WOODROW WILSON HIGH SCHOOL Alumni
WILSON GRAD RECEIVES ROBERT BLANCHARD DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
The honors for Wilson continue as the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) named Dr. Jim Chesnutt '81 (and Wilson parent) as the recipient of the Robert Blanchard Distinguished Service award. Chesnutt, a longtime Wilson team physician, has helped train others in the district and is medical director of Oregon Health & Science University’s sports medicine program. Jim recalls that he knew Robert Blanchard when he was Superintendant of the Portland Public Schools while Jim was a Wilson student. "This is a real honor," states Jim, "not necessarily for myself but because it represents a joint achievement by the OHSU Sports Medicine Program, the PIL Athletic Department, and the PIL Hall of Fame to implement an athletic trainer program that improved health and safety for the athletes of the Portland Public Schools. We are hoping to help continue the program with community support despite budget challenges."
After graduating from Wilson, Jim graduated from Stanford University in 1985. He graduated from Oregon Health Sciences University Medical School in 1989 with a Family Medicine Residency in the Air Force in Florida 1989-1992. From there Jim went overseas with Air Force to theAzores Islands in Portugal from 1992 to 1994 and McChord Air Force Base from 1994 to 1995. Jim then returned to Portland in 1995 and joined faculty at OHSU in Family Medicine at OHSU Gabriel Park Clinic. He is Board Certified in Sports Medicine In 1997 and became the Medical Director of the new OHSU Sports Medicine Program in 2006 and is based out of the new OHSU Center for Health and Healing at the South Waterfront.
Jim recalls that when he moved back to Portland, he wanted to help serve the community by being involved with the local high school. In 1995 he started working with the Wilson Football team when Walt Looney was still coach. Mr. Looney was Jim's high school baseball coach and Calculus teacher. "He was a really great person," adds Jim. "He made it easy for me to transition into this new role of Team Physician for Wilson." Mike Clopton was the Athletic Director when Jim started his work at Wilson and was very influential in helping him connect with all of the rest of the coaches. "Mike has been a great advocate for injury prevention and
preseason training and safe play for the athletes at Wilson," states Jim.
Wilson biology teacher Izzy Relampagos was one of Jim's favorite track coaches. Jim recalls that Geoff Henderson was his favorite and most influential coach in track and cross country. Mr. Henderson was a great role model and would run with his athletes and challenge them to be mentally tough and well trained physically. He always stressed the value of persevering through difficult work outs and trying to be the best one can be. "This philosophy helped me to learn to maintain focus and succeed through my undergrad years at Stanford and in med school at OHSU and in internship and residency," adds Jim. "Lessoned learned in high school can make a big impact on future successes."
When asked about Wilson, Jim tells us that Wilson is a great community in which to live and work and go to school. "I encourage the current students to dream big and work hard to achieve these dreams by focusing on developing a firm foundation of life-long learning." Jim points out that "You really need to read good literature, discuss philosophy and learn how to think and reason and write in a way that communicates your thoughts clearly and convincingly to the world." "Oh yes, also take a course in typing!"
Jim is now a Wilson parent. His eldest daughter Erika is a graduating senior (2009). Kristin is a freshman at Wilson and Matthew is a 6th grader at Jackson Middle School. Jim's wife, Karin, is involved in school and communitiy activities and is a gifted musician. She has worked tirelessly with great passion to provide music education and performance opportunities to the children at Stephenson, Jackson and Wilson and currently serves as the chair of the Jackson Site Council. Jim's parents are John and Arlys Chesnutt and still live in the house where Jim grew up in off of Dosch Road. His brother Mark Chesnutt '78 lives in Portland and his other brother John Chesnutt '83 lives in Walnut Creek, CA. Both brothers are happily married and have three kids each. Jim states that all the Chesnutt brothers loved their time at Wilson and were very involved in school activites. Actually, all three brothers were awarded the Outstanding Senior Boy awards at their graduation. John was also Student Body President.
Jim tells us that he and his brothers benefitted greatly from their Wilson education. They learned from their high school experience to give back to the local community to support the highest quality of public education in their community. Jim plans to stay involved at Wilson and will continue to help keep students, active, safe and healthy.