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Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: An active mind, 5th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: science, history, math
Interests: family winery, politics

“Science is my biggest passion. I like doing tests and calibrating things. You can apply science to winemaking, which is my family business. I learn how to make wine from my dad and help with bottling, cleaning filters, and picking grapes. When I grow up I want to be a winemaker and continue the winery and also be in my dad’s testing lab business.
I read a lot of historical books and look at history web pages. Lately I’ve been reading about the Romans and Greeks. I read books about older wars, because during warfare so many new technologies are invented. I have a good memory for facts and like the way things fit together.
I like math. I like learning all the formulas for geometric shapes, like Pi and Pi-R squared. I try to figure out on my own what the formulas are for geometric patterns. When we start a unit it jump-starts my brain and I look stuff up on the internet.
I follow politics somewhat because I’ll have to vote when I grow up, and I like how complex it is. I watched the Presidential debates last year and looked at polls about the elections.

I like my active mind.”

Follow Your Passions!

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By Lark P. Palma, PhD, Head of School

From the Winter 2010 Caller

Five o’clock on a South Carolina summer morning. My rounds started early, for a young girl. First I took care of my horse, Cricket—feeding, mucking, a ride on the beach, then out to pasture. Then I attended to my 35 rabbits, gathered eggs from the six red hens that scratched around the house, and released the ducks to the creek. Finally I wrangled Thistle the collie and Ginger the lamb for walks on their leashes.

Animals were my first great passion—and my parents allowed me to have them if I cared for them well and showed responsibility. I was filled with the same passion when I first played school in my room, lining up all of my stuffed animals and dolls, assigning arbitrary grades from A to F and relegating some to smart status, some not so smart. At school I watched with rapt attention how my teachers would teach us. At home I would either try to do it the same way or try to modify the techniques that didn’t work for my little class.

It was not until I became a teacher myself that I understood that, as someone with a passion for teaching, I could go beyond what’s expected and work with students to realize their own personal goals and passions. I finally saw that the very best model for teaching and learning centers on the relationship between the student and the teacher. What happens collectively as a class is important, but the one-on-one time a student and teacher have together is the most critical element.

It was a breakthrough for me when I realized that and learned—thanks to Roland Barthes, John Dewey, and others—that children are not receptacles for knowledge from adults, but teeming petri dishes of their own ideas and imaginations. How little my teachers in the fifties and sixties understood that—although teachers in Ruth Catlin and Priscilla Gabel’s schools certainly did get it.

Catlin Gabel is a school where teachers are drawn to teach, and we select them to do so, because they understand how children’s minds work, and they want to be surrounded by colleagues who feel the same.

This Caller is filled with stories of alumni and students who have pursued interests, passions, and yes, even obsessions. Graduates who fall into this category are legion, and the students and alumni represented here are just a small sample. Why would a school of this size produce so many people who lead with their passions and know themselves well enough to do that?

For one, Catlin Gabel provides an unfettered, free-ranging approach to solving problems, approaching assignments, and celebrating process over product. I learned to be a good rider because I studied my horse, paying heed to her temperament and the look in her eye, and treating her in a way that reflects that knowledge. In the same way, the students profiled here, whether involved in a sport, an academic pursuit, or an art, learn the value of deep concentration and focused attention. For example, visual artists, like the ones you’ll read about, see relationships among all disciplines, in color and in shapes, and takes those elements to create an original. But mostly, we at Catlin Gabel encourage students fully and unabashedly to follow their passions. And of course, there is the child herself, who has the gift inside. Parents, teachers, and the overarching ethos of the school only undergird those passions.

Alumnus, alumna, or current student, their uniqueness binds us all together and makes for a very, very interesting place to teach. Enjoy these stories.


Mock trial team advances to state

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Both the blue and white mock trial teams had a great day at the 2010 regional trial. The Blue Team advances to state to compete against the best teams in Oregon. This year’s case, State v. Lane, is a criminal case where the defendant, a rap artist, is charged with inciting a riot and arson.

Congratulations to Catlin Blue team members Talbot Andrews, Conor Carlton, Becky Coulterpark, Eli Coon, Nina Greenebaum, Andrew Hungate, Grace McMurchie, Kate McMurchie, Megan Stater, and Leah Thompson.

Catlin White team members include Rohisha Adke, Amanda Cahn, Rachel Caron, Audrey Davis, Layla Entrikin, Brian Farci, James Furnary, Mira Hayward, Thalia Kelly, Jackson Morawski, Grant Phillips, Charlie Shoemaker, Henry Shulevitz, Curtis Stahl, Lynne Stracovsky, Terrance Sun, Karuna Tirumala, and Michael Zhu.

Students lead CG response to Haiti earthquake, community raises $28,000

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The world looked on in horror when the January 12 earthquake rocked Haiti. Immediately, Catlin Gabel students of all ages got to work organizing fundraisers to help the devastated island. Alumna Caitlin Carlson ’00, communications officer for Mercy Corps, came to campus to talk to about the essential need for cash in the coming months. We set up a web page aimed at inspiring students and consolidating our community efforts. Student-led bake sales and the Lower School read-a-thon raised $28,000 for Haitian earthquake relief. Our contributions will make a difference in Haiti: $16 provides a child’s "comfort kit” that includes a blanket, sketchpad, crayons and toys, $43 buys 110 pounds of rice, and $75 equips a Port-au-Prince resident for two weeks of recovery work.

Students raise more than $12,000 for Haiti relief

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Lower School readathon the latest success

On Friday, February 5, 200 Catlin Gabel Lower School students plus staff, faculty, and parents participated in a readathon for Haiti relief. They all read books in the Lower School library, and up and down the halls, from 2:15 to 3 p.m., unified in a student-led community effort to show we are trying to make a difference. Students collected pledges for reading a certain number of minutes or a certain number of pages, and the resulting pledges were added to the funds that Catlin Gabel students and community members have already raised for Haiti relief. As of February 8, more than $11,000 had been donated to Mercy Corps from student-led efforts all over the school, and that figure will continue to grow.

Haiti Presentation

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Lower School Community Meeting

Mariam Higgins, fourth grade teacher, describes Haiti and her families' experiences there in light of the recent humanitarian crisis.

What's Next? workshop advances community-building ideas

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What happened at the What's Next workshop?

The Catlin Gabel community—students, teachers, staffers, parents, alumni, trustees, and friends—began working together to figure out “What’s Next?” at a meeting on January 23. (Join the conversation on our website forum.)

The group of more than 100 met in the Barn for most of the day to figure out what was important to them and to the school and wider communities through self-reflection and a series of various group discussions led by past trustee and parent Mindy Clark. In addition, the event was streamed live on the website, and those off campus were able to participate online. Every idea and contribution was given respectful consideration at all times as the group worked towards final consensus at the end of the meeting. From smaller to larger groups, and then to the group as a whole, participants brainstormed ideas for what’s next, given a set of basic parameters. The final products were a list of events or activities that all agreed on, a list of what was agreed to be common ground, and a list of ideas that not every one agreed to, but that were important to some. No idea was thrown away, however—all ideas were captured and will be kept for future consideration.

Common ground—values that all thought should undergird what’s next—included attributes of multiple generations, physical activity, a learning component, a local connection to the community, a service component, financial sustainability, ability of students to run or organize the activity, and a way for the school community to bond or connect.

Projects, activities, or events that drew consensus were something to do with gardens, farms, or growing food (what one called a “Honey Hollow Farm resurrection”); a “Barn Raising” as a metaphor for building and working together on a specific project on or off campus; one specific event; a Catlin Gabel service corps; and an annual Campus Day connected to a worldwide day of service so that those who don’t live nearby can take part.

Members of the What’s Next steering committee will consider all the input and come back to the entire Catlin Gabel community with proposals for consideration. Whether it be one event, or many, or what shape it will take, remains to be seen. But what’s definite is that the community will decide, and try it out, and see what works. A new tradition may be born, or it may take time, but we will do it together.

Steering Committee

Susan Koe, co-chair, parent
Don Vollum '84, co-chair, parent, trustee, alumnus

Stephanie Broad, parent
Li-Ling Cheng, faculty MS, parent
Roberta Cohen, former faculty-staff, parent of alumni
Annette Cragg, parent
Spencer Ehrman '68, alumnus
Qiddist Hammerly, student
Herb Jahncke, faculty LS, parent
Karen “Kitty” Katz '74, staff, alumna, parent
Debbie Ehrman Kaye '73, alumna, parent of alumni
Ted Kaye '73, alumnus, parent of alumni
Art Leo, faculty US, parent
John Mayer, faculty LS
Heather Renjen, parent
Robin Schauffler '68, alumna, former faculty member
Colleen Shoemaker, parent
Tom Tucker '66, faculty MS & US, alumnus, parent
Peg Watson, former faculty, parent of alumni
Patrick Wheary, parent of alumna, current grandparent

Sign up for Fusion Yoga for Lower School Students

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FUSION YOGA for Lower School students

TO REGISTER: print this page, complete the required information and return it in a timely fashion to Ginny Malm in the ASC office or Julie in the LS office, as we expect this class to fill quickly. 


Catlin Gabel Lower School students are invited to explore basics of YOGA (including stretching, breathing, and the practice of mindfulness) for 9 weeks this winter and spring.  Having fun will fuse with story-telling, poetry and a special project caring for animals in need.

Both boys and girls are welcome to join Suresh Srinivas, assisted by Lisa Ellenberg for ¾ hour on Fridays after school for a Winter/Spring term of 10 weeks. The group will include no more than 15 participants.
•    Dates for the class will be:  February 5, 19 and 26; March 12, April 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. (There is no LS on 2/12, 3/5, 3/19, 3/26.)
•    The fee will be $99 for 9 weeks billed to student accounts in March.
•    Students will come to the LS Library after classes end on Fridays and meet there until 4:00 pm. The fee includes a snack served at 3:50 pm.   
•    Students will be provided yoga mats and props. They are expected to wear comfortable and appropriate clothing for yoga. 
•    Pick students up right at 4:00 pm in the LS Library; after that time students will return to After-School Care.  ASC will be billed monthly as used.

SURESH SRINIVAS is a Computer Scientist, Principal Engineer at Intel Corporation and LS parent. He has developed a passion for integrative and holistic health. In his spare time he volunteers with local non-profits such as NW Veg and Street Yoga where he teaches yoga for homeless youth.   

TO REGISTER: print this page, complete the required information and return it in a timely fashion to Ginny Malm in the ASC office or Julie in the LS office, as we expect this class to fill quickly.  
Registration form for YOGA SAMPLER                    Cost:  $99/9 weeks

Name of Student____________________________________________ Grade____
Best email to contact family______________________________ 

Parent Consent & Signature____________________________________ 

Join the "What's Next?" workshop online

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Live broadcast begins at 9:00 a.m. on January 23

Alumni, parents, students, and friends of Catlin Gabel are encouraged to join the workshop online.

1. Download handouts 1 and 2.
2. Watch the video feed.
3. Send responses and/or discuss using the chat box below.


To participate in chat, you will need to register a user account when prompted.

We also welcome you to make suggestions for how Catlin Gabel can keep the spirit of the Rummage Sale alive through a new activity. Post your ideas on our website forum.

» Learn more about the What's Next? process




Experiential Week, March 16-19

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This will be our second year of combining Experiential Days in the Lower School, Breakaway in the Middle School, and Winterim in the Upper School into one Catlin Gabel Experiential Week. We are committed to this schedule for the following reasons:

* Backing it up to spring break means that students in grades 5-12 can be involved in national and international trips missing fewer, if any classes. Flight costs will also be lower with departures the week before spring break.
* Better weather allows for more local experiential opportunities (the Upper School Winterim used to be in February).
* Sets the stage for cross-age connections among divisions.
* Opens up student leadership opportunities (such as US students helping to lead groups for LS and MS students).
* Good timing for students – there is a natural “pause” in studies during spring break already.

Isn't it a little early to start talking about Winterim, Breakaway, and Experiential Days?
In an effort to coordinate transportation and limit our carbon footprint, we are mindful of the need for early planning so that various groups can share transportation.
Will regular bus service be offered during these four days?

No. Our regular bus service will be suspended March 16–19 so that all of our school buses and drivers are available for trips. We know from experience that bus ridership on our regular routes falls off sharply during experiential learning periods.
I have kids in all three divisions -- what about paying for three offerings all at once?
If you find your children are signing up for offerings that stretch your budget, the business office is happy to create a payment plan that works for you. Financial aid applications are provided with experiential course catalogs.

What about sports for my Upper School student?

Preseason practices for track & field, tennis, golf, and baseball are concurrent with Winterim. We expect students who have committed to spring athletics teams to sign up for experiential offerings in town. We are making a special effort to offer interesting in-town options. Please note that there will be no conflict for Middle School athletes.

How can parents support this week of experiential learning?
We truly appreciate parent help. We will ask for parent volunteers to assist with some courses. Additionally, in an effort to keep costs down, we will look within our community for lodging possibilities in areas where we are planning experiential trips. If you can help in this capacity, your donation qualifies for a tax deduction. Thanks to the generosity of many parents, we have been able to cut costs significantly.
As a family, we were thinking of having our child miss the four days before spring break to take a two-week trip on our own -- how will this work? Or could we leave a day or two early to extend our spring break?

Students are expected to participate in all four days. Learning by doing is integral to a Catlin Gabel education. Experiential Days, Breakaway, and Winterim are core components of the curriculum and are a high point of the year for students.
Wouldn't this be a good time for me to take my Upper School student for a college visit?

Please see above. We ask that you not use these four days for college visits.
Will Before- and After-School Care still be available for students in preschool through grade 8?

Yes. Beginning School is still in session so Extended Day Care will be uninterrupted. Many of the Lower School and Middle School offerings occur on campus and are held during regular school hours, so students can still arrive as early as 7:15 a.m. and stay until 6 p.m. in After-School Care.

January Congrats!

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Senior Kevin Ellis won a Best of Category award in computer science at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2009 in Reno, Nevada. Intel presented Catlin Gabel with a check for $1,000 in recognition of Kevin’s outstanding achievement. The funds are intended to further support excellence in science, math, or engineering education at Catlin Gabel.

Senior Lauren Edelson’s op-ed, “Taking the Magic Out of College,” was published in the New York Times.

Sophomore Megan Stater placed first in the recent Oregon Music Teachers Association Classical Piano Festival.

Lauren Reggero-Toledano’s Spanish V Honors students presented their research project, "The Hispanic Presence In Oregon: From the Great Depression to Today," to the Latin American studies program at Lewis & Clark College. Kudos to seniors Sam Bishop, Kalifa Clarke, Abby Conyers, Becky Coulterpark, Lauren Edelson, Eddie Friedman, Ollie Garnier, Molly Hayes, Leslie Nelson, and Leah Weitz, and junior Josh Langfus.

Seventh grader Conner Hansen received his second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

All five Middle School robotics teams came home from the league tournament with trophies. Three teams are advancing to the state championships on January 17. Veteran 7th grade team the Green Dragons won the Champions Award, the top award at a local tournament. This award recognizes the team with the best overall score covering robot performance, robot design, research project and presentation, and teamwork. Green Dragons Maddy Bunnenberg-Ross, Claire Fitzgerald, Sophie Paek, Jillian Rix, and Chloe Smith are headed to state.

The other veteran 7th grade team, Team Delta, scored 305 points on the course (the highest of any Catlin Gabel team) and was the first runner up Champions Award winner. Max Armstrong, Evan Chapman, Conner Hansen, and Elliot Lewis are on their way to state as well.

First-time 6th grade Team Echo members Julian Baynes, MacGregor Beatty, and Jake Hansen pulled off the Young Team Award, which qualifies them for the state tournament.

The 6th grade Screaming Eagles with Harry Alterman, Anna Dodson, Alex Richardson, and Calissa Spooner won the robot performance award for the team with the highest scoring robot that didn’t qualify for state. The 6th grade team Catlin Gabel Champions with Nicolas Bergen, Jack Bishop, Justin Tung, and David Vollum brought home the Research Project award for the team with the best research project that didn’t qualify for state.

Congratulations to recent 6th grade Poetry Box winner Hayle Meyerhoff for her poem Lonely. (Click on poem title to read or listen to the winning poem.)

Twelve Lower School chess players participated in the annual Ridgewood Elementary fall invitational. Avi Gupta, 3rd grade, took second place in the overall tournament ratings. Grade level prizes were awarded to 5th grader Lila Reich–second place, 4th grader Ben Karp–second place, 3rd grader Avi Gupta–first place, 2nd grader Evan Karp–first place, and 2nd grader Jimmy Maslen–third place.

Fifth grader Claire Rosenfeld, 3rd grader Layton Rosenfeld, and 2nd grader Will Attig were among 50 winning contestants from all of Oregon whose art pieces were selected for the “Super Hero” exhibition in the Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum in Eugene. There were well over 400 contestants. The winning art is on display at the JSAM through May.

Thanks to a generous anonymous gift from a Catlin Gabel community member, the entire 7th grade class attended a presentation by activist Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea. The class began the year by reading the young adult version of Mortenson’s book. Elayna Caron was inspired to write, “After reading Three Cups of Tea, I was really moved, but not as much as I was last night. Greg is one of the most amazing people out there. How he dedicated his whole life to changing these people’s lives — I don’t see how he can do it, but at the same time, it made ME want to go out and change the world. He was talking about the soldiers being more afraid of the children’s pens than of bullets. It really makes sense to me now, why they would be scared. This was an amazing, amazing experience.”

IT support technician Johny Nguyen completed CompTIA certification, the industry standard for computer support technicians. The international, vendor-neutral certification proves competence in areas such as installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security, and troubleshooting.

All Kinds of Minds named Catlin Gabel a School of Distinction.

Elders Are ... (video)

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Sign up now for ski bus

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Six weeks of Saturday skiing begins February 6!

The snow is flying and it’s not too early to start planning for this season’s Catlin Gabel ski bus program! The ski bus will roll out every Saturday morning for six weeks beginning February 6. If you are looking for a fun holiday gift for your 5th grader, middle or upper schooler, this may be the ticket. Mt. Hood Meadows’ 6 week package options are listed below. Sign ups and payments for these programs will be made online this year, but transportation by Catlin Gabel school bus is paid directly to Catlin Gabel and is an additional $150 for the six weeks. The required forms are available electronically below and in the Middle School and Upper School offices. Financial aid is available.

 5-8th grades  
 (lessons required for first four  weeks)                                      
 9-12th grades
 Lesson only (4 weeks)
 Helmet Rental
 Lift only


 Download Forms below:



Boys and girls soccer teams head to state finals

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Congratulations, Eagles!

The boys varsity soccer team faces OES for the state title after beating St. Mary's of Medford 1-0.

Game time for the boys: Saturday, 1 p.m., Wilsonville HS.

The girls varsity soccer team won their semifinal match against Sisters, 4-3, and take on Gladstone for the championship.

Game time for the girls: Saturday, 6 p.m., Wilsonville HS.

Adults - $8, Students - $5 at the door
VISA / MasterCard accepted

Come cheer on the mighty Eagles as they play for the state championships!

Video of game-winning shot from the boys semifinal game against St. Mary’s of Medford. Thanks go to Jennifer Davies, parent of alumni, for shooting video.


Coin collecting

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Coin Collecting                                                                                                                             Fall 2009

Dear Parents – Many of you may be aware that the U.S. Mint started a new series of Presidential Dollar coins in two years ago. The first coin depicts George Washington, our first president, and the collection will go on for several years, with a coin minted for each U.S. President in the order they served our country. These dollar coins are larger than a quarter and are gold in color. Four presidential coins will be minted each year until all of the presidents have been shown – which will take about ten years. The eighth U.S. President, Van Buren, was released last week. Students can now trade for most of the Presidential Dollars as I have them right here at school (and most of them are “uncirculated” which means they’ve never been touched!)

The U.S. Mint began minting the State Quarter series in 1999. Five state quarters were minted each year for ten years. Most of these quarters can still be found in circulation. During our Coin Lunch Bunches kids can sort through a bag of state quarters to see if they can find any they need. Then they can trade for this coin.

The U.S. Mint has decided to extend the quarter collection into 2009 with quarters from the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories -- Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Mariana Islands.

There is a lot of history and information involved in these coin series. I began coin collecting when I was ten years old and still to this day have an interest in coins. I have been meeting with students interested in coin collecting during lunch time every second or third Thursday. We call this ever-changing group the “Coin Lunch Bunch”. There has been an overwhelming interest in coin collecting! I consider it to be a healthy, wholesome, historic hobby that could even last for a number of years.

Having a folder to hold the coins is a great way to start coin collecting. They can be purchased at coin/hobby shops or even at craft places like Michael’s. As I have been calling around, however, I have learned that most places are sold out of the quarter and dollar coin holders (they are a cardboard tri-fold.) So I am offering an easier alternative if you are interested from a company I’ve used in the past over the internet.

Coin Folder Prices

U.S. Presidential Dollar folders for $7.50 each.

State Quarter folders for $6.50 each.

Pleae email Julie to place your order. You account will be billed.

Thank-you –
Vicki Swartz Roscoe