Woodrow Wilson High School Alumni Update - May 2014

edited by Linda Doyle


Wilson students are looking for summer opportunities. If you have a job or internship, let us know and we will get the word out to our student body. Please include a brief description, whether the position is paid or not, contact information, and any other relevant information, including location. Contact Erica Meyers at: emeyers@pps.net.

The following Wilson teachers are retiring at the end of this school year: Scott Aker, John Robinson, Alicia Provost, Manuel Mateo, Cora Crossen, Marilynn Weineke, Lisa Pieren, Lise Flores, Phyllis Kuehnel. Thank you and enjoy retirement!

Wilson Alum: Have you misplaced your yearbook? The school has yearbooks from prior years available at Wilson. Yearbooks available from 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Contact Erica Meyers at: emeyers@pps.net to inquire.

Thursday, May 22nd, 6:30-8:30 pm; rsvp to WilsonHighSchoolFoundation@gmail.com
Ladies, please join us for a night of private shopping at Switch Clothing and Shoes in Multnomah Village to benefit Wilson Foundation. Looking for something new for summer, or for that perfect outfit for graduation or summer weddings? Or maybe just a few accessories to revive what's already in your closet? In addition to clothing Switch has shoes, bags, belts, jewelry, and whatever else you need. For a $10 donation to the Wilson Foundation, you will receive 10% off everything in the store, entry into a drawing for one of five $10 gift certificates, and food and drink hosted by Wilson Foundation; 10% of your purchases will be donated to Wilson Foundation. Your support for Wilson Foundation helps increase elective offerings and keep class sizes low at Wilson High School. Thanks to Wilson parents Jennifer Robinson and Jason Lensch and Rina and Moshe Menashe, owners of Switch, for making this event possible!

Exciting News! Wilson High Baseball & Softball are now taking part in an incredible fundraising opportunity offered to us by the inaugural WinCo Foods Portland Open, a PGA Tour sanctioned men’s professional golf event coming to Portland on August 18-24, 2014. This event will be the regular season finale on the Web.com Tour, in which 25 PGA TOUR cards will be awarded on Sunday of the tournament at the exclusive Witch Hollow Course at Pumpkin Ridge. WinCo Foods has offered Wilson High Baseball & Softball the opportunity to sell tournament tickets and receive 100% of every dollar we sell to put towards our Program needs! The WinCo Foods Portland Open will be a great place to bring your family and friends, as well as a unique way to entertain clients, thank employees or treat customers with a gift of appreciation for all of their support. Tickets to the tournament make great gifts too if you know of anyone with a birthday or anniversary coming up! Here is our customized ticket ordering link to purchase tickets and support Wilson High Baseball & Softball. Please send this link to all of your friends and families! And, if you know others who may be interested in attending this world class golf event, please pass this information along to them and ask that they support Wilson High Baseball & Softball as well! This is a great fundraising opportunity so let’s get out and sell some tickets! Thank you for your support! For additional event info please visit http://www.wincogolf.com.

This year we have two projects we are working on for our Spring Community Care Day on the Wilson campus, Saturday, May 31st from 9am to Noon. A delicious, free BBQ follows. Please email Erica Meyers at emeyers@pps.net if you can help out.
• classroom painting party to get the Video Production room ready for 2014-2015 school year.
• outside work on the grounds; weeding, trimming, and raking. Bring your gloves and lawn tools.

Please join us for a Ground Breaking Ceremony for our NEW TURF FIELD! Thursday, June 5th Time: 5:00-9:00pm. Spring Football Intra-Squad Scrimmage will begin at 5:00pm. Ground breaking will take place immediately following the game. BBQ Hamburgers and Hotdogs. Follow this link and please share the flyer with your friends, family and the WHS community: http://www.pps.k12.or.us/schools/wilson/files/school-wilson/TrojanTouchDownFlyer.pdf.

Wilson High School is creating a fitness center for our students for the 2014-2015 school year. We have applied for a couple of grants to help us create this fitness center and yoga space. As we wait for the results of these pending grants, we would like to make an ask to our community. If anyone knows of a fitness club, hotel or other establishment who may be updating their fitness center and they are looking for a home for their working, commercial grade exercise equipment, Wilson would like to be considered for this equipment. Donating to WIlson would be an excellent tax deduction and would greatly benefit our students. Please direct any questions or ideas to WHS Business Manager, Erica Meyers, at 541-521-8282 or email emeyers@pps.net.

Donate your new and gently-used purses, handbags, wallets, clutches to Wilson to support the arts! We are starting to collect NOW for the upcoming fundraiser: IN THE BAG: benefit for the arts at Wilson (November 9, 2014). It’s never too early to donate! Drop off today at:
• KeyBank Hillsdale
• Wilson High School, Erica Meyer's office
• Switch Shoes & Clothing, Multnomah (receive 20% coupon)
Questions: Linda Doyle, 503-539-7240 or Jaci Evans, 503-502-7612


Alumni and community members are continuing to move forward to establish the WWHS Alumni Association.  Application process for tax-exempt status of association is progressing (with special thanks to Jack Bertell '58 and David Sly '89).  If you would like to join them, contact Jack Bertell '58.



Bashar Kasrawi graduated from Wilson in 1994 and then went on to study mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Upon completing his Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, Bashar moved back to Portland, worked for a few years, then pursued a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering at Portland State University. He now works in the Research and Development section of Trelleborg AB doing Product Development work. Bashar says, "Ron Zaraza was probably the most influential teacher for me at Wilson. He made science fun and I stuck with it throughout my education and professional career." For current Wilson students, he says, "Make sure you understand that a college degree is not a guarantee of success. It is great to take time to figure out what you want to do - but when you do it - make sure you understand the value of it."

Congratulations to Dr. David Seres '76 on being chosen as the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Nutrition Education Award for his outstanding contributions to teaching nutrition from the American Society for Nutrition. He will be presented with the award on April 27 at the Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology in San Diego, California. Dr. Seres is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Institute of Human Nutrition, and Director of Medical Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Follow this link for the award letter. Follow this link for the nomination letter. Dr Seres adds that, "Every day, I rely on the confidence that Wilson teachers helped me build by believing in me despite my rebellious and iconoclastic ways. And now I have found a way to pay back that great gift, to excite young people about thinking outside the box, to help them to learn how to think past the accepted dogma and to question wisely. I share this great honor with all my best mentors and teachers."



Neil Nakadate graduated from Wilson in 1961, was elected the Senior Class President in '60-'61, and went to Stanford University, along with Wilson classmates Gary Severson and Carole Hanson. At Stanford he majored in English and graduated in 1965, and then later earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Literature from Indiana University. Neil taught at the University of Texas, but spent most of his 40-year career as a professor at Iowa State University in the Department of English. Today, he is a Professor Emeritus after retiring in 2010, but he continues to write.

Over the years Neil has written several books, the two most recent being Understanding Jane Smiley (a comprehensive study of her fiction) and in October 2013 Looking After Minidoka: An American Memoir (nonfiction, focusing on his Japanese American family) through history, memories, and personal reflection. Follow this link to the book on the Indiana University Press site.

Neil reflects, "among the Wilson faculty who made a particular impact on me were Roy Lindsey and Virginia Bartel, who succeeded in teaching me math despite my left brain limitations, and inspirational English teachers Troy Horton and Annabel Ashley." He says, "current students should plan on continuing to learn and to adapt to changes in the workplace and American culture."

submitted by Denise Hardy '75
From 1971 through 1975, Wendy Starkey and I were like Mutt and Jeff walking through the halls of Wilson High School. Wendy was a good foot taller than me but we were best friends. Wendy took choir, I took art. We told each other everything that was going on at home. We laughed together, we cried together… we were both chosen in our senior year to assist the Social Studies and English teachers – Mrs. Golding and Mrs. Roach.

When we graduated, I stayed in Portland and attended Portland Community College. Wendy moved to Newberg and attended George Fox College, but we stayed in touch. Wendy told me how she met her husband-to-be and she asked me to receive the gifts at her wedding. I asked Wendy to “man” my guest book at my wedding. I visited Wendy in her home once after she was married.

The years weren’t kind to us, however. For separate reasons, we lost touch with each other. I was hoping that she’d be at our tenth high school reunion, but she wasn’t. By this time, I’d forgotten her married name. She remembered mine, but she wasn’t sure how to find me. I was Susan McCroskey in high school, Denise McCroskey in college, and Denise Sharp when I first married. To make matters worse, I divorced after 25 years and had my name legally changed to Denise Hardy. Then I remarried and my name became Denise Fuller. How could anyone expect to keep up with all those name changes?

For my part, I tried Googling for the name Starkey, hoping to find her parent’s contact information. I remembered what church she’d attended in high school and when I met someone from there, I asked about her family, but they didn’t recognize the name. I signed up to receive the Wilson alumni newsletter in the hopes that I’d hear something from her, and I even posted what I’d been up to since graduation in case she got the newsletter, all to no avail.

My husband, Mark, and I became Workampers in 2012. This means we live in our RV and travel around the country from job to job. We were in Oklahoma last summer when I got another online newsletter from Linda Doyle. I was reading it when I suddenly wondered if Linda could help me find my best friend. I wrote to Linda and told her what year I had graduated and the name of my long lost friend, and within minutes Linda wrote back with the current contact information for Wendy Scharich, nee Starkey.

I immediately wrote to Wendy and said, “I don’t know if you remember me, but we used to be friends in high school…” Wendy wrote back and said, “Of course I remember you! I’ve been looking for you too!” Ever since last summer, Wendy and I have been keeping in touch. In fact, I was home for Christmas and we got to see each other for the first time in nearly 40 years. Wendy shared a before and after picture with me. This was taken in her home in 1975. I’m the dark haired one and she’s the blonde. The one on the right below was taken on Wendy’s phone at Christmas time, 2013. We’re still like Mutt and Jeff!

.............................. 1975 ............................................................. 2013


Local award winning author Brian Ratty '60 has announced the release of the fourth book in his series of adventure stories. Destination Astoria is a historical fiction novel for young adults and up. The storyline is spun around the 1810 Astor expedition and one young fur trapper, Dutch Blackwell, and his stubborn determination to return to the Columbia River. Along the wilderness trail, Dutch encounters Mountain Jack, a seasoned frontiersman. The two men form an alliance, forsaking the Astorians, and cross the continent together. During their tormented passage, the men face death from the agony of starvation, dehydration, burning heat and, on occasion. Crossing the uncharted wilderness is the ultimate test of their tenacity. Destination Astoria is an enthralling story steeped in history, moving across the unforgiving heartland with the fury of a prairie storm. This often thoughtful and brutal tale portrays a lost breed of adventurous frontiersman who helped build Fort Astoria and blaze the Oregon Trail. The second edition of Brian’s first book, Dutch Clarke, the Early Years was published in 2009. It was named ‘Book of the Year’ by Foreword Magazine and was also a Quarter Finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Awards. His second book, Dutch Clarke, the War Years, was published is 2008 and won the Eric Hoffer Literary Award. It was also named ‘Book of the Year’ by Foreword Magazine. His third book, Tillamook Passage, was released in 2012 and won the Eric Hoffer Literary Award for that year. For more information on Brian’s books: www.Dutchclarke.com. The new book can be found at many Oregon coastal gift shops, fine bookstores, libraries and at: - www.Amazon.com and www.Barnesandnoble.com.

While at Wilson Craig Jessen '01 wrote and directed Unstable Octet and Chasm. He directed three Wilson spring one acts: Impromptu by Tad Mosel, The Devil and Billy Markham by Shel Silverstein and The Ugly Duckling by A.A. Milne. Craig was also the assistant directed for Wilson's production of Grease and acted in Bus Stop, Brigadoon, Arcadia, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and You Can't Take it With You. After Wilson, Craig headed to Southern Oregon University where he graduated in 2005 with a BFA in Theatre Arts. In 2007 Craig moved back to Portland with the goal of getting into graduate school for Playwriting. In 2008 he was accepted into the UCLA program and was offered a two-year fellowship. Craig's new play opened in Portland this January 2014, produced by Theatre Vertigo called The End of Sex. The play, which is described as a provocative comedy, centers on a scientist who inadvertently develops a drug that remaps sexual sensation. Follow this link to learn more about Craig and his work: http://www.craigjessen.com/. Craig was joined on campus at Wilson by his older brother, Eric '99 and younger brother Kyle '04. Congratulations, Craig!


Send us the details on where/what you have been doing since graduating from Wilson, and we'll post in an upcoming WWHS Alumni Update e-newsletter.  Send details to Linda Doyle.




We wanted to share comments written about Steve Melnichuk by his daughter Lynn Melnichuk Schachner on the Woodrow Wilson High School Facebook page.

Coach - Wilson, 1976-1994. Recently Inducted into the PIL Hall of Fame. Women Soccer: 18 years as coach; League record of 163-21-6; overall record 197-60-22; 10 League Championships, 1 State Championship (1977), 4 semi- and 5-quarter final appearances; 1985 OSAA Coach of the Year, 1989 District Coach of the Year, designed soccer field at Mary Reike Elementary, 1981 Timbers Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Achievement in Women Soccer. Women Golf: 17 years as coach; 14 District Championships, 15 Dual Meet Championships; 1 State Championship, nine 3rd-5th Place finishes; 2-time PIL Women Coach of the Year; 1991 Workshop presenter for District Women Golf Coaches; 3-year volunteer Director for OSAA Women 3A-1A State Golf Championships; 1991 selected/attended LPGA 6-day golf instructor institute for club professionals in Florida;1996-2012 was a participant at the World Left-handed Amateur Golf Championships in 8 different countries; rules official for numerous OSAA golf tournaments (Men and Women); 14 year volunteer rules official for the Oregon Golf Association. Physics Instructor for 36 years at the high school level. Assisted in the development of two Inquiry based Physical Science program-" Introductory Physical Science" and "Force, Motion and Energy", for SCI (a science curriculum development institute.) Taught at the University level for over 10 summers- six to nine week workshops for teachers of Science. (San Diego State, Colorado School of Mines, Boston University Extension, Portland State, Western Washington State, Seattle University, and other workshop sites.) Avocation of music for 10 years at KGW/King TV as a performer with the Circle 8 Hoedown and the Heck Harper Show. Dad is still playing golf, still singing & still in the education arena :0 We love him very much!
by Lynn Melnichuk Schachner

I am a mother of three children (one son and two daughters) and am widowed. I have six grandchildren, ages 3 months to 27 years. I am the pianist for my church in Estacada, Oregon, a Former City Commissioner for the City of Estacada, and a local precinct committee person. My favorite activities are reading, bicycling, politics, traveling to foreign countries, fostering rescued animals (dogs and cats), and interacting with my grandchildren. I have fond and pleasant memories of my years at Wilson. I had a grand time at our '62 50th reunion in 2012. Wish I could start all over again in 1958. Kathleen Wyatt '62



Please send an email with details to Linda Doyle if you have an obituary that should be posted here.  Below is a list of classmates who have just been added to the list:


Click on this link to read more about classmates, teachers, community members who have passed away...  Once on the page, scroll down to find the class year.


Get all the details at: http://www.wilsonalumni.com/reunions.htm

CLASS OF 1959 Reunion ... September 11, 2014
CLASS OF 1962 Reunion ... September 13, 2014
CLASS OF 1964 Reunion ... August 8, 2014
CLASS OF 1974 Reunion ... September 20, 2014
CLASS OF 1984 Reunion ... August 8 – 10, 2014
CLASS OF 1994 Reunion ... August 16 - 17, 2014



Please check out the WWHS Military Alumni page and read all about our amazing military graduates. To add your name and information to the WWHS Military alumni page, Send your information to Linda Doyle at LSDOYLE@EARTHLINK.NET.

Year graduated from Wilson:
Military branch:
Years of service:
Service description:
Photo (optional):
Do you give permission to post this information on our website (required):


Check out the WWHS Alumni website and don't forget to complete the simple online form to join the WWHS Alumni database. To help us reach as many graduates as possible, please consider adding the link to our website (http://www.wilsonalumni.com/) from your website. Pass the word along to your Wilson High School classmates about the Wilson High School Alumni website and the opportunity to register. Tell your friends.

If you are receiving the WWHS Alumni Update, please make sure to add the following email address to your address book (lsdoyle@earthlink.net). 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 Linda Doyle.