Stories by Danielle
Traditionally, when a high school becomes too crowded, a new building or addition is constructed and the educational programs to fit in that space are determined.
A committee of teachers, administrators and community members are seeking to change that, by having the instructional models drive the future expansion of Camas High School.
"The CHS Futures Committee believes our new culture and programs should drive our future facility decisions," said Nan Henriksen, former mayor of Camas and committee member. "We need to develop a CHS vision of our preferred future, complete with language, culture and instructional programs that support it."
For more information about the Futures Committee, contact Steven Marshall at email@example.com.
“I’m going to get paid to ride my bike!” That was the first thought when my editor suggested profiling local history rides for a feature article.Anyone who knows me well understands I have a passion for exercise, and I’m also intrigued by most anything historical.
Anyone who knows me well understands I have a passion for exercise, and I'm also intrigued by most anything historical.
Although I'm new to cycling, I was pretty certain I could keep up with the other riders on the 15 to 20 mile jaunt, which includes several stops to visit local areas of interest.
The Camas History Stroll, as its called, is led by Joseph Blanco. Given the amount of information he knows about the area, you'd think he'd lived here for several years.
Elton and Madeline Richardson shared a lot of memories in their 62 years of marriage: Raising a family, working in the state Capitol in Olympia, and delving into real estate were just a few.They also shared a passion for history and travel, which culminated in a two-year trip to see every state capitol in the continental United States.
“I worked security in Olympia, and Madeline was a tour guide,” he said. “After being at the capitol, we decided it was a goal to visit all 48 of them.”
The two also visited several historical sites, including all the battlefields of the Revolutionary and Civil wars.
In addition, their tour included national parks and monuments, such as Niagara Falls, Yellowstone, Branson, Miss., the St. Louis Arch, Mount Rushmore, the Florida Everglades, Key West, space centers in Florida and Texas, the Statue of Liberty, the top of the World Trade Center and the Alamo, to name a few.
Other highlights of the trip, which lasted from 1991 to 1993, included visiting the Connecticut state capitol and an unusual tour guide in Oklahoma.
"They were remodeling the capitol there at the time, so there was no guided tour," he said. "So, we conducted our own. A gentleman came up and asked us what we were doing, and if we needed help. Then, he took us all around and gave us a great tour. Afterward, he introduced himself as a state senator. We had no idea."
Math instruction and money management skills are two areas graduates of Washougal High School cite as needing improvement.
Students in the classes of 2000 through 2012 were recently surveyed as part of a district outreach focus to past WHS graduates.
The School Board regularly holds linkage activities, such as meetings in local schools, to encourage staff, parents, volunteers community agencies and others to give input and feedback about the effectiveness of district programs and educational opportunities.
Raise $27,000 in just a few months.That’s a daunting task for anyone to undertake, but for a group of local moms, it was worth all the efforts.
In 2012, April Sutherland, a nurse in the Camas School District and mother to a special needs child, found out that the Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation summer sensory program would be shut down due to a $1.2 million budget reduction.
Her son, who has autism, had attended the camp for several summers, and looked forward to it every year.
For more information, visit www.savesensorycamp.brownpapertickets.com.
Summer. It’s a time for kids to kick back, relax and enjoy themselves. There are several camps in Clark County that offer options to do that, ranging from a few hours to several days.
Camps include everything from how to improve sports skills to how to improve outdoor skills. Best of all, there are choices for all ages, stages and price ranges.
I am deathly afraid of heights. Until recently, even driving on winding roads with a drop-off was enough to nearly induce a panic attack.
So it stands to reason that I would not be standing on a wobbly, though secure, wooden platform 22 feet off the ground, preparing to jump into mid-air.
But here I am, with six other journalists from various publications in Southwest Washington. It's a fun group, with a few of the more experienced, “zippers” cracking jokes about past experiences.
If you ask several different people at Camas High School to describe teacher Ron Wright, chances are their responses will be similar. Passionate. Dedicated. Patient. Sincere. A visionary. Kind.
These are just a few of the things that colleagues, administrators and students had to say about Wright, who serves as a Math, Science and Technology Magnet Program teacher.
Wright, 63, also coordinates student internships at local businesses, serves as research project advisor and mentors students in several extracurricular programs.
"He connects students with opportunities," said Steven Marshall, CHS principal. "Whether it is Science Olympiad, the State Science and Engineering Fair, or internships, students get excited and their excitement inspires Ron. He does not just tell them about these events, he motivates them, supports them, and prepares them for success. He is truly a mentor. What amazes me is that he mentors so many students."
Fishback Stadium is finally getting a facelift.
After more than two years of discussion, research, and fund-raising, the $449,000 project will start June 24 at Washougal High School.
Fieldturf USA, Inc., in conjunction with Beynon Sports Surfaces, has been selected for the turf field replacement project.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”This quote by Margaret Mead is exemplified by several educators, staff members and students in local schools, who show that every day can be Earth Day, not just April 22.
These environmental advocates can often be found going through the trash at their schools to make sure recycling hasn't been tossed in the wrong bins. They educate their fellow students and co-workers about Earth-friendliness, pick up litter, start composting and Green Schools programs, and plant gardens.
Sometimes, all it takes is one person, or a simple act, to begin making a positive difference. For Earth Day, the Post-Record has chosen to feature a few of these people and programs.
Meghal Sheth and Sophie Shoemaker are making Papermaker history. They are the first Camas High School students to qualify for the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz.
In addition, they are just sophomores and only 10 students across the state of Washington were selected for the prestigious event.
"At first, I was in shock," Shoemaker said. "I wasn't really expecting it, but it was great to know something I worked on was rewarded."
Added Sheth, "It was surprising, but I was really happy because I put a lot of effort into my project. It was nice to see the hard work pay off."
A little bit of Las Vegas is coming to Westlie Ford on Saturday, April 27.
That's when the Camas Athletics Boosters Club will host its third-annual casino night and auction fundraiser.
Proceeds benefit sports programs at Camas High School, Liberty Middle School and Skyridge Middle School.
"We assist with items like new uniforms, wrestling mats, goal posts, ball machines, golf bags, high tech computer and video equipment," said Wanda Miller, Booster board president. "We also offer $3,000 scholarships each year to two graduating seniors. Now that CHS is 4A school, we need to make sure our kids are properly supported to be highly competitive at that level."
On April 25, 2011, Paige Maas’s life changed forever.
It was the day she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
An active 7-year-old, Paige became lethargic, constantly thirsty and just wasn't herself.
When her parents brought her to the doctor, her blood sugar level was dangerously high. She was admitted to Legacy Emanuel Hospital, where Brad and Pam were quickly immersed into the world of diabetes. There, they learned how to check her blood sugar levels and administer insulin.
"It was a surprise to learn she had this, but at the same time, she had all the classic symptoms," Pam said. "Also, I have a first cousin whose son was diagnosed when he was quite young, so there is some family history."
For the past 90 years, the Camas Public Library has been a community destination.
Often referred to as the "living room of Camas," by staff, the library is a place to study, meet people, learn, and it also serves as a cultural center.
The library first opened in the back of Thayer's drugstore in April 1923. The 90th birthday celebration also coincides with National Library Week, which begins Sunday. There are a number of events planned to celebrate both occasions.
"We're emphasizing that with some of the events we're offering," said David Zavortink, director. "It's the 'third place,' after home and work."
Julie Scott-Seaman is a traveler by nature. That’s why she turned her love into a lifelong career at Camas World Travel. Since 1976, she has been helping people plan their vacations, and seeing beautiful places along the way.
"I love it because you're helping people, you get to travel and most of the time, you're sending someone on vacation so they are in a great mood," she said.
In her position, Scott-Seaman has been all over the world. But recently, she embarked on a new adventure: A wildlife safari in Africa.
She, along with seven other people, including clients, friends and her daughter, went to visit various wildlife parks in Tanzania.
Learning never stops. That’s the message behind Clark College’s Mature Learning Program, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with a party and several mini classes.
Those 55 and older enjoyed courses ranging from "Why is there sex? DNA and Human Evolution," to "Anyone Can Be an Artist," to "Paris in its Glory Days: 1850-1914."
The birthday celebration also included a visit from college president Bob Knight, cake, and a keynote lunch lecture by Dr. Larry Sherman, a nationally recognized neuroscientist at Oregon Health & Science University.
"Mature Learning offers seniors the chance to take fascinating classes taught by brilliant instructors," said Tracy Reilly Kelly, program manager. "We have a long legacy of excellence to celebrate. Persons who are retired or semi-retired are at a stage of their lives when they now have time for themselves, time to enrich their lives through 'lifelong learning' classes on topics that offer enrichment. It might be taking up painting, studying history, world religion or geography. They might seek fitness opportunities like tai chi or yoga."
Camas Iron Chef is getting a new look and a new location.
This year, the popular Camas Educational Foundation fundraiser will cost less, include all ages, and have hands-on activities.
The festivities will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 21 at the Camas High School commons.
"In addition to the cook-off with secret ingredients, we're changing the format so that it is a family-friendly, food filled-festival," said Debbie Mrazek, event chair and CEF board member. "Iron Chef is still a major component to our festival, but there will also be lots of food based, hands on activities."
For more information or VIP reservations, visit www.cefcamas.org.
Ask students in Shoko Fuchigami’s class about the best part of the upcoming Japanese Cultural Festival, and their response is likely to be, “The food!”
"The food is so good," said Tess Russell, a second-year Japanese student. "You get a little taste of Japan right here in Washougal."
Noelle Schmidt, a first-year student, is looking forward to cooking and selling items such as curry and rice, udon noodle soup, yakisoba noodles and green tea ice cream.
"I'm expecting to sample a few things, too," she said. "I'm looking forward to the whole experience of being in a Japanese festival. I've always wanted to experience that."
With Easter this weekend, many local children will participate in the time honored holiday tradition of egg hunts. Both Camas and Washougal have events to keep the little and not-so-little ones full of Easter chocolate and other sweet treats. It will be the 22nd year for the Camas Parks and Recreation Easter Day egg hunt.
"I am so glad that after all of these years, we are still able to offer this for free," said Krista Bashaw, recreation coordinator. "Other communities are starting to charge for these events, so I'm grateful to have a supportive City Council and mayor so we can offer this event for everyone."
The Camas School Board unanimously approved $397,000 to replace the aging turf at Camas High School’s Cardon Field.
At 10 years old, the turf is at the end of its lifespan, according to Bryan McGeachy, operations director.
"The generation of turf we used for the field is good up to eight years, and we're two over now," he said.
YWCA Clark County began as a lunch counter for working women who weren’t allowed to eat with the men.
The year was 1916, and female employees were rare.
Fast forward nearly 100 years. The YWCA's goal of assisting women remains the same, although services needed have definitely changed with the times.
Currently, the non-profit organization provides services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, a child care program, independent living skills program for foster youth, advocates for abused or neglected children, and offers job training and support for incarcerated women making a transition back to society.
Its mission statement is: "Eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all."
In an effort to keep pace with changing technology, the Camas School District is considering purchasing several ipad Minis, adapters and a MacBook for classroom use this coming school year.
The purchase would be a part of the district's revised technology plan. The current one is set to expire at the end of the school year.
"We're basically looking through the past plan, and aligning ideas with curriculum and technology," said Jeff Snell, deputy superintendent. "We want to get carts of ipad Minis into classrooms."
Currently, there is a group of eighth-grade students and teachers who are participating in a tablet pilot project, and the information is being used to gather feedback for the technology committee as they assess district needs.
When Cassie Holcombe discovered that Washougal High School was far behind other Clark County schools for recycling, she decided to make a change.It became the basis of her senior project, Save Our Scraps.
"I want to leave the school with something lasting," she said. "And I wanted to educate people on what their decisions mean. I basically want people to learn to compost more."
Until her project, WHS recycling efforts were limited to bottles and paper.
"I've always recycled at home," Holcombe said. "I think a lot of people don't realize the impact our behavior has on the environment. If they think about their actions, they could really make a difference."
However, in today’s kindergarten world, the list would also need to include writing, reading and math comprehension.
When Cindy Coons first began teaching kindergarten at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School, she was thrilled if students came in knowing how to spell their first name and recite the alphabet.
"Now, I need them coming in knowing all the letters and sounds, the numbers one through 10 out of order, spelling their last name and finding it in a mix of others."
The change is due to the Common Core Standards, part of a nationwide effort to align curriculum. Although it won’t be officially implemented in Washington state until the 2014-15 school year, teachers in Camas and Washougal are getting a head start by developing curriculum which aligns with Common Core Standards.
Camas Public Library cardholders now have access to 58 magazines that they can read anytime, anyplace and keep as long as they like.
The cost? Free.
That's because the library is now subscribing to the online service Zinio, described as the "world's largest newsstand."
The Washougal School District is considering accepting a contract to provide business services to the Mount Pleasant School District.
"I was approached by the superintendent of the Mount Pleasant School District to consider a request for a partnership," said Dawn Tarzian, Washougal superintendent.
This statement resulted in a few smiles among audience members, as Peter Tarzian, the Mount Pleasant superintendent, is also her husband.
The superintendents met with Rosann Lassman, Washougal business services manager, to discuss the proposal.
A coalition comprised of people from all walks of life will work to curb underage drinking and offer healthy alternatives.
The Washougal Community Coalition's goal is to "build a community that is connected and involved, empowered by healthy choices and strong family units."
The coalition, formed last May, is a part of the state division of Behavioral Health and recovery's Prevention Redesign Initiative.
Sometimes, it is not one extraordinary thing that leaves a mark on this world. It is a number of small ordinary kindnesses, which truly make a difference in the lives of others.Betty London was one of these “ordinary extraordinary” people.
Her friends and family describe her in the following ways: Adventurous. Kind. Caring. Good listener. Earth-friendly. Active. Creative. Funny.
London passed away recently at the age of 90. Active until the end, she could often be seen tending to a 2-mile stretch of Washougal River Road, picking up bottles, cans and other garbage that was carelessly tossed away by others. She encouraged her friends and family to, "leave this a better place than when you found it."
"She had the gift to make the ordinary extraordinary, not only for herself, but for everyone with whom she crossed paths," said son Richard (Rit) London. "She said we had wings, so go fly."
A local teen has been named “Youth of the Year” for the Boys & Girls Club of the Portland metro area.
John Grall, 15, is a long-time member and now volunteer at the local Jack, Will and Rob Boys & Girls Club in Camas.
He was selected for Youth of the Year based on several different categories, including service to the local club, community and family, academic success, strong moral character, life goals, and poise and public speaking ability.
A volunteer trip to Costa Rica nearly four years ago changed the direction of Adrienne Engel’s life.
Engel, of Camas, stayed with a host family in the small village of Herradura. There, she worked alongside other high school students in the community, helping to build a church and a community center.
"It was a real collaborative effort," she said. "We spent a lot of time with our host families as well.
"I even learned how to milk a cow. I've always had an itch to travel and see how people really live. I thought this would be fun because it was also service oriented."
“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.”— Tim Noakes, author of “Lore of Running”
When Sondra Grable made it to mile 18 of the California International Marathon, she felt done. Grable had been slogging through a series of storms which had dumped 3 to 6 inches of rain in 24 hours. Severe winds rocked the area, making it extremely difficult to move forward.
She was exhausted, aching, chafing and her toenails were coming off. Grable desperately wanted to be done.
Then she thought of her friend, Christy Quinn, who had been nearly paralyzed in a serious cycling accident over the summer. She remembered how Quinn had to relearn the basics of life most of us take for granted: How to sit up, stand and walk.
"I just thought of how she would love to be out here right now, no matter what the conditions," Grable said. "I decided a little windstorm wasn't going to stop me from reaching my goal."
State Rep. Liz Pike of Camas has proposed a bill to allow firearms on school grounds.
House Bill 1788, the Safer Schools Act, would allow both public and private schools to adopt a policy authorizing employees to possess firearms under certain conditions, as part of an adopted school safety plan.
"Recent massacres at 'gun free zones' in public schools prompted me to start a broad community discussion about how we can make our schools more safe in Washington," said Pike, a republican. "This law, if passed, would give school boards the authority to add more flexibility in making their schools safe."
These lyrics to a popular Mumford & Sons song could easily describe the romance between two former high school sweethearts, Patti Jeannotte and Dave Raynor.
The two reunited last winter after more than 40 years apart, picking up where they left off. It was almost as if the decades away from each other had never happened. Once again they are like teenagers in love, but with a mature appreciation only life experience can bring.
A 23-year employee with the Camas School District will soon become principal at one of its elementary schools.
Julie Mueller, 46, will take the helm at Lacamas Heights Elementary this fall. She will replace Jan Strohmaier, who will serve as principal at the new Woodburn Elementary School.
Mueller is a former teacher at Lacamas, and currently the associate principal of Liberty Middle School.
After a rash of recent tragedies, a group of Jemtegaard Middle School students are hoping to help curb the epidemic of bullying by taking an unusual approach.
Instead of having adults talk to students about bullying's sometimes devastating impacts, the students are taking the reigns.
They've written and produced a video segment, based on the T.V. show, "What would you do?"
"At first, they were thinking it was just another bullying presentation and they didn't think other students would listen," said music teacher Jennifer Snapp. "So I asked them to figure out a way to grab their interest. Most everyone knows about this show, so it will catch their attention."
Antique and collectible shows attract those looking for everything from limited edition children’s literature to vintage clothing.Sometimes, there’s just an unexplainable appeal about certain nostalgic items which draws people from all ages and stages of life.
The shows also brings local sellers, who are eager to display their wares to thousands of people.
Palmer/Wirfs & Associates, who hosts antiques and collectible shows around the country, has been offering an annual show at the Clark County Event Center for the past eight years. It attracts approximately 200 vendors and 6,000 attendees, and the line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot rivals what one would see at a rock concert.
"It's a very trendy business," said Christine Palmer of Palmer/Wirfs. "Right now we're enjoying some added popularity thanks to all the programming on T.V., like 'Pawn Stars' and "American Pickers."
Before an unexpected renovation over winter break, the adaptive skills classroom at Jemtegaard Middle School looked more like a kitchen. White walls, salmon pink cabinets and cold tile floors were the prime features of the room, which was formerly used for home economics classes. Its location at the school also meant the infamous east Gorge wind blowing through, and without a carpet, things got cold.
There’s something about the “Alice in Wonderland” story which is timeless. “Kids are still fascinated by it,” said Kelly Gregersen, drama director at Washougal High School. “For years, I’ve been looking for a fun version of it so we could perform it here. We haven’t had a fairy tale in a long time.” After a friend of his premiered a high school production of “Alice v. Wonderland” last year, Gregersen knew he’d found the play he wanted: A modern, rock ‘n’ roll take on a classic story. “Think ‘Alice in Wonderland’ meets Lady Gaga,” Gregersen said. “Alice is a teenager instead of a little girl, and all of the settings are very modern.”
The inside of the Camas Community Center had a patriotic air on Sunday, Jan. 6, while local students were honored for their writing by the District 6 Veterans of Foreign Wars and its Ladies Auxiliary. Twenty-one award winners were escorted to their seats before reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and listening to guest speaker, Camas Mayor Scott Higgins. “It is a true honor to share some thoughts with you during this wonderful ceremony,” he said. The theme of this year’s essay competition for middle school students was, “What I Would Tell America’s Founding Fathers,” and “Is Our Constitution Still Relevant?” for high school students. Elementary School students were also included in a state junior essay contest.
Students in Washougal High School’s American Sign Language class come away with more than just a language skill that could help them get a job or lead to a career. They also learn to appreciate diversity and gain understanding of the deaf culture.
Help works. That was the overriding theme of Suicide Prevention Week at Washougal High School.
Chess. When most people hear that word, they think of a challenging game that requires patience, skill and intelligence to master.While these descriptions are accurate, even the youngest elementary school student can learn, according to Alan Svehaug, chess instructor.
Mike Smith may be a world-famous artist, but his studio, crowded with different projects, thank-you notes, golf balls and a Specialized mountain bike suggest a man with a plethora of passions.And that’s pretty much how he’s lived his life. In fact, Smith never planned on becoming an artist. He considers himself lucky to have been in the right place at the right time on any number of occasions.
After a law enforcement career, followed by eight years as an elected county leader, Paul Pearce’s life is taking yet another turn.
Earlier this month, he began duties as president of the National Forest Counties & Schools Coalition. It is an organization founded to secure federal funding for rural areas.
Before that, Pearce, 57, served on the Skamania County Commission after retiring from a 28-year law enforcement career with the Camas Police Department.
During his time as county commissioner, he learned how dependent the area is on federal forest funds and joined the NFCSC as a board member.
2012 was a year filled with changes and unforgettable moments, both nationally and locally. In Camas and Washougal, whether it was high school graduations, Challenge Day or mission trips in foreign countries, change was a constant. The Post-Record has decided to take a little time to reflect on the people and places that filled the paper’s Hometown section, and has selected the top 12 most memorable stories. We hope you enjoy the look back.
In a seemingly nonstop, 24-7 world of technology, sometimes it is necessary to “unplug” and enjoy the little pleasures in life.“Often I have, like many people, gotten so busy, so stressed, that it felt like I was chasing my tail,” said artist Sue Clancy. “Remembering to savor a moment, to pay attention, to enjoy the little things is essential to mental and physical health. The ability to allow oneself to delight in things is an essential part of being happy.”
Many think Meals on Wheels is a charity service, but this is far from the truth.
"It comes down to ability," said Wanda Nelson, manager for the Washougal center. "Can you stand at a stove or drive your car? If you can't, and are 60 or older, you are eligible to have a hot meal delivered to your home. It has nothing to do with income level. Our biggest fight is getting those facts out to people."
At some point in the not-to-distant future, all-day kindergarten could be required from every school district in the state.
In an effort to prepare for this, the Washougal School District conducted an informal building capacity study at all of its schools.
All of the schools are currently well below design capacity, but utilizing that space would mean making decisions on how to use that space most effectively. Design capacity is defined as all places where a teaching station could be placed.
"The district has to decide what is protected educational space," said Dawn Tarzian, superintendent. "Such as, music will have a space, but art will be taught in the regular classroom. If we have an influx of kids, we need to make decisions on where they will go. Sometimes you see classrooms on a stage or in the cafeteria, and we have to decide how long we'll run things until capacity is reached and we need to expand. We need to get the kids out of those portables and build the space to fit the capacity needs."
At the age of 14, John Neumann is already an accomplished musician who plays four different instruments. The Skyridge Middle School eighth-grader has also begun composing music for different occasions.
Recently, one of his pieces, "Semper Tubas," was played at a Metropolitan Youth Symphony winter concert at Tigard High School in Oregon.
Neumann, tall and soft-spoken, has no fear of playing his tuba in front of large crowds, or acting as conductor for his compositions. When he is standing in front of the concert band, directing, he appears well beyond his years.
"I rarely get nervous," he said. "I love all the instruments equally and just enjoy making music with them."
Two local elementary schools have made the prestigious statewide, “Schools of Distinction” list.
The awards were created by the Center for Educational Effectiveness in the summer of 2007, to recognize the highest improving schools in the state.
This year, Grass Valley Elementary in Camas and Cape Horn-Skye Elementary in Washougal were honored.
"The awards are not designed as a replacement for state and federal accountability measure of school performance, but rather as a supplemental measure to recognize and celebrate school staff, students and leadership who improve performance for all students over a sustained period of time," stated the CEE website.