Vernonia Schools News

Stuff the Bus!

When we see the red lights on a school bus flashing, we all know it means STOP!

For the United Way of Columbia County, this means go….to your nearest school supply store and help us Stuff the Bus!

Summer is here and the fall school bells seem like a long way off, but families prepare all summer to stock their children’s backpacks with all the necessary items for starting school.  stuffthebuslogo

Because this adds up in a hurry, the United Way of Columbia County is proud to host their eighth “Stuff the Bus” promotion to benefit students in need throughout Columbia County.   Through a united effort, last year the United Way of Columbia County helped over 650 children!

The United Way is asking you to participate in this promotion beginning now through the end of August.  Just look for the official drop site signs in the windows of local businesses.  They will have boxes available for donated school supplies.  School supplies stay in the community where they are donated to help the children in need.  Local volunteers help pick up the supplies and deliver them to distribution sites.

Anything helps.  Check out the school supply lists at local stores for donation ideas.

Thank you very much for helping the children of our community begin school ready to learn not worried about having the required school supplies.

VHS Cheer Squad Welcomes Vets to Vernonia

CheerVetsMotorcycles2-webOn Saturday, July 20, Vernonia High School Cheerleaders welcomed the High Desert Eagles division of the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association as they passed through Vernonia on their POW/MIA run.  The 35 motorcycles and 50+ Veteran riders met the squad at Shay Park where the girls served up root beer floats and cookies to the club.  The cheerleaders performed a few cheers, talked with the club and posed for photos.  OVMA members were grateful for the welcome and for the floats on a hot summer afternoon.  The club continued on to Stub Stewart State Park where they stayed the night, ending their run.CheerVetsTeam-web

“‘I don’t have enough time’, is all too often the statement that we make when asked to help out or volunteer our time,” said VHS cheer coach Denise Way.  “But this past Saturday we gave up an hour of our time, for the men and women that gave up years of their life to serve our country.  I could not have been prouder of my cheerleading squad for giving up part of their Saturday to serve root beer floats.”

CheerVetsServin-web“Thank you for your support of veterans,” said Stan Wood, OVMA (retired Colonel Army) in a thank you note to the squad.  “You guys are really great and quite professional.  Best of luck to all of you in your futures.”

Can You Give a Helping Hand?

A work day is being planned on August 17th to help with sprucing up the landscaping at the new Vernonia School.

We have only one employee, Mark Brown, that is in charge of maintenance and grounds. It is impossible for one person to keep up with all the weeding and other work.

Many of you are supporting the school through your tax dollars, but your help is also needed in keeping the grounds looking nice.

A lot of you have disagreed with the new school―how it is run and other issues and concerns- but the fact is, it is a reality. Please put those feelings aside and for our kids sake come out and help keep their new school looking nice.

We will be working from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Please bring hand tools for weeding, trimming bushes and more, as well as containers for debris.

Local Student Receives Ford Family Foundation and Kaiser Scholarships

LocalStudentScholarshipDeziRoberts-webVernonia High School graduate Deziree Skye Roberts has received college scholarships from The Ford Family Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.

The Ford Family Foundation has selected 106 students from Oregon as new Ford Scholars.  This year’s Oregon Ford Scholars were chosen from 4,026 applicants.

Kaiser Permanente is awarding $2,000 grants to 108 graduating high school seniors who plan to pursue careers in health care through their Health Care Career Scholarship Program.

Roberts will attend Linfield College where she plans to major in Biology with the hope of becoming an orthodontist.

Kenneth Ford built his business, Roseburg Forest Products C. from a one-man operation in the 1930’s into one of the west coast’s largest wood products manufacturers.  He established The Ford Family Foundation after the business had experienced several decades of growth.  Mr. Ford created the scholarship program to help students who would find it difficult to obtain a college degree without financial assistance.  Other scholarship programs supported by the Foundation include the Ford Opportunity Scholarship Program, and the Ford Restart Scholarship Program.  Since 1994 the Foundation’s scholarship programs have awarded students more than $124 million.

Eligibility criteria include financial need and merit qualifications.  In addition, Scholars must attend an accredited, nonprofit college in Oregon and be pursuing a bachelor’s degree full-time.  The renewable scholarship covers 90 percent of each student’s unmet financial need for college ($1,000 minimum/$25,000 maximum) each academic year, with first-year awards averaging $8,448 per year.

Kaiser Permanente has awarded almost $1.25 million to 566 students in the service area stretching from Longview, WA, to Salem, OR.

Roberts was awarded her scholarship during a presentation on May 18th at the Performing Arts Center on PCC’s Sylvania Campus.

“We at Kaiser Permanente are proud to support these outstanding young people as they pursue their dreams of a career in health care,” said Sue Hennessy, vice president, Strategic Planning & Health Plan Services for Kaiser Permanente. “Each year, I am inspired by the intelligence, determination and compassion shown by the scholarship recipients.”

The Kaiser Permanente Health Care Career Scholarship Program seeks to increase and diversify the region’s health care workforce by investing in the professional and personal health of youths. The scholarships are administered by the Oregon Area Health Education Center at OHSU.

Preference is given to students whose parents did not go to college, who show a demonstrated financial need, who are members of an ethnic or racial group underrepresented in a health care profession, and who speak English plus a second language.


VHS Forestry Team Compete in Skills Competition

The VHS Forestry Team competed in a a logging skills competition in  Bend on Saturday, May 11th.  Brooke Johnston and John Dass finished 6th in the Jack and Jill crosscut saw competition, Cole Harbour and Jered Whitton finished 4th in the cross cut saw competition, Will Parks and John Dass finished 5th in cable splicing, Will Parks was 3rd and John Dass 5th in arborist climbing.  The team is scheduled to compete at the Camp 18 Logging Exhibition on May 18th.


VHS Students Asked to Participate in Survey

Calling all Vernonia High students! Please go to and answer five questions. The username and password are your six digit ESIS number from your student ID. The survey will be used to establish a baseline of information from which current and future decisions will be judged. Your participation will provide the guidance necessary to prioritize improvements to both the school district and all of Vernonia. Better participation will give  better data, resulting in a better future for Vernonians. Please contact Bill Langmaid ( if you have any problems.

VHS Students Raise Money During Doernbecher Days

DoernbecherDaysSnoCones-webThe Vernonia High School Leadership class raised money for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital during the week of April 8-13, 2013.

“Doernbecher Days” was a project initiated by VHS Student Body President Samantha Wallace.  Wallace and her class mates raised over $2,000 during the week through sales of sno cones, dolly heads and t-shirts as well as a freshman auction, movie night and the “Doernbecher Dash,”  a 5/10 K run/walk.

VHS Seniors Ethan Johnson, Rowan Cheney, Sam Wallace and Savannah Brown  were part of the Leadership class that helped raise money for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

VHS Seniors Ethan Johnson, Rowan Cheney, Sam Wallace and Savannah Brown were part of the Leadership class that helped raise money for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.


VHS Band Prepares to Defend State Title

VHSBandTrombone-webThe Vernonia High School Band is preparing to compete in the 2A/1A State Band Contest.  Last year Vernonia won the competition and returned from Corvalis as state champions.  This year the Loggers are hoping to defend that title.  A total of seven schools qualified  for the competition this year; trophies will be awarded to the top four finishers.

Led and conducted by instructor Rob Izzett, the VHS Band, along with a group of parent chaperones, will head to the State Contest on Thursday May 9th after school.  The Band will perform in the contest on Friday morning May 10th.

For those community members interested in attending the competition, the VHS Band is scheduled to begin their warm-up on Friday at 10:45 AM and perform at 11:15 AM.  They perform the Sight Read portion of the competition at 11:45.  Awards are scheduled for approximately 1:00 PM.  Tickets to attend the competition are $8 for adults, $5 for students and can be purchased ahead online or at the door; credit card purchases are not available at the door.  For more information go to

The group will stay overnight at the Holiday Inn Express so they will be rested and ready to perform in the morning.  “We’re trying to make sure that the students and chaperones don’t have to pay anything for their hotel rooms,” says Izzett.  Izzett says the cost is about $27 per student for lodging.  Anyone who would like to help the Band with their expenses for this return trip to the State Contest should contact Mr. Izzett at the Vernonia High School. VHSBansClarinet-web

Izzett has his work cut out for him and has been busy this spring preparing his students for the upcoming competition.   Izzett says he expects the competition to be tough again this year.  “It’s great that we were able to qualify again this year,” says Izzett.  “I’m happy that we were able to go again, to belong in this select group, and have the consistency each year. It’s also fun to bring home hardware!  The kids like that.”

Izzett  has chosen a variety of challenging pieces that will show off the talents of his group.  The group will play four numbers as part of their performance.  Izzett say the most difficult piece is called “Kleine Ungarise Rapsodie” (“A Little Hungarian Music”), an eastern European folk music piece that is very dance-like.  They will perform a slow piece, “Annabel Lee” which is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s poem by the same name. The third piece is called “Moscow 1941” which depicts the siege of Moscow during World War 2.  The final piece is called “Korean Folk Rhapsody”  which Izzett say is a tune most people will find familiar.

At the competition each Band is required to perform fifteen minutes of actual music and are timed and have a total of twenty-five minutes to get on stage, perform, and get off stage.  Izzett says the band enters the warm-up room prior to their performance, where they have a half hour to prepare.  “We can do whatever we want, but we will spend  lot of time tuning our instruments,” says Izzett. “We like to do that right before we go on.”

After their performance the Band is led to the Sight Read room.     There the students and Izzett are given a piece of music they have never seen before.  They are given six minutes to look over the music, identify challenging sections and tough rhythms, key changes and tricky tempo changes  all without playing a note on their instruments.  Izzett is limited in how much instruction he can give the group in that six minutes and counts on his best players to lead small groups through an initial reading of the sheet music.  “Once that time is up we start and then I can do whatever I can think of to get them to play the music-I can sing, I can dance, I can shout out where we are,” explains Izzett.  “It is not a pretty performance, but it is an important part of the competition.  The goal is to play it through, as well as possible, without having to stop. ”

The Band is then scored on their performance of their set of music and their Sight Read performance.  Izzett says last year VHS scored  four points higher than the next school in the performance portion but were beaten by six points in the Sight Read portion.  Izzett says he has been working almost every day on sight reading with his students this year.

This year Izzett has a smaller group, as well as a younger group of students.  Last year the VHS Band graduated eleven  seniors, this year Izzett only has two seniors and has included two middle school students for a total of twenty-five students. Izzett says at least six of his seniors from last year plan on attending the competition this year to cheer on the VHS Band.VHSBand-web

It is a busy spring for Izzett and his bands this year.  In addition to preparing for the State Contest, Izzett is also preparing for the annual Vernonia-Molalla High School Friendship Concert on Monday May 20th at 6:30.  This performance will act as the VHS Spring Band Concert this year.   Each band will perform their contest set of music and then play four pieces together. As part of that performance the bands will perform a piece of music that they have never seen before and take the audience through the same scenario as the Band experiences during the Sight Read portion of the State Contest.  “Matt Farris, the Molalla Conductor will bring a piece of music that I have never seen, and his students have never seen and he will narrate while I take the kids through as if it were an actual Sight Read session at State,”  explains Izzett.  “It will  take the audience through the process they never get to see at State.”

In other Band activity, two weeks ago the Middle School Band attended an all day festival in Battleground, WA. Also, VHS student Nate Izzett will be performing in the State Solo Competition on snare drum and marimba on May 4th at Lewis and Clark College.

Vernonia’s Voice would like to wish Rob Izzett and the VHS Band good luck at their upcoming State Contest.  Let’s Go Loggers!


To assist the VHS Band with expenses for their trip to the State Contest in Corvalis contact Rob Izzett at 503-708-0661 or Kathy Fetch in the High School office at 503-429-1333.

Class of 2013: “Getting Ready to Graduate”

At this point in the year, seniors flock to the high school library. Whether it is to begin working on local scholarships, finish homework assignments, or just to find a corner for peace and quiet, we are all working hard… or in some cases, hardly working. For most seniors, our days are spent teasing teachers and counting down the days until graduation. When we reflect on four very short years, it’s amazing how far we’ve all grown.  From awkward freshmen trying to fit-in and find our way between temporary buildings and new friends, to making the first stamp on a new school and our last imprint on high school life before being set loose on the outside world. Read More

Vernonia Students Participate in Run for the Arts

RunArts1-WebStudents at the Vernonia Schools participated in
“Run for the Arts” on April 11, 2013, running laps to raise money for arts programs in their school.  The program provides funding for art  focused assemblies and artist-in-residence programs, exposing Vernonia students to cultural  diversity programing not found in the community.  In the past the program had helped fund programs that included drum making, basket weaving and other music and craft programming.RunArts2-Web