Governor inspired by Crestline students

Inslee addresses their resilience at budget press conference

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

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Washington's new governor said his Thursday budget message was inspired by the resilience he witnessed at Crestline Elementary last week.

"I got a great reminder of how important resilience is," Inslee said during a press conference.

"Last week down in Vancouver, I visited the remnants of Crestline Elementary School. It burned down to the ground last month. I mean, it burned down to the ground. I was visiting some of the students and their principal, Bobbi Hite. I was really impressed with their positive attitude and optimistic outlook given the trauma they'd had. That's a pretty traumatic thing, right? When your school burns down?

"There was one young man who really impressed me. His name is Peyton Rush. I asked what he'd learned from this experience. He said, 'My mother and I made a sign that said: 'We can do hard things.'"

Peyton and his mom made one sign for their home and another one that's hanging in his new classroom, Inslee said.

"We have one around here," Inslee said about the sign. "I think so much of it, I'm going to put it up in my office."

"Peyton's story really struck home with me because we must do hard things. We are doing hard things. This is a hard thing we're doing today. But I believe it's the right thing. And it's the right thing to choose education over these tax breaks."

A Feb. 3 fire destroyed the school, displacing nearly 500 students plus teachers and staff.

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/Col_Schools;susan.parrish@columbian.com