Looking for the new face of education in Eastern Oregon?

Look no further than La Grande High School sophomore Katie Brown.

Brown is representing this region in “The Promise of Oregon,” a campaign coordinated by the Oregon School Boards Association striving to generate public support for education. The LHS sophomore is one of five students, and the only one from Eastern Oregon, currently featured on the home page of the campaign’s website, www.promiseoregon.org. The students will continue to be featured through the end of this week and then their images will be archived on the website, said Alex Pulaski, communications director of the Oregon School Boards Association.

Brown said she is delighted to be helping to promote public education.

“It is cool,” said the sophomore, the daughter of Julie and Ronnie Brown.

She is the first of 15 to 20 La Grande School District students who will be featured on www.promiseoregon.org over the next several months, said Pulaski. The students were recommended to the OSBA by the school district. They then met with OSBA officials and were asked to complete the sentence, “I am the promise of Oregon and staying on track to graduate because…”

Brown completed the sentence: “...because I can help people be healthier. I believe health is the track to happiness.”

A member of the LHS track team, Brown wants to make health her career focus. She is interested in pursuing a sports medicine, physical therapy or another related health field. This does not surprise Julie Bodfish, LHS’s head track coach.

“That would fit her perfectly. That is the kind of person she is,” Bodfish said.

Bodfish described Brown, a member of the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, as a very talented athlete who is always thoughtful and respectful.

“She is kind of a dream,” the track coach said.

Nicole McConnell, a LHS science teacher, said Brown is a pleasure to have as a student, noting that she is bright, hardworking, motivated and popular with her classmates.

“She is a good kid,” McConnell said.

The La Grande School District is one of five in Oregon selected to participate in “The Promise of Oregon” campaign. The others are the Central Point, Hillsboro, Gresham-Barlow and Nestucca
Valley school districts. The new student from the five school districts will be featured on the website every week through the first half of 2019. The La Grande School District was selected because the OSBA wanted Eastern Oregon represented and is impressed with its programs.

“Its superintendent, George Mendoza, is doing a great job,” Pulaski said.

The “Promise” campaign officially debuted in November 2014, according to its website.

It aims to create public support for education from kindergarten through high school and lift student achievement and graduation rates. The website says the campaign is based on two defining principles: 1) Today’s students are Oregon’s greatest natural resource. 2) Oregonians must invest in our public schools so the next generation can reach its potential.

“We need to continue to dream bigger,” said Jim Green, OSBA’s executive director. “Public schools are the best investment we can make in our young people.”

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