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Due to the upcoming
Memorial Day holiday, the
Cottage Grove Sentinel will
be closed May 28. Deadline
for the May 30 edition will be
May 24 at noon for all editorial
submissions and advertising.
C ottage G rove
Cottage Grove softball wins at
home in a stunner. B1
For a complete six-
day forecast please
see page A5.
SERVING COTTAGE GROVE, DRAIN, YONCALLA AND ELKTON
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2018
FACEBOOK.COM/CGSENTINEL • TWITTER.COM/CGSENTINEL
They know what you call them...
But they're taking back the title because this is their school.
And their story.
By Caitlyn May
"I haven't seen Kyle (Tucker)
smile that big in awhile," South
Lane School Board Vice Chair
Sherri Duerst-Higgins said
moments aft er the board voted
unanimously to approve Larry
Sullivan as the interim super-
intendent for the 2018-2019
Tucker, who has been the act-
ing superintendent since March
of this year, declined the oppor-
tunity to apply for the position.
"I worked with Larry at ESD
and he'll do a great job," Du-
Sullivan addressed the meet-
ing briefl y saying, "I'm excited
to be here. So much so, I came
out of retirement."
Th e position, posted by Ore-
gon School Board Association's
Steve Kelley, emphasized the
'interim' nature of the job with
Kelley gearing up to advertise
See Interim A6
On an early September morning, the staff of Al Kennedy High School gathered in a room at the South Lane School District offi ces. Th e Sentinel had
approached the district in the prior weeks about chronicling the teachers and students at Kennedy to tell the story of alternative education through
the lens of those on the ground. District administrators thought it was a great idea. Kennedy staff had questions. Eight educators sat in a room with a
newspaper editor and had a conversation. At the end, they’d come to an understanding: Th e truth is the truth and the kids come fi rst. Over the course
of the 2017-2018 school year, Th e Sentinel will tell the story of these educators and their students as they navigate a location change, funding gaps
and the unfortunately true narrative that sometimes working hard isn’t enough and an education doesn’t fi x everything. We’ll tell stories of triumph,
tragedy and truth as the tribe at Kennedy makes the most with what it has in its continued eff ort to slingshot students up and over the barriers to
progress through understanding, commitment and engagement while acknowledging the reality that some kids won’t make it.
By Caitlyn May
By Caitlyn May
Ketcher’s first prom as Kennedy principal. She
was promoted to the position after Cottage Grove
High School principal Iton Udosenata announced
he would be moving to North Eugene; former
Kennedy principal Mike Ingman stepped into the
position, placing Ketcher in Ingman’s chair. At
the March school board meeting, the South Lane
School Board voted to strip ‘interim’ from her title
and give her the gig on a more permanent basis.
The decision provides a bit more stability at
Kennedy, which undertook a move to Delight
Valley this year, but didn’t seem to empower
Ketcher to make a crucial decision: Vetoing any
other proposed prom theme than “Star Wars” for
the school’s May 4 shindig.
“May the fourth be with you, I know,” said
Kennedy math teacher David Heritage. Supposedly,
the staff lobbied hard for Yoda and crew but the
students tossed away the golden opportunity and,
instead, landed on camping.
Campfires made from tissue paper and ingenuity
bookended the DJ booth while cardboard birds
hung from the ceiling. At the center, a tree made
from streamers blew in the wind of wild dancing
and teenage spirit.
“They made the gifts too,” Ketcher said, pointing
out the neatly packaged, deconstructed s’mores
that served as favors before taking off for the dance
It was a popular spot to be.
remembers its founder.
Yoncalla remembers a star
player. PAGE B1
he building located at 700 E Gibbs Ave.
isn’t very big — just one story that fits
neatly between two blocks — but it holds a
lot. The library calls 700 E. Gibbs home, as does the
senior center, which is equipped with an exercise
pool for older residents to work out sore muscles
and follow doctors’ orders. To the right of the
chamber of commerce and left of the genealogical
society, double doors mark the entrance to the
community center where candidates give stump
speeches, nonprofits feed the homeless and,
sometimes, young residents ring in 'Sweet 16.' But
for all of its responsibility to a city of 10,000, the
lights go out at 700 E. Gibbs not long after the sun
sets and the busy building falls quiet.
On Friday, Katy Perry broke the silence.
So did Bruno Mars.
And Maroon 5.
And Sir Mix-a-Lot.
Song and dance floated out through the double
doors and down the hall to the genealogy center.
And chamber of commerce.
And senior center.
And the library.
The Kennedy kids were throwing a party.
“The kids made all the decorations,” it’s Halie
COFFEE WITH THE EDITOR
Have a news tips? Want to talk about
community events? Have a question?
Stop by Backstage Bakery.
The LAST THURSDAY of every
month from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Approximately 30 of the 78 students enrolled
at Kennedy attended prom this year, an event
that according to Kennedy staff isn’t open just to
“That’s the thing about Kennedy, we don’t
differentiate that way between classes,” Heritage
said. While prom is open to everyone, Kennedy
serves mostly juniors and seniors.
Inside, strobe lights fell over the usual prom
activities. Girls perched on boyfriends’ knees;
group bathroom breaks; couples finding quiet
corners; awkward hands hooked at waists and
draped over shoulders; and teenagers rushing in,
arms raised to make it to the dance floor after
hearing the first bar of their favorite song.
Outside, teachers kept count of students
arriving and talk about the songs and bands that
were popular when they went to prom ("Drops
of Jupiter" and No Doubt). Just inside the fenced
courtyard, students hold klatches in ball gowns and
top hats, a hard-driving effort to get an unlikely
pair to dance well underway.
The scene closes the inches of difference
between the kids at Kennedy and their peers at
Cottage Grove High School, reaffirming that the
only thing that separates them is opportunity
and circumstance. It makes one shutter to raise a
camera and somehow diminish the ecstasy of being
18 and dancing in the dark with your friends on the
edge of what’s to come.
Calendar ...................................... B11
Channel Guide ............................... B5
Classifieds ...................................... B7
Obituaries ...................................... A2
Opinion ......................................... A4
Sports ............................................ B1
South Lane Superintendent
Krista Parent has been cleared
by the Teacher Standards and
Practices Commission aft er alle-
gations of misconduct surfaced
“On April 6, 2018, the Teacher
Standards and Practices Com-
mission reviewed a preliminary
investigation report regarding
the allegations and is dismissing
the complaint fi led against you
based upon insuffi cient cause
to charge you with misconduct,”
a letter from the organization
TSPC is the state licensing
agency for educators and is
tasked with establishing, up-
holding and enforcing profes-
sional standards. Under Oregon
law, TSPC is required to inves-
tigate all complaints concerning
possible professional miscon-
duct on the part of a licensed
teacher or administrator in the
state of Oregon.
“Although I felt confi dent that
See Parent A10
(541) 942-3325 ph • (541) 942-3328 fax
P.O. Box 35, Cottage Grove, OR 97424
Corner of Sixth and Whiteaker, Cottage Grove
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