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MHS seniors soar past reading goals


McNary teacher Dan Borresen recently led a group of 30 students to meet state reading goals in half the time it was expected to take. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary teacher Dan Borresen recently led a group of 30 students to meet state reading goals in half the time it was expected to take. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

For the Keizertimes

McNary High School’s seniors recently made history. The class of 2014 will be the school’s first in which every student passed the OAKS State Reading Test, a test required to graduate.

If a senior is not able to graduate this year, it is not because of the state reading test.

The difference came down to a single teacher: Dan Borresen.

“Mr. Borresen was a good fit for the job. He is an effective teacher and he is empathetic to students. When he has a goal he reaches it,” said Justin Lieuallen, an assistant principal and Borresen’s direct supervisor.

Borresen led two courses with students still in need of passing grades on the test, and it was his first year taking on the task. The classes were expected to last a year, but everyone passed in half the time. A total of 34 students were enrolled in the Reading Workshop class. Once the test came, 30 passed. The other four did not take the test, two no longer attend McNary and the other two never attended class.

The testing coordinator at McNary, Aubrie VanBuskirk, said, “Mr. Borresen is an incredible teacher. He knew how to motivate the students, and he was the right teacher for the right group of students. Together they made McNary history.”

“It was nothing special that I did,” said Borreson. “I did not want to let them down. The reason they passed is the effort. I gave them the tools. They were motivated to pass. I am very proud.”

Senior Jesse Carreon-Francis said he had his own motivations.

“(I want to go) to college and to get out of high school,” he said, but that wasn’t the whole story. “Mr. Borresen is a loving and fun teacher. He is dedicated to his students. He is calm, honest and open.”

Carreon-Francis now has a chance to graduate. He still has one more test to be able to receive his diploma – but the reading test won’t hold him back.

“Mr. Borresen is a really good teacher. He actually cares about his students. He helped us finish the missing pieces that no one ever taught us,” said Stefania Barragan, another student in the Reading Workshop class.

Barragan is now going to graduate because of the hard working atmosphere produced by the students and the leadership of Borresen. She added that Borreson creates an atmosphere that “always tries to be fun and be serious.”

With both unique, motivated students and an outstanding teacher, 30 students are moving on to better things. Their hard work paid off. Borreson isn’t one to take credit for it, but Barragan put it succintly:

“Borresen is awesome. My best teacher,” she said.