Middle, elementary vocalists state bound

Doreen McKercher : February 11, 2016 4:52 PM : News

Middle and elementary school student instrumentalists and vocalists were selected for All-State bands and choirs this year by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA).

Students had to audition on tape, adhering to specific guidelines, and demonstrate excellent musicianship and vocal technique. Then WMEA judges listened to all the tapes and selected,the best performances. The students who are selected for this honor will join other young musicians from across the state to play under the direction of renowned conductors and educators, at the annual WMEA State Conference in Yakima, Washington, this weekend.


L-R: Aiden Shafiuzzaman, Georgianna Ross

Grass Valley ElementaryNW ACDA Children’s Honor Choir

  • Aiden Shafiuzzaman – Alto
  • Georgianna Ross – Soprano 1

PHE and DFE choir students

Back Row (L-R): Ella Kim, Sofie Montovino, Nicholas Leetham, Christina Cai, Katherine Damore, Sundus Kussad Front Row (L-R): Mattina Van Dyke, Noah Fearrington, Julian Araque, Lillian Brewster , Anabel Jiang, Isabella Barr

Dorothy Fox Elementary: WMEA Junior All-State Youth Choir

  • Ella Kim – Soprano
  • Mattina VanDyke – Soprano

Prune Hill Elementary: WMEA Junior All-State Youth Choir

  • Julian Araque – Soprano
  • Isabella Barr – Alto
  • Lillian Brewster – Alto
  • Christina Cai – Alto
  • Katherine Damore – Alto
  • Noah Fearrington – Soprano
  • Anabel Jiang – Soprano
  • Sundus Kussad – Alto
  • Nicholas Leetham – Soprano
  • Sofia Montovino – Soprano


L-R: Madeline Henion, Avery Copa, Emily Elwell, Lillian Taylor

Liberty Middle SchoolWMEA Youth Choir

  • Avery Copa – Soprano
  • Emily Elwell – Soprano
  • Madeline Henion – Soprano

WMEA Treble Choir

  • Lillian Taylor – Treble Choir Soprano


Front row: Emma Carag, Emma Visathep , Delaney Clark, Grace Heiser Middle row: Chase Fossen, Grant Bane, Jaeden Davis, Alexandra Stott, Rachel Hawes Back row: Annah Bryson, Landen Hashimura, Julianna Payne, Ken Koceja, Isabella Ross

Skyridge Middle School

WMEA Junior All-State Youth Choir

  • Delaney Clark – Soprano

WMEA Junior All-State Treble Choir

  • Annah Bryson – Alto

NW ACDA Youth Honor Choir

  • Landen Hashimura – Tenor
  • Grant Bane – Tenor
  • Jaeden Davis – Tenor
  • Chase Fossen – Tenor
  • Kenneth Koceja – Tenor
  • Alexandra Stott – Alto

NW ACDA Children’s Honor Choir

  • Emma Carag – Alto
  • Rachel Hawes – Soprano I
  • Grace Heiser – Soprano II
  • Coleen Kyne – Alto
  • Kailen Ludt – Alto
  • Julianna Payne – Soprano II
  • Isabella Ross – Soprano I
  • Emma Visathep – Soprano I
  • Nicole Walters – Soprano II
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Board approves two calendars

Doreen McKercher : February 11, 2016 2:32 PM : News


In an effort to allow parents and staff more time for planning, the Camas School Board adopted two academic school year calendars at its regular meeting on Monday. This is the first time the district has set a calendar an additional year into the future.

“We heard from parents who need to schedule vacations with their employers more than a year in advance. The change also helps staff in planning and forecasting activities,” commented Superintendent Mike Nerland.

Late start dates for Camas High School, Liberty Middle School, and Skyridge Middle School are yet to be determined. Click this link to view calendar web page.

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Not just the boys making waves at Camas High School

Doreen McKercher : February 11, 2016 11:55 AM : News

CHS Girls Wrestlers

Left to right: Bailee Thompson, Lacy Dunlap, Sam Flannelly, Faith Hartman, Sydney Burres, Sydni Ruse

Last Saturday, the boys wrestling team hoisted the Greater St. Helens League district championship trophy high above their heads for the first time in 22 years. While the cheers were deserving and loud during the announcement here at Camas High School, thirty miles north another group of wrestlers etched their mark in Papermaker History. Six female wrestlers advanced to the regional state-qualifier wrestling meet which will be held in Aberdeen this Saturday.

Camas High School has put an emphasis on building a strong girls wrestling program and getting young ladies involved in the sport. Additional wrestling coaches were hired to focus on the program and tournaments with an emphasis specifically on girls wrestling were scheduled to give them a positive and rewarding experience.  The result: more and more girls are finding a love for the sport. This year, there were as many as a dozen girls in the wrestling room for practice which is the highest participation ever at Camas High School.

With an incredible work ethic, desire to learn, and enthusiasm for the sport, it is this year’s Papermakers that are paving the way for a successful program here at Camas High School for future years. Six girls traveled to Ridgefield on Saturday, February 6, for the District 4 south sub-regional tournament and all six of them wrestled through the tournament to qualify for this Saturday’s regional state qualifying tournament.

Freshman Sydni Ruse started the scoring off for the Papermakers as she qualified with a 4th place finish. Junior Lacy Dunlop and Senior Faith Hartman were the highest finishers of the tournament for the Papermakers as they were runner-up champions, finishing in 2nd place. Also qualifying for Saturday’s regional meet is sophomore Bailee Thompson, junior Sydney Burres, and sophomore Sam Flannelly – all with 3rd place finishes at the tournament. This combined effort led to a 4th place team finish at the tournament out of 19 teams in all.

Six girls showed up, six girls moved on as they continue onto next week to make more history as they all will attempt to be the first Lady Papermaker to represent Camas High School at the WIAA Mat Classic State Tournament in the Tacoma Dome February 19 and 20. Congratulations and good luck!

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Bond Passes!

Doreen McKercher : February 10, 2016 9:39 AM : News


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Making every penny count

Doreen McKercher : February 5, 2016 4:43 PM : News
The Camas School District takes advantage of every opportunity to save taxpayers money and stretch its financial resources. Between bond refinancing, energy efficiency savings and energy incentives and grants, the district has realized over $1 million in savings this year alone.

Bond refundingsavings

The district doesn’t hesitate when it comes to taking advantage of lower interest rates. Twice refinancing its callable bonds has resulted in millions of dollars in savings. Refinancing of the 2002 bonds saved the district’s taxpayers over $2.2 million in a six-year period. The recent refinancing of the 2007 bonds will save over $4.79 million in the next 12 years. Bond refunding does not extend the payment period.

According to Business Services Director Donna Gregg, the savings flow directly to taxpayers through reduced tax levies. These dollars are not available for district expenses. “This is a direct savings to our community members in the form of taxes they expected, but will not have to pay,” Gregg said. The district continually monitors the bond market conditions to assure they are making the most financially sound decisions. For example, interest rates averaged 1.97% on the new bonds, compared to 4.69% on the old debt.

Energy Savings & Incentives

Lighting, boiler and HVAC replacements are routine and necessary facility expenses. But thanks to some hefty utility incentives, the district has received more than $300,000 back on equipment purchases—in addition to realizing over $115,000 in annual energy cost savings. Significant contributions from the Clark PUD Energy Trust and OSPI Energy Grants help fund major HVAC, lighting replacement and upgrades to heating/cooling controls. Another major savings was achieved through reducing phone lines throughout the district. The district aggressively tracks and applies for grants and awards made available through local and state sources. More than $675,000 has been awarded* to the district to help fund major building projects designed to increase energy efficiency.

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National Letter of Intent Day

Doreen McKercher : February 3, 2016 3:21 PM : News

Camas High School honored several Papermakers as they signed their National Letters of Intent today. National Signing Day, usually the first Wednesday of February, is the first day that a high school senior can sign a binding National Letter of Intent for college football with a school that is a member of the United States National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

DeVera, Anyssa

DeVera, Anyssa

ANYSSA DeVera signed to play soccer for the Lopes of Grand Canyon University in Phoenix Arizona. Anyssa is a four year letterman in soccer and has impressively earned

GSHL first team all-league honors for four straight years, along with being selected for the Columbian all-region team for four consecutive years. She was part of a very successful Camas High School soccer program that compiled GSHL league titles in 2013, 2014, 2015, District four titles in 2013, 2015 and earned third place in the state tournament this past season in 2015. Anyssa is also a scholar athlete award winner and has earned a 3.4 GPA here at Camas High School. Anyssa will be studying in the medical field at Grand Canyon with a focus on nursing.

Fitzpatrick, Liam

Fitzpatrick, Liam

LIAM FITZPATRICK will be traveling to east to Whitworth University to play in the baseball program for the Pirates. Liam has been a staple in the Papermaker baseball program lettering three years as an infielder. While attending Camas High School, Liam has accumulated a 3.77 GPA, has been a two time all league academic selection and in 2015 was selected to the GSHL all league 2nd team. While in Spokane, Liam will focus his studies on chemistry.

Lehner, Bennett

Lehner, Bennett

BENNETT LEHNER will be headed even farther east as his plans are to attend the University of Dayton Ohio to play soccer for the Flyers. Bennett is a three year letterman and had an extremely impressive junior campaign as a Papermaker which earned him the 2015 GSHL Player of the Year award, along with selections to the 2015 All-State 1st team and the All-West team. While a member of the Papermaker soccer program, Bennett has helped the program earn GSHL league titles all three years 2013, 2014, 2015 and District four titles in 2014 and 2015. Bennett carries a 3.47 GPA and is a three time WIAA academic achievement award winner. Bennett will be studying graphic design while in Ohio.

Lightbourn, Caleb

Lightbourn, Caleb

CALEB LIGHTBOURN will be part of “The Big Red” in Lincoln Nebraska at the University of Nebraska. Caleb has been chosen as a two time top prospect at the Kohl’s Kicking National Invitational Scholarship Camp, and as a result will be punting for the Cornhuskers in the near future. Caleb was chosen as the GSHL All-League punter in 2014 and has helped the Papermaker football team to league titles all three years he played for the varsity program which also included a state championship runner-up in 2013 and reaching the state quarterfinals in 2015. Caleb is undecided on his focus of study at Nebraska.

Lofstead, Caleigh

Lofstead, Caleigh

CALEIGH LOFSTEAD is off to “Music City” in Nashville Tennessee to attend Vanderbilt University. Caleigh has had an extremely impressive career at Camas High School as a mulit-sport athlete. She is a four year letterman in gymnastics and has qualified for the state tournament all three years, will qualify for her fourth this weekend. She has served as a leader of the Papermaker gymnastics program and helped them to their third straight undefeated GSHL league championship. This weekend she will attempt to help them also earn their third straight district title. Even more impressive is Caleigh’s track and field career at Camas High School. Caleigh has qualified for the WIAA state meet her first three years which was highlighted by her junior year campaign which included not only a district championship, but a WIAA 4A state championship in pole vaulting as well. To go even further, Caleigh set a state meet pole vault height record at the 2015 state meet for her championship vault. She has been part of a girls track team that have won the 2015 GSHL league title, District champions in 2013 and 2015, a WIAA state meet 3rd place finish in 2015 and helped her team win the Oregon Relay title in 2015 as well. She is equally impressive in the classroom as she carries a 3.98 GPA. As a Commodore, Caleigh will be a Pre-Med major.

Fitzgerald, Liam

Fitzgerald, Liam

LIAM FITZGERALD will join the football program at Central Washington University as a Wildcat next fall. While at Camas High School, Liam was a four year letterman in football. Liam was part of a football team that qualified for the state playoffs all four years which included a trip to the semi-finals and one trip to the state championship game. During his junior and senior year Liam was recognized as Offensive Player of the Year in the Greater St. Helens All-League. For two years Liam dazzled the crowd at Doc Harris stadium with his athleticism and throwing accuracy. Liam carried a 3.4 GPA at Camas High School and is undecided on what he will study as a Wildcat.

Murray, Bryan

Murray, Bryan

BRIAN MURRAY will be going about as far away from Camas as possible as he travels to Worcester Mass. next fall to play soccer at Assumption College for the Greyhounds. Brian is a three year letterman in soccer and has also served as a team captain for the Papermakers. During his junior year, Brian served as the starting keeper on the league undefeated GSHL champions and added a district championship as well. Brian has accumulated a 3.2 GPA and will be focusing on engineering in college.

Rood, Lauren

Rood, Lauren

LAUREN ROOD is signing with Stanford University to play keeper on the soccer field for the Cardinal. Obviously, if Lauren is attending Stanford, she has to have an impressive work ethic in the classroom here at CHS as she has accumulated a 3.97 GPA. She is an All-League academic award winner in 2012 and 2014. When Lauren was in the goal for the Papermakers, they won two league championships and qualified for the WIAA state final four in 2012. Lauren has been recognized as a GSHL 1st team selection in both 2012 and 2014, and the Defensive Player of the Year in the GSHL. She has been a two time Columbian All-Region team selection and an All-State keeper in 2014. Lauren was also the starting keeper for the U17 world cup team in 2013. Lauren also holds the Camas High School girls soccer record for least goals against and most shut outs in one year. In Palo-Alto, Lauren will be studying medicine.

Humphreys, Brian

Humphreys, Brian

BRIAN HUMPHREYS will be taking his talent to compete at Boise State University as part of the golf team for the Broncos. Brian was the GSHL player of the year in 2013 and 2014 along with the Columbian All-Region player of the year in 2013 and 2015. At the WIAA state meet, Brian was a state champion in 2013, a state champion runner-up in 2014 and 4th place in state in 2015. Brian was also the Oregon Junior Golf Player of the Year in 2013. He has been a US Junior Amateur Participant and a Junior World Championship Participant. Brian helped the Papermakers to league titles in 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons and a 4th place state finish in 2013. Brian has a 3.67 GPA, has been a GSHL scholar athlete award winner all four years and has also been voted the 2015 September Camas High School Athlete of the Month. Brian is undecided on what he will study in Boise.

Samodurov, Fiona

Samodurov, Fiona

FIONA SAMODUROV will be playing four more years with her teammate Anyssa at Grand Canyon University. Fiona is a three year letterman and has helped her teams win GSHL league championships all three years, district championships in 2013 and 2015 and a WIAA state tournament 3rd place finish in 2015. Fiona was voted GSHL 2nd team all-league in 2013, and 1st team All-League in 2014. Fiona carries a 3.6 GPA and was a scholar athlete award winner in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Fiona will pursue her goal to be an elementary teacher while in Phoenix.

Yang, Sarah

Yang, Sarah

SARAH YANG is the fourth girls soccer Papermaker to sign today as she will take her talents to Chico California and attend Chico State University. Sarah is a four year letterman that played on the 2013, 2014 and 2015 GSHL league champions and the 2013 and 2015 district champions. Sarah was a big factor in the road to the final four for the Papermaker soccer team last fall. Sarah was voted Columbian athlete of the week this last fall, and has been awarded the CHS most improved player award in 2014 and the CHS coaches award in 2015. Sarah has a 3.3 GPA, is a scholar athlete award winner and a DECA state qualifier as well. As a Wildcat, Sarah will be studying in the medical field.

Weber, Erika

Weber, Erika

ERIKA WEBER will be traveling North to Bellevue College to play volleyball for the Bulldogs. Erika is a three year letterman and has been part Papermaker teams that have earned two league championship, two district championship and a WIAA state 6th place finish in 2013 and 5th place finish in 2014. Erika has GSHL All-League 2nd team in 2015, she has also been awarded the CHS Stephanie Weishaar Award and holds the CHS school record for most digs recorded in one game. Erika has a 3.6 GPA is a GSHL scholar athlete award winner and was selected as the CHS October student athlete of the month in 2015.


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Camas Preschool Registration

Doreen McKercher : February 3, 2016 1:10 PM : News

preschoolreg-postRegistration for Camas School District Preschools will soon open for the 2016-2017 school year. Students currently enrolled in a Camas School District preschool program are eligible to register for preschool beginning February 16, 2016. New student registration begins March 1, 2016, for Papermaker Preschool at Camas High School, Woodburn Preschool at Woodburn Elementary, and Camas Community Education Preschool at the District Office. Feel free to contact registrars at 360-833-5410 for more information.

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Learn more about Integrated Arts and Academics

Doreen McKercher : January 29, 2016 3:16 PM : News

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IAA Program Information Meeting

Doreen McKercher : January 28, 2016 12:43 PM : News


The Integrated Arts & Academics program within Camas High School is hosting a short, public Showcase of student art and performances followed by a Program Information Meeting on February 11 from 7:00-8:30 PM in the Camas High School Theatre.  Prospective student applicants and their families are especially encouraged to attend.  The application window is now open to students who are entering ninth or tenth grade in the 2016-17 school year.  Applicants do not need to audition, present a portfolio, or even have highly developed talent in order to be accepted into the IAA program. The curriculum is challenging, and, while in the program, students are able to take AP classes, classes outside of the program, and multiple arts courses to develop their techniques. The application form and more information may be found online at the IAA website:

The four-year Integrated Arts & Academics (IAA) provides a unique learning experience where the visual and performing arts merge with the academics to cultivate thinking, creativity, and community.  The integration of arts activities occurs within the academic classes for a dynamic way of learning.  Then students work on studio projects related to curricular themes; and they participate in opportunities such as public showcases, field trips, community based projects, and professional guest artist experiences that make learning even more comprehensive, enjoyable, and meaningful.

Gina Mariotti Shapard
Camas High School
Visual Art Teacher
Program Leader of Integrated Arts & Academics 

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Camas teens’ app rents out empty driveways

Doreen McKercher : January 28, 2016 11:19 AM : News




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State of the schools: Growth is in the air

Doreen McKercher : January 28, 2016 9:32 AM : News

Local superintendents share reflections at Chamber luncheon

Camas Superintendent speaks to attendees at the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week about the local schools and upcoming bond measure. (Danielle Frost/Post-Record)

Camas Superintendent speaks to attendees at the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week about the local schools and upcoming bond measure. (Danielle Frost/Post-Record)

Local school districts are growing, and it has created a need for more space to house additional students.

That was the message delivered by Washougal Superintendent Mike Stromme and Camas Superintendent Mike Nerland.

The two spoke about the “State of the Schools,” at the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce’s Thursday luncheon at Camas Meadows Golf Club.

Washougal passed a $57 million bond last February, and Camas voters will decide whether to pass a $120 million bond at the upcoming Feb. 9 election.

School bonds require a super majority in Washington state. This means they must be approved by at least 60 percent.

“It takes a great number of people and a lot of work to pass a bond,” Stromme said.

He began serving as superintendent in July, and was previously the Vancouver Public Schools associate superintendent of teaching and learning.

“It’s about creating the conditions that provide safe and healthy schools,” Stromme said. “We want to give students a feeling of success and a chance to achieve their dreams after they walk out of our doors. Education doesn’t happen in a vacuum.”

Stromme discussed several of the upcoming bond projects.


Nerland noted that as superintendents, part of the mission is to build a learning community.

“This is what makes East County the best part of the county to be in,” he said. “You can see and feel the difference here. I would say the state of Camas schools is very strong.”

He noted that before the bond was placed on the Feb. 9 ballot, part of the planning stages included a community survey by CFM Research.

“During the survey, 84 percent of respondents gave the school district an “A” or a “B” for performance,” Nerland said. “That is the highest number they have ever had for a school district in their history, and they’ve been around a long time.”

He noted that like Washougal, Camas schools continue to grow.

“When CHS opened in 2003, there were 1,200 students,” Nerland said. “Now, we are up to 1,600. We need more space at the high school.”

Proposed bond projects include:


  • A 600-student magnet high school on the Camas High School campus.
  • A new Lacamas Heights Elementary School, north of Lacamas Lake, to accommodate 600 students.
  • Implementation of long-term parking solutions for CHS.
  • Acquisition of property for future school sites.
  • Improvements to building safety at all schools with controlled entry/access points, fob controls, video surveillance and upgraded exterior lighting and fencing.
  • Facility improvements such as ADA and mechanical system upgrades, roof improvements, technology infrastructure upgrades and carpet replacement.
  • Modernization of the Joyce Garver Theater/Garfield building, additions of concessions and bathrooms to the Doc Harris Stadium visitor side, and turf and light improvements at CHS fields.


If approved, starting in 2017, the bond measure would cost a taxpayer with a property valued at $300,000 approximately $15 more per month. The owner of a property worth $500,000 would pay an additional $25 per month.

Read the full story at the Post Record.

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CHS principal Steve Marshall answers the second comprehensive HS question

Doreen McKercher : January 25, 2016 4:54 PM : News

secondhsq-sliderQ: Why did the CSD bond committee recommend the proposed 600-student, project-based high school instead of a second comprehensive high school?

A: This is a question that ties into years of research and discussion prior to the bond as well as three key questions that were considered by the bond committee throughout its planning sessions last year. As Principal of CHS, I have been involved in both, so I have volunteered to answer this question.

From 2011-2014, I co-chaired a Camas High School Futures Committee that researched innovative educational programs for our students as part of our mission to ensure that CHS grew “smarter” not just bigger. That committee helped to create the Integrated Arts & Academics and CamTech programs that currently serve our students. This research continued this past year, when I – along with 50 students, staff, parents and community leaders on the bond committee – explored the question of a second comprehensive high school during the planning phase of the bond. This committee considered three main questions before making its recommendations:



The “high growth” enrollment projection estimates that there will be 2,540 high school students in our district in the year 2020. The committee recommended that we house these students by scaling back the CHS student enrollment to 1,800, increasing the Hayes Freedom enrollment to 200 students, and creating a new project based learning high school to accommodate 600 students. The rationale for this configuration was that: 1. An 1,800 student population at CHS strikes the balance between the benefits and drawbacks of a large comprehensive high school, 2. The enrollments of 200 and 600 students, respectively, allows us to provide students with two distinct, personalized and innovative educational experiences, and 3. Combining these two populations is not enough to establish a second comprehensive high school that would have comparable programming and offerings to Camas High.



To build another comprehensive high school is an expensive proposition – in terms of construction costs, land, and staffing. A comprehensive high school requires at least 50 acres of land for its campus. Our district does not currently have a property site that large. Additionally, the infrastructure for utilities and access does not exist in the north urban growth area of our district, where parcels of land would likely be purchased for such a campus. Moreover, the estimated construction costs for this campus would nearly equal the size of this entire bond, which is capped by our district’s ability to borrow with a high bond rating. Another important financial consideration is staffing. Even if a smaller high school were built, equity and its separate location would dictate a duplication of facility, maintenance, staffing, and utility costs.

While another comprehensive high school is not currently feasible, as our community continues to grow and develop, so will our district’s bond capacity – both of which will enable us to afford a second large-scale high school campus and fill it with students in the future.



Our economy demands a highly educated and skilled workforce. Businesses have consistently communicated that they need employees who are creative, persistent problem-solvers, and who communicate effectively, and work well in teams. Project based learning helps students acquire knowledge and skills through collaboration on complex questions, problems, and challenges. These projects generally take place over an extended period of time like a quarter or semester and are completed in integrated teams. Teachers in different content areas team up to ensure students learn the same standards students at other schools learn. But they do so through an enriched learning process that focuses on students applying their skills on a relevant, real-world topic or in an authentic context, such as an outdoor setting or an actual business or agency. To facilitate these experiences, the bond committee recommended that we expand our current secondary learning options for students by building a smaller high school focused on project based learning.

A recent Gallup poll survey reported that 4 out of 10 high school students are engaged in their high school experience. We recognize that we need to continue to explore new formats, opportunities, and choices that will engage all of our students. This new school represents such an opportunity. It will be open to all high school students. If interest exceeds capacity, a lottery system would be put in place to ensure equitable access. Students will have extra-curricular opportunities through clubs and activities and will access Camas High School for specialized classes and interscholastic athletics, just as Hayes Freedom High students currently do. While the district has added a number of new sports and activities over the past few years, we are looking to expand our co- and extra-curricular offerings even more so every high school student can benefit from being involved outside of the classroom.

The committee believes that this bond will create a school designed to deliver unique learning opportunities that will excite and inspire our students. But the commitment to project based learning will not be limited to this campus. The thinking is that this school-wide model will be easier to implement from scratch on a new site and that it will hopefully set a course that will engage all of our district’s secondary students moving forward. I am excited about this “blueprint” for our schools and – along with our Superintendent Mike Nerland ( – am happy to answer your questions regarding this bond and its innovative plans to meet the needs of our students now and in the future.

Steve Marshall

Steve Marshall has been the Principal of Camas High School from 2008 (then 1,520 students) through the present (now 2,080 students)

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CHS choir, band students bound for state

Doreen McKercher : January 22, 2016 12:24 PM : News

CHS student instrumentalists and vocalists were selected for All-State bands and choirs this year by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA).

Students had to audition on tape, adhering to specific guidelines, and demonstrate excellent musicianship and vocal technique. Then WMEA judges listened to all the tapes and selected,the best performances. The students who are selected for this honor will join other young musicians from across the state to play under the direction of renowned conductors and educators, at the annual WMEA State Conference in Yakima, Washington, in February.

All-NW Women’s Choir:

Victoria Dunn: Alto II/Women’s Honor Choir:

Hayley Glover: Soprano I/Women’s Honor Choir:

Claire Green: Alto II/Women’s Honor Choir:

Cambryn Gulzow: Alto I/Women’s Honor Choir:

Sierra Hostetler: Soprano I/Women’s Honor Choir:

Dana Rohlfs: Alto II/Women’s Honor Choir:


All-NW Men’s Choir:

Isaac Dizon: Tenor II/Men’s Honor Choir

Kai Ejan: Bass I/Men’s Honor Choir

Ethan Plock: Tenor II/Men’s Honor Choir


All-NW Youth Honor Choir:

Carter Erickson: Tenor/Youth Honor Choir

Tara Larsen: Alto/Youth Honor Choir

Hannah Upkes: Alto/Youth Honor Choir


All-State Symphonic Choir:

Maddie Bertalot: WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir: Alto 1

Isaac Dizon: WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir: Tenor 2

Claire Green: WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir: Alto 2

Gianfranco DiCarlo: WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir: Tenor 1

Hannah Upkes: WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir: Alto 1

Janessa Wilson: WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir: Alto 1


All-State Treble Choir:

Rachel Edwards: WMEA All-State Treble Choir: Soprano 2

Katie Blair: WMEA All-State Treble Choir: Soprano 2

Dana Rohlfs: WMEA All-State Treble Choir: Alto 2

Abigail Lightfoot: WMEA All-State Treble Choir: Alto 1

Hayley Glover: WMEA All-State Treble Choir: Soprano 1

Sierra Hostetler: WMEA All-State Treble Choir: Soprano 1

Brenna Larsen: WMEA All-State Treble Choir: Alto 2


All-State Chamber Orchestra:

Sophia Hansen: WMEA All-State Chamber Orchestra: Viola


All-State Concert Band:

Sean Chronister, clarinet

David Ciobanu, trumpet


All-State Symphony Orchestra:

Lucas Abrahamsen, percussion


All-State Chamber Orchestra:

Isaac Hodapp, trumpet

John Neumann, tuba

Phoebus Tsai, French horn

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HFHS student finalist for Youth of the Year award

Doreen McKercher : January 20, 2016 5:15 PM : News

Ilse-Villasenor-postHayes Freedom High School student Ilse Villasenor was honored this morning as Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland. Finalists for the award completed a written application, a comprehensive portfolio, and a series of interviews with judges. Candidates were selected for their service to the Club and community, academic success, strong moral character, life goals, poise, and speaking ability.

Villasenor, a member of the Camas Jack, Will, & Rob Boys & Girls Club, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship during a showcase ceremony at the Blazers Boys & Girls Club in Portland. She will now move on to the next level competing against teens from clubs in both Oregon and Washington.

Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club teens. Club members who earn the Youth of the Year title embody the values of leadership service; academic excellence; and healthy lifestyles. They exemplify the critical impact that Boys Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people.

Local Clubs recognize members ages 14 to 18 as Youth of the Month Winners and select a Youth of the Year, who then participates in state competitions. State winners each receive a $5,000 scholarship and advance to regional competitions. Regional winners receive an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Six youth, including five regional winners and a military winner, advance to the National Youth of the Year competition for a chance at an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable up to $100,000 for four years. The National Youth of the Year represents all Boys & Girls Club youth.

Located in Camas, The Jack, Will, & Rob Boys & Girls Club is the product of a community that came together to honor the lives of three special boys who lost their lives in a tragic plane accident. The Jack, Will, and Rob Club has a state-of-the-art music/theater room (Rob’s Playhouse), an art room (Will’s Studio), a computer lab (Jackson Room), and an art gallery.

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CHS hosts second annual Evening on Broadway

Doreen McKercher : January 20, 2016 2:49 PM : News

One night only! Friday, January 22, at 7 PM, the Camas HS performing arts department will hold its second annual Evening on Broadway, a fantastic opportunity to see your most talented Papermakers at their best, singing, dancing, and playing some of the greatest hits from Broadway musicals past and present, from Wicked to The Lion King.  Admission is only $5.  See you there!



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HOPE Project, Prune Hill January 11, 2016

Doreen McKercher : January 11, 2016 4:01 PM : News

I had the privilege of meeting with some Prune Hill Penguin students to talk about HOPE.  Prune Hill has a HOPEful wall with student-made snowflakes that share ideas about HOPE.  Henry and Hailey told me about the HOPEful wall and what they HOPE for – that the world is colorful and that everyone will always feel included.  Other Penguins shared their HOPEs:

  • I hope I get more candy than in 2015.
  • I hope that in 2016 all countries will be more nice.
  • I hope for no homework.
  • I hope for friends.
  • I hope for world peace. That includes wars, terrorist attacks and other un-peaceful stuff.

Does anyone doubt that this student will someday be a rocket scientist?


–Jeff Snell, Deputy Superintendent


JOY and HOPE are intimately connected and are powerful gifts we can give our students, perhaps the most powerful!  One of the very best parts of being involved in public education is the JOY and HOPE students give us each and every day!  The HOPE project is about sharing a bit of HOPE with you each week and asking that you share a bit of HOPE back.  We’ll use the power of social media to help.  The goal is to collectively paint a picture of what HOPE looks like in our district. 

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Camas Girls in STEM event

Doreen McKercher : January 7, 2016 3:55 PM : News


Camas School District is hosting an exciting event later this month of particular interest to those with 5th-8th grade female students.   It is our first Camas Girls in STEM event which includes a keynote speaker, interactive sessions, career expo tables, and panel session.  The day will also include lunch, a “swag” bag, and door prizes.  More importantly, our young female students will be exposed to a plethora of STEM professionals and careers. The official signup form is here. Register early as the event will likely fill quickly!

Questions? Contact Community Education at 360-833-5544.

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Camas teen who fought leukemia gives back to hospital

Doreen McKercher : December 29, 2015 3:16 PM : News

Fourteen-year-old Miles Cottrell of Camas delivers bird house kits he made for the kids at the Randall Children's Hospital school. (Steve Dipaola for the Columbian)

Fourteen-year-old Miles Cottrell of Camas delivers bird house kits he made for the kids at the Randall Children’s Hospital school. (Steve Dipaola for the Columbian)

Two years ago, Miles Cottrell was a regular in the pediatrics unit at Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland.

For nine months, the Camas boy, who is now 14, fought leukemia alongside the hospital’s other young patients. Since then, his visits to the children’s hospital have become less frequent.

But earlier this month, Miles and his family made a special trip to the Portland hospital. Rather than receive services, Miles was there to give back.

The teen donated 25 handmade birdhouse kits to the Randall Children’s Classroom — a public school program to support students during their hospitalization and ongoing treatment plans.

“It’s for the kids and making their experience better,” Miles said.

Miles’ first experience with Randall Children’s Hospital came nearly two years ago.

In January 2014, Miles told his mom, Keri Cottrell, that he found a lump the size of a large grape on his collarbone. Miles’ pediatrician assured Keri it was likely a swollen lymph node. Miles was likely catching a cold, and the lump would go away, the doctor told them.

About a month later, though, the lump was still there. Miles went back to the pediatrician, who sent him to see a surgeon. The surgeon immediately removed the lump.

The next day, Keri received a call from the surgeon. Miles had an appointment scheduled for the next day with a cancer doctor at Randall Children’s Hospital. They went to the appointment — what they thought was just a consultation — and learned Miles needed to be admitted to the hospital for one week.

Miles was diagnosed with leukemia.

“It’s a punch to the gut,” said Miles’ dad, Steve Cottrell.

Miles immediately began intense chemotherapy treatment. After six days in the hospital, Miles was released to go home. But doctors told Miles he would be out of school for the following nine months while he underwent numerous rounds of chemotherapy treatment and a two-week course of radiation. Those nine months included regular visits to the hospital for tests and treatment.

“I got a bit used to the poking and prodding,” Miles said. “I just tried to keep a good attitude. That’s what got me through it. SportsCenter helped, too.”

Read the full story at The Columbian.

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