Wendy Meyers-Wenger and Larry Cripe: 2017 Citizens of the Year
As a public school teacher, Wendy Meyers-Wenger saw that while some students thrived at school, others struggled. Some students needed a little bit extra that the school couldn’t provide. Meyers-Wenger felt her gifts as a teacher might be best served in providing that help outside the classroom. That is what led her to start the Highline Tutoring Center thirty-four years ago. Currently located in the heart of downtown Burien, her tutoring center has worked with dozens of organizations and schools to bring her services where they are needed most.
Some of her students are immigrants who speak English as a second language. Others have learning disabilities or other challenges that make it difficult for them to achieve success in school. Meyers-Wenger has always tried to make her services affordable in order to help reach all of Burien’s diverse communities. Over the course of her career, she has inspired thousands of students to reach their full potential.
Retired Airline Pilot Gathers Neighbors to Keep Quiet Skies over Burien
In 2016, Larry Cripe noticed that airplane traffic over his home had increased. Wondering what was going on, he talked to other neighbors to see if they had noticed the same thing. After many attempts to get information from the airport and the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), he and other Burien residents formed the Burien Quiet Skies Coalition, a nonprofit whose mission is restore the quiet skies over the greater Burien area.
Cripe was a critical part of bringing together residents to advocate for the Burien community in negotiations with the FAA and City of Burien. In 2017, the Burien City Council voted to enter into negotiations with, and potential legal action against, the FAA. Throughout the negotiations and legal process, Cripe served as a dedicated and articulate spokesperson for the Burien community on the impacts of the increased airplane traffic over the City of Burien.
The City Council voted unanimously at the March 6 Burien City Council meeting to name both Cripe and Meyers-Wenger as the 2017 Citizens of the Year. They were both honored at a reception at the beginning of the April 3 City Council meeting. As Citizens of the Year, they have both been invited to serve as Grand Marshals of the Independence Day Parade.
The Citizen of the Year award is given to a resident or residents who have demonstrated community service by dedicating their time and energy to make the Burien community a great place work, play, and learn. They demonstrate strong character, leadership, commitment, and community service in a way that benefits others. Last year’s recipient was Cassidy Huff.