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Day: November 25, 2016

Keizer siblings pioneers of student government

Keizer siblings Edward, Joshua and Rosa Oliver were elected to the first Oregon Communications Academy student government last month. KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley
Keizer siblings Edward, Joshua and Rosa Oliver were elected to the first Oregon Communications Academy student government last month. KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley


Of the Keizertimes

When Oregon Connections Academy was looking for candidates to serve in its first ever student government, three siblings from Keizer stepped up to the challenge.

Joshua Oliver, a 10-year-old elected to represent the fifth grade, was the first from the family to decide to run. Older sister, Rosa, 15, voted secretary, and older brother, Edward, 18, a senator representing the senior class, soon followed.

“I want to build more school spirit, make it fun for other fifth graders,” Joshua said.

They were all encouraged by their mother, Kara.

“I thought it was an opportunity for the kids to develop speaking skills, communication skills, things they can use for the future for job development,” Kara said.

The Olivers were elected in October and Edward has already seen it pay off.

“I know I’m lacking in some of those areas and it’s already helping improve them, for sure,” he said.

Edward also feels like a pioneer.

“It’s an opportunity to show what others can do in the future with this student government,” he said.

To run for student government, students had to maintain a 3.0 GPA, adhere to the ORCA student code of conduct and agree to attend all student government LiveLesson sessions and participate in three field trips in their area.

A candidate’s forum LiveLesson session was then held to decide contested races. After candidates gave speeches and answered questions, students then voted for their choices using an online poll.

“This will be an extremely fun and exciting experience, while also being one of the most challenging responsibilities of your high school career.”—that is the explanation at the top of the job description for members of the new Oregon Connections Academy Student Government.

The Student Government Executive Board includes a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and two activities directors that meet via LiveLesson once a week for about 30 minutes.

Rosa said they run out of time because so many things are discussed.

“We’re getting events together like prom and more fun field trips and spirit week,” Rosa said. “Something more student driven. We’re also talking about fundraising and winter formals and other activities.

There is also a student senate with senators representing grades 5-12.

“I’m excited for students to have a voice about what they want to see happen at their school so they take more ownership,” said Nikki Coleman, Oregon Connections Academy Student Government Advisor and high school electives teacher from Tualatin.

The Olivers all agreed that the best thing to come out of student government is more socializing with kids from all over the state. Oregon Connections Academy serves around 4,000 students in Oregon.

“The thing with virtual school is we’re all at home, we barely know each other,” Edward said. “All we see on the computer is our names and that’s all we really know about each other. I think it will be better to cultivate more face-to-face interaction. We’ve been thinking about how to reach out to the rest of the class.

“Being a state-wide school, it’s hard to reach everyone. I would definitely like to see more student oriented events and get more of a school spirit in there.”

Council denies Keizer Chamber request for parade fee waivers

“I think we all love this event, but we have a city to run and we have to be diligent with the money we have.” — Kim Freeman, Keizer City Councilor
“I think we all love this
event, but we have a
city to run and we have to be diligent with
the money we have.”
— Kim Freeman, Keizer City Councilor


Of the Keizertimes

A Keizer Chamber of Commerce request that city officials waive fees and other costs associated with the Holiday Lights Parade was snuffed out at the Keizer City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 21.

The Keizer Chamber requested waivers for fees totaling $5,805 related to police staffing, public works costs and temporary use permits among others, but councilors were not in a giving mood. One city councilor even expressed frustration at the asking.

“The chamber did come to council a month ago and we were honest about what we could waive and what we couldn’t. I’m a little disappointed that they came and asked for it anyway,” said Councilor Kim Freeman. “I think we all love this event, but we have a city to run and we have to be diligent with the money we have.”

Danielle Bethell, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, asked the city council to consider fee waivers at a previous meeting and, while no action was taken, councilors made it clear that waivers would be unlikely.

At the time, Mayor Cathy Clark said she wanted to hear from River Road North businesses about their success during the parade before dipping into city coffers in support of it.

At the meeting Monday, the biggest topic of discussion was a request to waive $4,000 for police staffing. Granting such a waiver would subtract from the city’s general fund which is already stretched thin, and even a $4,000 expense could create a shortfall down the line.

“I feel like that during the budget process in May would be the proper time to ask for a waiver like this. I will be a no vote on waiving anything,” said Councilor Amy Ryan.

The fees the Keizer Chamber was requesting waivers for generally fell into two categories hard costs and foregone revenues. In addition to the $4,000 for police staffing, there were another $1,300 in costs to the Keizer’s Public Works Department that would have to be absorbed. Other costs – $50 for an application fee and $275 in temporary use permits – would simply have resulted in less revenue.

Councilor Bruce Anderson said he was impressed with the Chamber’s discussions regarding the decision to take on the parade, and would have supported many of the fee waivers, but not the police staffing.

“The police staffing is a bridge too far, but I think looking at the other fee waivers are reasonable,” Anderson said.

In the end, the only waiver the Chamber left the meeting with was worth $180, which covers the costs of parade coverage on Keizer’s public access cable channel, Keizer 23. Keizer 23 funds are sourced outside the general fund.

The parade is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10.

McNary alum brings winning to Culver

Submitted Randi Viggiano and her husband and assistant coach Nick, both McNary graduates, have turned Culver High School into a volleyball powerhouse.
Randi Viggiano and her husband and assistant coach Nick, both McNary graduates, have turned Culver High School into a volleyball powerhouse.


Of the Keizertimes

Dan Borresen, former volleyball coach at McNary High School, isn’t at all surprised by the success of one of his past players.

Randi Viggiano graduated from McNary in 2000 and was a defensive specialist on the 1998 team that brought home the school’s first state trophy, finishing a school best fifth place.

Now the head coach at Culver, in Central Oregon, the Lady Bulldogs have finished in the top five in Class 2A six years in a row.

“I’ve had several players go on to be coaches and she would be at the top of the list of someone I knew would coach someday,” Borresen said.

“I remember her very well because when she was a little kid, she was always in the gym. She loved playing. She loved everything about teaching and coaching the game. It was something that was a passion for her’s since the time she was a young kid.”

Going to youth camps at McNary, Viggiano, then McDonnell, couldn’t wait to be on the high school team.

“I grew up dreaming of playing for Dan Borresen and being a McNary Celtic probably ever since I was  8 years old,” she said.  “I had an amazing high school volleyball experience from ninth through 12th grade and got to look up to a lot of great players and got to play with some of my closest friends in high school. He (Borresen) laid such a great foundation for all of us and someone we all still look up to and admire.”

After high school, Viggiano didn’t have immediate plans to get into coaching. She went to Oregon State  University and majored in public health and earned her master’s degree in counseling. But then an opening for an assistant coach at volleyball powerhouse Crook County opened up.

“It kind of fell into my lap,” Viggiano said. “I moved to Central Oregon for work and my mom had somehow heard through the grapevine that Crook County was looking for some help coaching. I definitely found a home there.”

In three seasons with the program, Crook County won three state championships.

Viggiano was ready to branch out on her own.

In her interview at Culver, she was asked what her goal was in a year. She replied, “Win a state championship.” Viggiano was then asked her goal for five years. “Win five more,” she responded.

Culver had finished last in its league the two previous seasons.

“I think they liked my answer,” Viggiano said. “I came from a competitive program. When I was at McNary the goal was always to win and I grew up watching that program. My club team that I played for was always really competitive and successful and then I went to coach at Crook County so finishing on top, that was always the goal. If you’re not reaching for the top, then what are you really reaching for?”

Having coached three girls from Culver on a club team, Viggiano sort of knew what she was getting into.

In 2010, her first season, the Lady Bulldogs jumped to third in its league and made the state tournament. Culver then finished fourth in the state in 2011.

“We had really strong freshmen come in, who definitely helped bring a new level of volleyball to our program and just building with the other strong players that we already had the year before,” Viggiano said.

“I had two girls from those first two years who are currently playing college volleyball. Seeing those girls develop and pursue volleyball outside of high school is definitely something great for the culture of your program.”

Culver has a Wall of Champions in its gym with giant pictures of past wrestling teams and the 2007 state champion football team but there weren’t any girls.

Viggiano put an end to that as the volleyball program won the state title in 2012.

“To win it with those girls was just something very special because they had never won a state title in any sport,” Viggiano said. “I swear our entire town was there watching it and that made it extra special as well and for me to help facilitate a group of females going up on that wall, they’re the only group up there, that was really special for me. In a wall of boys, there’s a group of volleyball players, which is awesome.”

Culver had back-to-back third place finishes in 2013 and 2014 and were state runner-up in 2015.

The Lady Bulldogs went into the 2016 state tournament as the No. 1 seed but finished fifth.

Along with all the winning, Viggiano has also created a family atmosphere at Culver, where she also serves as the school’s counselor, and not just because her husband is an assistant coach and her mom has coached the junior varsity.

“They are our kids and we want them to feel that sense of belonging and that sense of love and acceptance throughout the year, not just during our season, so creating that sense of family had been a huge motivator for us and also something that our girls love,” Viggiano said. “They talk about that all the time and can’t imagine not having these experiences as part of their high school career and that makes me feel good because that’s the environment we wanted to create.”