CHS project earns top Scout Award

by: ELLEN SPITALERI Thanks to Kaylee Chavez, the

For more than 20 years the prop room at Clackamas High School has been a nightmare, but then Kaylee Chavez came along to do something about it.

When drama teacher Susan Scovil saw the newly organized room, she was 'beyond words' with joy, Chavez said.

The 18-year-old recent CHS graduate has been a Girl Scout for 11 years, and she needed to fulfill the leadership requirement in order to earn her Gold Award, which is analogous to the Boy Scout Eagle Scout award.

As Thespian president at the high school, Chavez looked around for a special project to do to prove that she could lead people. That is when she hit on the idea to organize the prop room.

'Over her four years at Clackamas High School, she was in the casts of three musicals and eight plays, so she knows how bad the prop room was,' noted her mother, Lynda Chavez.

'It's been a problem for years; I've been on stage crew and it's impossible to find things. So I decided to overhaul it, take everything out and keep track of it going back in,' she said.

Chavez organized a crew of 15 volunteers and over the course of more than three days, they set to work.

'When we got it all out, I said to myself, 'What was I thinking?' But I realized we had to go ahead and do it,' she said.

Chavez set up a system of numbered bins and put together a notebook so that when a prop comes out of the bin, it is listed by bin number. Then when the play is over and the set is being taken down, all the props go into one bin backstage, and it will be one person's job to restore the props to the proper bin.

'This system will sustain itself for years to come; things will be a lot easier. In the past, if we couldn't find a prop, we'd go out and buy it, and now the department will save a lot of money,' she said.

Project goals

Chavez has been preparing to earn the Gold Award for three years and has completed a number of steps along the way. She had to do a 'lot of reflection,' and answer seven essay questions the project.

'I learned I can persevere and I learned I had leadership skills I didn't know I had,' she said.

Her last step will involve a PowerPoint presentation in front of a board, listing all her activities to qualify for the Gold Award.

Her future plans include enrolling at Portland State University this fall and eventually transferring to Willamette University to earn a degree in psychology.

Over the years as a Girl Scout, Chavez has been helping in the community by working with the Red Cross, Oregon Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, the Portland Marathon and mentoring younger girls, while earning Bronze and Silver Awards. She also is a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, a dancer, artistic roller skater, violinist and four-year varsity lettermen in choir, singing alto in the CHS Cavalaires and Clackamas A-Choir, noted her mother.

What she likes best about Girls Scouts, Kaylee Chavez said, is the friendships formed.

She added, 'There are three other girls and we have been friends this whole time. We have formed this bond I can't really describe; it's a relationship and closeness to people.'