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AP Geo at PDX Art Museum

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Westside’s AP Human Geography class traveled to the Portland Art Museum to observe and analyze the cultural influences exhibited there. Students practiced discerning cultural influences such as folk/popular, language, ethnicity, religion, etc.

Many amazing cultural influences to be found at the Portland Art Museum!

AP Human Geography

AP Human Geography

WCHS in Belize!

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Kylee Wiseman, Mrs. Little, Hayley Sprague, Jack Stevens, Susannah Fischer, and Brittney Martin

Mrs. Little and five Westside students (Kylee Wiseman, Jack Stevens, Hayley Sprague, Susannah Fischer, and Brittney Martin) had the opportunity to join students from various states across the US on an 8 day nature field study trip in Belize with a program called “Save the Rainforest”.

Students went on several hikes through the rainforests (including a couple of night hikes) to learn about the diversity of the Belizean flora and fauna. They visited Mayan ruins, went tubing through mangroves, and discovered many bizarre and beautiful creatures. Students also learned about deforestation, habitat destruction, and displacement of animals in Belize. They learned about conservation efforts and sustainable logging practices that a few programs are trying to implement in Belize. Students had a first hand experience with what it means to be good stewards of nature and what results from unsustainable timber and animal trafficking activities.

New little green friends!

WCHS Temple Guards!

Biology @ Boiler Bay

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Little treasures

This past Friday biology students went to Boiler Bay near Lincoln City to do some tide-pooling.  Several students spotted starfish, a promising sign after seeing the population of starfish nearly die off a couple years ago from a starfish blight. Students also visited Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport to learn about coastal animal adaptations. This hands-on lab allowed students to hold some critters they may not have experienced before: ghost shrimp, leather sea stars, shore crabs, and more!




Amongst the pools



Marine life observation



Marine ocean creatures



Taking a closer look

Primate Research Center

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AP Biology students had the opportunity to visit the Oregon National Primate Research Center recently.  Students toured the Rhesus macaque outdoor enclosures and heard from Dr. Larry Sherman about his current research on demyelinating diseases (ex. Multiple Sclerosis).  Dr. Sherman also joined students in the classroom to introduce a tissue staining project they will begin in class soon.  Students will be analyzing mouse brain tissue with the goal of seeing how chemotherapy affects the brain’s ability to learn and perform neurogenesis (create new neurons).


The Primate Research Center



Dr. Larry Sherman


World Religions: Maitripa College

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To finish our trek through Buddhism we ventured off campus to meet with a Buddhist at Maitripa College in Portland. While we were there, Buddhist adherent Leigh Miller shared her knowledge and experience in the Buddhist tradition. Our Westside students did a wonderful job being both attentive to Leigh’s presentation and quizzical about the tradition in general.

The main goal of this field trip was simply to learn to listen to our religious neighbor, that is, building sympathetic concern for others. Because of this field trip our students have not only been able to study about Buddhism in the classroom, but also witness firsthand the ways and practices of a Buddhist. It is very important for Christians of the next generation to be equipped with not only the head knowledge about a religious tradition, but also be provided with the opportunity to understand the reasons behind why someone practices a different religion. We believe this is especially important before our students head off to college where they will interact and engage with all sorts of various religions first hand. Like Paul says in Ephesians, our heart is to equip the Westside saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (4:12).

Bible 11: Knowing our Hindu Neighbor

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In Acts 17:28, 1 Corinthians 15:33, and Titus 1:12 we learn that Paul was able to quote his pagan neighbor in order to teach the truth of God. Isn’t that interesting? For example, in Acts 17:28 Paul quotes Epimenides and Aratus. Paul didn’t quote these pagans to chastise them for their stupidity, rather, he did so to find that God was already at work in their hearts. One of our most beloved texts in Acts as it relates to the teaching that our God is imminent comes from a pagan poet! “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” A strike of irony! Paul was able to quote these pagans because he was familiar with their writings.

How familiar am I with my religious neighbor so as to effectively communicate the Gospel as Paul does in Acts 17? Our World Religions course at Westside is key for developing and fostering a healthy and honest respect for our religious neighbor. To foster such respect we took our annual field trip to the Hindu Temple where the Swami hospitably gave our Christian group a tour. As we are learning from our Hindu neighbor, our very presence is a witness and testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is one reason I call it a mini-missions trip! As Jesus did before, I think He would do it again, that is, He wouldn’t take the longer trip around His neighbor (to avoid them), but He would instead move through His convictions in an honest way and thus meet His neighbor in rich, engaging dialogue (John 3-4; both with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman). Our Westside students did a phenomenal job listening to the Hindu priest and even engaging on hard topics which differentiate our faith traditions.

Our World Religions course is designed to transform our heart into a heart that is broken for anyone that doesn’t yet know the Lord. It says in Acts 17:16, “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.” My prayer every year is that we would learn to have this same distressed outlook on our world, not seeking to avoid tough discussions (which is always easier) but moving through our convictions in an attempt to find value, dignity, and worth in our neighbor. How am I doing? Am I distressed for my neighbor like Paul to the point of engaging them in discussion with the Gospel? Engaging another human being in this way is when the Word of God, Jesus Christ, is most clearly seen.