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Yoncalla Alumni Association
P. O. Box 925
Yoncalla, OR 97499
Greetings . . . from the Home of the Eagles
If you have been in town recently and passed the ole high school, I think you would appreciate the nice facelift that the building is receiving. While school officials expected the Seismic Retrofit to be complete by the beginning of this school year, progress has lagged a little behind schedule. The gym floor and new bleachers are still a work in progress causing the high school volleyball team to move all practices and games to the elementary school. The estimated time of completion is now for later in this current school year. We’ll have a final update in the Spring newsletter and will try to post some current school building pictures on the YAA website.
Did you attend the annual All-School Reunion in August? If you didn’t, you are missing out on one of the greatest gatherings of Eagles in Oregon! Over 100 YHS graduates enjoyed perfect weather and the pleasant camaraderie of fellow Eagles. As always, special kudos to Kay VanKrevelen (60) for organizing this annual event. It seems like more and more YHS classes are scheduling their class reunions around and/or in conjunction with the All-School Reunion. The All-School Reunion, remember, is always on the second Sunday in August at the Pass Creek Park in Curtin.
EAGLES TAKING FLIGHT
Many of you have probably wondered how well the students are doing who have received your contributions for scholarships through the Yoncalla Alumni Association. With the help of Principal Brian Berry, we were able to “catch up” with some of those YHS graduates (we plan to feature another group of YHS graduates in the Spring newsletter). Through his email contacts, Brian asked these graduates to respond to the following: a) what post-secondary institutions and degrees/certificates have you attended/received? b) what are you doing now? and c) is there anything you would like the Yoncalla Alumni Association donors to know? Their responses are as follows:
Karen Wickman, Class of 2014 – “I attended Umpqua Community College for one year to get prerequisites done. Then I transferred to Oregon Institute of Technology where I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Radiologic Sciences. I am now a licensed X-ray and CT technologist at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg and I am an active member of my profession’s state and national organizations. I really appreciate everything that I was given in terms of money and support after high school. It really helps knowing that you have your community behind you when you are studying for exams, not getting sleep and trying to juggle school and work.”
Kali Botner, Class of 2013 – “It was such a blessing to receive it. I began a UCC and attended for one year and then discovered I wanted to pursue the travel industry! I received a Flight Attendant/Travel Specialist Diploma from the International Air and Hospitality Academy. I worked as a flight attendant from 2015 to 2019 based in Los Angeles, Seattle and Medford. Currently, I am a military wife relocating in Oklahoma with my husband. Because of the scholarship, I was able to turn my dreams into a reality!”
Selah Kness, Class of 2016 – “Right now I am attending Umpqua Community College and I am nearly done with a degree in General Studies. As of right now, I am undecided on what I want from a career. I would like the alumni association donors to know that I am grateful for their generosity and support.”
Keagan Whittier, Class of 2015 – “I have been attending UCC working toward a Nursing degree (no degree, yet). Currently I am putting off college to go on a deployment with the National Guard as a medic. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to college and help alleviate the cost.”
Trenton Lyman, Class of 2017 – “I have attended UCC and completed my Associates of Arts transfer degree and getting ready to transfer to the University of Oregon this fall to get a bachelors in Journalism and a minor in International Studies. Or vice versa. I’m not sure yet. Whatever I enjoy the most, I suppose. The donations I received helped me immensely during my time at UCC. When it got tough, I knew I had to keep going or I felt like I was letting everyone down, especially the donors kind enough to help me. The donations helped me experience opportunities I never thought I could get.”
Jessica Powers, Class of 2017 – “I finished one year of post-secondary education. I am currently working for Petco in Roseburg getting more hands on experience working with animals. In the future, I will be attending school to become a veterinarian. I greatly appreciate everything the alumni association donors have done for me. They gave the hope and the drive I needed to achieve my dreams.”
Jason Ellis, (Class of 2015) – “I have attended Mt. Hood Community College and Umpqua Community College. I was hired out of the program at UCC by the Douglas County Sheriff Department as a Deputy Sheriff. I would like to thank the Association for the scholarship I received as well as the many scholarships given to other graduates of YHS. Scholarships are more than just money; they are an opportunity. As many of you know, I came from a very poor family and without scholarships, from generous donors, college would have never been an option for me. Because of the many scholarships and grants that I received, I was able to attend Mt. Hood CC and Umpqua CC without any debt. Having no student debt, Michaela and I, together, bought a home here in Yoncalla at the age of 21.”
Michaela Stevens, Class of 2015 – “I attended Mt. Hood Community College and received a certificate in Dental Assisting from Umpqua Community College. Currently, I am working as a Dental and Ortho Assistant, Care Advocate and Treatment Coordinator at Willamette Dental Group. I am very thankful of the scholarship that I received from the Yoncalla Alumni Association. I would like to say thank you to the donors. Without the scholarship that I received from the Yoncalla Alumni Association I wouldn’t have been able to attend school and achieve my goals. Thank you to all those that donate to the Yoncalla Alumni Association. These funds give students hope and help students in our community reach their goals.”
Nathan Leu, Class of 2013 – “I have received a Bachelor’s of Science in Ecological Engineering from Oregon State University. Today I work as an environmental engineer and environmental emergency responder. I recently spent four months in Saipan (a small, gorgeous island north of Guam) doing cleanup work after Typhoon Yutu struck. I am leaving for Hawaii after sampling for toxic chemicals in American Samoa. I would like to let the Alumni Association donors know I am very thankful for everything they have given me and that their support and YHS were essential for my academic and personal growth.
Lela Cook, Class of 2015 – “I have attended Truckee Meadows Community College and the University of Nevada at Reno. I am currently seeking a Master’s Degree in both Molecular Microbiology and Immunology with a minor in education along with taking real-estate classes on the side. The scholarship provided has been one less thing for me to worry about and it was a blessing to receive. College is expensive and there are so many other expenses that come along with going to college that people have no idea about until they see another charge on their account.”
I wish I could report to you that 100 per cent of YHS graduates receiving YAA scholarships were successfully completing their first year of post-secondary education. As you can see, however, there are many success stories and please look for another group of awesome successes in the Spring newsletter. For the students that tend to struggle a little, the YAA is looking into creating additional supports for them (including, perhaps, a mentorship program?). However, by reading these students’ stories, I hope you feel a certain sense of validation for how your contributions are helping many young YHS graduates!
If you are a regular reader of the YAA newsletters, then you will remember that we use this Fall newsletter to “kick off” our solicitation for scholarship funds for the upcoming YHS graduation class – the Class of 2020. This class will mark the tenth school year that the Yoncalla Alumni Association will have awarded scholarships to graduating seniors. Through our first nine years, the YAA has awarded about $115,000 in scholarship funds – making a positive difference in lives of YHS graduates!
Terry Duncan (69)
WHERE EAGLES LAND
A special feature in each Fall newsletter is the Where Eagles Land column. This gives us a chance to see what some of our school mates have been doing since their days at YHS. The graduates featured in this series sometimes tend to be reluctant participants. With a little prodding, they often times consent and for that, I wish to express my personal gratitude to them. So . . . to Nancy, Dick and Arlene . . . a special thank you for agreeing to be part of this continuing story!
YHS Graduate Nancy (Cox) Benzel, Class of 1969
Born and raised on the same ranch that she occupies today (west of Scotts Valley), Nancy attended Scotts Valley Grade School through the sixth grade and began attending school in the city for her 7th grade through high school graduation. It was during that 7th grade year, that she met “. . . a very cute young man from Yoncalla, named Ray Benzel Jr. We became instant friends and were inseparable throughout the rest of our school years.” Ray and Nancy were married soon after graduation in 1969. While Ray worked for his father, Nancy attended Merritt Davis Business School in Eugene. She completed her program in 1970 and began work as a legal secretary in Cottage Grove and later worked in an Escrow office there.
During high school, Nancy chose to participate in school government, cheerleading, the Biology Club, Girls Athletic Association, Pep Club, Track and was a Homecoming Princess and Prom Queen during her senior year. Nancy expresses her great disappointment in the lack of athletic opportunities for the girls. Interscholastic competition was limited to track. Many girls, Nancy said, did not have the opportunity to get to know their own true potential because of the limited options for them at that time.
Being the first student on the morning school bus at 7:15 meant that Nancy was the last student off the bus in the afternoon at about 4:30. 12 years of riding those buses, however, meant that she developed several lifelong friendships. Her four years of high school left her with many fond memories of the “. . . small school we were privileged to attend”. Everyone got along and guns were not scary then. Nancy recalls there being as many as 22 rifles in unlocked pickup trucks in the school parking lot. It was common to go squirrel hunting after school and Nancy claims to have been a pretty good shot, herself!
Ray and Nancy’s daughter, Becky, was born in 1971 and their son, Corey was born in 1973. Nancy became a stay at home mom while she and Ray started their own excavation business in 1976. Growing weary of the western Oregon rain, Ray and Nancy bought 40 acres in Tumalo, Oregon but returned to their roots, four years later. In 1980, they built a new home on Nancy’s family farm/ranch. Overcome with Empty Nest Syndrome, Nancy secured her Realtor’s license in 1991. She continued to sell real estate until 2004, when the greatest of tragedies struck. Husband, Ray, passed away from cancer and Nancy lost both parents within a year of his passing. With her world rocked to the core, she began to focus on tree farming, logging and reforestation in addition to raising her cattle and sheep. Successfully creating a sustainable ranch, Nancy has continued on with the life that she was blessed with from the beginning. With her children and four grandsons nearby, life is good! Her grandchildren get to enjoy the same privileges and love of nature that Nancy grew up with.
Nancy concludes that she hasn’t strayed too far from home . . . the place she was raised and loves. Having traveled to other countries, she can’t imagine “. . . being any happier living any place else than right here on the outskirts of Yoncalla!”
YHS Graduates Dick (47) and Arlene (Fast) Gordon (51)
After taking Arlene home from a babysitting job . . . “the rest is history” . . . claims Dick Gordon. He and Arlene will be married for 69 years on October 16, 2019. Arlene graduated four years after Dick, and says she loved her school experience and especially the associated field trips. Gloria Hudson, Joyce Miller and Lois Ann Wright were among her closest friends at YHS. Even before Title IX and the budget cuts at YHS, Arlene was able to participate in volleyball and softball while attending Yoncalla High School. Dick’s closest friends were Bob Langdon and Oliver Martin. Like Arlene, Dick also participated in athletics while attending YHS . . . playing football, basketball and baseball. In fact, notes Arlene, Dick still has the baseball from the game in which he pitched a no-hitter. (Editor’s note: At a recent Yoncalla All-School Reunion, I was visiting with Norval Ritchey who graduated from Yoncalla High School in 1948 and went on to play baseball with the University of Oregon and later became the Athletic Director at the same institution. While talking with him, he was pointing directly at Dick and said “. . . that man had the best curve ball I have ever seen”). While Dick wouldn’t confess to any low spots that he may have experienced while attending YHS, he simply said that it was mostly good in spite of hating the English class. However, maybe his greatest thrill came from winning the Douglas County Championship in baseball.
While busy with being a homemaker, Arlene also served as a volunteer for 20 years as a “room mother” in the Yoncalla schools. Dick spent most of his adult life working in the timber industry (doing many different jobs) and loving it. Dick and Arlene have three children and were quick (with good reason) to brag on them. All three of their children graduated from Yoncalla High School and also became college graduates! As a very young child, Dan (the oldest) said he wanted to become a teacher and after graduating from YHS, as class valedictorian, he earned a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Oregon University and a Master’s degree from Lewis and Clark. While living near Salem, Dan continues to teach high school in the Salem area. Mike (second oldest) also earned his Bachelors and his Masters degrees from Eastern Oregon University. Mike, too, became a teacher and taught, first, in the Mitchell School District and finished up at Prospect High School in the community where he continues to live. Both Dan and Mike were good athletes and became coaches in addition to their teaching duties. Their youngest, Denise, also graduating from YHS as class valedictorian, received degrees from Eastern Oregon University in Biology and Oregon State University in Horticulture. Denise is living in Olympia, Washington with her family.
Extensive travel was one of their accomplished goals. Having traveled to many states (including Hawaii and Alaska), Dick and Arlene also traveled internationally to the Northwest Territory of Canada and to Scotland. Even after expanding their exposure to this great world, Dick and Arlene, in conclusion, state “. . . we are honored that Yoncalla is a great place to call home”.
YHS 2019 Graduating Seniors Share $16,500 in YAA Scholarship Dollars
Melody Cranford (Umpqua Community College) – YAA General Scholarship; and Charlotte Wise Memorial Scholarship
Andrea Santos (Umpqua Community College) – YAA General Scholarship; Don Kingery Memorial Scholarship; and J. R. Van Loon Memorial Scholarship; Devin Duncan Memorial Scholarship
Amiah Ellis-Roseberry (Portland State University) – YAA General Scholarship; Quentin Rychard Memorial Scholarship; Don Kingery Memorial Scholarship and Devin Duncan Memorial Scholarship
Jeffery Williams-Tibbits (Umpqua Community College) – YAA General Scholarship; J. R. Van Loon Memorial Scholarship; and Devin Duncan Memorial Scholarship
Marilyn Deese – (Umpqua Community College) – YAA General Scholarship
Kali Schuster (Umpqua Community College) – YAA General Scholarship; and Charlotte Wise Memorial Scholarship
Austin Marquez (Umpqua Community College) – YAA General Scholarship; Bill Lasswell Memorial Scholarship
Athusoss Gilbert (Umpqua Community College) – Devin Duncan Memorial Scholarship
Recapping ALL 2019 YAA Contributions
Mary Ellen Lasswell (teacher) – Yoncalla; Jim Booth (60) – Salem, OR; Jim Hudson (59) – Salem, OR; Susan (Cowan) Skirvin (58) – Indio, CA; Betty (LaMar) McKirdy (50) – Eugene, OR; Mary (Farrell) Andrews (60) – Newberg, OR; James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove, OR; Boyd Duncan (73) – Montpeiler, ID; George Murdock (Superintendent) – Pendleton, OR; Dave Clark (76) – Sparks, NV; Rick Butler (73) – Naperville, IL; Alma Waters (60) – Roseburg; Lyle Clingman (75) – Elmira; Carl (75) and Kathy Van Loon - Yoncalla
Marie (Blanchfill) Smith (75) by John Duncan (75) – Nine Mile Falls, WA; Rick (71) and Betty (Tucker) Duncan (75) - Yoncalla
Nina (Bryant) Noffsinger (75) by John Duncan (75) – Nine Mile Falls, WA; Rick (71) and Betty (Tucker) Duncan (75) - Yoncalla
Steve Means (75) by John Duncan (75) – Nine Mile Falls, WA; Rick (71) and Betty (Tucker) Duncan (75) - Yoncalla
Vicki (Crites) Duncan (71) by John Duncan (75) – Nine Mile Falls, WA; Terry (69) & Bonnie (Dupper) Duncan (67) – Yoncalla; Rick (71) and Betty (Tucker) Duncan (75) - Yoncalla
Roy Langdon (68) by Betty (Langdon) Sneed (70) – Lakeside; Dorothy Langdon (74) – Oakland, OR; Anna (Langdon) Ellington (63) - Reedsport; James Langdon (80) – Oakland; Elva (Langdon) Toy (72) - Yoncalla
Mary (Putman) Crossfield (70) by Cindy (Payne) Johnsrud (70) – Drain; Max Norris (70) - Yoncalla
Max Dodd (42) by Jeanette (Dodd) Crites (69) – Roseburg; Linda (Dodd) Montgomery (68) - Eugene
Stan Snider (56) by Morris Snider (57) – Salem, OR
Bill Snider (59) by Morris Snider (57) – Salem, OR
Paul Allen (48) by Jim Allen (76) – Sutherlin; Jimmy Metz (50) - Eugene
Pauline (Rychard) Allen (52) by Jim Allen (76) – Sutherlin, OR
Shirley (Highley) Waters (51) by Homer Waters (51) – Yoncalla; Bill LaMar (51) Eugene
Lois Ann (Wright) Jemenez (51) by Dick (47) & Arlene (Fast) Gordon (51) – Yoncalla
Walt & Sandy Speer (Teacher) by Steve Speer (76) – Fossil, OR; Randy and Nancy Altman (Principal, Teacher and Coach) - Vernonia
Linda Speer (79) by Steve Speer (76) – Fossil, OR
Everett Swezey (57) by Ronald Powell (57) – Prineville, OR
Kimberly Campbell (78) by Bob (54) & Lois (Parks) Campbell (55) – Yoncalla; Deanna (Mast) Derrick (80) – Drain, OR
Anne (Campbell) Proebstel (57) by Connie (Campbell) Hemminger (58) San Jose, CA
Jim Proebstel (58) by Connie (Campbell) Hemminger (58) – San Jose, CA
Ruby Thomas (Teacher) by Connie (Campbell) Hemminger (58) – San Jose, CA
Marli (Haller) Ward (87) by Deanna (Mast) Derrick (83) – Drain, OR
Ray Benzel (69) by Nancy (Cox) Benzel (69) – Yoncalla; Randy Cady (70) – Alvadore; Max Norris (70) - Yoncalla
Bernice (McKaig) Kruse (21) by Madalyn (Smith) Tower (68) – Stayton, OR
Betty (Kruse) Smith (41) by Madalyn (Smith) Tower (68) – Stayton, OR
Gordon McKaig Smith (64) by Madalyn (Smith) Tower (68) – Stayton, OR
Claudia (Bowman) Hutto (61) by James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove, OR; Max Norris (70) - Yoncalla
Dave Williams (57) by James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove, OR
Nina Duncan by Doris Means (44) – Yoncalla; Terry (69) & Bonnie (Dupper) Duncan (67) – Yoncalla
Judi (Bennett) Gay (88) – by Terry (69) and Bonnie (Dupper) Duncan (67) – Yoncalla
Dennis Thompson (66) – by Rodney Thompson (60) – Pendleton, OR
Mary Diana (Thompson) Brady (62) – by Rodney Thompson (60) – Pendleton, OR
Tomy Coggswell (64) – by Francis Coggswell (55) – Roseburg
Debra (Winslow) Nash (73) – by Elva (Langdon) Toy (72) – Yoncalla
Steve Farrell (64) – by Sally (Farrell) Flores (71) – Salem
Orlan Wiley (60) – by James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove
Johnny Cowan (57) – by James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove
Janet Sehlin (64) – by Charley (61) and Bonnie (Sehlin) Boan (66) – Yoncalla
Virgina (Boan) Underwood (54) – by Marlow (52) and Lola (Highley) Fullbright (56) - Yoncalla
Charolette Wise Memorial Scholarship: Jim Allen (76) – Sutherlin, OR; James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove, OR; Max Norris (70) - Yoncalla
Don Kingery Sr. Memorial Scholarship: Jim Allen (76) – Sutherlin, OR; James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove, OR; Francis Coggswell (55) – Roseburg; Molly (Kingery) Anderson (54) Glenham, SD; Doris (Kingery) Means (44) – Yoncalla; Jimmy Metz (50) - Eugene
Quentin Rychard Memorial Scholarship: Jim Allen (76) – Sutherlin, OR; James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove, OR
J. R. Van Loon Memorial Scholarship: Jim Allen (76) – Sutherlin, OR; James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove, OR; Wayne Van Loon (65) - Beaverton
Devin Duncan Memorial Scholarship: John Duncan (75) – Nine Mile Falls, WA; Jim Allen (76) – Sutherlin, OR; Nina Duncan – Yoncalla; Don Wood – Union, OR; Mary Ellen Lasswell – Yoncalla; Tara (Duncan) Glover (01) – Franklin, TN; Anthony Lopez Waste (90) – Canutillo, TX; Ron Robinson – Eugene, OR; Derece (Duncan) Argo – Ormond Beach, FL; Virginia (Langdon) Westfall (59) – Fremont, CA; Nicole (Meeuwsen) Reif (95) – Buckley, WA; James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove, OR; Boyd Duncan (73) – Montpeiler, ID; Rick (71) and Betty (Tucker) Duncan (75) – Yoncalla; Randy and Nancy Altman (Principal, Teacher and Coach) – Vernonia; Doris (Kingery) Means (44) - Yoncalla
Bill Lasswell Memorial Scholarship: Jim Allen (76) – Sutherlin, OR; James Wamsley (58) – Cottage Grove, OR; Bob (54) & Lois (Parks) Campbell (55) – Yoncalla; Anne (Lasswell) Nagel (55) – El Cajon, CA; Doris (Kingery) Means (44) – Yoncalla; Kay VanKrevelen (50) – Roseburg
Yoncalla Alumni Association
Board of Directors
Terry Duncan (69) – President
Carl Van Loon (75) – Vice President
Betty (Tucker) Duncan (75) – Secretary
Stella (Rychard) Myers (70) – Treasurer
Nancy (Cox) Benzel (69) – Member
Rob Bragg (67) – Member
YHS Faculty Representative – Member
Yoncalla Alumni Association
Scholarships for the Class of 2020
Please indicate the type of donation you are contributing:
A_____Honorary Dues (contributions to the General Scholarship Fund).
B_____Memorial Contributions (contributions in the name of a deceased alumnus also go into the General Scholarship Fund).
Deceased alumnus’ name___________________________________________________
Year deceased alumnus graduated____________________________________________
C_____Existing Annual Memorial Scholarships (these contributions are added to the existing
Annual memorial scholarship award).
_____Charlotte Wise Memorial Scholarship
_____Don Kingery Memorial Scholarship
_____Quentin Rychard Memorial Scholarship
_____J. R. Van Loon Memorial Scholarship
_____Devin C. Duncan Memorial Scholarship
_____Bill Lasswell Memorial Scholarship
If contributing by check, please make payable to:
Yoncalla Alumni Association
PO Box 925
Yoncalla, OR 97499