OREGON CITY —Waldport Middle and High School Forestry students and the program’s leader were the big winners the last weekend of April during the Oregon Future Natural Resource Leaders state convention, held at the Hopkins Demonstration Forest.
Thirty-eight Waldport students participated in 22 events April 29-30, and Irish competitors placed first in 11 of them in leading Waldport to its third consecutive overall team title over 12 other schools with 296 points. Sweet Home High School finished second with 157 points, and was followed by Philomath with 54.
Pacing the Waldport effort was senior Zak Holsey, who earned the convention’s Overall Logger and Future Natural Resource Leader Professional honors after collecting individual state championships in Demonstration Speech, Pole Climb and Choker Set.
Waldport’s Trae Vandehey won state titles in Log Scaling, Compass and Pacing and Crosscut Sawing with partner Levi Fruechte, who also teamed with Eli Spangrud to win the Cable Splicing championship. Other Waldport individual champions included Kenny Heasley in Map Reading, Gabe Catalfamo in Written Expression, Kaden Simmons in Tree Identification and Carter Rodgers in Axe Throw.
“I am very proud of the students. Their hard work paid off,” Waldport CTE program director Jeff Skirvin said in a Lincoln County School District news release.
Waldport High School’s Career Technical Education program in Natural Resources is one of two in the state to earn Program of the Year honors from the Future Natural Resource Leaders.
“The Forestry Program provides many different learning avenues for students: academic, soft, and physical skills,” Amy Skirvin, Waldport Middle and High School principal, said in the release. “I was pleased to see students who have been in the program for three years have success and students who just joined the program this school year. It’s always exciting to be a state champion! Earning the team title three years in a row shows a lot of grit and character with our students and instructor.”
Additionally, that weekend at Hopkins Demonstration Forest, the Future Natural Resource Leaders named Jeff Skirvin the state’s Natural Resources Educator of the Year. After starting the Natural Resource program at Waldport, he led Waldport students to team championships at virtual conventions in 2020 and 2021 in addition to this year, and is a two-time co-Program of the Year winner from the Future Natural Resource Leaders.
Skirvin was honored with his award at the state convention.
The Oregon Future Natural Resource Leaders is a student CTE organization that supports high school youths with an interest in educational and career opportunities within the natural resources and forestry sectors. To learn more about the organization, visit https://oregonctso.org/fnrl/.