Monday, December 21, 2015

VFW Essay Winners

Veterans of Foreign War members recently traveled to Washougal and Camas schools awarding the winners of their yearly essay contests.

Elementary students competed in the State Junior Essay contest by supporting the statement “Why America is My Favorite Country.”  Winners at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary were fifth grader Nolan Johnson with a first place and fourth grader Keagan Payne with a second place.  At Gause Elementary, Anna Chaffee won first place for fourth grade and Emelia Warta from the fifth grade received an Honorable Mention.  Winning the third grade competition were Madison Dodge, first place; Aidan Hasselbush, second place; and Brooklyn Lowe, third place.  Hathaway Elementary did not participate this year.

This year, all 3rd grade contest winners came from the classroom of Gause teacher, Jim Schroeder.  “Consistently, year in and year out, he produces more winners for his grade level than anyone else,” said Gause Principal Rex Larson.  “Jim had also been the 3rd grade teacher for this year's 4th and 5th grade winners from Gause.”

“Taking part in this contest helps students to understand that our rights and privileges in the United States are not the same as in other parts of the world,” said Schroeder.  “Students begin to recognize that they are very lucky to be living in a free country, and to honor those that have fought to keep it that way.”

Schroeder has been surprised by how many students incorporate personal stories into their essays. “There many stories that demonstrated how living in our free country has touched, or had an impact on their own family's life history,” he said.

Middle school winners of the Patriot Pen Essay contest at Canyon Creek Middle School were second place winners Thomas Hein, eighth grade and Simone Velansky, sixth grade.  Seventh grade winners were Bryce M. Holmes with a third place and Charlotte Baker was awarded an Honorable Mention.   Jemtegaard Middle School did not participate this year.

At the high school level, students competed in the Voice of Democracy competition.  Washougal High School senior Taylor Brown won first place and a $500 check.  Winning fourth place and a $100 check was senior Aisha Marcos. WHS Honorable Mention winners were seniors Courtney Shelley and Christian Mishler and junior Mitchell Leon.

All winners of 1st, 2nd and 3rd places from all grade levels will advance to the state competition. High school students can advance to nationals were there is a $35,000 college scholarship for the top prize.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hathaway students visit Two Rivers Heritage Museum

Second graders from Hathaway Elementary School had the chance to take a peak at people who helped shape the local community at the Two Rivers Heritage Museum on a field trip Thursday, June 11.  Groups of students stopped at several stations where museum docents would describe artifacts and stories of early residents. "This is a wonderful opportunity for students to get an appreciation for the local history and past community leaders," said Debbie Kramer, Hathaway second grade teacher.

Donuts with Dad at Gause

Donuts and a good book were on the menu at the annual "Donuts with Dad" breakfast at Gause Elementary, Friday June 12.  The event is meant to encourage reading and create a special time with dads and their students.

"It is a lot of fun to be here," said Gause father, Zane Dillion, who was the guest of daughters Abby, kindergarten, and first grader Emma.  "And I love books," he added.   Dillion was reading poems from Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” captivating his young girls’ attention.  Daughter, Emma, also enjoyed the special morning and said, "I like the books and seeing everyone walk by with their dad."

The event, now in its fourth year, keeps getting bigger and has outgrown the library where it began and now packs the cafeteria.  The morning also featured drawings for books and prizes courtesy of the Gause Boosters.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Standout student: WHS junior balances academics, work experience and career exploration

WHS junior Riley Coffman is an expert at time management. Not only does he currently have a 4.0 GPA, he also holds down a part-time job at Lutz Hardware in Camas, working approximately 16 hours per week. Riley is also a participant in the rigorous and highly competitive Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) program.  WAS is a two-part program for high school juniors focused on topics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

After successfully completing phase one of the WAS program (a five-month distance learning course designed in partnership with NASA and the University of Washington), Riley will attain five college credits through U.W. As one of the program’s top scorers with an overall grade of 88%, he has been invited to attend the summer phase two portion of this program, a six-day summer residency in Seattle working with Boeing and NASA engineers.

“Riley is a very self-driven individual that continues to amaze his father and myself every day,” said his mother, Jessica Coffman. “We are so proud of him, we are bursting at the seams.”

Riley says that good time management helps him juggle his busy schedule. “I just set priorities for myself and try to take everything in bite-sized chunks,” he said. “I do homework every night but I alternate the nights I work with nights I participate in WAS. I just take it one step at a time.”

Participating in WAS has sparked in interest in engineering for Riley, who thinks he may pursue a career in electrical or computer engineering. “I knew I wanted to do something with science and math,” he said. “But I now know that I love engineering.”

Riley says parental support was key to his success. “My parents played a big part in helping motivate me during stressful times,” he said. “It’s as much their success as it is mine. They’ve always been there to support me and to tell me it’s ok to have fun too.”

Riley currently has Mr. Bennett as a Physics teacher and Mr. Anderson for Pre-Calculus.

Canyon Creek Middle School Students among Winners of Clark County Youth Achievement Awards

Five Canyon Creek Middle School eight grade students will be presented Youth Achievement Awards from the Clark County Youth Commission on Sunday, June 14 at Skyview High School.  This 17th annual county-wide celebration recognizes the achievement of youth that demonstrate personal growth and community contributions.

It is the Youth Commission’s belief that every young person has the potential for achievement in a number of categories including Arts, Career Development, Citizenship, Courage, Education, Environmental Stewardship, Family Life, Inspiration and Leadership.

CCMS students to be honored are Tori Corkum and Gabe Dinnel for demonstrating empathy towards others.  Rachel McDonald and Jasmyne Mason for art achievement. A third CCMS student also received recognition in art achievement but is unable to have her information shared in the media.

“I believe that everyone deserves respect,” said Corkum.  “I really had not seen myself as someone who was empathic but I try to be nice, even when people are angry.”  Soft spoken Dinnel agreed at the surprise that he was recognized for achievement in this area.  “I just don’t want to be rude and ignore people,” he said, pointing out that, “It can make people feel good to be talked to.”

McDonald, Mason and another student were awarded for their skill in the arts.  McDonald enjoys drawing realistic images and says she can take any photo and draw what she sees.  She has been drawing since age five, when her artwork appeared on cardboard boxes and walls at home.  She wants to pursue a career in graphic design.  Mason’s art specialty is anima and animal art.  She remembers drawing giraffes when she was just two years old.  “I’m not sure why I chose giraffes,” she said.  Now her preference is tigers.

The Youth Commission is a diverse group of 30 youth from throughout Clark County dedicated to bringing the voices of youth into the community and raising awareness about the remarkable achievements made by youth year round.  Awards will be presented to 300 area youth.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hathaway Elementary Fifth Graders Grow Through Rotary Young Men in Action Program

Hathaway Elementary School fifth grade boys were provided an opportunity to develop new life skills as a part of the recently concluded Young Men in Action (YMIA) program.

Young Men in Action, sponsored and staffed by the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club, strives to promote positive behaviors by leading youth from problem behaviors.  The program allows boys an opportunity to interact with peers who are not in their circle of friends and focuses on development of life skills such as friendship, health, hygiene, careers and manners, while being fun and age-appropriate.

The boys and their male mentors met for 2 hours and concentrated on a different topic weekly for seven weeks. The curriculum included a field trips to such places such as Hearth Restaurant and the Washougal Fire Department and in-classroom instruction and conversations about mature behavior and choices.

“Through the program we worked to show these boys that they have choices in how they react to others and to situations,” said Rotary member and YMIA mentor Blaine Peterson. “We hoped to demonstrate that the mentors have all had to make choices.  We made the right ones for us and now we have fulfilling and successful lives, and they too have the opportunity to make the right choices for themselves.”

In a thank you note to program volunteers, Hathaway fifth grader Gaerett Bailey said how grateful he was to his friends at Young Men in Action.  "I learned so much. Like how to have good hygiene and I learned to exercise more. Thank you for the checkbook.  I will use it to find a good job and a house.  I will miss you all."

This YMIA program recently concluded and was a natural fit for those Wednesday afternoons when school dismissed early and the boys had some free time to spend.  Young Men in Action and the companion program, Young Women in Action, are always looking for passionate, dedicated volunteers from the community. The programs are paid for by the Camas Washougal Rotary Club and are made possible with the help of local organizations who make donations, provide special pricing or facilitate field trips to their businesses.  Participation in Rotary is not a requirement to be part of the programs.

To get involved, visit and click on the YMIA/YWIA link at the top of the page.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

WHS Student Actors Perform for Young Audiences

Washougal High School drama students recently took their original production, “The Fish and the Clam" or "Keep Clam and Be Yourshellf,” on the road to several Washougal schools.  A student-created show has been a part of the curriculum of the WHS Second Year Drama class for the past eleven years and is a capstone project for the young actors.

“Students start by submitting ideas at the beginning of the semester,” said WHS drama instructor, Kelly Gregersen.  “A premise is chosen and then they work at improvisation to get a feel for the flow of the show.  After that, I take everything that they have created and turn their ideas into a script.”

WHS junior, Krysia Woods said the process was fun. “We took the main idea and then acted out what were wanted our characters to say,” she explained.  “This way we could build in our own personalities into the characters.”

The play tells the story of Marlin, a fish who is not happy being a fish.  Thanks to a magical clam, he is able to try being other sea creatures but, in the end, finds that he is most happy to be himself.

Through Marlin’s transformation, the plot also explores the nature of cliques.  “The sharks are tough, the jelly fish are mellow, crabs are, well, crabby,” Gregersen said. “The moral of the story is really to be happy with who you are and that is it is ok to try new things but you don’t need to try to be something that you are not to do that.

According to Gregersen, this year’s half-hour production is particularly entertaining since it started off with a very streamlined idea and a strong focus.  “This show also plays well to both the younger and older students,” he said.  “We stuck every fish pun in the book into this thing.  And there is even some modern music snuck in.”  The clever script also incorporates comical references to popular movies such as “Finding Nemo” and Little Mermaid.”

“The drama students get so much out of this,” Gregersen explained.  “First, they get to see their ideas become a show.  It creates a very deep ownership for them.  And then they get to perform it to various audiences.  They put everything they have into the play.  These kids own this show and their parts.  And you can see it in the performances.”

For senior Marshall Graham, the class production meant being able to have an additional theater experience that did not require the afterschool commitment that the larger productions have.  Graham, who played Kenickie in the Fall production of Grease, was not able to be a part of the Spring show due to his busy schedule.  He enjoyed the process to create an original script and said it was different to take a show on the road and perform in front of very young students.  “The children are a lot more energetic as an audience,” he said. “Sometimes they will laugh for minutes.  They really get into it.  Adults hold more in.”

Woods hopes that the play will not only send a powerful message to young students about being themselves, but will also help inspire them to look into the drama program at WHS.  “I did not have older students that I could look up to when I was their age,” she said.  “I hope we can have an impact on these kids.”

Friday, May 29, 2015

CCMS bands entertain Washougal elementary schools

The student bands from Canyon Creek Middle School were “on tour” Friday, May 29, performing at each Washougal elementary school.

“There are several reasons for this field trip,” explained Lora Brandt, CCMS music teacher.  “It’s important for students to take part in multiple performances of music literature for a variety of audiences and in several new venues.  They are also getting the opportunity to play music that is recognizable to them and their audience.”  The grade level bands represented 6th, 7th and 8th grades and played many popular songs including “La Bamba,” “Theme from Mission Impossible,” “Thriller” and “Star War.”

“This tour was also a way for these very hard working students to get the chance to socialize and enjoy time together,” Brandt added.

The audiences were also introduced to each instrument with band members playing a short song that featured each instruments' unique sound.  “We hope the concert entertained and inspired future band members,” Brandt explained.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Award-winning author inspires Hathaway Elementary writers

Hathaway Elementary School students were visited on May 26 by Elizabeth Rusch, an award-winning children's book author, magazine writer, and writing teacher. She writes lively fiction and nonfiction books in the areas of science, art and the magic of discovery.

Rusch presented two assemblies for grades K-2 and 3-5 and taught three writing workshops to 4th grade students.  In her assemblies and workshops, Rusch shares her life as a writer, where she gets ideas, how she researches and develops her books and articles, her writing and revision process, and some funny and scary adventures she’s had along the way.  Besides being a celebrated author and a scientific researcher, Rusch is also a highly acclaimed writing teacher.

“Ms. Rusch creates presentations and writing workshops based on her deep knowledge and love of non-fiction subjects,” said Cathy Burrows, Hathaway Title 1 reading specialist.  “During the workshops at Hathaway, students were inspired by her interactive, common-core writing instruction.  Our students gained important insights about how to make their writing “come alive” for the reader. They were so excited about the process that they wanted to continue creating and sharing throughout the day.”

“You never know what will spark a student’s interest and feed the flame of learning,” states Rusch in her philosophy about school visits.  “For me, all subjects are connected: writing, reading, science, art, music, math, social studies. By presenting myself as a writer with wide ranging passions - for astronomy, volcanology, art, music, history, and community service – I hope to inspire not only budding writers but also budding scientists, artists, activists.”

This author visit was made possible through a grant from the Washougal Schools Foundation and from Hathaway Boosters funding.

The Hathaway library has several of her books, and teachers have been checking them out to use in instruction.  “Ms. Rusch has already provided common core discussion questions/activities to our teachers to accompany each book,” Burrows said.  “The classroom study of nonfiction text enriched our curriculum as teachers prepared the students for this event.”

For more information about Rusch and her books, go to:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cape Horn-Skye Elementary Students Swing into Golf

Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School 3rd - 5th grade students got into the swing of golfing with a special PE lesson from representatives of the Washington Youth Golf Academy at Camas Meadows on May 21 and 22.

The short golf class gave students basic instruction and practice on how to hold and move the clubs through chip and putt swings.  The instructors were Camas Meadows Golf Pros Bryce Poulin and Chris Garrison, who will work to introduce the game of golf to approximately 3,000 students in several local school district during the 2014-15 school year.  The two used humor and visual cues to help the young golfers understand safety and swing techniques.

Poulin also invited students to participate in the upcoming Junior Demo Day on Saturday, May 30 from 3-5 p.m. at Camas Meadows.  The WYGA event is free to attend and will feature practice aiming at the large inflated Golfzilla, meeting the golf teaching staff, junior club fittings and complimentary ice cream.

“The event is completely free for all youth and the first of our many great WYGA special events at Camas Meadows this summer,” Poulin said.  “The core value of the WYGA is community outreach and providing a place for youth to learn golf and skills for life,” For more information about the WYGA contact Poulin at 833-2000 or at

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WHS student earns master certification through Microsoft IT Academy

Brendon Moen, Washougal High School freshman, is the first student in the Washougal District to earn a Microsoft 2013 Word Master Certification as a part of the Microsoft IT Academy (ITA).  Moen had to pass five exams (Word, Word Expert 1 & 2, Excel and one optional test). He passed two optional exams, 2013 PowerPoint and One Note.

WHS teaches ITA through the Computer Applications classes. “This program started late spring of 2013 and since then students have passed over 200 tests,” said Katherine Sturdyvin Scobba, WHS yearbook and digital photography teacher.  “The program has shown an increase in participants and has prepared them in the application of Microsoft Office products in the academic and job arenas.”

Microsoft ITA is a partnership between The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Microsoft to provide the training at all Washington high schools. Microsoft ITA bridges the gap between the world of education and the world of work. It boosts Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education statewide and the employability and global competitiveness of our students and future workforce.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Washougal Youth Win Award for Community Prevention Work

Washougal School District Youth have won an scholarship award to attend The Spring Youth Forum at Great Wolf Lodge, May 13 and 14th. This scholarship will pay for forum attendance, lodging and meals for six students. These students are part of a group of  UNITE! coalition members that helped plan and organize the recent Let’s Draw the Line Community  survey and Above the Influence Project.   They have been meeting since January to organize an event to encourage youth to become more aware of the marketing strategies that affect youth alcohol consumption.

The event was held April 25th at River Rock Church, and featured a Community Assessment of Neighborhood Stores, an Above the Influence activity that encourages youth to create their own personal brand, as well as music and prizes donated by the community. The students surveyed 10 area stores to get to know their community and see how product placement of  alcohol and tobacco affects  purchase by youth. They also received training on advertising awareness as part of Maddie Gregory’s Washougal High School’s Senior Project. Maddie and her team shared their desire to work with local retailers to create a healthy community for youth.

This award will allow 6 of the youth team to attend to allow the Spring Youth Forum to give a presentation about Let’s Draw the Line and attend a conference to learn about prevention projects throughout the state. The youth team that developed this project are Maddie Gregory, Michael Stevens, Carson Connors, Sydney Mederos, Sammie Mederos, Bridgette McCarthy, and Scott Anderson.

For more information about UNITE! please visit their website.  The Unite! Community Coalition meets the 4th Thursday of every month at 4:30 pm at East County Family Resource Center, 1702 C. Street, Washougal.

For more information about other prevention efforts in our state, please visit the DHSH website.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

JMS Parents attend iPad Training and Internet Safety Night

Parents of students at Jemtegaard Middle School attended an evening of learning about the iPads and ways to help students be safe online on April 23.  JMS teachers Kelli Dizmang, Cherise Marshall, and Rebecca Bohlin worked with students who served as "experts" to develop the lessons taught to their peers' parents.  Approximately 40 to 50 parents attended with at least that many students.

“Parents went with their students to a series of stations where they learned about the apps that students use in class, projects that are done on the iPads, how to access WESPaC from a mobile device, and more,” said Les Brown, WSD Director of Technology.  “Each station was run by a JMS student, who created their mini-lesson on an iPad to share with parents and other students.  The parents who attended shared that they were amazed at how much the students have learned, and the variety of skills they have with the iPads.”

Parents also attended a session on Internet Safety and building student's skills to make wise choices and be safe online.  The session focused on practical steps parents can take to help keep kids safe while online.  “We discussed parents’ concerns about online safety, helping make sure they have an awareness of monitoring student activities online, as well as tools and strategies to help them make sure their kids are learning to be good digital citizens while staying safe online,” Brown said.

“Many of the parents who attended the Internet safety presentation were taking notes, sharing their own safety tips, and asking more questions about how we can work together to keep kids safe online,” said Dizmang.  “The response was very positive.  Many parents were also surprised to discover how much their middle schoolers know about using technology for learning, and were amazed at what the kids do and create every day.  Our students did an excellent job sharing their skills with parents!”

The act of students presenting the lessons was a sign of the success for the tech parent night in the eyes of Bohlin.  “It demonstrated to parents how students are benefiting and learning from the technology they have the chance to use in school,” she said.

According to Bohlin, student are already asking about having the event next year.  “The way that students stepped up to create quality presentations was outstanding! I was so impressed with what students put together to show parents, including QR code activities, wi-fi troubleshooting situations, thoughtful questions, and hands-on demonstrations.”

Hathaway science fair inspires young scientists

Hathaway fifth graders from Mr. Schlauch’s and Ms. Kurtz's classes participated in a Science Fair April 22. Students were required to choose a project, follow the scientific process, make a slide presentation on their iPad, and create a display board. The 49 young scientists shared their hard work and creativity with parents and other Hathaway students who attended the fair.

Students tested freezing temperatures, tested sounds with homemade “telephones”, created slime, and generated reactions with baking soda, vinegar, Mentos and soda pop.

Lauren Widmer: Flowers of the Rainbow. Lauren added food coloring to the water of white daisies over a six-day period to see how the daisies absorbed the color and how the various colors behaved differently.
Retired WHS science teacher Bruce Stanton was on hand to see what students had created and offer his scientific observations as well.

Marinah Vargo: The Soap Experiment. Marinah tested Charles’ Law, “As the temperature of a gas increases, so does its volume.”  Marinah microwaved Dial and Ivory soaps and found that their volume expanded greatly as they were heated.
“I was very impressed with the overall professionalism that these Hathaway fifth graders were able to maintain throughout the entire fair,” said teacher Andrew Schlauch. “I especially enjoyed watching them take on the role of the expert and teach their newly mastered concept to their peers, family members, teachers, and community members. I had multiple parents express their excitement and appreciation about the enthusiasm towards science they saw in their students for the first time. One parent told me that this fair has sparked a life long interest in science that may have never been. I am definitely looking forward to doing this again next year.”

Gabriel Hoffman: The Lucky Number 6. Gabriel invited fair participants to attempt to draw a number 6 while rotating their leg clockwise. His research supported the conclusion that as humans have evolved, we have not developed same side anti-coordination.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Jemtegaard Middle School​ students compete in Japanese Speech Contest

Three Jemtegaard Middle School​ students were winners in the 27th Annual Japanese Speech Contest held April 18 in Portland.  Winners of Middle School Division 1 were first place, Imagen Huey; second place, Brandon MacArthur; and third place, Monty Scott.

The competition is organized by the Consular Office of Japan for students studying Japanese language in high school, middle school and immersion programs in Oregon and SW Washington.  There were 22 students participating from 10 schools.

Awards were presented by Consul General Hiroshi Furusawa.

Washougal Elementary Students Participate in Battle of the Books

Elementary students in Washougal School District battled it out in a most unlikely location, their libraries, as a part of the district-wide Battle of the Books competition.

"The Battle of the Books competition is sleuthing out the intricate comprehension details of each novel,” said WHS Library Media Specialist, Hillary Marshall.  Students read at least six books from a pre-determined list of 15.  During the competition students are given questions about content and answer by identifying the book title for five points and the author for an additional two points. Teams have 30 seconds after the reading of the question to give its response through the team captain. If the team gives an incorrect title or author, the opposing team may then pick up points for that question with the correct answer.

The competition is for 4th and 5th graders at all Washougal elementary schools.  Teams consist of four to six players.  The preliminary rounds were held Friday, April 17th, with the top two teams from each school battling it out at the Grand Battle on Friday, April 24 at WHS.  The winning team, from Cape Horn-Skye, was Ryan Langston, Immy Hinchliff, Rose Hinchliff, Sophia Krasnogorov, Gavin Keyser and Trey Keyser.  

Participation in this second annual event was high.  Gause Elementary had 30 students qualify for their school's battle and Hathaway Elementary had 35 students.  Cape Horn-Skye Elementary had a whopping 80 student compete at their school level.  “All together almost 30% of the district's grade 4 and grade 5 students read enough books to qualify for a school battle and a trip to Washougal High School to support their classmates competing for the title,” said David Tudor, WSD Curriculum Director. “The students and library staff have worked very hard to make this a fun and exciting event.”

Planning for the event began in Fall with Marshall and the elementary library assistants, Kathy Stanton, Hathaway; Marlene Leifsen, Gause; and Tammy Asbjornsen, CH-S.
“The students who participate love the competition,” said Leifsen. “As a librarian, I see students check out a book every week, do their 20 minutes of reading and return the book, unfinished.  I love seeing the kids enjoying and finishing books.  It's also really fun for me to get to know students better personally.”

“The students get a lot out of this competition by learning what team work is all about,” said Asbjornsen.  “Our students build valuable speaking skills while giving verbal summaries of the books they have read. Students are also exposed to different types of genres that they have never read before. They gain self-confidence and pride within themselves but most of all a love for reading.”

This year’s theme, “Race into Reading.” Guest speaker, Sam Reigel, talked to students participating in the Grand Battle about biodiesel technology and how he converted his automobile to run on refined vegetable oil.  The theme also inspired some extra fun during the preliminary battle days.  At Gause, students were treated to a “gas station lunch” featuring corn dogs, and at CH-S, motocross and race car driver, Kelly Harness of Camas, brought his racing bike and talked to students after their outside picnic lunch.  Harness stressed the importance of reading in his line of work.  “When I have to get into an engine and do repair work, I have to be able to read the instruction manual to know what I need to do,” he explained.  

High school students also participate by volunteering to read the battle books to help create questions for the competition.  They also served as team leaders, escorting the elementary student to each battle venue, and time and score keepers during the battles.  They also planned and ran indoor recess activities for entertainment during the luncheon.  "Our high schoolers love this leadership opportunity to inspire younger readers and they are always amazed how well the elementary students know the intricate details of each novel," said Marshall.

The final grand battle and award ceremony took place in the WHS auditorium.  Jamie Dotson from iQ Credit Union was on hand to present books purchased through their Read With Me literacy program that gives a $75 grant to literacy programs that inspire lifelong reading.  “This money was used to purchase books from the Scholastic Warehouse to reward our high school students for all of their help with the event,” Marshall said.  “Each high school student who participated received a book they selected to call their very own.”

“I think for young children to pick up a book with more than 30 pages is very daunting to them,” Asbjornsen said. “When they first look at the battle books, any books for that matter, they think that the book is too big and that they can't finish it. But once they do, it is very gratifying for them. I love it when students come up to me and tell me that they really like a certain book.”

“For me it is all about the love of reading,” said Stanton.  “I enjoy reading as entertainment and through this experience these students are getting the chance to develop that love and become lifelong readers.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Gause Elementary School Science Night Encourages Exploration

Gause Elementary School cafeteria and gym were transformed into science labs for experiments and discovery for their Family Fun Science Night on April 22.  

According to the event organizer, Learning Assistant Program teacher, Wendy Morrill, it has been several years since Gause had hosted a science night.  “We wanted to give kids at Gause a very hands on way to celebrate Earth Day,” she said.  “We have provided a whole variety of interesting science activities for them to experience and enjoy with their family.”   The event was attended by more than 120 people and was funded by the Gause Boosters.

Teachers and parents volunteered to staff learning stations where families could take part in activities such as experiment with the forces of gravity, build and toss paper airplanes, construct a paper skeleton, examine plastic human organs, learn about to the eco system at Steigerwald Natural Wildlife Refuge and make Oobleck.

“Making this stuff is awesome and cool,” said Gause second grader, Brayden Strong, who experienced making Oobleck with his mom, Jasmine.  “And it is messy!”  Oobleck is a classic science experiment made with water and corn starch and a favorite part of the event.  It is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid that acts like a liquid when being poured, but is like a solid when a force is acting on it.  Applying pressure to the mixture increases its viscosity or thickness.  So if it is tapped quickly it will feel solid, but if a finger is pressed slowly it will sink into it.  

The big activity of the night was the eruption of Mt. Gause, a large model volcano.  “At one of the stations, families experimented with the chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar on a small scale,” Morrill said.  “And then they were able to witness it all on a larger scale with the volcano that we blew ceremonially at 7:00 p.m.

“I overheard many students saying to their families ‘Science isn't as boring as I thought.’  ‘This is so fun!’  Families were having great conversations about making predictions or explaining why something happened in the activity,” Morrill added.

“I got to do experiments that I have never seen before,” said fourth grader, Matt Brown.  “I like to experience new things and have fun with science.”

“I feel like after experiencing these activities in various areas of science they see learning about science as fun and approachable,” Morrill said.  “I hope they are motivated to do more exploring at home with their families.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

9th annual Japanese Festival at WHS April 25, 2015

The Japanese Program students are currently organizing the 9th annual Japanese Festival.  It will be held from 11am to 3:30pm on April 25th (Saturday).  The address of the event is 1201 39th St. Washougal, WA 98671
The theme for this year’s event is “Friends.”  One of our first year Japanese students designed a sweatshirt for our Japanese program, and she used the symbol, “Friends,” and her classmates loved the design.  In fact, we decided to use “friends” as our festival theme this year.

During the festival, the highlight event is always the cultural performance at Washburn Performance Art Center Auditorium between 1:00pm to 2:30pm.  This year, we are inviting professional performers to share Taiko drums, Okoto string instruments, and traditional dance on the stage.  The Taiko drummers are elementary school students from Portland, Oregon.  They came to perform last year, and they are coming back this year as well.  Their performance is inspiring for anyone to see because it vividly shows that they practice rigorously.

Moreover, there will be Kimono demonstrators, and they are the newcomers for the festival this year.  They are Japanese ladies from Japan and volunteer to show their Kimono dresses and explain why and how they are wearing them.  This should be very interesting because a set of Kimono dresses is very expensive and it is rare to see and hear the Japanese ladies reveal why and how on the stage.

At the commons, there will be cultural displays and demonstrations including how to experience a flower arrangement and calligraphy, how to learn Kendo swordsmanship, and how to create Origami paper crafts.  There will be Japanese food dishes; for instance, Curry & Rice, Udon noodle soup, Okonomiyaki pizza, Green tea ice cream, Ramune drinks, and snacks.  Also, we will sell raffle tickets.  The prizes will be a gift certificate from Uwajimaya (a Japanese grocery store), Japanese products, and other items donated by local Japanese companies.

Everything including the concert tickets, raffle tickets, and food items are all under $5 each.  Approximately 150 to 200 people attend the festival every year.  We are looking forward to seeing you all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rotary Scholar of the Month for April 2015: Christian Schicker

Christian Schicker was selected as the Camas Washougal Rotary Scholar of the Month for April 2015.  Christian is a sophomore at Washougal High School and has a 4.0 GPA.  Pauline Rule, Christian’s Honors Biology Teacher, says “Christian is an exceptional young man endowed with exceptional intelligence.”  She adds that “He reasons quickly and accurately, making him an outstanding problem solver,” and that he “is a team player and works well with anyone.”  She noted that Christian “is respectful, friendly, and goes with the flow, adjusting his focus as needed.”

Christian’s Spanish Teacher, Brian Eggleston, describes as “unique in his diligence, talents, and his desire to learn.”  He also added that “Raúl”, as he’s known in Spanish class, clearly enjoys acquiring new concepts and skills, and he then applies them creatively for practice and self-improvement.  In class Christian asks thoughtful questions, helps others in their learning, and sets a notable example of self-discipline and respect.”  Eggleston also notes that Christian’s “positive attitude is contagious, to the point that any student he works with I know will come to understand better the material at hand and appreciate the interaction.  His pursuit of self-improvement extends across the curriculum and to soccer, as well, where he is known as an excellent and reliable player to his coach and peers.  Christian looks to new tasks and challenges not so much as obstacles, but rather as opportunities for valuable growth.”  Eggleston also shared that “Christian is a fantastic asset to Washougal High School, and I know that here and throughout his future he will continue to serve as a uniquely positive example to those around him.”

Algebra II Teacher Rochelle Aiton shared that “Christian is a joy to have in class.  He comes in with a smile with his homework completed, and ready to take on whatever the new day brings. He is not just intelligent, but thorough and thoughtful. He asks pertinent questions and helps his peers when he can.

Christian is the son of Linda and Harvey Goodling.  Congratulations, Christian!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

WHS Academic All Star List for Fall Semester 2014

The Washougal High School Academic All Stars for first semester were recently announced.   Each semester each department recognizes students from all grade levels who consistently demonstrated the type of qualities and behaviors that attribute to a “top academic performance.”  Students are given an Academic All-Star Certificate and are recognized at grade level assemblies.

Through this recognition, the WHS staff is able to share their appreciation for students who consistently demonstrate skills that potentially contribute to their successes in the classroom.  The following list provides a brief overview of the skills, work habits, and other character traits common among the students recognized:  Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Perseverance, Self Direction, Self Discipline, Oral and Written Communication, Adaptability, Leadership, Collaboration & Teamwork.

American Sign Language Madisen Baldwin 12
Anatomy & Physiology Ellie Schmid 12
Anatomy & Physiology Kaycee Zieman 12
Anatomy & Physiology Maddie Gregory 12
AP Calculus Maddie Gregory 12
AP Government Adam Krout 12
AP Government Jacqueline Steffanson 12
AP Physics Adam Krout 12
Chemistry Art Boyer 12
CTE - Applied Math Miranda Lynch 12
CTE - Child Development Emily Perkins 12
CTE - Computer Apps. Lena Hunsbedt 12
CTE - FACSE Beverly Carlson 12
CTE - FACSE Jolynn Wenick 12
CTE - Intro Drafting Sam Barnes 12
CTE - Intro Drafting Art Boyer 12
CTE - Metal Arts Heather Deulen 12
CTE - Woodworking I Shad Holsinger 12
Fine Arts - Art Brittani hauzen 12
Fine Arts - Band Maddie Gregory 12
Fine Arts - Choir Savanna Engbrecht 12
Fine Arts - Drama Sean Larson 12
Marine Biology Patrick Neill 12
Marine Biology Karina Miller 12
Medical Terminology Chelsa Jensen 12
Medical Terminology Tyler Bancke 12
Physical Education Art Boyer 12
Physical Education Beverly Carlson 12
Social Studies Carly Morris 12
Spanish III Karina Miller 12
American Sign Language Abigail Lawrence 11
Anatomy & Physiology Courtney Shelley 11
Anatomy & Physiology Cassie Tran 11
Anatomy & Physiology Katie Desimone 11
AP U.S. History Joshua Bischoff 11
AP U.S. History Taylor Billups 11
Biology Shondreka Luke 11
Biology Taylor Billups 11
Chemistry Wiwin Hartini 11
CTE - Child Development Dakota Payne 11
CTE - Computer Apps. DeAundre Summers 11
CTE - Drafting/CAD II Hunter Blackburn 11
CTE - FACSE Austin Kleha 11
CTE - FACSE Evelyn Walcott 11
CTE - Metals III Lucas Varner 11
CTE - Woodworking I Evelyn Walcott 11
Fine Arts - Band Becca Bennett 11
Fine Arts - Choir Shelbi Langston 11
Fine Arts - Drama Kailey Dayton 11
German II Joshua Bischoff 11
German III Chris Mishler 11
Japanese III Mitchell Myers 11
Marine Biology Bailey Hammond 11
Physical Education Jennifer Wilson 11
Physical Education Lee Campen 11
PreCalculus Joshua Bischoff 11
PreCalculus Aisha Marcos 11
Social Studies Riley Coffman 11
Social Studies Aisha Marcos 11
Social Studies Taylor Brown 11
Spanish I Wiwin Hartini 11
Spanish II Taylor Brown 11
Spanish III Courtney Shelley 11
Algebra II Ryan Krout 10
Algebra II Meghan Jackson 10
American Sign Language Mialisa Oster 10
Anatomy & Physiology Luke Toepfer 10
AP World History Ryan Krout 10
Biology Hannah Couture 10
Biology Ryan Perkins 10
Chemistry Kiersten Parker 10
CTE - Carpentry I Luis Farias 10
CTE - Carpentry I Andromeda Kolbe 10
CTE - Computer Apps. Ryan Krout 10
CTE - Computer Apps. Matthew Kutchera 10
CTE - Digital Photography Ashley Lamb 10
CTE - Digital Photography Kiersten Parker 10
CTE - Drafting Tanner Braun 10
CTE - FACSE Audrey Smith 10
CTE - FACSE  Rory Csanky 10
CTE - Metals I Joseph Allyn 10
CTE - Small Engine Repair Alex Bancroft 10
English Brooklynn Bailey 10
English Meghan Jackson 10
English Robert Wayper  10
English Dabrielle Lowman 10
English Kiersten Parker 10
English Anna Stanton 10
English Breanna Rushford 10
English Hannah Lintala 10
English  Christian Schicker 10
Fine Arts - Art Ryan Perkins 10
Fine Arts - Band  Robby Wayper 10
Fine Arts - Choir Laura Dills 10
Fine Arts - Drama Jocob Dye 10
Honors Biology Tai Barnett 10
Honors Biology Anna Stanton 10
Honors Biology Christian Schicker 10
Japanese II Lauren Scott 10
Medical Terminology Maralee Dakolios 10
Medical Terminology Robert Linde 10
Physical Education Savannah Metz 10
Social Studies Meghan Jackson 10
Spanish II Ryan Krout 10
Spanish II Miles Roberts 10
Spanish IV Steven Salazar 10
Algebra I Alexis Maniscalco 9
Algebra I Owen Jenkins 9
American Sign Language Kimberly Kanning 9
AP World History Emma Hein 9
Biology Maggie Hungerford 9
Biology Anna Sharp 9
Biology Braelyn Higdon 9
Biology Jalen Watts 9
Biology Kaitlyn Eck 9
Biology Anthony Esse 9
Chemistry Brendon Moen 9
CTE - Computer Apps. Levi Collins 9
CTE - Computer Apps. Emily McNeale 9
CTE - FACSE Kevin Klackner 9
CTE - FACSE Kyel Fisher 9
CTE - Intro Drafting Matthew Norvell 9
CTE - Metal Arts Giovonie Gallamore 9
English Jalen Watts 9
English Katherine Boon 9
English Andrea Gonzalez 9
English Alex Wilmoth 9
English Rebekah Muir 9
English Rebekah Schilling 9
English Julianne Ramme 9
Fine Arts - Art Anna Stanton 9
Fine Arts - Choir Jessie Larson 9
Fine Arts - Drama Samantha Eakins 9
Geometry Braelyn Higdon 9
German I Jeanine Jones 9
Honors Biology Marcus Bennett 9
Honors Biology Phoebe Walker 9
Honors Biology Emma Hein 9
Honors English Josh Hight 9
Japanese I Matthew Norvell 9
Medical Terminology Jared Davis 9
Physical Education Alexis Maniscalco 9
Physical Education Alec Langen 9
Social Studies Robert Wayper 9
Social Studies Austin Evans 9
Social Studies Luke Olson 9
Social Studies Kyel Fisher 9
Spanish I Tessa Anderson 9
Spanish I Andrea Gonzalez 9
Spanish I Josh Hight 9

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rotary Scholar of the Month for March 2015: Brooke Otto

Brooke Otto was selected as the Camas Washougal Rotary Scholar of the Month for March 2015.  Brooke is a sophomore at Washougal High School and has a GPA of 3.683.  Linda Barnes, CTE teacher, says Brooke is “cheerful, conscientious, and very positive” and adds that she is a “good influence on her peers.”  Her history teacher, Jeff Condon, describes Brooke as “always smiling and kind to her peers.”

Brooke’s Geometry teacher, Karen Wysaske, relates that “Brooke is an exemplary student and well liked by classmates.  She works hard to keep up and do good work in Geometry.”  She further adds that “She works well with her partner and is always cheerful.  She is eager to share and asks great questions. I really enjoy having her in class!”    Brooke is the daughter of Corey and Terri Otto.  Congratulations, Brooke!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hathaway Fifth Graders Enjoy Lesson in Etiquette

Hathaway Elementary fifth grade girls had the chance to learn and practice good table manners with a special field trip for lunch to Hearth Wood Oven Bistro in Washougal on February 25.  The experience was a part of the Young Women in Action (YWIA) program, sponsored and staffed by the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club.

“The girls were all very excited to participate,” said Meridee Pabst, Rotary’s YWIA coordinator.  “They had fun getting dressed up and practicing what they had learned about restaurant etiquette.”

The lunch began with a silly skit prepared by YWIA adult mentors on what bad manners looks like.  At the table were “Table Manners Menus” that gave the girls tips such as laying your napkin on your lap, bringing bites of food to your mouth and to how to lay your fork and knife in the "finished" position on your plate.  “We wanted to leave the girls with a feeling of confidence that they know what to expect and how to conduct themselves at a nice restaurant,” Pabst explained.  “This was the first time some of them had been in this type of setting.  Sometimes it can be confusing to even know which water glass is yours or how to use a table knife.” Each girl was also supplied a dollar bill to leave as a tip.

The menu, prepared by Hearth owner, David Garcia and served by Will Callaway, included salad, chicken and pasta and bacon wrapped dates for dessert. “David offered the dates for dessert to help the girls expand their palate and try something that they may never have tried before,” Pabst said.  “We are very grateful to David for opening up for us at a time when the restaurant is usually closed.”

"What the Rotary is doing, mentoring these young girls, is really great and I think we will all be better in the future for their efforts.  I was proud to be a part of it," said Garcia.  "I hope the girls had an appreciation of what Hearth is about and how to enjoy a dining experience. They seemed very happy and eager to learn about appropriate behavior based on the environment that one finds themselves in."

“I thought it was a lot of fun to get dressed up and go out with friends that I usually just see at school,” said Hathaway fifth grader, Jocelyn Bowman.  “We got to visit at our table and I learned some things about some of the girls that I had not known.”  Bowman also gained more appreciation for no technology at the table in public.  “It is rude to talk loudly on a cell phone in a restaurant,” she pointed out.  “And besides, you want to talk to friends and family at the table with you.”

As a follow up, the girls convene in small groups to talk about what they enjoyed and learned.  One member takes notes of the discussion and another is chosen to present their thoughts to the entire group.  “This carries on the lessons to working as a team and practicing public speaking,” Pabst said.

YWIA is a free, eight-week program for all Hathaway fifth grade girls that focuses on development of life skills such as friendship, health, hygiene, career, manners, etiquette, and “envision your life” exercises, while being fun and age-appropriate.  “The program also provides them an opportunity to get to know and interact with peers who are not in their circle of friends,” Pabst explained.  “It all fits neatly into the school week on Wednesday afternoons, when school dismisses early.”

Another highly anticipated field trip will be on March 11 to the Manning Academy of Cosmetology to review basic hygiene and personal care and provide each student with a self-esteem boosting hair style makeover.

Other sessions include learning about relationships and trust, money management, careers, nutrition and exercise.  The program ends with a farewell celebration in which the girls practice social skills they have learned, receive a photo of themselves and friends they made during the program, certificates, flowers and cake.  “We hope this program becomes a much-loved part of their Wednesday routine and a fondly remembered part of their final year in elementary school,” Pabst said.

Young Women in Action, and its boys’ counterpart Young Men in Action which begins in April, are always looking for passionate, dedicated volunteers from the community. The programs are paid for by the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club and are made possible with the help of local organizations who make donations, provide special pricing, or facilitate field trips to their businesses. Participation in Rotary is not a requirement to be part of the programs. To get involved, either as a sponsor or mentor please visit and click on the YMIA/YWIA link at the top of the page.

Rotary International is a service organization with over 1.2 million members in more than 160 countries. The Camas-Washougal Rotary meets at 7 am on Thursdays at Orchard Hills Golf and Country Club, 605 39th St., Washougal, WA 98671. For more club information visit

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WHS Wrestlers Win at State 2A Championship

Washougal Panther Wrestlers competed at the Tacoma Dome last weekend to show what they were made of.  Congratulations to: Abby Lees, who took first place and and Zach Oster who finished second.

Also finishing strong for the girls were Yanelli Martinez in fourth place and Jessica Eakins with a seventh place finish. Overall the girl's team took eighth place at State. Congratulations to the entire boys and girls wrestling teams as well as coaches, staff and parents for a great season. Read more about the state 2A championships in the Columbian.

Rotary Scholar of the Month for February 2015: Rebecca (Millie) Munster

Rebecca (Millie) Munster was selected as the Camas Washougal Rotary Scholar of the Month for January 2015.  Millie is a sophomore at Washougal High School and has a GPA of 3.87.  Jeff Condon, Millie’s AP US History Teacher, shares that “She wants to understand why things happened, how they happened, the impact they had…” and that she “has a strong work ethic that serves her well.”   Geometry Teacher Karen Wysaske adds that “Millie does Geometry well, showing and explaining her thinking.  Her work is neat and clear.  She is dedicated to her success.”

Millie’s Spanish Teacher, Rochelle Aiton, describes her as “an athletic, intelligent and determined student.”  She further says “When she sets her mind to a task she accomplishes it with tenacity.”  Biology Teacher Pauline Rule also sees great characteristics in Millie.  She says “Millie is an outstanding all-around student. Intelligent, hard-working, respectful, polite, and fun!”  She adds that Millie “Enjoys learning and her fine mind is always working ahead...she is the quintessential student who will ask the question that is a segue into the next topic.”  Millie is the daughter of Armando and Natalie Rivas. Congratulations Millie!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Students Ditch Candy and Chips for Healthy Snacks in Sodexo Future Chef Challenge

While healthy eating can be a challenge for kids and parents, elementary school students in Washougal & Camas School Districts will use their creativity and culinary skills to make healthy, after-school snacks in nutrition partner and Quality of Life Services provider Sodexo’s 2015 Future Chefs Challenge. The national initiative, which is in its fifth year, was created to get students thinking about making healthy food choices while also encouraging them to get active and creative in the kitchen. Washougal & Camas School Districts  students are joining over 2,500 other students representing over 1,000 Sodexo-served school sites in 29 states nationally in this fun and educational challenge.

Students from nine elementary schools submitted healthy, after-school snack recipes and the 15 best recipes were selected to participate in the district-wide finals event. Finalists will prepare and present their creations before being assessed on criteria including originality, taste, ease of presentation, kid friendliness and use of healthy ingredients. Washougal & Camas School Districts joins approximately 230 other school districts across the country holding Future Chefs events throughout February and March. The winning student from each participating district will be considered for regional finalist awards, and the selected regional finalists will vie to become one of five national finalists competing for the public’s vote on a special Future Chefs YouTube channel.

Sodexo, a partner in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to end childhood obesity, is committed to taking measurable sustainable actions that ensure a brighter future in the areas of health and wellness, environmental stewardship and community development. The Future Chefs program is one of the many ways Sodexo shares its health and well-being expertise with the clients, customers and communities it serves.

The Challenge will take place on Friday March 6, 2015 from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM, at Washougal High School, 1201 39th St. Washougal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rotary Scholar of the Month for January 2015: Joshua Stout

Joshua Stout was selected as the Camas Washougal Rotary Scholar of the Month for January 2015.  Joshua is a sophomore at Washougal High School and has a GPA of 3.950.  Marcee Salas, Joshua’s English Teacher, describes him as “hard working, polite, and an overall great student.”  Salas further adds that “he always turns in every assignment and is a major contributor to class discussions.”

Brian Eggleston, Joshua’s Spanish Teacher, adds that “Josh has a natural spirit of inquiry that I would love to see in more students; he enjoys learning new concepts and practicing them in speaking, reading, writing, and listening, and he asks thoughtful questions to deepen his skills and knowledge.”  Eggleston notes that “he also works well with any partner I select for him, and brings a consistently positive attitude and strong work ethic that I know others appreciate too.  He stands out as an avid learner with a bright future.”  Eggleston also adds that “I can also tell that his efforts and attitude in class are a mirror of his work outside of the classroom too, where he strives through self-discipline and helping others to become a better person each day.  From what I know of Joshua, I am confident that he richly deserves this award and is an ideal example for other youths to follow in many ways.”

Geometry Teacher Karen Wysaske says “Josh is one of the hardest working students I have ever had.  He perseveres no matter how challenging the problems are.”  In her work with Joshua she has found that “he comes in frequently to check his understanding, ask questions, and to complete work,” and that “he takes his time and meticulously shows his work to demonstrate his understanding in Geometry.”  Joshua is the son of Harley and Sierra Stout.  Congratulations Joshua!