Championship-winning basketball coach comes to Clark
Al Aldridge, the girls' basketball coach at Prairie High School for the past 32 years, has signed on as the women's basketball coach at Clark College.
Aldridge has a strong reputation in the region as a coach. Under his leadership, the Prairie Falcons went 710-134 and had 27 consecutive winning seasons. They won six state championships, including one in March.
Clark College Director of Athletics Charles Guthrie said he is very pleased to have Aldridge on board. "I always shoot for the stars, to be honest," he said. "Obviously, with Al, we got a star."
At a press conference announcing the news in April, Aldridge characterized the decision to leave Prairie as "extremely difficult."
Aldridge said he is planning to jump into his new job right away. In fact, he and Guthrie flew to Alaska on a recruiting mission shortly after Aldridge began his new job.
"I'm excited to start a new chapter in my life," he said. "I've always wanted to be a college coach."
He succeeds Nancy Boone, who resigned earlier in the year.
Photo: Director of Athletics Charles Guthrie (right) announces Al Aldridge's move to Clark during a press conference in April.
Vets Helping Their Own
Creekside Mortgage gives laptop to Clark student and military veteran
All students face challenges. For Clark College Sophomore and National Guard Member Brad Miller, one challenge was learning how to type fast.
Because he didn't have a computer of his own, his strategy for writing papers was labor-intensive: First, he hand-wrote the paper at his home. Then, he scheduled time to visit his parents to use their computer.
"The library or my parents' house—those are my two options," he said. Or rather, those were his two options. As of early April, Miller was the proud owner of a Dell laptop computer. The prize he won in an essay contest run by the veteran's home-loan agency Creekside Mortgage Inc., is for Clark students currently or formerly serving in the United States military.
"This is going to save me time, save me money and save me a lot of stress," he said, examining his new computer. "My grades are going to go up now."
"To hear your story, it was just perfect, exactly what we imagined when we decided to do this thing," said Creekside owner and senior VA loan specialist Kerry Greenwald as he shook Miller's hand outside Clark's Veterans Affairs office.
Both Greenwald and Creekside marketing director Elisa Cotton know how tough it can be for a member of the military to try to establish a new civilian life. Both are military veterans too. Greenwald served in the Army Reserves; Cotton, in the Air Force. And both attended Clark College upon leaving the military.
So when the Vancouver-based mortgage company found itself in possession of some nearly new but no longer needed laptop computers, Greenwald and Cotton knew exactly what they wanted to do with them: Give them to students who were currently serving or had served in the military.
"Choosing Clark College as the focus of their contest was a natural fit," said Cotton. In addition to being a Clark alumna, Cotton serves on the Clark County Veterans' Resource Committee with Clark College Veterans' Affairs Program Specialist Mike Gibson. "She knows we have 500-plus students here using the GI Bill," said Gibson, who was present when Miller received the prize.
Greenwald and Cotton said they still have a few laptops they plan to give to Clark students through future essay contests. In fact, the deadline for the next contest is May 15. "[The veterans' community of Clark County] is a nice, tight-knit community," said Cotton. "We try to take care of our own."
As for Miller, he plans to begin working on his bachelor's degree in sociology at WSU Vancouver in the fall, with the end goal of joining a counter-drug task force—a goal that seems much more reachable, now that he can type and research his papers without borrowing a computer.
Photo (left to right): Kerry Greenwald, Creekside Mortgage Inc. owner and Clark College alumnus
presents Brad Miller, a Clark sophomore and National Guard member, with a
Honoring a Musical Legend
Music building to be named in honor of Dale Beacock '50
Clark College's Music Building will soon have a new name honoring a respected member of both the Clark College and the greater Vancouver communities. Next fall, the building will be renamed in honor of the late Dale Beacock '50.
Beacock was a respected educator, musician and arts supporter who played a vibrant role in the history in the region. Many knew him best for the Beacock Music and Education Center, which was established in 1976 and which his family continues to operate. He also brought Clark's annual jazz festival to the college, showcasing thousands of high school musicians over the years. He died in August 2011.
After graduating from Clark, Beacock earned a master's degree in music performance and education from the University of Portland. He started teaching in 1956. After six years at La Center, he spent two years at Vancouver's former Lewis Junior High, six years at Fort Vancouver High School, then came to Clark College, where he remained until 1982, serving in many roles including department chair and band director.
Beacock was the director of Clark's concert band, jazz band and brass sextet. Under his leadership, those groups performed and competed across our region and in other states. Working in partnership with Gaydena Thompson, Beacock could be seen leading a pep band during pep rallies for our athletic teams.
Collaborating with April Duvic, he served as musical director for some of our theatrical productions (as well as community musical productions), earning nominations for excellence from the Clark County Theatre Alliance.
He inspired love of music in our littlest penguins by joining forces with Cora Haag to perform for Clark's Child and Family Studies program. Even after retiring from the college, he returned for many years to direct the band that accompanied the Theatre Department's winter musical.
Beacock served on Clark's Administrative Advisory Council (an early version of College Council). He was active with the faculty union and served on the Professional Placement & Advancement Committee.
Son Russ and daughter Gayle remember "spending most of our lives" at the college when their father taught at Clark.
With an extensive background in jazz, Beacock often served as adjudicator for musical competitions and, after his retirement, continued to give clinics at local schools. He also gave private music lessons. In 1998, he was honored as one of the first inductees into the Washington Music Educators Hall of Fame.
In addition to establishing the Beacock Music and Education Center, Beacock took part in countless community events, performing with the Southwest Washington Wind Symphony and serving as director of the New Horizons Band, which has performed at the Luekpe Center and other venues across our region.
Historic articles show his participation in a stage show for the Bicentennial Commission, held at Evergreen High School during the nation's bicentennial. He performed at Timberline Lodge and other sites in Oregon.
Clark College President Bob Knight said that Beacock "had a lasting impact—not only at Clark College but across our region.
"That is the lens through which other buildings at our college have been named," Knight added. "They have included college and community leaders such as Dr. Paul Gaiser, Dr. Dwight Baird, Dr. Lewis Cannell, Deloyce Frost, Joan Stout, Chick Scarpelli, Skeet O'Connell and others. I believe we can be proud to add Dale Beacock to that illustrious list."