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School briefs for June 15

Schools

West Gresham gets new principal July 1

The Gresham-Barlow School District has hired Todd Graves to serve as principal of West Gresham Elementary School, 330 W. Powell Blvd., effective July 1.

Graves is principal of Simpson Elementary School and the Montesano Learning Academy, both of which are located in Montesano, Wash. In addition to his administrative work, he also spent four years as a professional development specialist in the Evergreen School District.

'Todd Graves has a wealth of experience working with teachers and support staff to cultivate their skills,' Superintendent Jim Schlachter said. 'He has strong leadership abilities and the capacity to take a school to the next level. We are excited to have him lead the staff at West Gresham Elementary.'

Prior to joining the administrative ranks, Graves spent six years as a classroom teacher in fifth and second grades.

Graves replaces Karina Bruzzese, who also serves as director of the school district's English Language Learner Program. She will continue in that position.

Local students receive $1,000 scholarships

The Comcast Foundation, founded in 1999 to provide charitable support to its local communities and to empower and enrich lives, has announced the 2011 recipients of its annual Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program.

Phuong Le of Centennial High School, Faith Stetzler of Gresham High and Allen Yoshinaga of Centennial High were among the 65 Oregon and Washington students to receive scholarships.

The students were honored at a ceremony at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland earlier this month, with Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey and former Portland Trail Blazer Terry Porter.

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program provides one-time $1,000 scholarships to students who strive to achieve their potential; who are catalysts for positive change in their communities; who are involved in their schools; and who serve as models for their fellow students.

'We're happy and proud to support more students this year who have set an outstanding example for their peers and community alike by excelling in academics, leadership and community service,' says Hank Fore, senior regional vice president of Comcast's Oregon and Southwest Washington region.

More than 1,800 students were honored this year nationwide. Since the program's inception there have been more than 15,000 scholarship winners, totaling more than $15.4 million awarded.

Pre-school registering for fall

Tree of Knowledge Christian Preschool, 24457 S.E. Stark St., is registering students ages 3-5 for the 2011-12 school year.

'Our classes focus on encouraging hearts to serve Jesus, empowering children to discover meaningful life skills, to learn the value of playing and making friends and exploring math and literacy,' the school says.

The school offers weekly chapel and music and bi-monthly hands-on science lessons. It also offers two musical programs during the year, one in the winter and one in the spring.

Other events include Donuts with Daddy, Muffins with Mom, holiday parties and a year-end celebration.

School hours are 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from September through May.

For more information, or to schedule a visit, call 503-666-6654, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit treeofknowledgepreschool.com.

PHAME Academy presents 'Grease'

Pacific Honored Artists, Musicians and Entertainers, or PHAME Academy, has gathered an inspiring cast of 47 adult artists with developmental disabilities to present the school version of the musical 'Grease' at Mt. Hood Community College, 26000 S.E. Stark St., at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 18, and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 19.

Tickets range in price from $13 to $27 and are on sale at store.phameacademy.org.

The production is fully staged and costumed, with a small professional pit band.

PHAME is the Portland region's fine and performing arts academy for adults with developmental disabilities. PHAME Academy supports the development of skills and self-esteem in such adults through education and participation in the fine and performing arts.

For more information, call 503-764-9718 or visit phameacademy.org/blog.

District to offer summer food program

The Centennial School District will offer its summer food service program at the following schools Monday through Friday.

• Lynch View Elementary School, 1546 S.E. 169th Place, from noon to 1 p.m.

• Lynch Wood Elementary, 3615 S.E. 174th Ave., from noon to 12:30 p.m.

• Parklane Elementary, 15811 S.E. Main St., from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

• Centennial Middle School, 17650 Brooklyn St., from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Students attending the summer lunch program will also get to choose books several times through a special book exchange program. Students will get to select a book and trade it in another week for a different free book.

The summer lunch program is for children from birth to age 18 starting Monday, June 20, and running until the week before school starts in September. For more information, call the district at 503-760-7990.

Pederson earns Oil Can Henry's scholarship

In its second year, the Oil Can Henry's Scholarship program awarded 88 $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school students in the communities it serves in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Travis Pederson from Gresham High School won the scholarship that was awarded by the Oil Can Henry's center in Gresham, 750 N.W. Eastman Parkway.

'My staff knows that education is important to me and the company so they told everyone they could about the opportunity,' said Charlie Schwab, owner of the Gresham center. 'We are very happy to do what we can to help our neighborhood kids.'

Scholarship winners were selected on the basis of academic record, leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience and an essay submission. The 300-word essays focused on the topic 'what trust means to me.'

Online academy to host session

Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), the state's largest virtual public school, will host a free information session at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 20, in the Four Points Sheraton Portland East, 1919 N.E. 181st Ave., for families interested in learning about its online program and individualized approach to education.

The academy provides home-based public education to students in kindergarten through 12th grade who reside anywhere in the state.

The Fain family in Gresham praises ORCA.

'My children's education is personalized to meet their needs at Oregon Connections Academy,' said Jacqueline Fain, learning coach and mother. She has four children enrolled in the school, ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade. 'They can work at a pace that is right for them. Coupled with the high-quality curriculum and helpful teachers, it has been a great choice for our family.'

At the information session, families can meet with a Connections Academy representative and other parents, explore the school's program and curriculum and learn about the enrollment process.

For those unable to attend, real-time virtual sessions with a school representative are available, and you can find out more by going to ConnectionsAcademy.com.