It was a star-studded event on Wednesday evening, January 30, when 36 of the region’s brightest high school seniors were honored at the 2008 Academic All-Star Banquet. Chosen by their high school staffs for outstanding academic achievements and community involvement, the students gathered around tables in the Psalm Performing Arts Center with selected guests, college and university presidents, and media representatives for an evening devoted to them.
The program included a welcome from Brian Priester, president and publisher of the Statesman Journal which began the All-Stars recognition event in 1994. Presidents’ remarks came next, led off by Dr. Reno Hoff of Corban. He was followed by Dr. Cheryl Roberts of Chemeketa Community College, Dr. Lee Pelton of Willamette University, and Dr. John P. Minihan of Western Oregon University. Each offered sage advice to the students while giving a glimpse of their own institutions.
Margie Lowe, Education Policy Advisor to Governor Ted Kulongoski, gave the keynote address, which continued along an advice-giving theme. She summed up, “Continue to explore and grow and achieve for the next 50 years.”
Bill Church, executive editor of the Statesman Journal, presented each of the students with All-Star certificates. Two students received special awards. Patty Bochsler of Silverton High School was honored for community service. Britta Berg-Johansen of West Salem High School won recognition for the best essay answering the question, “What advice would you give the new president?”
Two students seated at Dr. Hoff’s table were Sarah Jones of Willamette Valley Christian School and Amber Kelly of Western Mennonite School. Both girls listed Corban as a top choice for their academic pursuits.
“Every time I set foot on campus, I feel good about coming to Corban,” Jones said, but admitted she is still open to where God wants her to go.
Scio High School All-Star Kelsey Hallin found the celebration to be “such a cool experience” where she was able to meet a lot of key people and have lots of her questions answered. She said she noticed a friendly atmosphere right from the start as one of the Associated Student Body ushers promptly showed her and her mother their places at a table and helped them get acquainted with others already there.
Corban Dining, which employs student workers, provided the meal, while Ben King and Brian Swearingen paired up for music entertainment. Ushers Betsey Fox, Peter Randall, Keith Wery, and David Collette of ASB helped to seat guests.
Vice President for Enrollment Management Marty Ziesemer said after the banquet, “We have the opportunity to host the All-Star Banquet every four years since the four local colleges and universities share hosting responsibilities. I believe we had almost 200 people on campus, including high school principals, parents and friends of the All-Stars, Statesman Journal employees, and the four college presidents. As a community, we can be proud of our efforts.”
A gratifying comment Ziesemer heard during the evening was, “You have set the bar high once again for this event."