Hood River Valley student leaders win Klahre Award

December 10, 2005

The Hood River County Commission on Children and Families presented the Klahre Award on Nov. 18 to Steve Fisk and Martha Capovilla co-principals at Hood River Valley High School.

The award, named for the late Jim Klahre, a local businessman and volunteer who worked for children, is given annually to an individual who best typifies Klahre’s distinguished service to children.

“This may be the first time we have given the award to two individuals, but their work is so intertwined that it is impossible to separate what they do,” said Rick Eggers, chairperson of the Hood River County Commission on Children and Families, before presenting the award.

The executive committee also wrestled with the concept of giving the Klahre Award to professional individuals, he said.

“After all, aren’t they just doing what they were hired to do?” he said. “Do we give an award to someone who is simply doing their job?”

The commission decided that the co-principals’ professional lives are much more than a job.

“Young people are their passion,” Eggers said. “Their commitment to the youth of Hood River County has made a profound positive impact upon our youth and our community.”

Eggers said the team is receiving the award because they lead the effort to make HRV a drug-free campus; diligently work to counter the prevailing community attitude that excuses drug/alcohol use as just a normal part of adolescence; and balance the needs of individual students with the importance of maintaining a safe school for all students. He also noted the school’s outstanding program for helping Hispanic students.

“Their leadership has made it possible for HRV to have one of the lowest dropout rates for Hispanic students, not only in Oregon, but in the nation,” he said. “At the last graduation ceremony, over 50 students walking across the stage were the first members of their families to receive a high school diploma.”

Fisk and Capovilla were also recognized for continually focusing on students as individuals, even as HRV transitions from a relatively small, innovative rural high school to a large comprehensive center of learning.

“Martha and Steve continually focus on the individual,” Eggers said. “School and staff must remain kid-focused and never let kids fall through the cracks of bureaucracy.

Every student is important.

“Steve and Martha are an inspiration to us all and that is why they are receiving this award.”

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