Arts in Education award named for Steighner

Musical heights: HRV Music Director Mark Steighner (center) was recently presented with the newly minted “Steighner Arts Education Award” created in his honor. The award will also be presented to future recipients who, like Steighner, dedicate their lives to excellence in arts and education.  Shelley Toon-Hight (left) of Columbia Gorge Arts in Education presented the award along with music teacher Rebecca Nederhiser (right), and (not pictured) HRV Principal Karen Neitzel and HRMS Principal Brent Emmons. They are surrounded by HRMS students who recently performed one of Steighner’s original musicals.

Photo by Julie Raefield-Gobbo.
Musical heights: HRV Music Director Mark Steighner (center) was recently presented with the newly minted “Steighner Arts Education Award” created in his honor. The award will also be presented to future recipients who, like Steighner, dedicate their lives to excellence in arts and education. Shelley Toon-Hight (left) of Columbia Gorge Arts in Education presented the award along with music teacher Rebecca Nederhiser (right), and (not pictured) HRV Principal Karen Neitzel and HRMS Principal Brent Emmons. They are surrounded by HRMS students who recently performed one of Steighner’s original musicals.

“For artistry, excellence and dedication in arts education in our schools and community”: That is how a newly created award will honor future dedicated educators in Hood River County. This year’s first recipient of those eloquent accolades however is Hood River Valley High School Music Director Mark Steighner.

“Attempting to consolidate what Mark Steighner has meant to our community in a few words is similar to writing a paragraph summarizing the works of Shakespeare,” said Hood River Middle School Principal Brent Emmons during the March 6 inaugural presentation.

To honor Steighner’s 30 years of excellence in music education and his positive impact on the arts within the community, Columbia Gorge Arts in Education went beyond a one-time recognition and created the new award — henceforth to be presented to future recipients as the “Steighner Arts Education Award.”

“I was completely surprised by the recognition and appreciate it very much. However, I hope that the award didn’t take away from the real stars of the night, the middle school students and their outstanding performance of the musical,” said Steighner. “I am grateful for the amount of support that I have received in the community over the past thirty years and hope to continue to promote the importance of music and the arts for many more years to come.”

Shelley Toon Hight, director of CGAE, was joined by HRV Principal Karen Neitzel, Emmons and HRMS music teacher Rebecca Nederhiser in presenting the beautifully crafted wooden plaque in front of the final audience of the HRMS musical “Three-and-a-Half Wishes,” an original written by Steighner.

“From the moment I started working with Mark Steighner here in Hood River, I was amazed by his professionalism, work ethic and creativity in providing diverse and meaningful music opportunities for the community,” said Nederhiser. “The last two years have been an amazing adventure for us, performing two original musicals featuring our staff and students.”

Steighner wrote both HRMS musicals, and dozens of others — many of which have been produced at HRV and the CAST Theater.

Acknowledging Steighner’s personal musical accomplishments and his ability to inspire high achievement in his students, Toon and the gathered audience applauded Steighner with enthusiasm.

“One quote of Mark’s that has really stuck with me this year, has been the phrase, ‘Don’t wish for it; make it happen,’” said Nederhiser. “Mark is a keen example of this principle, and I think is an inspiration to all of us about learning and growing toward excellence.”

“We hope that Mark’s passion and commitment to generative work will inspire others to serve their community through arts education,” said Toon Hight. “The quote, ‘A great society is created when someone plants trees whose shade they will never sit in’ comes to mind when I think of the impact of Mark’s work.”

Emmons went on to say, “I have been blessed to have been associated with Mark Steighner for the past 16 years. He is a colleague, role model and a friend. Mark’s contribution to our community has impacted tens of thousands of people over the years.”

According to the evening presenters, the future recipients of the Steighner Arts Education Award have inspiring standards to live up to.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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