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A walk through the Park

Park Academy's six 2016 graduates celebrate their achievements

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Park Academy's six graduates are (from left): Manny Davis, Gabby Downey, Jacob Kraus, Iris Ortiz, Edward Bedor and Kaleb Lewis.Six students graduated from Lake Oswego’s Park Academy this June.

First established with a handful of students in rented space at Marylhurst University in 2005, the nonprofit private school relocated to its current site on South Shore Boulevard in 2014 and now houses 63 students, grades 3-12. Its curriculum is designed for students with dyslexia and other language learning challenges.

Some of this year’s graduates have been with the school for as long as seven years, while others are brand new. But all have grown in the time they’ve been at Park Academy, says Jenna Kisor, Park Academy development and events coordinator.

“A lot of these kids have been kind of a key part of our family for a long time, so they’ll definitely be missed, but we’re really proud to see how far they’ve come since they’ve come to Park,” Kisor says.

She says it’s a bittersweet time.

“A lot of them have exciting plans, and it’s cool to see and wonder where they are going to go because they all have so much potential, so it’s exciting,” Kisor says.

Here’s what the students have planned, and the accomplishments that they say make them the proudest:

Edward Bedor

Future plans: Bedor is planning to attend Portland Community College or Clackamas Community College.

Planned area of study: He is interested in studying filmmaking, writing and directing, and he may study acting as well.

Academic accomplishments: Bedor is proud of his accomplishments in theater. He was an extra in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in the seventh grade. This year, he landed one of the main roles in “The Lion King” as Mufasa. He enjoyed collaborating with others on the play. He is also proud of his work in history, a subject that has always interested him, and says he’s proud of all of the things he’s learned.

Music/theater: He starred as Mufasa in “The Lion King” this year.

Manny Davis

Future plans: Davis is considering joining the Marines or the National Guard, or attending Clackamas Community College in the fall.

Planned area of study: If he attends college, he’s thinking of studying marketing and sales, or maybe journalism.

Academic accomplishments: Davis is proud of the grades he’s maintained and the confidence he’s developed. He’s also proud of what he’s learned about technology.

Extracurriculars: He has volunteered for activities and events at Park Academy.

Music/theater: He previously was in the drumming class at Park Academy and was also in the school’s production of “Grease.”

Gabby Downey

Future plans: Downey is going to Paris to attend Paris-Sorbonne University. She will work as a nanny for a family friend.

Planned area of study: Early childhood education, and maybe some art and dance classes.

Academic accomplishments: Downey is proud of her accomplishments in theater. She has always struggled with stage fright, but says she has come a long way in being able to perform in front of other people. She’s also proud of how far she’s progressed in math at Park Academy. She didn’t think she would be able to catch up, but she is proud to have completed algebra by graduation.

Extracurriculars: Downey previously participated in gymnastics and track.

Music/theater: She likes to sing. Downey was in Park Academy’s productions of “Grease,” playing the role of Sandy, and “The Lion King,” playing one of the hyenas. She has also dabbled in piano, guitar and violin.

Jacob Kraus

Future plans: Kraus will attend Portland Community College in the fall.

Planned area of study: Considering building/welding or filmmaking

Academic accomplishments: Kraus is proud of the improvement in his grades and the friends he’s made at Park Academy.

Extracurriculars: Kraus has volunteered at local organizations, such as pulling ivy at Tryon Creek State Natural Area and helping build fences for Fences for Fido.

Music/theater: Kraus plays drums and bass guitar, and he was in the drumming class at Park Academy.

Kaleb Lewis

Future plans: Lewis will be going to Clackamas Community College in the fall and would like to transfer to an out-of-state college in the future.

Planned area of study: Independent video game design

Academic accomplishments: Lewis is proud to have been the yearbook editor for the last two years, playing the lead role of Simba in this year’s production of “The Lion King” and being the class valedictorian.

Extracurriculars: Yearbook

Music/theater: Lewis sings and is currently learning to play the piano. He was in Park Academy’s production of “Grease” and was Simba in “The Lion King.”

Iris Ortiz

Future plans: Ortiz is going to attend Portland Community College, with plans to transfer to Portland State University.

Planned area of study: Veterinary care

Academic accomplishments: Meeting Park Academy Head of School Paula Kinney has really inspired Ortiz. She feels a deep connection with Kinney and is glad to have met her. She is proud of her academic improvement since coming to Park Academy. Ortiz also really enjoys theater, and is proud of her growth in performing.

Music/theater: Ortiz previously has played drums and sang, and she also starred as Rizzo in “Grease.”

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
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