Bruin Notes

Notes for Japan 1 Notes for Japan 2

Notes for Japan

After the massive Magnitude 9.0 earthquake and following tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, the university’s Trauma Response Institute wanted to encourage the people living in the devastated areas. The institute organized a “Notes of Encouragement” campaign to reach out to the Japanese people. Many of the university’s staff and students participated, and the general community was welcome to join the effort, according to TRI Director Anna Berardi.

Letters were delivered to two distinct groups: students who attend college (undergraduate and graduate school, age 25 and younger) at Tokyo City University and children living in shelters in the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster zones. Rie Yabuki-DiCorcia, an associate professor of psychology at TCU, agreed to distribute adult-focused letters to her students and deliver child-focused letters to shelters.

“The goal of the notes of cheer was to express our care for them and their country during a very difficult time,” Berardi said. “Some of the contributions we received include letters and artwork from local school children.”

See our video interview with a Japanese student who returned to Tokyo after the earthquake.

Principals of the Year

Two educators affiliated with George Fox University’s School of Education earned Oregon Principal of the Year honors this spring, continuing a string of success for the university and its educational programs.

Susan Rieke-Smith

Susan Rieke-Smith, principal at Houck Middle School in Salem since 2007, was named the 2011 Oregon Middle School Principal of the Year by the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) and the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators. She is a 2000 alumna of George Fox’s Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Jay Mathisen

Also honored this spring was Jay Mathisen, principal of LaPine High School in LaPine, Ore., who was selected COSA’s Principal of the Year. He is currently taking doctoral classes at George Fox and will be a guest presenter in one of the education classes on the George Fox campus this summer.

Rieke-Smith and Mathisen continue a trend of educator award recipients associated with George Fox.

Last year, Cathy Carnahan, a principal at Duniway Middle School in McMinnville, Ore., who completed George Fox’s initial administrative licensure program in 2000, won the state honor and was later selected the MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year among a group of more than 50 candidates representing every state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense.

Still another former School of Education alumnus, Randy Trani, was Oregon Principal of the Year in 2008-09. He is superintendent and principal for the Corbett School District in Corbett, Ore. George Fox also had an award-winning educator in Sara Johnson, assistant superintendent of Lincoln County schools in Newport, Ore. She was named Oregon Elementary Principal of the Year in 2007, when she was principal at Grandhaven Elementary School in McMinnville, Ore.

Service minded

George Fox students take seriously the challenge of Jesus to serve as agents of love and reconciliation in the world. The following are a few ways they served this spring:

  • More than 70 students and employees spent their weeklong spring break serving others during the university’s annual Spring Serve in March. Students traveled to Yakima, Seattle, and Neah Bay, Wash., as well as Los Angeles, to work on service projects in various cross-cultural settings.
  • In April, contestants in the university’s annual Mr. Bruin Pageant raised more than $3,700 for the event’s charity, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Participants raised money by selling tickets, putting on a bake sale and collecting money from audience members. Mike Calavan, a sophomore from Sisters, Ore., won the title of Mr. Bruin for his hula-hooping skills and witty personality.
  • In April, the university’s fashion design and merchandising students hosted a show that highlighted fashions from the past, present and future. The event was a benefit for Dress for Success Oregon, an affiliate of an international charity that provides low-income women with the tools they need to put them ahead in the job market.
  • In May, a team of 19 students and staff traveled to Peru to help families still recovering from the 2007 earthquake that forced many from their homes. The group partnered with Adventures in Missions, an interdenominational missions organization, to assist with various projects.

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