StatenIf you attend West Linn High School, there are a few names that stick in the back of your head. They’re the names of hardworking individuals such as the principal, Lou Bailey; the caring assistant principals, Mark Martens, Kevin Mills and Annikke Olson; and the giving guidance councilors, Jennifer Jolly, Meagan Kohl and Michelle Olson.

Just ask any student at West Linn who these people are, and most could give you full names and professions. Sure, not one of the people mentioned above is a celebrity, but the kids at WLHS care about them just as much as they do their favorite pop culture icons.

However, there are others at West Linn who work just as hard, giving and sacrificing for the students of WLHS. People like Julie Kahle, secretary to the principal, who is a humble and kind person. She isn’t a key speaker during pep rallies or graduation, but she has an unwavering love and remarkable attitude toward the West Linn community.

“I may have the best job at West Linn High School,” Kahle said. “I get to work with everyone in the school from students, their parents, teachers, administration and the rest of the support staff. It gives me the opportunity to help in so many different ways. The things that go on ‘behind the scenes’ are so incredible, all focused on providing a better education for our students.”

Kahle is a West Linn alum who has so much Lion Pride that she came back to serve the students, faculty and community as her profession.

“As a second generation West Linn student, high school gave me a wonderful learning environment to hone my life skills,” she said. “It was this environment that was so influential. I wanted to come back and contribute to our community, helping students accomplish their goals. My advice to West Linn students is to work as hard as you can to make opportunities and make a difference. We have a great track record of producing great students, athletes and community leaders.”

All the teachers and staff at WLHS are missionaries who are guiding us toward the future. They are people who decided that the best thing they can do with their lives is to help others.

WLHS students should strive to show appreciation for these missionaries, seen and unseen, who help us every day. Whether that’s giving a compliment to your favorite teacher or stopping by the office to chat with the secretaries, being nice to those who help you never does any harm. All it can do is good.

There are teachers at WLHS who sit in classrooms every morning waiting for students to come in for help, coaches who push their teams to succeed because they believe in them and staff members who have the same mindset as Kahle: always willing to help a person in need, no matter the request. Kahle knows how important it is to help others, because everyone makes a difference in the world — one way or another.

“I know that we are giving the students at West Linn High School the keys to our future,” she said. “I have the greatest confidence in our staff (and) our teachers, and know that the student body is truly prepared for this challenge. I am looking forward to seeing what our students deliver back to our society.”

Madison Staten is a sophomore at West Linn High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Tidings this school year.

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