Parkrose High scholars honored – and awarded

Find out who was awarded thousands of scholarship dollars, and why these funds are so important to the graduates. And, find out why the Parkrose Posse is “riding again” to put on one more ‘Barn Bash’ this weekend …

Laurie Larsen of Compaction and Recycling Equipment, and Judy Kennedy from Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union, welcome members and guests to the June meeting of the Parkrose Business Association.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It was a standing-room-only event when the Parkrose Business Association (PBA) June 16 meeting as six eager Parkrose High School graduates awaited their formal presentation to the group as Parkrose Scholars.

PBA Treasurer Marsha Lee of Copy Express told the members and guests that they’d had many good applicants, and it was difficult selecting only six to receive a $1,000 scholarship grant.

PBA’s President Wayne Stoll of Argay Square welcomes attendees to the annual “Scholarship Presentation” meeting.

After serving themselves from the sumptuous luncheon buffet at the Holiday Inn Airport Hotel & Convention Center, guests and members are ready to enjoy the presentations.

“During the interviews held in the school’s library,” Lee said, “We could see candidates sitting and chatting among themselves at a distant table. When it was their turn, the question we were most frequently asked was, ‘Why didn’t you choose me to come to a final interview?’”

The judges had a ready answer for each candidate, Lee continued. “But, interestingly, we answered that question differently to each. They were selected based on our established criteria – which includes grades, attendance, community involvement, school involvement, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. But what one sees on paper doesn’t necessarily give the full picture; the interviews do influence the selection.”

Presenting PBA Scholar
Kim Nguyen

Judy Kennedy of Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union presents her 2011 PBA Scholars’ plaque and check to Kim Nguyen.

Judy Kennedy was up first, telling why this Parkrose High student was selected.

“When things get thrown in Kim’s way, she isn’t the type who stands on the sidelines and watches, or runs away. Kim stands her ground and tackles it – whether it be a task, a problem, or just helping others.

“Kim has been a straight-A honor roll student all four years of high school. Instead of only taking the classes that she needs to graduate, she also has taken a full schedule of AP (Advanced Placement) classes the last two years.  The Parkrose Business Association is very proud to have Kim Nguyen as a 2011 scholarship recipient.”

Presenting PBA Scholar
Nguyen Nguyen

Bob Brown, from Bob Brown Tires, makes the presentation to PBA Scholar Nguyen Nguyen.

Scholarship committee member Bob Brown told why Nguyen Nguyen was selected for special honors.

“Nguyen came to America when he was six years old. He didn’t speak English, and came from a very different culture, but obviously his ability to ‘fit in’ at school here has been phenomenal.

“Nguyen’s goal is to become an FBI agent. He wants to go to community college and then transfer to Oregon State University.  We’re sure he’ll do a great job; he’ll put his nose to the grindstone and he will do really well.”

Presenting PBA Scholar
Gabriella Wolpert

Mary Brown, of Bob Brown Tires, presents scholar Gabriella Wolpert to the PBA.

Next, it was Mary Brown’s turn to introduce a scholar: Gabriella Wolpert.

“Gabriella is an outstanding young lady; I was very impressed by her application. She has been involved in Special Olympics.  She says she’s been a compassionate person since she was a little girl. She likes to help people, and has found that she wants to become an Special Education teacher.

“First, Gabriella wants to go to Mt. Hood Community College to get her Associate degree, and then hopefully go to Multnomah University, or perhaps Eastern Oregon University, to complete her degrees and get her certificate. She’d prefer teaching English as a second language. We think she’ll be a great benefit to any school.”

Presenting PBA Scholar
Angel Tran

Angel Tran is presented her scholarship plaque and check by Autumn Doepke.

Marsha Lee’s granddaughter, Autumn Doepke, herself a high school student, helped with the judging, and presented scholar Angel Tran to the group.

“When interviewing Angel, many qualities grabbed my attention,” Doepke began. “With the many challenges she has faced, she has not let them dictate the outcome. She has set certain goals for herself that will ensure her a successful future.

“Angel will be attending Portland Community College to study nursing. She has a compassionate heart, and there’s no doubt in my mind that she will make a great nurse. The nursing program will take a lot of dedication. Angel was proven that, with dedication, she can attain her goals. How do I know this?  Because Angel says, ‘I will succeed in everything that I pursue because I have the three D’s: Determination, dedication, and desire.’

“Is my pleasure to present you, Angel, this check for $1,000, and this plaque, to remind you of the faith that the men and women of the Parkrose Business Association have in you.”

Presenting PBA Scholar
David Lange

PBA Scholar David Lange accepts his award from Mike Taylor, former principal of ACE Academy, retired.

After announcing he was retiring from ACE Academy, Mike Taylor introduced PBA Scholar David Lange.

“Like other graduates from Parkrose High, David Lange achieved both academically and athletically. Of course, his claim to fame, and what sets him above, is that he is also an ACE Academy graduate. For two years he has been part of our program.

“A couple things about David: Their ‘senior project’ runs for about eight months of our nine-month academic year. His elementary teacher was at his first project presentation.

The teacher made the comment that he was pleased to see, and for him this was the first time, that David was actually challenged – because he’d been so confident as a youngster and so confident in elementary school.

“David did an excellent job on that project – meeting a dozen checkpoints. David was one of the few students who met every one of those process deadlines, which is quite an accomplishment for a high school student. It’s this kind of attention to detail and commitment that makes for success. This plaque of recognition from PBA, and of course the $1,000 check, will be helpful as he enrolls in Clark College.”

Presenting PBA Scholar
Shayna Jackson

Shayna Jackson receives her scholarship award from PBA Scholarship Committee chair Marsha Lee of Copy Express.

The sixth PBA scholar, Shayna Jackson, received her accolades from Marsha Lee.

“I’m pleased to introduce Shayna. No doubt, she’ll make it.  She’s been meeting challenges her entire life. I guess we all say that – but some of us don’t have the challenges that she’s faced. By the time she got to high school, she realized that she needed to put some extra effort into supporting herself, and got a job.

“At school, she was involved in community service, and was also involved in high school activities – all the while, maintaining a high GPA.  She is a remarkable student, and will go on to be a great doctor, I’m sure of it. She’ll be going to Occidental College, starting in another five or six weeks. Congratulations, Shayna I’m so proud of you.”

Angel Tran speaks her heart to PBA members after the awards.

At the conclusion of the awards presentation, Angel Tran stepped forward and asked to speak.

“Marcia told me that one of the reasons [for these awards] is because some of us ‘need a push’ in our life to help us move ahead. For me, this means a lot. It means a lot because I’m the oldest child in my family, and it’s hard to take care of my siblings with divorced parents and an alcoholic father, diagnosed with liver failure and diabetes.”

Tran paused to take a breath and continued, “This is the push I needed; it’s great to know that there are people in our community who care. I realize that so many of you have donated to this fund; it means so much. When I grow up, I want to help kids and young people to have a bit better future also.”

Wayne Stoll stands to congratulate Parkrose High School’s Meg Kilmer and Parkrose Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray, as does Marsha Lee, as they together present the PBA Scholars plaque – with the new recipients’ names affixed to it.

Bob Brown and Marsha Lee present flowers to Parkrose High School’s Meg Kilmer.

At the same meeting, Meg Kilmer, College & Career Center Director at Parkrose High School, who received the Les Adkins Award for Career Guidance Excellence for 2011, announced that she was retiring, and was surprised by receiving a lovely floral arrangement.

Barn Bash returns July 9

Joe Rossi tells why the Parkrose Posse is rounding up another Barn Bash.

As the presenter of the June “Member Moment”, Joe Rossi chose to tell a little about his family’s history – which started by farming in the area of inner SE Portland now known as Ladds Addition, before moving to Parkrose in 1900.

The colorful story would make an interesting book – a project on which Rossi has been working for a couple of years.

“The goal of holding the original Barn Bash,” Rossi said, “was to help fund the Parkrose Youth Football Program which my dad [Aldo Rossi] started in the 1960s.”

Now, that foundation has expanded its mission, Rossi noted, and is becoming the Portland Community Foundation. “One of ts projects is the Parkrose Immigrant Statue, and another is helping to put on a celebration Parkrose’s 100th anniversary.”

> See our story on the sculpting of the Portland Immigrant Statue: CLICK HERE.

As part of the Parkrose Centennial Celebration, Rossi added, the once-famous “Barn Bash” will return to Rossi Farms on July 9

Guests will get an all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner, enjoy live music and dancing, plus a Wild West Action Show (and no-host adult beverages) – all for just $20. It’s for adults, 21 and over – you’ll need proof of age at the gate. It runs from 6:00 p.m. until midnight Saturday, at Rossi Farms, 3839 NE 122nd Avenue. For more information, contact Amelia Salvador at

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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