Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chef Rodney

Rodney Duncan was born in Seattle, WA. as the oldest of two boys born to his parents. Rodney's parents divorced when he was eight. At age ten, he moved to Goldendale, WA. with his mom and brother. His mom never remarried, but his father did and gave Rodney another brother and sister. Rodney was very active growing up in the small town of Goldendale. He was a three sport athlete all through high school, playing football, basketball and track. After high school graduation, Rodney went to Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. to play basketball. He says that this was not a good fit for him and he quit after the first year. In 1992, Rodney joined the US Navy and served until 1995. Next came a move to Miami, Florida to be a model and an actor. He was headed to Milan, Italy to be a runway model and as he was packing, he received word that his mom was in a very serious car accident. He went home to Goldendale to care for her, spending a year with her. At this time, he was able to meet his future wife, Tracy Haab. Tracy was walking across the U.S. for breast cancer awareness. They ended up falling in love and having two daughters. Eve was born in 1999 and Ginger in 2002. Both are currently attending Corbett High School. The family lives just across the street from the school. A short commute for the girls and Rodney! He is now the Food Service Manager for the Corbett School District. Rodney has been in the food service industry since 1999, starting as a cook at Gustav's restaurant in Portland. Rodney has been a sous chef, executive chef, general manager, recruiter and was involved in food development at restaurants that include Stanford's, Stone Cliff Inn and Bugatti's. In 2014 he quit the restaurant world, having burned out on the high demand and high stress restaurant business. Rodney then became a Paraeducator at the Corbett Grade School and loved being a part of the school community that reminded him of the small town he grew up in. In February 2016 Rodney was offered a position as the Food Service Manager for the school district. He said it is a perfect fit for him because he is able to get back to his passion of food preparation and yet the stress of the fast paced restaurant business is not there. He said he loves being around the children and getting to know them. He said the school reminds him of the Cheers bar where "Everyone knows your name." Priceless! He also is now back to his passion of sports as the Corbett High School Boy's JV Basketball Coach and the high school track coach.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's All About the Ball!

When Grace Kerslake entered the hospital to give birth to her first child, her young husband also entered the hospital for health concerns. Grace brought home her beautiful daughter, Claudia. Her husband never made it back home-he died in the hospital before getting to meet his child. Claudia Becker was raised by her mother- and her family. Together they moved in with Claudia's grandparents and uncle. Grace was a cook at the Springdale School and they had LOTS of extended family nearby to offer love and support. When Claudia was in 1st grade, "Papa" died and when she was in 8th grade, Grammy died. Grace and Claudia continued living in Springdale and Claudia fondly recalls growing up on a dairy farm with lots of farm animals and chores to keep her busy. Claudia says she remembers having a ball in her hands whenever she was not at school or doing chores. She bounced a ball against the wall in her home and shot hoops through a bent coat hanger on the back of her door. She later was given a secondhand metal hoop that she put up in her barn, spending hours bouncing the ball on the wooden floor boards and then practicing her shot. When Claudia was a senior in high school at Corbett, she and fellow classmates entered a Portland basketball league because there were NO high school sports available for girls at the time in Corbett. They won FIRST place! Just after Claudia graduated, she and her friend introduced their single parents to one another. Claudia's mom remarried and was able to finally stop working and enjoy being at home. She recently died at the age of 96 after enjoying many years with her many grandchildren. Claudia married Bob Becker when she was 21 years old. They will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary October 20, 2016! Together they had four daughters and now have 10 grandchildren. Before Claudia married, her cousin offered to pay her way to college so that she could study to become a PE teacher. Claudia declined the generous offer and took a job at Sears and Roebuck. She began in the gardening area and later moved to the billing dept. Over the years of raising her daughters with Bob, Claudia returned to one of her greatest loves- the BALL. She coached softball, soccer, volleyball and basketball for literally hundreds of kids over the years. All of her girls played multiple sports growing up. She met and loved many, many kids/students over nearly thirty years of coaching. At age 71, she is the groundskeeper for the Corbett School District, making certain all the fields are in excellent condition for playing ball! She says that her happiest days are when she is able to watch a ball game, of any type! Claudia said that as she rides the mower over the many fields, she smiles as she thinks back on all the kids she has been able to watch grow up and now they have families of their own that she is seeing play ball. WHAT a GIFT Claudia has been to our Corbett community!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Bringing Drama to the Classroom

Jenny Layton is currently Corbett's new drama teacher for the high school as well as the Para educator for grade school teacher, Sis Childs. In her "free" time, she also is a volunteer as a Resident Director for the Corbett Performing Arts. She works closely with Dr. Katherine Zieman, giving kids in the community the opportunity for expression through drama. In 1992, Jenny was born in Corbett as the oldest of four children. Jenny has two sisters a brother, and her parents continue to live in the same home she was raised in. Her father was the Corbett Fire Chief for 17 years and her mom works for a local resident at his office. As Jenny was growing up, she dabbled in softball and piano up until 4th grade. At that point, she turned all of her energy toward Corbett Children's Theater, started by resident, Susan Scott. Jenny says she found her second family and was involved in nearly 30 productions through out her growing up years. Once she graduated from Corbett High School, Jenny headed to Linfield College. She admittedly had little to NO desire to attend, but applied at her parent's prompting and then accepted, simply due to the best/most scholarship money available. As life happens, Jenny ended up falling in LOVE with the college and especially the drama department. Four years later, she graduated with a Theater major and a minor in Psychology. After living on campus all four years, she was ready to continue her adventure and took an internship with a Tony award winning theater company in Princeton, New Jersey. Jenny stayed at the McCarter Theatre Company for one year and said she learned what type of theater she is NOT interested in! Jenny says the experience was very challenging. Coming back home after the experience, she went back to Silk Expresso coffee shop that is owned by Leah McMahon. Jenny had worked there throughout college, so felt comfortable being back. Not only was she a barista, but also helped Leah run the shop on the weekends. Jenny ran into Corbett Principal, Phil Pearson while she was doing her volunteer work as Resident Director for one of her plays. He asked if she was interested in teaching a drama class at Corbett High. She was thrilled to apply for the position. The school district also needed and wanted her to help out in the classroom with Mrs. Childs in the grade school. Jenny has known Sis since birth, so it was a great partnership to work together. Jenny is excited to see just what the future holds. Family and community are very important to her, yet she longs to further her education with a masters degree and possibly earn her doctorate. Right now she is just enjoying the wonderful life that she currently has!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An Artist Behind the Wheel!

Joe Schneider was born in Spokane, Wash. in 1960. His father taught at Gonzaga Univ., and his parents raised four daughters and two sons. Joe was the third oldest, and the oldest son. His folks have been married more than 60 years and all his siblings are all currently living in the Northwest. Joe's mother came from a logging family and so Joe was introduced to Indian art from her side of the family while his father was a German immigrant and Joe was able to visit the country and learn about art from his father's country of origin. When Joe was in the first grade, his teacher passed out paints to the kids in the classroom. Joe decided to paint sunflowers, not thinking much of it. When he eventually brought the painting home, his parents immediately realized he had a gift. All six Schneider children were required to take piano lessons. When Joe was in the fourth grade, his folks allowed him to substitute art lessons for piano lessons. They hired an art professor from Gonzaga to give him lessons. Robert Gilmore provided classical art training and Joe will be forever grateful for the instruction he received. In high school, Barbara Eddy was another art instructor that made a huge impact on his life. After high school graduation, Joe attended Gonzaga Univ. and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts. He the stayed on another year and earned his teaching certificate. Joe met his first wife while at Gonzaga and they were married for seven years. They were both artists and went to New York together to explore the art opportunities available. Joe worked at a museum as an art handler. In Williamsburg, NY the couple lived in a "bombed out and desolate" neighborhood. It was very stressful living and the marriage ended. Joe ended up in East Village Manhattan. He saw developers moving in and corporations taking over. Joe decided to stretch his wings and "try new things." He went to school and became a massage therapist. He also decided to take up ballroom dancing. He met his wife Debbie while on the elevator to class! Joe now knows how to dance and has a beautiful wife! Debbie and Joe married in 1993 in NY. The rents kept rising, so they decided to move and started looking ALL over the U.S.! After crossing paths with Realtor, John Leamy, they were introduced to Corbett....and fell in love!  They both loved nature and wanted to be a part of a great community. Joe started bus driving for the Gresham School District in addition to doing his art. He then made the switch to Corbett as soon as there was an opening, and has now been driving the bus for Corbett Schools for 13 years. He loves it!! Joe does not have children of his own, but says the Corbett kids are "his kids" and he truly enjoys the relationships that he has developed over the years with the many, many different students he has had ride the bus. Joe had adults encourage him as a youth and he wants to do the same for the kids on his bus route! He considers it a honor to be a driver and says his two most important bus rules are to 1. Be safe and 2. Be KIND.