Student Journalists, Activists & Entrepreneurs + Island Links for June/July

July 17, 2017 | by Erin Sirianni

Explore +

Our monthly “Island Links” blog post is a curated list of the previous month’s most notable Mercer Island-related links from around the web. In this month’s post, we’re delighted to highlight local and national coverage of the extraordinary efforts, achievements, and ingenuity of Mercer Island students.

The MIHS Islander Interview with Defense Secretary James Mattis

Pictured above, Teddy Fischer and Jane Gormley are student journalists for The MIHS Islander, a student-run newspaper for Mercer Island High School. The duo have recently made headlines locally and nationally with The Islander’s publication of Fischer’s interview with the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Fischer landed the interview by texting a request to Mattis when he discovered that the Defense Secretary’s phone number was accidentally leaked through a photo published by The Washington Post. In short, Mattis agreed!

Gormley, The Islander’s managing editor, helped Fischer prepare for the interview and shaped the interview questions toward producing an exceptional final piece. We’ve included a link to a full transcript of the interview below, along with Gormley and Fischer’s companion pieces and additional media coverage of the interview.  Congrats, Teddy and Jane!

Full transcript: Defense Secretary James Mattis’ interview with The Islander  – Teddy Fischer [The MIHS Islander]

The power of history: A reflection on the Mattis interview – Jane Gormley [The MIHS Islander]

Education the key to reducing the lure of terror, says Mattis – Teddy Fischer [The MIHS Islander]

High School Journalists Land Scoop With Defense Secretary James Mattis [NPR]

A high school journalist called Jim Mattis. The man known as ‘Chaos’ answered. [The Washington Post]

Mercer Island student newspaper lands interview with U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis [The Seattle Times]

High school newspaper lands interview with Mattis [The Hill]

Teen Vogue & USA Today spotlight local teen’s activism

Fourteen-year-old Cordelia Longo is also a Mercer Island student in the spotlight. She has received widespread press and accolades for her successful effort in getting the Mercer Island School District to supply free pads and tampons in girls’ bathrooms. Though her request and reasoning was common sense, it nevertheless took courage to speak up and organize a petition to get feminine products supplied for free at school, just like tissues and toilet paper. Bravo, Cordelia!
Here are several of the top links:

Free tampons in school bathrooms? A 14-year-old girl made it happen [Seattle Times]

This 14-Year-Old Persuaded Her School to Provide Free Tampons and Pads in Bathrooms [NBCNews]

This 14-year-old petitioned her school to offer free pads and tampons—and won [USA Today]

How This 14-Year-Old Got Free Pads & Tampons in Her Middle School [Teen Vogue]

This teenager created a petition to get her school to provide free pads and tampons in their bathrooms [Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls]

Even more Mercer Island students in the news

Mercer Island 11-year-olds Ella and Marta have raised over $30,000 through their “Bake for the Cure” sales with proceeds going to Susan G. Komen and the Race For The Cure. [King5]

Evan King, a college student from Mercer Island, has launched a website,, to share photos of people with pre-existing conditions who could be affected by health care reform. [Mercer Island Reporter]

Two entrepreneurial MIHS juniors are running a back-to-school supply business with proceeds benefiting non-profit Save the Children. [Mercer Island Reporter]

These young Lakeridge students raised over $200 in two hours at their lemonade stand and donated their proceeds to the Mercer Island food pantry. [Mercer Island Reporter]

Additional Community Links

Council member Jeff Sanderson has announced that he will be leaving his council position after the July 17th session. The Council will discuss vacancy options at the same session.  [Mercer Island Reporter / City of Mercer Island]

Four small earthquakes were measured under Mercer Island between June 22nd and June 24th. [Mercer Island Patch]

Do you have an emergency kit? Learn how to assemble one by visiting the City of Mercer Island’s Emergency Preparedness education booth at New Seasons Market (open through July 22nd). [MI Weekly]

A Stuart Silk designed home built in 1985 and remodeled between 2006-2016 by its current owner Carl Byrnes is on the market. Distinguishing features of the property include elaborate gardens, an architectural staircase, and views of Lake Washington. [SeattlePI]

Photo credits: Charlie Fischer / Jen Longo