Vernonia Schools News and Sports

Loggers Host Playoff Game on Thursday

Clay Sullivan

Clay Sullivan

The Vernonia Loggers boys basketball team are preparing to host a district payoff game on Thursday, February 19.

The Loggers finished second in the Northwest League with a 10-4 record.  The playoff game will be a rematch against the Nestucca Bobcats following the Loggers 58-26 win over Nestucca on Friday, February 13 in the final, regular season league game for both teams.

“We need to use our home court advantage and hopefully have this gym packed,” said Logger head coach David Weller.  ”Since we’ve moved into the new school I’ve been waiting for a home playoff game.  We would really like to see what’s like to fill this place.”

The top three finishers in the district playoffs earn a place in the state playoff. The Loggers have two chances to earn that  trip to the states.  As the # 2 seed in the district playoff, the Loggers play #3 Nestucca, with the winner advancing to face #1 Kanppa on Saturday, February 21 in Forest Grove and an automatic spot in states.   The loser of the #2 vs #3 game on Thursday would play the winner of the #4 vs #5 game for the final state playoff spot.

“If we can shut down #40 for Nestucca,  Brett Elder, like we did last week, they’re  going to struggle,” said Weller.  ”That will be our goal  on Thursday–shut him down and make their other guys make shots.”

The young Loggers team is led this season by freshman Clay Sullivan, and sophomores Brett Elliot, Tristan Adams and August Johnson, who is injured,  along with juniors Jared Medlars and Nikita Moskalev and seniors Will Botelho and ZiXian Chen.

“This team has shown it’s competitiveness and willingness to never give up,” said coach Weller.

Loggers Grab Second Place; Lady Loggers Finish Undefeated in League

It was a good night to be a Logger on Friday February 13, as both the boys and girls squads earned important wins in their final league games of the season.

The Vernonia Loggers boys wrapped up Northwest League play in stunning fashion, moving past Nestucca and into second place.  The Loggers dominated the Bobcats while winning 58-26.  Vernonia led from the start and never looked back, taking a commanding 31-6 half time lead and cruising to the win in the second half.

The Loggers win gave them a 10-4 league record and moved them into a tie with Nestucca for second place.  The Loggers needed to win by seven points to earn the tie breaker, and did so handily. Read More

VHS Winter Sports Update

Girls Basketball-The Vernonia Lady Loggers continue to dominate the 2A Northwest League and are undefeated in league play with a 10-0 record.  Overall the Lady Loggers are 18-2 on the season, are ranked 3rd in 2A and lead 2A in scoring.

Vernonia all but sealed up the Northwest League title on January 30-31 with a 65-49 home win over Knappa on Friday, followed by a 44-22 victory at second place Faith Bible.  The Lady Loggers topped it off with a 63-26 win at Gaston on February 3.

In the win over Knappa, Vernonia welcomed back point guard Marketa Veselkova, who missed 5 games with an ankle injury. Head coach Steve Whiteman said junior Sara Smith did a great job filling in while Vesselkova was out.  Veselkova picked up right where she left off, directing the Lady Loggers offense and playing tight defense.  Knappa kept the game close in the first half, but the lady loggers pulled away in the third quarter and cruised to another win.

Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan and Paige Smith continue to control the post  while Lisa Paje and Julia Fletcher patrol the wings.  Sara Smith and Jocie Roberts have provided relief from the bench.  Substitutes Payton Wolf, Maria Alvarez and Megan Ely have also seen significant playing time during the Lady Loggers undefeated run in league play.

The Lady Loggers wrap up the season with three straight league games at home: Feb. 6 against Neah-Kah-Nie, Feb 10 versus Delphian and Feb. 13 with Nestucca.  In preparation for their playoff run, the Lady Loggers have also scheduled a non-league match up at Country Christian on Feb 12.  Country Christian is currently ranked 4th in 1A, are 6-0 in the Casco League and 16-3 overall.


Read More

VSD to Explore Charter School Application

Vernonia School District Superintendent Aaron Miller has announced the District will explore a proposal to consider making an application to become a charter school.

“We are considering moving forward with applying for charter school status for a significant portion of the students in our district,” said Miller.

Miller and the School Board discussed the opportunity at a board workshop on January 29, 2015.  The Board unanimously gave Miller the green light to move forward and begin studying the possibility of having a portion of the school district create a charter proposal.

“There are a lot of things to consider through the application process and what it means as far as the programs and curriculum we provide for our students,”  said Miller, “but there some very real resource opportunities and benefits  to us becoming a charter school.”

Miller says a steering committee made up of teachers, classified staff, district administration, parents and other community members will be formed immediately to begin considering a charter school option.

“If we do choose this option we want to make sure we have a product that is going to work for everybody—students first, but the teachers, parents and community as well,” says Miller.

According to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) a charter school in Oregon is a public school operated by a group of parents, teachers and/or community members as a semi-autonomous school of choice within a school district. It is given the authority to operate under a contract or “charter” between the members of the charter school community and the local board of education (sponsor). Under Oregon law, a charter school is a separate legal entity operating under a binding agreement with a sponsor.  A public charter school is subject to certain laws pertaining to school district public schools, is released from others, and must operate consistent with the charter agreement. Read More

VHS Winter Sport Report

Girls Basketball – After losing two non-league games in a  row on either side of the holiday break, the Lady Loggers have bounced back with six straight victories.

The Lady Loggers defeated Southwest Christian 65-24 on January 3, to end their two game slide, which  included loses to Damascus Christian and Westside Christian.

The Lady Loggers opened their Northwest League schedule with a 46-37 win at City Christian on January 6, followed by 41-19 home victory over Faith Bible on January 9 and 55-41 away win at  Knappa. Vernonia then beat  Neah-Kah-Nie on Friday, January 16 by a score of 43-25 and then returned home and defeated Gaston 53-31 on Saturday, January 17.

Vernonia is now 13-2 on the season, 5-0 in league play and are currently ranked  4 in Oregon 2A play.

Upcoming home games include match-ups with City Christian on January 27 and Knappa on January 30.


Boys Basketball – After losing four straight games  the Loggers rebounded, winning five of their next six games, including league wins at City Christian and Faith Bible before losing to Knappa 65-38 on January 13. Since that loss at Knappa the Loggers added a 58-43 win over Neah-Kah-Nie and a 53-31 home victory over Gaston.

The Loggers have a 7-8 record overall  and are 4-1in Northwest League play after previously defeating City Christian 55-54, and Faith Bible 68-57 and the loss at Knappa. Read More

Vernonia School Board Report

At the January 8, 2015 School Board Meeting:


School Building Suffers Water Damage from Leak-School District Superintendent Aaron Miller informed the Council that a water leak was discovered early in the morning of Thursday, January 8 which caused significant  damage to the library and computer lab upstairs and the  school office on the ground floor.  Miller told the Board the staff all helped with clean up and the building was ready for students when they arrived with no delays.  Because the damage had just occurred that day, Miller told the Board he had not had a chance to talk with the insurance company, and was unsure how much of the damage would be covered.  The Board later approved Resolution 1415-02 declaring an emergency  that needed to be remedied through emergency contracts for repair work.


Student Reports- Fourth grade students from Ms. Blacker’s class made a presentation about volcanoes.  Lily Lindsley and Taylor Titus, representing the Leadership Class reported on activities at the high school.  Alexis Baska and Summer Snow presented  Board members with a gift to thank them for their service in honor of School Board Week.


NWRESD Report- Lisa Poehlitz and Paul Peterson, representing the Northwest Regional Education Service District (NWRESD),  provided the Board with their Annual Report. The NWRESD assists school districts by providing educational services and opportunities for special needs students, for technological assistance and other instructional services.


Attendance Report- Elementary School Principal Aaron Miller provided  the Board with an Attendance Report.  Miller reported that of 236 students: 69 or 29.2% had missed more than 4 days; 19 or 8.1 % had missed more than 8 days;  7 or 2.9% had missed more than 12 days; and 1 had missed more than 15 days.  Miller told the Board he had filed two initial truancy reports and had one meeting with the Truancy Officer.  At Mist Grade School 4 students had missed more than 4 days.  Miller told the Board that mandatory contact from school staff to parents of chronically absent students was having some impact for certain students.  School Board President Bill Langmaid told Miller, “We have to do better.”


Fall Sports Report- Athletic Director Gordon Jarman provided the Board with a Fall Sports Report.  Jarman told the Board that Girls Volleyball team were league champions with a 14-4 record and qualified for the state tournament.  The JV team only had one loss.  Julia Fletcher, Taylor Titus and Brittany Young were all named First Team All League and Kassidy Fetch was named Second Team All League.

The Girls Cross Country team, made up exclusively of exchange students, won the league championship.  The Boys team finished second in the league and were led by Drew Cheney.

The football team won one game this season and ended the season with thirty-one players.

Jarman unveiled Northwest League Championship banners for the Volleyball and Girls Cross Country teams, which will be hung in the gym.


“The Promise of Oregon” Campaign- Board member Greg Kintz made a presentation to the Board on  “The Promise of Oregon, ”  a campaign  to focus attention on the accomplishments of Oregon’s kindergarten-14 students and the need to adequately fund public education.  The campaign was designed by the Oregon School Board Association.  Kintz showed the Board a short video created for the campaign.  The Board later passed resolution 1415-01 to support “The Promise of Oregon.” To watch the video go to: 

Board Hears First Reading of Policy Updates- The Board heard the first reading of eight policy updates.


Division 22 Standards- Superintendent Aaron Miller provided the Board with the Division 22 Report to the Community, which shows the school district’s compliance and non-compliance with Oregon Administrative Rules.  According to the report the district is in compliance with every rule except one-Required Instructional Time at the High School level.  The Board later authorized the district to include up to thirty hours of professional development in the calculation of instructional time.

VHS Hall of Fame Nominations Now Being Taken

The Vernonia High School Hall of Fame Selection Committee is now taking nominations for the Athletic Hall of Fame for the upcoming year.  The VHS Athletic Department will be accepting nominations, supported by information that fits the criteria for qualification, through the month of February.  The Selection Committee will then make the selections from those nominated for induction to the Hall of Fame and hold the induction ceremony in April of this year.

The Vernonia High School’s Hall of Fame was established in 2014 for the purpose of recognizing former Vernonia High School student athletes or coaches for their outstanding achievement in athletics while attending Vernonia High School. Outstanding community members that have contributed above and beyond what is generally accepted as normal volunteerism to the Vernonia High School athletic programs and students that have graduated from Vernonia High School and have gone on to achieve outstanding recognition in athletics after they have graduated from Vernonia High School are also eligible.

Last year was the initial Athletic Hall of Fame class induction and included:

• Gilbert Bergerson, 1928

• John (Gordy) Crowston, 1952

• Leonard Schmidlin, 1962

• Marvin Crowston, 1962

• Steven Hanso, 1970

• Patrick Curl, 1975

• Dean Bernardi,  1978

• Travis Gwin,  2005

• Joreigh Landers, 2007

• The 1976-77 Cross Country Team Read More

School Board Grants Riley Unpaid Leave

The Vernonia School Board met in a Special Public Meeting on Thursday, January 15 and voted unanimously to grant popular high school science teacher Jean Riley unpaid leave until February 12,  2015

Riley’s teaching license expired on December 31, 2014. She told the board she is only weeks away from completing a Masters Degree and applying to have her teaching license renewed.

Riley has been a teacher in the Vernonia School District since 2003.

Miller placed Riley on unpaid leave, according to District policy, when she was unable to complete the needed work in time to meet the December 31 deadline imposed by the State of Oregon..  Riley then made a request for  Emergency Leave in order to complete the renewal of her license.  Miller denied the Emergency Leave request based on the fact that without a teaching license Riley was no longer covered under the rules of the District’s collective bargaining agreement. Riley appealed Miller’s decision to the School Board, which led to the Special Meeting.  According to the agenda for the meeting Miller was prepared to bring forward to the Board a recommendation to terminate Riley.

Twenty-eight people spoke on behalf of Riley at the School Board meeting, including current and former students, other teachers, parents of students and community members.  All delivered a similar message: Riley is an organized, dedicated and respected teacher who challenges her students.  Many called her one of the best teachers in the District.  Riley spoke last and tearfully apologized to the audience, her students and the School Board, explaining that she had numerous personal issues over the last year which kept her from completing her license renewal. Read More

VHS Alumni Sports Initiative Update

vhs_loggers_logoAs of December 15, 2014 the Vernonia Alumni Sports Initiative has raised over $75,000 through  contributions by 165 alumni.  A year-end appeal, mailed on November 24, has generated $16,440 thus far.

One year ago the Sports Initiative  had reached the $50,000 level with 130 alumni contributing.

When combined  with the Gary Davis Memorial ($4,000),  the Class of 73 Give Back Bash ($10,000), the local match for the OSAA grant for the football practice field ($10,000), the Sports Initiative is just shy of $100,000 being contributed for athletic facilities during the past two years.

VHS Winter Sports Preview

Girls Basketball- Lady Logger head coach Steve Whiteman heads into this season with another line-up loaded with talent, varsity experience and depth. The  Lady Loggers are two time 2A Northwest League Champions, and are looking to three-peat this year after going 41-8 over the last two years.  “This team is of that same caliber,” says Whiteman about this year’s squad.

VHSWinterSportsGirlsBasketballPreview-webReturning seniors Julia Fletcher and Meghan Sullivan will anchor the line-up, with Sullivan playing regularly in the post.  Fletcher is a powerful player and will be one of the first choice offensive weapons.  Both were All-League players last season.  Whiteman says he expects to see Sullivan become more active in the offense this year.  “She is going to be hard to stop this year,” says Whiteman.  Another senior, Makayla Adams is assisting coach Whiteman as part of her senior project and is acting as manager, statistician, player and coach.

Returning juniors Paige Smith and Sara Smith will both play important roles in this year’s team.  Paige will be a  key player in the post.  Sara, who Whiteman says is the most improved player from last year,  can play just about any position and has seen time in practice as the back-up point guard as well as in the post.  “Sara will make a huge difference this year,” says Whiteman.  Another  junior,  Jocie Roberts, saw some varsity action last year and brings a deadly outside shot to the offense.

Exchange student Marketa Veselkova from the Czech Republic is expected to play as the starting point guard and also has a great outside shot.  “She is one of the fastest players I’ve ever seen,” says Whiteman.  Maria Alverez from Spain and Lisa Paje-Rius from Monaco are also both good players who will also see playing time in the back court on the varsity.  Whiteman says to watch for Paje-Rius on the fast break.

Sophomore Peyton Wolf should see some time for the varsity at all the guard positions, including point guard.  Another sophomore, six-footer Megan Ely, has really improved her game in the off season, according to Whiteman, and is projected to be a power in the post and grow into a very good player.

“We have a really good combination of players,” says Whiteman.  “It’s a really complete team with a lot of maturity and basketball IQ.” Read More