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Aloha High School

Posters from Les Schwab and Toyota hang on the walls. The smell of grease and oil is thick in the air. Two cars are up on lifts. One, faded red, with spots of gray primer, the tires worn. The other, a shiny, new Volkswagen, the manufacturer's sticker still on the back window. A shelf lined with trophies hangs on the wall, trophies that students from Aloha High School's auto shop program won in competitions. The auto shop is the last in the Beaverton School District and includes an Automotive Technology class that students from across the District can apply to. "I'm really happy to say we've been able to maintain a diverse curriculum," says Principal Ken Yarnell.

Aloha highlights the need for vocational opportunities and career readiness outside of the traditional four-year college or university experience. In addition to the auto shop, the school has a large computer-aided drafting (CAD) program, wood shop and a preschool where high school students study early childhood education.

Aloha also has a very large AP program. Says Yarnell, "We're really working hard on having the AP program reflect the racial, ethnic and socio-economic diversity of our school."

Yarnell says, while the school has its challenges, the staff is dedicated. "You have to really want to be here. They're choosing to be at a place that makes a difference. It really hits at the core of our public school mission."

Another point of pride for the school is the community outreach among students. Aloha's leadership students organize a holiday sharing program for 25 families from feeder schools, providing them with meals and toys. The school also participates in "Sparrow Clubs USA." The program helps children with medical issues.  The club sponsors one child a year, and raises money by asking a corporate sponsor to pay students for community service hours. "I really appreciate the spirit of philanthropy here," says Yarnell.