That pioneer spirit


Sandy High welcomes countless community members for grand opening

by: LISA K. ANDERSON - This main hallway, the gateway to administrative offices, the career center and theater, filled with thousands of kids, families, seniors, students, educators and dignitaries during Friday's event.From the pigtailed little girls in their pioneers cheerleading outfits to the group of a dozen white-haired seniors, pioneer spirit reigned at Sandy High School’s grand opening.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Jean Rolli, 80, a lifelong Boring resident and Sandy Mountain Festival queen. “I’d just love to be young enough to be starting my freshman year at this wonderful high school. It’s a dream come true for so many people.”

Thousands of students, parents, teachers, civic leaders, community members and future pioneers filtered through the new school during a grand opening that included afternoon tours and a 6 p.m. formal dedication with special guest Gov. John Kitzhaber.

“It’s about time,” said Beau Stephenson, a 2000 Sandy High grad and father of future Pioneers Alysse, Evangeline, Alvin and Ian. “I’m excited and happy to pay for it.”

Bethany Amstad, an 11-year-old Boring Middle School student and third-generation Sandyite, dressed up in black and red with her mom, Wendy, to celebrate the evening.

Grace Rich, a 1936 Sandy High grad, was thrilled to see where the next generation of students will call home.

The tours of the 310,000-square-foot building drew “oohs and aahs,” with many attendees stating how proud they were of the community for building the LISA K. ANDERSON - Community members rise for the national anthem during the formal dedication of Sandy High School Friday.

“When we invest in education, we invest in our future,” Principal Tim Werner said, drawing an eruption of cheers in the gymnasium. “And the future of Oregon Trail School District is bright.”

Each speaker reiterated what a community effort the school was, and school board Chairman Norm Trost asked the audience to give itself one “heck of a round of applause” for its efforts.

Superintendent Aaron Bayer said every time he walks through the halls of Oregon Trail schools and sees the kids, it reinvigorates him and brings him back to his initial passion for education.

“I couldn’t have asked to be in a better place at a better time than right here in the Oregon Trail School District,” Bayer said. “Our charge is to ensure every teacher and staff member comes back each year with the same passion that brought them here.”

“More than a school, superintendent or school board, this is about you and your commitment and courage to step up and making something impressive happen,” Bayer said.

by: LISA K. ANDERSON - Nancy Enabnit, executive director of the Sandy Senior center, introduces Gov. John Kitzhaber to a 1936 Sandy High graduate, Grace Wewer RIch.Kitzhaber welcomed Pioneers back to Sandy High School, telling them they were among 650,000 other elementary, secondary and post-secondary students in Oregon — the next entrepreneurs, innovators, farmers, ranchers, business people, health-care providers and maybe a governor or two.

Student body president Kennedy Salveter addressed younger members of the community, humorously detailing the adjustments from elementary school to high school and highlighting the new opportunities the school brings.

“Just remember when you go home tonight, thank your parents for making it all possible,” Salveter said.

Also in attendance was former superintendent Shelley Redinger, who was leading the school district when the $114.9 million bond that built the school was passed in 2008.

“I’m speechless,” Redinger said. “It’s very exciting to see the big dreams come true for the community. There’s the saying, ‘Reach for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.’ I feel like this community reached for the moon and got the moon.”

“This isn’t about construction or architecture,” John Weekes of DOWA architects added. “This is really about a community that came together.”