As principal of Jesuit, I have a confession: I am a big fan of Beaverton High. If you have ever been to BHS when the Dam is jammed and the ancient rafters are rockin’, you know what school spirit feels like. Beaverton principal Anne Erwin and her team have built an academic powerhouse that we admire greatly from two miles down the road.
You see, despite decades of battles on the playing fields, Jesuit and Beaverton, as well as the rest of our Metro League partners, are not just athletic rivals. We are also educational partners, working together for our kids. Mike Hughes meets with league ADs regularly, and works with them almost daily. I meet with the Metro principals once a month, and they have become friends and invaluable colleagues. So we were thrilled when the latest OSAA redistricting plan kept Jesuit and the Beaverton schools together in the Metro League for a fifth decade.
Just as many Jesuit students have close friends in the Beaverton schools, our staffs also share deep connections. Anne Erwin’s son Bobby ’05 is a Jesuit alum. Todd Corsetti, former principal of Southridge and now preparing to open Mountainside High in the fall, is the uncle of Solomon Bandy, JHS ‘20. Sunset principal John Huelskamp’s wife Avi is a former member of Jesuit’s Christian Service Department—and both are former volunteers with the US branch of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (ie, they spent a year working in solidarity with folks on society’s margins). Ken Yarnell of Aloha is an old friend and coaching colleague of our own Potter brothers, Ken and Gene.
It is not just the Beaverton schools who are our teammates, however. I am also a huge fan of Central Catholic, for its intellectual rigor, serious commitment to social justice, and ground-breaking Ram Program for students with developmental disabilities. I dig Central’s urban vibe, respect its tradition, and deeply admire its Catholic mission. I am honored to call CC Principal John Garrow my good friend.
Jesuit’s faculty is thrilled to be in multi-year collaborations with Central, St Mary’s, LaSalle, Valley Catholic, and DeLaSalle North Catholic on projects ranging from preventing sexual assault in our schools to serving students with learning differences to raising funds for the Children’s Cancer Association.
Recently, John and I got to hang out with Margaret Calvert and Carol Campbell, the principals of Jefferson and Grant, respectively. While we commiserated and traded snowday stories, I was reminded of the phenomenal work that Margaret and Carol, their teachers, counselors, and support staff do on behalf of kids, every day.
Jefferson and Grant educate the next generation of engaged, educated citizens, often in the face of mind-bending challenges. Jeff has gone from the brink of closure to a remarkable resurgence. Margaret was recently named Oregon’s Principal of the Year, on the strength of soaring graduation rates, Jefferson’s innovative “Middle College” program, and a unique partnership with Oregon’s public universities.
Grant offers best-in-the-nation “We the People” teams, a brilliant student magazine, academic rigor, and a commitment to improving our city, one citizen at a time.
Though they may not say so, our public schools also do the work of the Gospel (Matthew 25:35, to be specific) just as surely as Tim Joy and his crew at DeLaSalle North. When Carol and Margaret talked about the snowdays, they grew wistful recalling their concern for kids who went hungry without the two meals a day they get at school. Every public school in our region literally feeds the hungry. These are Oregon’s children they are serving; they are ALL “our kids.”
That our public schools manage to do such heroic work in the face of gaping budget gaps is miraculous. Running a high school in the age of public scrutiny and social media is challenging enough. Trying to hire teachers and fund programs without knowing your budget must feel like driving a speeding locomotive while wearing a blindfold.
So, today, we send our thanks to educational colleagues and friends across the region. I want to give a special shout-out to Kelli Clark, one of the finest people I know, as she enters her final month as principal of St. Mary’s Academy. Because when it comes to Portland’s schools, and especially to “our kids,” we are all on the same team.
Paul J. Hogan
on Friday May 12