Papermaker magic

Papermaker state championships celebration

When: Thursday, Dec. 15, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the Camas High School gym, 26900 S.E. 15th St.

What: The event, which will include performances by the marching band and cheerleaders, will recognize Camas High School’s state championship teams for football and girls soccer, as well as state cross country championship winner Yacine Guermali.

Who: The community is invited to attend.

It’s safe to say that Mayor Scott Higgins counts himself as one of the Camas High School Papermakers’ biggest fans.

In addition to the CHS banner that hangs prominently from the roof of City Hall, Higgins can be found on the sidelines of every home game as a member of the chain gang. And during the football team’s recent state playoff run, the 1990 CHS graduate wore his letterman jacket every day. He promised the players he’d do so until they got to the state championship game.

And when the team did, and won, he described the feeling as “magical.”

While Higgins’ fandom is unique, he would also admit that he is far from the only person to show this level of dedication. It’s on display community-wide.

Sold-out “Friday Night Lights” games are common at Doc Harris Stadium; red and black banners hang from many of the city’s street lights; team flags are displayed on homes; and businesses decorate their windows with slogans expressing Papermaker pride. Conversations touting the accomplishments of CHS athletes can be heard around every corner.

It’s an incredible thing to see and hear, and it’s even more incredible to witness the appreciation the players feel for this outpouring of community support.

Prior to moving to Camas nearly 17 years ago that kind of dedication from people of all ages for high school football — or any high school sport for that matter — was a bit of a foreign concept to me.

Having grown up across the Columbia River in Portland, I attended a massive high school (Woodrow Wilson High School). At that time, students, parents, teachers and coaches rallied around its sports teams, and the school even captured a memorable state championship in basketball (a team that included among its members a future NBA player).

However, I can’t say I’ve ever felt the kind of support that seems to be part of the fabric of this Camas community. And although Portland’s mayor at the time, Bud Clark, was certainly known as colorful and eclectic and for “exposing himself to art,” I’m fairly certain he never wore a Wilson High School letterman jacket or the school colors of green and white.

Simply put, Camas is something special.

A huge congratulations goes out to this year’s recent Camas High School state champions — the football team, girls soccer team and a boys cross country runner — and also to the members of the local community who never seem to waver in their Papermaker pride.

-Heather Acheson