• Walking through the buildings, offices, and classrooms of the Rogue River School District, I am flooded with fond memories and a deep sense of nostalgia.   

    As I stroll through the Elementary East campus, the names of my elementary teachers come floating through my mind:  Hearns, Stubblefield, Copeland, Blue, and Darland; all names that formed and influenced my love of learning at an early age. 

    Going to the West Campus, which for me was the middle school, more names come back to me:  King, Lockwood, Irwin, Ruska.  This building has changed the most from what I knew 30 years ago.  There has been an addition and many upgrades to the appearance of the building, but stepping in to the gym felt like no time had passed at all.  It feels, looks, and of all things, smells exactly as I recall it.    

    I tour the High School building, and here my memories are the most clear.  The names wash over me again, reminding me of good times and good people: Rensi, Rolph, Irwin, Willard, Bond, and so many others.  These are the educators that continued to feed my love of learning and began to impact me beyond just the classroom.  These are the names that influenced my interest in becoming a secondary educator.   

    It has been 30 plus years since I regularly walked the halls of the Rogue River School District.  Taking these tours is a heartwarming trip through memory lane.  I recall what was, I experience what is, and I feel excitement for what I hope will be to come.

    I am in awe of some of the great things that have happened for this district in the past handful of years.  I have been told that there were some dark times for this district not so many years ago, but the people and employees I’ve met with speak glowingly of positive changes and wonderful progress that has been made in improving facilities and academics over the past few years.   Attendance is up.  Academic performance is up.  Enrollment is up.  Rogue River is a district on the rise.

    Even with all the tremendous improvements that this district is experiencing, there is still much that can continue to improve.  Improvement should never stop.  It is a never ending cycle of growth that we should all pursue in ourselves, our schools, and our communities.   I am hopeful that the people of Rogue River will join with me, the school board, and the employees of our district so that together we can continue the push to become the finest school in southern Oregon.  Working together, we can make this happen.

    Patrick Lee
    Rogue River School District