Bonanza students are drawing inspiration from a colorful mural that was made possible by a $2,000 equity and diversity grant from the OSAA Foundation.
The 32-by-10-foot mural, painted on a school hallway by local artist Robert Terrell, includes the faces of 16 influential figures. It is part of a weeklong “All In” campaign of workshops, lessons and activities that spotlight inclusion and diversity, according to a release from the Klamath County School District.
From the release:
The main focus of the week was learning about each of the 16 people on the mural. The figures, carefully chosen by principal Jordan Osborn and vice principal Sergio Cisneros, represent a wide array of ethnicities, professions, accomplishments and backgrounds.
“We intentionally picked a diverse group of people to put on our mural in the hopes that students will be able to connect with someone -- whether they look like them, have the same interests as them or have been through similar life struggles,” Osborn said. “We want students to be able to find strength, resilience, and inspiration to continue to be ‘all in’ in their pursuit of excellence in their own lives.”
The Bonanza project is the third one to receive a contribution from the Foundation through the OSAA's Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee, which began meeting in Sept. 2019.
The Foundation also donated $2,000 each to Lakeridge and Century for workshops through the Positive Coaching Alliance, titled, “Sports can battle racism.”
“We've been talking with our executive board and foundation board about opportunities to support equity work around the state,” OSAA executive director Peter Weber said. “That's a priority for us. We have school districts that are doing some great things. Sometimes that bit of funding can make a difference.”
Among the faces on the Bonanza mural are David Ho, a Taiwanese-American AIDS researcher; Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Jim Thorpe, the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal for the United States; and Winema Riddle, a Modoc woman who served as an interpreter during the Modoc War.
Others are well-known figures Michael Jordan, Martin Luther King Jr. and John Wooden.
Bonanza has 200 students grades 7-12. Of those, about 65 percent identify as white, and 35 percent identify as multi-racial, Asian, Native American, African American or Hispanic.
Cisneros said representation was not just about ethnicity or culture.
“Some of our students identified with one of our figures because of their struggle,” he said.
According to the release:
Bonanza sophomore Yahir Raygoza Cortez is inspired by successful coach John Wooden, but not because of his winning record. Instead, Raygoza Cortez points to the coach’s philosophy on success and failure.
“To Coach Wooden, failure is something that you can learn from in order to succeed the next time,” he said. “I always try my best to succeed, and when I do fail, well it sucks, and I have a hard time getting over it. But when I learned of his philosophy, I realized I should try to do that, that I should try to learn from my failure and change for the better.”
Fire relief: Weber visited Phoenix, McKenzie and Santiam – schools in communities that were devastated by wildfires in September – to present them with $4,000 checks from the Foundation to bolster recovery efforts.
In January, he toured the new school building at Phoenix, which was unscathed by the fires. Monday, he stopped by Santiam, where facilities were ravaged by smoke, and McKenzie, where the football stands burned and part of the track melted.
“It definitely hits home to see that type of impact on a community,” Weber said. “To be able to provide some funds to support them as they work on their recovery efforts, we're glad to be able to do it.”
Of the $12,000 contributed, $10,000 was donated by OnPoint Community Credit Union. The rest came from a Go Fund Me campaign and individual schools and leagues.
Track grants: The Foundation selected five schools to receive grants for track and field: Gresham ($1,000), Milo Adventist Academy ($1,000), Alsea ($1,000), Days Creek ($996) and North Lake ($550).
Gresham athletic director Ty Gonrowski said the school is using the money to purchase plyometric boxes and jump ropes. Considering the economic climate, he said the grant “means a ton” to the track and field program.
“Fundraising is such a big piece of what our coaches have to do,” he said. “It's difficult when you have to rotate new uniforms in every couple of years, and you have other equipment that is a pressing need. It's tough to sometimes be able to get those other items that are on the wish list.”
Days Creek is refurbishing a nature trail for its cross country program. The other schools are using the grants to purchase equipment such as javelins, discuses and shots.