'I can confidently say you have become a lifesaver to a lot of our kids.' -Canby High School Principal Greg Dinse

PHOTO COURTESY OF HEATHER SPARKS - Jodi Gelder (left) receives the February CARE Award. Also pictured are Marilyn Wood (of Kiwanis), Superintendent Trip Goodall and CHS Principal Greg Dinse.

Each month, Canby Kiwanis and Canby School District honor a district staff member with the Canby Area Recognition of Excellence Award. February's recipient Jodi Gelder, an academic specialist at Canby High School, was nominated by one of her students.

"It's interesting, sometimes the nomination comes from a parent, sometimes it's from a community member, sometimes it's from an administrator," Superintendent Trip Goodall said at the February school board meeting. "And then, we often get a nomination from a student, and when we get the student nomination, I think it really, really says a lot about the rapport that that adult has with the kids that she's working with in this case."

Canby Kiwanis, whose mission is to serve the children of Canby, established the CARE Award to provide a monthly opportunity to recognize individual teachers, counselors, coaches and other school staff who make a difference in the lives of others and in the community. The recipients are decided by a CARE committee made up of members from Kiwanis and the community, who review the nominations and make the selection.

The committee selected Gelder because of her specialized, dedicated and effective work at Canby High. At the board meeting, Principal Greg Dinse offered some insight into Gelder's work as the teacher of a small group program and he thanked her for her efforts.

"I can confidently say you have become a lifesaver to a lot of our kids," Dinse said. "One of the things that you see, we build a big comprehensive high school and it's a system that's meeting the needs of most kids. But there are honestly some students that just don't fit into that niche, and unfortunately in many high schools, those kids fall by the wayside and they drop out. Jodi grabs those kids before they drop out and provides them not only a good academic education that gets them all to graduation (which is just amazing, if you want to see somebody who has got a phenomenal graduation rate, see what Jodi does with these kids), but you teach them the life lessons that you really need to learn to be successful in life.

"So Jodi, hats off to you," he added. "No one else could deserve this award more than you do."

Gelder also received a plaque and rewards from local businesses in recognition of her efforts. Local sponsors of the CARE Award include Canby Kiwanis, Columbia Bank, DirectLink, Wild Hare, Backstop Bar & Grill, Rice Time, Gwynn's Coffeehouse, Human Bean and Cutsforth's Thriftway.

To nominate someone for the CARE Award, nomination forms can be found on the district's website at

Kristen Wohlers
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