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Empty the Lot October 14

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Do your part to ease congestion by participating in Catlin Gabel’s annual Empty the Lot Day on October 14. Bus, bike, or walk on this student-initiated day dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint.

» Link to more information about Empty the Lot Day

» Link to online bus sign-up

» Link to carpool map

» Link to general bus service information


John Hamilton nominated for national coach of the year award

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The Oregon Athletic Coaches Association (OACA) named John Hamilton the Oregon nominee for the National Federation of High Schools “Coach of the Year” award for boys golf.

Each year the OACA selects one coach from each of the 10 boys and nine girls sports offered in our state. Each state award winner then becomes eligible for Section 8 awards competing against coaches in their respective sports from Washington, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, and Wyoming. Section 8 winners will compete for National Coach of the Year against representatives from the other seven sections of the United States. Oregon has won numerous sectional and national awards over the past 10 years.

Nominees must exemplify the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct, and moral character, and carry the endorsement of their respective state high school associations. The OACA looks for coaches with winning records who contribute to their schools and communities. Longevity in coaching is also an important consideration. They must be members of the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association.

Seven schools take part in Shakespeare collaboration

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Catlin Gabel students have been part of a collaboration in which Portland Playhouse is partnering with seven area high schools to produce a different Shakespeare play at each school. These plays will be performed first at each individual high school, and then all will come together at Portland’s Winningstad Theatre for a three-day Fall Festival of Shakespeare.

Come see the Catlin Gabel cast in As You Like It on October 29 and 30 at 7 p.m. in the Cabell Center Theater. And save the date to see their stage debut at the Winningstad Theatre on Sunday, November 7, at 4 p.m. (the curtain time has been changed since earlier reports). Tickets for the Catlin Gabel performances are available at the door: $5 general admission, $3 for students.

The collaborating high schools are Catlin Gabel, Lincoln, Jefferson, Hudson's Bay, Fort Vancouver, Cleveland, and De La Salle. Catlin Gabel is the only participating school to include Middle School students in its production.

“This is a thrilling opportunity for our students. They are meeting student actors from all over the city while delving into Shakespeare’s words,” said drama teacher Deirdre Atkinson. “Our students are building cross-divisional relationships and collaborating across disciplines: in addition to acting, the students are designing and building sets and costumes, composing original music, managing props, and generating publicity. I’m personally excited because experienced student actors are working with actors with no prior experience with Catlin Gabel’s theater program. This project allows us to develop community in the most creative of ways!”

The students have enjoyed meeting and training with actors from other schools. They have also benefited from working with professional artists who provided outside perspectives and experience in the process of producing a play. In preparation for leading this collaboration, Deirdre and her co-director, Gavin Hoffman from Portland Playhouse, trained with Kevin Coleman, the Shakespeare and Company education director. The rehearsal process incorporated techniques and exercises employed by professional companies, which enriched our students’ understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare’s works.

From the Portland Playhouse website: The Festival is a spectacular theatrical event, in part because student actors connect well to Shakespeare; they get the passion, large stakes, disaster. . . . high school is not unlike an Elizabethan tragedy. But the biggest surprise is the creation of an electric and fully engaged audience during the Festival. This Festival audience (imagine 330 Shakespeare-saturated teenagers packing the Winningstad) is the most active and alive theatre audience you will ever encounter. They “oooh” and “ahhh;” call out "Oh no she didn't;" scream and laugh. It's the closest thing we have to how an Elizabethan audience at Shakespeare’s Globe might have reacted. It’s an unforgettable experience for the students involved, and an engaging cultural phenomenon for everyone to witness.

Tickets for the Winningstad performance are available at the Portland Center for Performing Arts box office or online through Ticketmaster. Ticket Prices: Regular: $10 Students: $8

** Ticket charges at the PCPA box office are $3.25 per ticket. Location: 1111 SW Broadway, Portland. Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

** Ticketmaster charges are between $4 and $8 per ticket (depending on quantity of order)


Robotics program director Dale Yocum named technology educator of the year

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Congratulations, Dale!

The TechStart Education Foundation named Dale Yocum Oregon's technology educator of the year. The award honors a teacher who is:

An effective, engaging instructor who inspires passion and commitment from her or his students while advancing their critical thinking ability, skills, and knowledge in challenging, meaningful ways.

An advocate for the study of information technology, making technology accessible to all students and building an inclusive culture.

A role model for colleagues, who is committed to ongoing personal and peer professional development and establishes, evolves and communicates best practices and pedagogy.

In addition to prestige and recognition, the award comes with a $1,000 donation to Catlin Gabel's robotics program.

A Dream Playground We Built Together

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By Karen Katz '74

From the Spring 2010 Caller
What lifts spirits more than watching children run, swing, jump, and bounce on the playground adjacent to the Fir Grove? Answer: Watching them and knowing that my family, colleagues, and friends—my community—had a hand in building the structure that provides a magical venue for boundless, expressive play.
With little prodding, I can recapture 15-yearold memories of Lark and Schauff (former headmaster) drilling bolts into place and chatting about the state of education while the playground underpinnings took shape around them. I picture volunteer co-chairs Leah Kemper and Jennifer Sammons cheerfully gathering the troops, with the aid of bullhorns, to announce the next task requiring attention. And I remember tiny preschool hands sanding the boards that hold the playground together. Those once-tiny hands typed college application essays this year.
For five days in October 1995, the campus was a flurry of activity when hundreds of school families busied themselves from dawn until past dark building the playground. Torrential rains early in the week triggered complications but did not dampen our spirits as we mucked about in ankle-deep mud chatting, laughing, working, learning, working more, and scooping out buckets of standing water.
The work was hard and the mood was festive as the community came together with a common purpose. Everyone had a job—moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, trustees, alumni, friends, and kids of all ages. First graders rubbed bolts with bars of soap to make it easier to screw them in. Middle Schoolers shoveled gravel into wheelbarrows and put their muscle into urging their heavy loads across rugged terrain to lay the drainage. Upper School students, now raising families of their own, toiled alongside adults sawing, routing, and sanding miles and miles of railings.
Before the building process even began, students and teachers had worked together to plan how our playground would reflect the campus aesthetic and our children’s imaginations. Excitement intensified as students worked together to come up with drawings and ideas. When a design group requested a castle tower, the plans were adjusted to include majestic spires. The children insisted on multiple tire swings, hidey-holes, and a spiral slide, and incorporating the beloved wooden boat. Community members suggested every feature of our grand playground.
Tremendous volunteer effort went into organizing work crews, each with a crew boss to direct traffic, assign tasks, and make sure people were properly trained. Skilled carpenters took novice builders under their wings. The mother of a newborn baby took charge of volunteer check-in. The cooks among us, and parents with restaurant connections, labored tirelessly to feed the hungry crews. The food was fantastic, and meals in the Barn were raucous breaks from physical exertion. Occasionally, someone would break into song. “If I had a hammer. . . ”
Dappled sun filtered through the Fir Grove when everyone came together at the end of the week to christen our beautiful new playground. Gathered there, we got that goose-bumpy sense that we were part of something bigger than ourselves. With a new pair of Catlin Gabel-blue scissors Lark cut a ribbon made from paper cutout hands: tiny preschool hands and great big grown-up hands. Children exploded onto the playground in a whirl of arms, legs, flying hair, and whoops of joy. We looked around at our enormous accomplishment, the children’s smiling faces, and each other, consumed by a powerful feeling of community.
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it is the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Robert Louis Stevenson
Karen Katz ’74 is Catlin Gabel School’s communications director. She has been at the school since 1986. Photos of 1995 playground construction by Karen Katz ’74 and Steve Bonini.  


Learning Community at Catlin Gabel

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By Allen Schauffler & Jonathan Weedman

From the Spring 2010 Caller
Community is not an elusive quest at Catlin Gabel. It is the granite cornerstone of our foundation. We can reach back into the school’s earliest history and find references to community woven throughout Ruth Catlin’s writings. In the mid and late 1960s, when the influence of the Black Mountain College group among the faculty provided foundational ideas about community, the school as we now know it took shape. Ideas about community have come from many sources since then, but those two influences are the driving forces behind what we teach and model today. From Beginning Schoolers, where community is taught and experienced as concrete cause and effect, to Upper Schoolers, where community becomes an internalized and essential ingredient for living, its teaching is intentional and direct. Beginning with the littlest children, both in the classroom and outdoors on the playground, one can hear the mantra “Be Safe and Be Kind” over and over. In the Lower School that mantra becomes the essential question when a child is learning behavioral expectations.
By definition, a young child enters Catlin Gabel as a somewhat egocentric being. It is the primary job of the preschool to lead a child from the exclusive notion of “me” to the seed of understanding about what “other” might mean. The underlying philosophy behind this is that we strongly believe that the learning of content cannot begin and is meaningless unless there is a firm foundation of social conscience. As we watch children progress through the developmental stages of play and learning, the move from being merely a cooperative player and learner to a truly collaborative being is crucial to success at the school. In order to thrive as an experiential and process learner, one must be internally driven to be open to the riches that flow from the ideas and experiences of others. The goal is for children to embody, “I am made better by those who surround me.” Taking this as a given, then, we begin with simple guidelines that ease children into the experience of being a group learner.
Raise a Quiet Hand and Hand on the Arm are the first lessons for a preschooler. These teach that interrupting another person, whose ideas are important to one’s own and the group’s learning and understanding, is rude and unkind. Stop, Look, Listen, and Respond is the behavioral expectation when someone speaks your name. Speaking to someone is not an idle behavior; it demands respect. When the conundrum of group problem solving emerges in the classroom or on the playground, younger children are often befuddled by what to do. Talk, Walk, and Squawk provides an accessible place to hang one’s hat. First you try to talk to the person or group. If that doesn’t work, you can try walking away. If the problem persists, you must squawk to the nearest teacher or grown-up, who can help untangle the issue by providing vocabulary coaching and by scaffolding a conversation. But first, the child must have tried to talk. These simple mnemonic devices provide easy and accessible tools for young children as they wind their way toward a deeper and more practical understanding of community. This also sets the foundation for successful problem solving; a fundamental element of a fruitful community.
As children move through the grades we use both implicit and explicit interventions to further set the stage for community development. We teach kindergarteners the fundamentals of working in a group and how to get along with others. They are taught to discover if the choices they make are wise and ask themselves, is it safe? Is it kind? Is it honest? Is it fair? A good problem solver is a good community member, and from this early stage of their academic career children are taught the steps to problem solving, through stories, coaching, or through a tool called Kelso’s Wheel, a list of strategies for conflict resolution. Learning to be a good friend is also imperative as a kindergarten Eagle. Children spend time Fishin’ for Friends and discussing the components of good friendship, such as empathy, taking turns, problem solving, sharing, and helping each other. In fact, children learn that being a good friend helps their classroom and ultimately the entire community work well.
In 1st grade and onward through the Lower School, children are surrounded by messages of community and being a good community member. Through service, tradition, and class instruction children learn that being a community member is a requirement of Catlin Gabel. Children donate time to the Oregon Food Bank, host a food drive during Harvest Festival, and implement programs about sustainability such as the recent “1 oz. Campaign,” a plan led by 5th grade students to reduce our school waste. Children celebrate their community each week by attending Community Meeting, where they sing songs, read poetry, and celebrate holidays such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Lower School shares community through its traditions, whether it is the rolling of the oat cake or partnering 4th graders with 1st graders as school buddies. Finally, classroom instruction is an explicit form of teaching community. First graders are taught about community, making choices, and healthy and unhealthy play, as well as using helpful and not hurtful words. Second graders learn the value of diversity, friendship, and conflict resolution. They discuss resiliency and the characteristics that help them “bounce back” from hard times.
In addition to the children of Catlin Gabel, a parent body that embraces the school and its ideals is imperative for successful community building and to further solidify community engagement. We encourage parents to participate across the school in official and unofficial capacities, carry over classroom lessons to home, and serve as extended eyes and ears of the faculty while supervising children on the playground and on class trips. Elected Parent Faculty Association representatives for each grade strive to relay communication between parents and teachers. Unofficially, parents celebrate community with their children by attending Friday Sing in the Beginning School and Community Meeting in the Lower School. They volunteer across the school in a variety of capacities and are essential for successful completion of fundraising initiatives, conferences, and special events. Engaged parents model to children the emphasis on community and demonstrate a desire to make it a stronger and better place. Parents are asked to help each other’s children, to intervene in conflicts, and to help children understand that every adult at Catlin Gabel is there to support them.
We know from experience that children who have achieved compassion for others and have absorbed and live these ideas of relationship make a firm and constructive community. A child can achieve almost anything when he or she has internalized community and can use it as both a cognitive and behavioral tool to contribute toward future good. Each June, graduating seniors who started at Catlin Gabel between preschool and 1st grade are invited to come to the Beehive “lifers” ceremony with their parents, teachers, and other community members. We sing together, and each senior gives the younger children in attendance a piece of advice or talks about something he or she learned at Catlin Gabel. Inevitably, the advice and the important experiences they speak of are centered on their understanding of what this community is about and the way it has shaped their experience and, more importantly, has shaped them as young adults. We hear statements like, “be kind to your friends: they will be with you for a long time” and “take care of your business, and if you have trouble there is always someone there to help.” They say things like, “there is life beyond homework” and quite poignantly “being a friend and keeping a friend is the most important thing you will learn at Catlin Gabel.” It’s always exciting to see those early lessons in community come full circle.
Preschool teacher Allen Schauffler has been at Catlin Gabel for 42 years. Jonathan Weedman is the Beginning and Lower School counselor at Catlin Gabel. He has worked with children, youth, and families in the Portland area for the last 10 years.  


Communitas: The Gift of Coming Together

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By Lark P. Palma, PhD, Head of School

From the Spring 2010 Caller

What is a community? It’s undoubtedly different for every person, and each of us may have many different intersecting or distinct communities in our lives. A school community, like the one we have here at Catlin Gabel, distinguishes itself because in the process of education we explicitly teach children how to become good members of their society and their world, and we model behavior constantly for them. We show our students that we are always there for them, and that they are surrounded by caring adults who are ready to catch them if they fall, both literally and metaphorically. Students who have been at Catlin Gabel for any length of time feel that this school community, in which they have been immersed for hours every weekday, and maybe even evenings and weekends, is an enormous part of their lives.

We are fortunate to have the sense of connectedness and formation of social networks here at Catlin Gabel that we do. Grade-level friendships among parents and children, sports team affiliations, interactions among divisions of the school, and extracurricular and other groups help weave the complex whole that is our school. So many different kinds of people make up this entity—from facilities workers to fundraisers, to teachers and students of all ages, and families of all backgrounds— that building community takes time, empathy, and trust.
Scott Peck, in his work The Different Drum, offers some useful ideas on how to think about community. He asserts that when people are able to move beyond fear of controversy or revealing of strong opinions and talk frankly with each other, greater community can occur. Sometimes these processes are difficult, even painful, but, as Peck says, at the end of the process true community can exist.
True community comes to fruition when we are each able to speak our truth about our feelings and ideas, when we are able to listen to and appreciate one another, and are able to subsume our own personal desires to the higher, social good. We endeavor to teach our students to be humane and open to others’ needs, that sometimes the needs of a few spotlight important issues that need to be addressed, that any community needs to order itself through its guidelines, and that often the needs of the community must trump the needs of the individual. That is why the notion of community is so complex and elusive. Good community is like good communication: you know it when you really have it, but sometimes the journey to that point is long and uneasy.
We struggle along on that journey together, for good and bad, old and young, and share our deepest selves in the process. All of the stories in this issue of the Caller explore this notion of community and offer wonderful examples of how we try to live true community every day. How can we not be successful with all of this effort?
Enjoy this issue of the Caller, and please accept an opportunity to come to one of the many events that secure true community here. It’s wonderful to join together and see how our children learn to be part of a greater whole.


Faculty reach 100 percent participation in annual fund

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We are grateful for the outstanding efforts of Faculty-Staff Giving Committee members Kathy Qualman, Lynda Douglas, Ginny Malm, Kate Grant, Ron Sobel, Chris Balag, Chris Woodard, and Spencer White.

Thanks to everyone who made a gift to the 2009-10 Annual Fund. Your contributions directly support our students and our school.

Lifers photo gallery

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Members of the class of 2010 who have been at Catlin Gabel since preschool, kindergarten, or 1st grade

Click on any photo below to start the slide show.

Poet Billy Collins speaking at 2010-11 Karl Jonske Memorial Lecture

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Two-time U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will return to the Catlin Gabel campus this fall, as a Karl Jonske Memorial Lecturer. His last visit was in 1999, the year of Karl Jonske's graduation, as a Jean Vollum Distinguished Writer.

The date for the Karl Jonske Memorial Lecture will be announced in late summer. Due to space limitations in our theater, this event will be open to Catlin Gabel community members only.

Upper School students will prepare for the lecture by reading Collins' Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001) this summer. This volume will soon be available in the Catlin Gabel bookstore.

We also highly recommend Collins' latest collection, Ballistics (2008) to those who might be interested in his most recent work.

The "Billy Collins, Action Poetry" website, which offers a series of animated versions of his poetry, is a flat-out hoot: http://www.bcactionpoet.org

The Poetry Foundation has a bio and links to several poems and audio files: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=80600

Publication history for Collins can be found at http://www.billy-collins.com

The Karl Jonske '99 Memorial Lecture Series honors a devoted student of English and lover of the written word. Karl graduated from Catlin Gabel in 1999, where he was a National Merit semi-finalist, a member of the varsity tennis team, and a captain of the varsity basketball team. He went on to attend the University of Chicago, where he was active in community service, sports, and the Model United Nations.

His many interests included reading, writing, scuba, and travel. He had a passion for working with young people and volunteered with middle school youth as a math tutor. He hoped to become a professional writer. In addition to the lecture itself, the memorial has provided for the acquisition of 687 titles to date by the Upper School library.

Past lecturers have included poet and essayist Ted Kooser, journalists David Lamb and Sandy Northrop, photographer Anne B. Keiser, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder.

What's Next for What's Next?

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Introducing the Catlin Gabel Service Corps

By Middle School head Paul Andrichuk and communications director Kitty Katz ’74

We’re going to cut to the chase and announce the What’s Next plan, then we’ll review how we got here. After months of consensus building, research, and input, we are excited to launch the Catlin Gabel Service Corps: Multigenerations Working Together for the Greater Good. The Service Corps preserves many of the best attributes of Rummage, is sustainable and doable, and is consistent with the mission of the school. We are not replacing Rummage, which had become unsustainable. We are doing something new.

The Catlin Gabel Service Corps initiative will take time to grow and become an institutional tradition. After all, Rummage began when one parent organized a small secondhand sale to meet the Catlin-Hillside School’s budget shortfall in 1945. The sale was not immediately embraced as an annual ritual: it grew over time.

A Corps Core group of faculty, staff, and volunteers will work on the details and long-term planning for the CG Service Corps. The Corps Core will be composed of can-do people who have demonstrated leadership in community service.

How did we get here?

Readers of this newsletter will recall that early in the school year we announced that the Rummage Sale would retire after 65 years. The people closest to the sale had concluded that it was not a sustainable operation, when it raised only 7 percent of our financial aid budget and volunteer numbers were declining. After the final sale was over, the What’s Next process began. A steering committee with representatives from all school constituent groups led the consensus-building efforts. At a community-wide workshop on January 23, more than 100 people generated four ideas for the steering committee to consider. (People who could not attend were invited to send ideas via the website.)

• Expand campus days to include a bigger work force that would encompass parents and alumni. Out-of-town alumni would be invited to volunteer in their communities on the same day(s) in solidarity with the events on campus.

• Enhance the current garden projects to engage people of all ages year round and cultivate more produce to use in the Barn.

• Create a multigenerational Catlin Gabel service corps to volunteer in the Portland community as well as on campus. Again, out-of-town alumni would be invited to represent Catlin Gabel in their own communities. We imagine that Catlin Gabel volunteer T-shirts would be an important part of this initiative.

• Find opportunities for the community to “barn raise” on campus, such as building a greenhouse, painting classrooms, or replacing siding. The Lower School playground project is the model for this initiative.

The steering committee broke into four sub-committees to research the ideas and explore the feasibility of launching them. The committee members met again after spring break to report on their findings and determine what needs to happen, so that Catlin Gabel can officially adopt one or more of the big ideas. The ideas were brought to Lark, division heads, and department heads for their input and reaction.

School leadership response

All-School Campus Day
An all-school campus day was initially appealing, but further investigation and input from the grounds crew caused us to reconsider. The current campus days are very successful and provide important services (leaf raking and bark chip distribution). Finding work and managing larger numbers all on a single schoolwide campus day could compromise the success of what we currently do. Working toward increased participation from parents and alumni and adding a celebratory element are positive outcomes of this investigation.

Garden Project and Fall Festival
The garden project is taking off, which is a great thing for our community. As the garden expands there will be more opportunities for planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting. However, there is not enough work for masses of people all at once. The idea of a harvest festival is very attractive, but fall of 2010 may be too soon. Perhaps Spring Festival could include a homegrown food and garden component.

Barn Raising
We are keeping our eyes and ears open to opportunities. However, there is not a large-scale on-campus project suitable for a significant crew of volunteers to undertake at this time. Building codes and safety regulations make this a difficult undertaking.

Community Service “Job Fair” (offshoot idea from the Service Corps subcommittee)
There was limited interest in a service fair and adding an event to our calendar. Students would not likely get this project off the ground without a great deal of supervision and staff support. However, if the Service Corps concept outlined below takes off, we can imagine adding a Service Job Fair to expand our reach and diversify our service.

Catlin Gabel Service Corps
This proposal gained the most traction with the admin team. It seems to best embrace the Rummage attributes we hold near and dear. The leadership team pursued the Service Corps proposal with greater specificity and looked for ways to combine it with other ideas such as campus day, the service fair, and a food festival or potluck.

Creating a Service Corps Committee (the “Corps Core”) of representative constituents was proposed. This long-term group will consider schoolwide themes, establish guidelines, and set school community goals that chart our progress.

What? Another committee?

Funny, yes. The What’s Next steering committee’s assignment is complete. They were charged with getting us to this point. Forming a new group to manage the Catlin Gabel Service Corps is essential for this initiative to successfully take root. the Corps Core will begin their work this summer. (It is premature to announce the members, but we have some great folks on the invite list.)

We are excited about the possibilities and know many Catlin Gabel community members will have great ideas for the Corps Core to consider. Here are a few suggestions the steering committee kicked around: How about a specific day when local community members and alumni around the world serve on behalf of Catlin Gabel? Drop everything and serve. Let’s kick off the Catlin Gabel Service Corps idea homecoming day – we’ll have a built-in celebration! Students could have a Rummage contest knockoff with blue and white teams collecting on behalf of the Oregon Food Bank or the Community Warehouse or Outside/In. We hope you are as enthusiastic as we are about the What’s Next: the Catlin Gabel Service Corps.

Urban studies student presentation impresses at PSU graduate school, come see for yourself at public forum

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Students in the PLACE urban studies class have been working with Portland State University graduate students on a food security project involving Zenger Farms in outer southeast Portland. The students will report their findings at a public meeting for planning professionals and community members on Wednesday, June 2, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., at Portland State’s Smith Union, room 238. Food and drink provided. Come early to get a seat.

The audience raved about how well prepared and engaging our young community stewards were when they presented their findings and recommendations to professors and students in the PSU School of Urban Studies and Planning.

This is the first time high school students have collaborated with graduate students on an important community project. Come support our students and our city. For more information about PLACE, contact George Zaninovich at PLACE@catlin.edu.

» Link to student projects

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