Community Education

Captain SeaHawk obliterates graduating seniors’ lunch debt at Peninsula High

Posted on June 26th, 2023 By:

Captain SeaHawk strikes again.

In his quest to aid graduating seniors at Peninsula High School, Wallace Watts of Gig Harbor — known as Captain SeaHawk for his over-the-top fan persona — raised more than $3,000 earlier this month to obliterate lunch debt for the Class of 2023.

Seniors must pay all fines and fees to be eligible to graduate. Peninsula High’s graduation was June 17 at the Tacoma Dome. Watts’ gift of $3,224 came in on June 12 and was more than enough to allow seniors owing money for meals to receive their diplomas, said Peninsula School District chief financial officer Ashley Murphy.

Earlier this year, the school’s total lunch debt stood at $12,744, the highest meal debt in the district at the time. In February, Watts and his wife Cammie Watts, aka KamHawk, donated $6,000 to the school to reduce the debt by nearly 50%. It was the largest donation for nutrition services ever received in the district.

When Watts learned seniors couldn’t graduate with outstanding debt, he pledged to raise the remainder.

Loud and proud Seahawks fans

Wallace and Cammie Watts are highly visible fans of the Seattle Seahawks. You’ll see them at most home games and on the road, dressed in loud lime green and blue costumes.

Wallace Watts, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe of British Columbia, proudly sports his version of the eagle transformation mask from his culture that inspired the Seahawks’ logo.

Captain SeaHawk, aka Wallace Watts of Gig Harbor, represents his favorite team in Melbourne, Australia.

Watts, a United Airlines pilot, raises money for various causes by buying Seahawks gear and getting it autographed by players as he and Cammie greet them on the sidelines. He then takes donations and holds drawings for items on his social media platform. Their fundraisers have gone primarily to support organizations that help those who struggle with homelessness and hunger, including Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank.

The couple, familiar to Seahawks fans around the world, frequently appear on the Jumbotron and sports segments on TV.

“We’re everywhere,” Watts said. “And obviously, the more places we are, the more people hear about our charity events and the more people send us money.”

Food insecurity an issue

Food insecurity is an issue even in Peninsula School District, where the poverty rate measured by federal standards is lower than the state average. The problem, which exists at all schools in the district, was exacerbated by the end of pandemic funding that provided free meals for all students.

Earlier in the school year, the district’s cumulative meal debt stood at just more than $71,000. By the last day of classes, it was $90,000.

Watts’ goal earlier in spring was to raise at least $3,000, the amount the district estimated was needed to erase seniors’ student debt.

He replenished his stockpile of Seahawks jerseys, footballs and other gear when he and Cammie attended the NFL draft in April in Kansas City. They have also received donations of items from loyal followers.

Captain SeaHawk, aka Wallace Watts of Gig Harbor, and KamHawk, aka Cammie Watts, with a 12th Man flag in front of Wall Drug in South Dakota.

Nailing their goal

Watts held a drawing on June 11 for items including a Walter Jones 2006 Pro Bowl jersey, a football with the etched autograph of coach Pete Carroll, a Tyler Lockett jersey and a pair of gloves worn by running back Godwin Igwebuike in the Seahawks’ Jan. 14 NFL playoff game. Watts said Igwebuike tossed the gloves to him as he exited the field.

The drawing brought in more than enough to pay off the debt.

“Peninsula School District is grateful for Captain SeaHawk, and his generous donors who have continued to help decrease our lunch debt for our Peninsula High School students,” Murphy said. “The most recent donation had a direct, positive impact on many graduating seniors who were able to focus on the excitement and joy of their future without worrying about their past-due meal balances.”

Captain SeaHawk and KamHawk are eager for the start of the Seahawks’ training camp (July 26) and the regular season (Sept. 10).

“We’re really excited. We think they really hit a home run in the draft,” Watts said (mixing his sports metaphors). “Every single day, we hope they win, and that’s why we go to watch … the wins. And so, we’re just hoping for the best. We just get so excited when we go to a game, so we can’t wait for it to start.”

Students eat lunch at Peninsula High School in March 2023. The school in February 2023 received a $6,000 donation to pay off students’ meal debt. The gift came from Wallace Watts of Gig Harbor, aka Captain Seahawk, who raffles off Seattle Seahawks football memorabilia to raise funds for various causes, primarily “the homeless and the hungry.” The school’s lunch debt before the gift stood at $12,744, the highest of any school in Peninsula School District.