Bethel School District Eugene OR

Bethel B-mail: February 2018


A Place To Call Home

Superintendent Chris Parra spoke at the grand opening of the new Youth House for high school girls experiencing homelessness.

This really happens.

Imagine as a high school student you’re worrying about where you’ll sleep, where your next meal will come from, how you can wash your clothes or take a shower.

Getting homework done, completing an assignment, or taking part in clubs or sports fall way down your priority list. Too many high school students in Bethel are living like this.

It’s why we’re celebrating the opening of the St. Vincent de Paul Youth House for high school girls.

Although it’s in south Eugene, Bethel girls will be living there, too. Homeless and at-risk girls ages 16 to 18 will receive the secure housing, casework, mentoring and other resources they need to stay in school until graduation.

Now we’re working with St. Vinnie’s to create a similar facility in Bethel for boys. It’ll be a lifeline for students and a valuable addition to our community. Stay tuned.

Chris Parra
Bethel Superintendent


Fly Eagles, Fly

While Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles raises the Lombardi trophy as NFL champions, WHS grad Spencer Phillips celebrates with girlfriend – and WHS alum – Keely Bertak.

From Willamette High School to the Super Bowl championship!

Just nine years ago Spencer Phillips was quarterbacking the Wil-Hi football team. After playing small college football, he was a volunteer coach at the high school and small college level for three years, sometimes not knowing where his next meal would come from.

A bit of serendipity in 2016 led to a meeting with new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who ended up offering Spencer a job as Coaching Assistant, Pederson’s right hand man.

During the Super Bowl Spencer helped with defensive game cards and joined the quarterbacks in identifying nuances that could help the Philadelphia offense.

When the Eagles won the Super Bowl, he joined family and girlfriend Keely Bertak (WHS ‘10) for an emotional on-field celebration.

Spencer is grateful for the support he’s received from so many people during his journey, as evidenced by the nearly 500 text messages waiting on his phone after the game.

And, a final bit of good news: he’s just received a well-deserved promotion to Assistant Quarterbacks Coach.


The New Cool In School

Cascade 6th graders leave messages of inclusion during their lunchtime effort to end social isolation at school.

No One Eats Alone is a program that makes inclusion “the new cool in school.”

Middle school students at Cascade and Meadow View learned about social isolation and how they can help ensure no one is left lonely at lunchtime.

Teachers received a curriculum, courtesy of Trillium, and prepared kids for No One Eats Alone Day. They learned how social isolation can have a negative impact on a student’s health and academic performance.

8th grade facilitators encouraged 6th graders to join groups at lunchtime and engage in discussions. Students also talked about ways to continue taking action to reduce social isolation at school.

One way is the next event: No One Learns Alone.


Job Skills For The Real World

Willamette students already getting hands-on training in design and construction, get a close-up look at the newest electric car produced by Archimoto.

A presentation from Archimoto, a local start-up company that makes electric cars, included the job skills they’re looking for in employees.

It wasn’t a big leap to envision the Willamette students working for Archimoto.

Because, while CTE classes are becoming all the rage, Career Technical Education courses have been a staple of the curriculum at Willamette for decades.

CTE courses at Wil Hi  are offered for college credit in Digital Arts, Business Management, Health Occupations, Multimedia Arts, Design and Manufacturing, Culinary Arts, Metals, Digital Manufacturing and Robotics, and Early Childhood Education.

WHS students have the opportunity to learn valuable and marketable job skills so they graduate ready for a career or continuing education.


From Beijing To Bethel

Students from Shasta chat with visiting kids from Beijing. There were more similarities than differences between the teenagers growing up thousands of miles apart.

They live half a world away, but there’s not a world of difference between them.

Students from Beijing visited Shasta Middle School again. It’s an exchange that’s been going on since before these students were born.

Shasta’s principal Brady Cottle and a Bethel contingent returned the favor by visiting Beijing four years ago and learned how they approach public education.

The students from China spent time in classrooms, performed in the choir room, played games in the gym, and questioned each other about their everyday lives.

It turns out they share common interests in cell phones, pop stars, and shopping. Go figure.


Robotics On A Roll

Willamette students control their bot during a Robotics competition with more than 30 other teams.

Willamette’s Robotics program is beginning to make a name for itself.

A few weeks after two teams from WHS shared first place at the West Salem Robotics Tournament, Willamette hosted a Robotics competition of its own for 38 teams from a dozen schools in Oregon and California.

A Wil-Hi team claimed second place, and now they’re all gearing up for the state tournament in Salem this spring under the leadership of teacher Chris McGowan.

Here’s a quick look at the WHS Robotics competition. 


Bringing The Best To Bethel

Willamette will host the state Chess tournament for the first time this spring.

More than 150 of the best chess players will soon descend on Willamette High School for the State Chess Tournament.

Wil-Hi’s coach Mike Myers stepped up to host the tourney after problems developed with the initial host site.

Willamette’s chess team seems to be peaking at the right time. Although standing third in the Midwestern League, Wil-Hi has beaten the first place team…twice!

If there’s a Cinderella story this year, WHS would be happy to play that role.

They could use a little volunteer help with the state tournament on March 2nd and 3rd. Contact Mike Myers at


More Of A Good Thing

Shasta students get a chance for a photo with jazz great Terrell Stafford at the Oregon Jazz Festival.

For the fourth year in a row, the Shasta Jazz Band was invited as one of the exceptional bands to perform at the evening concert of the Oregon Jazz Festival.

While the Festival is not a competitive event, three Shasta players were also awarded Outstanding Musicianship awards.

And eight Willamette High School musicians were selected to perform in the Festival’s All-Star Big Band with renowned guest trumpeter Terrell Stafford.

It was another big night for Bethel students at the Oregon Jazz Festival, and a tradition we’d like to see continue.


The Road To Success

Prairie Mountain students and their families turned out for Path To Graduation Night, hearing what it will take to be successful in high school.

Time is flying by, and soon they’ll be on their way to a high school diploma.

That’s why students at Prairie Mountain School – and their parents – turned out for the Path To Graduation Night.

Administrators, counselors and students from Willamette High School explained what it’s really like in high school today; the electives, course work, challenges, expectations, and potential pitfalls.

The event became a real eye-opener for many parents and students because high school in Bethel offers so much more than some folks realize.


Rounding Up The Recyclables

National Honor Society students greeted community members and accepted their household items to be recycled.

Folks have been squirreling away an amazing amount of electronics. A lot of it was turned in at Willamette’s annual community-wide Recycling Round-up.

National Honor Society students accepted old VCRs and TVs, computer monitors and radios.

Exercise equipment that must have seemed like a good idea at one time. Old mattresses that weren’t good enough for the guest room. Styrofoam, hairdryers, coffee makers and cell phones.

It was all collected and taken away by St. Vincent de Paul and NextStep.

The annual event is one of the reasons why WHS was named a national Green Ribbon School Award winner in 2014.


On The Safe Side

Clear Lake students took their classroom lessons to the sidewalks along busy Barger Drive as part of their Pedestrian Safety education.

Not all the learning in school is confined to the classroom.

All Bethel second graders are learning to look both ways, multiple times, before crossing a street.

Clear Lake kids were the first in the district to take part in this spring’s Pedestrian Safety Education made possible by Safe Routes to School.

This is an important lifelong skill, and if it helps more students start walking to school then that’s an additional benefit.

The education that starts in the classroom and ends with a neighborhood walk will continue with Bethel’s other 2nd graders next month.

One Response to Bethel B-mail: February 2018

  • Bethel staff and students are doing so many wonderful things. I am so glad to see the community support in the girls Youth House for students struggling for stability in their lives.

    I am also excited to see the Middle School getting involved with No One Eats alone. This is a great lesson in empathy and kindness. I would love to see more of our schools getting involved with this.

    It’s also great to see the success of the programs and competitions in some of the classes.

    Thank you for sharing.

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