Bethel School District Eugene OR

B-mail: January 2019


Cascade Strong

Chris Parra in school hallway.

Superintendent Chris Parra at Cascade Middle School. Community support at CMS has been incredible and appreciated.

Kids are amazingly resilient. School resumed at Cascade Middle School a few days after a police-involved shooting outside the front door to the school. Students returned to school knowing they are loved and protected by the staff, and cared for by each other.

Teachers offered the opportunity for kids to talk about what happened and ask questions. Some also visited the Care Room to talk with counselors or took a moment to pet the Therapy Dogs that visited Cascade.

The community support for Cascade has been heart-warming. St. Mark Church was incredibly gracious, letting us use their property to reunify students and families. Parents stopped in with treats and flowers, encouraging words, hugs, and handshakes.

It has made a world of difference for those affected, and again makes me proud to be a part of the Bethel Family.

Chris Parra
Bethel Superintendent


Life Savers

People holding hands.

Bethel staff and high school students are the first to have taken part in Sources of Strength, a suicide prevention program.

Bethel School District is taking a major step in trying to prevent suicide, particularly among young people.

National instructors were brought in to train selected Bethel middle and high school staff – and high school students – on Sources of Strength.

SoS is an evidence-based program that utilizes friends and peers in the prevention of suicide.

60 Staff learned how to be trainers, and 40 selected high school students will be trained as supportive and empowering peer leaders. More high school students will be trained soon.

Local physician Dr. Pilar Bradshaw generously sponsored the training.

By increasing awareness, building skills and openly addressing the issue of suicide, our goal is to provide hope and strength for those who are facing personal challenges.


Let’s Rock!

Students playing musical instruments.

Calvin Kau, Payton Glover, Kadin Monegan join teacher/drummer Matt Symonds at a session of the after school Rock & Roll Club.

They pound out songs from Pink Floyd, Paramore, Nirvana, The Ramones, Blondie, and Radiohead.

The Rock and Roll Club at Willamette meets twice a week after school and turns it up loud. With teachers Matt Symonds and John Kreider supporting on guitar and drums, students are learning how to play and perform.

The club gives students a venue, some organization, and a chance to let their creative juices flow with peers who can relate.

Members of the club are now working on new material for a school performance in February. These students are going to continue playing. They can’t help it. It’s Rock and Roll.


Books Of Life

Author talking with students.

Children’s author Margariet Ruur chats with Irving second graders after encouraging them to write about what they see in life.

Whether it’s a stone artist in Syria or an elephant caretaker in Zambia, Margriet Ruurs finds people, places and events to turn into subjects for  children’s books.

Even her appearance at Irving Elementary is a story, where teacher Nicole Butler first reached out to Margriet 11 years ago trying to get her to the school.

In presentations to Irving 2nd and 4th graders, Margriet encouraged students to write about their own experiences; what they see and who they meet.

She should know, with 40 published books to her credit. Her next book is an early-reader chapter book featuring the Boston Mill, about 40 miles north of Eugene. Hopefully it won’t take another 11 years for Margriet’s return to talk about that one.


A Grand Gift

Students gathered around a piano.

Cascade choir students gather around their new Boston Baby Grand piano, a donation from Megan and Thomas Wuest.

It’s not every day at $20,000 baby grand piano comes your way. But, students at Cascade are loving the donated Boston Baby Grand that now graces the school’s choir room.

It’s a gift from Dr. Thomas and Megan Wuest, who had the piano stored in an environmentally controlled warehouse before deciding they no longer had room for it.

When Jodi Sommers from Essex Construction heard about it, she directed the family to Bethel and the rest is history.

Most students would have never been able to get close to a piano like this, but now they are loving the sound of this showpiece instrument, and recognizing what a special gift it is.


Kalapuya vs Willamette = Kalamette

Students playing ping pong.

Seniors Nate Tena from Kalapuya and Blake Johnson from WHS square off as part of the team battle for the Kalamette trophy.

The coveted Kalamette (“calamity”) trophy was at stake, so the competition was fast and furious.

When the dust settled, Kalapuya’s ping pong players had beaten Willamette for the second consecutive year, claiming the trophy and bragging rights.

Students at Kalapuya are working the tables during breaks and lunch, while Willamette’s club team practices after school.

Of course, Kalapuya’s principal is having fun with the outcome, labeling the competition as a David vs Goliath tale.

What we know for sure is that there was good fun, good sportsmanship, and a familiar spot for the Kalamette trophy at Kalapuya for another year.


Shasta Shines

Students shopping.

Shasta students shopped for cold weather clothes, which were then donated to Looking Glass and community members in need.

A tradition continues at Shasta Middle School. Their winter Shasta Shines community service event involved students raising money, nearly $5,000.

Hundreds of students then bused to Walmart, buying items for children and families in our community and for Looking Glass, which provides a wide variety of critical social services.

Shasta kids gathered socks, jackets, sweatshirts, underwear, shirts and winter weather related items.

Before the day was over it was in the hands of grateful folks who know first-hand that Shasta Shines.


End Mill Donation

Forklift carrying equipment.

Firefighters donated an end mill to the Willamette Metals program. It took a forklift to move the heavy machine into the building.

Based on weight alone, this was a giant gift.

The Eugene Springfield Fire Department donated and delivered an old End Milling Machine to Willamette High School. The old ones are the best kind!

It’s basically a giant industrial drill that cuts through metal vertically and horizontally.  The Willamette Metals Shop had three end mills but now can accommodate 25% more students for specialty cutting.

Many thanks to our public partners. Their unused space-eater is our school’s treasure.


Community Outreach

Students smiling.

Prairie Mountain 5th graders surpassed their goal of gathering diapers and wipes for children and women at the Eugene Mission.

Recognizing a need, and meeting it. That was the idea behind a community outreach project by 5th graders at Prairie Mountain School.

They are very proud – and they should be – to have surpassed their goal.

Students collected 782 diapers and 2,736 baby wipes and gave them to the Mothers and Children’s Center at the Eugene Mission.

Kids are discovering that just because they are only 10 years old, it doesn’t mean they can’t affect change and be the reason someone smiles.

No rewards were given to anyone for their involvement, except the award of giving.

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