Student treks far north for her high school of choice
Lily Ly, who lives in Southeast Seattle, is a senior at Ingraham High School in North Seattle. Every day at 7 a.m., Lily Ly stands at a...
Lily Ly, who lives in Southeast Seattle, is a senior at Ingraham High School in North Seattle.
Every day at 7 a.m., Lily Ly stands at a bus stop in Southeast Seattle to go to Ingraham High, the Seattle high school that's farthest from her home.
She's not alone. She says about three buses leave her immediate neighborhood each morning for Ingraham. District records show that about 189 students who live in the southeast section of the city attend Seattle's northernmost high school.
Ly's not sure why other students make that trip. For her, it was a combination of factors. She wanted a school smaller than Franklin or Garfield. Her father heard something that set him against Franklin. Her best friend was going to Ingraham, too. And she was interested in Ingraham's International Baccalaureate program, a rigorous college-prep program.
Ly, 18, moved to Seattle from Vietnam when she was 8 years old. She attended John Muir Elementary, in the South End, then Washington Middle School, in the Central Area. But she found Washington Middle School too big, so she transferred to McClure Middle on Queen Anne Hill.
This year she's a senior at Ingraham, and she'll attend the University of Washington in the fall.
She says she's missed out on activities because she lives so far from school. Even though it takes only about 20 minutes or so to get to Ingraham in the morning by school bus, Ly says she's never been able to participate in sports or other activities because her parents didn't feel comfortable letting her ride a Metro bus home if she would arrive after dark.
She tried student government for a while but quit because she didn't think she could do her share of the work. When she did ride a Metro bus, it took about twice as long — and two buses — to get home.
She doesn't know what the district should do about integrating schools. Even in the schools that are integrated, she said, different ethnic groups don't always mix. Ingraham, she said, has a nice community feel, and everyone is friendly in the halls. But there are still racial divisions.
She has friends of many ethnicities, she said, but not many white kids.
At John Muir and McClure, she said, the white kids tended to be in the advanced classes.
"When I sat in the regular classes, I didn't see many students who were white, but when I walked around to the advanced class — I saw more of them," she said. "I knew who they were, but I never talked to them."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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