Generosity reaches Crestline

Teachers choose from donations on Saturday

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter



To donate:

EVERGREEN SCHOOL DISTRICT FOUNDATION: Cash, checks, gift cards and supplies can be dropped off at Evergreen Public Schools, Burgundy Complex, 13501 N.E. 28th St., or mailed to ESD Foundation, Community Relations, P.O. Box 8910, Vancouver, 98668. Teachers have specifically requested gift cards from, Ikea and Learning Palace.

• Cash donations can be made at In the left-hand column, choose Donate for Crestline; select Crestline from the drop-down menu of funds. This is a secure website.

• A list of groups offering assistance was published in Saturday’s newspaper on Page C4. It’s online at

photoCrestline Elementary first-grade teacher Zoe Fromer sorts through donated books and school supplies Saturday at the Evergreen Public Schools administrative offices.Inside: Information on how to make a donation. Page C2

(/The Columbian)

photo An aerial photograph taken Feb. 8 shows the remains of Crestline Elementary School in Cascade Park. A three-alarm Feb. 3 blaze caused an estimated $12 million worth of damage.

(/The Columbian)

A worn copy of "The Velveteen Rabbit" faced out from a box marked for first-graders, one of many book-filled boxes in a conference room at the Evergreen Public Schools' administrative offices. Copies of Nancy Drew mysteries and "Bridge to Terabithia" were in boxes marked for older students.

Used books, all waiting to engross new readers in stories about a stuffed rabbit that becomes real through love, a juvenile detective or a fantasy world.

Those were just a few titles among the thousands donated since a devastating Feb. 3 blaze caused an estimated $12 million damage to Crestline Elementary School, a 39-year-old school in Cascade Park.

The cause of the fire has not been announced.

Insurance will pay to rebuild the school, according to a notice to Crestline parents posted on the district's website, but a new school won't likely be ready until fall 2014.

Meanwhile, the 500 students ended up missing only three days of school, and Crestline teachers capped an exhausting week Saturday by stopping in at the administrative offices to stock up on donated goods.

First-grade teacher Zoe Fromer was collecting books for her new classroom at Ellsworth Elementary School. She needed chapter books for her highest-level readers, as well as books she can read aloud and beginning-reader books.

She said her students did a great job adjusting to their new classroom.

"They were excited about sharp crayons and new markers," Fromer said.

Katie Van Ness, a second-grade teacher who moved with her class to Columbia Valley Elementary School, had been teaching at Crestline for 16 years. She had had approximately 2,500 books in her classroom, and after the fire she went to Goodwill to start rebuilding her collection. When she set up her classroom on Wednesday, Columbia Valley media specialist had pulled books she would be able to use for her science unit.

When her students arrived Thursday, the first thing they did was check out the new books in their new classroom.

They made requests for fiction series, and Van Ness was able to fill those requests Saturday: the Magic Tree House, Amelia Bedelia and Fancy Nancy.

Jeanette Crone, a fourth-grade teacher whose class was moved to Fircrest Elementary School, was searching for books related to salmon, anything migration-related, and Lewis and Clark.

In addition to books, boxes were filled with notebook paper, three-ring binders, spiral notebooks, pencil boxes, index cards, memo pads, calculators, pens and pencils, protractors, crayons, markers and colored pencils, erasers, scissors, hand sanitizer and tissue boxes. And that was all just in one conference room -- a second room also had boxes of donated goods.

"It's been wonderful," Van Ness said of the community support that has helped ease a difficult transition. "Words just can't express how grateful we are."

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or