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A Westside story

Westside Christian High School is moving and blooming


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Westside Christian High School students prepared more than 11,000 candy-filled eggs and donated them to an Easter egg hunt for low-income families.Westside Christian High School almost has enough funding locked in to build its future Tigard site.

Yet, the Lake Oswego private school’s move to that city across Interstate-5 hasn’t stopped its students from actively giving back to their community. Here are some examples:

Growing

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust issued a $250,000 challenge grant to Westside earlier this month to build two science labs at the school’s future site. Once the school can demonstrate it has the proper funds, M.J. Murdock will send the check.

Westside bought the City Bible Church building last month near Highway 217 along Highway 99-W. The 32-year-old high school currently at 4565 Carman Drive plans to be ensconced at its new locale this fall. Westside will renovate the existing church building and also will add a library, a gym and fitness and technology centers for phase one of the project, a $12.2 million endeavor, said Deb Givens, Westside marketing director.

The school is $300,000 shy of the total for phase one, receiving support from grants, donations and financing. The second phase of the project is several years out and would include a performing arts auditorium, Givens said.

“The move to a new school site has been our dream for years,” Westside president Andy Sears said. 

Giving

Seven of Westside’s advanced art students auctioned off one of their masterpieces during the Door to Grace fundraiser earlier this month at the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn. Door to Grace, a nonprofit, aims to be a door to freedom, sheltering girls who wish to escape the sex industry.

Westside senior Hannah Johnstone said her watercolor, “Through the Glasses of Grace,” “symbolizes the unseen darkness and brokenness in Portland.”

The art was sold during a silent auction.

“This project really reflects who we are as a school,” said Chelsea Witkowski, Westside’s visual arts instructor. “We are intentional about demonstrating to our students how important it is to use their gifts and talents to serve and give back to the community.”

Westside serves many other area nonprofit groups, including BridgeTown Inc., which aids low-income families. The school’s student body helped donate 11,000 plastic eggs filled with candy for four Easter egg hunts for low-income families in North Portland. More than 20 students also will manage BridgeTown’s Easter egg hunt this Saturday in North Portland.

“It is encouraging to be part of a community that gives to others so extravagantly,” said JP Watson, student leadership teacher.

Achieving

If it weren’t enough that Westside was giving and growing so much, its singers once again could be adorned with laurels.

Westside’s choir is known for its beautiful tones, sweeping the Oregon School Activities Association 3A Choir State Championships for six years in a row. The choir again has qualified for the state contest this May.

Westside is a small school with great parental support, which is part of what makes students so successful and so giving, Givens said.

“What makes it so special is that sense of community is so strong,” she said. “The heart of the school is that we are teaching students to be servant leaders.”



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