News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Santiam Hall of Fame induction tickets on sale now

 This year, the Santiam Canyon School District will admit six individuals and a volleyball team into its Hall of Fame on Nov. 12.

This year’s honorees are Leland Ohrt, Wanda Childress, Bob Zauner, Ross Miller and David Plotts, and the 2002 girls volleyball team.

Ohrt, a 1975 graduate of Santiam High School, has been active in the community and a member of the Mill City Fire Department for 45 years. 

He has served as the fire chief for the department since 1984.  Under his leadership, the department has continued to grow and was instrumental in battling the wildfires that struck the canyon in 2020.

Childress worked for the school district for 25-plus years in food services, while also going above and beyond her regular duties by heading up and serving at several school and community functions.

She also coached track for the district. Her behind the scenes work for the school and many of its programs has proved invaluable over the years.

Miller taught English and humanities classes at Santiam High for more than 35 years and helped re-develop the music program at the junior and senior high levels. 

Miller was instrumental in revamping the Santiam Performing Arts program, both for music and theater. He organized scholarship programs and special trips to Ashland to watch plays.  

Miller served as head golf coach and was an assistant football coach for several seasons. Under Miller’s leadership, students were able to gain college credits through many of his English classes. He also led International Club trips overseas.

Zauner taught physical education and health to students in grades K-12 for 30 years. He was the head varsity coach in boys and girls basketball, and worked as an assistant coach in football, basketball and other sports during his tenure in the district. 

Zauner is noted for his motivating students and players. He also taught a variety of other subjects and led groups, as needed, in order to assist the district on many occasions.  

Plotts taught physical education and health for grades 4-12 for 18 years before becoming Santiam Jr./Sr. High principal more than 21 years ago. His years as principal is the longest administrative tenure in school district history. 

Plotts also coached football, basketball, track and cross country. He was instrumental in securing funds for the first-ever digital sign in Mill City. He led many athletic activities such as Hoop Shoot, flag football camp, and was the head coach of boys basketball, girls basketball, track, and cross country, all of which made it to the state finals multiple times.  

The 2002 Santiam volleyball team is still the only team that ever qualified for the state volleyball tournament from Santiam High School.  

Members of the team are: seniors, Jenny Adams, Elsa Cisneros (mgr.), Patricia Jerger, Holly Luke, Nicole McMullen, Kim Plotts, Nicole Podrabsky, Hallie Reeves, Katie Selby, and Kerri Zauner; and juniors, Jennie Benjamin and Jeri Hoover. Dawn Reichle was head coach, along with assistant coaches Dan Cunderman and Sheila Nielson. 

“It’s always a fun night with great stories and special memories. Come out and support these recipients and all the great things they have done and the positive recognition they have brought to the Santiam Canyon School District and the community. They have been good role models for our current and future students,” the school district said in a press release.  

 The Nov. 12 semi-formal banquet is open to the public, but RSVPs are needed. There are no sales at the door. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students in kindergarten through age 10, and free for preschool and under. 

Contact the high school at 503-897-2311 to purchase tickets. Tickets must be purchased by Thursday, Oct. 27.  

The hall of fame started almost 20 years ago to honor former Santiam students and staff and others who have helped support the district in various ways and/or to honor individuals and former teams for outstanding accomplishments.

For more information, contact David Plotts at [email protected].

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