Former BHS football player charged with sexual assault in school bathroom

An 18-year-old student sexually assaulted another student in a Ballard High School bathroom back in March, according to charging papers obtained by both KIRO 7 and the Seattle Times.

Prosecutors allege that Demonte Rigney, a former BHS football player, invited the student to a co-ed bathroom, blocked the door and sexually assaulted her, according to court documents. He was arrested and subsequently charged with third-degree rape, KIRO and the Times reported.

“District staff worked closely with the Seattle Police Department to immediately investigate and make sure all involved were supported and made aware of their legal rights,” Seattle Public Schools said in a statement, but did not provide details due to the ongoing investigation.

Ballard filmmakers win 7 Emmy awards, festival this Saturday night

The talented students at Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program took home the hardware at the regional Emmy awards.

And just in time, too. The Ballard Film Festival is this Saturday at 7 p.m., and all are invited. Since filmmaking also means marketing, the students put together this promo video.

Without further ado, here are the Emmy winners (click the links to watch the videos):

  • Best Short Form FictionBottled Emotions by Zach Boone, PJ Hase, Aidan Jereczek and Bailey Wall
  • Best Short Form NonfictionOn the Backs of Salmon by Miles Whitworth, Cecilia O’Rollins, Chris Barrett, Martin Bolivar, Caroline Harader, Jasper Land, Maddie Lausted, Freeman Marshall and Aaron Miller
  • Best Long Form Nonfiction: Oso Strong by Maddie Lausted and Freeman Marshall
  • Best Audio/SoundPaul, Dark, and Handsome, audio/sound by Cole Kastner 
  • Best WriterRichard, writing by Wylie Soltes
  • Best Photographer/EditorBottled Emotions, photography and editing by Zach Boone, editing by PJ Hase, Aiden Jereczek and Bailey Wall 
  • Best Photographer/EditorCity’scape, photography and editing by Brendan Hickey, Jonathan Bowers and Gracie Morris

Nicely done!

Seniors unleash bikeshare prank at Ballard High

It seems the seniors were busy last night.

Teachers and staff arriving at Ballard High School this morning were stunned to find an army of Lime and Ofo bikes parked in nearly every available spot in the parking lot.

These bikes are parked so neatly, one per spot, it would make SDOT proud.

“Big props to the seniors, this is outstanding!” exclaimed Principal Keven Wynkoop.

Apparently this is the annual senior prank day at Ballard High.

If you need a bike to rent right now, you know where to find one. Here’s the map in the Lime Bike app showing the location of all the bikes:

Nicely done, seniors.

(Second parking lot photo from Eric Souza on Twitter)

Ballard High scoops up 19 Emmy nominations leading into film festival

The very talented filmmaking students at Ballard High have picked up 19 Emmy nominations from the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). That’s two more nominations than last year’s haul.

You can see some of the nominated work online, including Paul, Dark and Handsome and Richard.

The winners will be announced on June 9 at the 55th Annual Northwest Emmy Awards.

Meanwhile, BHS students are planning to show some of their best work at the upcoming Ballard Film Festival on Saturday, June 16 at 7 p.m. in the Ballard High School auditorium (see the poster here). Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students — sold at the door — and all proceeds benefit students in the Digital Filmmaking Program.

Scenes from Ballard High’s sizzling jazz performance at Lincoln Center

Updated: The Ballard High School jazz band won several section and individual awards including the outstanding trombone section, outstanding trumpet section and Kate Webster (above) won for outstanding reed player. Ballard did not place in the top three bands overall (Dillard Center for the Arts took the crown), but a very strong showing nonetheless.

Roosevelt High School, the other Seattle school invited to the prestigious competition, won an honorable mention for the band overall.

Earlier: The Ballard High School jazz band played a remarkable set this morning at the Essentially Ellington competition at Lincoln Center in NYC.

“It was so much fun, we loved it, so much energy,” said Katie Webster, who plays alto sax (above).

Led by Michael James, Ballard is competing against 14 other high schools in the prestigious national competition. The top three bands will be announced at 1 p.m. our time (live stream), and the winner will be announced later today (we’ll update this post).

Here are a few photos from the set, taken from the live stream (the performance is not yet available online for replay):

Ballard High School goes into lockdown

Updated: Just after 2 this afternoon, Ballard High School went into lockdown. Police said a suspected residential burglar had been chased in the direction of campus, and the school went into lockdown as a precaution. About an hour later, the lockdown was lifted.

In a letter to parents, Principal Kevin Wyncoop said video cameras showed the suspect “did run through our building and was in our school for approximately one minute before immediately exiting.” The SPD investigation into the burglary case is ongoing.

Here were our updates as the story happened:

6:15 p.m. Principal Kevin Wyncoop responded to questions about why the school didn’t notify students what was happening at the time: “We don’t want to make PA announcements during a lockdown, as that would tell the suspect what was happening. Twitter and our website were updated to allow teachers, students and our community to get info.”

3:04 p.m. Seattle Schools: “Ballard High School has transitioned from lock down to shelter in place, with school functions returned to normal. Outer doors will remain locked. Seattle Police Department will continue to monitor.”

3 p.m. Principal Kevin Wynkoop: “Lockdown is over. Switched to Shelter in place. Verified that the suspect left the building.”

2:56 p.m. Our staff member source at the school says the lockdown is over, but they’re still “sheltering in place.” All kids are safe.

2:54 p.m. Seattle Police: “Officers were investigating an attempted burglary at a nearby residence when the suspect was chased off and ran toward the school. Out of an abundance of caution, the school went into lock down while office search the campus.”

Seattle Schools: “Ballard High School is currently in lock-down due to a neighborhood incident. @SeattlePD has responded and are currently onsite. So as not to interfere with police actions, parents/guardians are asked to stand by. We will continue to update.”

2:50 p.m. No word on what incident triggered the lockdown. Some scuttlebutt on a possible robbery nearby. No official word from SPD as of yet.

2:35 p.m. We’re hearing from a staff member on site that the lockdown was triggered by a suspect who may have ran on campus. Heavily-armed police officers on scene.

2:30 p.m. BHS Principal Kevin Wyncoop confirms BHS is in lockdown due to an incident that’s happening nearby in the neighborhood. “This is not an active shooting situation,” he says.

2:25 p.m. Ballard High is in lockdown, according to several students on Twitter as well as a staff member on site.

Ballard High jazz band arrives in NYC for prestigious competition

In February we reported that Ballard High School’s jazz band is one of only 15 schools in the country to make the cut to compete in the Essentially Ellington Festival at Lincoln Center.

The band just arrived in New York (above) for the competition on Friday and Saturday. Each band will perform before a distinguished panel of judges — including Wynton Marsalis — which will be live-streamed online here.

Ballard is scheduled to perform between 10-11:30 a.m. our time on Saturday. Then at 1 p.m. PT, judges will announce the top three bands. Later that night, the winner will be announced.

The BHS jazz band has had a busy year. In March it was one 13 high school bands selected to play at the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA. Then later that month, BHS was one of five Western Washington high school jazz bands selected to perform in Starbucks’ 23rd annual Hot Java Cool Jazz event at the Paramount Theater for a sold-out performance.  

We’ll let you know how the band does in NYC. Go BHS!

(Photo from the Ballard Performing Arts Twitter account).

Ballard goes to Hollywood

Ballard certainly hasn’t “gone Hollywood,” but students from the award-winning Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program flew to Hollywood for several days to visit college film and television programs and learn about the business.

Fortunately that’s not the plane they took (above in the background), but a disastrous scene at the Universal Studios backlot. They also visited Warner Bros. and watched a multi-camera shoot of “Mom” with Allison Janey, and they chatted with writer/producer Jason Cahill (Writers Guild of America award winner for The Sopranos).

The trip included visits to Chapman University, Emerson College, Loyola Marymount University and USC – all colleges ranked among the best film schools in the country.  

One of the highlights was meeting up with alumni from BHS’ filmmaking program: writer Brendan McCarthy (BHS ’04, NYU ’07) who was nominated this year for a Writers’ Guild of America award for his work on Grace and Frankie; production manager Mixtli Zavaleta (BHS ’07, UW-Seattle ’11); and writer/director Jesse Harris (BHS ’04) who has a second feature film, Borrego, currently in development.

“It is exciting to teach a program long enough to see graduates gain traction in their careers,” explains Matt Lawrence, who heads up the BHS filmmaking program.

Ballard High students designing a ‘social robot’

This coming Saturday, Ballard High School and six other Western Washington schools will present their prototypes for “social robots” that help teens deal with anxiety.

It’s all part of the Social Robot Design Challenge at the University of Washington.

“Social robots are different from a robot you might find in a factory,” explains the UW project site. “The purpose of a social robot is to be a companion, provide support, or gather information from people and their environments. While researchers are studying social robots with children, adults, and seniors, no one has looked closely at teens and social robots. We are trying to change that!”

The Ballard team (in the photo above) is designing a “cute, dog-like” social robot — because what’s a better companion than a dog?

The Social Robot Design Challenge is free and open to the public. It will take place on Saturday, March 24, from 3-5 p.m. in the Husky Union Building on the UW Seattle Campus.

(Photo from @projectemar on Twitter)