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Education Hero: Chris Barhyte

LO man makes a difference at Lakeridge High and Westridge Elementary


Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Chris Barhyte is a community leader who is heading the fundraising campaign for the Lakeridge stadium project.Chris Barhyte will tell you that it took a lot of people to create Westridge Elementary School’s new playground, and that “everyone has to help” in the fundraising effort to improve the stadium at Lakeridge High. But there’s no denying the role Barhyte has played in making sure both of those projects are successful.

As the Westridge Parent-Teacher-Student Organization president, Barhyte was among the leaders who worked to raise about $335,000 for the playground, gaining support from the community, city and school district. Now, his kids are in sixth and eighth grades at Lakeridge Junior High, where his wife is a parent club board member, and he is running the Lakeridge High School stadium fundraising project.

“I can’t do it all myself,” he says. “You just need someone to help and push everyone in the right direction.”

That “push” appears to be working. The Lake Oswego School Board recently approved the use of donated funds to install a fence and create an entryway after learning that community supporters had raised $90,000 to pay for the improvements. The project is scheduled to be finished on Sept. 19.

Without those donations, the improvements would have been included in the district’s bill for the stadium project, which will add additional seating to accommodate 600 people, a cover over 1,000 seats and a new press box. The project’s $2.4 million price tag sparked public outcry, leading to the creation of a group to brainstorm cost-cutting measures and the founding of a fundraising group that was asked to raise $500,000.

Enter Barhyte, who has been involved in a host of fundraising efforts.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Before working on the Lakeridge stadium project fundraising campaign, Chris Barhyte also helped make the Westridge Elementary School playground project a success.

Barhyte, Westridge PTSO Co-president Analeis Weidlich and a team of parents polished off the school’s playground project just last year. The Westridge PTSO also is responsible for the new reader board at the school, which replaced a wooden sign.

“It’s just having great leaders in the school that can help at every level,” Barhyte said.

The PTSO also made it possible for every Westridge teacher to have an iPad for creating lesson plans and iPad cards for third, fourth and fifth graders. Barhyte said he just wants to improve things. His philosophy: “Try to enter a system and leave it a better place.”

He’s got the background to draw from when it comes to making changes. Before arriving in Lake Oswego in 2011, Barhyte served on the Tualatin City Council for nine years and sat in the council president’s seat. So, he knows how government finance functions. He also knows how to manage an organization. He helps run his Tualatin-based family business, Barhyte Specialty Foods, which makes items such as mustards, marinades and wings sauce.

Barhyte knows his experience spurred the invitation to run the stadium fundraiser, but he insists that he’s not the only one who helps make good things happen at local schools.

“It’s not just me: It’s everybody who is at the school and any school,” he said. “If you organize as a group, you can accomplish amazing things.”

To nominate an Education Hero, contact Jillian Daley at 503-636-1281 ext. 109 or jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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