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No Pioneer Left Behind raises $20,000 to aid students participating in after-school activities

COURTESY PHOTO: JULI CHUCHILL - There were 32 teams of golfers at this year's Art Skipper Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament on Sept. 20.One of the primary goals for any educator or school is to set up students for success.

In the Oregon Trail School District, the No Pioneer Left Behind foundation works to help with that effort by raising money and providing scholarships for students who couldn't otherwise afford to participate in extracurricular activities.

Annually, one of the group's largest fundraisers is the Art Skipper Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament, which takes place at Mt. Hood Oregon Resort.

This year, the event boasted a turn out of 32 teams and brought in $20,000 to be divvied up among students in need.

"The weather was not good, but the attitude, the spirit, was great," organizer Kurt McKnight said of the event. "We were just four teams shy of a full tournament, which is huge."

He noted that this year's event was the largest No Pioneer Left Behind has seen to date, which is well-timed because the foundation will now offer scholarships for even more activities.

COURTESY PHOTO: JULI CHUCHILL - The No Pioneer Left Behind group raised $20,000 for scholarships on Sept. 20. "We're opening the funds up to those participating in CTE classes, clubs, anything with a fee," McKnight said. "This isn't just for athletes. We're really trying to get the word out of 'Don't forget about this fund. If it's the difference between you participating in an activity you like and not, we're here to help.'"

Donations that made the golf tournament possible came from Ron Lesowski of Tollgate Inn Restaurant & Bakery, Brad and Vicki Picking, Mt. Hood Oregon Resort, Suburban Auto Group and Jon Sandstrum.

Resort golf pro Seth Misenhimer added to the fun of the event this year by offering a last-place prize. The reward was private lessons with him.

McKnight is optimistic about the future of the program. "As we continue to explore how to engage kids in school, I'm sure the need is going to grow," McKnight said. "Don't let money be the barrier keeping your kids from participating in an activity."

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