Stories by Danielle Frost

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July 6, 2010
Molly Adamson holds a little girl at a small village called Rakai, where she and other volunteers built a two-room house for an widow who had previously been living in a thatched roof hut. For more information about the organization, visit

Empowering children

A film seen her freshman year of college prompted Molly Adamson to travel a road that eventually led her to live in Uganda for six weeks. Molly, 21, of Camas, wanted to volunteer in Africa for some time, but wasn't sure about the direction she should go. "I'd been praying about it for awhile, and then I saw the movie, 'Invisible Children,' about child soldiers in Northern Uganda. It was then that I knew where I wanted to travel." Molly saved her money for the next few years, and began researching different options. In the fall of 2009, during her junior year at Gonzaga University, she found an outreach program called Empower A Child. The goal of this non-profit Christian organization is to bring confidence and self-sustainability to orphaned and vulnerable children in east Africa by teaching them skills, giving them an opportunity for education and teaching them about God. "I really liked what I saw there," Molly said. "It seemed to fit with what I wanted to do."

July 6, 2010
This will be the new site of the Camas east elementary school, set to open in the fall of 2013. It will house 600 students.

District approves architectural services for new school

The Camas School District will move forward on construction of a new elementary school near Lacamas Park. At the Monday, June 28 board meeting, the School Board approved a $1.49 million architectural services contract with Dull Olson Weekes Architects for design, construction documents and oversight of the project. The new school will be located just west of Crown Road, above Lacamas Park.

June 29, 2010
Anthony Overacker and Kendra Upjohn decorate birdhouses during a recent craft day on the patio at Columbia Ridge assisted living. The facility sponsors these types of gatherings every month so residents and community members have a chance to mingle. Below, at left, Heidi Alandt, activities director, gets to work and at right, Ashima Ram, community outreach coordinator, puts a splash of color on her creation.

Building community

When most people think of assisted living, they probably flash to images of dark hallways and hospital type food served in a bland atmosphere. But that all has changed in the past several years. Nowadays, many assisted living centers resemble 5-star hotels in the quality of rooms and service. To emphasize that point, Columbia Ridge Senior Living in Washougal offers several opportunities for residents and local community members to interact with other through events such as ice cream socials, happy hours, spaghetti feeds and craft projects. Last week, residents, volunteers and community members decorated birdhouses on the patio outside, enjoying some much-needed sunshine.

June 29, 2010
Grass Valley students (left to right) Ashley Gerst, Cassidy Kendall, Sierra Goodwin, Hanna Upkes, Janessa Wilson and Jenna Efraimson wore red to school every Tuesday to support Wilson's efforts to help Kingston Springs Elementary School.

Helping a school rebuild

When Janessa Wilson heard about the recent flooding in Kingston Springs, Tenn., the first words out of her mouth were, "Mom, what can we do to help?" Wilson, a 9-year-old Grass Valley Elementary student, felt compelled to do something, especially after hearing the town's only elementary school had been flooded. "My uncle (James Fenton) lives there, so I thought he could help put me in touch with the school." Fenton did just that, connecting Janessa and her mom, Natalie, with Jenny Brackman, a school parent and volunteer.

June 22, 2010
Keith Stansbury, head of the Clark College CAD/Engineering Applications department, helps students launch rockets during SEMI High Tech U last week. The program targets 14- to 17-year-old students who have an interest in high-tech fields.

Launching high-tech careers

When Camas High School student Garrett Wilgus heard about a three-day opportunity to explore science and math careers, he was eager to learn. "I thought this would be a great opportunity to find out whether I'm really interested in the industry and see if it would be the right opportunity for me," he said. So, Wilgus, who will be a senior this fall, decided to apply for the SEMI High Tech U program, which is an industry-driven math and science-based career exploration event presented by the non-profit SEMI Foundation and local partners. These include the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, Clark College, Hewlett-Packard, WaferTech, Clark County High Tech Community Council, Columbia Machine, Employers Overload and Underwriters Laboratories. The program provides incoming sophomores, juniors and seniors with an opportunity to learn how math and science are used in the high-tech world by sending them to work with experts in the field at various businesses.

June 22, 2010
Keith Russell stands by his pictures of Lewis and Clark, complete with their signatures. He put together the portraits for the fourth-graders who were studying Washington State history.

Painting pieces of history

Keith Russell has been painting since he was just 5 years old. So when his fourth-grade daughter, Ariel, began studying Washington State history, he wanted to make a contribution. Russell approached teacher Heidi Echeverio with the idea to paint portraits of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The paintings are now hanging in the fourth-grade hallway at Helen Baller Elementary School.

June 15, 2010
Longtime administrators Tanis Knight and Ina Evers-Martin celebrate at a Hawaiian themed party held in their honor. The two have worked for the Camas School District for a combined total of 52 years.

The start of a new chapter

Tanis Knight and Ina Evers-Martin have a combined total of 52 years with the Camas School District. They both came to work for CSD in 1984; Knight as the principal at Helen Baller Elementary and Evers-Martin as the district's business manager. Knight, 57, is now the assistant superintendent, heading up curriculum and instruction. Evers-Martin, 62, remains as the business manager. At the end of June, each will end their long careers in CSD and begin a new chapter in their lives. The Post-Record recently sat down with Evers-Martin and Knight, who are friends as well as co-workers, and listened to their thoughts on working in Camas, life after retirement and stand-out moments in their careers. The answers below have been edited for clarity and length.

June 11, 2010
Hathaway students Shae Alder, left, and Mackenzie Desmet empty classroom recycling bins last week as part of the school's Green Team efforts.

Hathaway is first school in Washougal to earn state certification

When teachers and students at Hathaway Elementary talk about "being green," it isn't just idle chatter. The school's Green Team is saving both natural resources and money by focusing on energy conservation, as a part of the Washington Green Schools program.