Our students produce creative multimedia work from film to theatre to visual art to writing. Through our programs, students autonomously create content and projects around the issues and ideas they care about.



Written and directed by: Chapel Barnes and Aliyah Newman

Collaborators: Kavion Johnston, Sincere Harris, Kamryn Bell, Laura Keeper, Reed McFeely, Evani, Donte Felder, Tay, Gianni, Avery Brown, Leija Farr, and Augie Bartlett



Written by: Cam Murray

Directed by: Cam Murray and Lexi Easter

Cast and collaborators: Lexi Easter, Nicaea Madsen, Kyleigh Jones, Yaya Dailey, Daveah Kelly, Lucian Steel, Ava Rico, Nate Stark, Alton Mather



Directed by: Cece Chan



Screenplay by: The Columbia City Youth Theatre Group


by Claudio Herrera Acosta, Nuurdiin Hassan, and Musa Fofana

My dad speaks English and 3 Gambian languages. I understand 2 Gambian languages, AicheTou speaks one of them too. I speak a tiny bit of Somali too.



I speak and understand Somali except when my family says really strong words in Somali.

- Nuurdiin

Yo hablo español con mi familia, y hablo inglés con mis amigos.

- Claudio

I love speaking a lot of languages so that I can get a good job as an interpreter or translator. I could volunteer as an interpreter at the school. My personality can sometimes be different when I speak different languages.



by Anonymous

Why do people lie?

  1. People want attention

  2. Clout – good reputation

  3. Start rumors and start fights

  4. Get out of trouble

  5. To make someone look bad

How do you stay out of middle school drama?

  1. Be the ghost of the school – nobody knows you at all

  2. Focus on yourself

  3. Think for yourself

  4. Only believe what you see with your own eyes

  5. Keep your hands to yourself

  6. mind your own business

  7. have a group of friends that’ll set you up for success

Art by Nacaea Madsen


by Claudio Herrera Acosta, Nuurdiin Hassan, and Musa Fofana

Hello my name is Claudio Herrera Acosta. I want to help people. If they’re struggling in class then we can take them to chill out, and so they can get ready to learn. My interests are helping and playing basketball. I have been using a computer since kindergarten. I use technology 24 seven. This is my second year at orca and I’m in 7th grade. I love school because I get to learn and some people don’t get the chances I get, so I choose to learn and be smart.

Hello my name is Nuurdiin Hassan. I love school because I have friends and there are amazing teachers here. The teachers are respectful because they give you chances. At other schools they don’t give you a chance, and they thought I was a bad kid. I’m not a bad kid though because I’m making this website to change the world. My hobby is playing basketball to cool me down and focus, like sometimes if I’m angry. I’m up for learning and in the future I want to make younger kids be inspired by my past to do great in school.


Hello my name is Musa Fofana and I’m a leader because we made this website to help people achieve their goals. Thank you and I hope you can come to orca and do all the fun stuff with us. see you soon.


by Anonymous

Learn how to learn –  map out a strategy and follow through:

  • 5 Free throws in a row.

    • Practice at break.

  • Turning your homework in on time.

    • if you finish your homework then you get free time to play.

  • Help each other out when they’re stuck on something.

    • Ask your class mates if they are struggling.


by Xavier Johnson-Mitchell

My name is Xavier Johnson-Mitchell, and i help with visual arts. The reason i chose visual arts is because whenever i do any form of art, i just feel so good about myself. To me, art is an escape from your emotions. Art is your mind on paper. Art can be anything you want for it to be, whether it be dancing, painting, drawing, or so much more. I do art whenever i’m anything other than happy, so i can imagine my way back to happy. Therefore, i hope i can motivate people in the future to use and see art the way i do.

by Nuurdiin Hassan


On January 18 2019, Orca observed MLK day. People were singing at the assembly. The assembly theme was “When we Dare to Dream.” We marched and there were police all around us. I felt safe because there were people all around to protect us. This was the first time I ever marched, and it felt good. We gave out food to the community through Rainier Valley Food Bank. You can donate any food to the homeless at the food bank.



On the Jimi Hendrix Exhibit at the NW African American Museum

by Kaleb Kalkidan (8th), Naylani Mwamba-Hunter (8th), Heaven Donalson (8th)


What I thought about Jimi Hendrix before the trip was that he was an artist with drug abuse issues who died at a young age. After the field trip I realized that he had way more of a back-story to him, he was born in Seattle, and he also went to Garfield high school so he was one of us.

Overtime he started to become more passionate about his music and he dropped out of high school to follow his dream of becoming a rock star. He also felt that he was not accepted at his school because of racism. The museum showed his home life, with him, his mom and five siblings growing up without a dad. I can relate to him because he did not have a father figure in his life. I feel like I’m not the only one who can relate, but also most black children also could relate because it is a true stereotype for a lot of us. Just knowing that Jimi Hendrix went through what I go through makes me feel like if he could pursue his dreams, I can pursue my dreams too.

On the Aquarium

by Anonymous

The afternoon film theater academy and all the students with significant disabilities went to the Aquarium! Andrew loved touching sea life and we did a scavenger hunt with our groups and took pictures of everybody with polaroid cameras.

On The Unspoken Truths Museum

by Lily Harrison

Community scholar Delbert Richardson brought his traveling museum to the Orca library for the first Race Forum event, and the next day he presented to the middle school.

Mr. D was straight forward, and honest about the facts. He didn’t sugar coat it, unlike so many teachers. He wanted and needed to teach us something, and he certainly did. The museum was sorted into four areas: Mother Africa was about African roots. During this part, Mr. D talked about how many brilliant people and ideas were from Africa. He also talked about a place called Alexandria Egypt. I went home and looked at photos of Alexandria. Its architecture is beautiful, and it looks like a place I’d like to visit. American Chattel Slavery was fascinating yet terrifying to see what the slaves were beat with and forced to live with. Some slave owners would mark their slaves, the same way a farmer would mark their cows. The Jim Crow era was all about discrimination and the KKK. I would like to learn more about this time. The Still We Rise segment was about Black inventors. They all created objects that either used to be quite popular, or still are. A few examples are the doorknob, the ice cream scoop, and the gas mask.

On the Rainier Kaiser Clinic

by Qasim Mohamed, Kamal Aden, and Yaewan Mulugeta

We were learning about the human body and the brain, so Ms. Elizabeth said that we’re going to go to the clinic to learn more. Before we went, we talked about how we were going to meet an MD, a Community Resources Specialist, a Physician’s Assistant, and a Nurse. As a warm-up, we had to write down a couple questions for the staff, and we drew the human brain and what was in it. The clinic was small, and the exam rooms were very small, but the people were kind. I was expecting it to be louder in the clinic, with babies crying and all that, but the experience was peaceful and they answered our questions very clearly. They were straight-up and they didn’t hesitate. Usually when I go to the doctor’s, I don’t really see any Black people in the place, but today I saw three Black people working there. I feel like there are a lot of Black people who actually want to become doctors and lawyers, but they’re not given the chance. That’s unfair, so we need to stand up for each other. I think that the country is becoming better and better, so things are changing, but it’s taking a really long time. Racism still continues, and it takes a lot of time to take that in, and once you start thinking about that you can’t stop. If I focus on my education, I don’t care if I’m Black or not, I have a chance.


by Aliah, Kat, and Sophia, Compiled by Lisl Stadler (KVRU radio programmer)

The Southeast Seattle local radio station, KVRU 105.7, trained a few Orca students to use professional recording equipment during the march, so that students could interview each other, as well as teachers and family members. Here are a few highlights from the conversations that took place:

Q: Why do you think MLK Day is important?

A: Dr. Martin Luther King Day means protesting for justice and showing that we care about the Civil Rights Movement. He fought to stop segregation, and if segregation was still going on, African Americans would get less education and less freedom. (Samara and Rodjane, 8th Grade)

A: It’s showing we love him, and we’re doing the same thing [as him]. (Aniyah, 2nd Grade)

A: You can see a lot of people here came together to celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy, and to me Dr. King was just a great man. (Owen, Orca parent)

Q: Why do you think we march?

A: To celebrate the people. (Lachlan, 1st Grade)

A: I think we march as a way to both remember Martin Luther King’s legacy, and to remember and like realize that the Civil Rights movement was the just the beginning. There’s still social problems going on, and what’s happened in the 60’s inspiring us to take action now. (Unknown)

A: Racial justice, yeah, pretty much. MLK’s dream is coming true here at Orca. But it isn’t the best school ever… (Bobby, 5th Grade)

Q: What do you think is the main point that we’re trying to get across?

A: That we all matter, that we all belong together, and that we all need each other.

(Donte, Orca Head Teacher)

A: We are trying to bring the world together to make the world a more just and fair place. (Ms. Lissa, 4th Grade teacher)



Anywhere from 5-15 middle school girls have met on Wednesdays to eat lunch together in Ms. Allison’s Film & Theater Academy, but several students have felt unwelcome in the group due to cliques and the problematic emphasis that “only girls are allowed.” These issues speak to larger patterns throughout the middle school, so the Fem Fam lunch group may present an opportunity to address those conversations with the help of teachers and concerned students. This article discusses some of the positive aspects and a few of the challenges that have defined this group.

“A group of people gets together and becomes family.” – Aniyah Dunn-Pinnix (8th grade)

“Because it’s just about having fun, you can show your true face and not worry about outside world stuff.” –Lexi Easter (8th grade)

Fem Fam is about getting to know each other. It’s a way of expressing your feminine side, having fun and being more open and social. Also we feel comfortable around the girls because mostly when you’re with a boy people start thinking you’re into each other.

In the group so far, we have played games, talked, danced, and done some drawing. We share food, and we also tell funny stories. Although we enjoy fun activities, we plan to talk about current and serious topics, but that could be a challenge. This could be a challenge because some students don’t want to spend their half hour of free time talking about serious topics when they do that all day in class.

This space isn’t only for females, it’s also a place for people who respect positive feminine energy. I’ve always known that there were more than two genders, but we didn’t start talking about the topic deeply until middle school. The first time that gender was a classroom conversation was in 5th grade. We had a little class unit about gender for a week. As a class we didn’t go in very deep. That experience changed in middle school when entire classes were based around gender issues. Not just male and female but the grey zone in between. We haven’t talked about the gender spectrum in Fem Fam yet because I feel like it’s a hard topic to openly talk about, but it shouldn’t be.

Article written by Nurto Abdiwahab (6th grade), Aliah Ford (7th grade), and Amina Ali (8th grade), Compiled by Naomi True (program coordinator)

South End Stories is fiscally sponsored by Intiman Theatre and is funded by Best Starts for Kids,

an initiative of The King County Department of Community and Human Services.

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