Stories by Danielle
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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."
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."
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.
You’ve gotten most of the holiday shopping wrapped up, so to speak.But what to do with the stockings?
Instead of frantically racing through a big box store on Christmas Eve, you can find a variety of inexpensive, fun, and non-sugary stocking stuffers for everyone on your list in Camas and Washougal.
The Post-Record recently visited four local businesses, which had not been featured in a prior holiday gift giving story, to see what could be found for under $15. These businesses are just a small sampling of the many items to be found locally.
Most of us will never know what it is like to stand shivering on a cold street, homeless, with nowhere to go.But for some, it’s a way of life.
Washougal High School senior Cheyenne Dady wants to make the winter a little more bearable by collecting new and gently used hats, scarves, coats and mittens for those in need.
"I wanted to help the homeless in our community," she said. "Last year, I handed out coats to the homeless with my church, and really enjoyed it."
Anyone who thinks of ballerinas as dainty waifs has never met Annie and Hope Garcia.These young women are tall, strong and athletic to the core, spending several hours every week practicing ballet.
They study and perform in the American ballet style, described as "intensively aerobic and athletic." It requires a combination of skill, attention to the minute details, athleticism and the ability to push through pain, all with a smile.
"I've heard some people say that ballet looks easy," said Hope. "It looks easy because we make it look that way. You have to smile no matter how it feels."
After more than 60 years, the gym floor in Washougal High School is finally getting an upgrade.
"We've been working behind the scenes to develop a communication plan, and will visit a showroom floor to see examples of floors," said Kelley Wilson, an architect with ESD 112's construction services group, to the School Board recently.
The visit to Branson Hardwood will take place in late December and will potentially include the WHS athletic director, principal, physical education teachers and coaches.
After a stop at the showroom, the group will visit an area high school with the style of gym floor they prefer.
A budget for the floor will be determined in January, Wilson said. A preliminary estimate is $240,268.
When parent Jenny Danley clicked “like” on Umpqua Bank’s Facebook page, she never imagined it would result in a $2,000 grant for her son’s school.
But that's exactly what happened.
Jemtegaard Middle School in Washougal was randomly selected as one of Umpqua's "Give Back to School Fund" winners. Every "like" generated $1 for the fund, totalling $20,000.
Whether you’re a working parent looking for childcare while school is out, or just want to keep your kids occupied during the upcoming winter break, there are a plethora of options available in the local area.Camas Parks and Recreation, Camas Community Education, Jack, Will and Rob Boys & Girls Club and Washougal Community Education & Recreation all offer camps geared for kids who want to cook, craft or work on their jump shot.
‘Tis the season for family gatherings, parties, holiday movies and cookie exchanges. Unfortunately, it’s also the season for weight gain.It is said that the average American gains 8 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year. These pounds tend to be “the gift that keeps on giving,” and at best, can mean buying larger sized clothes and at worst, contribute to health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.
Cindy Ontkean had such a great time showing her decked-out house during the Holiday Home Tour four years ago, she’s back for a second round.
“It was such an enjoyable experience,” she said. “People were so appreciative that we had opened our homes. I got some personal notes of thanks. The reason I did it was that my mom had just died, and she loved Christmas. I could feel her with me. That’s why I’m doing it again.”
Students, city officials and school administrators gathered to watch a piece of history come home Friday.A 4,500 pound anchor from a decommissioned World War II Liberty ship was unveiled at Liberty Middle School. It was an event several years in the making.
"This is a very exciting day," said Liberty Principal Marilyn Boerke. "It has been in the works for six years."
Eunice Abrahamsen, a local community member, pitched the idea of procuring a piece of a Liberty ship to install in the school when it first opened. The goal was to teach the students the history behind Liberty's name.
"I was thinking a cute little porthole or doorknob or some kind," Boerke said. "Then I got a call, 'Do you want to take the anchor?' I thought it would be something small. Then I saw it and realized it was ginormous."
It’s that time of year again. November typically kicks off a flurry of holidays bazaars, where those looking for one-of-a-kind gifts are sure to find them. During the next month, several bazaars are coming to churches, schools and civic centers. Eager shoppers will have the chance to help local non-profit groups, support the local economy, buy handcrafted items and avoid crowds at the mall.
When teacher Erin Hayes first told her students they’d be using iPads in class, the general response from the fifth-graders was, “What’s an iPad?”
Two months later, the students are becoming experts in using apps, doing Internet research and using the devices as a resource for a majority of their class work.
"The iPads extend learning in every subject," Hayes said. "They have apps for math, spelling, writing, everything. (The students) are recording themselves to practice public speaking, they are using Google Earth to take virtual field trips of the locations they're studying, and they are interacting with each other to discuss new ways to create projects and solve problems."
Anyone who has had a little brother knows how annoying they can be at times. This is definitely the case for the heroine of local author Cheryl Linn Martin’s “Hawaiian Detective Club” series.
School lunches have definitely evolved in the past 65 years. Gone are the mystery meat and rubbery pizza.
Instead, students have choices of fresh fruit, veggies and whole grains in addition to traditional favorites such as burgers and chicken nuggets.
"My lunches at school were boring compared to what they have now," said Washougal Mayor Sean Guard. "(They have) fajitas, chili, and lots of fresh options. Our lunches were good, though. My neighbor was the head cook forever. I think it is better now, just fast!"
Since its inception 15 years ago, the Camas Educational Foundation has given $1 million to local schools.
Organizers of this year’s annual dinner and auction are planning to celebrate that milestone, as well as raise $100,000 that night.
“This year’s auction is a celebration of the journey CEF has made over the past 15 years and where we are headed. We will be highlighting those moments and experiences that have led to the place we are today,” said Mandy Huth, CEF president. “Lao Tzu said, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ We have come so far, step by step, and continue to travel, together, on our journey.”
The auction and dinner theme is “Soaring With CEF,” and will be held at the Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver on Saturday, Nov. 17. Tickets are $65 each, and this year’s annual appeal is a literacy campaign, “Everyone is a Reader.” The goal is to raise $1,500 for each of the 10 Camas schools, for a total of $15,000.
The drama during election season isn‘t limited to the presidential debates or candidates accusing each other of sign stealing. This year, there will be drama, when students at Washougal High School take to the stage with “44 Play for 44 Presidents.”
As the title indicates, this production contains 44 mini-plays about each of the presidents of the United States. It is a part of the Plays for Presidents Festival 2012, and Washougal is joining 43 schools all across the United States who are participating during the election year.
WHS is one of only four West Coast schools, the others being San Jose, Los Angeles and Seattle.
The Washougal School District is considering whether to renew two levies, and increase the amount or leave it the same.
“Knowing the maintenance and operations of the district are supported by the levy, it’s not easy to back out of it,” said Dawn Tarzian, superintendent. “That’s why it’s critical to help the community understand how the money is being spent.”
After a year of combing streams and rivers for aquatic bugs, Shane Southerland’s sometimes painstaking Eagle Scout project is complete.
Southerland, 16, presented racks of what are known as “benthic larvae macro-invertebrates,” to the Camas School Board last Monday.
Collecting the bugs was a long and challenging process, and the Camas High School sophomore rallied scouting volunteers and friends in Washington, Wyoming, Kansas, Georgia, Utah, Montana and Oregon to help him with the project.
“It took a lot of weekends to collect all of these,” he said. “But I really enjoyed going to the rivers, that was the most fun part of this project.”
Despite thousands of miles and cultural differences that separate the United States from Japan, those who have spent time with host families in either country know one thing: We’re all pretty similar. Twenty middle school students and their host families discovered that during five days they spent together last week. A group from the town a Taki, a sister city of Camas, included included mayor Yukio Kubo, a high school principal, English teacher, interpreter, city clerk and travel guide, in addition to the students.They stayed with families from Liberty and Skyridge middle schools. The visit was organized though the Camas Sister City Association, in collaboration with Camas schools.
Camas High School is known for having local residents come out to support its athletic teams.
But the newest spectator isn't exactly a welcome addition.
The Papermaker cross country team had to relocate two meets in the past seven days due to sightings of a black bear or bears at the Round Lake course.
Recently, a meet against Evergreen was moved across the street to Heritage Trail at Lacamas Lake, after some runners who were warming up encountered the bear.
Got a hankering for tasting some apple cider, wandering through a corn maze, and picking the perfect pumpkin?If so, then area pumpkin patches fit the bill. Open now through Halloween, most offer a lot more than the standard gourd. Many include hay rides, apple cider, corn mazes, petting zoos, local produce, food for purchase and crafts.
It’s not every day that a high school sophomore is asked to present her research project at a professional-level science symposium.
But that’s exactly what happened to Camas High School student Sophie Shoemaker after her work on sustainable agriculture garnered prizes at regional and state science fairs.
She received an invitation in June to present her project at the Washington State Academy of Sciences symposium. At the time, school was ending and her focus wasn't on research.
"Then after school began, Mr. (Ron) Wright asked me if I understood how big a deal this was," she said. "I didn't. Once I learned, I was a little nervous. But I'm a kid, they're not there to judge me. It was a fun thing to do."
Camas High School is known for having local residents come out to support its athletic teams
Peter Tarzian’s retirement didn’t last too long.
He was recently named as part-time superintendent at the Mount Pleasant School District, after retiring in 2011 from a superintendent position in Oregon.
He and his wife, Dawn Tarzian, relocated to the area after she was named superintendent of the neighboring Washougal School District in July 2011.
The Mount Pleasant School District has been embroiled in turmoil over the last several months, after it was discovered a longtime employee had been stealing fuel from the district. Board members were at odds with each other over the situation, and Superintendent Linda Slattery resigned in August, saying she felt threatened and harassed.
Every year, Mariah Acton meets fourth-graders who have never been on a hike or seen a blue heron.