Cabaret earns 10 nominations

Doreen McKercher : May 27, 2015 8:12 AM : News

Camas High School’s musical production, Cabaret has been recognized in an amazing 10 categories at the 5th Avenue Theatre Awards Honoring High School musical theatre! Given the extraordinary challenge of this piece of theatre, the drama department is incredibly excited to be counted among the strongest performances in the state of Washington for this school year. Below is the list of categories for which our production has received nominations:

  • Outstanding Overall Production
  • Outstanding Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role: Andrew Henson
  • Outstanding Direction
  • Outstanding Scenic Design
  • Outstanding Lighting Design
  • Outstanding Choreography (Honorable Mention)
  • Outstanding Orchestra
  • Outstanding Hair and Makeup Design
  • Special Honors: Educational Impact
  • Special Honors: Student Achievement: Bethany Burton


A nomination in the category of Outstanding Overall Production means the entire cast will be performing on the 5th Avenue Theatre Stage in front of all 104 schools that participated in the awards this year. This is an unique opportunity for them to share their hard work with their peers. A nomination in the category of Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role means Andrew will perform a piece from the show for the audience as well.

“If you see any of our cast members, please congratulate them on their hard-earned success! To be listed among our fellow artists is a huge honor,” commented director Sean Kelly. “We will be attending the awards ceremony in Seattle on June 8th to see what we can bring home to Camas.”

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Empowerment for all

Doreen McKercher : May 27, 2015 8:05 AM : News

Girls Learn International is hosting fundraising event


A human-rights focused club at Camas High School is hosting its first-ever event to promote advocacy and awareness.

The Girls Learn International Chapter will show the “Girls Rising,” documentary at the CHS theater Saturday, June 6. There will be homemade desserts for sale.

The club was started by juniors Corrine Bintz and Kris Ahn in January.

“My cousin started the first chapter five or six years ago at a different school, and I thought it would be a good idea to begin one here,” Bintz said. “We didn’t really have any human-rights focused clubs at CHS.”

According to the Girls Learn International website, it is designed to educate and energize U.S. students in the global movement for girls access to education, and pairs chapters in middle and high schools with partner schools in developing nations.

“GLI is building a movement of informed advocates for universal girls’ education and a new generation of leaders and activists for social change,” it states.

The CHS chapter has 20 members, which includes a mix of girls and boys.

Read the full story at The Post Record.

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Magnet Alumna Plays Key Role in UW Coal Divestment

Doreen McKercher : May 20, 2015 3:28 PM : News

Carly Marshall, shown on the left, is a 2014 graduate of CHS and the MST Magnet program. While in the program, she co-authored and conducted award winning projects that took top honors in state and regional competition, earning the program more than $10,000 dollars that will support student project study for years to come.

2014 Magnet/CHS Alumna Carly Marshall has been working hard all year long with the student group Divest UW to convince the UW Board of Regents to “divest” from its investments in coal.  Her efforts have paid off with the following announcement and Board action this past week:  “The University of Washington (UW) will divest roughly $2 million of its endowment from coal companies, citing ‘the seriousness of the climate change problem,’ after a vote by the school’s board of regents Thursday night [03/14/15]“ (Common Dreams).

Read the full story at the MST Magnet website.

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Camas hurdlers steal spotlight at district meet

Doreen McKercher : May 20, 2015 3:08 PM : News

Gunther, Davis sweep their events

The Class 4A District 4 track and field meet is the last step before the state meet.

The best athletes Tuesday at McKenzie Stadium will be doing the Tacoma two-step, having qualified in multiple events.

And Camas hurdlers Ryan Gunther and Jordan Davis three-stepped their way toward the sunset of successful high school careers.

Camas High School’s Ryan Gunther clears a hurdle in the men’s 300m hurdle event at the 4A GSHL District track meet at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver Tuesday May 19, 2015. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian)

The seniors went out in style at their last district meet. They swept the hurdle events, in which the fastest runners take just three steps between leaps in the shorter races.

Gunther won the 110 hurdles in 14.71 seconds to repeat as district champion.

About 30 minutes later, he won his third district title in the 300 hurdles, in which he finished second in state last year.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to come out here and see all the hard work pay off,” Gunther said. “It gives me a lot of confidence heading into state.”

Davis also has state in her sights. She won her third consecutive district title in the 100 hurdles.

She then repeated as district champ in the 300 hurdles, winning by nearly two seconds in 44.54. Davis, who placed fourth at state last year, owns the third-fastest 300 hurdles time in Class 4A this year.

“Today, I ran the fastest time I could so I could get a good lane for state,” she said. “It’s going to be hard up there. I used this meet to prepare for it, for sure.”

Before moving on to the state meet May 28-30 in Tacoma, Gunther paused to reflect on a district meet in which he’s had so much success.

“Track has always been a big part of my life,” Gunther said. “Being able to close the sixth-through-twelfth grade chapter like this is a really good feeling.”

Read the full story at The Columbian.

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CHS DECA Members Succeed at International Competition in Florida

Doreen McKercher : May 18, 2015 3:18 PM : News


Twenty-six Camas High School students traveled to Orlando, Florida to compete at the annual DECA International Career Development Conference. Competitors ranged from all 50 States, Canada, and Spain. Of the 26 Camas Students, competition was split between research projects and role-play mock business scenarios.

Seven Camas DECA members, Shannon Ahearn, Nataley Dormier, Satya Hariharan, Noah White, Louie Avino, Areeb Ahsan, and Cameron Vega qualified for the final rounds of competition, automatically placing them in the top 18 competitors worldwide in their respective events. From there, Nataley Dormier and Shannon Ahearn placed in the top ten worldwide for their work on a Financial Literacy Research Project and Cameron Vega placed second in the world for his Automotive Service Marketing event. The 26 student group was the largest Camas has ever sent to ICDC and included five first year DECA members.

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New sports program brings out smiles; qualifies for state

Doreen McKercher : May 18, 2015 11:07 AM : News


Unified Sports, an emerging athletic program in Clark County partnered with Special Olympics, has debuted in Camas. Through this opportunity, special needs students participate in athletics and represent their school. Unified Sports combines special needs students, the athletes, with general education students, the partners.  The students play together on a 5 vs. 5 modified field which includes 3 athletes and 2 partners playing together wearing Camas uniforms against other schools in Clark County.

The Camas Unified team competed in a district tournament over the weekend with all the Clark County Schools and qualified for the state tournament later this month! They practice Friday mornings at CHS, and they play their contests Saturday mornings at Kiggins Field in Vancouver.

“This is an amazing program which has been embraced by the Camas High School community,” commented Athletic Director Rory Oster. “We are the only school in the county with enough participants to field two teams, and I have never witnessed a program that brings so many smiles and so much positive energy to CHS students.”

Recently, the entire boys varsity soccer team traveled to Vancouver to watch and support the Unified team and it has been quite the buzz around the building. The Unified soccer players returned the favor at the District Championship varsity soccer match at Doc Harris in support of the team.

“It is our hope that we will field a unified basketball team next school year as well,” Oster added.

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Skyridge MS presents Starmites Lite!

Doreen McKercher : May 11, 2015 2:06 PM : News

starmites-postSkyridge Middle School students are preparing to take audiences out of this world with a comic-book, come-to-life production of Starmites Lite May 15th and 16th.

About 34 students have been practicing four to five days a week since February for the musical, with lyrics by Barry Keating and a book by Stuart Ross.

Starmites opened on Broadway on April 27, 1989, when it ran for 60 performances. Although it received six Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, it didn’t win.

Starmites Lite is a junior version of Starmites that’s intended for middle-school performances.

The show centers around a shy teenager, Eleanor, who creates a fantasy world with science-fiction characters from her comic-book collection. She imagines herself as a super-heroine, becoming involved in a conflict between the evil Shak Graa and the Starmites who are guardian angels of Innerspace.

Showtimes for Starmites are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 15th and 16th and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16th.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at Skyridge Middle School during regular school hours and cost $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Tickets may also be purchased at the door at the Camas High School Theater.​

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Eating Disorders-Parent Information Night

Doreen McKercher : May 11, 2015 1:59 PM : News

Camas parents, guardians, and community members are invited to an informational meeting about teens and eating disorders. It takes place on Wednesday, May 20, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Hayes Freedom High School. Guest speaker Tamara Duarte, licensed mental health counselor associate specializing in adolescent and pre-adolescent eating disorders, will provide information surrounding this important health issue.

Topics addressed will include:

  • signs and symptoms
  • when to be nervous
  • when to be afraid
  • what the parents can do
  • ways to seek out help
  • what help may look like
  • Q&A time

This event is free—we hope you can join us!

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Big Learning, Little Learners

Doreen McKercher : May 10, 2015 11:42 AM : News


Please join us for an evening of family-focused learning activities to support early learning and school readiness skills. This program is open to young learners, ages 3-6 in the Camas School District, and their parents. We will focus on early literacy and math skills and provide free materials for you to take home and use to continue the learning at home. Emphasis on kindergarten readiness skills.

Space is limited to the first 40 families to register!

Click here for more information and to download the registration form.

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Teacher walkout vote; no school May 13

Doreen McKercher : May 6, 2015 6:07 PM : News

Dear Camas Families,

I’m sure by now most of you have heard of the teacher walkouts held by some teacher associations throughout our state–a movement designed to influence lawmakers into adequately funding our schools.  Today, I was notified by Camas Education Association (CEA) leadership, our local teachers union, that they will join other school districts in Clark County to hold a walkout on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

The CEA has made it clear this is not a work stoppage directed against the School Board, staff, students, or patrons of the Camas School District.  The decision to walk out was made by CEA, at the encouragement of the Washington Education Association, in an effort to influence the Legislature to fully fund K-12 education. The School Board and administration agree that lawmakers have failed to fully fund K-12 education for too many years; however, we don’t believe pulling all teachers out of classrooms for a day is the way to convey this message to our legislators. We apologize for the challenge this presents to our students, families, community, and staff.

The district does not have the capacity to serve our students without our certified teaching staff and will, therefore, not hold regular classes on Wednesday, May 13. The only activities which will take place are:

  • Nationally scheduled Advanced Placement (AP) tests;
  • High school athletic games scheduled with other schools; and
  • Evening parent meetings and facility use scheduled by outside organizations.

There will be no Extended Day before- and after-school child care; athletic practices, kindergarten orientation, extracurricular meetings, rehearsals, middle school cooking contest or regular student classes and activities through Community Education*. If you have questions about your child(ren)’s school or activities, you will find a list of specific cancellations on our district web calendar (DynaCal) under Parent Corner or you may contact your school directly.

The walkout on May 13 will cause the district to extend the school year by one day.  State law requires that students attend school 180 days. Students must be present for a certain number of hours each day in order for it to count as a school day. When school is closed, missed days must be made up. State law does not currently allow school districts to add minutes onto each school day to make up missed time to meet the state requirement of 180 school days. As a result, the last day of school in the Camas School District has been changed from Monday, June 15, to Tuesday, June 16.

We appreciate the support our community has given public schools. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and please know that we always try to do what is best for student learning, even when things like politics present challenges.


Mike Nerland

*Community Education will offer a one-day camp at JDZ for families in need of child care–see the attached flyer.


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Whooping cough is spreading in Clark County

Doreen McKercher : May 5, 2015 11:21 AM : News

Make sure your vaccinations are up to date!


Whooping cough (pertussis) is a serious illness, and the number of people getting sick in Clark County is growing. Whooping cough can be especially severe in infants. To reduce the chances that babies will catch whooping cough, everyone, especially pregnant moms, should get their whooping cough shot for the best protection. Learn more about the vaccine and whooping cough activity and surveillance in Clark County.

If you have questions, please call your healthcare provider or Clark County Public Health at (360) 397-8182.

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It’s clothing for a cause

Doreen McKercher : May 4, 2015 11:25 AM : News

CHS senior creates apparel company to benefit at-risk youth in Portland

Nitin Beri

CHS senior Nitin Beri shows some examples of shirts available to purchase from his non-profit, Live Love Northwest. All proceeds benefit homeless and at-risk youth.

Nitin Beri didn’t want to have a run-of-the-mill senior project.

So, Beri, 18, combined his interests in clothing and non-profit organizations to form an apparel brand, Live Love Northwest, with all proceeds benefitting programs for homeless youth.

“I really liked the idea of running a non-profit and didn’t want to do a generic senior project,” he said.

He had the help of mentor Nitasha Kumar, who founded the “Focus on Kids” nonprofit lab guild associated with Seattle Children’s Hospital. It directly supports the department of laboratories.

Beri formed his non-profit, created a website and started designing Northwest related clothing logos for tank tops, T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Funds raised support New Avenues for Youth, a Portland organization that seeks to help hungry, homeless and at-risk youth.

“I looked at some of the bigger foundations, but since this is a Northwest-themed apparel brand, I wanted to benefit a charity closer to home,” Beri said. “New Avenues for Youth does after school mentoring programs as well as helps homeless youth. I thought it was a good way to give back to kids who don’t have all the advantages we do in Camas.”

Read the full story at the Post Record.

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New Woodburn Elementary Principal

Doreen McKercher : April 29, 2015 2:14 PM : News

Brian Graham

Brian Graham

Camas School District Superintendent Mike Nerland is pleased to announce that Brian Graham has been selected as the next principal of Woodburn Elementary School beginning in the 2015-16 school year. Graham will replace retiring principal Jan Strohmaier.

An interview committee made up of teachers, classified staff, and administrators participated in a rigorous and thorough selection process. “Brian Graham has served our Camas students as a teacher on special assignment, helping our elementary staff members improve their practice through professional development, one-on-one coaching, and group lesson studies,” commented Nerland. “Brian embodies the Camas tradition of caring and quality in an environment that supports growth. He is the perfect fit to lead Woodburn Elementary School toward continued successes,” he added.

“I’m honored to join the Woodburn community as its new principal. Woodburn, under the leadership of Jan Strohmaier, has created a caring school culture highlighting student voice,” said Graham. “I’m excited to continue this work and begin building relationships with the teachers, students, and families of Woodburn elementary.”

Graham received his Bachelor of Science and his Master’s of Education from the University of Portland in 2000 and 2003 respectively. He earned National Board Certification in math in 2008. Since his arrival in Camas, he has managed many projects including math shifts in the Common Core, the district’s data dashboard, elementary report card alignment to the Common Core, an elementary math website work group, and a Tier-2 academic vocabulary work group. He also facilitated K-5 learning walks, school-focused lesson studies, student growth training for principals and teachers and developed an instructional coaching model.

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Transition events for incoming 6th grade families

Doreen McKercher : April 29, 2015 8:58 AM : News

Liberty Middle School

Parent Informational Meetings

  • May 21, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., Liberty Commons
  • May 21, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., Liberty Commons

Fifth Grade Students from Lacamas, Helen Baller, Woodburn Visit Liberty

  • May 26, 1:30 – 3:10 p.m.

Skyridge Middle School

Parent Informational Meeting

  • May 20, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Fifth Grade Students Visit Skyridge

  • June 3, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Dorothy Fox
  • June 4, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Prune Hill
  • June 4, 1:15 – 2:15 p.m. – Grass Valley
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Another math win for Grass Valley

Doreen McKercher : April 29, 2015 6:54 AM : News

GVE math

Left to right: Maddie McArthur, Baden Currie, Vivian Barnard, Joy Young, Tara Hansen, Mia Holman, Claire McOmie, Taylor Redmond, and Andrew deLeon.

Fourth-Grade Math Team Takes Second Place

On April 20, the Math is Cool team from Grass Valley notched an awesome second-place finish at the annual regional competition. Joy Young placed fourth individually overall. Started this year by parent Roger Young, who admired the Evergreen School District’s rendition, the extracurricular Math is Cool program brings together Grass Valley fourth-grade students for a unique months-long learning opportunity that culminates in a team competition as well as individual assessment. Several dedicated parents took part in working with the students each week in preparation for the big event. Next week the team will find out if it has qualified to attend the state-level masters competition. Great job, kids & parents! To get involved, contact Roger Young at

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Prune Hill Penguins learn techniques to support others

Doreen McKercher : April 21, 2015 2:22 PM : News


The fabulous Prune Hill PTA funded an anti-bullying assembly last Friday which supported curriculum around teaching students how to identify and respond to bullying behavior. Bullying is defined as repeated, one-sided, and intentional behavior that threatens, frightens, or excludes others over time.  Students are taught to respond with the 3 R’s: Recognize, Refuse, and Report! The importance of being an ally to friends who are treated with unkind words or actions was an important enhancement for students.

“Thanks again to our parent community members who contribute to our school in so many ways,” commented principal Julie Swan. “The partnerships we develop strengthen our school!”

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Several Camas schools named 2014 Washington Achievement Award winners

Doreen McKercher : April 21, 2015 1:47 PM : News


The Washington Achievement Awards are sponsored by the Washington State Board of Education and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. They celebrate Washington’s top-performing schools and recognize achievement in many categories. This highly-selective award is based on our school’s performance on the Washington State Achievement Index.

Schools are recognized as top performers in one of six categories: Overall excellence, high progress, reading growth, math growth, extended graduation rates and English language acquisition.

Camas schools receiving the 2014 honor are: Camas High School (overall excellence), Grass Valley Elementary School (reading growth), Helen Baller Elementary School (reading growth), Liberty Middle School (overall excellence, reading growth), and Skyridge Middle School (overall excellence, reading growth, math growth).

These award-winning schools will be honored at a ceremony on Tuesday, April 28, at Spanaway Lake High School in Spanaway.

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“JAM” Mayoral proclamation

Doreen McKercher : April 21, 2015 8:03 AM : News

Jazz Appreciation Month

“Jazz Appreciation Month” is deemed official by a Mayoral proclamation on April 20, 2015.
Students: Abby Bradshaw, AJ Bradshaw, Garrett Maul and Garrett Monroe. Adults: Grass Valley Jazz director Natalie Wilson and Camas Mayor Scott Higgins.

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