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Happy Valley kids raise cancer awareness, OCHS students hold elections

by: SUBMITTED - Happy Valley Middle School's Neon Night for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society packs the gym last year as as fun benefit for research into the diseases that affect kids.Just before Clackamas County counted its ballots last week, local students conducted their own elections for representation, and the results unquestionably bode well for Oregon City’s young, up-and-coming leadership.

Sophomore Class President Jake Halbakken was elected as 2012-13 Metro Representative at the Oregon Association of Student Councils State Fall Conference Nov. 3 to 5 in Seaside. The conference was Oregon City High School senior Katee Weisser’s last duty as OASC’s state president.

In offering advice to Halbakken, Weisser told him to “be ready to dive head first into everything you do,” but added there’s really no way to prepare someone for the job, and you just have to learn as you go. She went to nationals this past summer in Oklahoma City, and became close with many other state presidents as well as many other leaders in general.

“I knew it would entail a lot of work, but nothing like really living it gives you the realization that it is sometimes a full-time job,” she said. “After planning two conferences, Winter Energizer, OASC Summer Camp and the middle school conferences, I realized I love planning events, and I will be studying project management in college to become an event planner.”

OCHS students also elected President Obama with a 65 percent vote in their Mock Election headed by senior Katie Kohler, ending Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. In one week before the election, students and staff raised $3,223, $1,000 more than last year, for Bear Necessities, a confidential program through the counseling office to help needy families in the OCHS community during the holiday season. Additionally, the OCHS Fall Blood Drive, one of the largest in the state, raised dozens of gallons last week.

Happy Valley Middle School

Among the many fundraisers Happy Valley Middle School’s student council has organized for the Children’s Cancer Association will be a dance on Friday, Dec. 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. Their dance in the gym last year was called Neon Night for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“We are passionate about the CCA because last year we had two important people who died of cancer,” said Kade Prentice, commissioner of publicity on the HVMS student council.

Sixth grader Jessica Dey died March 30, and Leanne Hogan taught science at HVMS until 2010, when she was diagnosed with lung cancer and successfully battled the disease until Aug. 11. Prentice said the school will also be trying to collect 6,000 cans for the Oregon Food Bank and is raising awareness for “invisible disabilities,” such as autism, through education videos produced by the student council.

The OASC named HVMS student council teacher Shelley Lute as this year’s Middle School Activities Advisor of the Year.

Principal Chris Boyd credited Lute with transforming a program into a “foundation” for the school, just three years since it opened, going from “only two class sections into a thriving full-time program that builds and supports community initiatives and empowers students’ voice and action.”

Lute’s students nominated her for the award: “We didn’t just magically know how to put all of our school functions together, set goals, practice gratitude or stand up for what we believe in! She taught us all of that!” wrote HVMS Student Body Vice President Dillon Cardinale.



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