Illahee Middle School Principal Jerry Warren and Shyan Selah in Federal WayShyan Selah has been nominated as a “Federal Way Public Schools Hero” by Illahee Middle School for the work he’s done with students there as part of his Cafe Noir Project. Shyan will join a select list of community representatives and business owners for the 2nd Annual Heroes Banquet to be held  this month, April 22nd, in Federal Way, WA.


“This year we want to honor Shyan,” says Illahee Middle School principal Jerry Warren. “I have known Shyan for a number of years and I am thrilled to continue the partnership with him because of his leadership, passion, positive attitude and relationships. When Shyan speaks to our students, parents or staff, he eloquently shares his vision for how all students can achieve their dreams…His story telling style is inspirational and motivating. He relates to student where they are and his examples are real, relevant and right now.”


Shyan’s relationship with Illahee extends back to when he himself was a student. However, within the past four years, he’s continued to create and cultivate programs through his Cafe Noir Project, an exclusive multi-media album and live music event series at notable community centers, middle schools, high schools, colleges, universities, live music venues and select Starbucks locations across the nation.
Shyan Selah speaking to young men at Illahee Middle School in Federal Way


With a focus on his hometown of Federal Way, Shyan has not only performed set lists from The Cafe Noir Project for special assemblies and other school-wide events, he’s also maintained a monthly schedule dedicated to guiding and inspiring young men as part of Illahee’s Manhood Skills Class – a program designed to combat male students of color struggling academically and behaviorally – as well as creating the Coffee with the Principal event series with Communities in Schools which is held at the Dash Point Starbucks store where he regularly performs as part of his Cafe Noir Tour. Coffee with the Principal recognizes students of various cultural backgrounds excelling in Reading and English Language Arts while providing low-key and warm interaction between the principal, other school administrative staff, and parents and students off campus. Doing so helps to further the mission of both Shyan Selah and the Dash Point Starbucks to foster greater positive community interaction and empowerment.


“I’m very thankful to be recognized for this kind of work,” states Shyan. “My relationship with Illahee, the Federal Way School District and the overall Federal Way community goes back many years and it’s definitely something that I take great pride in. At the same time I’m very excited and motivated to continue to build and do more for our community. The fact is, I was once one of these kids and I know what it means to them to know they are important to people like me. Got a lot to do still but I think we’re building some momentum in our community and I’m very grateful for the relationships that have been built and the support from Principal Warren and the Illahee staff. The overall school district and community of Federal Way is heading in a direction that I think is very positive. Honored to be a part of it all.”


The Federal Way Public Schools Heroes Banquet was created to pay tribute to individuals and community organizations that demonstrate commitment to student-scholars through acts of service, support to children and families, and contributions to the school community. For more information visit: www.fwps.org.
Shyan Selah with Starbucks staff, and Illahee staff and students in Federal Way