Milwaukie soars in Portland tall club
Two women with strong ties to Milwaukie have reached new heights through the Portland Skyliners Tall Club, a nonprofit social club with a minimum height of 5-foot-10-inches for women and 6-foot-2-inches for men.
Olivia Cooley, a 6-foot-3 graduate of La Salle Prep in unincorporated Milwaukie, recently was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Portland Skyliners Tall Club. Meanwhile, the reigning queen of Miss Tall Portland 2019 is 5-foot-11 Milwaukie resident Cher Ausmann-Moreno, former chair of the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association.
Cooley, who graduated from La Salle this spring, is pursuing a double major in pre-law and theater at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Her favorite role as an actor at La Salle was playing Mrs. Gibbs in the school's November 2018 production of "Our Town." She prided herself for having designed and built the school's set for British comedy "Noises Off" this February.
In seeking the scholarship, Cooley wrote an essay to the Skyliners discussing how she was disappointed that ankle injuries sidelined her dreams of playing varsity basketball and volleyball.
Eventually, discovering her talents in theater overshadowed the various disadvantages of height, such as ill-fitting pants and crammed airline seats.
"My tomboy personality, courtesy of growing up with two brothers, made me the ideal candidate for a number of male roles," she wrote. "Without those parts, I would never have discovered theater, and without my height, I may not have gotten such incredible roles."
As an active member of the school's speech and debate team, Cooley won awards in impromptu, informative and radio categories. She had a perfect grade-point average and was known for helping her classmates and volunteering in the community.
"It has been said that Olivia took La Salle by storm, and I would have to agree," school counselor Renee Giesemann wrote in a recommendation letter.
Cooley participated in Portland Plunge, a weeklong immersion program where high school students learn about homelessness and poverty in the Portland area while volunteering. She stayed in a Northeast Portland facility with 25 other youth. St. Vincent de Paul was Cooley's favorite volunteer job, because it was a family affair; she has been putting together and delivering food boxes since she was 5 years old.
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