Brookings-Harbor School District 17C
Key Communicators eNews
June 2016 | Volume 1 | Issue 5
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Graduation Day Festivities

On Saturday, June 4, at least 800 people gathered in the football stadium for the Brookings-Harbor High School graduation ceremony to witness processions, recognitions, speeches and celebrations.

"I think that I speak for everyone when I say that I am a proud member of the Class of 2016," said Co-Valdictorian Russell Nickels, one of six students earning the honor. "Let's cherish these beautiful memories today, not just as a class, but as a family."

"We learned how to twerk and how to plank, we made those ridiculous Harlem Shake videos, and did the ice bucket challenge. We whipped, we nay-nayed, and now we dab." Nickels said at the start of a light hearted medley of high school reminiscing led by the valedictorians, who added the final dance step in unison for extra emphasis.

"Today marks the start of a new and critical point in our lives," Valedictorian Courtney Bay said. "Today is about all of us. We believe in every single one of you ... you are all capable of achieving anything you want, when you put your mind to it."

The 106 graduating students also heard from Principal Lisa Dion, Teacher of the Year Ted Burdett, counselor Kristi Fulton, and others, who shared memories in speeches about the class.

Dion commended the class on their resilience, especially in the face of numerous staffing and policy changes throughout their high school careers. 

"Your class experienced more upheaval and instability than any high school students should have to face ... losing teachers you've grown to love is tough, but so are you," Dion said. She and Vice Principal Alex Merritt were among a sea of new staff faces that greeted students their junior year.

She also commended the class for it's academic excellence. "Your class marks a turning point for Brookings-Harbor High School, because of your collective spirit of perseverance, your class is breaking the barrier of low graduation rates," she said. "Congratulations on a job well done."

Teacher of the Year Ted Burdett — one of the many beloved teachers students said goodbye to this year gave a brief address to the class.

"God bless these students and these graduates," Burdett said. 

"Today, you're going to laugh a little, you're going to cry a little and that's a very good thing," he said, before setting off a chain reaction of hugs throughout the graduates at the conclusion of his speech

The senior members of Sea Breeze Choir entertained the crowd with a rendition of “Coming Home,” a tribute to the state of Oregon.

"I'm coming home to the place that I remember, back to the land of my first love. Would you spread open your arms for this wayward son? I left my heart in Oregon."

Counselor Kristi Fulton, the keynote speaker, laughed with the students about the memories they’d made throughout the past few years, and managed to work the name of every graduating student and BHHS teacher into her speech.

"Our community has given opportunities for you to grow into civic minded individuals ... seek out opportunities to serve, wherever you live," she said while congratulating the class on it's extensive community service.

Among her other lessons shared:

  • "If you stumble, and others try to pull you down, you have to persevere," she said. "Surround yourself with others who are strong."
  • "Always let others know how much you appreciate them.
  • "Don't be afraid to accept assistance when needed."
  • "Learn to take things in stride, relax and trust the process of life."

"Some of you might be wondering, what is my passion and purpose? That is the purpose of life, to find out. Look, leap, search, do not leave any stone unturned until you do," Fulton said.

"Always remember that you are a Bruin and you have the spirit of the mighty bear inside you," she added. "You were a BHHS Bruin first. Each of you are special."

"Class of 2016, you are now armed with one of the most important tools needed to forge your way ahead ... your future is in your hands, no one else," Fulton said.


Celebrating outstanding graduates

During the graduation ceremony on June 4, the achievements of an exemplary group of graduates were highlighted.

This year we have six valedictorians, one salutatorian, and seven additional students earned an honors diploma. 

All of these students achieved high academic standards including advanced placement and dual credit coursework in partnership with South Western Oregon Community College and Oregon Institute of Technology.  


  • Shaan Amin
  • Courtney Bay
  • Drew Farmer
  • Vanessa Hernandez-Zepeda
  • Russell Nickels
  • Hanna Leonard


  • Nastassia Carrasco

Additional Honors Diploma recipients:

  • Clarice Baumbach
  • Ashley Boulley
  • Christopher Burton
  • Jesse Goode
  • Chelsie Lanphere
  • Katherine McPherson
  • Elizabeth Norman

Congratulations to all 106 of our Class of 2016 graduates!


New tradition: Younger students cheer for grads

This year marked the start of a new tradition. Bedecked in their gowns and caps, seniors walked through the halls of Kalmiopsis Elementary and Azalea Middle School on the eve of their graduation to the cheers of the younger students.

The activity was part practice for the next day's events and part pep rally. The graduation walk through is a new way to honor graduates started by Principal Lisa Dion and Vice Principal Alex Merritt who decided to try it after seeing the celebratory idea posted online at other school sites around the country.

The hope was to both congratulate the graduates and get young students thinking ahead to graduation and their own academic goals.

"We want to inspire young people at Kalmiopsis and Azalea to want to do the same things for themselves," said Vice Principal Alex Merritt in an interview with the Curry Coastal Pilot.


Oregon Rising recap

Over two weeks, with events on May 19 and 26, the Brookings-Harbor School District hosted two Oregon Rising community forum events where community members and educators gathered to discuss the future of Oregon's schools.

The events were co-sponsored by the Confederation of School Administrators (COSA), Oregon School Board Association (OSBA) and Oregon Educators Association (OEA).

Thirty-five individuals attended the local events, and many more participated in the survey online.

At the event, fourth grade teacher Jennifer Legat, shared class assignments, drawings, essays and quotes that students across the district had shared about their personal dreams and hopes for the future of our local schools in response to Oregon Rising.

Survey responses and discussion notes from the Brookings events were shared with the statewide organizers of Oregon Rising. More than 10,000 people across the state had participated as of Wednesday, June 8 -- surpassing the total goal of the campaign.

Missed out? Community members have until June 25 to participate in the survey online.


Summer Food Program

The Summer Food Program will once again provide free food for ages 1-18 this summer.

The summer food service program provides healthy meals to children during the summer vacation. Children that attend camps, day care, tournaments, practices, play outside, ride bikes/skateboards, attend summer school or just hang out are all welcome to participate at no cost!

Weekdays from June 20 to August 11, breakfast will be served from 8:15 to 9 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Brookings-Harbor High School Cafeteria (entrance off Easy Street).

Sack lunches are also available from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Kid Town playground in Azalea Park. 

Adults who wish to dine with their child can participate for a nominal cost of $2.50 for breakfast or $3.75 for lunch. No meals will be served on the Independence Day holiday, Monday, July 4.


Upcoming Events

Regular Board Meeting:
6 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, Kalmiopsis Elementary School Library.

School Board information.

Recent News

Here's a brief list of available coverage of Brookings-Harbor schools people and programs. Inclusion of any item constitutes neither endorsement nor critique, but is intended only to make the BHSD community aware of significant items in the media. Shared when links are available.

Curry Coastal Pilot: Freeman, James are all-state (June 10)

Curry Coastal Pilot: School receives historic flag (June 10)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Class of '16 Graduates (June 7)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Athletic Awards Banquet (June 3)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Cinderella story ends against Henley (May 27)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Champion for children, theater (May 25)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Schreiber 9th in State (May 25)

Curry Coastal Pilot: State Championship Preview (May 25)

Curry Coastal Pilot: BHHS students receive end of year academic awards (May 17)


Job Postings

Now hiring:
  • Math Teacher, Brookings-Harbor High School, half-time.    
  • Custodian II, Kalmiopsis Elementary School. Application closes June 17, 2016.
  • High School JV Girls Soccer Coach, Brookings-Harbor High School, 16-17 school year, open until filled.
  • Guidance Counselor Support Staff, Brookings-Harbor High School.    
  • BHSD 17C District Librarian, District Office.    
Information and online application.
Copyright © 2016 Brookings-Harbor School District, All rights reserved.

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