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Each week “At Our Best” highlights the achievements of those in our community. It includes honors, awards and other recognition that is being earned by local residents. Please send or deliver such information, along with pictures of those honored, to the newspaper in care of news clerk Jane Stoltz, 1837 N.W. Circle Blvd., Corvallis, OR 97333 or

CHS graduate awarded scholarship

Mona Wong, a 2018 graduate of Corvallis High School, was awarded the George W. Knox, M.D., Memorial Scholarship, granted by The Corvallis Clinic Foundation.

Wong received $500 to be used toward college tuition.

A valedictorian, Wong will attend the University of Southern California to study neuroscience on a pre-medicine track, with a goal of becoming a neurologist.

Wong was president of the Corvallis High School Associated Student Body and of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, a member of the Corvallis Aquatic Team and the CHS swim team, the treasurer of Key Club, and an Oregon Music Teachers Association syllabus pianist.

She also was named Rotary Outstanding Citizen for her leadership in the Corvallis High School blood drive and for coordinating a school-wide mental health awareness campaign. She is a Rensselaer Medal winner for her success in math and science, and a Presidential Scholar.

Corvallis student earns degree

Ziad Rizk of Corvallis recently graduated from the College of St. Scholastica with a Master of Education.

St. Scholastica held its spring commencement ceremony May 12 in the Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

Philomath alum receives MFA

Delaney McLemore, a 2008 graduate of Philomath High School, received a Master of Fine Arts degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College on July 14.

She is working on final edits on her first book. She lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband, John Watts.

Wray places in writers’ competition

The Outdoor Writers Association of America recently announced that Pat Wray of Corvallis received an award in its 2018 Excellence in Craft Contests.

The annual awards program recognizes and honors the best work of outdoors communicators who are members of the association. This year, 63 individuals took home nearly $14,000 in cash prizes.

Wray took first place in the magazine humor category for “Hanging on My Every Word … and Other Myths,” published in the April 2017 issue of Rocky Mountain Game and Fish. He also won first place in the magazine outdoor fun and adventure category for “Triumph of Primitivity,” published in the May 2017 issue of Washington-Oregon Game and Fish.

Wray won third place in the magazine outdoor fun and adventure category for “Privacy on a Family Camping Trip,” published in the February 2017 issue of Washington-Oregon Game and Fish.

Wray is a former Marine helicopter pilot and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife information supervisor. He has written columns in the Gazette-Times off and on since 1984.

Local woman graduates from university

Central Methodist University student Elisabeth Tullai of Corvallis is one of 487 individuals who graduated from the university in May.

Tullai studied online and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in child development.

Philomath man receives doctorate

David Moon of Philomath received a Doctor of Philosophy degree on May 11 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s spring commencement ceremonies.

Arts Center receives grant from trust

The Arts Center in Corvallis recently received a grant of $20,870 from the Oregon Cultural Trust.    

The funds will be used for startup costs for the Artist Accelerator Program, a pathway for artists to engage and learn from each other and develop ideas into business startups.

Agencies receive funds from tribe

The Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund distributed $501,481.14 to 45 organizations on Aug. 3 as it continued its quarterly donations to nonprofit groups.

Benton and Linn county agencies receiving funds include Philomath Elementary School, $840 for replacing book sets for elementary reading program; Central Linn Gleaners in Halsey, $2,000 for food for community food bank; Soroptimist International of Albany, $5,000 to sponsor Walk for the Cause in October; South Benton County Gleaners in Monroe, $2,000 for food for community food bank; Stone Soup Corvallis, $2,000 for food to support two daily meal sites;

South Willamette Valley Honor Flights in Albany, $10,000 for trips to Washington, D.C., for World War II and Korean War veterans on waiting list; Adair Rural Fire and Rescue in Adair Village, $2,200 to match current secured funds for fire turnout jackets; and Philomath Fire and Rescue, $2,838 for five-gas monitor with calibration gas and kit to use in fire and hazmat conditions.

Albany student named to dean’s list

Paula Pletnikoff of Albany was named to Fort Lewis College’s spring semester dean’s list.

Her major is geology and environmental studies.

To be eligible for the dean’s list, a student must carry a semester grade-point average of 3.6 or better in no fewer than 15 credit hours of graded college level work and must have completed all work for which they are registered by the end of the semester.

Disability rights activist wins honor

The Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation at Community Catalyst recently recognized Corvallis resident Michael Volpe as part of the first Speak Up for Better Health Awards.

This program honors people raising their voices and working to improve their health and the health of their communities.

Volpe has spent more than two decades advocating on behalf of people living with a disability while managing his own multiple sclerosis. He is involved in Oregon’s health system transformation efforts to provide more holistic care through coordinated care organizations. He serves on the Community Advisory Council for his regional CCO, which is responsible for identifying and advocating for preventive care practices.

Volpe also serves on the governor-appointed Oregon Disabilities Commission, which acts as a coordinating link between and among public and private organizations serving individuals with disabilities. Its mission is to secure economic, social, legal and political justice for individuals with disabilities through systems change.

Local men make dean’s list

At the close of spring term, 469 Eastern Oregon University students qualified for the dean’s list.

These students maintained a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher while completing at least 12 hours of graded coursework during the term.

Joseph Kelly of Corvallis and Rex Betterly of Lebanon made the list.

Students graduate from online school

Oregon Connections Academy has announced an additional 45 students who finished their high school education requirements over the summer months, bringing the total number to 410.

Joy Jin of Corvallis and Mckenzie Santana of Lebanon were among the summer graduates.

The tuition-free virtual public school recently held an in-person summer commencement ceremony at the Oregon Garden in Silverton for those graduates who wished to participate.

Corvallis woman receives white coat 

Trine University welcomed its fifth Doctor of Physical Therapy class at its annual white coat ceremony, held Aug. 31 at the university’s Health Sciences Education Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

During the ceremony, 35 members of the Trine University Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2021 received their white coats, symbolizing their transition from preclinical to clinical health sciences, from their professors. Emma Bowman of Corvallis received a white coat.

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