Skip to main content

Thomas A. Edison High School Newsletter Winter 2010

“Partner with Thomas Edison” Breakfast Inspires Our Community

On November 12, 2009, over 370 guests gathered at the Cascade Crest Banquet Hall in the Oregon Zoo for the Partner with Thomas Edison breakfast. This annual event raises much-needed funds for financial aid, technology, and professional development at Thomas A. Edison High School. The morning raised $194,000 in new pledges and gifts. Thank you to all of our donors for your incredible support. You are helping students obtain the best possible education regardless of their economic circumstances.

After a wonderful welcome from board member Kristin Bryant, director Patrick Maguire shared his own history at Edison. He recognized the many people who are important in our students’ lives, including parents, Edison teachers and board members, and the community, who came together for the breakfast. “With your support, you make it possible for us to do the work we were trained to do,” Mr. Maguire said. He also spoke of the educational journeys of Edison students. “Our students have had to overcome many adversities to find success. For these students, the letters ‘LD’ don’t stand for ‘learning disability’ or even ‘learning difference.’ They stand for ‘lots of determination.’”

Senior Charlie Guinasso described academic and social difficulties that made his school life miserable until he came to Thomas Edison. “I would have never guessed I would go as far as I am right now. In fact, I wouldn’t even have the courage to give this speech without the support I have gotten from my friends, students, and staff at Thomas Edison.” Charlie is now a member of student council. When he graduates this spring, he plans to pursue his dream of becoming a counselor like the Edison counselors who have inspired him.

Junior Amy Galloway was diagnosed with both ADD and dyslexia during her difficult elementary school years. “My fifth grade teacher wouldn’t call on me. I was ignored. When I confronted her about it, she said, ‘You know you’re kind of…’ She ended it there, but I knew she meant that I was stupid.” Amy finally started to receive the support she needed at Gately Academy before coming to Edison for high school. At Edison, she found friends, a spot on student council, and renewed confidence in herself. “When I tell my parents I need to stay home from school, they quickly respond, ‘Do you need to see a doctor?’ because they know I want to be at school. I love this school.”

This year’s alumni speaker, Christopher Toffler, attended Edison from 1999 to 2001. Diagnosed with dyslexia, he struggled through school until he came to Edison. “Every teacher seemed to care about each and every student. They were not just interested in us academically, but also in how we fit in with each other and with society at large. They always seemed to find the good in each of us and reflect it back to us.” Chris graduated from Edison and Jesuit in 2003 with increased confidence and decided to pursue higher education. He earned his bachelor’s degree and currently works for Wells Fargo Bank as a personal banker and advisor. His story shows our current students the kind of future they can make for themselves with the skills they gain at Edison.

Harlan Richards, parent of senior Taylor Richards, told the crowd how Edison has impacted both his son and his entire family. Taylor’s story was similar to both Charlie’s and Amy’s in that he didn’t receive the support he needed in a typical classroom. This had a very negative impact on both his academics and his family life. It wasn’t until Taylor came to Edison that the Richards family started to see a change at home. Thanks to Taylor’s current academic and personal success, they are looking at college options for next year—a possibility they couldn’t even imagine before Taylor’s time at Edison. Mr. Richards emphasized the importance of positive reinforcement. “No matter what the problem, it is somehow given a positive resolution at Edison. Respect is key—self respect and respect for others.”

Thank you also to our parent and student volunteers, as well as our table captains, who helped us fill the room with even more guests than last year. And thank you to everyone who attended the 2009 Partner with Thomas Edison breakfast. We appreciate you getting up so early in the morning in order to support our cause!

Tourette’s Syndrome and Tolerance: Marc Elliot

 “My name is Marc Elliot. I have Tourette’s Syndrome. It’s involuntary and I can’t help it. I’m sorry if it bothers you. I promise you that it bothers me more.”

This is how Marc Elliot introduces himself. The twenty-four-year old native of St. Louis has both Tourette’s Syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This combination causes him to involuntarily think of and say or do the riskiest thing possible in any given situation. Marc took a year off after graduating to tour the country and speak about tolerance. His “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Noise” presentation has been met with such national acclaim that he has decided to make a career out of public speaking.

On November 6, 2009, Marc visited Thomas Edison High School to talk with our students about tolerance. Marc was aware that two students at our school have been diagnosed with Tourette’s. He tailored his presentation specifically to the Edison audience, saying, “Today is a really neat opportunity because I am speaking to a whole group that is already probably more tolerant than most people.”

Tourette’s Syndrome is a genetic neurological disorder. According to Marc, its causes are unclear; it most likely affects the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. The result is a build-up of excess energy, and the only way to release that energy is to tic. A tic is a sound or movement produced involuntarily by the body. Marc explained, “Tourette’s is like an itch. You can’t control it. Ticking is my way of scratching an itch. But as soon as I scratch, the itch comes right back.”

Marc’s Tourette’s started when he was five years old. He wasn’t diagnosed until age nine. By middle and high school, he started having much more serious physical and verbal tics. Marc said that Tourette’s manifests differently in every single person. “Only about 10% of people with Tourette’s syndrome say bad words.” Marc’s verbal tics include taboo body parts, curses, and racial and homophobic slurs. He said, “This is by far the worst part of my Tourette’s Syndrome. I say things that I would never say, and they are things that I don’t mean.”

Due to Marc’s involuntary verbal and physical outbursts, his day-to-day life is filled with challenges. Something as simple as going out for a burger can be turned into an ordeal. One day when Marc was at Wendy’s, he noticed the woman behind the register staring at him because of his tics. He told her about his Tourette’s. She proceeded to make an announcement to everyone within earshot: “Don’t worry. He’s retarded.”

Marc said, “The way I have learned about tolerance is by being in so many intolerant situations. A person is usually intolerant when he or she is making many assumptions about someone else and turning those assumptions into actions.”

At age twenty-four, Marc is a polished public speaker. Even so, he continued to tic throughout his presentation to our students, involuntarily snapping his jaw shut. He told them that there is no cure for Tourette’s, but he has tried many different treatments: hypnosis, medications, yoga, neurobiofeedback, Botox injections, and diets.

Marc said that about 60-70% of people grow out of Tourette’s. Maybe that will happen for him at some point, too. Whether it does or not, he is thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with people all across the country, educating them about both Tourette’s and tolerance. As he told our students: “The key step to becoming a more tolerant person is to recognize that we make assumptions about people. Don’t turn your assumptions into actions. Live and let live.” 

Please visit Marc’s website at to watch videos of Marc speaking and learn more.


 When our students achieve success, we feel successful whether we are educators or parents. Our parents, board, staff, and supporters all play a role in helping our students in their maturation process. With that in mind, I like “blowing their horn” as often as possible for the sake of the entire Edison community.

Recently, I attended a ceremony in which two young men from Thomas Edison became Eagle Scouts, a remarkable achievement indeed in this age of easy electronic escapism. Matt Lenzen ’09 and Greg Stachlowski ’10 both received the highest honor that the Scouts can bestow on young men. Joey McCoy ’10 recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout, too, so I hope to have the pleasure of attending another ceremony very soon!

Our Thomas Edison community shares in the glory of all our students’ honors and accomplishments. Alex Hess ’10 received the 2009 “18 Under 18” award from JVibe for his outstanding contributions to the Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation. Ari Smith-Korn and John Bergman were commended by their employer, Northwest Youth Corps, for their work on building bridges, restoring habitats, and maintaining trails. These awards and accolades are very commendable, if I do say so myself.

I continue to be inspired by our kids who pursue their passions and push themselves to achieve their goals. Our eight Edison students who played for the Jesuit football team showed incredible strength and dedication throughout the season. The three varsity players Richard McDonough ’10, William Clark ’10, and Brandon Partee ’11 took away two special memories from the season: playing the number two team in the nation at Qwest Field, home of the Seahawks, and playing in the state championship at Resers Stadium. I’m glad that they had these unique opportunities during high school.

The beautiful music being made by the Jesuit choir has been sounding even sweeter with the contributions of Edison students Hannah Robbins ’13, Chris Gadowski ’12, Matt Dietrich ’13, Katie Gregg ’10, and Hans Weih ’12. I would like to offer special congratulations to Hans, who was one of a select few chosen to participate in the Oregon All-State Honor Choir. After three days of intense rehearsals, this group put on an amazing concert at the Hult Center in Eugene for an audience of over 1,000 people!

Some late-breaking news that I am happy to share with you: Jordan Britton ’13 has been selected to represent Washington and Oregon as our Youth Ambassador at the Tourette Syndrome Association’s National Conference in Washington, DC. He will be addressing members of Congress and helping to raise awareness of the effects of TS. We are very proud of this young man and his leadership abilities.

There are many other students who have achieved success—many on a daily basis—in fact, too many to mention. For some, their success might be social; for others, academic; for others, all of the above. The number of students on Honor Roll (3.0 or better) and Principal’s Honor Roll (3.5 or better) continues to increase even as we challenge students with an increasingly rigorous curriculum to get them ready for the real world. I hope they realize that one person’s success is not based on that single person’s work, but on the work of many people. This holds true whether you’re in business or in education. It’s truly a team effort.

Food Drive Raises 2,604 Cans for the Oregon Food Bank

Bridget Connolly, Edison Faculty

 This year’s food drive for the Oregon Food Bank ran from November 30 to December 18. We kicked off with “Double Day” on Friday, November 20: the members of Student Council contributed cans to match any donations made that day. Upon returning from the Thanksgiving holiday, students learned of the incentives they would receive for various totals. These ranged from five extra minutes at break when the total reached 150 cans to Mr. Maguire dying his hair green if we reached 4,500 cans.

Some of the incentives we earned this year included relaxing the dress code for a day so everyone could wear sweats and flip-flops, Ms. Robinson styling her hair into an afro, and Student Council making hot cocoa for everyone at break. There was also a very messy students versus teachers pudding eating contest, a pirate and/or zombie dress up day, and a performance by Ms. Magi, Mr. Beard, and students (including the Indigenous Instruments class).

The popular “Can U Chill” event returned this year. Student Council brought in board games, movies, video games and snacks so that Edison students could chill out with their friends at school for a few hours. Students paid admission by contributing ten cans or five dollars to the drive. Some highlights of the evening included a chess tournament, a seven player mission fought on the Xbox, and Mr. Stamps and his wife Liz showing everyone how to win on the Wii.

While planning the food drive, Student Council spent a day volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank. Student Council member Nessa Melnick said she was glad to have participated in the day of service because it gave her “first-hand experience of where the food was going and how it was distributed. I could speak with authority when I talked to people at school about the organization and the need for food.”

In our advisory competition, Ms. Manning’s group triumphed over the reigning champs from Mr. Stamps’ advisory and the frontrunners from Mr. Livesey’s group. In total, the Edison Food Drive raised 2,604 cans and $286. The members of Student Council who delivered the donation to the Oregon Food Bank on December 18 were stunned to learn the donation weighed in at over 1,850 pounds. Unfortunately, we didn’t raise enough cans for Mr. Maguire to dye his hair green, but there’s always next year. 

Thank You, 2009 Donors!

Dean Aldrich
Anne and Timothy Allen
Deborah and Gary Allen
Richard and Kris Angell
Antoinette Arenz
Michael and Claire Arthur
Azam and Mary Ann Babar
Michael and Jody Baccellieri
Susan and Richard Ballentine
Jennifer Ballentine and C. Scott Kelsey
Lara Ballentine Anderson and William Anderson
Luther and Patty Barker
Todd Bauman and Lori Irish Bauman
Patrick and Tabitha Becker
Diane and Stephen Bedor
Alan Bennett
Susan and Ray Berger
Kim and James Bergman
Mary Jo and Roland Binker
Susan Birkemeier
Owen and Lynn Blank
Julie Blankenship
Cate Blankenship
Peter and Patricia Blasco
David and Betsy Blessing
Michelle Bolin
Richard Bolt and Kelly Northrop
Jean Marie Borror
Juliene and John Bottom
Elise Bouneff
Erin Boutin
Mary and Tim Boyle
Alan and Resa Bradeen
Ann Brayfield and Joe Emerson
Matt Briggs
Audrey and Tim Brislin
Mark and Tiaya Brody
Kersten Broms
Andy and Virginia Brooks
Anne and Jim Brown
Gordon Brown
Nancy and Andy Bryant
Kristin Bryant
Mary Claire Buckley
Michelle Bunn and Lou Gopal
Nancy and Michael Burke
Dan Burton
Ann and Art Bush
Les Bush and Ann Krier
Tom and Linda Busic
Rabbi Michael and Ida Rae Cahana
Debbie and Lance Caldwell
Rich Callahan
Claire Campbell
Doug and Leslie Campbell
Liz Caravaca
Esteban Carlos
David Carson
Ian and Joanne Carter
Joseph Caruso
Anthony and Dolores Casciato
Mary and Mike Casey
Joyce Casey and Jerry Williams
David and Kathy Castricano
Kevin Chapple and Rhonda Swearingen
Karin and Jim Chesnutt
Robert and Jeanne Christ
Barbara and Randy Clark

Deb Coakes WrightDenny and Joan Codd
Sarah and James Colell
Vonnie and Joe Condon
Joy and Steve Conklin
Bridget Connolly
James and Colleen Connolly
Jan Corbi

JoAnn and John Crabtree
Aimee Craig
Karen Crook
Michele and Timothy Cundari
Lita Curtis
Terry and Russell Danielson
Karin and Martin Daum
Lisa Davidson
Alex Davidson
Ilene and James Davidson
Kalani and David Davis
Rob and Julie Davison
Stacy and Marcel de Hoog
Rosemary Deklotz
Christopher Devich
George Diamond

Spencer and Mary Dick
Marlene and Richard Dietrich
Dave and Shannon DiLorenzo
Todd and Laura Dodson
Arlene Dodson-Franssen
Kevin Doherty
Nancy Donegan
Elizabeth Donohue and Ken Bizovi
Craig J. Dorsay and Susan Driver

Elizabeth Drake
Greg and Donna Dufault
Theresa and Peter Duffy
Devan and Kate Dunn
Sharon and Steve Dunne
Becky Eastman and Paul Larson
Amy Eaton
Mark and Ann Edlen
Nicholas Ehlen
Robert Ellis
David and Jeannie Ellis
Kathryn Ems
Leigh Evans
Erin Farrar
Patty Farrell and Bob Watkins
Debra Federici
Jim Feild
Kurt and Barb Ferre
Theresa Fichtner
Andrew Fields
Peter FitzGerald and Judy Butler
Joan Foley
Susan Foley
Jill Fouts
Jim and Shelley Francesconi
James and Jane Frank

Josh Frank and Emily Howe
Jonathan and Kathryn Frank
George Freese
Jim and Margaret Frew
Greg Froomer
Jeff Fullman and Anne Voegtlin
Dr. Michael J. Fulop and Dr. Tone Forester
Paula and Boguslaw Gadowski
Jim and Barbara Gaffney
Kathleen and Gerald Galloway
David and Suzan Galt
David and Gail Gast
Carmen and Patrick Gaston
Missy Gerber and Steve Reinking
Michael and Marie Gettel-Gilmartin
Diane Gibson
Gayle and Rob Gieszler
Gary Gitner and Karen Rash-Gitner
Cassandra Givan
Gina and John Gladstone
David Gold
Alana Gonzales
Jim Gonzales

Raphael Goodblatt and Lee Pfeiffer
Gregory Goodman
Greg Goodwin
Erin Gorsline
Cynthia and Byron Grant
Todd and Dorothy Grasle
Mary Lou Grimes
Rosaria Guinasso
Heidi and Lloyd Hager
Barbee and John Halbert
Sarah Hall
Koleen and Jeff Hall
Veronica Hamstreet
April Harris
Marilyn and John Harrison
Craig Heath
Sharon Heitkemper
Lorraine and Edward Herinckx
Susan Herrera and Randy Bonella
Gordon and Mary Hoffman
Paul and Jennifer Hogan
Jackie Holmes
Michael Holzgang
Karen Hook
Bob and Lynn Hufschmid
Ann Humberston
Paul Hurd

George and Sue Hutcherson
Kimberlie and Brent Jacobson
Paula and Todd Jacobson
Marjorie and Jathan Janove
Brian and Diane Jarchow
Diane Jenkins and Bill Babcock
Mike and Elizabeth Johnson
Christopher Johnson
Dr. Kyle P. Johnson
Pam Jones
Maria and Joseph Kaempf
Shelley and James Kamikawa
Pat Karamanos
Molly Keating
Reilley Keating
Mike and Laurie Kelley
Kevin and Karen Kelly
Hans and Kelly Kemp
Mike and Nickey Kemp
Pam and Larry Kennebeck
Bruce Kerr

William and Toni Kiefel
Leeanna Kirksey-Swank
Tom and Julie Klansnic
Linda Klarquist
David Klick
Phil and Penelope Knight
Malle Kollom
Peter Korn and Betty Smith
Roger Krage
Carolyn Krebs
Peter and Linda Krook
Danette and Donald LaChapelle
George Lampus
Virginia and Phil Lang
Donald and Deborah Letourneau
Eric and Julie Leuvrey
Timothy and Denise Lewis
Carrie and Stan Link
Ann Locke Davidson and Howard Davidson
Kathleen and William Lockwood
Steve and Sally Logan
Ray and Jacquie Lung
Caitlin MacMillen
J. Douglas Macy
Mai-Lill Magi
Patrick and Debbie Maguire
Dorothy and Bob Manfull
Raymond and Velma Mangold

Maureen Manning
Nancy and Michael Martell
Janeen McAninch
John McAnulty
Paula McCullough
Sandra McDonough
Elizabeth and Patrick McDougall
Kim and Ken McGair
Suzanne McGrath
Elizabeth McLean
Hollis McMilan and Cynthia J. Knowles
Richard McPartland and Mary-Lynn Monroe
Melissa McReynolds
JoeAnn and Robert Meadows
Greg and Suzanne Meenahan
Susan and Barry Menashe
Sue Merz
Chuck and Glenda Michael
Roberta Michaels
Shirley and Bob Miller
Geoff and Janet Miller
Lynn and Mark Miller

Cindy Mitchell
Robert and Beverly Moorman
Don Morissette
Brian Muessle
Tracy Murphy
Victor Musselman
Lesley Nardini
Laura Linda Negri-Pool and Mike Pool
Joelle Nesen
Julie Nichols
Mary Ann and Gordon Noakes
Frank and Julie Noonan
Ellen and Mark Notbohm
Samara Oberlander
Rev. Mr. Gerry Olinger
David and Lynn Olson
Herbert Ozer

Rebecca and Thomas Sondag
Carol and Jeff Sonntag
Richard Sorenson
David and Julie Sorenson
Barbara and Edward Sparling
Dan and Lynn Stachlowski
Daniel and Ardie Stachlowski
Lana and Gary Stachlowski
Mary and Richard Steinberg
Sharon Stern and Steve J. Rallison
Jerry and Helen Stern
Tom Stern
Eve Stern
Will and Christine Stone
Peter Stott
Barbara Stroup
Brenda Stuart
Von Summers

Andrea and Jay Sutherland
Karen Tavenner
Tom and Kitty Taylor
Sarah Tennant
Larie Thomas
Lois and Howard Tobin
Lisa and Jim Todd
Elizabeth Toffler
Marlene and William Toffler
Christopher Toffler
Lana and Greg Traynor
Jocelyn and Tom Tuthill
Val and Randall Vakoc
John and Frances Von Schlegell
Ray and Samantha Waltz
Janis Werschkul
Mona Westhaver
Joseph Weston

Jeff and Carla Wheeler
Denise and Douglas White
Jill Whittaker
Jean Wilde
Charles and Tammy Wilhoite
Daniel and Julie Williams
Nancy and John Williams
Homer Williams
Clayton and Diane Wilson
Nancy and Jeffrey Winston
Joyce Woodring and David Horstkotte
Karl and Diane Wustrack
Martina Zellmer-Bjick
The Aldrich Law Office, P.C.
Ameriprise Financial
Bank of America
BC Graphics Inc
Cannon Beach Property Management
Caruso Produce, Inc.
Challenge Foundation
ChevronTexaco Matching Gift Program
Citi Foundation
Classic Sash and Door
CMD Agency
Davidson Companies
Distinctive Dentistry
DMG Consultancy, Ltd
Farleigh Wada Witt
First Aid Only
First Independent
Forensic Building Consultants
Freese Precast Products, Inc.
Gonzales Boring & Tunneling
Gramor Development, Inc.
Huntington Learning Center
Inspiration Software, Inc.
Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation
Juan Young Trust
Kaiser Permanente
Key Bank
Lake Oswego Dermatology Group
Lana L. Traynor, LLC
LCG Pence Construction, LLC
Lee/Eastman Furniture
Longbottom Coffee and Tea, Inc.
Mary Hoyt Stevenson Foundation
Mentor Graphics Foundation
Monte Shelton Jaguar
Nielsen’s Jewelers
NW Natural
Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate-Do of Oregon, Inc.
Oregon Community Foundation
Pizza Schmizza
PNW Tax Advisors, LLC
Portland General Electric
Providence Health & Services
Red Tail Golf Center
Screen Man
Stern Family Fund of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation
Sunshine Dairy
Third Variation Strategies, LLC
UBS Financial Services Inc.
United Way
USI Northwest
Wells Fargo Bank
The following people made gifts in memory of Margaret Guinasso:
Mary Jo and Roland Binker
Anthony and Dolores Casciato
Peter Casciato
Thomas Casciato
Dorothy and Todd Grasle
Rosaria Guinasso
The Barry Menashe Family
Ellen and Mark Notbohm

Anne and William Palmer
Brad and Jeri Parrott
Robert and Donna Patterson-Kellum
Fred Payne
Craig and Rebecca Peterson
Dan and Malin Petrusich
Patricia Phelan
Andy and Robin Pitt
Sue and Ken Poorman
Robert and Shirley Proffitt
Mary Rardin
Tania Rash
Michael Reed and Carol Mayer-Reed
Anthony and Stefanie Reel
Michael and Susan Rego
Cheryl and Rupe Reinstadler
Deborah and Vincent Reyes
Mary Jo and Barton Rice
TJ and Amy Richter
Edna and Stan Ridenour
Jim and Christina Riordan
Bill and Sharon Robbins
Robert and Jeanne Rohlf
Jean Rose
Jane Roundtree
John Rowan
Cheri Ruger
Mary Beth Saddoris
Kelly Saito
Sandra Sampeer
Margie Sanders
Michael and Mary Anne Sandoval
Jon and Brenda Sandstrom
Roger and Nanci Scheevel
Loren and BJ Schrock
Michael Schwab
Gwen Schwartz
Mary Sherman
Cindy and Dave Sherman
Mary Simensen
Christopher and Michelle Simone
Susan and Mark Sisisky
Mark Skolnick and Nancy Davis
Pam and Rik Skopil
Matthew and Frankie Smith
Nancy Smith
Larry Snow

  • Created on .