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Thermo Scientific awards Kristin Qian '14 top scholarship

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Kristin, who will be a first year student at Princeton this fall, was selected from a pool of graduate and undergraduate students nationwide for this $10,000 scholarship. "This scholarship was created to help provide educational opportunities for the future generation of scientists."

New website coming soon

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Look for it the week of August 25


Preseason athletics schedule 2014-15

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As of August 4

 The PDF below shows the optional camp and preseason schedules for soccer, cross-country, and volleyball.

Video: PLACE students impress at City Hall, Oregonian newspaper takes notice

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Students from Catlin Gabel's PLACE civic leadership program presented their plans in July 2014 to Portland's mayor and city council for improvements to SE Powell Blvd., a major Portland artery. Their plan was exceptionally well received! A reporter from the Oregonian newspaper took note and wrote this article about their presentation (pdf here and downloadable below).

PLACE program announces new public-private partnership

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Catlin Gabel's civic engagement program getting storefront space in North Portland

Catlin Gabel’s PLACE (Planning and Leadership Across City Environments) urban civic leadership program and One North, a Portland development and neighborhood project, have created an innovative new partnership. This partnership gives PLACE a storefront space in North Portland to continue operations and expand its mission of student and community engagement. The new location is set to open in the winter of 2015.

“Catlin Gabel is an integral part of this public-private endeavor,” said Catlin Gabel head Tim Bazemore. “Being part of this pilot project will create more experiential learning opportunities for our students, and PLACE will be a catalyst for local youth to engage and lead.”

The development group behind One North, Eric Lemelson and Ben Kaiser, generously donated storefront space to PLACE for five years. “Catlin Gabel aligns with One North’s commitment to community involvement, sustainability, and sharing resources. We are excited to create authentic partnerships in the neighborhood, and have a public purpose impact,” said development team member Owen Gabbert ’02.

This month, the unique nature of this public-private development was recognized by Metro, the regional governing body, which granted the project $420,000. The grant will support the development of the project’s outdoor courtyard, which will become an asset available for use by the community.

PLACE uses urban planning as a tool to teach students from Catlin Gabel and other schools in the region how to become active and engaged citizens working toward positive change in their communities and the world. For example, students have completed projects for clients such as Zenger Farm in outer southeast Portland and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability in north Portland. For Zenger Farm, students surveyed nearly 900 youth in the David Douglas school district about food insecurity. Not only did Zenger Farm implement some of the PLACE student design recommendations, but its board of directors still uses that survey data to make organizational decisions.

Since its inception in 2008, PLACE has grown into a three-part program with an international following.

• PLACE courses are offered to Upper School students at Catlin Gabel and worldwide through the Global Online Academy during the school year.
• The PLACE summer program has enrolled students from 15 high schools in the Portland area. About 50 percent of summer students receive financial aid.
• In keeping with Catlin Gabel’s mission to model for others, the PLACE curriculum is offered for free to other schools, and is replicated by educators in 40 cities around the world.

PLACE director George Zaninovich shared his excitement about the increased opportunities provided through this public-private-educational partnership: “Expanding the PLACE program into a permanent home in the community provides more opportunities to use the city as a classroom. This will allow our students to develop closer working relationships with people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. This permanent home and authentic community partnerships in a vibrant urban and multicultural environment will better prepare PLACE students for collaborating in an increasingly global world.”

During the 2014-15 school year, George will continue teaching in the Upper School while also taking the lead on planning for the PLACE program’s expansion. He will work in consultation with two advisory committees—one made up of community stakeholders, civic leaders, and North/Northeast neighborhood advocates, and one composed of youth from North/Northeast Portland, PLACE, and Catlin Gabel.

One North consists of three office/retail buildings opening up to a large courtyard that will serve as a place for sustainability education and for neighbors to meet formally and informally. The project developers are working to realize a vision focused on maximizing energy efficiency, reducing waste and consumption, and sharing resources with the community. Tenants include Instrument, a digital creative agency, and the Kartini Clinic for Children & Families. 

Ten students complete 500-mile walk from Switzerland through Italy

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This week 10 current and former Catlin Gabel students completed a 500-mile month-long walk on a pilgrimage route from Switzerland through Italy. Palma Scholars director and trip co-leader Dave Whitson said: "From Lake Geneva, we crossed the Alps, descending into Italy through the Aosta Valley. We picked up the trail at the start of the Apennine Mountains and crossed those, too. Then we walked across Tuscany before ultimately arriving in Rome. For a month, they walked every day, despite tendonitis, shin splints, blisters, and other ailments. This is the third time my co-leader and I have taken students on this route, and the first that all students completed every step of the walk." Kudos to the group!

A Climbing Adventure with our New Head of School

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Our Ascent of the Middle Sister

In early July Catlin Gabel's new Head of School, Tim Bazemore,  accompanied a group of Catlin students on a climb of the Middle Sister.  Tim's son also joined the group of three Catlin students.  The Middle Sister is Oregon's fifth highest peak at 10,038'.

Our trip began on a sunny Wednesday morning from the school parking lot where the crew of six loaded into a rental S.U.V. for the three hour drive to the Pole Creek trailhead south of Sisters, Oregon.  We were surprised and disappointed to find that a fire last summer had completely burned the pine forest around the trailhead, and also most of the way up to basecamp.  The lack of shade made for a hot hike into our camp at 6800 feet east of the Hayden Glacier.  After setting up a camp -made easier by our choice to leave most of the tents behind given the great weather forecast - we headed over to a steep snowy knoll where we went over basic snow and ice skills.  Luca and Finn instructed the group on self arrrest techniques, how to use an ice axe, and how to ascend and descend steep snow.  We all enjoyed a dinner of lasagne and chicken soup once we returned back to our pleasant camping spot.
Climb day dawned clear with a promise of being a hot one.  We set off up the hill after a breakfast of hot cocoa, oatmeal and canned pork product.  The snow was in surprsingly firm condition and we put on our crampons just half an hour into the climb.  The route we took - up the south lobe of the Hayden Glacier - was somewhat convoluted and steep in places.  Crevasses were skirted without incident.  The part settled into a good rhythm as we travelled up the steepening slope.  Views to the east allowed Tim to get a bird's eye view of the vast extent of eastern Oregon and all the adventures that await his family here.  Below the pass - where the peak connects to the North Sister - we took a long rest and prepared for the greatest challenge of the climb.  After considerable preparation and consternation, but no hesitation, Finn led the party up a 55 degree headwall using pickets for protection that provided direct access to the summit ridge, and avoided the tedious and longer scree slopes sometimes taken from the pass itself.  Above this pitch we crossed scree and more snow, with Luca kicking steps up toward the true summit, which we reached at about noon.  The day was perfect, with only a gentle breeze to cool us off a bit as we ate ham and cheese bagels without the cheese. 
We chose an alternate descent route which allowed us to avoid the glacier altogether and just walk down endless snowfields.  The students practiced their glissading techniques and engaged in games of chance involving skills with their ice-axes.
That evening we lounged around camp, exchanging stories and playing cards.  Almost everyne enjoyed a dinner of macaroni and cheese.  The stars were bright until the moon rose, but by then everyone was asleep, tired from the day's challenges.

PLACE urban studies students presenting at City Hall

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You're invited!

PLACE students will present their recommendations for improving SE Powell Blvd. to the Portland City Council on Wednesday, July 16, at 9:30 a.m.

Come to City Hall to hear the presentation.

City Council Chambers
1221 SW 4th Ave
Portland, OR 97204

Link to Google Map

They are making the same presentation at the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability on Thursday, Juy 17, at noon.

Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
1900 SW 4th Ave
Portland, OR 97201

Link to Google Map

About the PLACE recommendations

PLACE students have created design concepts for the Oregon Department of Transportation parcels on Powell Boulevard between 50th and 82nd to assist with the implementation of high-capacity transit. Specifically, they hope to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the ODOT parcels on Powell, while prioritizing the needs and desires of the community.

Check out the PLACE blog for more information

Senior Alex Lam wins two bronze medals at the 2014 Fencing Summer Nationals

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We salute you!

Alex was 3rd out of 67 in the Division 1A Men's Saber and 3rd out of 262 in the Junior Men's Saber (U19) events in Columbus, Ohio.

His national ranking in the Junior Men's Saber (U19) category moved from 34th to 22nd in the country. He is currently in the top 10 of U19 high school fencers.

Alex was also named to the first team of the 2014 USA Fencing All-Academic Team.

Crossing the Cascades from Cle Elum to Stevens Pass

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Our Story

What a grand adventure!  Eight intrepid students and two leaders finished a spectacular and challenging backpack through the North Cascades in early July.

Last summer, as our backpack trip around Glacier Peak was coming to a close, one of the students came up with the idea of doing a ‘through hike’ between the I-90 corridor and the US-2 corridor, essentially from Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass along the Cascade crest.  After some research in the spring we were able to find a route that looked feasible, taking us from near Cle Elum through the high mountains to Stevens Pass.  What made the trip challenging -- and special  -- was that the Catlin students were the first ones this year to navigate their way through heavy snow, avalanche debris and bushwhacking and emerge successful on the other side. 

The road north from Cle Elum was not nearly as bad as some of the internet postings had indicated- just long, and a bit potholed in places.  Once we reached the trailhead it took us about an hour to eat lunch and get packed up.   We set off north on the trail at a brisk clip, probably 3 miles per hour, and soon found ourselves hiking along the eastern shore of beautiful Hyas Lake.  At the far end of this lake is another smaller lake.  Originally we had planned to camp there, but we arrived so quickly that we agreed we should head up the steep hill east of us to beautiful Tuck Lakes.  Unfortunately we quickly lost the trail in the snow and started a steep bushwack up the hillside which took almost three hours in itself, even though we covered maybe 2 miles.  The kids ended up enjoying the adventure of the bushwhack, I kept waiting for one of them to suggest we just try to find the trail—something we could have done by moving south on the hillside.  There was no snow at all on the whole west facing forested slope.  After maybe 90 minutes we heard some yelling below from the others in our party who reported that one of our number had become sick and needed help carrying his stuff up the hill.  We split up most of his gear and after maybe another hour we arrived at the lake.  Tuck Lake is indeed beautiful, sitting in a rocky basin with a cute little island in the center.  The surrounding area, though, was almost completely covered in snow so it was hard to find  a good place to set up camp.  Our kitchen ended up being on some rocks on the west bank and we made a good dinner and went to bed after ten.  Three of the students and one of the adults slept out, eschewing their tents, as became the pattern for the rest of the trip.  There were essentially no bugs that night or on any night the rest of the week.

Tuesday morning we slept in a bit and then hiked over to Tuck’s Pot- a small lake southwest of the main lake.  It was even more beautiful than our home lake.  We then packed up and began a challenging hike toward Marmot Lake.    The way took us up to Deception Pass, where we had lunch and then westward on a mostly snow-covered trail over Blue Ridge and to the headwaters of Blue Ridge Creek.  We entered a spectacular basin where 13 waterfalls fell from the surrounding cliffs to form the creek.  Here we were fortunate to locate the trail and followed it downstream for maybe a mile until we came across the first of many avalanche debris zones where the trail was completely covered in fallen timber and piles of old snow.  Tediously we made our way over, under and through the mess before successfully locating the trail on the western slopes as it began its ascent toward Marmot Lake.  After a few more avalanche swaths were crossed we came across a steep gully filled with snow, maybe 30 meters across with a bad runout.  Michael carefully kicked some steps across and we all made it -- holding our breaths.  A few of the students were uncomfortable.  Maybe 200 yards later we came across another, similar, snowfield.  This one was steeper and with some big holes in the middle where a sliding student might disappear.  After about half an hour of investigation and discussion we decided to abort our quest for Marmot Lake and turned back.  Several student reported that this ‘turn around’ was the low point of the day for them.  We made our way back across the first snow slope, with care, through the avalanche debris to the forest floor near Blue Ridge Creek.  George somehow was able to locate a nice campsite in the old growth forest that actually had an old fire ring from previous visitors – even though it was across the river from the trail.  We built a nice fire and had a good dinner, deep in the woods.

Our hike the next day was long but not as challenging.  We returned up the creek to the waterfall basin and then over gentle Blue Ridge Pass to Deception Pass where we had a snack.  From here we followed the PCT north- almost all snow covered, past several junctions, over some dramatic and beautiful streams to Deception Lakes.  On this day we arrived early enough to enjoy exploring the area.  After a dinner of Cheesy Enchilada we played a game of Salad Bowl- which the kids loved.  Most everyone except the two girls and Mitch slept out under the brilliant stars that night.  The beauty of the spot was almost overwhelming and the students wandered among the meadows and flowers near the lake fully disconnected from their urban lives back home.

Thursday was a tough day.  We started the hike out from the lake on the PCT and reveled in the spectacular view as we ascended the west facing slopes toward Pieter Pass.  Wildflowers were everywhere and it was such a pleasure to be free from the snow.  Just before the crest of the ridge we came across some steep snow which we were able to avoid by scooting straight up to the ridge above.  The scene on the east side of the divide- down which we must travel to continue on our way to Stevens Pass - was disconcerting.  The way was 100 percent snow covered and quite steep and long- the lake was maybe 800-1000 vertical feet below us.  Its ice covered status was alarming in itself- sort of a cold and forbidding objective.  Michael set off on the trail, which we could barely discern through the deep snow.  We rounded one switchback and then quickly lost the trail in the mostly open snow field.  After some thought we all dropped into a climbing position and began to kick steps down the steep slope, facing into the slope, one at a time.  From this point we negotiated our way among clumps of trees before coming across a long (over 1000 linear feet) snow filled gully that led all the way to the lake.  At the top it was quite steep, maybe 40 degrees, and the snow was a bit firm.  Over the next hour everyone made it down the long slope in their own style and we all breathed a sigh of relief as we kicked steps along the lakeshore.     The adventure wasn’t over though as it was necessary to ascend a steep wooded and wet slope out of the lake basin to locate the PCT on its western flank.  This we finally did and found a place for lunch at about 230 pm.  From here it was just a snow walk along Glacier Lake and down to Surprise Lake. We found a wonderful campsite at the far, northerly, end of the Lake and the students hung out in the warm sun.   It was a wonderful and celebratory way to end a tough day of challenging trail breaking.  That night we had a nice sharing time next to the lake before heading to bed about 10pm.

Friday’s hike was nothing but pleasant as we descended the trail 6 miles down Surprise Creek to the trailhead arriving at 10:15.  Leroy pulled the bus in at 10:32.  Our ride home was fun enough, we stopped at the Denny’s in Federal Way for a high calorie meal before heading home.  

So much fun in the Idaho sun

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Rock Climbing at City of Rocks

For a week of fun this past June, 23 students and 8 advisors made the drive east to City of Rocks National Reserve in southern Idaho.  Each day the team divided into four smaller groups and spent the day climbing on the beautiful granite that makes "the City" a world class climbing destination.  Students who had completed the appropriate training were allowed to lead and put up climbs.  Everyone participated in the meal preparation, cleanup and a wonderful talent show at the end of the magical week. 

June 19-20 White Salmon River Rafting & Caving

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Adventures in the water and on the land!
 Despite a late departure from Catlin Gabel Thursday morning, our two-day adventure began nearly on time with three boats and three guides on the White Salmon River in Washington. It was a gorgeous day on the water. Blue skies above framed our morning on the water with full and exciting rapids from the get-go. We ported around Husum Falls, boarded a bus back to Zoller's, and the students ate their lunches as we headed to our campground at Peterson Prairie. Well-marked and easy to find, the campground featured our huge and very private group site—a soccer-field-sized area to spread out our tents and five picnic tables to use for dining and cooking—and a nice fire pit and barbeque area.
After we pitched our tents, we gathered around the picnic tables to discuss options for our afternoon adventure. We voted and the majority of kids chose to go wading at Goose Lake, six miles west of our camp, so we boarded the bus to Goose Lake and spent a good chunk of the afternoon wading and having fun on the lakeshore. A couple of the boys made their own fishing poles and tried their hands at fishing. After everyone had cooled off we stopped back by camp quickly and then headed to the Ice Caves.
The Ice Caves were spectacular but hard to navigate. Many students did not venture far into the caves because of the slickness but were still able to admire the ice formations (crampons or golf shoes could be a good addition to the packing list). A couple of nimble adventurers were able to scramble into the cave a bit further. After the Ice Caves we hit the Natural Bridges and Big Trench Loop. This area contained natural bridges created by collapsed lava tubes. The natural bridges were really beautiful. We did a short 1.5-mile loop hike around the bridges and trenches. Our afternoon adventures gave us good appetites and we headed back to camp, arriving about 6 p.m. After cooking our meal—featuring a special pasta recipe enjoyed on other outdoor trips—the evening brought card games, a rousing game of “salad bowl,” and fireside jokes and stories.
Friday morning gave us fine weather, with breakfast featuring the ever-popular “Spam” and pancakes. By 9 a.m. we had packed up our camp and were ready to depart at 10:30 a.m., heading out for more caving adventures. Our search for Dry Creek Cave proved futile, but after a few calls to folks experienced with the area’s caves, we made our way to Cheese Cave, known for its great size and variety of features. Cheese Cave proved awesome indeed, with 60-foot-high ceilings. Kids set out to explore the lava tubes in both directions. We enjoyed this cave for a good hour and then met up by the A-frame structure entrance for a lunch of bagel sandwiches. By the time lunch ended it was already 2 p.m. and time to head to Hood River for delicious ice cream at Mike’s. We returned to Catlin Gabel shortly after 5 p.m., wrapping up a very full trip of adventure and exploration.

May 31 - June 1 Opal Creek Ancient Forest

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7th Graders already planning a reunion trip!
Saturday, 9 am, eight 7th grade students and two adults met at Catlin Gabel and boarded Activity Bus 8. We drove SE from Portland towards Stayton Oregon. We ate lunch at the trailhead and started our hike around noon.   The hike was about three miles along on old forest service road along Opal Creek and through beautiful old growth forest. We stopped several times along the way to frolic in the crystal clear water, stand in awe of the ancient trees, and observe newts and other wildlife. We reached Jawbone Flats around 3 pm and were happy to find our bags had beaten us there. Our cabin had running water, heat, electricity and beds enough to comfortably sleep 10. Saturday afternoon we went back to the water and splashed in the sunshine until dinner. After a delicious meal of bean burritos we played charades and roasted s’mores.
We woke early on Sunday to breakfast of French toast, hot chocolate and bananas. After packing up we hit the trail and headed back down towards the bus, stopping along the way for more water play. This time students decide to build a rock bridge from the shore to a large rock in the middle of Opal Creek. For hours they moved rocks until they all could walk out to the “island.” We reached the bus and drove down to a beautiful picnic spot on the Elk Horn River. On our way back to Portland we stopped at The Gingerbread House for ice-cream. We were back at Catlin by 3pm; we parted ways after a wonderful weekend, already with plans of a reunion trip.

Upper Schoolers summit Broken Top Mountain

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A great climb

An adventurous group of 9th and 10th graders made a successful climb of Broken Top in the Central Oregon Cascades this past weekend.  The trip was highlighted by mixed weather conditions, with snow and wind alternating with beautiful sunny skies the whole weekend.  The team consisted of eight students and two leaders, all of whom made the tiring hike on the snow covered trail in to Green Lakes.  Basecamp was carved out of the deep snow remaining from a relatively heavy snow year.
The climb itself followed the northwest ridge and took about six hours to complete.  The entire group was able to perch on the airy summit for a few minutes before carefully making the descent.

Video: Reflections on Lark Palma's 19 years as head of school

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Please consider making a gift in honor of Lark Palma's extraordinary leadership 

Catlin Gabel partners with Elevating Impact Summit

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Elevating Impact Summit is an event celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation for social impact.

Elevating Impact Summit 2014: Celebrating Lifelong Changemakers
Friday, June 20
8:30 a.m.– 5 p.m.
The Gerding Theater

From garages to corporate offices, pragmatic, creative innovators are designing better solutions to pressing social and environmental issues and creating value for their companies, communities, and society at large. The Elevating Impact Summit, brought to you by PSU’s Impact Entrepreneurs, celebrates these new approaches to generating social and environmental impact across business, social, public, and academic sectors.

The 2014 Elevating Impact program includes keynote addresses from globally renowned social entrepreneurs Kat Taylor, Founder of One PacificCoast Bank, Marc Freedman, Founder of, and Victoria Hale, Founder of Medicines 360, along with lively panel discussions on impact funding, encore careers, and communities in transition. The event also hosts pitches from the region’s rising social innovators, the annual Impact Awards, authentic first-person stories of overcoming the odds, and a cocktail reception.

Visit for registration and details. Tickets include light breakfast, lunch, and cocktail reception.