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Spanish teacher Lauren Reggero-Toledano named "Teacher of the Future"

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Lauren Reggero-Toledano, a teacher of Spanish at Catlin Gabel’s Upper School, was selected by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as part of the 2011-12 Teachers of the Future program. The NAIS Teachers of the Future were selected from a large pool of nominees who inspire academic excellence in students and who serve as opinion leaders among their colleagues and peers. The Teachers of the Future were also chosen for their expertise in particular areas—environmentalism, globalism, technology, and equity, and justice—that NAIS believes are hallmarks of a high-quality education for the 21st century. As one of only 25 teachers nationwide chosen for the program,Lauren will lead an online discussion forum designed to share innovative ideas and teaching techniques, and she will create a demonstration video to inspire others.

ABOUT LAUREN REGGERO-TOLEDANO

Lauren Reggero-Toledano received a bachelor's in education (elementary education and Spanish) from the University of Miami, followed by a master's in Spanish language and cultures from the University of Salamanca, Spain. In August 2009 she was awarded a Teacher Fellowship Grant by the American ImmigrationCouncil for a Spanish V class project, “The Hispanic Presence in Oregon: During the Great Depression and Today.” For the last five years she has made a concerted effort to make service learning in the local Hispanic community an integral part of the Spanish V curriculum. Visit her Spanish V class page for more on the service component in Lauren’s class.

ABOUT NAIS AND THE TEACHERS OF THE FUTURE PROGRAM

The Klingenstein Foundation offered NAIS a generous grant for the Teachers of the Future program through which each teacher will receive a $1,000 stipend for participating in the program.

 The National Association of Independent Schools, based in Washington, DC, is a voluntary membership organization for over 1,400 independent schools and associations in the United States and abroad. Independent schools are distinct from other private schools in that they are independently governed by boards of trustees and are funded primarily through tuition, charitable contribution, and endowment income. To be eligible for membership in NAIS, schools must be accredited, nondiscriminatory, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.

 

Comments

Wonderful news, Lauren. You are most deserving of this award. Thanks for your years of service to the school and our wonderful children.

Great job, Lauren! We are very proud of you!

5th grade students organize walkathon for Japan

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Save Japan With Your Own Two Feet

Monday, May 23
2:15 – 3 p.m.
Catlin Gabel Track

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The entire Catlin Gabel community is invited to join the 5th grade for a walkathon to help the healing efforts in Japan. All proceeds will benefit Mercy Corps' Japan relief efforts.

Seeking pledges is a completely voluntary activity, but we’d love for everyone to walk. If you and your child decide to ask friends and family for pledges (with your guidance and supervision), that’s great. We’re asking folks to donate online.

During the walkathon, parent volunteers will punch lap cards to help students keep track of their laps so donors know how much to give, even if kids aren’t participating in the pledge part. The “punches” are a badge of honor for the kids and have, historically, spurred on even more walking.

The walkathon was inspired by fifth grader Macey Ferron-Jones and has been organized by fifth grade volunteers, who have donated their recess time to the effort.

"When I heard about the earthquake in Japan, I found a YouTube video and I just felt sad for the Japanese people," said Macey Ferron-Jones. "My dad has a friend who has relatives in Japan and I have a friend who has a relative in Japan. I was wondering what they were going through, thinking it must be really tough. When we started talking about it at morning meeting, I was reminded of the Haiti walkathon and how fifth graders in the past have stepped up to help, and I thought if they could do it, why couldn't I?" 

Questions? Get in touch with 5th grade teacher Maggie Bendicksen.

 

What's Next? The Catlin Gabel Service Corps Begins!

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A student and an alumnus talk about the joy of volunteering as a community

From the Winter 2010-11 Caller

The Catlin Gabel Service Corps debuted in October with three community-wide days of working together for the greater good. The Service Corps emerged from our community process to figure out “What’s Next” after the Rummage Sale. As we examined what we would miss most about Rummage, we came to consensus around several essential ingredients for developing a new tradition: multigenerations working side by side and having fun together, serving the greater Portland community, student leadership, and demonstrating who we are at Catlin Gabel. The Service Corps was developed with these elements in mind. You can find out more on our website. Since those fall service days, the Service Corps has also gathered 50 boxes of books from our community for children at Bienestar, a migrant worker housing complex in Hillsboro where our students help with their Homework Club. More events and projects are in the works—and we encourage all our community members, past and present, to come and pitch in, work together, and have fun.

The Energy and Fun of Volunteering
By Qiddist Hammerly ’12

As a Catlin Gabel student, I’ve participated in many activities at the Oregon Food Bank. In Lower School, we collected food during the fall harvest festival. In 8th grade, we participated in monthly service at the Food Bank, and in high school we often ask the students for food donations. These ordinary and expected contributions have made the Oregon Food Bank a familiar name to all Catlin Gabel students, yet I have never experienced it in the way I did with the Catlin Gabel Service Corps in November. As part of this year’s initiative to provide cross generational, community-building service opportunities, more than 75 students, parents, alumni, and faculty-staff joined together for a day of packing pasta— and it was anything but ordinary.

If one thing was exceptionally exciting about this service activity, it was the palpable energy of the kids. Eagerly running back and forth and lifting boxes almost bigger than themselves, the kids probably worked the hardest of anyone. For close to three hours, we packed boxes of various kinds of pasta in two-pound bags. At any given table, students, parents, teachers, and siblings worked side by side. Some kids eagerly scurried back and forth, providing each table with more empty boxes, and taking the full boxes to the growing tower of pasta.

The tangibility of our work made it appealing and rewarding for everyone; at the end of the day, we could look over and see just how many pounds we packed, and how many families we were feeding. One Lower School student checked the weight of each bag meticulously to make sure no one family would receive more food than another. Some of the adults, who seemed apprehensive about letting the kids handle tape guns and carry heavy boxes, grew impressed with their unfaltering persistence. Everyone joked and laughed while scooping bag after bag, and we even participated in some friendly competition, betting on whose table team could pack their boxes of pasta the fastest.

After we were done packing, we enjoyed a group lunch at McMenamin’s. It was only then that I realized how rare it is to see so many different Catlin Gabel constituencies in one place. I had the chance to catch up with one of my 1st grade teachers, make a new friend, and chat with parents. Enjoying lunch together wrapped up the day in the perfect way. Too often when we engage in service, we simply break off and return to our daily work without any processing or reflection. Having a relaxed meal together allowed everyone to reflect on the day, catch up, and enjoy each other’s company.

What made this day so successful was the connection we felt as we volunteered. We weren’t simply packing boxes of pasta: we were engaging with each other and observing the product of our work. I think this service experience provides a glimpse into the future possibilities of multigenerational service at Catlin Gabel, both on our own campus and in the greater community. Despite the occasionally excessive use of the word “community” in our, well, community, engaging in service as a community truly is a unique experience that exceeds the benefits of individual volunteerism. Looking back over my 12 years at the school, some of the memories that stand out most to me are the engaging service projects I participated in with my Catlin Gabel family. At the Food Bank that day I could clearly see in our students’ eyes that very same engagement and motivation.

Qiddist Hammerly is a junior at Catlin Gabel and a Malone Scholar. She has been involved for years in community service.
 

Connecting Through Tree-planting
By Markus Hutchins ’02

After the revelry of the previous night’s Homecoming victory (we defeated OES 2–0), I was excited to spend the day with fellow Eagles at the inaugural Catlin Gabel Service Corps outing to Mary Woodward Garden Wetlands. When we arrived, my parents and I were greeted by a warm cup of coffee and a big hug from Middle School head Paul Andrichuk. We introduced ourselves to our fellow and future alumni, received our assignments, and then headed out into the wetlands.
 
The tools were heavy but effective, and the task was hard but rewarding: removing non-native invasive plants and replacing them with native species and trees. Working alongside former teachers, parents, and current students was a pleasure, and providing our service to the greater community reminded me of the core values of Rummage. The clearing and planting activity was not limited to the Catlin Gabel community, so having the opportunity to work with others for the benefit of the great Portland ecology, knowing we represented one of our school’s core principles, was a positive experience and wonderfully rewarding.
 
Nostalgia was in attendance as well; while clearing ivy, a little girl shared her excitement about the 1st grade overnight. My own overnight trip was more than 19 years ago, yet I still remember my tentmates, where we camped, and the fun we had. Experiences outside the classroom are the fibers that shape Catlin Gabel. Similar moments and conversations always remind me how fortunate I am to have Catlin Gabel as the foundation of my education.
 
After the work was completed, our troop of volunteers piled back onto the school bus and shared lunch at a nearby restaurant. While relaxing and enjoying the sunny setting, I spoke with English teacher Art Leo and some parents of current students. We discussed Catlin Gabel, college admissions, sports, my career path, and a host of other topics. I found that sharing my own experience at the school, and its lasting impact on my life, was extremely rewarding. The parents seemed appreciative of the opportunity to speak in a relaxed forum. They asked many thought provoking questions, even some I later shared with fellow classmates. Crossgenerational discussions are unfortunately rare, but I hope that with the continuation and future growth of the Catlin Gabel Service Corps, these can occur on a more regular basis.
 
As I reflect on the day, I am thankful on multiple levels. Providing service to the community, interacting with current students and alumni, and sharing the experience with faculty and staff made for a true Catlin Gabel experience. I look forward to participating in many more Catlin Gabel Service Corps events in the future.
 
Markus Hutchins ’02 is the alumni board president and a member of the school’s board of trustees.

 

 

Catlin Gabel launches the Knight Family Scholars Program

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A new program for the Upper School will bring talented students and an emphasis on experiential learning

From the Winter 2010-11 Caller

This past fall, Phil and Penny Knight honored Catlin Gabel with the largest gift in the school’s history—a multimillion- dollar contribution for the new endowed Knight Family Scholars Program. The Knight’s unprecedented generosity is a tremendous vote of confidence in our school from world leaders in philanthropy.
 
“My goal is to honor the progressive ideals articulated by school founders Ruth Catlin and Priscilla Gabel—not by resting on our laurels, but by continuing to progress,” said head of school Lark Palma. “Phil and Penny Knight have given us the financial ability to try a new teaching and learning paradigm, see how it works, evaluate the program, and refine it over time. We have been given the opportunity to research, experiment, and stretch our wings in pursuit of improving education. We can be bold, like our students.
 
“The Knight Family Scholars Program will benefit all students through the innovations we pilot,” continued Lark. “The program also catapults Catlin Gabel’s visibility as one of the leading independent schools in the country, adds to our financial aid corpus, and will undoubtedly have a positive overall effect on admissions and on our ability to attract phenomenal student applicants. I could not be more delighted.”
 
“The Knight Family Scholars Program quite simply opens doors,” says Michael Heath, head of the Upper School. “It is a chance for us to grow as a school, to stretch our preconceptions of education and our assumptions about those we are educating. The scholars who attend Catlin Gabel every year will gain much from their opportunity, but I think we will learn as much from them, if not more.”
 
This Q&A by communications director Karen Katz ’74 with head of school Lark Palma explains more about this new program.
 
What is the Knight Family Scholars Program?
It is a pilot program for the Upper School faculty to explore a new model for high school education and attract outstanding new high school students. The gift funds an endowed faculty member to direct the program and teach in the Upper School. In the anticipated inaugural year, 2012–13, we hope to enroll about four Knight Family Scholars as fully integrated members of the Upper School student body who benefit from our exceptional curriculum. The Knight Family Scholars Program is similar in concept to the Rhodes Scholar program in terms of the caliber of students who will qualify.
 
What is your vision for how this program will affect Catlin Gabel?
The current generation of students is far more sophisticated than previous generations. Their educational needs are evolving quickly. Educators must ask, what more can we do to prepare them? How can we ensure that they have a great liberal arts and sciences foundation for success in college, plus the experience and skills to thrive in a workforce and world that will change in ways we cannot imagine? Catlin Gabel teachers have envisioned a high school that is more real world, project based, experiential, and interdisciplinary—but limited resources have stymied our progress toward this goal. Now we can take some big steps in building on our curricular innovations and evolve more quickly. As a new Catlin Gabel faculty member, the Knight Family Scholars Program director will collaborate with our high school teachers and students to develop methods of teaching and learning that respond to the changing educational environment.
 
Where did the idea for the program originate?
The genesis for the program stems from the Imagine 2020 conference held in the spring of 2006. A lasting idea that emerged from the conference was to enrich Catlin Gabel’s educational offerings by taking advantage of what our great city and region have to offer— using Portland as a learning laboratory. Bringing students together with creative, analytical, medical, political, entrepreneurial, and science leaders would further our experiential and progressive education goals. The intent is to get our students “off the hill,” as one alumnus put it in 2006. Our global education and PLACE programs, and the urban studies class in the Upper School, also stem from the Imagine 2020 conference.
 
How did this gift come about?
As I got to know Phil, our shared interest in improving education emerged as a vitally important theme. Phil and Penny Knight are long-range visionaries and Oregon’s most generous individual education philanthropists, which is humbling and exciting. We talked about Ruth Catlin’s vision of modeling for others and how, because of our relatively small size, our success, and our focus on progressive education, we are the ideal school for innovation. I described some of the seminal ideas that emerged from the Imagine 2020 conference and how hard our teachers work to implement those ideas.
 
Can you give us an example of a program feature from Imagine 2020 that this gift allows us to implement?
The faculty and the program director will have the opportunity to advance the exchange of ideas in seminars taught by a network of community experts, including some of our talented and notable parents, alumni, and grandparents. The seminars, both on and off campus, will examine topics that emerge from the shared interests of the students and the director as they move through the program together. The seminars will also respond to the availability of influential mentors, speakers, and guest instructors. Upper School students, not just Knight Family Scholars, will be able to attend seminars. It is vitally important that this is open and inclusive, and that we prevent any kind of “us and them” dynamic. We also expect that as the program grows, it will include opportunities for the Knight Scholars to travel nationally and abroad for summer learning.
 
How else does the program benefit current students?
The research is clear: high caliber students raise the level of learning for everyone. The positive peer effect is evident throughout our school. Students in our supportive, noncompetitive environment engage more deeply when their classmates are excited about the lab, discussion, problem solving, or literary analysis at hand. And, naturally, teachers are at their best when their students are highly engaged.
 
What are the student qualifications for the program?
Prospective Knight Family Scholars Program participants will stand out in four key areas: academics, community service, athletics, and leadership. As Knight Scholars they will receive tuition assistance funded by the program’s endowment. The amount of assistance will depend on their families’ need. The program will attract well-rounded students who will inspire their peers, take advantage of everything Catlin Gabel has to offer, and go on to serve their communities.
 
Can current Catlin Gabel students apply for Knight scholarships?
Current and former Catlin Gabel students are ineligible to become Knight Scholars because one objective of the program is to attract new students and deepen our pool of admitted students. The Knight Scholars Program will raise the profile of our excellent Upper School and entice students who will be wonderful additions to our community.
 
Who determines who qualifies for the program?
The faculty, admission office, and a new program director will decide whom we accept.
 
Who is the Knight Family Scholars Program director and how is the position funded?
Typically, when donors make large gifts to institutions they fund a position to oversee the program. We will launch a national search for a Knight Family Scholars Program director to fully realize the vision of this program. The director will be Catlin Gabel’s first endowed faculty member. This turning point for Catlin Gabel could very well lead to additional endowed faculty positions.
 
What are the director’s responsibilities?
First and foremost, the director will find the right students for the program. A big part of the job is outreach and making a wide range of communities aware of the program and our school. As the program spokesperson, the director will bolster the Knight Family Scholars Program and our overall admission program. The director will also lead the scholars’ seminar and teach other Upper School classes so he or she is fully integrated into our faculty. We will hire a dynamic educator who becomes a vital member of our school community.
 
How will this historic gift change the school?
When we laid out strategic directions in 2003, one of our top three goals was to strengthen our identity and visibility in the community. We set out to identify and attract qualified, informed, and diverse applicants and to increase our applicant pool, particularly in the Upper School. The Knight Family Scholars Program will move us quickly and decisively towards these goals.
 
Has Catlin Gabel ever received a gift of this magnitude?
In 1987, the school received a $3.6 million bequest from the estate of Howard Vollum that allowed Catlin Gabel to establish an endowment fund. His foresight and generosity moved the school beyond a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.
 
What other benefits does the Knights’ gift offer?
The Knight Family Scholars Program raises our visibility as one of the leading independent schools in the country. On a purely financial and pragmatic level, the program releases financial aid dollars for students in all divisions. On a more philosophical and curricular level, the Knight Family Scholars Program will stretch us to take some risks about how we teach. All Catlin Gabel students will benefit from the innovations we pilot through the program. On a grander scale, my dream is to model innovations that can benefit students nationwide. We cannot underestimate the value of raising our profile, too. What’s good for Catlin Gabel’s reputation is good for Catlin Gabel’s students and teachers. As far as fundraising goes, this is the tip of the iceberg for all programs and needs of the school. I know Phil and Penny Knight’s generosity and confidence in Catlin Gabel will inspire others to give. In fact, two other donors are planning to contribute to this program. We anticipate a positive overall effect on admissions and on our ability to attract phenomenal student applicants. Some great young people, who perhaps don’t qualify as Knight Family Scholars, will still apply to our Upper School when they learn about Catlin Gabel’s curriculum, meet our faculty and students, and hear about our generous financial assistance program.
 
Is this Phil and Penny Knight’s first gift to Catlin Gabel?
In the past three years, the Knights have quietly and generously funded other immediate needs that I identified. They were instrumental in our ability to provide financial aid for families who have struggled through the recession. I am so honored that they have put their trust in me and in Catlin Gabel.  

 

When Homework is More than Homework

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By Leah Weitz '10

From the Spring 2010 Caller

I’ll admit it—when I found out that my Spanish V Honors class had required community service hours, I was miffed. I had essays to write, classes to teach, tests to take—and geez, now this? But our teacher, Lauren Reggero-Toledano, insisted that to supplement our class focus on the Hispanic presence in Oregon, each student should go out into the larger community and engage in community service with an organization catering to Hispanics.

 
The only Hispanic community service opportunity of which I had any awareness at all was Homework Club. Here’s what I knew: Catlin Gabel students went somewhere and helped Hispanic kids with their homework, and staffer Mark Lawton plugged it in assembly a lot. With no more information than that, and slightly resentful of the fact that I could be preparing for my next history test instead, I hopped on a bus after school one Thursday bound for this mysterious and elusive Homework Club.
 
What I found was wonderful.
 
Homework Club, which is run by Bienestar, a Hispanic farm worker housing service, meets twice a week after school. Five to 10 Catlin Gabel students go to the community center at Reedville Apartments, where we meet up with 20 to 30 kids ranging from 1st through 6th grade. First we help them with their homework, which may consist of writing short stories, completing work sheets, or studying vocabulary. After their homework is done, the students practice reading to us. After a heartily nostalgic dose of Dr. Seuss or Maurice Sendak, it’s play time. Catlin Gabel tutors and their students mix while completing puzzles, playing hide and seek, or coloring with crayons.
 
I work with the 3rd graders. Note that I say work, not worked—for all of my moaning and groaning that first afternoon about the hassle of spending three hours helping kids with their homework instead of completing my own, I somehow found the time to come back . . . every week. It’s worth it to watch the kids improve, knowing that you’re the one who taught them how. Take Brenda, whose shy smile hides a spunky and charismatic attitude. When I first met her, her reading skills were excellent—but sometimes she would suddenly halt, staring at a word with blank eyes, before struggling through it and resuming her regular flawless read. I soon learned that Brenda, to whom English is a second language, had never seen or heard a lot of these words before. Now we sit with a dictionary next to us when we read, with the frequency of pauses always decreasing.
 
It’s not just Brenda’s vocabulary that has grown during the months I’ve been working with her. After a few months she hugged me goodbye for the first time, melting my heart like butter, before skipping off like it was no big deal. The next week she showed me a story she had written for school, featuring a character she’d named Leah. Her eyes sparkled as she laughed at my stunned expression. I’m not the only one fortunate enough to have blossoming relationships with these kids: take junior Lily Ellenberg, another Homework Club regular, who finds herself greeted by a cheering cluster of 1st graders every time she arrives.
 
Over the past months at Homework Club I’ve come to realize that the relationships we have with these kids isn’t just serving them alone. While my 3rd graders have been learning how to multiply, I’ve been learning how to teach—and realizing how much I love it. I can safely say that I have Homework Club to blame for my projected career choice, and I deeply thank Lauren for pushing me to get involved—because at Homework Club, teaching can be a learning experience too.
Leah Weitz ’10 chose to intern at Bienestar for her senior project. She will attend the University of Puget Sound this fall.   

 

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Dedicated to community service, 10th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passion: community service
Interests: basketball, health care

“I’m really into community service. My mom believes that you should give as much as you can to others who don’t have as much as you do. She’s instilled that into me. Lots of people have more than me, but I have something I can give back to others.
 
I do a lot of different projects, often with my church. As part of the Extreme Makeover Schools program in north and northeast Portland, I helped build a community garden at an elementary school. I volunteer at the library for summer reading. I help kids get signed up, give them prizes, and read to them. I like working with kids. I also volunteer at the Food Bank.
 
Last year I went with a group of African American and Jewish students to New Orleans to rebuild. We went down and did hard physical work in the Ninth Ward, the poorest section of New Orleans. There are almost no houses, and there’s debris everywhere, compared to the wealthier areas, which are almost completely redone. It was hard to see.
 
My godsister and I have done a lot of service work together, and it’s fun to work with someone else. You don’t think about how long it’s taking you.

I’d like to be a physician’s assistant. You don’t have to go to medical school, and there are a lot of programs. I want to work in an inner-city hospital and clinic where there’s less access to health care and fewer doctors."

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Community leader, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: community leadership, environment
Interests: Japan, food, running, Tae Kwan Do

“I am a co-leader of three groups: the Japanese Culture Club, the Environmental Club, and the Baking Club. I’ve been taking Japanese since 7th grade and have been to Japan twice. Joining the Environmental Club seemed a natural expression of my interest in environmental issues, especially pertaining to food. I eat less meat, garden, cook for my family, and buy organic or local food. For the International Day of Climate Change, other Environmental Club members joined me on a zero-carbon outdoor program trip to the Columbia Gorge, traveling on MAX and bicycles.
 
Students can be apathetic, and I wanted to take leadership roles to help counter that. Sometimes young people feel that they don’t matter, and that’s the hardest thing. But people do care. Teachers and school administrators do listen to us if we seize opportunities when we can.
 
I spent spring semester away my junior year, working on an organic farm at a school in Vermont. This renewed my passion about the environment. It also helped me appreciate Catlin Gabel more when I returned, and I became more involved than I had ever been before.

I love what I have right now. I love baking, I love Japan, and I love Catlin Gabel. I don’t do what I do just to look good on college applications. People stress too much—I know I will go to college and make it great, wherever I go.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Scout, community enthusiast, 10th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: Scouting, campus cross country trail bridge project
Interests: piano, cross country, golf, mock trial

“I transferred to Catlin Gabel last year. I love the beautiful campus and the friendly community here. There’s so much here that I enjoy being involved with, including clubs, sports, and extracurriculars in general. I decided to do my Eagle Scout project for the Catlin Gabel campus. Grounds crew supervisor Mike Wilson gave me permission to replace the eroding cross country bridge at the northeast side of campus (uphill from the track and field).
 
The dirt bridge needed work because it was eroding and had no basic structure. Construction of the new bridge took me and 20 fellow Scouts almost eight hours. We replaced the old bridge with boulders, drainage rock, and concrete, which will stop the erosion and provide a flatter surface for the runners.

I love so much about Scouting, which I’ve been doing since 1st grade. I mostly like it because of the outings we do, which I learn a lot from. I’ve also made plenty of lasting friendships with other Scouts. As the senior patrol leader, I’m in charge of my troop from this fall until early spring. I’ll stay involved for a couple more years, till I’m 18, which is the age limit for Scouts. Scouting has taught me to do my best in everything I do, and to lead others by example.”

CGS honored with Regional Forester's award for our volunteer work on Mt. Hood

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Mt. Hood National Forest acknowledges our Elana Gold '93 Memorial Environmental Restoration project

On September 26, 2009, Dave Corkran accepted a Regional Forester's award from the Mt. Hood National Forest for Catlin Gabel's volunteer partnership with the Barlow Ranger District. The National Forest honored the school for our many years of volunteer work restoring degraded land, through the Elana Gold '93 Memorial Environmental Restoration Project and other student volunteer work. Since 1991, Catlin Gabel students have contributed more than 15,000 hours of labor. Read more about the Elana Gold project.

CommuniCare Affects Real Lives

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Students work together as philanthropists

By Mackenzie Treible '09

Pardon the hackneyed analogy, but the essence of CommuniCare’s genesis lies in the question of Juliet Capulet’s famous soliloquy: “What’s in a name?” Well, Juliet, CommuniCare materializes what its name dares to imply: caring for the community.

As a Catlin Gabel student, I at many times seem to get lost in the school’s community. The student group CommuniCare forces me down to earth and helps me remember that a world lies beyond the bounds of Barnes and Leahy Roads. CommuniCare serves as an opportunity for students to fall out of Catlin’s comfortable niche and experience real-life decisions affecting people all over Oregon.

The framework for CommuniCare is simple: raise money and give it away. To extend this statement into a conceit, the students together are the masterpiece enclosed by this frame. Throughout the 2007–08 school year, a small group of students diligently worked to raise the maximum amount of money possible. With endless bake sales full of doughnut holes and cupcakes, and raffles of candy-filled pumpkins, CommuniCare managed to raise a remarkable amount of money.

In CommuniCare, entrepreneurship and originality are key for a successful year. After a student vote that determines the annual mission statement, CommuniCare narrows its focus to one specific philanthropic topic. Students then visit the sites of the organizations whose proposed grants match the program’s mission statement. Physically visiting these organizations helps extend the students’ knowledge of the program. CommuniCare teaches students to think independently while still maintaining a munificent sense of community.

So, Juliet, you ask, “What’s in a name?” Well, I say CommuniCare’s name is what it says. Every student who takes part in CommuniCare heeds the warning signs of a wounded world and hopes to someday take at least one straw off the camel’s back. Some may say it’s a club for romanticists, but I say it’s for those who are hopeful and care for the community.

Mackenzie Treible ’09 is a Catlin Gabel senior.
Harold and Arlene Schnitzer founded the CommuniCare program to teach young people about community needs and philanthropy

About COMMUNICARE

The CommuniCare program was started in 1999 by Harold and Arlene Schnitzer, parents of Jordan Schnitzer ’69 and Catlin Gabel grandparents, to teach students about community needs and the role of nonprofit organizations in meeting those needs. Students are challenged to raise at least $500 through activities such as bake sales, raffles, and service projects. This money is then matched 15:1 by a grant from the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Care Foundation. Any additional funds raised by the students above $500 are matched 5:1.

This gives the students in the CommuniCare program at least $7,500 to give to organizations of their choice as grant money. To choose organizations they conduct a student survey, research organizations, and visit sites. Organizations that have benefited from CommuniCare at Catlin Gabel include the Oregon Food Bank, Children’s Community Clinic, Self-Enhancement Project (SEI), SMART (Start Making a Reader Today), Centro Cultural, and Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Students in our program have granted a total of $94,524 to 26 local organizations since 1999.