Oregon’s university rivalry rose up in a good-natured way at Sunday’s Hood River Elks Student of the Year banquet.
Out of 16 students nominated monthly during the 2002-03 school year, Oliver Burton and Lindsey Sanguras of Hood River Valley High School won $1,500 scholarships and Lindsay Benjamin and Aarron Phillips of HRVHS took home $500 awards in the fifth-annual event.
When each student stood to describe his or her future plans, Mari Beth Ortega of HRVHS announced she would study at Oregon State University. Several Beaver supporters applauded, and they were answered by several “Go, Ducks!” cheers.
Students of the month will attend schools ranging from the University of Hawaii to Roanake College in Virginia. The other students of the month were Lindsay Clement and Amy Gunn of Cascade Locks, Joel Stenberg of Horizon Christian, and William Peng, Gretchen Bellus, Chris Wherry, Lesley Tamura, Tara Level, Zach Lucas, Chris Mason, Nam Khorjanklang and Mike Prine of HRVHS.
The Elks member who started the award program said this year’s group of nominees is a strong one.
“The most fulfilling part of it is meeting these incredible young people and their families,” said Dr. Robert Wymore. “I look around know that our future is in very good hands. Choosing winners was very difficult — all of these young people are winners.”
Guest speaker Sen. Rick Metsger urged the students to get involved in their communities and to remain true to their own convictions, even in the face of disagreement by their peers.
“You young people have shown you have the same kind of commitment to community as shown by your mothers and fathers,” said Metsger, a Democrat who serves the 24th District from his home in Welches. He drew upon his four years in the Legislature and his earlier career in television broadcasting to relate how his peers stood up for what they believed in, even in the face of political defeat and professional setbacks.
“Always have courage to stand up to those who oppose you, even when you feel you are taking the right course of action,” Metsger said. He also urged the students to “have good judgement and perception of the future as well as of the past.
“Have the ability to know what you did not know — and be able to have the candor to admit it,” Metsger said.
“There is no road map for problem solving,” he added.
Metsger told the students, “never mortgage yourself to any one particular purpose or commitment other than your own values. Continue to work on those principles and I believe you will serve your community well.”