2014 Stuff the Bus Canned Food Drive

Doreen McKercher : November 17, 2014 5:43 PM : News

A message from CHS Leadership

Dear CHS Parents and Supporters,

Happy Holidays everyone! We hope you enjoyed the little winter blast we just received. If you’re not already aware, Stuff the Bus is back! On Friday, December 5, from noon-5 PM we will be stuffing the buses with boxes of canned food in front of Camas High School. Last year, the CHS community donated over 42,000 pounds of food. Together with Washougal High School, 72,000 pounds of food was collected – enough to feed 200 families for one year. This year, we want to do even better. In these tough times, more and more families are in need, and it’s our goal to help as many of these families as we can.

There are many different ways that you can help us reach our goal of amassing at least 45,000 pounds of food:

  • First: Donate any non-perishable food items. These can be sent with any Camas School District student, and/or can be dropped off directly at Camas High School between now and Dec. 5 and be sent to their 1st period teacher for the competition.
  • Second: Join us at Burgerville in downtown Camas Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 4-9 PM, where 10% of all profits will be donated to the Camas Stuff the Bus efforts.
  • Or third: Make a cash donation at the front counter at the ASB window at Camas High School between 7 AM-3 PM through Dec. 5.  Donations will also be accepted at the District Online Payments website under CHS fundraisers. We are hopeful that the CHS community will match or do better than last year with $6,000 to purchase non-perishable food items at local grocery stores.

Please remember that everything we collect will remain in our community and support local families this year as well as next year. It is our hope that every family in need will receive food during these holiday season. With your help, we can make this a reality.

Thank you for helping us Stuff the Bus!


CHS Leadership Students

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Local youths jump into ballet roles

Doreen McKercher : November 17, 2014 3:56 PM : News

Annie Garcia of Camas dances with the Portland Ballet. (Blaine Truitt Covert)

Annie Garcia of Camas dances with the Portland Ballet. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert


Annie Garcia has learned many ballet moves since she began dancing at age 3, but there’s one in particular that will always be the Camas High School senior’s favorite.

And it’s a move people can watch her perform on Thanksgiving weekend at the Portland Ballet.

“I’ve always been a jumper,” said Garcia, 17. “I love grand allegro — the big jumps across the floor. It feels like flying to me.”

Garcia will fly across the floor periodically during her four roles in “The Portland Ballet Dances A Fairytale Holiday,” where she will dance as characters in John Clifford’s “Tales From Mother Goose” and “The Enchanted Toyshop.”

And Garcia will be joined by three other young Clark County dancers in the shows, which will be performed to live music from the Portland State University Symphony.

Kayla Adams, 16, and Cassidy Swanson, 11, students at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, and Lauren Grover, 11, a sixth-grader at Shahala Middle School, will join Garcia on the stage.

While Garcia said she’s excited about her two lead roles, as Princess in the “Princess and Pagodas” segment of “Mother Goose” and Giselle in “Toyshop,” the performance she relates to most is a smaller role as the Shopkeeper’s Wife in “Toyshop.”

“I think there’s a lot of depth in that role,” Garcia said. “She and the shopkeeper, they aren’t all that successful. Their life isn’t all rosy. I think it would be easy to do it simply, but there’s so much depth to it that I really enjoy.”

Read the full story at The Columbian.

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Thanksgiving Break

Doreen McKercher : November 17, 2014 3:47 PM : News


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Inclement weather makeup day: February 13, 2015!

Doreen McKercher : November 17, 2014 3:45 PM : News


The first makeup day for school closures due to inclement weather is February 13, 2015. All other makeup days will be added to the end of the school year. 

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Camas’ Gabe Lopes having breakout year at linebacker

Doreen McKercher : November 14, 2014 3:34 PM : News

Camas defenders Gabe Lopes, left, and Trevor Wochnick break up a pass against Monroe in 2013. Though he was a backup last season, Lopes used that experience to propel him. Now he's is one of Clark County's best defensive players. Photo: Steven Lane/The Columbian

Camas defenders Gabe Lopes, left, and Trevor Wochnick break up a pass against Monroe in 2013. Though he was a backup last season, Lopes used that experience to propel him. Now he’s is one of Clark County’s best defensive players. Photo: Steven Lane/The Columbian

 Senior moves from obscurity to spotlight as one of area’s best defensive players

Another year, another league title.

Another undefeated regular season.

Another player of the year honor.

That’s the Camas way these days.

Football stars graduate, making room for other players to become football stars on their own.

Gabe Lopes does not seek the spotlight. He keeps quiet and tries to do his assignment. As a senior linebacker at Camas, he performed so well that the spotlight found him. Last week, it was announced that the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League coaches voted Lopes as the defensive player of the year.

“It just felt really great that people actually acknowledged all the work I put in,” Lopes said.

It was a Camas sweep, too. Wide receiver James Price and quarterback Liam Fitzgerald were voted co-players of the year on offense. Price was already a known name in the football community. Fitzgerald plays the sport’s glamour position.

Lopes, though, pretty much played his way out of obscurity and into the limelight.

“It feels great when you’re out there and you’re doing your job, and your whole team is working together and you’re actually playing like it’s designed,” he said.

Read the full story at The Columbian.

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2014 Phone-a-Thon

Doreen McKercher : November 7, 2014 4:52 PM : News

CEF1Note to CSD Families: A Camas student may call you next week on behalf of the Camas Educational Foundation’s annual Phone-a-Thon.

Students will be calling Camas families asking for donations to support the Foundation’s important mission of bringing enhanced curriculum opportunities to Camas schools.

This past year, CEF awarded over $90,000 in grants to support incredible projects our teachers are bringing to our students, all thanks to generous donations from our community.

So, if you receive a call from one of our Camas youth, please give them a couple minutes of your time. If you choose to donate, well, that will just make their day, and of course, all donations are tax deductible.

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Camas steps up safety in schools

Doreen McKercher : November 3, 2014 11:30 AM : News

If an unthinkable act of violence were to happen in a Camas school, would staff be prepared? According to Bryan McGeachy, the district’s director of operations, “We would. We have been hard at work on revising safety plans and updating essential information,” he said.


Camas awarded state safety grant for panic buttons

This summer, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction awarded 80 districts across the state of Washington including Camas School District with a grant to install an emergency response system.

The $64,495 security grant from OSPI helped the district to install new panic and lockdown buttons, a new security camera platform, and new camera servers at each school.

The installation and use of the panic button expedites the arrival of law enforcement units when traditional phone calling to 911 is not an option and speed is essential. The activation of the panic button will signal to the security provider’s monitoring center, which has been instructed to immediately call 911 to dispatch local law enforcement. The lockdown button will provide the capability to immediately lock down exterior doors in an emergency situation. Upon arrival of first responders, the monitoring center will be able to unlock the doors for quick entry.

The district also installed improved camera software and new camera servers in each building which can provide law enforcement with access to the live camera feed.

Run. Hide. Fight.

After the lessons learned from the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, school
staff and students will soon have options other than locking classroom doors and hiding as previously practiced. Once fully implemented, the run, fight, hide protocols will enable staff members to quickly assess the situation and decide if having students run for safety, hide themselves in a classroom, or fight the assailant is the best response to a bad situation.

The new protocols are not yet fully implemented in schools but that is the goal. The district is working hard with principals, staff and teachers to discuss methods of safety. “Not all of these protocols are appropriate for every grade level. In some instances, having little kids running to safety may not be the best option,” says McGeachy.

Real-life scenarios help prepare for the worst

To help improve effective responses, Camas staff members attend safety summits such as the one in August sponsored by the Safe Schools Task Force in Clark County. Administrators and key personnel took part in workshops such as: Active Threat Response, Threat Assessment, Bullying, Incident Command, and Drug Trends.

Also, at Camas’ secondary schools, all principals and associate principals took part in “what if ” scenarios in Table Top discussions where real emergency situations were explored. This month, all elementary principals will participate in Table Top scenarios to help them be better prepared. “There could be a hundred different scenarios administrators could face, such as a disgruntled patron, a fire, weapons, etc. These discussions of real-life situations can really help,” says McGeachy.

As a matter of course, Camas schools used to go into full lockdown every time there was a neighborhood disturbance. Students were not allowed outside and remained inside locked, dark classrooms, and were instructed to remain silent. The practice was disruptive to class learning and now is considered unnecessary in most cases. Today, school administrators use more flexible guidelines to quickly assess threats. If there is a neighborhood disturbance reported by police, outside entrances are locked and activities curtailed as seen appropriate. Students, however, may be allowed to move inside the building as usual.

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2020 and beyond…

Doreen McKercher : October 31, 2014 9:00 AM : News
District launches strategic planning process to help guide the future

What experiences do we want students to have in order to graduate from Camas schools well prepared for success in college and careers? What are we most proud of in our past? Where do we want to be in 2020 and beyond? Those are a few of the questions asked of community leaders, board members, and staff members as a springboard to create a comprehensive strategic plan which will guide the district’s work well into the future.

We want participants to think big, and ask questions like ‘what if…?’ ~ Jeff Snell
In addition to numerous interviews being conducted, the creation of a strategic plan involves visitations to observe other highly successful schools. There will be staff and community engagement sessions, analysis of parent surveys, development of common themes, goals and objectives, and tasks and timelines woven into a detailed action plan. Listening groups, problem solving opportunities, and workshops will challenge the district to think big about the future of Camas schools.

“We want staff to share those moments when they felt most alive, engaged and empowered and what the student outcomes looked like at those times,” said Deputy Superintendent Jeff Snell who, along with Superintendent Mike Nerland, is leading the planning process. “We want participants to think big, and ask questions like ‘what if…?,’” he added.

Those big ideas will be a significant part of what’s included in the end product. Snell said all of the elements in the strategic plan are designed to strengthen current student supports and drive new initiatives focused on maximizing student learning.

“Creating a strategic plan will be as much about the journey as it is about the outcome,” said Snell. As classroom technology and instructional practices evolve, change and grow, an effective strategic plan must adapt to new educational research, practices and initiatives.

In addition to a focus on desired student engagement and outcomes, the plan will include a look at facility needs and capacity as well as the learning spaces required for today’s educational programs. “We’re getting to a place where capacity in our schools will need to be addressed,” said Snell. “It’s important that the educational program drive the kinds of facilities that provide the best learning opportunities.” The district has added nearly 1,000 students since voters approved its last capital facilities bond in 2007.

“We have a great infrastructure. We must continually assure all the supports are in place for students to be successful,” he said.

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Robotics program spans all grade levels

Doreen McKercher : October 29, 2014 2:00 PM : News


Camas School District’s robotics program began in 2007 with just five students and a handful of parent volunteers cheering the team to a 24th place finish in the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics competition that year. Fast forward to today, where Camas High School’s Team Mean Machine–30 members strong–consistently competes at the World Championships. Today, robotics clubs exist for all grade levels throughout the district and a Robotics Engineering Program of Study (REPoS) is being integrated into curriculum across the district. This program introduces students to robotics using State Learning Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Camas School District’s robotics program has something for every level of learner. Whether it’s an elementary student taking her LEGO skills to the next level, a middle school student programming a robot, or a high school student in a state or national competition, robotics has created a hands-on bridge for tactile learning.

Skyridge Middle School teacher Lindsey Swezea says she has enjoyed watching her students’ enthusiasm about this different style of learning. “Ninety-nine percent of the students in my classes grew up playing with LEGO bricks,” she said. “Their minds already process information this way. It’s part of their childhood.”

Swezea says it’s all about teaching students how to use basic design and engineering and apply that skill set to programming. As one of the most popular elective middle school classes, Swezea will have more than 300 students in her robotics classes this year.

“It’s a great way for students to learn problem solving through a hands-on tangible learning application,” said Swezea. “Students learn in different ways and robotics gives students a tactile approach to solving a problem. They can take this approach to a career in the medical field or as an electrician. The possibilities are endless.”

Swezea points out that robotics support student learning at all different levels because students can move at their own pace. “Some middle school students are already doing their own coding,” she said. “There is room for a lot of creativity, and students continue to challenge themselves.”

“Our robotics program is fortunate to benefit from some very passionate people who see the importance of offering this type of opportunity for Camas students,” added Swezea.

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Camas Administrators asked to join Common Core conversation

Doreen McKercher : October 24, 2014 3:28 PM : News

Early this week, Camas School District leaders were invited to share their perspectives on Common Core with members of the Quality Education Council (QEC) who heard presentations from districts around the state.

Jeff Snell, Deputy Superintendent, and Lisa Greseth, Director of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, spoke about the impacts of Common Core including changes in teaching, learning, and technology.

Highlights of the presentation included the district’s professional learning system related to how educator growth is supported. Specifically, the district engages the use of peer-to-peer support through the development of teacher learning leaders in all schools. The model supports teachers with a variety of professional learning structures including assisting teachers with student growth goals, helping staff work on new initiatives, and even one-on-one coaching. The district also employs key positions referred to as Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs). These TOSAs facilitate collaborative approaches to instruction, foster Professional Learning Communities, and create targeted professional development opportunities for teachers.

The Quality Education Council (QEC) was created by the Legislature in ESHB 2261, the major education reform bill passed during the 2009 session. Its purpose is to develop strategic recommendations for implementation of a new definition of Basic Education and the financing necessary to support it.

QEC members include four state representatives and four state senators (with equal representation among Democrats and Republicans). In addition, council members include one representative each from the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education, the Director of the Department of Early Learning, the Office of the Governor, the State Board of Education, the Professional Educator Standards Board and the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee.

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Papermaker swimmers edge Mountain View

Doreen McKercher : October 22, 2014 8:32 AM : News
swim-postEugenia Beale helped the Papermakers win the 400 and the 200 freestyle relay races Thursday, at Cascade Athletic Center. She also finished second in the 500 free and fourth in the 200 individual medley. Photo by Dan Trujillo.

Wins in the 200-meter freestyle relay, 100 backstroke and 400 freestyle relay carried the Camas High School girls swimming team to an 87-83 victory against Mountain View Thursday, at Cascade Athletic Center.

“This was the start of our championship season,” said head coach Mike Bemis. “It took us a while to take that to heart. It was a fabulous way to end the day on that last relay.”

Sierra Colletto, Alexandra Hall, Anna Panebianco and Eugenia Beale clinched first place for the Papermakers in the 400 free relay with a time of 3 minutes, 59.74 seconds.

“It felt fan-freaking-tastic,” Colletto said. “It was such a good race. I think everybody wanted to win.”

Colletto and Hall kept Camas in the lead, before Panebianco dove in and created some breathing room. Beale delivered a strong final lap to secure the victory.

“Just get as far ahead as I could,” Panebianco said. “That’s all I was focusing on.”

Read the full story at the Post-Record.

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Memoir in Poetry & Art: Essence of Self

Doreen McKercher : October 21, 2014 3:37 PM : News
Library Show FlyerSecond Story Gallery at the Camas Public Library hosts student artwork from new Integrated Arts and Academics program at CHS through October.

The collection of student work from the CHS Integrated Arts and Academics (IAA) features a blend of memoir poetry and the atom as metaphor for self in their artwork. The show consists of masks, glass tiles, oil pastel triptychs, and more. Forty-six ninth graders in the new IAA program have the opportunity to connect what they are learning in Pre-AP English and Physical Science, and then communicate their learning in art that is meaningful to them.

“In addition to integrating the academics with the arts, the program vision is for students to work with professional, visual and performing artists and always share their work with an audience. It makes learning more relevant and real-world. Showing their art publicly at the Second Story Gallery is a lifetime opportunity for them,” commented Gina Mariotti Shapard, the program’s leader at Camas High School.

In September, students explored the notion of “essence” as their theme in memoir poetry, physical states of matter, and the atom’s structure in science. They have been working with local artists such as Dancer, Renee’ Adams of Riverside Performing Arts, as well as Artist, Becca Kenck-Crispin of Wells Glass Studio thanks to a major grant from the Camas Educational Foundation.

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Evening on Broadway

Doreen McKercher : October 21, 2014 3:21 PM : News

broadwayStudents of Camas High School’s award-winning drama and music departments will be performing popular selections from Broadway musicals in their second annual Evening on Broadway on October 27 at 7 PM.  Tickets are $5 and will be sold at the box office, which opens at 6 PM.  This year’s blockbuster sequel brings more choreography, costumes, and songs from America’s favorite shows.  For more information, contact Ethan Chessin at

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CHS Drama Department presents A Christmas Carol

Doreen McKercher : October 14, 2014 10:55 AM : News

Christmas-Carol-post“If I had my way, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” –Ebenezer Scrooge

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” tells the classic story of a mean-spirited, miserly and rich old man, a poor but optimistic clerk, and three visiting ghosts each with a unique message about the meaning of Christmas. The story was immensely popular when it was printed in 1843, and remains popular more than 170 years later.

The Camas High School Drama Department presents this timeless tale, adapted by  Romulus Linney, over two weekends in November.

Performance Dates:
  • November 7, 8, 14, and 15 at 7 PM
  • November 15 at 2 PM (ASL interpreted)
Tickets Prices:
  • Adults and students without ASB – $7
  • Students with ASB, Honored Citizens, – $6
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Guermali brothers have Camas cross country cruising

Doreen McKercher : October 10, 2014 2:32 PM : News
Ex-Union runner finds new home with Papermakers

There were no angry glances or furious sprints as the two leading runners headed shoulder-to-shoulder into the homestretch.

For Said and Yacine Guermali, Tuesday’s cross country race at Pacific Park wasn’t unlike countless runs they’ve done together.

Only Tuesday, the brothers wore matching Camas High School singlets as they crossed the finish line of the 5,000 meter course in 16 minutes, 45 seconds.

Rewind one year, much was different. Said was one of the top runners for Union, which Camas faced along with Mountain View on Tuesday.

The senior now runs for Camas because of what he called a family decision. In the moments before the race started, he exchanged handshakes and joked with his former Union teammates.

“It was really bittersweet because I made some great relationships with Union,” Said Guermali said. “The whole team, I still love them today. I still hang out with a lot of them. The coaching at Union was exceptional. But just personal reasons involving moving to other houses made it harder for us to stay at Union.”

Also last year, Yacine would never have been in the lead pack of a varsity race. The sophomore hadn’t broken 19 minutes until this season. Tuesday, he stuck with his older brother as they pulled away from Union’s Tristan Robins and Jordan Moore over the second half of the race.

“He’s like a role model,” Yacine Guermali said. “Having him there to push me, I don’t give up.”

Read the full story at the Columbian.

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District seeks health committee members

Doreen McKercher : October 9, 2014 3:31 PM : News

The Camas School District is seeking individuals to serve on the district’s Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC).

Ideally volunteers would have a background/interest in one of the following areas: comprehensive school health education, physical education, health services, nutrition services, counseling, psychological or social work, health promotion for staff, and/or family/community experience. Committee members will also serve as a representative/liaison for a specific school building – elementary, middle or high school. Parents, teachers, and community members are encouraged to apply.

SHAC consists of about 20 school district stakeholders who advise school administrators and board members on a variety of health and fitness issues. Four meetings are held during the school year. SHAC members serve a three-year term.

Interested citizens are encouraged to send a letter of interest and resume to Molly Ndoloum, RN, MSN, at 1612 NE Garfield Street, Camas, WA 98607 or to by October 20, 2014.

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Love for volleyball grows

Doreen McKercher : October 9, 2014 2:48 PM : News

Camas volleyball players, coaches and fans celebrate after the Papermakers beat Battle Ground Sept. 30, at Camas High School.

Camas volleyball players, coaches and fans celebrate after the Papermakers beat Battle Ground Sept. 30, at Camas High School.

Papermakers beat Battle Ground in five-set thriller

Playing in front of a packed warehouse at Camas High School propelled the Papermakers to a five-set victory against Battle Ground Sept. 30.

“It was probably the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced at a volleyball game before,” said senior outside hitter Lauren Harris. “Once the final point was scored, I’ll never forget how the crowd just filled the court.”

Harris paired 20 kills with 28 digs and 2 blocks to help Camas defeat Battle Ground 23-25, 27-25, 23-25, 25-13, 15-10. Carly Banks added 25 kills and 2 blocks. Christina Elliott earned 58 assists, 18 digs and 2 aces. Sophi Jacobson delivered 13 kills, 7 digs, 5 blocks and 2 aces. Anna Roche contributed 7 blocks and 4 kills.

“Hard work pays off, and it really did when we had to go five with them,” Banks said. “Having that huge student section to play in front of is something we’ve always wanted. All of us fed off that excitement and it gave us more energy to play.”

Head coach Julie Nidick said the Papermakers trailed by 10 points in the third set before getting a second wind.

“The tenacity they showed was pretty special,” Nidick said. “They believed they were the better team. They didn’t want to let all those fans down.”

Read the full story at the Post Record.

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Elementary Conference Week: October 27-31, 2014

Doreen McKercher : October 8, 2014 2:22 PM : News

This year, the Camas School District is providing a full week of early release days dedicated to elementary conferencing with families.  During the week of October 27-31, 2014, all elementary schools will operate on an early release schedule (9:00 a.m. – 1:10 p.m.).  Kindergarten students will attend school on a rotating schedule of every other day of school during this week.

  • PM Kindergarten students will attend school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during conference week.  They will not attend Tuesday or Thursday.
  • AM Kindergarten students will attend kindergarten on Tuesday and Thursday of conference week.  They will not attend Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

If your child’s dismissal plan will differ from his/her regular plan due to the early release schedule, please let your school office know.

Please note: Camas Extended Day and the Jack, Will, Rob Center will be open early for participants during conference week. Camas Community Ed after-school classes for students are cancelled on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of conference week.

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