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A MAGAZIN E OF THE SISTERS OF ST. MARY OF OREGON MINISTRIES CORP ORATION SPRING | SUMMER 2016

Changing Lives


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LEADERSHIP AND VISION

Sr. Adele Marie Altenhofen & Sr. Charlene Herinckx

“Sr. Adele Marie has the unusual ability to see the ‘big picture’ while never losing sight of the details and consequences of any proposed plan or change. She is an avid learner as noted by anyone serving on a committee with her. As president of the SSMO Ministries Corporation, she blends perspective of the big picture and attention to detail, impacting every person on our campus and changing lives for the better.” – Sister Charlene Herinckx ’66 is the superior general of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

“Sr. Charlene has been changing lives on the Sisters’ campus for years – as a student, as a teacher, as a Sister, as an administrator of the residency program for the girls who lived on campus while attending what was then St. Mary of the Valley School, as a member of the SSMO Leadership Council and now as the superior general. She touches lives with the gifts of prayerfulness, hospitality, effervescence, perseverance and courage.” Sr. Adele Marie Altenhofen (left) and Sr. Charlene Herinckx ’66 (right) in front of the SSMO Motherhouse.

– Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen is the president of the SSMO Ministries Corporation.

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lover of history, Sr. Charlene Herinckx is sharing the journey experienced by just 12 other valiant women who have served as superior general of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO). A teacher and principal at schools in Oregon and Washington, she also spent six years on the staff of the National Religious Vocation Conference. Elected superior general in 2010 and reelected in 2015, she leads today’s SSMO Community – always honoring the Sisters’ legacy of ministry and service. Making history, Sr. Adele Marie Altenhofen became the first president of the SSMO Ministries Corporation in 2006. An educator and school administrator across Oregon and Washington, she has also served on the SSMO Leadership Council and was Motherhouse administrator. Today, as SSMO Ministries Corporation president, she leads the management, fiscal, programming and planning activities for the staff and volunteers who serve at and support Valley Catholic School, Maryville and the SSMO Foundation – always honoring the Sisters’ charism, mission and vision. Both Sisters model the core values embraced across the SSMO campus: living valiantly, honoring the unique gifts of each person, striving for excellence and celebrating God and life. Together, Sr. Charlene Herinckx and Sr. Adele Marie Altenhofen change lives through vision, faith and action.

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Table of Contents page 6

4  Changing Lives: Everyone has a

story to tell. Through words and images, we meet some of the people who change lives through work, service, dedication and faith.

6 The 2016 Jubilarians of the

Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

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11  American citizens Amina Nguyen

12  SSMO Associate Myrna Church.

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20  Humanitarian Frank So. Assistant

22  Activities Director Hilee Jackson.

24  Director of Nursing Services

26  Chief Information Officer

28  Payroll Specialist Jill Sather.

30  Board member and volunteer

& Phuong Tran.

ESOL tutors Marian & Fred Mihm.

14  Principal and Admissions Director

16  Teachers Lynnettee Burton,

Ross & Claudia Thomas. Connie Heger and Courtney Ferrari.

19  Poem for Fine College Professors as They Retire from Campus:

A poem by award-winning writer and editor Brian Doyle reminds us of the legacy of teachers who know how to always leave doors ready for students to open.

District Attorney Sarah Sabri. Certified Nursing Assistant Felipe Echevarria. Delores Focht, R.N. Laundry Services Specialist Brian Coe.

Dale Goodno. The SSMO Ministries Corporation Facilities Maintenance Team. Cook Bob O’Connor. Dr. Raquel Apodaca. Philanthropists Todd & Audrie Alsdorf.

32 Alumni Notes 34 Class of 2016: Tucker Chisholm & Jessi Beyer.

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Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Ministries Corporation Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen, President page 31

Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Sister Charlene Herinckx ’66, Superior General Editor: Barbara Kerr, APR, Fellow PRSA Designer/Photographer: Todd Sargood Contributors: Ashley Apodaca, Jeff Szabo

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The award-winning Spirit magazine is published by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and their sponsored ministries. All rights reserved. Questions, comments or address changes: SSMO Ministries Corporation 4440 SW 148th Avenue Beaverton, OR 97078 503-644-9181 | spirit@ssmoministries.org

From the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus to the Lane County Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, Graphic Designer Todd Sargood captured the beautiful, dynamic photos featured in this issue. The photo of Frank So in Darfur appears courtesy of Albert Gonzalez Farran – UNAMID. Front cover: Principal Ross Thomas and Admissions Director Claudia Thomas prepare to retire after 27 years of combined service at Valley Catholic High School. To enjoy the portraits in this issue and additional images of those profiled, visit flickr.com/photos/valleycatholic/albums. 3


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“What you are is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God.” Attributed to Father Hans Urs von Balthasar, Swiss theologian and Catholic priest

Since 1886, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon have changed lives on their campus, throughout Oregon, across the United States and around the world. Their charism has inspired others to do the same: … Students, teachers and alumni at Valley Catholic School

Staff, residents and volunteers at Maryville

Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Associates in countless communities

Board directors and donors Some serve in a public role. Some serve quietly in support of others. Everyone has a story to tell. In this issue of Spirit magazine, we meet some of the men and women who have changed lives – on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus and beyond – through work, service, dedication and faith.

As these portraits remind us: when we change someone else’s life, we also change our own.

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The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon

2016 Jubilarians

Some are natives of Oregon. Some hail from America’s Midwest and West Coast. One was born in Vietnam.

These six valiant women each found their way to Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO), discovering their Community and their vocations and changing thousands of lives. 6


A video tribute to the 2016 Jubilarians can be found at youtube.com/valleycatholicschool.

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Sr. Thuy Doan

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Sr. Mary Ellen Hanson

25th Jubilee

50th Jubilee

“I have been asked many times why I chose religious life,” said Sr. Thuy Doan. “At each stage of my life, I have had a different answer according to my experience in the religious community.” Growing up in Vietnam, she wanted to become a teacher. As an 18-year-old girl, Sr. Thuy thought that religious life would pave the way to a better education. After her first vows, she felt that religious life meant making a covenant to live for God and others. After her final vows, she began to see religious life as a process of transforming oneself to “be more like Jesus and to live radically for God and others.” As she completed her bachelor’s degree in child and family studies at Portland State University, she began volunteering at Valley Catholic Early Learning School then joined the staff full-time. As she prepares for her 25th Jubilee, she is working toward a master’s degree in pastoral ministry. When she reflects today on the question about choosing religious life, the answer is clear. A Jubilee, she said, “is a celebration of God’s love.”

“As the firstborn in a Catholic family with three children, I experienced love, stability and early formation in the faith,” said Sr. Mary Ellen Hanson. Born in Valentine, Nebraska, she was baptized three weeks later at St. Bridget Church on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Rosebud, South Dakota. A caregiver at heart, she earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Seattle University, later serving at Maryville and in the SSMO infirmary. With training in pastoral care, she cared for her aging parents and ministered across Oregon. Active in supporting SSMO Associates in Central Oregon, she has served in Communion to the Homebound programs in Redmond and Beaverton. After a sabbatical at Marymount Hermitage, she returned to Maryville as a volunteer in pastoral care. She has also served on the nursing team at Holy Trinity Parish in Beaverton. “Being a Sister is your whole life,” she said. “Everything that you do is to focus on a loving God and people in need.”

EDUCATING THE WHOLE CHILD

A LOVING PRESENCE

“Sr. Thuy is dedicated to the education of the whole child. As the children in her care grow, she is attentive to the academic and spiritual needs of each student. Sr. Thuy works tirelessly, opening up a world of possibilities to our youngest Valiants.”

“Like the tide’s interaction with the shore, that was how Sr. Mary Ellen interacted with our lives in Central Oregon. A loving presence, quiet strength, wise spirit. Water brings life and force, serenity and contemplation, action and change. That is who Sr. Mary Ellen is to us.”

– Krista Jacobson ’95 was vice principal at Valley Catholic Elementary School before becoming principal of Valley Catholic Early Learning School in 2015.

– Myrna and Lance Honda have been Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Associates since 1998.

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Sr. Josephine Pelster

Sr. Janice Boogaard

At some of the most difficult times in people’s lives, Sr. Josephine Pelster provides faith and comfort. Drawn to the “prayerful, joy-filled presence” of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, Sr. Josephine entered the SSMO Community in 1965. “It has been a joy to journey with women who are grounded in their faith and their love of Jesus and have reached out in ministry in so many ways – especially in education and with the elderly,” she said. Sr. Josephine spent 30 years at Maryville, first as a nurse’s aide then as a registered nurse. Board-certified by the National Association for Catholic Chaplains, she served as a hospital chaplain in Oregon and Washington. In 2008, she returned to Maryville as director of pastoral care. “My most precious journeys are with people who are dying,” she said. “It’s the most vulnerable time for families. To be with them and to listen to their hearts’ deepest longings – to listen in prayer and support them in their own faith journeys – all of this has been a gift to me. I hope it has also been a gift to them.”

Sr. Janice Boogaard first changed lives on the SSMO campus by supporting her own Sisters. “I loved the ministry of housekeeping,” she said. “I felt I helped other Sisters in their ministries when they didn’t have to worry about meals and laundry.” Sr. Janice began her ministry in the SSMO Motherhouse kitchen in 1956, spending the next 25 years as a housekeeper for the Sisters until she was called to pastoral ministry. “I had a desire to work with young children,” she said. In 1966, she volunteered to teach religious education during the school year and teach summer school. She taught both for 15 years. After earning a pastoral ministry degree, Sr. Janice served at parishes in Washington and Oregon. Today, she is involved with the SSMO Associate program and volunteers at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Maryville and Valley Catholic School. “I want to celebrate the fact that God has been so good,” she said. “My life has been fulfilling in so many ways. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

GRACIOUS AND GIVING

INSPIRING FAITH AND MINISTRY

“Sr. Josephine is one of those special people who try to do something for you all the time. She is a very gracious lady.”

“You are always in my grateful prayers, especially whenever I think of the grace of first Holy Communion, for which you prepared me. Jesus in the Eucharist – what more could we desire!”

50th Jubilee

60th Jubilee

– Tom Sutherland met Sr. Josephine when his wife received care at Maryville during the final days of her battle against cancer. Six years later, he returns six days a week for Mass, where he is welcomed as a member of the Maryville family and a friend of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

– Sister Mary Karis of the Holy Spirit professed her final vows as a Poor Clare Sister in 2016.

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Sr. Alberta Schwall

60th Jubilee

70th Jubilee

At age 91, Sr. Alberta Schwall has seen dramatic changes in the world during her lifetime. As a student, she journeyed from a one-room, one-teacher schoolhouse – which she reached by horse and buggy – to a well-established high school with a graduating class of 300. Encouraged by two family members who were Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, she joined the SSMO Community in 1946. After teaching in Sublimity and Tillamook, she served as principal of St. Mary of the Valley (now Valley Catholic), where she oversaw the move of the high school into its current building. “That move happened in three days,” she said. “It’s an event I will never forget.” She later spent 10 years as principal of St. Matthew School in Hillsboro. “My years as a teacher and principal were very rewarding,” said Sr. Alberta. “I pray every day for all my students and for the teachers with whom I worked.” Approaching her 70th Jubilee, she offered this advice: “Live one day at a time and enjoy it to the fullest.”

“Catholic education has been a hallmark for me,” said Sr. Ruth Frank. “My friend, Marcella Parrish, told me about the SSMO Aspirancy program,” she said. “The program provided housing at the convent for high school girls at St. Mary of the Valley (now Valley Catholic) who were interested in living with the Community. While living at the convent, I fell in love with the SSMO Community. So did Marcella.” Sr. Ruth's Catholic education took her to Marylhurst University, Gonzaga University and the University of Portland with additional studies at the University of Notre Dame and the Institute for Catholic Education Leadership at the University of San Francisco. She taught at Holy Cross Catholic School in North Portland then served as principal at schools in Portland, Stayton and Tillamook before returning to Holy Cross as principal. She retired in 2010. “I loved every place I served,” she said. “I was challenged and delighted by teaching. I dearly loved helping students succeed and become the best they could be.”

TEACHING AND HELPING

SUPPORT AND INSPIRATION

“Sr. Ruth Frank is enthusiastic, hard-working and generous with both her time and talent. She has always been a person who will do any job – big or small. She was able to be a great principal, a wonderful teacher and a helper to everyone.”

“I have known Sister Alberta for over 35 years, from the time my two sons went to St. Matthew’s. She was a terrific teacher, and we have stayed in touch over the years. She has been a constant source of support and inspiration for me. She is special.”

– Sister Mary Ryan is director of development at Holy Cross Catholic School in Portland, Oregon.

– Phil Knight is the co-founder and chairman of Nike, Inc.

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When I was in high school in South Vietnam, I learned about America and I dreamed of becoming an American.”

Amina Nguyen & Phuong Tran

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or Amina Nguyen and her husband, Phuong Tran, the journey from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to Beaverton, Oregon, is measured – not just in miles (nearly 7,500) – but in a new home and a new life. In Vietnam, Amina Nguyen worked for a nonprofit organization that provides support for the disabled. Phuong Tran worked for a steel company. In 2009, they made their journey to the United States, sponsored by their daughter, who lives in Portland, Oregon. They found a faith home at Beaverton’s St. Andrew Dũng Lạc Catholic Church, which serves a largely Vietnamese congregation. At St. Andrew’s, they met two Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, who encouraged them to take citizenship classes on the SSMO campus. Six months later, after passing the naturalization, English and civics tests given by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, both became United States citizens in 2015. They know the dates by heart: May 21 for Amina Nguyen and June 19 for Phuong Tran. Today, both work for a well-known American retailer. They continue to attend and support St. Andrew’s, where you will find SSMO Sisters joining them in prayer and encouraging others on their journeys to becoming American citizens.

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FREEDOM AND OPPORTUNITY “Amina and Phuong were very eager to become United States citizens. They enjoy the freedom and opportunities this country has to offer. Phuong liked to tease that he might one day run for a political office. They love this country and are very proud to be Americans.” – Sr. Ellen Therese Berger teaches citizenship classes on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus.


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Myrna Church

It’s a comforting feeling to be accepted.”

rowing up in Jamaica, Myrna Church often felt intimidated by the Franciscan Sisters who raised her. When she came to the United States in 1988, she found herself once again in the presence of Sisters. This time, she was the caregiver. She served as head nurse in the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon infirmary from 1989 until her retirement in 2007. Her time in the infirmary gave her the opportunity to get to know the Sisters as human beings. “I realized that they were people just like me,” she says. “I came to care about them and to love them.” When the Sisters founded their Associate program in 1991, Myrna Church was one of the first to join. Twenty-five years later, she is still an Associate, sharing the Sisters’ charism and mission in her own life. For the past 10 years, she has volunteered at Portland’s Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, earning a pin for 2,000 hours of dedicated service. Each Friday, she volunteers in the emergency department, providing solace and comfort to countless men, women and children at life-changing moments.

GENEROSITY AND KINDNESS “Whether working in our infirmary or through her service as an Associate, Myrna Church is known for her kindness and generosity. A dedicated and compassionate friend, Myrna is truly a companion on the journey with our Sisters.” – Sister Catherine Hertel coordinates the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Associate program.

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Marian & Fred Mihm

It’s rewarding when someone says: ‘My boss asked me how I learned to speak English so well, because I couldn’t when I started working there.’ We’re giving people tools to help them survive – and thrive – in our society.”

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hen Marian and Fred Mihm enter the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Motherhouse to teach English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), they bring experience and empathy. A 1966 graduate of what was then St. Mary of the Valley High School, Marian Mihm worked as a nursing assistant in the Sisters’ infirmary and has been a member of the SSMO Associate program since it was founded in 1991. Since the 1980s, her husband, Fred Mihm, has been an ESOL tutor from Centro Cultural de Washington County in Cornelius, Oregon, to Job Corps in Astoria. “Five years ago, I met with Sr. Catherine Hertel after Marian told me that the Sisters were looking for tutors,” said Fred Mihm. “When I told Sr. Catherine about my background, she surprised me by telling me that I could start teaching at level three for advanced students.” Two years ago, Marian Mihm became his teaching assistant. “Marian sets an example for the students,” said Fred Mihm. “If we’re working on a project, I’ll ask her to answer a question first. It helps the students feel comfortable.” Marian Mihm added, “The students work hard and they’re very sweet. It’s a joy to know them.”

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A LIFE CHANGED THROUGH LEARNING “Fred is a very good teacher. He has taught me so much, especially about verbs. And Marian is a great assistant. She knows how to explain things so that I understand them. They are warm and friendly people.” – Anselmo Esteban is an ESOL student on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus.


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Ross & Claudia Thomas

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s members of the Valley Catholic Class of 2016 enter the Valiants Gym to receive their diplomas, Principal Ross Thomas and Admissions Director Claudia Thomas will also mark a rite of passage, retiring after their combined 27 years of service on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus. During that time, 1,170 Valley Catholic graduates have gone on to attend colleges and universities across Oregon, the United States and around the world. Competing in 3A athletics then in 4A, Valley Catholic has won a league, district or state championship in almost every sport that the school offers and won four Oregonian Cups for overall excellence. “Most of my adult life had been spent raising children, coaching swimming, and being a high school athletic director,” Claudia Thomas said. “Then I came to Valley Catholic, and being the high school admissions director challenged me to step a bit out of the familiar. I have loved my time here working every day with amazing teachers who absolutely love what they do.” Ross Thomas added, “Valley Catholic was created and has been nourished for over 110 years by people who gave their whole lives to it and who looked first inwards, not outwards. It tries to be a home for everyone, and it has, deeply, been one for me…a world out of the world in every admirable way.” A constant presence at Valley Catholic events, Ross and Claudia Thomas have applauded student actors and musicians in the enhanced Kelly Auditorium. They have coached or cheered for student athletes competing in the Valley Catholic Athletic Center and under the lights on a new turf field with fans cheering in the grandstand. They have even grilled hot dogs at home football games as their gift to the campus community. A banner in the Valiants Gym celebrates the philosophy embraced and lived by Ross and Claudia Thomas: “Excellence in everything. Opportunity for everyone.”

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Valley Catholic High School is one-of-a-kind as almost no other school is. It is a home that honors its promise to students and families of four joyful, inclusive and happy years full of challenges and great rewards.”

PUTTING STUDENTS FIRST

A PERSONAL TOUCH

“When I was 21 years old, Ross Thomas hired me as a very wet-behind-the-ears English and history teacher at St. George’s School in Spokane. What I remember best about Claudia and Ross was not just their manifold skills as educators, but their amazing parenting and coaching abilities. Ross taught me that putting the best interests of students above all else is the key to good teaching. To witness the myriad ways in which Ross and Claudia have transformed Valley Catholic into the powerhouse it has become in the Portland archdiocese has been a joy. Yes, Ross and Claudia have indeed transformed Valley Catholic, as well as thousands of lives, for the better. Including my own. For that, I will be forever grateful.”

“Claudia Thomas is the main reason that Alex and Emily ended up at Valley Catholic High School. We had begun the process of looking for high schools and attending open houses. Valley Catholic was not one of the schools that we planned to visit. One day, I checked our mail and found a handwritten note from Claudia. She said that she had heard about Alex and Emily and wanted to personally invite them to spend a day at Valley Catholic. That night I told them about the note and asked if they would like to go take a look at the school. They visited and had a great day. Now they are happy, proud graduating Valiants.”

– Paul Hogan is the principal at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon.

– Deanna Hyland has been a parent volunteer at Valley Catholic School since 2012.

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I’m not singularly focused on preparing my students for kindergarten. I’m actually getting them ready for life.”

Lynnettee Burton

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n 2000, when the world welcomed a new millennium, Lynnettee Burton welcomed her first class on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus. Fifteen years later – no longer their teacher but still a friend, soundingboard, resource and role model – Burton watched with pride as members of that class graduated from Valley Catholic High School. A teacher of three- through five-year-olds at Valley Catholic Early Learning School, Burton develops a special bond with her students through unique learning experiences and individualized attention. When a blue jay moved onto the school playground, Burton incorporated it into her lessons. After observing the bird’s nesting habits, the students left string, cotton balls and ribbon, watching with excitement when the bird picked up those items, then experiencing the joy of seeing those trinkets in the nest. In Burton’s class, students spend time learning the academic skills that will prepare them for kindergarten. However, she also places a special emphasis on being present in the moment. “I help them understand and express their physical and emotional needs,” she said. “This allows them to naturally engage with their peers and their surroundings. I hope to build a strong foundation that will help support my students each and every day of their lives.”

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MENTOR AND FRIEND “Lynnettee is singular in her ability to connect with her students; not only is she a remarkable teacher, she is a friend, role model, and support system all in one. She encourages individuality and creativity, and she exemplifies the kind of love that is so unique to the Valley community. After all these years, she remains an influence in my life (even watching me graduate last year), and I am so thankful for everything she does.” – Paige York ’15 was a three-yearold preschooler in Lynnettee Burton’s classroom in 2000.


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hen Tara McKeen was a student in Connie Heger’s class in 2003, her family was facing a difficult political climate – post 9-11 – in adopting a child from overseas. Heger rallied her class in support of their classmate. She explained, in a way the fifth-graders could understand, what the family was facing. She asked each student to write a heartfelt letter to support the family’s efforts to bring their new daughter home. Fast-forward 13 years: that child – Tara’s younger sister, Liana – is now a student in Connie Heger’s class. “I really try to show my students that I don’t just care about them in the classroom,” she said. “I care about their entire lives.” Heger builds meaningful relationships with her students by taking an interest in their hobbies and favorite activities, connecting with their parents and siblings, and sharing in their triumphs and sorrows. She connects with her students and tailors lessons to individual learning styles. She also teaches for the future, incorporating important skills – including organization, communication and respect for peers – into her classroom experience every day. Connie Heger is more than a fifth-grade teacher to her students. She is part of their families.

Connie Heger

HEART AND SOUL “Connie Heger is the heart and soul of Valley Catholic Elementary School. She has the ability to recognize the unique differences in students and help them use their strengths to feel confident and be successful. As my six children still say, she made learning fun so they were excited to go to school every day. Experiencing fifth grade with Connie Heger is a gift that her students carry with them forever.”

In my classroom, we’re like a family. We’re all here to support and help each other in whatever ways we need to. We’re here to make sure everyone is as successful as possible.”

–Kelli Alfieri has served as Valley Catholic’s assistant athletic director since 2011 and CYO director since 2008.

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If students have the sense that school is going to be fun, then you’ve planted the seed that education as a whole is valuable and worth pursuing. I want our students to enjoy themselves in my class so they come back every day ready for more.”

Courtney Ferrari

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s a history and social studies teacher at Valley Catholic Middle School, Courtney Ferrari teaches her students how the world is connected: among cultures and peoples, across vast landscapes and throughout time. “When and where people live determines how they live,” she said. “How they live determines how they think, which is expressed through language and actions, which are then quantified by history.” She added, “When students imagine themselves in these situations, they can contemplate how they themselves would react and they begin to see themselves as global citizens.” To assist in this transformation, Ferrari’s lessons include art and music from around the world, math projects such as demographics analysis, and reviews of scientific discoveries through the ages. With this rounded approach to teaching history and social studies, Ferrari sees her students develop a kinship with their ancestors – and the peoples of the world – through subjects that speak to them. Her students are able to journey from the sometimes daunting lessons of history to a more personal exploration of the resilience, determination and successes of the people who have made the world a better place.

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RAISING THE BAR “While she consistently raises the bar, Ms. Ferrari always provides thoughtful instruction and timely feedback in coaching her students toward achieving their goals. With her unique, narrative style of teaching, learning is always tangible, compelling, and fun. What her students learn from her today becomes invaluable lessons that will empower them for a lifetime.” – Pardis Mehrassa has been a parent at Valley Catholic since 2010.


Poem for Fine College Professors as They Retire from Campus Sure, there are all the usual ways to measure the effect and legacy of a professor, Like student evaluations, and letters to deans and supervisors, and congratulatory Missives of every sort, and test scores, and placement percentage, and even gifts Eventually to the college in celebration of her hard work and lingering influence, But this morning let me pick out one little not-little thing that I saw. Every single Time I saw her with her students she let them burble and thrash – she understood That they were beings in process, and that the process would be tumultuous, loud, Sometimes posing, sometimes a brash performance under which maybe a shy kid Was trying to find a way out; a way to be in the world. A lesser professor, like me For example, would bark for order, insist on a semblance of civility, get impatient. Not her. She would just grin and after a minute say something gently. I loved that. I figured the students knew she was in charge, but they also knew they could float, You know? To me that wry grin seemed a sure sign of a very good teacher indeed. I will remember that - she knew how to leave doors ready for her students to open.

- Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland. He is the author of many books of essays, poems and fiction, notably the novels Mink, River, The Plover and Martin Marten.

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n the section of the 1997 Miriam yearbook where families honor their graduating seniors, Frank So’s parents shared this quote from American inventor Charles F. Kettering: “Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.” That aspiration is reflected throughout So’s education, career and life. “Humanitarian work is all around us – from the food drives and community service we do in school – to leading retreats and helping the homeless – to supporting programs for causes we believe in,” he said. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Seattle University, he earned a master’s degree in peace studies and conflict resolution at the University of Ulster in Ireland. His humanitarian work includes postearthquake relief in Haiti, assisting at an orphanage in Rwanda and working with young people caught in the violence of the Darfur conflict in western Sudan. “What I offered may have been the only opportunity for some to feel they were being heard,” he said. “I could take what I learned and fight for programs that worked. Perhaps it was a road that would link people and services or a petition for more security patrols. Where the most basic need is survival, I have tried to be a listener and a voice.”

Frank So

A LISTENER AND A VOICE “I remember Frank So as a brilliant, insightful, hard-working student. What separated Frank from other students was his always positive, friendly, outgoing personality. Frank continues to make a difference with everyone he comes in contact with.”

Valley Catholic teachers believe in their students. I dedicated my master’s thesis to Phil McQueen because of our mutual appreciation for history and his tenacity for demonstrating what our future might be if we don’t learn from our past.”

– Phil McQueen taught history at Valley Catholic High School from 1979-2014.

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My goal is to educate people about domestic violence and the resources that are available to keep victims safe – and to hold the people who commit these crimes accountable. To me, this job is about creating a community that doesn’t tolerate domestic violence.”

Sarah Sabri

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arah Sabri ’99 didn’t plan to become a lawyer – until she joined Valley Catholic’s mock trial program. “It was my introduction to what life could be like in a courtroom,” she said. After earning a law degree from the University of Oregon, she worked as a domestic violence prosecutor in Newport, Oregon. In 2007, she joined the Lane County District Attorney’s Office, which was adopting a more aggressive approach to prosecuting domestic violence. Now an assistant district attorney, Sabri is a founding member of the Lane County Domestic Violence Prosecution Team and works closely with law enforcement and community agencies. “Victims of domestic violence have so much going on in their lives,” she said. “They may have no safe place to live – no money for food, diapers and other needs – no one to care for their children – and they face ongoing threats from their abusers.” Sabri also changes lives through art in her teaching studio, The Creative Makery. One day, life and art merged. “A mother and her young daughter came to one of my workshops,” said Sabri. “When it ended, the mother came up to me. She said, ‘You don’t recognize me, do you? You sent my ex-husband to prison. You saved my life.’”

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PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE “Sarah has dedicated her career to protecting the vulnerable in our community and holding their offenders accountable. She is a great prosecutor and advocate. Lane County and this office are very fortunate that Sarah chose us, for which I am very grateful.” – Patricia W. Perlow is the district attorney of Lane County, Oregon.


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ilee Jackson still remembers her first visit to Maryville in 1978. “I walked into this building at seven o’clock at night with Sister Geraldine Bernards,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness. It’s just too quiet for me.’” How times have changed. When Jackson joined Maryville, there was no activities program. She became the only activities staff member. Today, she and her team fill the Maryville calendar with activities 365 days a year: music programs, movement and exercise, games and puzzles, visits from Valley Catholic students, day trips, holiday celebrations and birthday parties, plus Maryville’s Rose Queen crowning, Christmas Bazaar and its float in the Beaverton Celebration Parade, just to name a few. The goal: for everyone to take part as fully as they can even if they have a physical challenge or experienced memory loss. “Many of our residents are very creative,” Jackson said. “Some make crafts. Those who can’t will share their opinions on color and design. If someone is no longer able to play an instrument, they can still enjoy listening to music, reminiscing and sharing their special memories.” She added, “At a restaurant recently, a woman asked where we were from. When I told her, she said, ‘I’m in awe of how kind you are to each of them.’ I told her: ‘They’re our family.’”

Hilee Jackson

LOVE AND DEVOTION

This is home to our residents. Their quality of life should be the best it can be.”

“After all these years, I am still in awe of her enthusiasm and love for what has been a precious and beloved mission for her: making the life of each resident more meaningful and joyful. She has an unending sense of loyalty, love and devotion for each person that becomes part of the Maryville family.” – Terry Shrum joined Maryville in 1978, serving as a nursing assistant, charge nurse and director of quality assurance and infection control, before retiring in 2014.

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Maryville is a very good environment. I like having the opportunity to help so many people.”

Felipe Echevarria

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s a single father in Mexico City, Felipe Echevarria couldn’t have imagined the path that would lead him to the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus. Fluent in Spanish and French, he taught French at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México. He has also served as a translator, and he worked as an administrator at Bello Gas Company. Nine years ago, he moved to Oregon, knowing that he wanted to become a registered nurse. To do that, he needed to first become a certified nursing assistant (CNA). After successfully taking classes at the Caregiver Training Institute in Portland, he joined Maryville as a CNA in the summer of 2015. He hopes to continue his nursing studies at Portland Community College. “I have been helping people since I was very young,” he said. “I helped my brothers become successful in their professions. I helped my mother deal with diabetes. I raised my son by myself. Today, my son is a police officer in Mexico. Remembering all that makes me feel proud.” He also takes pride in the respect he has earned from his colleagues. In November 2015, Felipe Echevarria was honored as Maryville’s Employee of the Month.

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COMPASSION AND KINDNESS “Felipe is a superb example of the type of CNA you would want caring for a family member or a loved one. When I think of Felipe, the words ‘service,’ ‘compassion,’ ‘honor,’ ‘kindness,’ and ‘effort’ come to mind. Never have I seen him without a smile, even while doing the most challenging of tasks. For our residents at Maryville, Felipe’s cheerful and hard-working heart is good medicine.” – Candice Roberts, R.N. is a resident care manager at Maryville.


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It gives you a lot of satisfaction to be able to make a difference in so many lives.”

Delores Focht, r.n.

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s Delores Focht prepares to retire, she reflects on the changes she has seen at Maryville since joining the staff in 1970 as a charge nurse. “The care that residents need today is more acute than it was then,” she said. “And we’ve expanded from a long-term care facility to one that also provides short-term skilled care. The goals for those are very different. Long-term care means this is the resident’s permanent home. For a patient receiving short-term care, Maryville becomes a temporary home.” In 1980, Focht joined Tektronix as an occupational health nurse. In 2002, Sr. Geraldine Bernards, who was Maryville’s administrator, asked Focht to return. Five years later, Focht became director of nursing services. “When you finish your day and have, in some way, impacted someone’s life, it’s very rewarding,” she says. “It could be something as simple as touching their hand or sitting and listening to a family member.” She is proud of the quality of care at Maryville. “I see a lot of people arriving at Maryville,” she said. “Some come by wheelchair. Some come by stretcher. In a few days or weeks, you may see them again in the hallway and they’re walking – either independently or with assistance. When you see that, you feel that you really have made a difference.”

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PROFESSIONALISM AND TRUST “In her white lab jacket, Delores can be seen making her way from unit to unit, checking on the staff and ensuring all is well. Her quiet presence brings stability and professionalism. She is valued and trusted. She has a steadfast commitment to the mission, vision and values of the Sisters and a sincere desire to make a difference in the lives of those that she serves.” – Kathleen Parry has been the administrator at Maryville since 2004.


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t may come as a surprise to the people who know him at Maryville but, when Brian Coe joined the staff 11 years ago, he didn’t even do his own laundry at home. At age 15, he “started pumping gas” at a fuel station. He became a cashier and, eventually, assistant manager. But he didn’t see that as his future. That’s when a friend told him about a job opening at Maryville doing laundry. He learned quickly. “Coming here, you really see what a big project laundry is in a place like Maryville,” he said. “My day goes fast because I’m constantly moving – separating the laundry, bringing it to the washer, taking it out of the washer, throwing it in the dryer and putting it on the table to sort. It’s constant activity all day long. I like that. I like to stay busy.” When he joined Maryville, the laundry process was less structured than it is today. “I started separating laundry and set up the system we use now,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in my work. I’m very dedicated to it.” He’s so dedicated that he hasn’t taken a sick day in 11 years.

Brian Coe

DEDICATION AND INTEGRITY

I want to be the best at what I do. I like to make sure everything’s done right and looks as good as possible. I want to make sure that everyone has what they need: fresh, clean laundry every day.”

“When I began as a social worker at Maryville, Brian would often bring me crumpled dollar bills and an occasional $5 that were left in a resident’s dirty laundry. It would have been very easy for Brian to put this money in his pocket and keep it for himself. Brian would never do that because of his high degree of professionalism, integrity and pride in what he does. In February, Brian once again returned money he recovered in soiled laundry: $610. Brian represents the values that we hope for in all of our staff members. He lives them each day in his work.” – Michael Kilbury is the assistant administrator at Maryville.

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hen Dale Goodno arrived at the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus in 1999, there were about 70 computers across the campus. No websites. No wireless network. The internet speed was just 128 KB (kilobytes). How times have changed. Today, the campus hosts 600 computers, 175 wireless access points, five websites, 13 social media sites, 100 security cameras and, on any given day, 900 simultaneous wireless devices. The campus has nearly 60 servers (30 are physical; 28 are virtual) and four internet connections with a speed of 1.2 Gbps (gigabits per second). As chief information officer, Goodno and three information technology (IT) specialists are responsible for all of that – plus firewalls, wireless controllers, routing switches, email, web servers, administrative databases, financial systems, information security and more. The team is also responsible for purchasing, installing and maintaining servers, hardware, microcomputers, telephones and software. After earning a bachelor’s degree in applied physics and business at Linfield College, Goodno earned a master’s degree in applied information management at the University of Oregon. If you visit their website – aim.uoregon.edu – you will see him featured in a video, inspiring a new generation as an IT specialist who has become an IT leader.

Dale Goodno

PAYING IT FORWARD

My work is challenging in its complexity; it requires creativity and imagination.”

“Since earning a master’s degree in our program, Dale has paid it forward by returning as a guest lecturer. I can tell from his lectures that the Sisters are blessed to have a skilled and caring leader. ” – Kelly Brown is an assistant professor of practice in the Applied Information Management program at the University of Oregon.

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Facilities Maintenance Team

Everything we do to support the Sisters’ mission – from education to elder care – has meaning and purpose due to the selfless generosity and appreciation the Sisters extend to us on a daily basis.”

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ow do members of the Facilities Maintenance Department on the 43-acre Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus change lives? Let us count the ways. By maintaining the Sisters’ Motherhouse and Villa, Valley Catholic School (three school buildings, Athletic Center, athletic fields, Field House, grandstand, press box, covered play area and swimming pool), Maryville (skilled nursing and memory care), the maintenance warehouse and shop, four residential houses and 11 parking areas – plus two satellite locations on the Oregon coast. They’re responsible for plumbing, painting, carpentry, electrical and mechanical systems, exterior and interior lighting, flooring, ceilings, walls, windows, roofs, gutters, doors, locks, pumps, motors, small engines, motor vehicles, playground equipment, irrigation systems, signs, fire alarms and extinguishers, kitchen equipment, laundry, furniture, office equipment, water heaters, boilers, HVAC, fences, grounds work, tree cutting, pressure washing, tools and parts inventory – and more. They oversee construction projects, equipment testing and recordkeeping. They ensure compliance with regulations, working with city and state fire marshals, state elevator inspectors, the Washington County Health Department, the City of Beaverton and Clean Water Services. Because they are so often asked to help move items across the campus, they will tell you that they are also “asset relocation specialists.” And they do it all with dedication, patience and smiles.

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The Facilities Management Team (left to right): Hao Pham, Vilmos Barka, Jeff Lulay, Dan Polidori, Kwasi Sarkodie, James Spomer and Gabe Evans.

KNOWLEDGE AND SOLUTIONS “As head of facilities, Dan Polidori is the first to hear if there are problems and is the calm and reassuring voice in an often chaotic process. With their knowledge of buildings, systems and the campus itself, Dan and his team consistently put the needs of the Sisters at the forefront of all decisions, making sure everything being done is the best solution – for today and tomorrow.” – Marlene Gillis is a principal with Soderstrom Architects.


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hen Jill Sather explains her role as a payroll specialist on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus, she immediately focuses on people. “I’m one of the first people you meet when you come to work for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Ministries Corporation,” she says. “All personal payroll requests come through me. I’m an advocate.” After earning a degree in accounting at Linfield College, she began her career in banking at First Interstate Bank (now Wells Fargo) then U.S. Bank. She left banking for 10 years to focus on her family, then joined the SSMO Ministries Corporation more than seven years ago. Today, Sather processes the payroll for Valley Catholic School, the SSMO Foundation and the SSMO Ministries Corporation staff. She also serves as a general ledger accountant for Valley Catholic Early Learning School, ensuring the accuracy of balance sheets, monthly financial statements, quarterly budgets and billing, plus cash collection and donations. “It’s all about customer service,” she said. “Not many people can say that they know so many employees on this campus.”

Jill Sather

CARING AND SERVICE “We are truly blessed to have Jill on our team. Her genuine concern for people and her ongoing efforts to help them navigate the payroll process are invaluable. Her attention to detail, organizational skills and commitment to striving for excellence make our days brighter.”

The Sisters’ campus is a wonderful family environment. My mother always tells me how lucky I am to be a part of such a wonderful organization. She’s right.”

– Mary Augustyn is chief financial officer for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Ministries Corporation.

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The Sisters allow me to run the kitchen. I choose menus. I select vendors. That’s very satisfying. When you have that kind of responsibility for serving people, you want to come through.”

Bob O’Connor

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ix days a week, you can find Bob O’Connor in the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon kitchen, preparing meals for the Sisters. While working as head dinner cook at the University of Portland, he began cooking for the Sisters on Saturdays. It turned into a full-time job. He knows the recipes and formulas for making large quantities of soups, sauces, seafood, meat and poultry, eggs, dairy and more. And he doesn’t use cookbooks, recipe cards or even a pencil and paper. “All the recipes I use are in my head,” he said. “I do the math in my head. I order by sight because I know what we need.” He ensures that the meals are nutritious. If a Sister has a special dietary need, he makes an extra effort to accommodate it. Bob O’Connor has been a fixture on the SSMO campus since June 26, 1984. We’ll do the math for you: that’s more than 16,000 meals over 32 years. Asked for the recipe for his longevity on the SSMO campus, he says, “I’m very comfortable here. You want to be somewhere – doing something meaningful – and this place fits me to a T.”

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NOURISHMENT AND KNOW-HOW “Bob is the type of employee everyone wants. Constant interruptions or schedule changes don’t seem to faze him. He goes about his work in a calm way and you know it will always be done well. We love working with Bob.” – Sister Rita Watkins is vicar general of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.


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n Dr. Raquel Apodaca’s office at Tanasbourne Pediatrics, a poster features a striking photo of an infant with the caption: “Touch me and I will grow. Speak to me and I will learn. Look at me and I will thrive. I will be all that I can become.” Apodaca, who attended Vassar College and Temple University Medical School, knew in high school that she was going to be a pediatrician. “As a pediatrician, you have the opportunity to alter the future by helping children become healthy adults,” she said. Her daughters – Emma and Sophie Olson – both attend Valley Catholic. An active parent volunteer for more than 10 years, Apodaca has run the school’s ice cream social, organized dine-out events, volunteered in classrooms, helped with swimming and physical education and coached volleyball. Apodaca has also changed lives by serving on the SSMO Foundation Board of Directors for six years. “When I was in college, I worked for our annual fund,” she said. “I learned what that means and how important it is.” She added, “It’s amazing how the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus has evolved over time. I’m proud to have played a role in supporting that growth.”

“ALL IN” “Always sharing her joy, enthusiasm, and humor, Raquel is a tremendous gift to our community. She is frequently the first person to offer support and the last person to head home when the work is done. What people appreciate the most about Raquel and her contributions is that she’s ‘all in’ – she’s fully present and focused on giving her best, and she does this out of love for this place and the people here.”

When my oldest daughter started classes, she was in a classroom in the convent building. When our youngest daughter entered first grade, she was in the new elementary and middle school building. Watching the evolution of the Sisters’ campus has been a wonderful gift.”

– Joe Manning has been principal of Valley Catholic Elementary School since 2012.

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Our children blossomed at Valley Catholic. We had such a good experience and feel such a strong connection to the school and campus. We want other children to have those wonderful opportunities.”

Todd & Audrie Alsdorf

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amily. Community. Giving back. Those words are at the heart of Todd and Audrie Alsdorf ’s experience at – and commitment to – Valley Catholic School. When the Alsdorfs moved to Oregon 20 years ago, they wanted their children to attend Valley Catholic but felt they couldn’t make the financial commitment. Ten years later, Nate Alsdorf enrolled at Valley Catholic as a freshman. Chelsea Alsdorf entered fifth grade at Valley Catholic Elementary School. “We came here because we wanted our kids to be engaged and part of a community,” Todd Alsdorf said. Audrie Alsdorf added, “Both of our children loved the idea of being challenged academically, spiritually and physically.” A graduate of Portland State University with a degree in community health, Nate Alsdorf ’10 is now a teacher’s assistant, helping students with special needs. A business marketing major, Chelsea Alsdorf ’13 will graduate from the University of Portland in 2017. The Alsdorfs saw what Valley Catholic did for their children and, wanting to give back, established the Alsdorf Family Scholarship to provide tuition assistance for qualifying students. “To us, Valley Catholic is an extended family,” said Audrie Alsdorf. “We want to maintain that tradition of giving back – taking care of people who have taken care of us.”

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A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY “Todd and Audrie led with their hearts in establishing the Alsdorf Family Scholarship. They change lives every year through the gift of education for young men and women who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend Valley Catholic – strengthening our campus community by creating a world of opportunity.” – Patricia Blood is executive director of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Foundation.


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ALUMNI NOTES

 Kimberly Hill ’75 and her husband, Roger, celebrated their 30th wedding last winter. Kimberly earned an associate’s degree in accounting and has worked in payroll administration for Rainier Industries, Ltd., in Seattle, Washington, for 21 years. Roger is a Microsoft alum and a software packaging consultant/contractor for a number of organizations in their region. In their spare time, Kimberly and Roger enjoy gardening and motorcycle touring. ‚ Kerstin McInnis ’89 moved back to Portland, Oregon, several years ago. A graduate of Gonzaga University, she worked at Microsoft in Seattle for 17 years before founding her own consulting firm for marketing and events. She now also provides career, transition and life coaching.

 On Feb. 3, 2016, Father Jeff Meeuwsen ’95 came to Valley Catholic School to deliver a homily about hope, gentleness and love at an all-school Mass during Catholic Schools Week. At the end of the Mass, Father Jeff asked everyone in the Valiants Gym to take a seat for final remarks by Valley Catholic School President Bob Weber. Father Jeff believed the remarks would focus on the rest of the school day and other Catholic School Week activities. Instead, he heard the surprise announcement that he would receive the 2016 Valley Catholic Distinguished Alumni Award. The gym erupted with applause. He currently serves as pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Aloha, Oregon.

 Sara Bonino Knapp ’99 married Richard Knapp at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, on

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Nov. 7, 2015. Bridesmaids included her sisters, Laura Bonino ’03 and Carrie Bonino ’04. Several alumna attended the rainy celebration in the Columbia River Gorge. They included Ruby Veniegas ’99, Nicole Mapson Gorman ’99, Shauna Hanson Sauer ’99, Amy Hesselgrave Leal ’00, Michael Hogan ’98 and Harrison Hogan. Sara says she is now “a beaming stepmom to fiveyear-old Aurora and three-yearold Nolan.” The Knapps reside in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Sara continues her career with Target as a senior group manager in supply chain management.

 Boasting four Valley Catholic alumni – Jessyka Dart-Mclean ’01, Shannon Reed ’05, William McAuliffe ’08, and Kathryn McAuliffe ’10 – the McAuliffe siblings celebrated the opening of their Three Mermaids Public House on March 5, 2016. Three of the siblings attended the University of Oregon in Eugene. Jessyka McAuliffe Dart-McLean ’01 graduated in 2007 with a degree in fine arts. Shannon McAuliffe Reed ’05 graduated in 2008 with a degree in political science and history. She went on to


ALUMNI NOTES earn a finance degree from Linfield University in McMinnville, Oregon. Will McAuliffe ’08 graduated in 2012 with a degree in business administration with a concentration in finance. Kathryn McAuliffe ’10 graduated from Santa Clara University in California in 2014 with a degree in psychology and minors in communication and creative writing.

 Matt Lefferts ’04 is now an Emmy winner. He and his colleagues at FuseFX won a 2015 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role for their work on an episode of “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” Matt currently lives in California with his wife, Kristine, and their two children, Collin and Olivia.

Last December, the Class of 2005 celebrated their 10-year reunion at the Rialto Bar and Café in Portland, Oregon. Nearly 50 former classmates and guests attended the event, flying in from New York, South Carolina, Indiana, Wisconsin, California and Washington.

 For the first time in the history of Valley Catholic girls basketball, two former teammates took the court together as collegiate opponents. The matchup took place on Nov. 17, 2015, at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Addie Flemmer ’14, who plays for Corban University in Salem, Oregon, and Bailey McDevitt ’15, who competes for George Fox, played together as Valiants, helping to secure the program’s first state

championship in 2013. When they met this time, George Fox got the win but it didn’t stop both alumni from savoring the experience of once again playing on the same court.

 Two more former Valiants have shared a basketball court for the first time since high school. Jarrett Gray ’14 now plays for Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Kazuma Lane ’15 plays for St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. The teams split their season series, with both teams getting home court wins. Jarrett and Kazuma played as teammates when the Valiants won the 3A state championship in 2014. They now compete as league opponents in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

STAY CONNECTED Share your news: ssmofoundation.org/alumni/stay-connected Follow us: facebook.com/ValleyCatholicAlumni • twitter.com/SSMO_Foundation • instagram.com/VCS_Alumni Questions: alumni@valleycatholic.org

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rom Portland, Oregon, to Bluesfield, Nicaragua, Tucker Chisholm ’16 has changed lives through athletics. A volunteer for Special Olympics in Portland, he traveled to Nicaragua with Courts for Kids to build a multi-use athletic court to provide a safe place for children to play in a small, impoverished community. “There’s a transformative property to sports in people’s lives,” he said. “Courts for Kids is an opportunity to provide something valuable that many people don’t have.” As he graduates from Valley Catholic, he reflects on “things that I take for granted like being able to compete in varsity high school sports. Special Olympics has opened my eyes to not taking that for granted.” Jessi Beyer ’16 plans to study veterinary medicine so it’s not surprising that her volunteer service includes Newberg Veterinary Hospital and Rock Creek Veterinary Hospital. But she may be best known as the founder of the Friends of Jordan Run & Walk. Over three years, that event honored the memory – or ongoing battle – of a child with a lifethreatening disease, raising nearly $15,000 to support their families. “It has been amazing to see the smiles on people’s faces and to feel the love when the whole community comes together,” she said. “Knowing that these families have this fantastic memory of support in their hearts – that’s what makes that event so special.”

Tucker Chisholm & Jessi Beyer ROLE MODEL

A BIG HEART

“Tucker was a role model to all the other students with his upbeat attitude, strong work ethic, and willingness to move out of his comfort zone to engage the locals. My own two sons, who were 8 and 6, went on the trip and Tucker made it a point to include them and engage with them. At one point I pointed to Tucker and told my two boys: ‘That’s the kind of person I want you to be when you are in high school.’”

“Jessi has a big heart and the desire to change people’s lives. This motivated her to organize the Friends of Jordan Run for three consecutive years – not only raising money but bringing happiness to others. Her accomplishments at such a young age are inspiring, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.” – Kayla Gaspardis has been a health and physical education teacher and head girls soccer coach at Valley Catholic since fall 2011.

– Selene Nesland is co-founder of Courts for Kids.

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YOUR BUSY LIFE KEEPS CHANGING So Save These Dates Now

ALUMNI TAILGATE Friday, Sept. 9, 2016

WHOLE IN ONE GOLF TOURNAMENT Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016

Are you ready to catch up with your classmates and favorite teachers? Are you ready to find out what’s new on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus? Alumni, families and friends are invited to our Alumni Tailgate. Tour the dynamic new Valley Catholic Science Building and visit the newly renovated Kelly Auditorium. Enjoy hot, savory food from the grill and ice-cold beverages then head to the grandstands for an exciting 4A football matchup.

JOIN IN

Each year, the “Whole in One” golf tournament brings the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus community together to support the Sisters, Maryville and Valley Catholic. In 2016, our tournament will return to beautiful Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

Allison Waibel Gates ’05 Alumni Relations Manager

Save the date. We’re holding a spot just “fore” you.

VALLEY CATHOLIC GALA Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017

Whether you are graduating this year or graduated a few years ago (or more), one thing will never change. Once a Valiant, always a Valiant!

The Valley Catholic Gala returns to historic Montgomery Park in Portland. Plan now for the event of the year. Don't miss out!

Caroline Fogarty Events Manager


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When Sharon Straus (left) stored food in her garage to help her son with a canned food drive for families in need at Christmas, the Sunshine Pantry was born. When the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon renewed their commitment to fighting hunger during their 125th anniversary, Soup’s On was born. Led in its early years by Sr. Delores Adelman, Soup’s On has raised more than $65,000. Celebrating its fifth anniversary on Oct. 1, 2016, Soup’s On now benefits the Sunshine Pantry, which operates today in a small warehouse in Beaverton, Oregon. For more than 30 years, it has provided food, clothing, household items and toys to thousands of families. Together, Sharon Straus and Sr. Delores Adelman change lives through their compassion, commitment and spirit.

SPIRIT Magazine Spring/Summer 2016  

Everyone has a story to tell. Through words and images, this issue of Spirit magazine shares the stories of some of the people who change li...