Skyridge celebrates 20 years

Open house will be held on Tuesday

“You always get in life what you put in. Plant apples and you get apple trees. Plant the seeds of great ideas and get great individuals. The idea of a great school has been planted in the community and Camas is about to get Skyridge Mid School.”

Joe Sosky, Skyridge Middle School principal until 2003, said this in his address at the ground-breaking ceremony in September 1995.

The school opened in the fall of 1996 as a “mid” school for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders. It has gone through many changes since then, including having its name changed from “mid” to “middle” school, and serving students in the sixth through eighth grades.

Now, a former teacher with a passion for education is coordinating an open house event, which will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the school, 5220 N.W. Parker St.

Current and former students, along with community members, are invited to participate. Those who wish to share memories of the school can do so using a video feed in the library, or uploading it to Google Link via a Smartphone.

Gail Welsh taught in the Camas School District for 42 years, and was at Skyridge from when it opened until her retirement in 2011. Before that, she was an educator at JD Zellerbach Elementary School.

“I taught every subject from fine arts to science,” she said. “When Skyridge opened, it was a partnership school. I had never seen a community develop a school like that. It was unbelievable. Everyone was really on board to make it the best school that they could.”

Before construction, Welsh, who served on the committee, recalls hundreds of meetings to solicit community, parent, administrator and student opinion on the future of the school.

“If you didn’t like how something turned out, then it was your issue because I had never seen people have so many opportunities to help shape a new school,” she said.

Welsh and other teachers were able to form many new programs at the school, which continue today. These include Knowledge Bowl, honor society, technology education classes and honors courses.

“This school is truly a community of partnerships,” Welsh said. “I live in Vancouver, but I will always have one foot and my heart in Camas.”