Students, special guests turn out for Tualatin High's 20th anniversary

by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Tualatin High students give a standing ovation to the speakers during the school’s 20th birthday celebration on Friday.The Tualatin High School gym was packed Friday afternoon for what appeared to be a pep rally. But the presence of Oregon luminaries such as former University of Oregon President David Frohnmayer and print and broadcast journalist Paul Linnman marked the occasion as something more out of the ordinary: the 20-year anniversary since the school opened. Principal Darin Barnard welcomed five guest speakers, many of whom were present at the school’s opening ceremonies in 1992. Linnman served as master of ceremonies for Friday’s event.

Linnman recalled that when TuHS first opened its doors to students, it housed only ninth, 10th and 11th grades, and that although the school’s population has nearly doubled since that time, the number of teachers on staff had only increased from 78 to 83.

Ten teachers who have been with the school since 1992 were present.

Frohnmayer remarked on how well the campus had stood the test of time. But he focused on the rapid changes of the prior two decades, and how advances in technology proved that today’s students would have to remain flexible.

“There’s more computing power in my iPhone than existed at the University of Oregon 20 years ago,” he said. “You live in a world of transformative adaptation. It’s a time to rededicate yourself to what’s ahead of you.”

He added, “You’ll have between four to six careers, jobs, occupations. The last three or four of those haven’t been invented yet.”

Nancy Moen, program director for student services at the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, commended students for their recent contributions to the community.

“You’ve held over 20 blood drives for the Red Cross, possibly saving 5,500 lives,” she said. “Last year, you raised $3,200 for the March of Dimes fundraiser.”

Both Moen and Linnman urged students to pay attention to their passions in high school.

“Pay attention to what you love now,” Linnman said, explaining that his involvement with the Wilsonville High School newspaper helped spur his career in journalism.

Although philanthropist Arlene Schnitzer was expected to speak, back pain prevented her from attending.

Speaking in her place was Barbara Hall, executive director of the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation.

Hall emphasized to students the Schnitzers’ commitment to keeping arts education at the school in light of budget cuts.

She listed students’ cultural accomplishments in the previous two decades, which included singing at Carnegie Hall, performing in Edinburgh, Scotland, and singing for then-President George W. Bush.

“If your passion is driven by arts, don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t feed that,” Hall went on to say on behalf of Schnitzer.

Hall echoed Moen’s advice that students act now, and left students with a favorite quote of Schnitzer’s: “Life is like a roll of toilet paper — the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. So take advantage of everything.”

Coach Rick Osborn focused on the rapid accomplishments of a relatively young athletic department.

“How can a school that’s been in business 60, 70, 80 years not accomplish as many championships as one that’s only been around for 20?” Osborn said, listing TuHS’s 156 championships, including 16 state championships.

Osborn has coached and taught at Tualatin since it opened.

He reflected on the progress the high school had made since then.

“We can say we’ve made a huge down payment toward that promise of success as we move on toward the next 20 years,” he said.

The ceremony included a performance by the school’s choir, marching band, cheerleaders and dance team.

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