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A heart for volunteerism, a passion for education

Third princess Katelyn Ellis is the granddaughter of one of the festivals cofounders and an aspiring college administrator


by: STAFF PHOTO BY LISA K. ANDERSON - Katelyn Ellis was the 2012 recipient of the Bob Tufts Rising Star Award in recognition of her significant service contributions as an Oregon Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officer member with fewer than five years of experience.She remembers well the day she discovered the rock in Meinig Park.

Katelyn Ellis knew her family had always been involved with the festival, but not that her matriarch had been instrumental in getting it off the ground.

On the rock was a dedication to her grandmother, Lynn Ellis, who cofounded Sandy Mountain Festival.

Ellis' grandmother had died before she was born, but she was heartened to see the dedication. It reaffirmed her involvement in the festival, which began when she was a little girl.

"It's ingrained in us," Ellis says. "It's what we do."

Ellis, who turns 26 this week, is the third Sandy Mountain Festival princess for 2012-13 and was delightfully surprised to hear the news.

"In my family, you volunteer and don't expect anything in return," Ellis says, with a smile. "That's the whole point of volunteering. I was really surprised."

Ellis has played many roles in the festival, from counting out tickets to jurying shows, and staking the park to working on the fall Spook Trail the festival used to hold.

"She's always done stuff behind the scenes," says Ellis' maternal aunt, Shannon Montgomery, a former festival princess. "I was thrilled to hear she was on the court. My mother had two granddaughters, and Katelyn is the only one who lives in the area. "She's always believed there's so much in life to learn. She's very outgoing, has a great sense of humor and is quite a high achiever."

Ellis grew up in Sandy, attending Sandy Grade School, Cedar Ridge Middle School and Sandy High School. She exited Sandy High early to attend Mt. Hood Community College and eventually transferred to Portland State University to earn her bachelor's degree in psychology and mathematics.

Ellis jokes that she's been in college forever - today she's one class away from completing her master's degree in educational policy at Portland State.

Indeed, education is Ellis' passion.

She began working at Mt. Hood Community College as a work study file clerk and worked her way through reception and secretarial positions before entering her current position as an admissions adviser and transcript evaluator. Ultimately, she dreams of working as a college administrator.

"She's destined for big things," says coworker Erin Sause. "I adore her - she's fun, kind-hearted and willing to bend over backward to help students, co-workers, family and friends. She would do anything for anybody."

Another coworker, Christy Weigle, noted how Ellis offered to provide childcare for her so Weigle could get homework done.

"She's focused on how to help students succeed," Weigle says. She's a very fun and caring person with a very good support system behind her."

Ellis' mom and aunt both work at the college, too, and she refers to her family members as a lineage of strong women.

Becoming a festival princess is the icing on top of the cake for Ellis this year. Besides finishing her master's degree this year, she will marry her sweetheart, Brian Goslin, in September and the two were about to close on a house in Gresham at press time.

"She's kicking butt at everything," Sause says. "Sometimes I joke with her and say, ‘How do you fit one more thing in your schedule?'"

But Ellis keeps a humble attitude, saying her proudest accomplishment is learning it doesn't matter where you start from, it's about where you finish.

Her family is delighted to share in this celebratory year with Ellis.

"I'm very happy my mom's legacy has continued," her aunt Shannon Montgomery says. "The festival was part of her heart and soul when she was alive. We have been involved since the beginning, and we're still involved 40 years later."