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Day: October 25, 2010

Frosh team will honor relatives’ military service

Jacob Gillett and Kolton Vickers will be co-team captains during the McNary freshman football game with McKay Thursday, Oct. 28. Both their fathers have been called up to active duty since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

When things are going as well as they have been for the McNary High School freshman football team, it’s easy to lose perspective, but that’s not the same as facing adversity.

“I hear athletes talk all the time in interviews about ‘overcoming adversity’ to win a championship,” said Ted Anagnos, head coach of the frosh team. “Just once, I’d like to see an athlete interviewed say that playing a game is not adversity. Adversity is the guy fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq in 115-degree temperatures so we get the right to play a great game.”

Earlier this season, he was trying to impress upon the young Celts the importance keeping wins, even several of them in a row, in perspective and he asked how many of their families had been affected by military deployments. Two players, Jacob Gillet and Kolton Vickers, had fathers who had been deployed since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pair will be co-team captains in the upcoming game with McKay High School Thursday, Oct. 28. The players with other family members in the armed forces will stand 10 yards behind the captains as they take the field.

Gillett’s father, Lt. Col. Michael Gillett in the National Guard, was stationed in Iraq for 10 months last year. He handled personnel and logistics for defensive operations at Victory Base Complex in Baghdad.

“It was a scary time,” Jacob said. “I think we were always worried he might get shot.”

Kolton’s father was last deployed in 2003 for two years in North Carolina, while he was young at the time, the family recently received word that Sgt. 1st Class Michael Vickers would be redeployed sometime in the next six to eight months.

“We just found out about that a few weeks ago and it was pretty tough,” Kolton said.

The Vickers have a constant reminder of the dangers faced by American armed forces, the family runs a tribute car, under the name Guardian Racing, in area drag races that displays the names of fallen soldiers from throughout Oregon.

“If someone has a family member killed in the line of duty, they can call us and we’ll add their name to the car,” Kolton said.

In the midst of such turmoil – not to mention making the massive leap from middle school to high school – both boys have found an outlet in football and other sports for any tension that arises.

“For me, having a perspective on how well we’re doing means I’m not focused on just one thing at any time,” Kolton said.

It can’t hurt, however, that their football team has made enormous strides on the field. Both boys admire their fathers as heroes, but both also know the pride they have in their families.

“My best memory of my dad was on a trip we took to Florida,” Jake said. “He ended up going to a conference and took me along. As he introduced me to the people he worked with, he treated me like a trophy and that felt really good,” Jacob said.

Anagnos has great faith in his crop of Celtic gridders, but he know it can fade if the players don’t maintain a firm footing in the things that truly matter. Appreciating the sacrifice of others is only one part of what he hopes will allow the team to bring home a state championship with a few more years of experience.

“This is a very humble, deep and talented group,” Anagnos said. “I feel they have handled the success in perspective, but it takes a lot of discipline to achieve the goals we have. My dad made us salute the flag and stand tall as Americans and remember why we are here, that’s a lesson I want them to carry forward.”

Boys, girls knot games with Vikings on the soccer field

McNary’s Juan Diego Mercado slides the ball through the legs of a South Salem forward. (Keizertimes/ERIC A. HOWALD)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

It’s beginning to feel like a common refrain – more goals.

Both the boys and girls varsity soccer team ended their matches with North Salem High School in draws. The girls tied the game at 1-1 and the boys knotted at 0-0. Players on both teams considered the games an upward swing in overall play, but the elusive wins are beginning to weigh heavily on their shoulders.

“We gotta finish like we do in practice,” said the boys’ Hugo Gonzalez. “We have to be confident when we shoot, that will make a huge difference.”

The boys met the Vikings on road Wednesday, Oct. 13, and battled to the Celts’ first shutout of the season in what players described as an “intense” game.

“We had a lot of shots on goal, we grew up a lot on the field,” said Hugo Cortez.

Miguel Camarena, Celtic head coach, was particularly pleased with the results as an away game with a top team in the league and as a sign of improvement over the Celtic effort earlier this season.

“The first game we lost 4-0, they were better team than us from the start to the end, but this time we changed formations, players and the team looked good and we played better than them,” he said. “Unfortunately, we missed many opportunities to score.”

Camarena singled out defender Oscar Ramirez for shutting down Viking Jose Somoza.

“He did that and helped our team to have an excellent game and our defense to look better and solid in the back,” Camarena said. “Hugo Cortez had his best game so far with four spectacular saves.”

Strategic retreats also worked well in the game, said Celt Luis Garibay.

“We’ve been pressuring more than usual,” he said. “But we’ve also been waiting until they come into our side of the field and then attacking.”

The girls also had an improved showing with North Salem despite the tie, Camarena said.

“Defensively, we did a pretty good job, the intensity was there,” he said. “We are getting confident and we are playing better soccer.”

The game left senior Jordan Salinas more tired than any game so far this season.

“It was one of our best games. We hustled and had great communication,” Salinas said.

Salinas scored the team’s only goal of the game off an assist from Stacey Titchenal. The Vikings caught up on a penalty kick in the 35th minute – the most upsetting aspect of the game.

“I would rather they had just gotten the goal outright,” Salinas said. “But we got right back up and into the game.”

The team still needs to clean up their passing game, said Alex Van Amburgh.

“We did pretty well, but we could have done better. We could have had better passes, a lot of them weren’t going to the right place,” she said.

Salinas, Van Amburgh and Casey Sidwell were Camarena’s picks for players of the game.

Overall, the team looked and played better than they did in previous outings, Salinas said.

“Our girls are finally playing as team, like we should have been the whole time,” she said.

Mayor says she’ll work to restore funds for River Rd Renaissance improvement program

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Members of the River Road Renaissance (RRR) committee are planning to ask for some $2 million back to fund improvements along the city’s main drag.

First they have to figure out what to do with it.

Money generated by the urban renewal district was taken out of the River Road Renaissance line item and appropriated to pay cost overruns stemming from construction of the Keizer Civic Center along with a land purchase. The total taken from the program reaches just more than $3.5 million

Currently the RRR program has about $1.266 million left.

Mayor Lore Christopher said it was a relief at the time that the city had the money to easily cover the cost overruns, “but at what cost?”

While members of the e Committee lost their quorum mid-meeting Tuesday night, discussion ensued on how best to approach getting their funding back. Restoring the money would depend largely on the district’s sale of land at Keizer Station, said Community Development Director Nate Brown.

“If you start with something and you take it, it needs to come back full power, without any question,” said Dennis Blackman, who is on the RRR committee.

Brown outlined possible upcoming projects, including at Abby’s Legendary Pizza, Dale’s Remodeling and a new office at the southeast corner of River Road and Maine Avenue.

Christopher said she thought she could get enough votes on council if the group would put together a five-year list of possible projects, complete with dollar amount.

“Let us look at that and see how much money is being spent,” Christopher said. “We committed to River Road we would support those businesses on River Road … so they could compete with Keizer Station.”

RAFTs float learners of all types

A sample of a RAFT designed for curriculum units on the solar system. RAFTs are designed to meet students at their level and ensure all types of learners are absorbing the lessons.

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

One of the biggest challenges confronting teachers at schools with students coming from high levels of poverty is mobility, the frequency with which students move in and out or between schools.

“We have some children who have been in six schools in three years,” said Erin Bernardi, a counselor at Kennedy Elementary School. “In the transitions, lots of things get repeated and some things are missed completely.”

The result is classrooms become a mixed bag of below-level, on-level and gifted learners and teachers must adapt curriculums for each group. If that sounds like something teachers are doing already, it is – in a way.

“Probably 99 percent of teachers are using these skills already, but it’s a matter of doing it with intention,” Bernardi said.

To help pave the way, Bernardi and others in the Salem-Keizer School District are developing fresh approaches to curriculum that cater to the different types of learners, the process is called differentiation. It is hoped that the end result is a common assessment model for every child even if they absorb the material in different ways.

“Basically, it’s about providing teachers with tools and students with choices to create a sense of buy-in and motivation to keep learning,” Bernardi said.

One increasingly common method is developing RAFTs for each section of a given grade curriculum. RAFTs provide project options that allow different types of learners to demonstate they’ve acquired the knowledge the teacher is trying to get across (see graphic for a detailed sample RAFT).

The diversity of options also gives teachers an opportunity to expose aptitudes that might not be on display in a traditional “sage on a stage” teaching model.

“A student struggling in writing, may not be struggling in everything,” Bernardi said. “Providing students with the opportunity to take on different roles, different target audiences, different writing assignments and incorporating different technologies means they will have a chance to demonstrate the areas they’re excelling in.”

The role the student takes on in each choice is typically that of a teacher themselves informing a specific audience about all they’ve learned. When students teach someone else the material they’ve learned, retention is increased, Bernardi said.

Taken as an approach to filling in gaps with high-mobility students, differentiation is a win-win for students and teachers.

“If you have a plan to meet kids where they are, and you have materials to support that, the student is less likely to give up on learning and teachers are less likely to become frustrated by circumstances beyond their control,” Bernardi said.