Horizon House Blog

Resident Focus: Maxine Loo

Maxine joined the Horizon House community in early 2014. She is a Seattle native, who grew up in Chinatown. In fact, Maxine spoke only Chinese at home, not learning English until she was in second grade. She attended Garfield High School and graduated from Western Washington University with a B.A. in English Education. She then received her M.A. in Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) Education from the University of Washington and special ESL training from the University of California, Berkeley.
One of Maxine’s first jobs was helping Hong Kong Chinese kids with their English and cultural awareness at Franklin High School shortly after the school experienced race riots. She went on to become an interpreter, after-school activity coordinator, and ESL teacher at Franklin. Maxine also taught at Rainier Beach High School and Kimball and Dunlap Elementary Schools. After a number of years in the south end, Maxine was part of the early wave of teachers of color who were bused to North Seattle schools, in her case Ingraham High School, where she taught ESL and Language Arts. Maxine is still working part-time for Seattle Public Schools, testing ESL students on their language skills, and she continues to belong to the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, and the National Association for Bilingual Education.
In addition to her school employment, Maxine volunteers for a number of organizations. She’s a tour guide at the Wing Luke Asian Museum and an active member of the local Chinese-American Citizens Alliance. Presently Maxine is very busy helping to organize their national conference, which will be held in Seattle this August. She is on the Education Committee, whose focus is the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, and is designing curriculum for K-12th grade students.
Maxine is a student of languages herself, notably Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. Thanks to her mother who was an artist, she enjoys Chinese landscape painting. Maxine is also a devoted traveler; her latest trip included a tour of France and Italy in the Footsteps of the 442nd Regiment—the Japanese-American unit that was the most decorated in WWII. Here at Horizon House, Maxine is a member of the Diversity Committee and is also involved in putting together tours of Chinatown and Japantown for Horizon House’s “Spotlight on Seattle” group that introduces residents to the various neighborhoods around town. You may also have seen Maxine in new Horizon House ads running in the Northwest Asian Weekly! Like so many active and involved Horizon House residents—catch her if you can!

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