Rotary honors SASEE awardees
Fifteen awardees were honored and almost all of them received additional financial prizes during the inaugural tribute dinner on Wednesday for the Lake Oswego Rotary Club's Service Above Self: Educational Excellence Awards.
Recipients were honored in three categories: students; teachers, administrators and support staff; and citizens and volunteers. A selection committee chose the Top 5 in each category from more than 50 nominations; nine were then chosen to receive funding for a school, program or scholarship in their name.
"If I told you that it was an easy thing to work through, it wouldn't be true," said selection committee member Paul Graham, "just because, I think, of the quality of the people and the projects."
Turns out, the choice didn't have to be made in the Students category. The central administration of the Lake Oswego School District and the School Board banded together to raise the funds for financial awards to honor the other two students, and announced the move at the tribute dinner at Marylhurst University.
"All five of our students are so deserving of this recognition, and the judges for the awards faced an impossible task of choosing between them," LOSD Superintendent Heather Beck said. "The school board and district administration are collectively making this donation, and we are proud and happy to do so."
Beck said School Board member Bob Barman is the one who initiated the move to support the other two students.
"All of them were just amazing," Barman said. "And they just speak to who our community is. Each one of those kids really represents the whole of the community."
Rotarians Eric Allenbaugh and Malcolm Mathes co-chaired the SASEE Steering Committee that established the awards. The contest generated 150 applications (some honorees received multiple nominations) and raised more than $27,000 in sponsorships and ticket sales to pay for the awards and help fund a scholarship endowment.
"This community is amazing," Mathes said.
Three recipients in the Teachers/Administrators/Support Staff category were awarded $1,000 each to apply toward their school or service activities. Student honorees received $500 each to apply toward their school or service activity. And Citizens/Volunteers were honored with $2,000 each to support student scholarships in their name.
The awards, which were presented at a dinner on the Marylhurst University campus, debuted with the theme "Amazing People, Amazing Stories." The criteria included behaving in an "exemplary manner while participating in extracurricular activities and taking part in community activities that benefit students and community members," according to the Rotary Club. Winners also demonstrated selfless conduct, engaged and inspired others "to reach their highest level of educational excellence," exhibited responsible citizenship and cultivated "a life-long interest in learning."
Graham said all of the recipients were incredible, but that it was especially exciting to find so many students who had gotten involved in the community.
"It's very impressive when we see that in young people," he said.
Financial award winners were: all five SASEE winners:
— Melanie Gabriel Hastings, an Oak Creek Elementary School fourth-grader. She was honored for donating money she earned through Girl Scout cookie sales to help her school's garden flourish.
— Michael Murray, a Lake Oswego High School freshman. Murray was lauded for founding a nonprofit called Hunger Fighters Oregon, which supports people who need emergency food boxes.
— Karthik Sreedhar, a Lakeridge High School sophomore. Sreedhar was recognized for establishing a WaterAfrica Club at Lakeridge High School to help provide clean water to rural villages in Zambia.
— Mackenzie Coder, a Lakeridge High School senior. Mackenzie was honored for her community service, which includes serving as a student board member for the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation; a member of the Associated Student Body, Lakeridge's student leadership group; and a member of the Our Lady of the Lake Youth Group.
— Kate Fayloga, a Lake Oswego High School senior. She was spotlighted for spending two years creating a program at Tryon Creek State Natural Area called Discovering the Park through Science.
The financial award winners were:
— Cole Chatterton, who teaches at seven universities, including Portland Community College (where he heads the business department) and Marylhurst. Chatterton was honored for a class he teaches called Service Learning Projects. Through the class, his students raise funds and provide community service to nonprofit organizations. Chatterton's students have helped groups that include the Oregon Food Bank, Deaf Dogs Association of Oregon and Foster Care System of Oregon.
— Denise Gonzalez, the vice principal of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School, a K-8 private school in Lake Oswego. Gonzalez was honored for organizing a
student council that performs service projects, such as a refugee project and food drive.
— Nancy Longman, a Pathways Program teacher at Lake Oswego High School. Longman was recognized for developing, coordinating and supervising vocational, on-campus jobs sites for students with intellectual disabilities, such as the Spirit Store, the Laker Garden and Joe's Boathouse.
The other SASEE Award winners were:
— Laura Paxson Kluthe, a social studies teacher at LOHS. Paxson Kluthe was active in the local teachers union for eight years, serving for three years as president, and was recognized for her commitment to education.
— Jennifer Schiele, the Lakeridge High School principal. Schiele was honored for initiating a plan to build excellence in academics and social life at Lakeridge.
The financial award winners were:
— Linda Brown, who has volunteered for more than 30 years in education. Brown's service includes time spent on the Lake Oswego School Board, the Clackamas
Education Service District Board of Directors, the Oregon School Boards Association Board of Directors and the State Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.
— Sandra Miller, the founder and artistic director of the Oregon Children's Choir and Youth Chorale. She was recognized for creating the nonprofit organization; founded in 1994, it offers local children in grades 1-12 the opportunity and skills to learn and perform choral music.
— Piper Park, who founded Park Academy in 2005. She was lauded for creating the nonprofit, private school in Lake Oswego. It offers specialized education for children with dyslexia and other language-learning challenges.
The other SASEE Award winners
— Cay Borduin, the costume designer for Lakeridge. She was honored for her work designing, sewing and repurposing costumes for the high school's two annual plays over the past six years.
— Deanne Knipple and Anja Bump, the Oak Creek Parent Teacher Association's Science Enrichment Committee co-chairwomen. The women were recognized for their work in creating a maker space at the school that offers opportunities for children to explore science, technology, engineering, art and math.