Dear Veterans …

A long line of students and teachers trooped down the sidewalk on Pioneer Street.  On this beautiful, sunny day, they weren’t headed to the fire station or the park.  Instead, the entire fourth grade class from Union Ridge Elementary was going to the special mailbox in front of Bob’s Automotive, bringing handmade cards and letters for service members.

The mailbox is a project by the American Veterans Car Club and club member Bob Ford, owner of Bob’s Automotive.  Ford served in the Coast Guard and Navy for 16 years, so he and other members of the club remember well how much it meant to receive mail while they were deployed; they wanted to find a way to collect letters from the public to send to the military.

When Ford’s daughter found the 1964 U.S. mailbox in Oregon, it seemed like the project was meant to be.  The car club had the mailbox specially painted.  While it used to be used for all kinds of mail, now the mailbox is only for letters to active duty military and veterans.  No stamp is required; club members read and forward the letters.

The students were excited about the project, and not just because they could leave school to walk downtown.  They had spent a lot of time drawing, coloring, and writing on their cards.  Many of them were wearing patriotic colors or red white and blue face paint.  “I like knowing that one of the soldiers will get it and read it,” one said.  “They’re heroes.”

Ford was happy to see how many students were streaming past.  “I wish I could take photos of every one of them!”  He snapped pictures as the students took turns dropping their letters in the mailbox.  “I was surprised when Mr. Fransen came down here and asked if the students could write letters to the military for Veterans Day.  I said, ‘Of course!’”

Class after class lined up to drop cards in the mailbox.  Students waiting in line waved their letters at passing cars, who honked in support.  A police car blipped its siren, and the kids cheered.  Ford thanked as many students as he could.  “Thank you so much!  It will mean a lot to them, I guarantee it!”

“Dear Veterans,” one card read.  “You are the reason we have freedom.  You are special in all ways.  Thank you for your hard work.”  Another read, “Dear Veterans, I was pumped with excitement to thank you for your service!”  Soon, the heartfelt letters and cards from Ridgefield students will be making their way to military members and veterans all over the world.

The mailbox is available to the public year-round.  Please bring cards and letters for members of the military to the mailbox in front of Bob’s Automotive at 327 Pioneer Street, Ridgefield, WA.

The special mailbox in front of Bob’s Automotive is for letters to members of the military.


A long line of Union Ridge Elementary fourth graders wait to deposit their cards and letters.


Students created cards and letters, poems and art to send to service members.



Kelsey Anchors-Goodman Named Softball Coach for Ridgefield School District

The Ridgefield School District has selected Kelsey Anchors-Goodman as Softball Coach for Ridgefield High School.  Anchors-Goodman comes to Ridgefield from North Valley High School in Grants Pass, Oregon where she was assistant coach for softball and girls’ basketball and an instructor in PE, health and strength/conditioning.  Last year, she coached baseball there as well, making history as Oregon’s first female coach of a boys’ baseball team.

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to continue building a program in Ridgefield that is on the rise, along with contributing to the success that this program has achieved over the last few years,” said Anchors-Goodman.

Kelsey Anchors-Goodman

The daughter of the late RHS softball coach, Dusty Anchors and Lori Anchors, Anchors-Goodman is the youngest of four children.  She started playing T-Ball at the age of 4 and competitive softball at the age of 7.  She attended Olympic High School in Bremerton, setting school records in softball and was all-Olympic League her last two years, as well as all-state in her senior season.

Anchors-Goodman attended Oklahoma State University on a softball scholarship and holds a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotions and Education with an emphasis in Exercise Science.  She was the university’s top defensive softball centerfielder all four years and was on the team when it advanced to the Women’s College World Series in 2011.  Anchors-Goodman earned her teaching certificate at St. Martin’s University in Lacey in 2015 and worked as a substitute teacher and PE instructor at Central Kitsap Middle School prior to joining the staff at North Valley High School.

“The Ridgefield Athletic Department is beyond excited to announce Kelsey Anchors-Goodman as our new softball coach,” said Brynan Shipley, Ridgefield School District’s athletic director.  “Kelsey has a great deal of knowledge and experience in the sport.  Her impressive resume set her apart in the selection process, and her vision for the program is shared by many.  The fact that she is Coach Anchors’ daughter only makes it that much more special.  We are excited about the future of Ridgefield softball!”

In her free time, Anchors-Goodman loves to spend time with family and friends, playing competitive slow-pitch, being outdoors and traveling.

Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation Receives Generous Grant from the Price Foundation

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation (RPSF) has received a generous grant of $7,500 from the Price Foundation to support high school students in the Ridgefield School District who would like to attend a technical program, trade school, or community college, and are financially unable to do so according to a press release.  This scholarship will fund three high school seniors at $2,500 each.

The RPSF supports Ridgefield High School students planning to continue their education through a variety of scholarship opportunities. To date, RPSF has awarded scholarships to 58 students, totaling $48,500. One of RPSF’s goals is to continue to diversify its scholarship portfolio to provide greater opportunities for more students. The Price Foundation’s gift will not only increase the amount of funds available, but will also add another opportunity for students seeking education opportunities outside traditional four-year institutions. Last year, RPSF launched the Sierra Maldonado Memorial Scholarship, which also funds scholarships for Ridgefield students entering technical and trade school programs.

It is the RPSF’s dedication to non-traditional education opportunities that initially attracted the Price Foundation’s attention. RPSF’s President, Jeff Vigue, states, “We applied for a grant from the Price Foundation because their goals aligned with ours perfectly. We are extremely excited to offer three more scholarships this year because of this new synergistic relationship.”

Information about the scholarship will be posted at by January 1, 2020, along with the application for interested students.

The Price Foundation is located in Clark County with a mission to improve education, health and historic preservation in Clark and Cowlitz County.

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is a privately funded, non-profit organization, established in 2009. Our mission is to advance programs and activities that support whole student development for which public resources are insufficient or unavailable.

To learn more about the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation or attend an event hosted by the Foundation, please go to

Ridgefield School District Honors November Employee and Students of the Month

On November 12, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the November Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting.

Employee of the Month

Gena Anderson, Head Secretary at South Ridge Elementary School, was selected as Employee of the Month.  She is not only the head secretary, but she also serves as chief question answerer, queen of the budget, and primary greeter of all guests to South Ridge.  Gena is always the first person to notice something that needs to be solved, and just takes care of it.  She never complains and still manages to make sure the school is running smoothly.  Over the course of her career in the Ridgefield School District, Gena has served as para-professional in special education, a one-on-one para for a particular student, and now as head secretary at South Ridge.  South Ridge would not be the same without Gena.  She loves all 554 of our students like they were her own, and the staff like family.

Students of the Month

Emmalinn Penner was selected as Student of the Month for the Early Learning Center.  Emmalinn is always ready to help her friends.  She is the first to help sad friends when they separate from their families.  Anytime anyone (including the teacher), needs anything, she always volunteers to help.  She helps friends follow the rules by stepping up and redirecting them, explaining why we can’t do something instead of telling the teacher what they did.  Emmalinn is an amazing example of a star student.

Adam Castillo, a first grader, is November’s Student of the Month at South Ridge Elementary School.  Adam arrives at school each day with a smile, ready to learn.  He is always eager to participate in any learning task, even when it is challenging, always trying his best.  Adam is learning to print his name in both capital and lowercase letters and is motivated to learn the letters of the alphabet.  He is focused on meeting his unique learning goals both inside and outside of the classroom.  South Ridge Elementary is very proud of Adam and his success at school!

Isabelle Tucker, a second grader, was selected at Union Ridge Elementary.  Isabelle is a great example of our Ridgefield agreements.  Respect:  Isabelle respects all her peers and teachers by helping others, following directions and doing what is right.  Resilient:  Isabelle is always willing to try new things even if she knows they are going to be hard for her.  She always has a great attitude towards learning and never gives up on things that are difficult.  Responsible:  Isabelle keeps herself accountable in getting her work done and stays focused when needed, making sure she is a good role model for her classmates and peers.  There are great things in the future for this young lady!  Great job Isabelle!

Cadence (Cadie) Clark, a sixth grader, was selected at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School.  Cadie is a perfect example of a responsible, respectful and resilient student.  She is kind and caring to everyone she meets and works hard to make those around her feel important.  Cadie is an engaged and curious learner in the classroom.  She asks questions, wonders about possibilities and works collaboratively with all of her classmates.  She takes great pride in her work, inside and outside of the classroom and always turns in outstanding work.  Her hard work and consistent kindness are just a few of the characteristics that make Cadie Clark an outstanding role model for all of sixth grade!

Sarah Proctor, a seventh grader, was chosen at View Ridge Middle School.  Sarah is a bright, upbeat, and mature student.  She not only contributes to all discussions, but she is an active participant working with partners and within groups.  She brings a positive vibe to her classes, making other students around her better students.  Sarah advocates for herself by asking questions and is more than willing to help others around her.  She is an avid reader, always looking for something new.  Eager to learn and ready for the next challenge, Sarah Proctor exemplifies respectfulness, responsibility and resilience!

Selecting one student out of 942 students at Ridgefield High School for Student of the Month is a difficult task.  While there are many students who exemplify this honor, senior Diego Morales stands out.  He is helpful and hard-working, and in addition, an all-around exemplary student.  Teachers describe Diego as “one of the most kind-hearted and appreciative students”, “a class act”, and “kind to everyone, every single day.”  He is the personification of resilience–a student who has overcome personal challenges with the help of family and friends.  Diego is involved in wrestling and choir.  His post-secondary plans include pursuing an apprenticeship program in the trades.

Special thanks to the local office of James Schmeling at Allstate Insurance Company, the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation and Ridgefield Boosters for sponsoring the district’s recognition program this school year.

Union Ridge Elementary Celebrates Successful Read-a-Thon

The students at Union Ridge Elementary just completed their biggest Read-a-Thon fundraiser of the year, raising over $12,000 for the school!  To celebrate, they invited special guest readers this week for a fun reading day.

Guest readers included Mayor Don Stose, Ridgefield School Superintendent Nathan McCann, officers from the Ridgefield Police Department and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, a hula instructor and Rally, the Ridgefield Raptors mascot.  Many parents read stories to the students as well.

The students dressed as their favorite character or wore their pajamas, and they also decorated their classroom doors with their favorite books and other fun literary themes.

Union Ridge Elementary is grateful to all who took part in the Read-a-Thon and celebration and to the Union Ridge Elementary PTO for their support of this successful fundraiser.

Mayor Don Stose reads to the students.


Students decorated their classroom doors with literary themes for Read-a-Thon.

Ridgefield School District’s Early Learning Center Honors Veterans

Preschoolers at the Early Learning Center celebrated Veterans Day early as they welcomed some familiar faces to their classrooms for a special visit this morning.

Visiting veterans included:

  • Lance Corporal Craig Shelton (U.S. Marines), grandfather to Silas Shelton, age 4
  • Staff Sgt. Daniel Butler (U.S. Army), dad to David Butler, age 4
  • Master Sergeant Gary Stroh (U.S. Air Force), grandfather to Austin Park, age 3

The children decorated and signed patriotic stars for the veterans and asked questions about their jobs and travels, and the veterans enjoyed sharing memories, medals, stories and information about life in the military.

Craig Shelton engages with the preschoolers.


Gary Stroh poses for a photo with the kids.


Daniel Butler shares a fun fact with the class.

Lions Club Vision Screenings Make Sure Kids See Clearly

Eighty percent of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.  Detecting visual impairment while children are still in school can make a significant difference.  The Lions Club International makes vision screening part of its mission, and area Lions Clubs are making sure Ridgefield students are checked regularly.

The process was quick and easy at View Ridge Middle School.  Seventh grade students lined up in the hallway, waiting their turn in the room.  Their names were checked off on a list, and they took turns sitting in a chair along a wall.  A volunteer stood a few feet in front of them, holding a device that looked like a giant ViewMaster with a smiley face on the lens.  “Look at the nose,” the volunteer said.  In just a few moments, each student had their vision screened and they could head back to class.  With the automated screening, volunteers know instantly whether the student’s eyes are fine or whether they need a referral to an optometrist.

Students wear special glasses for part of the vision screening.


Dean Stenehjem from the Ridgefield Lions Club helped conduct the screenings.

Over the years, Lions Club screenings nationwide have found not only thousands of kids who need glasses but also children with cancer, detached retinas, and childhood cataracts.  Lions volunteers are trained in how to use the specialized cameras to accurately screen kids for a wide range of potential eye issues.

Lions Club member David Page brings the cameras from the Salmon Creek chapter; both Ridgefield and Salmon Creek Lions Club members volunteer to conduct the screenings.  The Salmon Creek Lions Club has been doing vision screenings across the region since 2015; by the end of this year, they will have completed more than 30,000 screenings.  The Ridgefield Lions Club has partnered with the schools since 2017 to screen 4,500 students in kindergarten through third grade, fifth grade, and seventh grade.

This valuable service to the community is conducted at no cost to the students or families.  Lions Clubs worldwide are known for their work to improve the lives of the visually impaired and prevent avoidable blindness.  Many thanks to the Lions Clubs in Ridgefield and Salmon Creek for helping Ridgefield students see clearly.

South Ridge Elementary’s Crochet Club Creates Community Connections

The library is usually pretty quiet at South Ridge Elementary.  But the afterschool Crochet Club is lively.  Third graders Liberty Glessing and Marta Krawczyk are excitedly pulling out their projects.  Liberty is just learning to crochet and is working on a scarf.  Marta is in her second year of Crochet Club and just completed a bright orange headband.  “I joined Crochet Club because Marta wouldn’t stop talking about it!” Liberty joked.

But Liberty is joining Crochet Club for another reason too.  She is preparing to have surgery for a leg length discrepancy; the recovery will have her in a wheelchair for several months.  “I wanted to do something while I was in a wheelchair, so I wanted to learn,” she explained.  Her story gave the club the idea to do something positive for other kids in the hospital:  their next project will be crocheting hats for children at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

This brings the Crochet Club full circle for librarian Emily Crawford.  Her own daughter had cancer and received hats at the hospital when she was going through chemotherapy.  “When my daughter lost her hair, so many people donated hats; I knew it was something I wanted to do,” she said.  Her daughter has since recovered, and it seemed a perfect way to give back.

Interestingly, Crawford started her first Crochet Club when she was a librarian at Liberty Middle School in Camas—and she didn’t know how to crochet.  A parent, Laurinda Reddig, was a crochet designer and author of several books.  One of the books was Rowan’s Learn to Crochet Sample Afghan, with patterns for baby blankets and a newborn hat.  Reddig wrote the book in memory of her first daughter, Rowan.  With Reddig’s help, Crawford learned to crochet at the same time as her students.  Now Crawford’s new club will be able to give back with their own crocheting, using the hat pattern from Reddig’s book.

The Crochet Club will be using yarn donated by Paula Labenske, the grandmother of one of the students in Crochet Club last year, for the hats they are donating.  Much like the stitches that cross and weave together, the Crochet Club is creating a lot of community connections with its giving spirit.

If you would like to help with the Crochet Club project, donations of yarn or hats are welcome and can be dropped off at South Ridge Elementary School, 502 NW 199th Street, Ridgefield, WA.  If you would like to use the same pattern as the Crochet Club, information is available at

Liberty Glessing and Marta Krawczyk have a great time at Crochet Club.


Krawczyk, Crawford, and Glessing post with some of their projects.


Campfire Event at Abrams Park Celebrates 50 Years of Cispus

Roaring campfires, camp songs, and roasted marshmallows are essential parts of Cispus.  So Ridgefield celebrated its 50th year of attending Cispus Outdoor School with a fun campfire event at Abrams Park.

Unfortunately, the park wasn’t the right venue for an actual bonfire.  But fire pits with wood fires subbed in, and the smoky smell was enough to evoke memories of camp, whether you attended this year or decades ago.

Sunset Ridge Intermediate School principal Todd Graves recognized the community effort that goes into making Cispus happen.  “There are a lot of people that we need to thank tonight, and instead of me standing here and reading a list of names that would go on for hours and hours and hours, I just want to say thank you to everyone that has been involved with Cispus.”

Two special awards were presented.  One award honored John Hudson, Sr., the principal who founded Cispus.  His granddaughters and great-granddaughters accepted the award.   The second award went to Allene Wodaege, who worked with Hudson to found and develop the program and served as the program director for 25 years.  Wodaege and her daughter, Carla Bonebrake, were there to accept the award.

John Hudson, Sr.’s granddaughters and great-granddaughters accepted the award on his behalf.


Allene Wodaege was delighted to receive the award recognizing her dedication to the program.

Much like at Cispus, the evening was filled with good food and lots of fun.  The Lions Club grilled delicious hot dogs and hamburgers for the large crowd.  Piles of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers were ready for s’mores.  Kids and adults practiced roasting perfect golden marshmallows over the fire pits.  And the counselors from this year’s camp led the group in Cispus songs.

People marveled at the fact Cispus had been around for 50 years and hoped it would be around for another 50.  They talked about their own memories of Cispus—as students, as counselors, as parents, as volunteers.  Cispus has become an essential part of the Ridgefield experience, one that so many people in our community treasure.  As the fires started to die down and the sun started to set, it felt like a little bit of Cispus magic was right there in Abrams Park.

Bill Yaddof, the Golden Marshmallow judge, shares some tips with the children.


Camp counselors lead the crowd in a round of Cispus songs.

SOCKtober Sock Drive!

As homeless shelters prepare for winter, socks are one of the most requested and least donated items.   An elementary school class in Ridgefield is doing its part to help.  Stephanie Brown’s class is leading a SOCKtober sock drive, and they hope to donate 3,000 pairs of socks to the Ridgefield Family Resource Center and the Council for the Homeless.

SOCKtober is a national movement that lets kids help the homeless in a tangible way.  Brown’s RISE (Reaching Independence through Structured Education) class is in its second year of leading the sock drive at Union Ridge Elementary School.  Many of Brown’s students are on the autism spectrum or face other challenges, and the students run every element of the program, from delivering classroom donation bags to tracking the number of socks collected.

Students from RISE and HiCap programs help collect socks from every classroom in the school.

On collection days, they partner with fourth grade HiCap (Highly Capable Program) students.  The pairs of students take turns going to the classroom doors to collect socks.  Some students are shy, but they still manage to knock on the door to ask, “Do you have socks?” and say “Thank you!”  The large wagon they use to collect donations fills quickly; they have so many socks they need to go back for another wagon.  After the socks are all collected, they sort and graph the donations.

Last year the students had a goal of 2,000 pairs of socks.  This year, their goal is even higher:  3,000 pairs.  But they have a little extra help.  Bombas is a sock company that donates one pair of socks for every pair purchased.  Brown applied for a grant last year.  She was excited to learn that one thousand pairs of socks would be donated to the SOCKtober drive through the Bombas grant program.  “I was so excited!” she said.  “They’re such nice socks, and it’s a huge donation.”

Brown is understandably proud of the students in the program.  “We have some of the most impacted students in our district, and here they are doing something fantastic and wonderful.”  She beams as she watches the kids bring armfuls of socks to the wagon, working together to make a difference for others.

If you would like to donate new socks for the SOCKtober sock drive, please deliver them to the main office at Union Ridge Elementary School, 330 North Fifth Avenue in downtown Ridgefield.

Ridgefield High School Hosts Veterans Day Ceremony on November 8


Cispus 50th Anniversary Flannel Shirt Now Available for Purchase

Ridgefield School District has been sending students to Cispus Outdoor School for the past 50 years!  Help celebrate this amazing milestone by purchasing an anniversary Cispus flannel shirt.

Shirts cost $27 each, plus tax and shipping and can be ordered through the following link:

Deadline to order is Wednesday, November 13th.

“Dracula” Theater Production Involves Classes Across Ridgefield High School

Halloween is a time for spooky stories, and there are few spookier than the original Dracula.  Bram Stoker’s novel introduced Count Dracula in 1897.  Ridgefield High School’s production of Dracula is an exceptional production of the original story—and a great collaboration among several classes to utilize the play in teaching.

The theatre department did tremendous work on the play itself.  Drama teacher Kaitlyn Etter had student involvement in every aspect of the play, including acting, set design, stage management, sound, lighting, makeup, and costumes.  The result is a professional level production by students in the drama and stagecraft classes as well as students who audition.

Sebastian Rojas-Rincon, Anna Vande Krol and Kennedy Howlett as Seward, Lucy and Mina.

Tamara Hoodenpyl’s Monster Maker art class is “a cross between special effects makeup and sci-fi sculpture.”  They crafted the realistic fangs used in the production.  The fangs were custom fitted to the actors using dental impressions.

Aziza Mansuri’s art class created original designs for the play’s program and posters.  Three pieces by Adaya Stewart, Emma Schmidt, and Patricia Catacutan were selected for use in marketing the play.

Tamara Hoodenpyl’s Monster Maker class created custom fangs for the play using dental impressions.


Students in Aziza Mansuri’s art class created original designs for the posters and Playbill.

Jill Uhacz’ AP literature class read Bram Stoker’s Dracula prior to the play.  The students received free admission to the play.  For the next few class periods, they had a lively discussion of the book and the play.  “Would Stoker be pleased/upset/surprised by RHS’ version of the play?” Uhacz asked.

Students agreed that the production hewed pretty closely to the book, with a few changes made for length and pacing.  One student said, “There were a few things they couldn’t do.  Like the scene with Dracula where they are riding through the snow with the wolves all around them, you can’t really act that out in a high school auditorium.  But I think they did a good job getting all the main points in.”

The cross-curricular approach allowed several classes to take part in the play in different ways.  A student in Uhacz’ class pointed out that studying the book gave him a different perspective on the play when he saw it.  “I was impressed.  I’ve been impressed with all the plays in the past, but I think they did a really good job with this.  I understood it the best before going in, and some of the previous ones, I didn’t know much about.”

It’s not too late to see this amazing production of Dracula.  The show will continue on November 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Ridgefield High School.  Admission is $5 for students, staff and seniors and $8 for adults.  A limited number of VIP seats are available for $20 each and can be purchased at the door (you’ll be right in the middle of the action).

Tickets can be purchased by selecting Events at or at the door.

3rd Annual Turkey Trot Walk/Run Set for Thanksgiving Day, November 28th

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is hosting its third annual Turkey Trot Walk/Run on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28, 2019.  Proceeds and donations from the event benefit the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation and the Ridgefield Family Resource Center.

The race begins at 9:00 am and includes a 5K and 10K Walk/Run, both of which start and end at Union Ridge Elementary School in downtown Ridgefield.  Registration for the 5K is $25 for adults, $20 for school district staff, and $15 for students (ages 5-18).  Registration for the 10K is $30 for adults, $25 for school district staff and $20 for students (ages 5-18).

Go to to register online or to download a registration form containing event details.  Registrations received by November 18th will include a T-shirt.

Race participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items when they pick up their race packets on Wednesday, November 27th.  Food items will also be accepted during registration on race day.  All food items benefit the Ridgefield Family Resource Center.  Each food item donated will generate a raffle ticket entry for a drawing to win $100 worth of gift cards for local Ridgefield restaurants.  Winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony after the race.

“The Turkey Trot has become a holiday tradition for many in the Ridgefield community.  I love that people look forward to it,” said Georgianna Jones, Foundation member and event organizer.  “It’s an opportunity for families and friends to come together, enjoy nature, get a little exercise, and most importantly, give to others.  We are proud to bring this event to Ridgefield each year.”

The Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation is grateful for its Presenting Sponsors, Krippner, Northwest Funding Group Inc., and the Ridgefield School District and to the many Race Sponsors whose support makes this annual event possible.


Cispus Campfire Night Set for October 30th at Abrams Park