Helpers make Wa-Hi’s Big Blue Weekend a success


That phrase “it takes a village” is amply demonstrated by the combined effort to put on the recent Big Blue Weekend.

Coordinators Kristina Duncan and Carina Stillman gave a report in Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review, noting “we continue to be inspired by the school and community support for this event. This year over 375 students attended Big Blue Weekend, and over 150 scholarships were awarded.”

The total number of participants was about 440. Yet they had to turn away students who registered on time, for the first time in six years.

“While we probably could have ordered another bus to hold the 50-plus students who wished to attend, we simply did not have enough volunteers to chaperone and/or participate on work crew at such a short notice.”

Looking ahead to next year, they will develop partnerships with community organizations to help recruit volunteers.

“We feel that Big Blue Weekend has truly become part of what we do here at Walla Walla High School, and we look forward to seeing how we can grow our capacity for future years.

The 2013 Big Blue Weekend will be Oct. 4-6.

The village that I mentioned includes these individuals and groups:

Mindy Meyer, for problem-solving, helping with picky details and much more; Stu Cabe and Geoff McLachlan, for incredible stories; Michelle Higgins, for fundraising vision, coordinating the spring spaghetti fundraiser, and help with many other details; Bill Calhoun and Ron Higgins, for unique and strange meal-time entertainment and coordinating other details; Bob Meyer and Rob Ahrens, for developing, setting up and running Big Blue Weekend Olympics; Lisa Cox and Barbara Brown, coordinating student sign- ups and more; Pat Hanford and Gary Bannister, for development, maintenance and database support; Chris Blackman, for gathering and awarding scholarships — many more than ever before; Kate Stone and Sarah Stone, for sweatshirt design and order coordination; Link Crew Commissioners, especially Michelle Ruzicka, Mattie Smyth, Jazmine Gonzalez and Marissa Angulo; Arch McHie and ASB, for financial support and help with whatever was needed; Bridget Jacobson, Carolyn Crouthamel, Pam Jacobson, Ginger Heiser, Linda Schaub, Debra Pryor and many TAs, for copying, cutting, sorting, delivering and handling the incredible paper trail; Mark Higgins, for endless publicity, website support, and other advice throughout the year; Mick Miller, Laure Quaresma, Pete Peterson and Wa-Hi Administration Team, for encouragement and support; AJ Blumel, Bailey Arango, Bill Calhoun, Bob Meyer, Carol Franklin, Carrie Lujan, Erica Salgado, Javier Hernandez, Julie Cox, Keith Swanson, Lauren Hemenway, Marcos Vargas, Margaret Thomas, Mary Palotas, Matt Thomas, Melito Ramirez, Michelle Higgins, Mindy Meyer, Mireya Vargas, Peggy Payne, Robert Young, Robin Fonger, Ron Higgins, Sally Sipperley and Shannon Kerrigan for supervising and hanging out with students as chaperones; Rob Ahrens, Alison Staley, Carolee White, Corey DeBritz, Cristy Chavez, Dan Solis, Doug Roquet, Greg Knowles, Jane Kaminsky, Jillian DeBritz, Jody Stillman, Katrina Hill, Keith Crain, Kyle Eggart, Larry White, Laure Quaresma, Linda Clark, Mark Pickel, Marnie Henderson, Mel Gribnau, Missy Johnson, Nicole Redman, Scott Morasch, Shane Prudente, Shareen Knowles, Shelly Crump, Hailey Potter, Taylor Willis, Susan Morasch, Tara Crain, Tawsha Kuhle, Tim Bow, Eileen Bow and Tina Brennan, for long hours prepping, cooking, serving and cleaning as work crew.

For donations to the Big Blue Weekend general fund: Friends ($50): Walla Walla Electric, Jenny Romine.

Sponsors ($100): JC Landscaping, Sandra and Thomas Madsen, Laura Norris, Gale Kimball, John Reese, Walla Walla Electric, Ruth Hansen, Jane Kaminsky, GEAR UP.

Patrons ($500-$1,000): Morasch Family Fund of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation.

Benefactors ($5,000): J.L. Stubblefield Trust, Mary Garner Esary Trust.

Sweatshirt contributors ($500): Columbia Rural Electric, Hess Law Office, Pocket iNet, Smith Brothers Landscaping.

Scholarship donations: Bunny Baker, Bennett’s Locksmith, Chris Blackman, Elaine Bluhm, Lynda Bren, Karen Bumgarner, Dan Calzaretta, Jennifer Carter, Evelyn Cochran, Julie Cox, Lisa Davis, Dog House Grill and Catering, Lori Dohe, Peder Fretheim, Jacqueline George, Vivian Glaeser, John Golden, Kim Gradwohl, Judy Gwinn, Michelle Higgins, Dawn Jepson, Julie Johnson, Pat Johnson, Linnea Keatts, Shannon Kerrigan, Nancy Klicker, Jeff Ladderud, Kathy Lamb, Learning for Life, Carrie Lujan, Shelly Mann, Sherry McConn, Arch McHie, Mindy Meyer, Donald Miller, Karen Miller, Susan Morasch, Georgia Morgan, Monica Nelson, Grace Ogoshi, Steve Olson, Donna Painter, Kathy Pritcher, Anna Sandness, Linda Schaub, Kay Schisler, Karen Scott, Brian Taylor, Nancy Taylor, Kerri Tucker, Heidi Wiese, Terry Willcuts, Julie Woods; and American Association of University Women for making up the rest, $1,320.

Dale Newby of Walla Walla retired Wednesday from the board of Educational Service District 123, which serves 23 school districts in the Mid-Columbia region.

A 10-year board member and board chairman two years ago, Dale attended his last board meeting Oct. 25, according to a release. He notified the board of his retirement in September.

“Mr. Newby brings a wealth of experience as a retired educational leader,” said ESD Superintendent Bruce Hawkins. “He has also been an active learner related to the issues of the day. He will be missed.”

As Dale’s term runs until January 2014, another will be appointed by the board to complete his term.

An appreciative audience listened to presentations during Walla Walla High School Speech and Debate Team’s first Mock Presidential Debate on Oct. 29, said their coach, Jean Tobin.

Debate students presented candidates’ positions for Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney on social issues, foreign policy, the economy and deficit, immigration and health care.

“Unlike the official debates, these ‘candidates’ were permitted to ask each other questions. The students did an impressive job and the audience enjoyed the presentations,” Jean said.

“Team Obama” included seniors Hope Grant-Herriot, Rosa Tobin, Marisol Beck, Bryan Preston and Konor Clark; and sophomores Emma Gregoire and Anna Apostolidis.

“Team Romney” consisted of seniors Sean Hamilton and Julia Cosma; junior Kendall Dunovant; sophomores Gerrod Peck, Malcolm Gabbard, Emily Prull and Ricky Entrop.

Kurt Christianson and Kera Parsons helped behind the scenes and Katie Christianson and Missy Johnson volunteered their assistance to make everything run smoothly.

At the conclusion, the audience could vote for the top Obama and Romney speakers, the best team overall and whom they would vote for president. During the vote counting, sophomore Anna Apostolidis, a finalist last year at the state speech tournament, entertained the audience with her humorous interpretation piece, “Shakespeare’s Complete Works (abridged).” She presented it at the Whitman College Debate Tournament held Thursday through Saturday this last weekend.

Winners in the presidential debate included Emily Prull as top Romney speaker, representing him foreign policy; Anna Apostolidis and Marisol Beck tied as top Obama speaker, representing social issues and the deficit respectively; overall, Team Obama won.

“And if this audience represents the nation, then President Obama will be reelected for a second term,” based on audience votes, Jean added.

Approximately 70 American Association of University Women members volunteered their efforts to host homes on the group’s 10th annual benefit Kitchen Tour, said Judy Jamison, committee co-chairwoman with Cecile Ervin. They provided a warm welcome and informative commentary to tour participants.

Cecile and Judy said it was a fun, financially successful day. This year the event netted $9,500, which will benefit scholarships for women on the local and national levels, and fund special projects in the community. The 11th Kitchen Tour is already set for Oct. 6.

Owner Vince Cannone offered Jacobi’s Café as the starting point and organizers say more than 350 tourists set off to see eight remodeled or newly designed kitchens.

Home owners who opened their homes and explained details of their beautiful, unique kitchens were Dawn and Jack Kammer, Jan and Tod Crouter, Coralee Mackey and Michael Wilscek, Innkeeper Alexis Buckley of the Green Gables Inn, Penny and Philippe Michel, Lyda and Dan De Foor, Jan and Jim Robles and Charlotte and Craig Roberts of Russell Creek Ranch.

A 59-page full-color guide showcased descriptions and photos of each home.

Local florists provided beautiful arrangements especially designed for each kitchen: Albertson’s, Plaza Way Safeway, Just Roses, Jacky’s, A’more, Super 1 Foods and Walla Walla High School.

Three raffle baskets were available with items donated by local businesses and individuals, including Providence Fine Living, Romanza, Walla Walla Clothing Company, Nonie, My Grandmother’s Garden & Ferraro’s Speciality Foods and Kitchen Delights by Sue Gillespie.

The raffle winners were Barbara Suzui, Jean Hemphill and Melanie Planteric.

Natalie Horner won an original painting by local artist Elizabeth Matschukat Harris, and Ann Skidmore won a fully catered Cowboy Cookout for eight offered by Charlotte Roberts of Russell Creek Ranch.

“We appreciate all our advertisers and local businesses and individuals who support the Kitchen Tour. We encourage everyone to wine, dine and shop locally and discover the wealth of services and products we are fortunate to have right here in the Walla Walla Valley,” Judy said in a release.

“A special thanks also goes to the Union-Bulletin for the wonderful news coverage and stories that created interest in this year’s Kitchen Tour.”

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313.


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