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Victoria Pfeifer, Madison Blair, and Madison Laycoe learn about scholarships and financial aid in College 101
Victoria Pfeifer, Madison Blair, and Madison Laycoe learn about scholarships and financial aid in College 101
Ridgefield High School seniors prepare for college by taking a new College 101 course and by participating in College Month activities (Photo) - 09/29/14
Monday, September 29, 2014-Ridgefield, WA-As students enter their senior year, the process of applying for college applications and scholarships can feel daunting and intimidating. This year, in order to prepare students for the different processes involved in applying for college and financial aid, Ridgefield High School offered an innovative new class called College 101. In addition, the high school designated October as College Month, offering college-preparation activities throughout the entire month and into early November.

College 101

For the first time ever, Ridgefield High School offered a special course for the 2014-15 school year for seniors interested in receiving help applying for college and financial aid. Students arrive at school an hour early each day during the fall semester to attend the course. "Counselors and administrators developed the curriculum for the course, and I'm adding new material as we go," explained Monica DeShazer, College 101's teacher and one of the high school's counselors. "We want students to be able to submit quality college and university applications, be accepted to attend the schools of their choosing, and to be knowledgeable about all of their post-secondary options."

Throughout the semester-long course, students must apply to a minimum of one (1) college, one (1) university, and complete a minimum of 14 scholarship applications. "We're working to provide students with the skills necessary to differentiate themselves from other applicants and to market themselves to the application committees at their preferred colleges and universities," said DeShazer.

Quizzes and other coursework require students to complete research to find resources offering scholarship opportunities as well as locating resources for assistance in the process of applying for college and financial aid. In addition, students receive tips and training on the best ways to ask for letters of recommendation as well as following up to ensure those letters have been sent.

"I'm the first in my family to ever apply for college and I had no idea how to approach the college application process," said Madison Laycoe, a senior in the class. "I always feel comfortable asking Mrs. DeShazer for help and other resources, and I would really recommend this class to any senior because it offers such great benefits."

Victoria Pfeifer, a senior and classmate of Laycoe's, fully agreed, "Every senior should be signed up for this class because it really is that helpful," she said. "I applied for this class to receive help with scholarships - I want to be able to attend the University of Washington next year, and I want to be able to get all the help I can to pay for my education."

College Month

Throughout October and into November, Ridgefield High School's counseling team will offer valuable field trips, visitations, and other activities to help graduating seniors apply for college and learn about post-secondary options.

* College Day - Tuesday, October 14 - School-Wide Event
The RHS Counseling Team is working closely with ASB to promote a college-going culture in conjunction with Homecoming Week. RHS staff will wear clothing from their alma maters and will put signs on their classroom doors indicating the college(s) they attended. Each period, teachers will share stories with their class about the college(s) they attended. All students will see and hear about a variety of colleges. During the lunch hour, there will be an informational Scavenger Hunt where students can win prizes.

* RHS Fall Fair - Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - RHS Commons
Representatives from nearly 50 universities, community colleges, technical schools, apprenticeships, the armed forces, and community services will be on-hand to tell students, parents, and interested community members about their offerings.

* PSAT Testing - Free for Juniors - Saturday, October 18, 2014
Ridgefield High School will pay for any interested juniors to take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) which provides a rehearsal for students interested in taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) to attend college. Sophomores interested in taking the test could register for $15.

* College Campus Field Trip - Friday, October 24, 2014
The Counseling Department plans to take 40 sophomores, juniors and seniors on a field trip to tour the campuses of the University of Portland, Washington State University - Vancouver, and Clark College.

* Portland National College Fair - Monday, November 3, 2014
The Counseling Department plans to take 30 juniors and seniors to the Portland National College Fair where students will receive information from representatives of colleges and universities from all of the United States.

* College Application Night - Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - Details coming soon
The Counseling Department invites all seniors and parents to attend College Application Night to receive assistance in completing college applications. College representatives will attend in order to provide additional assistance.

* College Representative Visitation - Ongoing - Lunchtime, Before/After School
Throughout College Month, Ridgefield High School will host representatives from colleges and universities to discuss their college or universities. These representatives will be available during lunch hour, before and after school, and the activities are available to any interested student.

* The "I Applied" Board - Year-Round
The Counseling Department is maintaining an "I Applied" Board featuring colleges and universities where the students of the Class of 2015 have applied. The board will be regularly updated throughout the year.

"Our goal is to promote post-secondary awareness and a college-going culture," said DeShazer. "We are participating in the national College Application Campaign thanks to financial support received from a generous grant provided by the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation."

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Steve Radosevich - District Board Member
Steve Radosevich - District Board Member
Ridgefield School District proclaims Thursday, September 25, 2014 as Legendary Teacher Day (Photo) - 09/15/14
Monday, September 15, 2014-Ridgefield, WA-Superintendent Nathan McCann and the Ridgefield School District Board of Directors proclaimed Thursday, September 25 as Legendary Teacher Day at a regular board meeting on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 to honor teachers who impact their students' lives.

"Almost everyone remembers at least one K-12 teacher who made a dramatic difference on their life and their perspective in a positive way," said McCann at the board meeting. "The goal of Legendary Teacher Day is to offer folks an opportunity to recognize teachers who influenced them in their lives by telling their stories."

On Thursday, September 25, the Ridgefield School District invites community members, staff, teachers and students to share stories of their legendary teachers on a special Facebook post which will be made on the district's Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/RidgefieldSchools. Community members who do not have Facebook accounts can email their stories to the Eric Jacobson, the district's Communication Manager, at eric.jacobson@ridge.k12.wa.us, who will post them to the wall. "We encourage everyone to share their story even if their Legendary Teacher doesn't necessarily teach at Ridgefield," said McCann. "Legendary Teacher Day is about great teachers and how they influence us wherever they teach."

As a way to motivate the Ridgefield community to share their Legendary Teacher stories, Dr. McCann, along with each of the board members, shared their own Legendary Teacher stories:

* Dr. Nathan McCann, District Superintendent
"My legendary teacher is Mr. Walter who taught 11th grade United States History when I attended Middlebury Union High School, part of the Addison Central Supervisory Union School District. Mr. Walter is why I became a teacher. He wasn't a particularly large man in stature, however he possessed a presence that commanded the class's attention. He wasn't autocratic - each student got the sense each day that this was our class, not just his class.

Mr. Walter served in the Vietnam War, and I believe his experience there shaped his commitment to making sure students understood the responsibilities living a democracy requires of its constituents. We regularly debated issues in class with Mr. Walter expecting his students to develop and present well-thought positions on the issues - it didn't matter which side of the issue we came down on, it was how we put in an effort to understand the issue.

He was the first social studies teacher I remember who would use stories in his lessons which made history come alive. His class nurtured my love for history which resulted in my own journey to teaching history before becoming a superintendent."

* Scott Gullickson, Board President
"My legendary teacher is Joshua Record who taught second grade when I attended Eugene School District. In an era when there weren't many male teachers, Josh was a young, energetic guy from Michigan who loved his Wolverines football team. He taught topics that weren't typical in the other second grade classes in our school - working on basic math facts until they became second nature for his students, and holding math competitions with 100 equations to see how many problems we could complete in a given amount of time. He gave us M&M candies to fuel our brains while we worked on math.

Other projects he taught us included: learning to play chess, roasting a pig underground, and building geometric domes. Josh would often stay after school so students could learn more about other topics including oceanography, cars, forests, construction, creative writing, sports, and even luaus.

Josh was likable, passionate, and ahead of his time - he understood how to drive and motivate kid. He was always teaching and we, as his students, were always learning and we even thought it was fun the entire time. Mr. Record was an amazing teacher who definitely had a huge impact on my schooling and willingness to explore and learn. I can't thank the man enough."

* Jeff Vigue, Board Vice President
"My legendary teacher is Mr. Mattson who taught 10th grade social studies when I attended Nokomis Regional High School. He had a passion for history and collecting historical memorabilia. One day, he held a show-and-tell in class where he brought Dwight D. Eisenhower's Five Stars to class. The passion with which he told the story of how he acquired them excited me to learn more about history. His storytelling techniques kept the class interested and engaged - he spoke to us instead of at us."

* Joe Vance, Board Member
"My legendary teacher is Mrs. Moore who taught fourth grade when I attended Chief Umtuck Elementary School in Battle Ground School District. My family had just moved to Washington from Montana, and Mrs. Moore made me feel loved and welcome. Honestly, I can't remember anything specific about the subject material she taught me; what I remember is how much I enjoyed attending school because of her. She made me feel like I was smart and that I was supposed to be a good student. Her dedication to her students helped me focus and try harder so I could meet her expectations of us."

* Steve Radosevich, Board Member
"My legendary teacher is Harry Burridge who taught physics when I was in 11th grade at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis School District. When I entered my junior year, I wasn't particularly interested in science. I enrolled in physics primarily because of the Mr. Burridge's reputation as a great teacher. What made his class so compelling was the energy and passion he put into teaching the subject - he taught with a depth of expertise and desire he developed his enthusiasm with his students.

The aspect of his teaching that impacted me most was his ability to connect the concepts of science to its application by utilizing guest speakers; field trips to businesses and university research centers; and projects which connected the science he was teaching to major advancements that were changing the world at the time. Taking his class strongly influenced both my interests and my pursuits following high school."

* Becky Greenwald, Board Member
"My legendary teacher is Mrs. Lukehart who taught eighth grade Honors English when I attended the McMinnville School District. All teachers teach, but there are some who can change a person's life for the better. Mrs. Lukehart changed my life. She had such a friendly and fun personality which everyone loved. She never asked for too much, but she always expected students to do their best and always held us accountable for our work and our actions.

She had the ability to make her classes interesting and fun whether it was making jokes about different issues, sharing a story from her life, or just through her easy-going personality, she had a way of keeping the classroom's attention and focus. She made learning grammar and reading classic novels exciting and enjoyable - she was absolutely one of the legendary teachers in my life."

The Ridgefield Board unanimously approved Legendary Teacher Day as resolution number 2014-2015-001 "In Support of National Teacher Day."

Legendary Teacher Day was initially envisioned and started by Dr. Nicholas Clement, Dr. McCann's friend and colleague, whose book "How to Catch a Swamp Frog" described the legendary teachers he had throughout his life. You can find more information about Clement and his book at www.legendaryteacher.com.

Community members can participate in Ridgefield School District's Legendary Teacher Day on Thursday, September 25, 2014 by visiting www.fb.com/RidgefieldSchools and commenting on the special post on their Facebook wall commemorating Legendary Teacher Day or by emailing their stories to Eric Jacobson, the district's Communications Manager, at eric.jacobson@ridge.k12.wa.us who will post the stories he receives to the district's Facebook post.

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67 campers attended this year's youth camp
67 campers attended this year's youth camp
Ridgefield High School's Girls Soccer Team runs a summer camp for kids interested in learning more about the sport (Photo) - 09/08/14
Monday, September 8, 2014-Ridgefield, WA-Every summer for the past four years, Ridgefield High School's Girls Soccer Team hosts a youth camp to teach the basics of soccer and demonstrate their love for the sport.

Initially with the first year of the camp, the high school coaches intended to direct the activities of the camp, however that plan changed once the camp started. "The campers didn't want to pay attention to the coaches at all," explained Robby Trimbo, head coach for the RHS Girls Soccer Team. "The campers were enamored with the female players who were helping us run the camp, so we decided to change things up and let the players organize and run the activities; the program has been a huge success ever since."

The players oversee and run all of the camp activities which include drills, scrimmages, and skills training. "We make sure everything is running smoothly and that all the campers are having a good time," said Courtney Zumstein, a senior who has helped organize the soccer camp for three years. "At the end of each day, we run cool-down activities and discuss the different skills we've learned with the campers."

This year, the level of interest surprised the organizers. "We had 20 campers register in advance, however, on the first day of the camp, 67 campers showed up!" said Trimbo. "Our players were a little overwhelmed at first, but we were all incredibly excited to have that level of interest in the program."

Many of the current players on the Girls Soccer Team started developing their interest in the sport by attending high school games when they were kids themselves. "I loved coming to the stadium and watching the high school girls play," said Zumstein. "We wanted to offer that same sort of experience for girls and boys in the area who might not have the opportunity to get out there and play soccer."

Zumstein started playing soccer at age five after watching her brother play, and is currently entering her fourth year playing on the high school's team. "As a sport, I love the freedom soccer offers - you can add your own spin to the way you play the game," she said. "Soccer has been the biggest part of my life."

Girls and boys from 4 to 13 years in age attended this year's camp which was held from Monday, August 18 through Thursday, August 21. The camp cost $50 per camper which also included a special T-shirt for each camper. The team intends to hold the camp again next summer.

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