Sequoia High students Sarjo Jallow (lower right), Emanuel Ellis (top left) and Claudia Infante sign their names on the final beam for the roof of the new YMCA building on Colby Avenue on Friday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Sequoia High students Sarjo Jallow (lower right), Emanuel Ellis (top left) and Claudia Infante sign their names on the final beam for the roof of the new YMCA building on Colby Avenue on Friday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Final YMCA beam put in place with Sequoia students’ names

The $33 million Everett YMCA is set to open in early November with tripled capacity.

EVERETT — A 1,400-pound steel beam — the final frame piece for Everett’s new YMCA — was hoisted into place Friday.

The beam was signed in Sharpie by four Sequoia High School students. After raising $5,000 toward the new 60,000-square-foot center, the students earned a role at the building’s “topping off” ceremony, along with recognition on a paver that will be placed at the entrance.

As part of the ceremony, an American flag and a small tree teetered atop the beam while a crane hoisted it above the building’s skeletal structure. The gesture is derived from a Scandinavian tradition meant to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced by construction.

Sarjo Jallow, a sophomore, said he took part in the fundraising because of how he’s seen the YMCA support students.

The organization helped connect Jallow with football recruiters and gave him a scholarship for the criminal justice books he needed in his Running Start program at Everett Community College, he said.

Leadership teacher and ASB advisor Jack Roy said the YMCA offers students scholarships and discounted memberships. It also provides donations.

“When I got to Sequoia last year and heard what the YMCA did for students, I wanted to give back,” junior Emanuel Ellis said.

Michael and Heather Wallace take selfies after signing their names on the final beam for the roof of the new YMCA building on Colby Avenue in Everett on Friday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Michael and Heather Wallace take selfies after signing their names on the final beam for the roof of the new YMCA building on Colby Avenue in Everett on Friday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

He has a free YMCA membership through the school’s P.E. partnership.

Jallow said it made him proud to see the Sequoia students recognized.

“We’re known as the ‘bad school’ because it’s alternative,” he said.

“Since we’ve been doing this, I’ve seen people give us more respect,” he added.

Sophomore Lexi Rock said she and the other students went to campuses across the school district. They handed out fliers to teachers and fellow students who helped raise $2,800. That amount was matched by an anonymous donor.

After putting the beam in place, two workers shake hands as part of the “topping off’ ceremony for the final beam on the roof of the new YMCA building on Friday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

After putting the beam in place, two workers shake hands as part of the “topping off’ ceremony for the final beam on the roof of the new YMCA building on Friday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Principal Kelly Shepherd said that’s the largest amount a group of Sequoia students has raised in the eight years she’s been at the school.

It took three weeks to raise the funds, senior Claudia Infante said.

The new site at 4730 Colby Ave. is set to open in early November and will triple the Everett Y’s capacity. It will replace the century-old building at 2720 Rockefeller Ave., which serves about 10,000 members.

The $33 million recreation center will include two swimming pools — a 25-yard competition pool with a timing system that can be used for high school meets and a second leisure pool with a lazy river, warm water therapy area and zero-depth entry for people with disabilities.

An indoor track, a permanent space for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County program, a full-size gym, group exercise classes and a drop-in day care also are planned.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

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