Alumni News

CG named U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School – read the story and watch TV news clip

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78 winning schools in 29 states and D.C. represent a diverse portfolio, includes 66 public and 12 private schools in urban and rural communities

Scroll down to watch KGW-TV news story featuring Catlin Gabel

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, together with White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson, announced today that Catlin Gabel School, in Portland, Oregon, is among 78 schools named U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. Oregon is among 29 states and D.C. with schools receiving the first-ever awards.

Four schools in Oregon received the award. In addition to Catlin Gabel, Portland’s Sunnyside Environmental School, Willamina Elementary School, and Gladstone High School were honored.

Catlin Gabel’s focus on sustainability extends from the classroom to its grounds and facilities. The school has had an aim since 2007 of generating zero waste, and every year has brought new initiatives—including a school garden and extensive composting—that has brought it closer to that goal.

“Science and environmental education play a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education that prepares them for the jobs of the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of the ways schools can expand their coursework while also helping children build real world skill sets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments.”

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition program that opened in September 2011. Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating “green” environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st-century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.

The 78 awarded schools were named winners of this one-year recognition from among nearly 100 nominees submitted by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education. More than 350 schools completed applications to their state education agencies. Among the list of winners are 66 public schools including 8 charters, and 12 private schools composed of 43 elementary, 31 middle and 26 high schools with around 50 percent representing high poverty schools.

Chris Skrapits selected assistant coach of the year

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Congratulations, Chris! You make us proud.

The Oregon Athletic Coaches Association has selected eighth grade science teacher and ace cross-country coach Chris Skrapits as the assistant coach of the year in Oregon for all sports categories in the 3A classification.

PE teacher and coach John Hamilton submitted this nomination:

Chris came to Catlin Gabel in 1996. He had been a cross-country runner during high school and college. Not long after starting to work on our campus he connected with me to see if he could participate in our team workouts. He became a frequent participant in many of our on campus sessions, and eventually began to join us for trail runs.

In 2004 we lost our assistant coach, and invited Chris to become an official part of our program. He was more than ready, and eagerly accepted the offer. Having him become a permanent member of our [coaching] staff has proved to be a huge boost to the program on many levels. He helps me organize the overview of the full season training schedule. He in charge of all our team warm-up drills prior to all training and racing sessions. This means his voice is the only one that the racers hear as they enter the chute on race day. He has continued to be an active participant in most of our training sessions and leads all the abdominal work at the end of each training session. I will ask him to step out of a session when I need his help with timing, or watching for form and tactical adjustments we might want to make. The entire team loves the energy, enthusiasm, knowledge, experience, and the joy he brings to the team.

During the eight years Chris has been with the team we have grown from 24 participants to 38, a 55% increase. More than 14% of Upper School students are on the cross-country team. During Chris’ tenure as assistant coach, the program has achieved a level of success that we had never before experienced. The team won seven out of eight district titles. Racing in Eugene at LCC, the Catlin Gabel team has finished in the top two for consecutive years, runners-up four times, and state champions four times.

 

Collins Foundation awards $200,000 for Creative Arts Center

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A big step closer to goal!

We are proud to announce that the Collins Foundation grant of $200,000 brings the total raised for the Middle and Upper School arts building to $4.27 million, or 62 percent of our total $6.9 million goal.

“The community support for this project is exhilarating,” said Lark Palma. “As one of the premier foundations in Oregon, the Collins Foundation’s endorsement of our quest to provide an innovative hub for creativity is most gratifying.”

The school must raise $1.25 million more to reach the magic 80 percent mark when we can break ground.

Stay tuned!

Read the article in the Oregonian.
 

Dan Griffiths selected to lead Upper School

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Letter from Lark Palma, head of school

I am thrilled to announce that Daniel Griffiths, PhD, is our next head of the Upper School. Dan, who is currently the US assistant head and dean of students, was selected with my full support and the unanimous support of the search committee.
 
Since joining the Catlin Gabel faculty as a science teacher in 2007, Dan has emerged as a skilled and visionary leader, energetic advocate for students, persuasive public speaker, innovative teacher, and superb colleague.
 
Dan stood out among a stellar pool of candidates from across the nation for the position of Upper School head. His Cambridge and Oxford training in behavioral science and education align with his natural leadership skills to make him a first-rate observer and evidence-based decision-maker. He is the right person to lead the Upper School.
 
 “I am overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from this community of great families, students, and colleagues,” said Dan. “I am excited by the challenge of implementing the new US schedule, nurturing the Knight Family Scholars Program and other innovations, and demonstrating the excellence of the Upper School. I look forward to working with faculty, students, parents, and alumni in my new role.”
 
Please join me in congratulating Dan and thanking the search committee members: Kate Grant, Barbara Ostos, Lauren Reggero-Toledano, Bob Sauer, Peter Shulman, Tony Stocks, and Miranda Wellman.
 
Best,
Lark

Tuition on the Track photo gallery

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The inaugural Tuition on the Track walkathon for financial aid was a huge success by every measure. Students of all ages, faculty-staff, alumni, and parents came together to walk, run, skip, talk, laugh, boogie, and pledge donations in support of our school. We surpassed the $25,000 goal with donations still coming in. Once calculations are complete, we'll share the final total.  

Thank you, sponsors: Twist Frozen Yogurt Lounge, the Portland Knee Clinic, Lamer Edwards Interiors, James E. John Construction, Sports Medicine Oregon, Frito Lay, and Hotlips Pizza.

Thank you, organizing committee and all seniors, for giving us the gift of your can-do spirit, sense of fun, and deep commitment to Catlin Gabel. We have no doubt you started a tradition!

If you were inspired by this incredible community event, please make a direct gift to Tuition on the Track. All gifts made to the walkathon support the Annual Fund designated to financial aid.

Tuition on the Track triumphs

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BRAVO!

The inaugural Tuition on the Track walkathon for financial aid was a huge success by every measure. Students of all ages, faculty-staff, alumni, and parents came together to walk, run, skip, talk, laugh, boogie, and pledge donations in support of our school. We surpassed the $25,000 goal with donations still coming in. Once calculations are complete, we'll share the final total.  

Thank you, sponsors: Twist Frozen Yogurt Lounge, the Portland Knee Clinic, Lamer Edwards Interiors, James E. John Construction, Sports Medicine Oregon, Frito Lay, and Hotlips Pizza.

Thank you, organizing committee and all seniors, for giving us the gift of your can-do spirit, sense of fun, and deep commitment to Catlin Gabel. We have no doubt you started a tradition!

If you were inspired by this incredible community event, please make a direct gift to Tuition on the Track. All gifts made to the walkathon support the Annual Fund designated to financial aid.

This letter from the event organizers reflects the enthusiasm everyone felt.

Dearest Class of 2012,

Wow. Tuition on the Track was absolutely amazing. And we couldn¹t have done it without you. Before adding in food profits, sponsors, per-lap pledges, and Twist's donations, and we will keep you posted with the numbers as they come, we are already above our goal of $25,000!!! So, the biggest THANK YOU goes out to all of you. Thank you thank you thank you. Everyone participated, everyone did their jobs perfectly, and we had FABULOUS SPIRIT. We could not be more pleased with how this event was run and how everything came to be.

It does need to be said, though, that many of you stood out for your extraordinary work during this process. For some, it was jumping off the stairs and running laps with firsties, punching holes or serving food for hours, or creating age-appropriate music options during your busy lives. But Tuition on the Track simply could not have taken place without the diligence and dedication of the core committee. Together, Lauren, Logan, Jared, Cydney, Taylor, Qiddist, Lizzie, Grant, Sarah, and Julianne have worked since last spring on logo designs, logistical organization, middle and lower school communications, food, activities, sponsors, setup, and incredible moral support, among other jobs. This crew is absolutely phenomenal.

Thank you hole punchers, thank you food team, thank you attendance, thank you music, thank you jazz band, thank you dance club, thank you captains, thank you committee members, thank you set up and clean up crew, thank you track and field trip participants, thank you ALL!!!!! It was a fantastic day (with SUNNNNN) and we hope all of you had some fun out there.... Especially with our firstees. Pretty special and memorable day!!

Also, thank you to all who have pledged!

Again, we are so so sooo impressed and we wanted to say that we have a pretty darn special class.

If you have any additional comments or questions, let us know.

Oh my goodness, we cannot say thank you enough!

Love
Kate and Brooke

 

Freshman Violeta Alvarez chairing citywide youth summit against violence

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Freshman Violeta Alvarez is chairing the 2012 citywide youth summit against violence on April 21. She and her sister, junior Perla Alvarez, are active members of the Multnomah Youth Commission, which advises the county and city of Portland on issues that impact the lives of young people.

The first part of the summit is for youth only to caucus, build community, and consider youth driven policy recommendations. Invited elected officials and community leaders are welcome between 2:15 and 3:45 p.m. to listen to youth’s stories of violence and engage young people in dialogue about how youth and adults can take steps to reduce violence in the community.

The goals of the summit are to:

Provide resources for youth to deal with violence they experienced and/ or currently experience in their lives

Inform policy makers with the experiences youth face regarding violence and provide potential policy recommendations to be considered

Educate youth and adults about Our Bill of Rights: Children and Youth and the importance of its implementation into all decision making arenas in the community

Bring diverse youth from across the region together to share ideas and experiences regarding violence and build a youth movement for social change

» Link to more information about the summit

» Link to Oregonian article
 

CatlinSpeak named best online high school newspaper

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The Upper School newspaper, CatlinSpeak, finished in first place in the best website category for the 2012 Edward R. Murrow High School Journalism Awards Competition. Junior Fiona Noonan won 3rd place in the best column category.

Each year, the competition recognizes the best student journalists at high schools in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Alaska. This year the committee received dozens of entries from high schools across the region. Washington State University sponsors the competition.

» Check out the current issue of CatlinSpeak

» Read Fiona's award-winning article

Robotics team qualifies for world championship

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Congratulations, Flaming Chickens!

The Flaming Chickens robotics team won both the field competition and the top honor, the Chairman's Award, at regionals in Oklahoma City. They will compete for the international title in St. Louis April 26–28.  The video below is part of that Chairman's submission.

Experiential week photo gallery

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Winterim, Breakaway, and Experiential Week

First through 12th graders spent one rainy, snowy, sunny week in March exploring a range of subjects and places. Catlin Gabel was on the go from learning to knit, sail, and sew to sailing, hiking, urban adventuring, and solving mysteries!

Photos provided by trip leaders and chaperones. Thanks!

Click on any photo to enlarge image and start the slide show.

Giving Back

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A new fund honors and remembers a beloved alumnus, RIck Fordyce '86

From the Winter 2011-12 Caller

Rick was a man who lived with intention. He went with the twists and turns like the rest of us, but he was always different. From the time we met in middle school, we all saw that. Catlin Gabel gave him the freedom to be himself, and he went for it. After school here he lived his life fully and literally inhaled the world . . . he took as much knowledge and music and art and as many people as he could into his life. He did not waste a minute.” – Friend and classmate Stephanie Sherwood ’86
 
Richard Anthony Fordyce ’86 was born May 23, 1968, in Portland. He entered Catlin Gabel in 7th grade and joined the Portland Youth Philharmonic Symphony as a first violinist. At Catlin Gabel he excelled in theater, arts, music, and science, graduating in 1986 as a National Merit Scholar. In 1990 he graduated from Brown University, magna cum laude, as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, with departmental honors. Rick received his JD in 1998 from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin, where he was a member of the Texas International Law Journal and a recipient of the Robert S. Strauss Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law. Rick served as intern in 1996 for the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio, Texas. He began his practice as an attorney with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where he specialized in commercial litigation and appeals. He participated in trials and performed extensive research and writing, including numerous legal articles. His friends and family admired his amazing brilliance, great courage, strength, and infectious enthusiasm for life. A gifted musician who loved all kinds of music, Rick played many instruments and performed and composed in diverse styles. His passion for music and encyclopedic knowledge led to a huge vinyl library and CD collection. (Photo at right: Rick Fordyce '86 & Adam Furchner '86)
 
“Of all the education he received, his experience at Catlin Gabel was the most important and profound. This place meant the world to him.” – Rick’s father, Donald Fordyce
 
On Boxing Day, December 26, 2011, Rick died after a two-year battle with cancer. His wife, Emily Stewart Fordyce, and his parents, Nancy Ann and Donald Fordyce, survive him. In mid December Rick asked to have his memorial service at Catlin Gabel, with four classmates chosen by him to plan his service. On January 7, classmates, friends, former teachers, and family filled the Cabell Center Theater, remembering him as a gentle man with a brilliant mind. His delightfully whimsical humor and the sense of joy and wonder with which he greeted each moment were gifts he shared with all. His generosity of spirit surrounded all with warmth and kindness—he would point out what was so wonderful about any given moment and hold it up for all to see.
 
To honor Rick’s life, his parents have established an endowed fund named the Richard Anthony Fordyce ’86 Memorial Scholarship Fund. They want to ensure that Rick’s name remains connected to Catlin Gabel in perpetuity, and that students like Rick have the opportunity to thrive just as he did here.  

 

 

A Grove in Your Pocket

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Ken Tomita '96's company builds unique cases for iPhones and iPads

From the Winter 2011-12 Caller

The coolest little phone and iPad cases around, no exception, are made by Grove, the small company started by Ken Tomita ’96 and a friend less than two years ago. These bamboo cases, made by hand in Portland, feature laser-etched designs on beautifully finished pieces, glowing with natural oils. The designs range from trees, to sea creatures, to Yellow Submarines, to abstractions. People are nuts about them.
 
For four years before Grove became a reality, Ken successfully designed and built custom furniture. When he moved to a new workshop his future partner, designer Joe Mansfield, lived across the street. They struck up a friendship and spent time tossing a football around on the street and talking about design, their passions, and their ideas. Out of those catches and tosses, the Grove bamboo case was born.
 
“We actually didn’t put much thought into it or formulate a business plan. Sometimes instinct is the best way to go,” says Ken. “Both Joe and I were already successful entrepreneurs, so the risks of starting a business did not scare us. Our previous experiences were key to our success at Grove.” They take great pride that all aspects of their business are done in house: manufacture, shipping, website, marketing, and more. Today their shop employs 23 people, and they are hiring more. Ken’s brother Yuji Tomita ’05 has been with Grove since the beginning as web and software designer. One of their mottos: “We do whatever it takes to make the most bad-ass product possible.”
 
After nine months of development, Grove’s very first product failed. “Instead of pouting about it we saw it as a learning experience and rocked it on the next one,” says Ken. “The key to success is not talent but rather hard work and a positive attitude. We have a culture here at Grove where instead of focusing on the inevitable problems that arise and pointing fingers at one another, we focus on the solutions and work together as a team to get better.” Ken plans to diversify and add more non-Apple items to Grove’s line, many of which will be lifestyle-oriented. “Our team and principles are strong, and we are capable of anything,” he says.
 
“The value we add to the world in terms of jobs and our lifestyles is something I didn’t consider when we first started,” says Ken. “What I am most proud of is the company we have created, rather than our products.”  

 

An Indie Bookstore at the Heart of its Community

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Brad Smith '74 left a familiar life to own Paulina Springs Books in Central Oregon

 From the Winter 2011-12 Caller

For 25 years, Brad Smith ’73 was thoroughly engaged in his position as manager of the Community Food Co-Op in Bellingham, Washington. During a time when the worlds of natural foods and organic agriculture grew exponentially, Brad saw this member-owned business grow just as quickly. He had loved the intimacy and personal sense of accomplishment of the co-op’s early years, but that grew harder to attain when the staff expanded five-fold.
 
When the 2000s rolled around, Brad realized that it was time for a change. His work didn’t provide what it did before, his partner Randi was aching to relocate, and he wanted to be closer to his father, who had developed Parkinson’s and lived in Bend. They took the plunge, and moved to Bend.
 
Brad considered starting or buying a business. When he found out in 2003 that Paulina Springs Books in Sisters was up for sale, he had to consider some significant drawbacks, including its insufficient revenue, its location away from Bend, and the advent of the digital publishing revolution. He made his decision—to buy the bookstore. He had a personal affinity for the business and recognized its integrity, and he believed in the value of literature and literacy.
 
“The biggest positive element was the degree to which the bookstore was an engaged member of the community,” he says. “It took me back to the early days of the co-op. People coming in the store knew one another and knew the staff. This is not a good measure for selecting a livelihood, but in terms of how to spend the hours of one’s life, I feel it’s a pretty good one.”
 
Brad opened a second location, closer to Bend in Redmond, in 2007. The biggest challenge of making a move like Brad and Randi did was losing the relationships they had built in Bellingham. But he found that owning the bookstores quickly integrated him into his new towns: he’s served on civic boards in both Redmond and Sisters, and in addition he serves the broader community on the board of directors of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association.
 
Independent bookstores have lost a large part of their market to Amazon and digital publishing. Brad says he is scrambling to re-invent the business so it can stay viable, and he’s not sure what the future holds. But he’s thankful for the rewards that lie in the kinds of personal interactions that small bookstores foster. “I get to know people—young and old, rich and poor— outside of my inner circle of relationships,” he says. “The relationships are not deep, but they’re real, and they evolve.”  

 

Alumni News, Winter 2011-12

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From the Winter 2011-12 Caller

A Resiliency Builder: Peter Chaille ’98 and his Tatoosh School

This issue of the Caller highlights resiliency, and we explore how it manifests in our alumni. Peter Chaille ’98 is lighting up the world with purpose as a Catlin Gabel “alumniary” (luminary alumnus!). Peter has drawn upon his experience as a student in outdoor education at Catlin Gabel to establish the Tatoosh School, which creates transformative learning experiences through field-based instruction and exploration. The school is part of a growing network of people and institutions committed to education and community in southeast Alaska. Tatoosh students earn college credits in ecology and policy during their six weeks taking part in an expedition, sea kayaking, camping in the backcountry, and exploring Alaska. They learn about the landscape of the Inside Passage, from why totem poles are carved to how a mountainside of timber was cut, and what the mountain looks like now. Peter says that participants forge lasting friendships, gain leadership skills to build on, and leave charting new adventures. We are proud of Peter!

Your School. Your History. Your Lifelong Community.

The results from the alumni services survey are in! We are pleased to announce that 30% of our alumni participated in the survey, with representation from each decade starting with the class of 1936!
• 58% stay in touch with faculty
• 75% feel the emphasis on grades was just right when they were students
• Class trips, Rummage Sale, and St. George and the Dragon were the three most-loved traditions
• The Caller and alumni emails are preferred communications from the school
• 96% listed financial aid as an area they would support if they had unlimited funds
• 35% live less than 25 miles from the school; 34% live over 1,000 miles away
• 84% selected as very important to them Catlin Gabel’s highly capable faculty, a tradition of knowing and understanding the individual student, and sense of community
 
Thank you for this feedback. This information helps us better understand our alumni, so we can continue to adjust our program and make it better. We look forward to continuing our connection with you.
 

LET CREATIVITY BLOOM!

A panel discussion in February explored creativity in education and in the lives of our alumni and families. Panelists in this Esther Dayman Strong lecture were alumni Peter Bromka ’00, product and marketing strategy, Orchestra.com, Riley Gibson ’04, co-founder and CEO of crowdsourcing platform Napkin Labs, Michael Mandiberg ’96, interdisciplinary artist, College of Staten Island/ CUNY; parents of alumni Dr. William Long, who fundamentally reorganized trauma care at Legacy Emanuel Hospital, and Sherrie Wolf, noted Pacific Northwest painter and printmaker; current parent Dr. Brian Druker, developer of a revolutionary anticancer drug, Knight Cancer Center, OHSU; and moderator Denise Mullen, new president of the Oregon College of Art and Craft. The panel honored parent of alumni and former CGS staff member Joan Shipley.
 
Lauren Dully '91, alumni and community relations program director
Susie Greenebaum '05, alumni board president