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Thomas Edison High School Newsletter Spring 2013

PDF Version of Spring 2013 Newsletter

Saving Energy: Edison Teachers Commute by Bicycle

It’s no secret that we Portlanders love our bicycles. Portland was rated America’s most bike-friendly city in 2012 by Bicycling magazine. Our city also has the largest number of bike commuters in any large U.S. city: 6% of all trips to work are by bike, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Based on data from the Census Bureau, this is about 11 times the national average. Here in Portland, about 17,000 workers commute by bicycle.

Edison faculty are contributing to these bike commuter statistics. Mr. Beard, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Keller, and Mr. Livesey all bike to work on a regular basis, which means that 16% of our staff are bicycle commuters! Many other faculty bike regularly with their families (see their recommendations for fun biking spots you might check out this summer).

Mr. Beard, our Earth Science and Physics teacher, rides his bike to Edison every Friday. His commute is 12 miles each way. He's ridden about 750 miles this year commuting to school. He bikes to work because “it’s fun, a great stress release, and I like to be outside. It is good for my body, mind, heart, and soul. Traffic home via car on Friday is awful, so I like to zoom by cars. I also love cruising through Washington Park by the Zoo with the beautiful trees and open green space.”

Mr. Dunn, our Technology Coordinator and Economics teacher, commutes to Edison by bike four to five days a week, rain or shine. His commute is 10 miles each way, including a lovely hill. So far this school year, he has biked a total of 1,716 miles to work. He says, “I started commuting as a way to save money and get a little exercise, but it has become a great stress releaser.”

Mr. Keller, our Senior Seminar teacher, bikes to work about four days per week. His commute is six miles each way. His total so far this school year is 1,148 miles. He says that he bikes to work for three main reasons: “One: Good pre-scheduled exercise. Two: Because it’s a zero-emission mode of travel. Three: Because it makes students aware that there are options for alternative transportation, even into adulthood.”

Mr. Livesey, our Math teacher, commutes by bike about one to three days per week, depending on the week. His commute is 10 miles each way, and he has reached a total of roughly 850 miles so far this school year. Mr. Livesey bikes to work because “it’s nice to get some exercise during the day. It saves gas and money. Due to traffic, the afternoon commute takes about the same time by car or by bike. At this time of year, it’s great to get outside and enjoy the nice weather.”

Favorite Faculty Biking Spots

Mr. Beard: “The Springwater Bike Path.”
Mr. Keller: “The bike paths in Tryon Creek.”
Mr. Puccio: “The Eastbank Esplanade Route. It goes down both sides of the river; it’s connected by the Steel Bridge and the Hawthorne Bridge.”
Miss Halpin Robinson: “Around Edwards Meadows and to Rood Bridge Park.”
Mr. Stamps: “The Banks-Vernonia Trail. This 21-mile route has beautiful bridges.”

The Best of Both Worlds: A Message from Patrick J. Maguire, Director

The symbiotic relationship between Thomas Edison High School and Jesuit High School has helped students from both schools for almost 40 years.

Edison, founded in 1973 by Jim Galluzzo as the “Tree of Learning,” began in a mobile unit on Jesuit’s campus as a two-year transitional school. In 1993, the Tree of Learning changed its name to Thomas A. Edison High School, built our current facility on Jesuit’s campus and became a four-year, fully-accredited high school. Today, Edison is recognized as the only school in Oregon which works exclusively with LD high school students.

Here’s where “the best of both worlds” comes in. Inside Edison’s building, our students receive individualized instruction in small classes averaging eight students. They get to know everyone in our tightly knit community of 80 students and over 20 faculty and staff.

Beyond our walls, they gain the experience of a much larger high school campus (1,265 students). Edison students learn how to navigate a larger campus with more students, which serves them well when it comes time to take courses at PCC during their senior year and then move on to college after graduation.

Edison and Jesuit students have the ability to take classes at either school. If an Edison student needs or wants to take a course not offered at Edison, he or she can take it at Jesuit.

When Jesuit students need more support and a smaller class for English, math, or science, they can take the course at Edison. If a Jesuit student struggles in foreign language due to a verbal processing issue, he or she can take American Sign Language at Edison. This arrangement greatly benefits students from both schools.

Through our shared campus agreement, Edison students can use Jesuit’s library, cafeteria and sports fields. Edison students can also join Jesuit clubs, band, choir, drama and athletics. Many of our students take advantage of the opportunity to participate in band, choir, drama, and athletics.

In the past academic year alone, Edison students from different class years have all taken part in the following activities at Jesuit:

Pep Band:
Chris Gettel-Gilmartin ’15

Matt Dietrich ’13

Matt Dietrich ’13
Chris Gettel-Gilmartin ’15

CJ Bakken ’15
Jake Heath ’13
Spencer Still ’14
Jason Talley ’16
Buddy Webb ’13

Women’s Basketball:
Rosie Cashmer ’16
Nazle Taylor ’16

Cross Country:
Jake Jacobson ’15
Leanne Scarlett ’15

Sarah Weyler ’15

Jake Heath ’13
Buddy Webb ’13

Josh Roderick ’16

Women’s Lacrosse:
Kenzi Scheckla ’16

Backus Peel ’13
Colton Squire ’15

Jordan Britton ’13
Drake Froomer ’15
Jason Talley ’16
Nazle Taylor ’16

We are immensely proud of how many Edison students participate in arts and athletics at Jesuit. They go through rigorous auditions and try-outs; dedicate countless hours to rehearsal and practice; and give every performance, game, and meet their best effort. They learn how to keep going after singing the wrong note, missing a cue, or striking out. They learn how to be gracious under pressure, whether experiencing a win or a loss.

Many of these lessons can’t be taught in the classroom. We are deeply grateful to Jesuit for giving our students a place to learn these important lessons. Here’s to many more years of sharing the best of both worlds!

Edison's Most Successful Event to Date

Over 300 guests gathered at the Governor Hotel on March 9 for Thomas Edison High School’s 2013 Brilliance Benefit. The gala dinner and auction generated over $220,000 in revenue to support financial aid, technology, and professional development at the school, making it our most successful event to date! Thank you to Edison parents Walt and Kim Weyler for serving as our co-chairs; to our generous sponsors, underwriters, donors, and volunteers for making the evening possible; and to Kristin Krueger for coordinating the event. And thank you to all of you for attending and supporting our students with your generosity! Please mark your calendars for next year: March 8, 2014, at the Governor Hotel. We look forward to seeing you there.

Gold Sponsors
Gerding Edlen Development

Silver Sponsors
Frontier Management
Pat Karamanos
Rikar Enterprises
Tom & Kitty Taylor/First Republic Bank
Walt & Kim Weyler

Bronze Sponsors
Julie & JT Bottom
Ann Brayfield & Joe Emerson
Barbee & John Halbert
PNW Tax Advisors LLC
Michael & Mary Anne Sandoval
Anne Voegtlin & Jeff Fullman
WCTJ, Inc.
Diane & Karl Wustrack

Creating Energy & Focus: Bicycle-Powered Generator in Mr. Beard's Classroom

Our Earth Science and Physics teacher, Mr. Beard, is very interested in the environmental implications of bicycles. At a National Science Teachers Association conference in Seattle in 2011, Mr. Beard attended a workshop about electricity and generators. After the conference, he compared several bike-powered generators online and decided to find one locally.

Mr. Beard contacted Adam Boesel a few months ago. Adam is a former school teacher turned personal trainer who founded the Green Microgyms in Portland. He is also the inventor of the UpCycle Eco-Charger bike generator.

The UpCycle Eco-Charger allows you to turn your bicycle into a human-powered generator by replacing your back wheel with the Eco-Charger (see photo at lower left). The mechanical energy from the physical movement of biking is converted into electrical energy. The inverter changes direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), the type of current the grid uses. This is the same type of inverter that is used for solar panels.

You can plug the Eco-Charger generator into a normal wall outlet and help power your home. Or, when the power goes out, you can charge a 12-volt power pack to charge your cell phone or laptop.

The bike generator will be in the back of Mr. Beard’s classroom, plugged into an outlet, available for students to pedal for a few minutes at a time. Mr. Beard says, “After a short session of biking at home, I was actually able to slow down and reverse, if only for one second, my electricity meter. Mr. Maguire will be pleased that our electric bill should be reduced by a very small amount. Maybe 1%? But every percent matters, and imagine if we had one in every classroom.”

Mr. Beard says, “Many of our students struggle with staying focused and some have excess energy. I hope to harness this energy by having them bike for a few minutes in the back of the room. They’ll be generating power and improving their own ability to focus in class at the same time.” He hopes that students will learn about the science behind the generator, consider sustainable sources of energy, and pick up some healthy habits. That sounds like a win-win-win situation.

Will Kiefel '14 Earns Rank of Eagle Scout

In 2002, when Will Kiefel was seven years old, he joined Cub Scout Pack 318. With the help of his Den leaders, parents, and friends, he followed through the ranks of Cub Scouts. Will crossed over to Boy Scout Troop 419 in 2007.

Will earned 21 merit badges, served actively in several leadership positions, and completed a substantial service project. His Eagle Project consisted of building a 60 foot retaining wall at St. Anthony’s Cemetery. He spent over 42 hours collecting materials and supplies to design and prepare the site as well as building the retaining wall.

For every 100 boys who join Scouting, only five will become Eagle Scouts. The Eagle is the highest rank that Scouting offers. Will became an Eagle Scout on December 18, 2012. Eagle Scouts are responsible for living with honor; being loyal, courageous, and cheerful; and serving. All of us at Edison can attest that Will Kiefel exemplifies these principles. We are tremendously proud of his achievement. Congratulations, Will!

Conversation with a Composer: Sunny Barger's Work Featured in Concert and on Radio

On April 28 at Reed College, a chamber music group performed pieces from the Young Composers Project. This project gives aspiring composers from Oregon and Washington the opportunity to compose their own music and work with a professional ensemble rehearsing and performing the piece. The final piece in the concert was composed by Edison junior Sunny Barger. Sunny was also interviewed by Robert McBride for Northwest Previews on All Classical 89.9; the interview aired on April 25. A day after the concert, we sat down with Sunny to learn more about the performance, her background in music, and her plans for the future.

How did the concert go this weekend?

It went really well. It was in a beautiful space at the Reed College Chapel. Mr. Maguire was there, and Ms. Connolly, and lots of family.

Tell us about your piece for the concert.

I wrote three preludes. They’re for flute, alto sax, vibraphone, and piano. The first prelude, “In a Cage,” was inspired by John Cage. The second one, “Not So Blue,” was my first jazzy piece. The third prelude, “The Walden Clap,” incorporated the rhythms from Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music.”

What’s it like to be in the audience, listening to other musicians perform your composition?

It’s the scariest thing! You’re sitting right there, and you can tell how an audience is responding to your work. There was a musical joke in the second prelude—one of the sax players had a little nervous breakdown as part of the music—and I was worried that people wouldn’t like it. But afterward, they came up to me and told me they appreciated the joke.

When did you join the Young Composers Project?

The Young Composers Project (YCP) is part of FearNoMusic, an ensemble started by Jeff Payne and Joel Gladstone in 1992. I joined YCP three years ago, as a freshman, and almost everyone in the program was a senior boy. There were only a few girls. This was my third year in the program, and now the majority of students are junior girls!

When did you start playing piano?

Six or seven years ago, in fifth grade. It all happened because my grandmother heard me singing Blondie one day, and she thought I should join the Indiana University Children’s Choir. [Sunny lived in Indiana until 7th grade, when she moved here to Portland.] It was a wonderful experience. After that, I wanted to start playing piano, since so many of my friends in choir played.

Tell us more about your grandmother.

My grandmother moved to my hometown in Indiana when I was diagnosed with ADHD, to help me with learning. She got my piano for me and encouraged me. She is incredibly supportive of children’s dreams. She’s my Medici—my patron. Her name is Cecilia, like the patron saint of music, so it’s fitting.

When did you start composing?

I started three years ago, when I joined the Young Composers Program. I found I really liked it, and then I found my music composition camp, Walden, in Dublin, New Hampshire. I’ve gone there for two summers. I actually prefer writing electronic music rather than classical. But performing electronic music is technically very demanding and intense. It’s so different from performing classical piano.

How do you see piano and composition fitting into your future?

Right now, I see so many possible futures for myself. I’m interested in music therapy, including working with kids with autism and people who have had strokes. Music therapy can help stroke patients regain their speech! I’m also interested in the music business. I’d love to be a producer. People hear “producer” and they think that means you want to work for a huge artist, but there are lots of smaller artists who need producers, too. Portland is a great place for that.

Piano will always be something that I do. I’ve started teaching lessons. The other day, one of my very young students drew some notes on the white board next to the piano, and I told her, “You’ve just composed your own song.” I played it for her, and she learned to play it and was so excited. She went home and told her parents all about writing her own song.

Edison Alumni Update: Jesse Rapport '08

“I started at Southern Oregon University (SOU) in the fall of 2008 and graduated in June of 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Communications Studies. My graduate school search has finally ended! It has been a long process, and I have traveled all over the country interviewing for programs and jobs.

“I had a lot of hard decisions to make, but I am thrilled to say I will be attending the University of San Diego as a student in the Masters in Higher Education Leadership program in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. I also got a graduate assistantship, and I will be working as the adviser for the undergraduate student activities board.

“Before beginning my grad school adventure, I’ve spent the past year with AmeriCorps. I work as the coordinator for the First Year Mentor Program (FYMP) at SOU. I feel incredibly fortunate to serve on the same campus from which I graduated. In college, I discovered that campus involvement and engagement was, for me, a conduit for feeling grounded in an academic environment. As an AmeriCorps Member, I help students connect with campus and community opportunities, like the ones I embraced, to find success at SOU.

“The First Year Mentor Program pairs experienced SOU students with new students who, for a variety of reasons, are having a difficult time adjusting to university life. No student should have to navigate the first year alone, and it is the goal of the FYMP to see to it that students feel supported, inspired, and confident in order to thrive at SOU. My success is a direct result of the support I received from this campus community.

“I am so happy to stay connected to Edison. I love working in Higher Education and Student Affairs because it helps students to be successful in college. Many of my students have learning disabilities. I am able to help them realize that a bachelor’s degree is attainable and there are many resources on campus to help them along the way.

“A group of Edison students visits during the Ashland Excursion each year, and I’m always excited to show them all the wonderful opportunities a college education will bring to them. SOU has amazing programs to support students with LDs, and I know because I used them all!”

Fond Farewells to Ms. Magi, Mr. Pontious, and Board Members

Ms. Magi has decided to seek new adventures after 14 years at Thomas Edison High School. She will be sorely missed both professionally and personally. We value her spirit, creative ideas, work ethic, and above all, her passion for the students. We wish Ms. Magi the very best in her new endeavors.

Mr. Pontious has been with Edison as a full-time ASL/English teacher for two years and as our Assistant Director for six years. His top priorities have been continual school improvement and the care and nurturing of our kids. Please join us in thanking him for making Edison a better place and wishing him well in the future.

Mark Brody
Jim Francesconi
Greg Meenahan
Diane Wustrack
The Edison Board of Directors will miss your insight, ideas, and humor. Thank you for your service!

You will be missed. Thank you for everything and please keep in touch!

Come celebrate the Class of 2013!

Save the Date: Edison Graduation
May 31, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Marilyn Moyer Theatre, Jesuit High School, 9000 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Portland
Reception following at Thomas Edison High School

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