Wy’East Mountain Academy Launches Financial Aid Program With Fundraiser

Wy’East Mountain Academy Launches Financial Aid Program With Fundraiser

Portland, OR. Wy’East Mountain Academy is an outdoor-oriented, action sports academy designed to develop students in the classroom as well as in the outdoors. The organization is launching a nonprofit foundation to help offer financial aid to students who otherwise would not be able to attend.

Most students attending Wy’East Mountain Academy are enrolled in Edgenuity, an accredited online elementary and secondary school. The school’s web-based curriculum meets Oregon state standards while licensed teachers provide the instruction online.

The academy enrolls students ages 12 to 19 who want to combine a rigorous academic setting with skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, mountain biking, and other outdoor recreation sports.

Wy’East Mountain Academy offers sport-specific coaching that facilitates athletic progression at all levels, from just starting out to competing professionally. Its first annual Good in the Woods fundraising celebration will be held on Friday, December 17th, 2021. The goal is to bring families and supporters together to celebrate the new 501c3 not-for-profit status and to raise $50,000 in scholarship funds so administrators can extend the Wy’East Mountain Academy experience to more students. To help reach the goal, there is a Penny for Penny match on all proceeds raised.

Student at Wy’East academy on graduation day.

The school holds a parent’s weekend each year.

Kevin English, Academy President, explains the plan to raise $50,000. “The goal of Good in the Woods is to help raise funds for tuition assistance. When you look at any of these sports we’re talking about, they’re incredibly resource-intense, these are not inexpensive sports in the first place, and then you couple that with a boarding school, it really limits the number of people who can afford to do something like this.”

Unique silent bid items include fun items like snowboarding & skiing gear, IKON pass, renowned action sports photography, and airline tickets. “Adversity is nothing new to this school,” English said when talking about challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our team, coming from this action-sports world, is really all about risk mitigation. When you’re a high-performance athlete, that’s all you’re doing, you’re never eliminating risk, but just learning to mitigate existing risks and I think that’s what we’ve done with the school and we’ve navigated it rather well.”

From Wy’East Mountain Academy:

Wy’East Mountain Academy (formerly Windells Academy) is a world-class outdoor-oriented, action sports academy designed to develop driven and talented students in the classroom as well as in the outdoors. Wy’East enrolls students ages 12 to 19 who want to combine a rigorous academic setting with skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, mountain biking and other outdoor recreation sports. To this end, we offer sport-specific coaching that facilitates athletic progression at all levels, from just starting out to competing professionally. We enable students to learn, train and participate in sports year-round while attaining high school or college credits that are transferable in or out of any US accredited school, national or international.

The meaning of Wy’East.

“Wy’East” is the original name for Mt. Hood, given by the Multnomah people who first inhabited its nearby lands. That this mountain draws us together is central to our spirit of adventure and achievement. It is this special place we call home and to which we pay homage.

What we believe.

Our mission is life improvement through people, place, and passion. We believe that if you put the right people in the right place, with shared passions and college preparatory academics, you’ll not just improve the life of young person, but change the world by helping to create driven and compassionate citizens.

Our vision is to be a top ten globally rated outdoor academy with alumni who are helping to improve the world.

Our core values are embodied in these words:

* Relationship-Based * Refreshing * Influential * Authentic * Welcoming *Uninhibited * Genuine *Credible *

* Progressive * Caring * Socially Responsible and Community-Minded * Passionate * Purpose Driven * Humorous *

* Imaginative * Diverse Perspectives *

For more information or ways to contribute, check out the website, or email [email protected]

The Oregon Ballet Theatre Returns to the Stage

The Oregon Ballet Theatre Returns to the Stage

Portland, OR. Oregon Ballet Theater (OBT) has returned to in-person performances. Above is a photo of Jessica Lind in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker by James McGrew. In October, OBT took the stage at the Keller Auditorium with a program called Face to Face. “After 18 months away from our home, we are thrilled to be coming face-to-face with our audience again,” says Interim Artistic Director Peter Franc.

FACE TO FACE featured three powerful ballets for OBT’s return to the stage.

Next up is The Nutcracker. The holiday tradition starts on December 11th. Tickets are available at https://www.obt.org/nutcracker-2021/.

Xuan Cheng as ‘Coffee’ in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

From Oregon Ballet Theatre:

Oregon Ballet Theatre seeks to inspire beauty and excellence in the hearts and minds of Oregonians through the creation and preservation of the highest quality classical and contemporary ballet performances. In addition to our 5-show main stage season, they train dancers from 4 years old to 80 years old through the professional and recreational classes at the Oregon Ballet Theatre School. Many of their students go on to successful professional careers at companies including the Joffrey, the Dutch National Ballet, and within our own organization.

With the understanding that this will be an ongoing process, staff, artists, and trustees of OBT wholeheartedly commit to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion at OBT. They commit to the hard work of introspection, and to becoming more representative of our entire community at all levels of the organization. OBT commits to creating a positive workplace culture that respects differences. And to continue outreach programming that bridges gaps in access and understanding and engages diverse and marginalized populations. By considering all we do through the lens of equity, OBT aims to be a leader in the field and to ensure the vibrancy and relevance of ballet for years to come.

OBT is the largest professional ballet company in Oregon, employing nearly 200 people and attracting artists from around the globe with a reputation for excellence. The company is rooted in the traditions of classical ballet, with a repertoire that ranges from the great classics to premieres from some of the most exciting choreographic voices in the field today. Its mission is dedicated to the vitality of, and access to, world-class ballet performance and training in the region.

For more information about performances, tickets, and all other information, visit; obt.org 

Portland Opera Opens 58th Season with Puccini’s Grand Masterpiece Tosca

Portland Opera Opens 58th Season with Puccini’s Grand Masterpiece Tosca

Portland, OR. Portland Opera is celebrating a return to in-person performances with three performances of Puccini’s grand opera Tosca at the Keller Auditorium. The performances of Tosca are on October 29th, 31st, and November 6th. “We are over the moon to be returning to the Keller Auditorium this Friday for the first time in 727 days,” says General Director Sue Dixon. “Tosca is the perfect opera for our return to the theater after all of this time — it’s grand, traditional, passionate, and beloved. It’s really a classic for a reason.” This production will feature a number of company debuts, including tenor Noah Stewart as Cavaradossi, seen above, and Soprano Alexandra LoBianco will make her Portland Opera debut in the title role.

The piece tells the story of Tosca, a renowned diva, in Rome in 1800. An artist-activist has won her heart, and his revolutionary sympathies provoke the wrath of Scarpia, the corrupt chief of police. Her devotion and moral resistance are challenged by abuses of power, attempted rape, and tragedy—as this high drama builds to its haunting finale.

Gordon Hawkins as Scarpia and Alexandra LoBianco in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca. Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera.

Dixon continues; “We’ve spent the last 18 months following the most up-to-date guidance, shifting our policies, and keeping health and well-being at the forefront of our decision-making. We are committed to keeping everyone involved safe. For this reason, all audience members must show proof of vaccination or negative PCR test to attend a show at Portland Opera this season, and everyone is required to wear a mask inside the theater (except when consuming food or beverages). Audience members will be asked to present this proof of full vaccine or negative COVID-19 test result, as well as verify their ID, prior to entering the theater to have their tickets scanned. At this point, children under the age of 12 (for whom there is not currently an available vaccine) will not be admitted to performances. We’ve also worked with our unions to create a COVID action plan for our cast, crew, and staff working on Tosca.” Detailed information about Portland Opera’s COVID-19 policies can be found here. If postponed, alternate COVID-19 dates for this production are May 13 – 21, 2022.

“We recognize that some people may not be ready to come back to the theater in person – and that is okay! We launched a digital channel, Portland Opera Onscreen, as a way to connect with our audience and perform throughout the pandemic, and we will continue to stream our performances here into the future. For Tosca, audience members can stream the opera on demand November 16th-December 31st.”

With the launch of the 21/22 season, Portland Opera welcomes Artistic Director Priti Gandhi, who joined the staff in early September. “I am delighted to be here in Portland for my first production as Artistic Director, and to welcome this incredible cast and creative team to Portland” shares Gandhi. “Tosca is full of passion, romance, tragedy, and politics. It is the perfect grand opera for a return to the theater.”

Noah Stewart as Cavaradossi and Damien Geter as Angelotti in Puccini’s Tosca. Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera.

Soprano Alexandra LoBianco, whose performance as Tosca has been described as “thrilling” by Opera News, will make her Portland Opera debut in the title role. This production will feature a number of company debuts, including tenor Noah Stewart as Cavaradossi, baritone Gordon Hawkins as Scarpia, and tenor Katherine Goforth as Spoletta. Baritone Deac Guidi returns to Portland Opera as Sacristan, bass-baritone Damien Geter (Portland Opera’s co-artistic advisor) returns as Angelotti and the Jailer, and baritone Zachary Lenox returns as Sciarrone.

Conductor Tiffany Chang will conduct Puccini’s lush score, which features the beloved arias “Vissi d’arte,” “E lucevan le stelle,” and “Recondita armonia.” Chang, who makes her debut at Portland Opera as well as Opera Columbus this season, serves as artist-faculty at Oberlin Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, and was a recipient of a 2020 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award as well as a recent OPERA America Grant for Women Stage Directors and Conductors.

Stage director Linda Brovsky will make her Portland Opera debut directing this grand, traditional production. Performances will also feature the talented local and regional musicians who make up Portland Opera’s orchestra and chorus.

From Portland Opera:

Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of funders including the National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Community Foundation, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund.

You can find more information about Tosca here, and for more information, and to purchase tickets visit portlandopera.org or call Patron Services at 503-241-1802. For more information, patrons may also contact the Opera Concierge at [email protected], Monday through Friday from 10 PM–5 PM.

Portland YouthBuilders Raises $120,000 With Big Search Party

Portland YouthBuilders Raises $120,000 With Big Search Party

Portland, OR. Portland YouthBuilders (PYB) hosted its second virtual scavenger called the ‘Big Search Party.’ It was a three-day fundraising campaign, and a virtual scavenger hunt to raise funds to support its mission and goals as an organization. About 100 supporters joined in the fun of the virtual scavenger hunt, which was completed through the Goosechase scavenger hunt app. Teams remained safe and socially distanced as they competed for points and bragging rights. Missions included a photo or video displays of talent, creativity, and tenacity, documenting challenges as varied as dressing up a fire hydrant, camouflaging themselves against any background, and recreating a photo booth, virtually.

Team Dinosaur completes the mission of dressing up a fire hydrant with the help of their dog, Elvis.

Supporters surpassed a $100,000 fundraising goal, raising more than $120,000. These funds will go toward enacting the mission of the nonprofit, which provides support for low-income youth including education, vocational training, and leadership development.

Participants gave the activity great reviews saying, “It’s been awesome and helped us get out of the house with two little ones” and “This is a truly enjoyable way to give back to an amazing organization!”

The virtual campaign and scavenger hunt took place over three days – September 16th, 17th and 18th – and was presented by O’Neill Walsh Community Builders. It included video testimonials.

Current PYB technology student Ronderrick told his story about the support he has received at PYV and about how he’s on track to graduate high school despite many tremendous challenges he’s faced.

Team Dinosaur completes the mission of camouflaging themselves against any background, with a clever flannel theme.

From PYB:

We enroll young people aged 17-26, though the great majority of our students are in their teens. Nearly 60% of our students are people of color, with our BIPOC community comprised of Latinx, African American, Native American, and Asian/Pacific Islander students. On average, approximately 70% identify as male and 30% as female, with a small percentage who identify as non-binary.

Nearly all of our students come to us with histories of significant trauma, including poverty, dropping out of school, homelessness, substance abuse, violence in the home, involvement with the justice system, and more. Some of our students have learning disabilities, have been in foster care, or are custodial parents.

Additionally, all of our students are deeply motivated to make a positive change in their lives. Once they take the bold and brave step to join our program, our students are notorious for doing all they can to make it work.