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Camas teacher is finalist for Presidential Award

Doreen McKercher : September 18, 2014 5:00 PM : News

State Superintendent Randy Dorn announced that five teachers from Washington have been selected as state-level finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The finalists were selected over the summer by a statewide selection committee comprised of content area experts and award-winning teachers. Their nominations were recently confirmed by the national PAEMST program.

About Tara Obermiller
Tara is in her sixth year of teaching. She currently teaches third grade at Woodburn. Tara’s classroom is alive with hands-on instructional tools including manipulatives, iPad apps, visual models, whiteboards, fraction strips and more. She has embraced technology and integrated it into her daily lessons. These tools aren’t just props. They kindle a classroom culture full of vibrant discussions and risk-taking. Tara is also an expert at using data to guide instruction. Her efforts have recently led to the creation of a Wednesday math intervention time that engages volunteers to work with specific students on the specific skills they are struggling with. Tara’s skill as a communicator and her dedication to the profession also make her a standout. One parent observes, “I cannot think of any other who so full exemplifies dedication to and excellence in teaching. Being a teacher isn’t just something Tara does; it is who she is.”

“What makes these five teachers so great is the hands-on learning that’s happening every day in their classrooms,” said State Superintendent Randy Dorn. “Under the guidance of Deborah, Tara, Sadie, Lorianne and Meredith, students are solving real-life problems, collecting scientific evidence and presenting their findings to each other and the communities. That’s how we build a new generation of scientists and engineers, and I’m proud to call each one of these amazing individuals Washington teachers.”

The national PAEMST program typically announces national award recipients in the spring. State-level finalists are recognized by regional and state math and science associations and invited to several annual state events for award winning educators.

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Student starts charitable closet at Liberty Middle School

Doreen McKercher : September 11, 2014 10:57 AM : News


Liberty Middle School student Gared Skorick, 13, got a taste of need — and generosity — when family troubles landed him in Anacortes with next to no possessions for a couple of months.

“It was a very rough time,” he said, but the school staff there was incredibly nice and helpful.

Once things settled down and he got back to Camas, Skorick said, he started noticing how needy some of his own peers are. So he launched the Liberty Community Closet — a clearinghouse of clothes, shoes and personal hygiene products such as soap, toothbrushes and shampoo for students who “need help like I needed help,” he said.

Donations of clothes, supplies and cash are always welcome at Liberty Middle School, 1612 N.E. Garfield St.; call 360-833-5850.

Story published by The Columbian.

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District seeks Citizens Advisory Committee members

Doreen McKercher : September 8, 2014 2:14 PM : News


The Camas School District is seeking volunteers to serve on the district’s Citizens Advisory Committee. The CAC consists of 18-25 school district patrons who advise school administrators and board members on a variety of issues. Meetings are held the first Monday of each month during the school year from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM.

Applications for appointment to the CAC can be downloaded online at the links below or by contacting Gail Gast via e-mail at or phone at 360-833-5412. All completed applications should be returned to the Camas School District Administration Center, attention Gail Gast, no later than Wednesday, October 8, 2014. Recommendations for appointment will be forwarded to the School Board for appointment at the October 13 board meeting.

Interested citizens are encouraged to visit the next CAC meeting on October 6, 2014, at the Zellerbach Administration Center, 841 NE 22nd Avenue, Camas, in the Dennison Board Room, at 5:30 p.m.

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Rotary Club of Camas-Washougal donates backpacks and supplies

Doreen McKercher : September 5, 2014 2:47 PM : News
New supplies help students-in-need start the school year right

The start of the school year just got a little easier for many school children and their parents.

Backpacks filled with school supplies—including pencils, erasers, paper, rulers, crayons, glue, and more—have been delivered to elementary schools in Camas and Washougal.

rotary-postThis year the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club’s annual Backpack Project provided enough backpacks and supplies for 220 children in need. The donation was split evenly between Camas and Washougal schools and will help bridge the gap for families struggling to purchase school supplies.

Washougal School District Superintendent Dawn Tarzian and Camas School District Superintendent Mike Nerland, presented the backpacks to school administrators who make sure that the students who need them, receive them. Both superintendents stressed how important it is for children to feel like every other child on the first day of school. Part of this is having the tools needed to get off to a good start.

“The program began nine years ago with 25 backpacks, this year more than $4,500 worth of backpacks and school supplies were donated.” said Club President Molly Coston. “Our hope is to continue to grow the program and increase the number of families served.”

Rotary International is a service organization with over 1.2 million members in more than 160 countries. The Camas-Washougal Rotary meets at 7 am on Thursdays at Orchard Hills Golf & Country Club, 605 39th St., Washougal, WA. For more club information visit

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Camas HS first to use high-tech helmets

Doreen McKercher : September 4, 2014 8:06 AM : News

Video courtesy of

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Local students post modest gains on state tests

Doreen McKercher : September 3, 2014 3:52 PM : News

Camas and Washougal districts focus on individual student growth

Students in Camas continue to score well above average on all parts of the state tests, while Washougal students posted gains in science and reading.

Last week, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction released the Washington State Report Card, which included the Measure of Student Progress, end-of-course exams and High School Proficiency Exam.

“(The scores) are a credit to the amazing students who work hard, receive strong parent support at home and our talented teachers and support staff,” said Jeff Snell, Camas School District deputy superintendent. “Even though the state assessments are important, they aren’t our primary focus. We have a collective focus on growth for each student. That focus carries over into our state assessment scores. We are very fortunate to have the resources our community provides to support amazing learning opportunities for students.”

Read the full story at The Post Record.

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Substitute bus drivers wanted

Doreen McKercher : September 3, 2014 11:47 AM : News

Learn to drive a bus!

Become a school bus driver!

Looking for a fun and exciting part time position? Camas School District needs substitute bus drivers! Working in a substitute driver position is a great way to help students, learn some new skills, learn about our schools and their programs, and earn some extra money!

  • Do you like to drive?
  • Do you relate well to children?
  • Would you like a competitive wage?
  • Do you have a clean driving record?

If so, consider becoming a Camas school bus driver today! Click here to apply for job number 1269 under Classified Job Openings. Questions? Call the Camas School District Transportation Department at 360-833-5585.

Training will be provided for qualified applicants. Positions are available immediately.

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Open registration for new students

Doreen McKercher : August 14, 2014 2:42 PM : News

Open registration begins Tuesday, August 19. Appointments are NOT necessary during this open registration window. Registration forms as well as additional items needed can be found online at Please bring all registration materials to the Zellerbach Administrative Center located at 841 NE 22nd Avenue, Camas.  Registrars will be available to assist you during the following hours:

8/19  12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

8/20  8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

8/21  12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

8/22  8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

8/25  8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

8/26  12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

8/27  8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

8/28  12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

8/29  Closed

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Mayor declares ‘Alexa Efraimson Appreciation Day’

Doreen McKercher : August 11, 2014 3:27 PM : News


Accomplished CHS distance runner is a state record holder

On Monday, Camas Mayor Scott Higgins declared that Friday, Aug. 8, will be “Alexa Efraimson Appreciation Day.”

The 17-year-old, who will be a senior at Camas High School in the fall, has broken many a record as she has racked up numerous distance running medals, accolades and awards on the state, national and international stage.

But during yesterday’s City Council meeting, the creation of a special day named just for Efraimson that recognizes her athletic, academic and community service achievements was purely local.

“She is an exceptional student, in an exceptional family, in what I consider an exceptional community, doing exceptional things,” Higgins said. “We want to make sure we recognize those things.”

And that list of accomplishments is long, and continues to grow.

In early July, Efraimson won the USA Junior Track and Field 1,500-meter championship at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., in 4 minutes, 16.87 seconds. Later that month, she earned a sixth-place finish in the 1,500 meter event at the World Junior Track and Field Championships. She crossed the finish line for Team USA in 4 minutes, 13.31 seconds. Ethiopian Dawit Seyaum won the race in 4:09.86.

Read the full story at the Post-Record.

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School bells are back again

Doreen McKercher : July 10, 2014 10:19 AM : News


Local family makes donation to Camas School District

Hearing the bell ring to signify the start of the school day was a time honored tradition in local schools.

Before the days of cell phones with alarms and inexpensive wristwatches, it was the way children were summoned to begin the day.

Now, a local man and his family are giving back a piece of that history to the Camas School District.

Lonie and Cynthia Lougheed are donating the bells once used in Forest Home Elementary and Central Elementary schools.

Forest Home Elementary is now the home of Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy on Northwest 10th Avenue, and Central was located on the site of what is now Prestige Care and Rehabilitation on Northeast Dallas Street.

The cast iron bells, 2- and 3-feet in diameter, have been sitting at the Lougheed home for several years, ever since Lonie’s father, Skip, brought them home decades ago.

Read the full story at The Post Record.

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Staff Awards, Part I

Doreen McKercher : July 9, 2014 3:45 PM : News
Join us this summer as we spotlight our 2014 Staff Award winners each week. In our first post, we honor two award winners from Camas High School.


Leontina Liebe – Award of Excellence

Leontina definitely fits into the category of “the unsung hero.” She is a positive support and works to promote positive recognition to others. For example, she willingly and enthusiastically volunteered to help with the college/career night, on target planning, and foyer theme projects for the main entrance.

Whether it is an inspirational email, flowers, or a card of support, she goes out of her way to make other staff feel appreciated and supported by doing special things to brighten their days. She goes above and beyond her call of duty and is passionate about educating and supporting others.


Joan Haugaard – Award of Excellence


Joan is always looking for new ways to become a more effective school nurse. An example of this is her collaboration with administrators and teachers to create protocols and systems that
are more efficient for the school and in the best interest of our students.

As is the case with many employees in the CSD, the sc

ope of Joan Haugaard’s responsibilities has increased with enrollment. However, she meets this challenge head on and still provides each student with a high level of service, support, and care.

Joan’s work ethic and compassionate style enable her to successfully handle some very difficult and sensitive situations. She works successfully with our Papermaker pre-schoolers, our students, and also our staff members. That is a wide range of people with a wide range of health issues!

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2013-14 Highlights

Doreen McKercher : June 17, 2014 9:28 AM : News

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Hayes Freedom High School Graduation

Doreen McKercher : June 17, 2014 8:46 AM : News

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Camas High School Graduation

Doreen McKercher : June 16, 2014 3:23 PM : News

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School Bus Safety Poster Contest winner announced

Doreen McKercher : June 9, 2014 11:53 AM : News


We are pleased to announce the following winners of our School Bus Safety Poster Contest:

  • Division #1 – Grades K-2               1st Place Winner – Shalaka Deshpande – 1st Grade – Grass Valley Elementary
  • Division #2 – Grades 3-5                1st Place Winner – Kandai Shimada – 5th Grade – Grass Valley Elementary
  • Division #3 – Grade 6-8                  1st Place Winner – Brandon Armstrong – 7th Grade – Skyridge Middle School

These winning posters will be advanced to the next level of competition.  Each regional and state division winner will receive $50, and will be entered into the national competition for an opportunity to win a savings bond valued at up to $1,000, and to have their poster displayed during the 2014 School Bus Safety Week. Congratulations Shalaka, Kandai, and Brandon!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this important event!

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Girls track second at State; highest finish in Camas history

Doreen McKercher : June 5, 2014 3:20 PM : News

trackThe Papermakers enjoyed a fine meet at State last weekend at Mt Tahoma. The ladies finished second overall in the 4A Championships behind Federal Way by only 24 points. The boys placed nineteenth overall. Camas High School set 1 national record, 2 state records, and 5 school records and earned 16 medals in total. Here are the highlights from Coach Wise:

  • Alexa Efraimson – won the 1600m run in 4:33.29 setting a new school record, a new meet record, a new State record and a new National High School 1600m record set in 2008!
  • Alexa Efraimson – won the 800m run in 2:04.01 setting a new school record and a new State record!
  • Nikki Corbett – took 2nd in the ladies discus with a distance of 137-11 also setting a new school record!
  • Caleigh Lofsted – took 3rd in the pole vault with a height of 11-9 which matches her own personal best and school record!
  • Jordan Davis – took 4th in the 300m hurdles with a time of 43.89, which is a big personal best and also a new school record!
  • Jordan Davis – took 8th in the 100m hurdles with a time of 15.45
  • Alissa Pudlitzke – took 6th in the 3200m run with a time of 10:57.69
  • Alissa Pudlitzke – also placed 11th in the 1600m run with a time of 5:01.96
  • Camas ladies 4 x 400m relay took 4th place with a time of 3:58.90 – Savanna Joyce, Jordan Davis, Megan Finley and Alexa Efraimson. This was a season best time for them!
  • Ryan Gunther took second in the 300m hurdles with a time of 38.68, just .04 off the school record!
  • Boys 4 x 100m relay team placed 5th in a time of 43.06 – Hunter Brittain, Josh Ryan, Ryan Gunther and Cole Zarcone – just .07 off of the school record which they already own!
  •  Reilly Hein placed 11th overall in the 3200m run with a time of 9:33.74.
  • Both the girls 4 x 200m relay and our boys 4 x 400m relays just missed qualifying for finals by a place/under a second.

Congratulations to the ladies on their second-place finish, which is the highest finish for girls track in Camas history! Congrats to both teams on a successful season!


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2014 CHS Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

Doreen McKercher : June 4, 2014 8:42 AM : News

The Camas High School Athletic Hall of Fame Committee has selected the inductees for the Class of 2014.  The induction ceremonies will take place on September 26 and 27, 2014.  The inductees are: 

  • 1972 Football Team.   Coached by Rich Hilty, the 1972 Football Team posted a 9-1 record while competing in the Blackhills AA League.  The team scored 230 points and gave up only 91 points.  They became the first Papermaker Team to win nine games in a season since the 1937 team.
  • 1997-1998 Girls’ Volleyball Team.  The 1997-1998 Girls’ Volleyball Teams were Rivers League Champions in both 1997 and 1998, and became the first girls’ volleyball team to qualify for State in 1998 when they won the District IV Title.  The Women in Black were an inspiration to the girls’ volleyball teams of the next decade.
  • 1960 Men’s Mile Relay Team.  Jack Fillman, Dave Anderson, Jim Ludwig, and Larry Ford set a state record in the mile relay with a time of 3:30 while winning the district meet.  Their state record time was broken later that season at the state track meet, where they finished fifth with a time of 3:28.9, which was the CHS record for over 50 years.
  • Coach Rich Hilty.   Rich Hilty coached football at Camas High School for seven seasons from 1968 to 1974.  In an era where Camas was the smallest school in the conference by a considerable margin, Coach Hilty compiled a winning record of 33 wins, 29 losses, and 4 ties.  His teams included the 1969 football team and the 1972 football team, both of which have been inducted into the Camas High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • Lisa Hogan Nelson – Scholar Athlete.  Lisa Hogan played soccer from 2000 to 2003.  She was First Team Greater St. Helens League all four years, and was selected to the Columbian All Regional Team all four years.   She is the all time leading scorer with 81 goals, and holds the record for career assists with 47.  Lisa served as a class officer, was elected ASB Vice-President her senior year, and represented Clark County on the Washington Associated of Student Council’s Board.  Lisa was also a member of the scholastic honorary, the National Honor Society.
  • Daniel Carlson.  Daniel played soccer and football from 2000 to 2004.  In soccer he was All League as a sophomore, junior and senior, and was the Columbian All Region MVP as a junior.  He holds the CHS career record for most goals scored (95), and most assists (46).  In 2003 he led the football team in rushing with 1,523 yards, in scoring with 126 points, and in total yards with 2,175.
  • Chol An.   Chol An wrestled for Camas from 1983 to 1986.  In 1986 he finished fourth at State; in 1985 he finished first in State at the 122 pound weight classification.  While in college, he won the NAIA National Championship in 1990 in the 126 pound weight class.  He also finished third in the Olympic Trials for South Korea.
  • Dave Bartkowski.   Dave was a three sport athlete from 1974 to 1976.  He won the state wrestling championship in the unlimited classification in 1976, cumulating a season in which he went 26-0 with 19 pins.  In track he set a CHS record in the shot-put with a throw of 53’10.5″.  That record lasted almost 40 years.  Dave was also a standout football player for the Papermakers.
  • Julie Perry Bailey.  Julie Perry ran cross-country and track and also played basketball.  She set CHS individual records for girls in the 400, 800, and 1600, and a team record in the 1600 relay.  Her individual records lasted for 30 years before they were broken.  In addition she was a member of the 1978 girls’ basketball team that qualified for state.
  • Dan Macaya.  Dan played soccer from 1999 to 2003.  He scored 69 goals and had 33 assists during his career, and Camas went to state all four of those years.  He won numerous individual honors including Seattle Times All State Team, the All Tournament Team at State, and the Columbian All Regional Team.
  • Traci Mattson Mantz.  Traci competed in basketball, tennis, softball and track from 1976 to 1979.   She was the leading scorer in basketball in 1979 with an average of 18.6 points per game, and was named to the Columbian All Regional Team.  Traci competed collegiately in basketball for Clark College and for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where she set a school record for assists.

Dickerson Family—Hall of Honor.  The Dickerson Family has been a long-time supporter of Camas athletics.  They have made generous financial contributions that have benefited Papermaker programs, and have contributed countless volunteer hours to the Camas Boosters.

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Three Camas Schools Compete in Robotics Invite

Doreen McKercher : June 4, 2014 7:26 AM : News

Robotics Invite Drag RacersMission: to design, build and program a robot “dragster” to race down a narrow lane and accurately stop when it “sees” the finish line. Sound impossible? Not for the Robotics students of Camas High School, Hayes Freedom High School, and Liberty Middle School!

The students competed with their Dragsters, SumoBots, and Line Racers at the Fifth Annual South Sound STEM Robotics Invitational in Olympia last week. This was the first time for any of the Camas schools to attend, and the results were truly amazing.

Ten high school teams competed with Camas students earning, many of the top awards:

  • Dragster, 1st:  Seth Downey and Lucas Bell (builders) and Alex Wolfe (driver) – CHS
  • Dragster, 2nd: Austin Schmunk, Tyler Allen – Hayes Freedom
  • Line Racer, 1st: Ian Pinch, Roberto Palma, Nathaniel Maszak – Liberty
  • Line Racer, 2nd: Michael Boyle, Nathan Chilian (builders), Lacy Dunlop (driver)  - CHS
  • SumoBot, 1st: Kris Cocks, Ryan Wessel – CHS

The high school with the best overall team score was CHS, and was awarded a plaque as well!  Hayes Freedom placed 5th overall and Liberty placed 6th overall.

In addition to the students above, other students helping generate the high team scores and standings at the tournament included:

  • Camas HS Team – Justin Flint, Jeffery Liao, Brandon Cady, Justin Ang, Bryant Wilson, Lucas Wickizer, Sabastian Shideler
  • Hayes Freedom HS Team – Hunter Rukstad, Kyl Krecklow, Cassie Russell, Jeremy McCall
  • Liberty MS Team – Joseph Marugg, Alex Breuer

The teams wish to thank coaches Ron Wright, Kelly Williams, and Skyler Gillespie for their incredible leadership and continual encouragement!  Helping the team members to “embrace the confusion” as they learned how the tournament worked were seniors Robbie Bruce and Jon Ausherman.  Finally, especially, the teams would like to thanks the many CSD students who helped push these students to excel, but who couldn’t attend – 82 students in 4 classrooms at Liberty MS, Hayes Freedom HS, and Camas HS.

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Every effort is made to ensure that all employment decisions are administered in accordance with the principles of equal opportunity. The Camas School District #117 does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination: Rita Pakenen,, Title IX and Compliance Coordinator; and Dana Lighty, Both may be contacted at 360-335-3000 or 841 NE 22nd Avenue, Camas, WA 98607.
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