Measuring the Value of Education

Submitted by Jeanne Steffener, Higher ED

Everyone wants to make sure that their time and money are well spent. This is also true of dollars spent in pursuit of higher education. Today students attend college for a variety of reasons. Students enroll in degree or certificate programs while others strive to obtain vocational skills. Whatever your reason for attending school, you want to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.

But how do we measure the value of education? The value lies in the purpose of education which is … to make it possible for individuals to realize their potential as human beings and as citizens of their society and their world. G.K. Chesterton once said that: “Education is simply the soul of society as it passes from one generation to another.”

Education is really an investment in your life and your community’s life and the more time you invest in it, eventually it will translate into a greater return. Like stocks, you cannot judge the rate of return in the short term. It is over the long-haul that we can accurately determine how our education has opened up opportunities for us that would have been impossible without that degree. A college degree gives a person the opportunity to enjoy knowledge, better job opportunities, increased health benefits, tax benefits, life changing friendships and satisfaction with life.

Generally speaking, a college degree promises a certain level of knowledge gained. It implies that a college educated person has completed all the required coursework for a particular field of study. Employers, therefore, have confidence that a future degreed employee has the working knowledge of business and the ability to cope in a competitive work environment.  The skill set developed by such a person is also greater than someone without a college education. Some of the key aspects of education gained are problem solving, creative thinking, social skills, evaluation, empathy, communication and reasoning skills to meet the challenges of life. If you think of education as preparation, you will have an incredible resource for life.

With the advantage of attending college/university, students open up their chances of expanding their minds. In the process of meeting and befriending people of all walks of life and cultures, students begin to accept and appreciate people for who they really are. Eventually, stereotypes and discrimination fade from of their lives. This is why a college education is so important and how it plays a huge part in opening up a person’s mind.

We see the significance of friendships and how these relationships are developed in a large network of acquaintances. Some of these people will share a strong bond with you for the rest of your life. These friendships may open up career opportunities in the future. Friendships become a significant benefit of college life.

Earning a college degree opens up doors to greater opportunities and possibilities. This is rite of passage which helps individuals to develop self-confidence and grow as human beings. Most people believe that the more education you receive helps you to develop your mind and in the process opens up the potential to change your life.

In the backlash against college, surveys have been taken that show that an overwhelming number of participants felt that a post-secondary education is more than just a paycheck. Education does many things but more importantly it empowers a person to think, question, and see beyond the obvious. Education broadens our horizons and gives us a better understanding of the world around us and how it works. Education will help you to realize your potential and allow you to reach for the sky.

Are you are interested in a life changing opportunity? Higher ED can help discover what it takes go to college. You can contact Higher ED staff at 360-716-4888 or email us at

HCC Flute Circle encourages self-expression and creativity

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Soothing, peaceful music resonated throughout the Hibulb Cultural Center (HCC) on the night of Thursday, May 24. Around thirty community members gathered in the museum’s longhouse to listen and take part in HCC’s bi-monthly flute circle. The circle is led by Tulalip tribal member and HCC Museum Assistant, Cary Williams, and is a recent addition to the museum’s Culture Series workshops.

“I’ve been playing since 2007, so eleven years now, wow,” Cary reflects. “Growing up, I went to church at St. Anne’s and they would do an intermission with flute and from that I was inspired to pick the instrument up myself. My first flute was actually a Chinese flute that was made from maple. It was very thin and actually broke when I was climbing up a hillside where I was playing as a kid. After that, I purchased more flutes up until I met my uncle Paul Nyenhuis and he gifts me handmade flutes that he makes from his heart. I’ve been playing those since and been sharing my music with my community since I started playing. I pack them with me wherever I go and share with anyone who is interested in listening.”

Cary enlisted his uncle Paul to help encourage a new generation of flute players to join in on the fun. Paul is local flutist who constructs and plays his own collection of handmade instruments, all of which are carved from various trees such as cedar, maple and cherry and also contain their very own stories. Paul shares the story behind each flute with the community and lets them get an up-close, detailed look at each of his designs before performing a melody for the circle. Cary also performs a number of songs throughout the event, which was originally inspired by his love and passion for the Indigenous instrument.  

“Being a flutist myself, I wanted a space where other flutists could share a connection with each other and also share their songs with the community, the young people and the elders of the tribe,” he explains. “And to help inspire an artform that was once lost as well as encourage self-expression through music, because physically, spiritually and emotionally the flute helps out a lot. 

“Personally, it helps me in my day-to-day life. If I’m overwhelmed I can play the flute and calm myself and come back to a great state of being or if I’m happy I can play a song and share that happiness as well. Just honoring our surroundings and our ancestors by playing the songs of them, speaking about the area that surrounds us, the Pacific Northwest, and talking about our salmon and that cedar tree. The music speaks on behalf of the unspoken, our ancestors and our Tribe. That’s what these songs feel like to me.”

During the circles, participants are invited to share stories and songs of the traditional instrument with one another. Everett community member, Ray Mutchler, was delighted when he heard of the flute circle through a Facebook post and attended to showcase his music. Ray and his girlfriend Carlita have been playing the instrument over the past couple years and are a part of a local Native American flute community. 

“I think it’s important for people to learn how to express themselves, especially through music,” says Ray. “Creativity is an important part of life. I learned how to play clarinet in public school and it’s a hard instrument to play for improvisation. The Native American flute is almost all improvisation and that’s great for creativity and self-expression and those are great qualities to learn and possess. I’m grateful for the opportunity to come here to listen and play today.”

The flute circle inspired all ages, as youth and elders awed during the performances inquired about the history of the flute. Research has proven that the Native American flute has been around for centuries and is one of the oldest instruments in history, created shortly after drums and rattles. The flute is more prominently used by tribes to the south, such as Arizona and New Mexico, as well as by many Indigenous nations of the great plains, but is also an integral part of the Coast Salish culture and is used during a number of important ceremonies. 

Once the hour-long flute circles have ended, a handful of youngsters are often gifted beginner flutes from Cary. However, like many instruments, the flutes choose their owners, who often have an immediate connection when first exposed to the instrument.

“The teachings of the flute live within you,” Cary says. “My uncle made some give away flutes for me to hold on to and when I feel that feeling to give away, I gift them to the kids. I always ask if they’re inspired to learn and the majority of the time, being a part of this event, they are very inspired to learn. So I hand them over to them like they were handed to me, with no intentions and no expectations, just to know that they have that tool now and can learn from the flute and learn from themselves by playing the notes that they like that come from the flute.” 

Paul has already gifted Cary’s newborn son a small flute so he can play alongside his dad while growing up. Cary’s goal is to have his son playing by the age of three and participating in future flute circles at the museum.

The next flute circle will be held on the last Thursday of July as HCC alternates hosting the flute circles and the coastal jams each month. For further details, please contact the museum at (360) 716-2600. 

An entrepreneurial journey with Angelina Elworth

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Angelina Elworth is far from understated. Her life’s journey to this point has taught her much about circumstance, being reactive vs. proactive, the value of experience and, most importantly, the power of the growth mindset.

She understands her effort and attitude determine her ability to overcome any challenge, and recognizes that failure is just an opportunity to grow, to be better. In her twenties, Angie spent years working for the Tulalip Tribes; started in ECEAP, then in Leasing, followed by a stint in Utilities and finally a few years in Child Support.

None of those jobs were fulfilling because she had the entrepreneur’s spirit. From a young age she’d always wanted to own a business of her own, to be her own boss. Willing to risk it all and bank on herself, Angie resigned from her office job at the Tulalip Tribes in September 2016 in order to pursue her dream of being a business owner. It’s been 21-months since she made that fateful decision. Now, she sits down to reflect on her entrepreneurial journey, thus far, and detail how a 30-year-old tribal member has become the full-fledged owner of Angie’s Nail Boutique.

When did you first consider creating a business of your own?

“Honestly, I’ve always wanted to have my own business. It’s taken a long, long time to get to this point, but it’s always been a goal of mine. I worked in several positions for the Tribe, but the thought was always there that I’m not happy knowing what I really want is to create something of my own. So I took a leap of faith and went all-in with being an entrepreneur.”

That’s a huge risk. Most people aren’t willing to leave the comfort of a stable job for the uncertainty of following a dream.

“It was a risk, a huge one, but in order to become the person I want to be I have to accept those risks and continually challenge myself to grow. I’m confident enough in myself and my abilities that at the time it was something I had to do.”

What were your immediate steps after resigning from your job?

“Before resigning, I researched local beauty schools and found out about an amazing program offered at Evergreen Beauty School in Everett. I knew it would be the right fit for me. So after resigning from Child Support, I enrolled full-time at Evergreen and began classes in October 2016. Plan was to cash-out my 401k and invest that money into supplies and money for my own business. That’s exactly what I did after graduating from the beauty program.”

How was the transition to becoming a full-time student?

“I’ve taken a number of miscellaneous classes, including several online classes offered by the University of Phoenix, over the years. It may seem unrelated but I’ve accrued so much knowledge over the years by taking advantage of online and evening classes. So becoming a full-time student was easy because I love to learn. At Evergreen, it took six months for me to complete the program and receive a beauty license. After graduating, in April 2017, I registered my business, Angie’s Nail Boutique.”

Why the beauty industry?

“It makes women feel amazing. We live in a society where there’s a lot of negativity and suppression, but yet women will always try to uplift themselves by looking and feeling good. When a woman has a really nice set of nails, do you know how many compliments she’ll receive? Compliments make people feel good. That kind of positive feedback is what makes the beauty industry a constant because the demand to feel good and look good will always be there.” 

After creating and registering Angie’s Nail Boutique, then you hit some bumps in your journey. What happened?

“I attempted to really hit the ground running by leasing a space at Phenix Salon and Suites in Lynnwood, but being new to that area I didn’t have the clientele necessary to sustain the business. So I got out of the lease and had to take a step back and reevaluate my strategy for long-term success. Looking back, I really wasn’t strategic in my planning and I should have planned more thoroughly. That was a mistake, but I’ve learned from it.”

So you went back to school, again?

“Yes. I decided the best strategy was to re-enroll in Evergreen to receive an instructor’s license. That way I could eventually hire employees, train them in my style of work ethic, and better position myself long-term. I just finished the instructor’s program and passed the State exam two weeks ago. 

It was one of the best experiences of my life. When you learn to be a facilitator and teacher, you become a student for life; whatever you learn, you teach other people. My instructor was amazing as well. She had very strong interpersonal skills, was consistent and always in a good mood. She is who I aspire to be.”

What’s the present status of your entrepreneurial journey?

“I’ve been in my current location in Everett since May 1st, not long at all, but I love it. It’s not work to me because I love what I do. I’m leasing a space at a better location for me right now. We have close to fifteen individual businesses here, sharing a building for the benefit of all. The ladies here I can interact with every day in a positive atmosphere where we are all rooting for each other to succeed.

“I definitely think this will be the point where I can establish a firm foundation for my business. It’s a good location with a positive atmosphere, somewhere that can allow me to build my client list to where I’m booked out for weeks.”

What’s the future hold for Angie’s Nail Boutique?

“Once I’ve reached a comfortable level with my savings, I plan to lease a larger space that’s dedicated to my business. Then I’ll be able to hire on employees, so that I can make full use of my instructor’s license by training other ambitious ladies who are willing to grow within the industry. 

The ultimate goal is to expand my business so that I’ll have locations in Everett, Seattle and Bellevue. I see myself and this business continuing to grow together because there is nowhere else to go but up.”

Any advice you’d offer to someone considering the entrepreneur life?

“Everybody dreams. You can’t be scared to follow your dreams. A lot of people won’t allow themselves to succeed because they are so afraid of failure and looking bad. All the young adults of our Tribe are so full of opportunity. In order to reach your potential and chase your dreams, you have to be willing let go of everything holding you back. You have to cut out the negativity and the naysayers. It might sound scary, but it’s so worth it in the end. And remember, that any bump in the road offers the chance to learn and grow, to be better.”

Angie’s Nail Boutique is located at 2817 Rockefeller Ave, Everett WA 98201. To schedule an appointment please call (425) 501-4210. For more information about services she offers visit or check out the Angie’s Nail Boutique page on Facebook.

Celebrating Diversity with Festival of World Cultures

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

All families and students of the Tulalip-Marysville community were invited to an evening of cultural exploration at Totem Middle School on May 18th. Offering a free, fun-filled event with a variety of music, dance, art and food for all, Marysville School District (MSD) presented the Festival of World Cultures.

“The coordinator of the English Language Learner Program and I met a few months ago to discuss how we could provide a more diverse and culturally rich experience within the District,” explained Deborah Parker, Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education for MSD. “The idea stemmed from the need our District has to become more aware of diverse cultures, while celebrating the distinct backgrounds of our students and their families.”

Community involvement played a large role in the development of the Festival, as coordinators reached out to local businesses, cultural performance groups, and a variety of vendors who could engage with people of all ages, from children to elders. The planning paid off big time as more than 300 people showed up to celebrate diversity and learn about other cultures. 

Attendees were each given a mock passport that were then stamped with approval throughout the evening as they travelled the world and learned from representatives of twenty different nations.

“It is important to both teach students about different cultures and experience cultures that are different from their own,” stated MSD Lead Native Liaison, Matt Remle. “These experiences help to grow students understanding about the broader world around them. Meaningful cultural sharing can lead to meaningful relationships and meaningful relationships can only help our students and communities engage in our diverse world.”

There was something offered for everyone in the family-based atmosphere providing entertainment and many laughs, while engaging everyone’s curiosity as they made their way through a variety of informative booths. Several culture representatives distributed knowledge through collaborative activities that had people learning while having fun.

“Everyone enjoyed the decorative and fun activities for kids, like the paper flower making with the group of Spanish-speaking volunteer moms from Cascade Elementary,” said Wendy Messarina, MSD Parent Liaison. “Also the group of Mexican dancers from Mary’s Place, in Everett, was a highlight when they shared ballet and folklore.”

Some families made quite the journey to learn about cultures different from their own, even families with students from outside the Marysville School District.

Gloria Campbell and her granddaughter Araba, both of West African ancestry, saw a flyer for the Festival of World Cultures online and travelled from Mukilteo to partake in the event. 

“We are very culturally motived,” said Gloria. “It is very important for us to embrace the cultures that are around us. I take my granddaughter with me everywhere to explore this region. I want her to learn as much as she can about people who don’t necessarily look like her.”

After feasting on a diverse selection of food, including the ever-popular fry bread station, Festival guests were treated to song and dance offered by Native, Hispanic, Pilipino, and Hawaiian cultures. 

Officer Sparr of Marysville Police Department enjoyed the Festival and having the opportunity to interact with so many children in such a positive setting. “This is how community events should be”, Officer Sparr said.

The Festival’s success garnered enough excitement that one for next school year is already being planned. 

“It was such a beautiful and harmonious event. We want to continue to expand on the enthusiasm and cultural understanding that was gained through just one evening. The YMCA has already asked to be a co-sponsor for next year,” added Deborah Parker. “Events like this not only helps build stronger relationships in our community, but also strengthens the commitment to our children’s success. It’s about finding ways to honor the diversity of students we have in the District and uplifting them for who they are and where they come from.”

Early Learning’s Annual Superhero Dance is a (Hulk) Smash

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Many superhero stories begin in fictional cities such as Gotham or Metropolis, this one however, takes place on the reservation of Tulalip at the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy gym. On the evening of May 18, a team of young students, incognito as their alter egos, assembled, not to fight injustice or villainous bad guys, but just to have a good time at the annual Superhero Dance planned by the Academy’s Parent Committee. Dressed as their favorite characters including Wonder Woman, Batman, Supergirl and Spiderman, the kids took to the dancefloor to showcase their special moves and superpowers.

“The Parent Committee deserves a lot of credit. The dance and the theme was their idea. They decorated and they fund-raise to put this on every year,” says Katrina Lane, the Academy’s Family and Community Engagement Coordinator. 

The inside of the gym was decorated with illustrations from the classic comic book era, complete with a metropolis-esque city skyline. After the first successful Superhero Dance last year, the Committee decided to continue with the theme this year. The inspiration for the dance originated from an annual dance held by the Marysville School District. 

“We wanted to do something to encourage being active,” explains Jennifer Bontempo of the Parent Committee. “Marysville does a mom and son superhero dance every year and we thought this is awesome, we need to do this for our kids.”

“And our dance isn’t just for the boys,” adds Parent Committee Chairwoman, Mireya Gonzales. “The little girls get to dress up too! It’s great spending time with all the families, interacting and meeting new people. This is my first year planning for the dance, they held one last year and it was very popular so we decided to go ahead and redo it. We held a pretty good fundraiser around Christmas time so that gave us the funds to get the DJ. We also have Spiderman and Batman coming to visit.”

The kids were surprised when the superhero characters arrived, so much so they put their boogie on hold to greet Spidey and the Bat with hugs, high-fives and multiple questions. The characters stayed for the remainder of the event, dancing alongside the kids. Local heroes from the Tulalip Police Department and the Tulalip Bay Fire Department were also in attendance.

“We like getting out and spending as much time as we can with the community anytime there’s an event,” says Tulalip Bay Fire Captain, Chris Finley. “Especially with the little kids, because we know how much kids look up to firefighters and we just wanted to join the fun and be a part of this.”

Students and parents, many of whom also dressed up, had a fantastic time dancing together during the hokey-pokey and the cha-cha slide. The Parent Committee also began raising funds for next year’s dance by holding a raffle with an array of prizes including a TV and a tablet. 

“The best part about the dance is dancing!” expressed Early Learning Academy student, Penny. “I also like dressing up. I dressed up as Belle because I really like Belle but my favorite superheroes are PJ Masks!”

After a night of action-packed dancing, the young heroes hung up their capes until the next superhero dance, or at least until they’re called upon to save the entire universe.