U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer will serve as grand marshal of Centennial's Sept. 27 homecoming

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CENTENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL - U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer's senior yearbook from 1966 references a variety of his Centennial High School activities, including speech, theater and Boys State.

During his time at Centennial High School, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, remembers playing Merlin the Magician in “Camelot,” participating in Gresham Rotary meetings as a junior representative and being “the world’s worst wrestler.”

“For me, it was a time of great exploration,” said Blumenauer, a 1966 Centennial graduate.

His senior year, Blumenauer was named outstanding student in speech, along with holding several leadership positions for student groups, attending Boys State and earning recognition as a National Merit Finalist.

On Friday, Sept. 27, Blumenauer will return to his stomping grounds to serve as the grand marshal for Centennial’s homecoming parade. And student leaders have created the Congressman Blumenauer Scholarship in his honor.

“It’s not something I would have imagined in my youth,” Blumenauer said of his designation as grand marshal and having a scholarship named for him. “Gresham used to be this sleepy town. It’s fascinating to see the changes that have taken place. This is a great opportunity to go back. The school is just tremendously diverse and interesting.”

For years, Centennial’s student body has selected a grand marshal for its homecoming — usually retired teachers or administrators, an active community member or someone who has shown tremendous support for the school.

This is the first year a congressman will reign over the festivities.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Kelsey Scully and Jacque Nelson, Centennial seniors and student body officers, have helped plan a large homecoming parade with students K-12 and Blumenauer as grand marshal.

“We wanted the parade this year to be a big deal to show students and the community that student council is changing this year — we want things to be bigger and more serious,” said Jacque Nelson, student body president.

“I think it’s cool to have someone who has accomplished so much to prove to kids that as long as you work hard wherever you are, with whatever circumstances you’re given, your possibilities are endless.”

Any senior with a 2.5 and higher GPA, leadership experience and the desire to attend a four-year university is encouraged to apply by spring 2014 for the Congressman Blumenauer Scholarship for $1,000.

Applications will go out the second semester, with a deadline in March yet to be determined. The winner will be announced in the spring.

The scholarship will be funded through student body events throughout the year, with support from the education foundation.

This year’s parade will begin in the Lynchwood parking lot, snake through the neighborhood and back to the school, including elementary and middle school students, too. Community services also will be highlighted throughout homecoming.

Two years ago, Nelson and Kelsey Scully, student body secretary, saw Blumenauer in action in Washington, D.C., during a summer program. He offered the two bicycle pins.

A graduate of Lewis & Clark College and Law School, Blumenauer got his start in Portland-area politics. He was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1972, Portland City Council in 1986, and the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996. In Congress, he is known for his mass transit and bicycling advocacy.

“It’s exciting and new to have someone a lot of parents know about who graduated from our school,” said Scully, a senior. “Imagine someone walking through these halls at our age and then going to Washington, D.C., to work on these big issues.”

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CENTENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL - His senior year, Blumenauer was named outstanding speech student at Centennial.

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