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Homecoming at LOHS: Stories of acceptance

Choices for homecoming princesses and grand marshal show the real meaning of Laker spirit


Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The band got the homecoming parade rolling, bringing out the brass, from left: Adeline Norris, trumpet; Andrew Ness, trombone; Blake Peebles, trombone; Casey Lum, trombone; and Ethan Agritelley, trombone. Three girls. Three Lake Oswego High School students. Three homecoming stories.

Students vote for the homecoming court and the grand marshal of the homecoming parade, and every one of these kids has a story. But three choices reveal an atmosphere of acceptance at LOHS that can’t be found just anywhere:

  • Princess Emme Ek’s brain tumor is in remission, but it’s taken a toll on her, and she has vision, hearing and equilibrium issues;

  • Princess Megan Schiedler is a bright-eyed redhead who has Down syndrome and a smile as big as the sky; and

  • Grand Marshal Katie Brauti survived a head-on collision in November 2013, when she was a passenger in an SUV that collided with a Mercedes. She walked a long road to recovery before she was able to start taking classes again last May.

    Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE  - Katie Brauti was injured in an accident last year and ended up in a coma with a broken leg, but she was whole and healthy this fall as grand marshal of the LOHS homecoming parade with Lake Oswego police Officer Keith Wilson at her side. He was the first one on the scene of the crash a year ago.The three girls joined several other princesses, the band, dancers, fall athletics teams, leadership students and thespians in the homecoming parade that made its way down A Avenue last Friday. The princesses also were honored during halftime at the Lakers’ football game Friday night.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Three LOHS senior princesses enjoy their parade ride, from left: C.C. Brown, Ann Hill and Jenny Chandler.Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CHRIS BUHLMANN - LOHS Principal Cindy Schubert performed the coronation ceremony for homecoming queen C.C. Brown.

    In elegant dresses, the young women gathered on the field, stood in the damp grass under bright, hot lights and waited to hear whether they’d wear the queen’s crown. C.C. Brown, wearing a black sheath and a glittering bracelet, was chosen as this year’s queen.

    But Ek, Schiedler and Brauti had already received the acceptance and warm welcome they needed from their fellow Lakers.

    Emme Ek

    A doctor discovered Ek had a tumor on her brain stem when she was just 9. Now 15, she’s in remission and could be found last Friday riding in the homecoming parade as a princess. A floral wreath lay atop the head of every princess, including Ek, who beamed at spectators.

    “It’s fun; I liked wearing the crown on my head and everyone cheering,” the freshman said.

    Ek had to overcome a lot to be there. She’s had brain surgery three times, 31 radiation visits and six rounds of chemotherapy. Ek is blind in one eye and has lost much of her hearing, and she’s got equilibrium issues and weakness on her right side. But she’s taught herself to be left-handed, and her wheelchair gets her where she needs to be — unless she happens to be in a parade, in which case a convertible will do.

    Ek also suffers from memory loss and chronic fatigue.

    “She’s a trooper; she has a lot of challenges physically and mentally, but she just goes straight ahead,” said her mother, Nicole Ek.

    Photo Credit: SUBMITTED FILE PHOTO: MICHAEL SCHOENHOLTZ  - Emme Ek poses with her mom, Nicole Ek.

    Katie Brauti

    A young lady snug in a black jacket led the homecoming parade through the Oregon rain last week. The high school senior’s arm encircled the bicep of Lake Oswego Police Officer Keith Wilson. Wilson was the first responder on the scene of the crash, almost a year ago, that broker heg and put her in a coma. Brauti was treated at Oregon Health & Science University for a month before being released.

    On Sept. 24, she celebrated her 18th birthday. Her mom, Trina Brauti, posted the news on Facebook for the 2,086 followers of the Katie Brauti Updates page. The page was formed after the crash to keep people up to date on the young girl’s progress.

    “We are so thankful to have her with us and so blessed and proud of her determination, wit and fight to fully recover from this,” said the post by Trina Brauti.

    Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO: MICHAEL SCHIEDLER - Megan Schiedler completed Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in June 2013. Her brothers, from left, Mark and John Schiedler, celebrate her achievement.

    Megan Schiedler

    Megan, a sophomore at LOHS, made headlines when she finished Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in June 2013. She is the first child with Down syndrome to complete a Catholic grade school in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon — an area encompassing the western portion of the state from the top of the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean.

    Her mother, Paula Schiedler, is the co-founder of Down Syndrome Network Oregon and also the one who created one of the most beautiful moments of the homecoming parade. She raced along the parade route to watch her daughter, chasing the convertible carrying her child and saying “Look at her, look at her,” with a smile as wide as her daughter’s.

    It’s true. Everyone has a story. But Emme Ek’s, Katie Brauti’s and Megan Schiedler’s stories are made even more special by the students who loved them enough to feature them in a parade.

    Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYTEAKE - LOHS football players and seniors John Olsen (back) and Daniel Dennis (front) enjoy a scooter ride during the parade.

    Parade highlights

    Kathleen Freitag was among the many spectators packing A Avenue to check out the parade, but her company was a little furrier than most people’s. Her dog, Ducati, stood by her side dressed in a red rain coat. He got his name because Freitag’s husband wanted a motorcycle for his 40th birthday, a Ducati; instead, she gave him a dog — a safer and cuter investment, she said. She was attending the parade to see her son Jackson, a freshman on the football team and a member of the band.

    “He’s a little nervous,” she said while waiting and peering toward the music she could hear up the road.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Callie Shaw, senior captain of the Laker Dancers, shows school spirit.

    Then came the parade, complete with perfectly timed dancers, cheerleaders full of spirit, the band playing tunes for all to march by, a semi with its flatbed loaded with football players, the superintendent waving from a speedboat being towed along the route, a fire engine bearing Associated Student Body members, students involved in the production of “Footloose” and tons of other groups.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - One Associated Student Body member is Mario from Super Mario Bros.: Alex Shakerin.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - A volleyball player gets a shout out during the homecoming parade.

    Afterwards, soccer players Carlie Leach and Ally Hock said they were thrilled with the experience.

    “Lake Oswego is a great school to be a part of, and to represent the school is a great thing,” Leach said. “I’m really moved to be a part of this school.”Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Associated Student Body kids roll with the parade, from left: Harris Brown and Cole Schillinger.

    Hock loved watching the watchers who lined the road, especially the young kids.

    “They’re standing where you were last year,” said Hock, a freshman.

    Sophomore princess Lauren Gilbert also loved the support and said she just plain loves her school.

    “Our school has such a good atmosphere; it feels like there’s a lot of love,” she said.

    Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Associated Student Body members wave to the crowd from a Lake Oswego Fire Department engine.


    By Jillian Daley
    Reporter
    503-636-1281, ext. 109
    email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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