Woodrow Wilson High School Alumni Update - January 2009


It's been over 50 years since the school opened its doors. We were wondering... How were the school colors chosen? What about the fight song? Why the Trojans? Here's what we've learned so far.

David Bates '57 has a clear memory of how the colors of green and white were chosen for Wilson. During the first semester of the year that Wilson opened in 1956, David's speech class taught by Mr. William Owen had the assignment of writing a speech for selecting the colors for the new school. "Each of us in the class wrote a speech for the colors that we selected. During a scheduled assembly, we gave our speeches in front of the entire school in the auditorium. My speech was the one for the green and white colors. I remember that I was nervous to be giving a speech in front of the entire student body. I also remember that I said, 'remember with the colors green and white, white will not fade'. Not sure why I said that, but it seemed to make a lasting point and the colors green and white were selected with a landslide." Now, how did the school colors change to green, white, and orange? Jack Bertell '58 recalls that the accents of orange and black were added after the merger with Jackson High School and was influenced by Mike Clopton, the WWHS Athletic Director.

It's posted in the gym at school, but we're not sure who came up with the words. Dallas Lommen '57 recalls that the music for the fight song was taken from one of the big colleges. Maddi Evans '07 sent us the words to the Fight Song and adds, "I must say that that song will be engraved in me forever, I guess that's what I get for being a cheerleader and all!"

Best in the Land
The mighty Woodrow Wilson high
Throughout the league
Opponents hear our battle cry FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
Victory for you
Each gallant Trojan brave and true
For the green and the white will FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
Our loyalties forever Wilson high

What about the school's mascot? As Dallas Lommen '57 recalls, "A school wide election was held to decide on the Trojan as our mascot, the school newspaper was the Statesman (probably the only concession we made to Woodrow Wilson, the man)." Penny Williamson Salley '58 remembers that Mike Nagler '58 designed "Tommy Trojan" and had a good campaign to name Wilson the Trojans. The Class of 1958 sang the fight song at their 30-year reunion, though, not many of them remembered the song. Penny recalls, "It was such fun being in on the inception of it all. We, on rally had to make our own pom poms out of crepe paper. Nasty on a rainy football night as we all had green hands. It's a great school and now has some really fun history and it was fun to be part of it."

Do you have answers? If so, let us know. Email your memories to Linda Doyle.



When the subject of "how did you pick the green and white school colors?", Emily Lou Borling '59 said, that was a long time ago! "I do remember there were so many decisions to be made at the start of a new school. Many of us transferred from Lincoln High School, certainly a school of some vintage compared to the upstart Wilson HS. The memories of being at Woodrow Wilson High School when it opened, choosing colors, choosing mascots, well it was such an honor to be in a fresh new school building. I remember dances - sock hops, sometimes. I remember hearing that the Russians shot Sputnik into space on the night of one of our dances. Surely don't think I dreamt that up but our studies changed after that and we were moved into more academically challenging classes to boost our academic achievement." When a student at Wilson, Emily Lou played the flute and was a member of the National Honor Society. After Wilson she graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Music and Indiana University with a Master of Music. Emily Lou has been an organist in Houston for 38 years and states that her love for music started way back in Portland when she was 15 years old. She is now a retired musician and send all her best to her classmates.

I cannot express exactly how much Mr. Karl Meiner [Wilson Language Arts teacher] helped shape me into the individual I am today. When I was a young freshman, roaming the halls of Wilson, I was elated to find a teacher with the same energy level that I possessed. Karl was a student teacher in my freshman English class, which was taught by another extremely influential man, Tim Harden. I remember reading The Hobbit and finding that the stories adventurous spirit was reflected in my own high school experience. This was in part because Karl helped to open my eyes to the joy of reading. Karl never took days off. He constantly devoted his time to his students and would work to develop engaging curriculum that students with “high energy”, like myself, appreciated. He made teaching his passion and I discovered that I too wanted to instill that excitement into young minds. Freshman year ended in a flash and I was continuing on my journey towards graduation. When I reached my senior year, I remember requesting Karl as my English teacher. Fortunately for me I ended up in Karl’s class and was reminded once again of the many reasons I had thought about teaching as a career. Whether he was teaching with fire, or taking the class outside to read in the sun, Karl always made me look forward to going to class. The best thing about Karl was the fact that he truly cared about his students. He committed himself to our education and he worked hard to establish one on one relationships with us all. I still consider Karl a friend and an inspiration. He goes down in Wilson High School history as the finest, most caring teacher that I ever had. In his honor I write this letter. Karl helped me to become a grown man and his dedication pushed me to discover my own talents. It is because of Karl that I now teach today. Mason Wright, Class of 2001

It was my sophomore year and I had Mr. Matousek and Mr. Gray for Math classes. They taught us math and basic computer programming skills using the old teletype machines and paper tape for storage. Quite hilarious (from a technology perspective) now that I think about it compared to where we are today. I liked the classes and it was quite enjoyable as well. I always wanted to be a Dentist, so my first year at college I started taking all the pre-med science courses and failed miserably. My sophomore year, I switched to Accounting and lulled myself into a coma with that. Scratching my head after two years trying to decide what to do with my life, I recalled those math and programming classes taught by Mr. Matousek and Mr. Gray. I enrolled in the program at college and started taking computer science classes and loved it! I graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Oregon, went into the field and never looked back. I am currently a Vice President and Chief Information Officer for a publicly traded software company (, and I still live in beautiful Portland. They don’t know it, but Mr. Matousek and Mr. Gray were a real inspiration to me with their classes and had a direct impact on my career choices and successes. Thank you both! Scott Fenton ‘72

After learning about our new WWHS Alumni website, Steve Nagel '76 adds, "Glad to see this web site, a great place to keep tabs on Wilson and the goings on there. I currently have a niece there and another niece and nephew are on their way to attending Wilson!" Steve regularly stays in touch with his reunion committee, and adds, "Our reunion was 2 years ago and hoping in 3 years from now to have another one. Oh the memories at Wilson, it was great!"

Dianne Kozowski '69 now lives in Enterprise, Oregon. After graduating from high school, she returned to Wilson as a teacher from 1988 to 1997. "During those years, I replaced my PE teacher, Marion Hara, after her retirement," states Dianne. "I also filled other positions over the years and spent time as a coach and Activity Director. I am happy to hear that Wilson continues to excel in academics and athletics. The current students and staff have a long tradition of excellence to carry on in future years."

As reported in the last WWHS Alumni Update, Jack Bertell '58 was named to the PIL Sports Hall of Fame on October 2008 for his work as a coach for Jefferson and Wilson. One classmate, Dallas Lommen '57, wanted to take the time to acknowledge Jack for his efforts. "Jack has been a long time friend and a great guy," states Dallas. "Good to hear that he's been recognized."

Denis Norstrom '60 remembers that Wilson was not the highlight of his life. "Yet the basics of success must have been laid," states Denis. "Lucille Hill was a great influence with grammar, sentence structuring, and communication." "I will forgive her for her intense creativity that she spent with the 'Trojanes' (yes it was the 60's and Robin Stone was the elected Rose Princess!) We all make detours in the path that is set before each of us, and we are to learn from our mistakes! So many hills to conquer, so many sights to see, and so little time in this finite dimension that we call life. We cannot go backward, as we must plod forward through the 2008 fog that is at the present in our eyes. Celebrate the moment: it is all we have!"

Rob Harding '77 lives in Lancaster, California and is a "professional" umpire. After joining the Navy he became a deep sea diver from 1978-82. Today throughout the year, Rob umpires every weekend, with college, high school, Travel Ball, Men's and Women's Fast Pitch Softball teams and much more. This past summer he was an official for two World Series travel softball games, one was Triple Crown Sports and the other was USSSA Sports, and "was on the plate for one of the Championship games," adds Rob. "It is something I absolutely love to do. It's not even work for me... it's playtime." Rob tells us that he has "always dreamed of coaching wrestling at Wilson." He was part of the undefeated wresting team of 1977 and his talent allowed him to compete at state. As a student at Wilson, Rob participated in football, wrestling, and baseball.

Still treasuring my coffee mug with pictures of Elva Martin and Lenny "the Rhine" Rinearson. May be the best reunion keepsake ever. Tom Rhodes '71



Rodrick Roy Boston passed away on July 6, 2008 at the age of 65. He was born August 14, 1942, in Portland. After graduating from Wilson in 1960 he served in the Navy in the Vietnam War, then graduated from Southern Oregon College. Rod moved in 1971 to Beaverton, where he owned several 7-11 stores. In 1970, he married Barbara Halle; she died in 1980. Survivors include his daughter, Michelle M.; son, Michael R.; and brothers, John W. and Michael R. According to his brother Bill, Rod "had fond memories of his time and association with Wilson High School."

Michael Primiano passed away on November 17, 2008 at the age of 65. He was born March 24, 1943, in Portland, where he lived all his life. After graduating from Wilson Michael received bachelor's and master's degrees from Portland State University and served in the Army. He was a self-employed construction project manager. In 1970, he married Linda K. Enquist. Survivors include his wife; and mother, Ann.



CLASS OF 1959 ... 50TH REUNION ... SEPTEMBER 11-12, 2009
Plans have been finalized for our 50th reunion! Dates: September 11 and September 12, 2009. Location: Doubletree--Lloyd Center, Portland. See all the details at Any questions or input regarding the reunion can be forwarded to the committee at You can also contact Class Reunions at, 503.636.3669 or toll free at 1.800.474.3669.

CLASS OF 1969 ... 1979
Are there plans for your upcoming reunions? If so, please send Linda Doyle your contact information and details, and we will share with your classmates.

Mark your calendars for our 20 year reunion! It will take place over the weekend of July 24-July 26, 2009. Friday will be an informal gathering, with Saturday being the big night! More information to come!

Classmates are starting to come together for your 10-year reunion. Thoughts, questions, please call Grahm Metz-Porozni at



Dear Alumni -- A group of parents met recently to discuss the auction. We put our heads together and decided on the following approach. Our vision is an inclusive, fun, inspiring event that will highlight the diverse and talented students and staff at Wilson. The theme is: "We're All in this Together" (hum along!). The dinner/auction will be April 4 at the Multnomah Athletic Club-- put it on your calendar! The auction will support a variety of activities, including sports, music, drama, art, club sports, etc. An allocation committee will make the decision on how the proceeds will be distributed. We will have entertainment (most of it provided by students), a charismatic "master of ceremonies", and exciting oral auction items. We are researching the possibility of conducting an online silent auction that would start before the event. We plan to ramp up the "fun" in "fundraising" and increase the "experiential" type of silent auction items ( parties, events with teachers, art work from students and/or teachers, etc.). We're looking for table captains for participating activities as well as for alumni, community members, etc. Our first priority is to select a chair for the procurement committee. Please let us know if you are interested prior to our next meeting date. The next meeting is January 7 at 7pm in the faculty lounge. Everyone who wants to be involved is welcome to attend and help us make this a wildly successful fund raiser. Questions, contact Lucy Brehm '77 (co- chair) at If you would like to organize an alumni table at the auction, contact Linda Doyle at

Do you remember what it was like during finals when you were a student at Wilson? Sometimes you just needed a little encouragement. Well, members of the Wilson Grad Night planning committee are asking Wilson graduates to give our current students a little encouragement by buying them a "Sweet Gram" during their upcoming finals. For only $4.00, delicious cookies or other sweet treats from local bakeries will be hand delivered to the student’s class, along with your personalized message of encouragement. Please send $4.00 (cash or check made out to Wilson PTA Grad Night.) Bring your payment and information or mail to: Wilson High School, Attn: WHS Grad Night, 1151 SW Vermont Ave, Portland, OR 97219.

Include the following with your payment:
Yes: _____ please give this "Sweet Gram" of encouragement to a deserving young student at Wilson.

Your message: _______________________________________________________________________
From: ________________________________________________________(your name and class year)

A fundraiser book sale supporting Wilson’s 2009 graduation night sendoff gala for departing seniors will be presented at Burlingame Baptist Church (on Barbur, across from Fulton Community Center) on Saturday, February 7, from 9:00 to 5:00. Bargain books, videos, DVDs and books-on-tape of all types will be available. Volunteers are at work organizing the event now. Tell your friends and turn out yourself to support this worthy cause (and bring home some good reading or viewing material). In the meantime, donations of books and videos can be dropped off in the marked bins adjacent to the main entrance inside the school. Contact: Tim Leigh, 503-380-8445,

Every time you use a Target credit card (Target Visa Credit Card or Target Credit Card) you can make money for Wilson. Once you have their credit card, go online to the Target Take Charge of Education Program at;jsessionid=LUBPU34JRSMAFLARAAV5YAA?contentId=PRD03-005158 and select Wilson. Then start shopping. It's that simple. Target donates 1% of all Target credit card purchases made at a Target store or at Target donates 1/2% of all Target Visa Credit Card purchases made outside of Target. Target sends checks twice a year to the attention of Wilson's principal. You can track how Wilson is doing at The total of all Target donations to Wilson has been $8894.40 from January through September 2008. Thank you to those that have helped Wilson, and thank you to those that will help our school in the future!



We have a new WWHS Alumni website at We are still working on the pages, but please check it out and don't forget to complete the simple online form to join the WWHS Alumni database. Tell your friends about the new site.

If you are receiving the WWHS Alumni Update, please make sure to add the following email address to your address book ( This way your internet/email provider will not view the e-newsletter as spam. Thanks! If you would like to be removed from the list, just send an email to

Send the details to Linda Doyle at, including your name, class year and quote about your time spent at WWHS. Do you have a story about a classmate's achievements. Send us the story and we will post it in our next WWHS Alumni e-newsletter. All you have to do is to give us the full name and graduating class of the individual along with their story. Then let us know your name and graduating class. Send the details to Linda Doyle.

Interested in purchasing 50th Anniversary t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps? To place an order, contact Jack Bertell '58 at