by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Left to right are Annie Burn, Destination Imagination team adviser, LOLiPOP team members Andrea Reeves, Avery Burn and Genae Vanek and adviser Kora Vanek.Cascade Heights Public Charter School in Clackamas is celebrating its recent Destination Imagination win and is planning to honor its first group of alumni to graduate from high school. Also on tap is an ambitious summer program, announced the school’s administrator.

Destination Imagination

First up: the school’s Destination Imagination team, fifth-graders Andrea Reeves, Avery Burn and Genae Vanek, returned home from the Global Finals competition in Knoxville, Tenn., with a first-place and a fourth-place award. They competed against 55 other teams, including 15 from other countries.

“We are very proud of them,” said Holly Denman, CHPCS director.

In a nutshell, Destination Imagination is an international creative problem-solving program for students in second grade through the university level, said Annie Burn, who mentored the team, along with Kora Vanek. The two women accompanied the team to Knoxville, but were never allowed to help the girls with any task or presentation.

Teams are presented with challenges in five different categories: technology, engineering, art and language, community service and improv, Burn said.

The Cascade Heights team, called LOLiPOP, for Love of Learning Peer Outreach Project, won first place at regionals and at the state competition in April in the community service/elementary school category. They placed fourth in that category at the global level in Knoxville, with a presentation about gathering donated books for preschool children.

But it was in the Instant Challenge category that the LOLiPOP team came on strong, placing first, Burn said.

In this challenge, the girls were given a piece of newspaper, two pieces of copy paper, two pipe cleaners, four popsicle sticks, two rubber bands and three mailing labels.

“They were told to build a device to capture wind; they had to attach that device to a free-standing wheel, and when they turned a fan on, the device had to make the wheel spin,” Burn said.

They had only five minutes to complete this challenge in front of a panel of judges.

The team returned home from Knoxville “excited about Destination Imagination, and they want to make it more supported in the school,” Burn added.


Next up at CHPCS is the first alumni reunion at 6:30 p.m. June 15, which will honor the students in the first eighth-grade graduating class, who are now graduating from high school and moving on to college.

“Our plan is to track our graduating alums for 20 years. These students have already earned all kinds of scholarships and accolades, including one full ride to Franklin Olin Engineering School in Boston, one to Gonzaga and one to the U.S. Marine Corps. Their first teachers will be here, we will have dinner for them, share some memories and send them off to Wunderland to play,” Denman said.

Falcons’ Nest

Parents anywhere in the district are encouraged to contact the school and fill out applications for Falcons’ Nest, a summer day care and education program; the CHPCS mascot is a falcon, Denman said.

The program runs for 11 weeks, from June 17 through Aug. 29, and provides day care and enrichment courses for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The instructors are all college students with special skills, Denman said.

This program is in addition to the regular summer program offered at the school, which includes spelling and speech camps and kindergarten 101, taught by regular certified staff members, Denman said.

Courses include nature explorations, French and Spanish for beginners, sports and games, sewing, upcycling, computer coding, crafts, dancing, electronics training kits, storytelling, keyboarding, Lego robotics and math amazement.

Denman said there are three levels of participation and fees. Classes are offered Monday through Thursday; there are no classes or day care on Friday.

Level one includes a one-hour class for one week, Monday-Thursday, for $30 per week. Level two includes six hours of classes and one hour of lunch and playtime for one week, for $140 per week.

Level three includes Level two, plus extended care. Students may be dropped off as early as 7:30 a.m. and picked up no later than 5:30 p.m. In addition, students may take up to six classes each day. They also may elect to stay in day care during the day. Day care will provide snacks, rest time, outside play, inside play, arts and crafts and gardening. The fee for this level is $160 per week.

Students in levels two and three need to bring a healthy lunch, water bottle and snacks, Denman said.

For more information about Falcons’ Nest, contact Georgi Brunning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Cascade Heights Public Charter School is located at 15301 S.E. 92nd Ave., in Clackamas. Call 503- 653–1850, visit, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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