genetics from the University of California, Davis and in similiar fashion a Doctorate in Genetics at Stanford Medical School, she finds joy in being first. In addition to authoring patents and publications in science, she also has published in the area of track and field and recently became the first female in Washington State to receive USATF Level III track coaching certification in sprints, hurdles, and relays. She has coached numerous sprinters at the state, national, and international levels.
Kiana Davis is an author, poet, performing artist and educator. She has a heart for empowering youth in under-served communities. She used to be one of them. The poetry Kiana writes today explores class, identity, gender norms, poverty and social justice.
Roxana Pardo Garcia
Roxana Pardo Garcia aka La Roxay is a self-identifying Xicana Mujerista that was born and raised in Burien, Wa. Roxana attended Highline High School, was the first Latina ASB President in the school’s history and graduated in 2008. She went on to graduate from the University of Washington in 2013 with a BA in American Ethnic Studies and Diversity. Roxana uses indigenous knowledge and her genetic memories to do work that will allow people to live with dignity, respect, self and collective determination – because we know, nothing will liberate the hood, but the hood itself.
Seattle native, Nyema Clark is founder and Director of Nurturing Roots Farm located on Beacon Hill, a program committed to addressing food justice issues in the community. She is also a small business owner and founder of Avenue South, a handmade natural culinary and body product line. Nyema is committed to enriching underserved communities, her strength and overall goal is founded in youth empowerment and community economic sustainability.
The daughter of George Ho'okano and Lucille Fernandez-Fraticelli Sui-Lan Ho'okano is from the Island of Hawaii, Hilo and is of Hawaiian, Taino Indian, Puerto Rican, African, Chinese, French ancestry. Sui-Lan Ho'okano current journey is as the Cultural Program Director for the Enumclaw School District and works collectively with the Muckleshoot Tribe, surrounding community districts, and educational partners. Sui-Lan has over 25 years working collectively within educational institutions community partners locally, nationally, and globally in honoring and reestablishing understanding Indigenous pathways, cultural capital, and its traditional shared values in education.
My purpose in life is to serve others. My passion is to help them discover their potential. As a Latinx undocumented womxn of color I have had many obstacles get in my way, through self-empowerment and with the help of others, I have been able to face each obstacle and continue to fulfill my purpose in this world. I am committed to my community to make a positive impact by challenging racism, promoting acceptance of people from different backgrounds, raising awareness, and using my voice to address hate and to promote kindness. I graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 2010, and am the Co-Founder of the “Purple Group” that inspired other universities and colleges to start undocumented support groups on their campuses. I started a movement back in 2008 and I continue to move my community today. I am the Executive Director of my own organization, I AM Empowerment LLC, where I thrive as an undocumented entrepreneur and empower others to discover and believe in themselves. Through I AM Empowerment I lead a community undocumented support group in Yakima called Corazón where individuals come together to find healing, support and strength. In 2018 I was appointed to the Yakima City Council Community Integration Committee serving as the Vice Chair where we advise the City Council on ways to improve community engagement and be inclusive to all residents of Yakima. I also serve on the Board of Directors of Yakima’s National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as I am a huge advocate for taking care of our brain and applying daily self-care. I am continuously fighting to break the stigma towards receiving and accepting mental health. I believe that womxn are underpaid and undervalued in our male-dominated society, so as womxn we should always demand pay for our work and skills. I also believe in giving back to my community by volunteering my time. My dream is to travel the world and take my organization to touch the lives of individuals wherever I go.
Olympia Edwards is the Founder and Executive Director of Project Girl Mentoring Program. Project Girl is an organization that fosters the advancement of young women of color to make positive life choices through life skills, creative workshops, and educational programs. Olympia has dedicated her life to encouraging and inspiring teen girls, and is passionate about making a positive impact on girls’ lives! She believes that every girl has the power and the ability to be unstoppable through mentorship. Her philosophy is that life is full of making choices and that you have to always LOOK, LEARN and LISTEN to the lessons it teaches you. Prior to starting Project Girl Mentoring Program, Olympia spent eight years as an advocate/case manager working with at-risk girls, women, and families. When she isn't rallying for the empowerment of girls of color, she is busy being a mom to two active boys who love exploring the world through climbing, jumping and throwing things.
Martha is a workplace safety professional and has been in the worker’s compensation arena for over 10 years. Graduating from the University of Washington undocumented, before DACA, during the recession taught her resilience and that no is not always the final answer. During her spare time, she mentors Latina students, translates immigration letters for people seeking legal relief and assists in resume/cover letter preparation. She currently resides in Federal Way, WA with her husband Mario of 8 years and two chihuahuas, Buttercup and Dixie.
Haley Cummins is a proud product of Highline College. While at Highline, Haley has been involved in numerous programs and campus communities, including the Umoja Black Scholars Program, Honors Program, Center for Leadership and Service, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and various volunteer opportunities. She considers the Highline community her family, and believes that Highline has been a pivotal experience in her life journey. Haley was the Commencement Speaker at her graduation and obtained her Associates of Arts Degree in Sociology. She is currently finishing her foreign language (ASL) requirement on campus before she transfers to Seattle University to major in Strategic Communications this summer.
Rubi M Ruelas
Rubi M Ruelas | She/Her Pronouns | First Generation Mex-Amer | Student | Mother | Born and raised in California | • I am in my third year at Highline College, and currently enrolled in the Bachelors of Applied Sciences degree program of Early Learning and Teaching. My interest is fostered and a’flamed by the education and teaching field, and am specifically an advocate and accomplice for social equity, access, diversity, and inclusion. I am also repping Highline's Multicultural Affairs as an Inter-Cultural Center (ICC!) Student Peer Facilitator! “Who Run The World?! GIRLS!” - Beyoncé.
Catch24 (Monica Yang) is a full-time DJ based in Seattle with a strong nightclub presence as she is a resident DJ for multiple venues you've most likely visited. While she grew up in Seoul, Korea, becoming a DJ was a goal of hers since the age of 13; she realized she was the "new music plug" for all of her classmates--endless hours of digging for and downloading music, she burned hundreds of CDs upon anyone's request... and found it to be therapeutic and exciting at the same time.
In 2014, she finally began her DJ career with an emphasis in house music and has broadened her mixing skills to cover genres ranging from R&B/Hip Hop, electronic music (trap, big room, future bass, dubstep); her versatile library for song selection and her creative mindset together achieves a sound and style of her own. If you don't see her DJing, she is usually still out in the scene to support her peers and enjoy her time on the other side of the DJ booth as much as she does while in it.