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Published: Wednesday, 9/29/2010

Clay High alumni group to add two to Hall of Fame

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

She came from the state of Oregon and graduated from Oregon State University, but the late Betty Carstensen spent much of her life giving to the Oregon City Schools - in Ohio.

Mrs. Carstensen and Oregon Municipal Court Judge Jeffery B. Keller have been selected as this year's inductees into the Clay High School Hall of Fame. The Clay High Alumni & Friends Association will add their names to the list of notable graduates and supporters of the school at its annual Groove in the Grove event Saturday at Oak Shade Grove in Oregon.

Joe Carstensen, a 2005 Clay graduate who is teaching at the high school this year as a long-term substitute, said, "My grandma was always a little social butterfly. She loved to help people, and what better way to do that than to help people when they were young."

Mrs. Carstensen was hired by the school district in the 1950s to manage the cafeteria at Jerusalem Elementary. She tutored students in reading and math for more than 20 years, volunteered for 15 years to read to schoolchildren, worked as a substitute teacher in the district, and served on the Oregon school board from 1993 until her death last year.

The library at Coy Elementary was named in her honor. Mrs. Carstensen also was well known for giving seedlings to every first-grader in the district for more than 30 years.

Tammy Swartz, president of the alumni group, said that since it was created about 14 years ago, the group has recognized both alumni and friends of the district. This year, they are inducting one of each.

Judge Keller graduated from Clay in 1977, married a Clay graduate, and together they have two daughters at the high school.

"I really enjoyed my high school experience," Judge Keller said, adding that he played basketball and golf and belonged to the National Honor Society while a student at Clay.

A graduate of the University of Toledo law school, Judge Keller was an Oregon city councilman for several years while practicing law and working as magistrate in the Berkey and Northwood mayor's courts. In 2005, he was elected to the municipal court bench.

Ms. Swartz said members of the alumni group nominate then vote on inductees to the Hall of Fame each year. They look for individuals "who have given back to the community or Clay High School or who have gone out in the world and just been a wonderful role model for Clay High School," she said.

Tickets for the Groove in the Grove, which runs from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, are on sale at the high school or online at www.clayalumni.com. Tickets are $20 for dinner, drinks, and dancing, $15 for drinks and dancing, or $10 for drinks and dancing after 10 p.m.

Ms. Swartz said all proceeds are used for scholarships awarded to Clay seniors by the alumni group, which to date has distributed nearly $30,000 in college scholarships.

Also this weekend, the classes of 1970, 1973, 1975, 1980, and 1985 and the Clay High Alumni band members are holding reunions during Groove in the Grove.

The alumni band, which will be performing with the Clay marching band at Friday's homecoming game against Central Catholic, is holding practices from 7:30 to 9 tonight and from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. Friday just prior to the game.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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