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Four Cleveland seniors awarded alumni scholarships

by: Rita A. Leonard, CHS Principal Paul Cook, left, and retired CHS Counsellor Dick White, at right, congratulate CCHSAA Scholarship winners Robert Wilcke, Sherry Cole, and Hannah Sanford. Not pictured is senior winner Justin Ralls.

Four Cleveland High School seniors were each awarded $2,000 scholarships at an Awards Banquet on May 25th, presented by the Commerce/Cleveland High School Alumni Association. This organization, made up of Commerce and CHS alumni, was founded in 1996; members meet during the year to socialize and raise funds for annual scholarships.

This year's winners were: Robert Wilcke, Business; Hannah Sanford, Communications; Justin Ralls, Performing Arts; and Sherry Cole, Ironman.

The original 'Ironmen' were the 11 football players who played both offense and defense during a legendary football game against Grant High in 1939. Many then left to join the armed services, following the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.

Walt Cooney, one of the original 'Ironmen', and Don Mitchell, brother of Ironman Bob Mitchell, worried that 'Commerce High' might be forgotten, due to its later change of name, and hit upon the idea of a memorial scholarship. Don donated $5,000 seed money; other alumni contributed funds, and the committee now presents four scholarships annually to graduating seniors. The Commerce/Cleveland High School Scholarships assure that the name will be remembered in perpetuity.

Cleveland High School opened in 1915 as 'Commercial High'. It went through several name and address changes, and from 1926-1948 was called the Clinton Kelly High School of Commerce. In 1948, the school name became Grover Cleveland High School, as it is today, at 3400 S.E. 26th Avenue.

The May 25 Awards Banquet drew nearly 150 guests to the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas. Co-chairs Julie Branford and Jean Miller greeted guests, displayed historical materials, and provided alumni information. Eastmoreland alumna Rose Chapman helped organize a fundraising raffle. 'We had 20 theme baskets filled with such donated items as wine, fruit, nuts, golf balls, cutting boards, restaurant and shopping certificates, and coupons for haircuts,' said Chapman. 'Many Woodstock merchants donated products and gift certificates, and we earned about $750 for the Scholarship Committee.'

Chapman's mother, and two of her daughters, attended CHS; and her granddaughter, Cleo, is looking forward to the Cleveland experience as well. 'We're trying to interest more graduates into joining the Alumni Scholarship Committee,' says Rose. 'Many of our older alumni are fading away, and we need to encourage more recent graduates to join our ranks.'

CHS Principal Paul Cook and retired staff Dick White and Jan Watt accompanied the scholarship winners to the event. Senior Justin Ralls was unable to attend due to illness. Cook expressed his pride in CHS and the students. 'We expect a student enrollment of 1,500 next year, and there's already a waiting list,' he said.

'We're adding more course options in Science, Math, P.E., and business, and were rated a 'strong' school by PPS,' Cook continued. 'We celebrated about 200 high-ranking Student/Athletes this year. The annual Cleveland Auction raised $125,000, which will go directly to student support. Our Choir ranks first in the City this year, and is also a co-State champion. Our science instructor Robert Schlicting, was Oregon's Teacher of the Year. We're grateful that our alumni continue to support us on such projects as the Cleveland Community Field Project. Thank you all.'

The event climaxed with Dick White announcing the four scholarship winners. Alumni President David Voll discussed alumni matters, and introduced incoming President Odis

Avritt. Attending alumni were recognized from classes all the way back to the 1920s, and awards and raffle baskets were presented. Everyone was invited to the 'All School Picnic' to be held July 13 at Oaks Park, and guests slipped away happily, chatting over future plans and past reminiscences.