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Back to January Ed Reporter
Education Reporter
NUMBER 204 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JANUARY 2003

Timber-r-r-r! Logging Foundation Topples Scholarship Program

PHILOMATH, OR - For more than 40 years, the Clemens Foundation has offered college scholarships to graduating seniors of Philomath High School. But anti-logging sentiments and other manifestations of radical environmentalism and political correctness have invaded the school, causing foundation board chief Steve Lowther to drastically alter the scholarship program. If Lowther and the board stick to their decision, Philomath High School students will no longer be eligible for the scholarships, and other students will be able to apply.

Lowther is the nephew of former lumber baron Rex Clemens, who founded the small private charity in 1959 to help educate the offspring of timber industry workers. Most Philomath residents now work at white collar jobs in neighboring Corvallis, and many oppose logging. Philomath has just one sawmill compared to six in Rex Clemens' day.

"I really believe with all my heart that if Rex knew what was going on today, he would put his money somewhere else," Lowther told the Associated Press last fall when he announced the scholarship cuts. Lowther asserted that some teachers and administrators use their positions to promote radical politics in the classroom. He and other board members also object to the immodest dress and body piercing now popular among many students, and to the school's gay/lesbian club.

"We are not going to use timber dollars to send the professors' kids, the physicians' kids, the teachers' kids to school, because they are the ones helping to shut down the timber industry with donations to Greenpeace," Lowther stated. "They support those people who are killing us."

Lowther plans to use the found-ation's money to help homeschoolers, Christian school students, and students from timber, agriculture, mining, and ranching backgrounds, which was the original intent of the Clemens family.

While the foundation's decision to topple the scholarship program has caused an uproar in the small Oregon community, pro-family activists applaud the board's courage. Last October, the Virginia-based Public Advocate of the United States gave Clemens its Family Advocate of the Month Award.

"Public Advocate recognizes the foundation's courage in sticking to its convictions as an example others across America would be wise to follow," said Eugene Delgaudio, Public Advocate's executive director. "Clemens' leaders know that although they cannot singlehanded-ly stop the corruption of our youth that occurs so often in today's classrooms, it doesn't mean they have to reward it."


 
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