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News saddens, disappoints Cascade students

Like high school seniors across the nation, Evan Zavadil considered factors such as academics, location and size when deciding what college to attend.
One thing Zavadil didn’t ponder was whether the institution he chose would be around long enough for him to graduate.
But now, in the wake of the recent announcement that Cascade College will close at the end of the spring 2009 semester, Zavadil and his fellow undergraduates must decide what to do next fall.
A Cascade drama group that visited his home congregation in Nevada every year drew Zavadil to the Christian college in Portland, Ore.
“I’ve wanted to go to Cascade since I was 14,” the freshman said.
Like Zavadil, many other students were attracted to Cascade by its small campus and community atmosphere.
It was in the midst of this atmosphere that Cascade President Bill Goad broke the news of the closing in a mandatory campus meeting.
“We were gathered in our small rehearsal hall as one family, and since we all are so strangely connected here in an indescribable manner, I wouldn’t have wanted to find out in any other way,” junior Amanda Stephens said.
While Stephens said she and many other students were frustrated by the suddenness of the announcement, they appreciated to honesty the administration showed them when breaking the news.
“I think that Dr. Goad did the best he could to relate (the news), but I was shocked. Cascade closing was the farthest thing from my mind,” senior Natalie Cammarata said. “It’s more like mourning a death.”
Struggling with the news, students went through an array of emotions, from shock to sadness.
“My service club (Delta Sigma Rho) would end with me. I would not see these people that I have grown to love and call my family,” Stephens said, recounting her thoughts after the announcement. “I would essentially be homeless because Portland has become my new home; the place where my plans and dreams have all been centered around.”
The Cascade campus became the 20-year-old’s new home after a visit to the campus at the urging of a friend. At the time, Stephens had already begun leaning toward a school in Texas.
“I stepped onto the (Cascade) campus and not only saw, but felt, what so many Cascadians try to describe to people who have never had the opportunity to attend Cascade,” she said. “I was not looking at a stuffy school with a hundred students in one room being taught by a professor that I knew nothing about. I was being introduced into a dynamic familial community where I meant something; I mattered.”
Students expressed sadness that they would never be able to return to this environment as professors or send their future children to their alma mater.

Filed under: Partners Staff Reports

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