Introducing Park Academy's 2020 graduates
Park Academy 2020 graduates will receive their diplomas today.
The small nonprofit school located on South Shore Boulevard in Lake Oswego, was founded in 2005 by Piper Park to address diverse learning challenges, including dyslexia, and help students reach their highest potential.
This year's class embodies that goal, with plans that range from entrepreneurial endeavors and computer science to environmental science and real estate.
Childs first enrolled at Park Academy for summer school after fifth grade. That experience made such a positive impression on him that he enrolled full time for sixth grade, and has been at Park Academy ever since. He appreciated being able to get help when needed. Although there have been some changes through the years, they've been for the better.
Childs' favorite memories center around Mr. Morrison's history classes and his funniest memory involves Mr. Morrison himself and an incident that occurred on the high school bowling trip. Mr. Morrison walked down the bowling lane to retrieve a bowling ball that was stuck in the gutter. Who knew how slippery the lane would be and how upset the management would be? Mr. Devers captured the moment in a picture that has become a favorite of the class of 2020. Childs' hobbies are centered in the outdoors. He enjoys fishing, camping, target practice and golf. His favorite sport is BMX and downhill riding. An accomplished mechanic, Childs enjoys working on his truck and spending time with his friends in outdoor activities.
He says attending Park Academy has been central to his graduating high school. He plans to explore his options and eventually own his own business, probably in one of several trades that he is interested in. He would like to be remembered for his outstanding ability to be on time (almost) everyday.
Favorite book: "Sunrise over Fallujah" by Walter Dean Myer
Eli Cummins-Mikkalson has attended Park Academy for three years. During this time, he has experienced an ever strengthening academic program which has prepared him for college and his future endeavors. He has enjoyed the challenge of these high academic standards and feels he has benefitted, particularly in the math and sciences, with Dr. Mart and Ms. Hussain, respectively. He appreciates being more comfortable and experienced with assistive technology, which he has used extensively in his English class with Mr. Devers. Increased access to tools such as Learning Ally and Grammarly, to name a few, have increased his access to learning and the application of new skills. Cummins-Mikkalson believes that this experience has enhanced his current college level Math 111 class, taught at Park Academy as a dual credit with Portland Community College, and his college classes in the future.
Some of his favorite memories are of the bowling trips and in particular, the one where Mr. Morrison went down the lane to retrieve a bowling ball. Eli was also active in student government, taking a leadership role in the planning of prom, service learning and school excursions, some of which had to be canceled for this spring unfortunately.
Outside of school, Eli participated in several marine based programs during his summers in high school. In the Caribbean, he learned to sail, crewing on a large sailboat and earned multiple scuba certifications culminating in his designation as a certified dive master and instructor.
For Cummins-Mikkalson, the most notable experience was his first summer abroad when he went to Fiji and lived in a small village. He learned firsthand about tribal government, along with traditional farming and fishing methods, and the positive impact these practices made on the island environment. Traveling abroad has helped him develop his leadership skills and gain a broader, global perspective on life.
Next fall, he will be attending Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida where he plans to study business and minor in finance and international business.
This summer he will be involved in a virtual seminar offered through Eckerd College on the COVID-19 Pandemic. Cummins-Mikkalson's future goal is to become an entrepreneur, like his parents, uncles and grandfather. He has gained valuable firsthand experience by talking with and learning from his family, and respects the courage it takes to become an entrepreneur. He would like to be remembered at Park Academy as a leader and someone who takes pride in his work.
Favorite Book: "The Stranger," by Albert Camus, that he read in Mr. Morrison's philosophy class
Andrew Husband has attended Park Academy for three and a half years and has had a rich and varied set of experiences that have propelled him towards graduation and college beyond. During this time at Park Academy, he has deepened his passion for science, delved into philosophy and explored a variety of electives from culinary arts to coding.
In art class with Mrs. Fields, he created a variety of projects with the most memorable being his shoe design, complete with a lighted snow course and a sculpture of a life-sized snowboarder made from tree limbs.
Through Park's drama program, he was able to demonstrate his talents through several musical theater productions.
Husband's work as a teacher assistant in PE classes has been appreciated by the teacher, Miss K., and students alike.
He enjoys nature and being in the outdoors. Through the Boy Scouts, he explored far corners of the Northwest, attended the International Jamboree in the UK and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Husband is an avid snowboarder and has competed at the highest levels in the state for the past three years.
Next fall, he will be attending Carroll College, in Helena, Montana. His goal is to fuel his love of science and the outdoors, by pursuing a degree in environmental science. He looks forward to Carroll College and will be cruising the slopes just a short 30 minutes away. He will be remembered for his many contributions to the Park Academy community.
Karen Kobrinsky's first impression of Park Academy was having really good teachers that go out of their way to help students learn and understand the materials. She has really enjoyed being a student at Park Academy and has made lasting friendships here.
While at Park, Kobrinsky has pursued a challenging college preparatory course of study and enjoyed a variety of electives as well. She participated in the theater program and had enjoyed playing different lead characters in "West Side Story" in her sophomore year and "Grease" in her junior year.
Outside of school, Kobrinsky is an avid horseback rider, doing English style and show jumping. She loves her horse, Leo, and enjoys being able to be with him, even during social distancing. She finds horseback riding to be the most amazing and rewarding experience. It requires having to work closely with the horse and building a strong connection between the horse and rider. Her plan for next year is to attend Lake Erie College in Ohio, with the goal of earning a degree in equine assisted therapy. Knowing how horses have helped her throughout life, she would like, in turn, to work in equine assisted therapy to use horses to help others.
Park Academy has helped her to be able to be herself without worrying that people are judging her. Her experience at Park Academy has also helped her develop her time management skills and the confidence to ask for help when needed. She is valued as a skilled teacher assistant in working with students in math classes. Her advice to other students is to not be afraid to ask for help. She would like to be remembered as someone who is hardworking and kind.
Kobrinsky's most inspirational quote: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." Martin Luther King Jr.
Favorite book from high school: "Brave New World," which she found interesting and made her think about what the future might look like.
Dmitry Marcy has attended Park Academy for four years and right from the start, he regarded it as a high achieving school and a great match with his voracious appetite for learning and experiencing new things. Marcy's time at Park Academy has become a pivotal point in his life, providing him with the guidance and preparation to be a college level student, ready to pursue his goals and dreams in the world.
His favorite, and very personal, memory at Park Academy is when he gave a presentation about his Russian heritage to the high school, sharing photographs and memorabilia recently recovered on his grandfather's computer after his passing.
One of his funniest memories was a soccer game in PE. Using his own scoring technique, Marcy would literally throw himself (an apt metaphor for his approach to life) at the ball and land on his back. Although this time, on a bet, he miscalculated and missed the ball completely. He got a turf burn, others got a good laugh and Marcy recalls this experience as his funniest moment.
He enjoyed a variety of school activities, including community service projects, the annual jogathon fundraiser and a few performances with the school band, the highlight being outside, drumming for "1979" with Mr. Morrison cheering him on. He particularly enjoyed his participation in Park Academy's theater productions. He had a lead role in "The Princess Bride" and the musical "Grease," which was capped off by as Frankie Avalon's Teen Angel rendition and a moving solo choral performance of "Beauty School Dropout". He has enriched his studies through the Park Academy practice of encouraging students to begin their transition to college during their final high school years. In fulfilling his PE requirement, he discovered a variety of classes, ranging from indoor cycling to hip-hop dancing. Marcy took a series of music classes over two school years, the most notable being jazz ensemble, performing in a group and providing him a strong basis for his college audition and future college courses.
Marcy's advice to his fellow students is to ask lots of questions, connect with the dedicated Park Academy staff, who offer a wealth of resources and support and to take advantage of all the opportunities available at Park Academy. He encourages future seniors to stay focused, work hard and leap to the finish line, feeling proud of their accomplishments.
Next fall, Marcy will be attending Capilano College in Vancouver, Canada where he will major in jazz studies. Building on his experience as an African percussionist, Marcy will be pursuing his goal of being a professional drummer in a jazz ensemble. He credits his Park Academy experience as playing an integral role in developing into the confident, capable and passionate person he is today. He would like to be remembered as a compassionate, loving and diligent student who took advantage of every opportunity to learn from his teachers and grow as a person. He hopes to be a role model to other students to achieve their own goals, hopes and dreams.
Charlie Niedermeyer attended Park Academy for four years and although he wished it was bigger, he has loved the learning environment and all of the teachers. His favorite subject is history and he has appreciated the way Mr. Morrison always makes it engaging and informative. He has enjoyed what he describes as a relaxing balance at Park Academy, between the academic and personal domains. Likewise, he has enjoyed Mr. Devers calling out students in a caring way and making class fun.
Another class Niedermeyer enjoyed was Mrs. Field's art class and all the various creative projects over the years that ranged from creation of an original mythical creature to an illuminated calligraphy project, following a field trip to Reed College where students had a workshop with a professor and examined handmade books from the Middle Ages. His interest in history and new learning opportunities was deepened on an exciting family trip to Europe last summer. Niedermeyer also has an interest in government, which led him to an internship in the Washington state Legislature where he served as a legislative aide. At Park Academy, he took the lead role on the prom planning committee his junior year. Based on a Hawaiian theme, this was a highly acclaimed Park Academy event where students enjoyed the high school band's performance, a catered Hawaiian luau and other tropical themed activities.
This year, he strengthened the leadership program. His plans for spring events at school, along with a return trip to Europe this summer, has had to be postponed for another time. His advice to fellow students: don't put off your work, get it done and sign up for the earliest presentations! Looking back at his time at Park Academy, Charlie appreciates the development of his accountability skills in his work and commitments.
He will be attending Portland Community College in the fall where he will study real estate with the goal of going into home sales and pursuing a career in property management in the Portland Metropolitan area. Charlie believes he will be remembered at Park Academy as a person that was liked by all, and indeed he will.
Favorite Quote: "In the end it's not the years in your life that count it's the life in your years," by Abraham Lincoln
Favorite Book: "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
During his four years at Park Academy, Phillips has appreciated the consideration given to his learning style, the individualization and differentiation that enabled him to deepen his knowledge and expand his academic interests and skills. He believes that the school has been built on the understanding and efforts of the teachers, and that he has always had great teachers.
They form the basis of his favorite memories: the feasts in Dr. Mart's math classes and the discussions with Mr. Morrison about music. His funniest memory is the news presentations as satire in Mr. Dever's class. Phillips has maintained a very full schedule of activities.
In school, his participation focused on numerous theater productions every year, both on the stage and running the technical components.
Outside of school he is heavily involved in music, committing many years to playing, performing and managing his own band. He has also been involved in Boy Scouts and participating in outdoor adventures. He learned how not to build a snow cave when it collapsed on him while he was trying to sleep.
His advice to future students: push yourselves, as you will only get as much as you want out of your education. His wish for next year's class is that their graduation goes more smoothly than this one, due to COVID-19.
Next year, Phillips will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts where he will be pursuing a major in computer science and a possible minor in music. His goal for the future is to keep on learning. He appreciates Park Academy for allowing him to choose his own path and push himself. He hopes he is remembered as "the guy who did the thing once."
Phillips' favorite quote is from Pink Floyd: "Float on a river forever and ever."
Gibson's favorite book: "Norse Mythology" by Neil Gaiman
Having gone to Park Academy for eight years, Rumsey holds the honor of being the longest attending student from this year's graduating class. The school was much smaller when he started in 4th grade and a few teachers have moved on, but he has liked all of his teachers through the years.
His most memorable experiences have been both in the classroom and on the playfield, where he always enjoys a game of dodgeball. In addition to his core subjects, Rumsey has taken a variety of electives that include culinary arts, robotics, leadership, art and music, where he has been a valued drummer. He appreciates all of the positive encouragement he has received from teachers. He has valued getting to know them on a personal level.
Outside of school, he has had a variety of jobs and learned to appreciate making money. Rumsey has enjoyed selling jewelry and learning more about business. In his spare time he also enjoys hanging out with his best friend whom he has known since fifth grade. His advice to future students is to do your homework as soon as it is assigned.
Rumsey plans to go to Portland Community College where he wants to study business and marketing, and continue making money. He wants to be remembered as the best salesman at Park Academy.
Favorite quote: "Sometimes the fear won't go away so you'll just have to do it afraid."
Favorite book: "Animal Farm," by George Orwell.
Adler Thessin has attended Park Academy for the past three years. During this time, he has been known as a student with a keen mind, a deep passion for computers and technology and an ability to see things in a unique way. He has enjoyed a variety of tech classes that range from coding to robotics. He has pushed the limits in art class where he integrated a drone in the shoe design project and he got it to fly.
After graduation, he will take a gap year to identify his interwoven path in the world of work and future educational endeavors. He will be flying drones, playing video games and creating "things" in his garage in unique combinations. Those who know him well are confident that he will land in a field where he can utilize his passion and skills together with his passion for computers, technology and his creativity.
Thessin has fond memories of the teachers, staff and friendships formed while at Park Academy. He will be remembered as a student of potential, with a kind heart, and who routinely thanked teachers as he left his classes.
Ben Thompson has attended Park Academy for two years and says it feels like any other high school. He has enjoyed a variety of elective classes such as theater, music, art and robotics. Thompson has been active in the Theater program and was in last year's production of "Grease." One of the highlights of his Park Academy experience was when the whole theater class went and saw "Jesus Christ Superstar" in downtown Portland.
This was a fun and memorable experience. Thompson enjoys physical activity and taking PE at Park Academy. He also served as a teacher's assistant in the class and was effective in working with small groups of students and leading various drills, exercises and games. Bowling is one of the PE units and provided the source for one of Ben's funniest experiences at school. Everything was going as planned on the trip to the bowling alley, until Mr. Morrison walked down the bowling lane to free a ball that was stuck in a gutter. Mr. Morrison was being helpful but the floor was very slippery and the management was not happy about him walking on it. There is a much treasured photo of this situation, thanks to Mr. Devers, and everyone has had a good laugh about this experience, after Mr. Morrison was safely back to his seat.
Last summer he explored the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state where he was camping and working on a paid internship with the Northwest Youth Service Corps. Ben's advice to other students is to not put off work until the last minute. He feels like Park Academy has been a place where he has been able to practice his social skills and develop interpersonal relationships. He thinks he will be remembered as the person who tried to get along with all people and that he was an advocate for others.
After the COVID-19 virus restrictions have been lifted, he plans to explore his career options and will likely look into opportunities for further training and employment in the trades.
Favorite Quote: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
Favorite Book: "Struck by Lightning," by Chris Colver
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