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Buzz Hill: an innovator in retinal scanning

The schools and community of Longview, Washington have long supported the development of outstanding individuals whose contributions have enriched the city, state, nation, and world.  We would like to take some time to highlight some of these notable individuals and the nurturing community from which they came. These bright spots in the Longview community exemplify the values that the Longview School District aims to instill in all of its students and serve as beacons of integrity, passion, and brilliance. Here, we introduce the next of many notable Longview Luminaries.

Buzz HillIn an age when identity theft and security is a great concern, Mark Morris High School can claim a pioneer in technology that can safeguard information and the security of areas accessible to only certain individuals.

In the 1970’s, Buzz Hill (Robert B. Hill), Mark Morris High School Class of 1964 and son of Dr. Robert V. Hill an ophthalmologist, launched the development of a device that could scan and record the unique pattern of blood vessels in the retina. The device uses a low-power infrared light beamed into the eye that reflects back the pattern in as distinctive of an identification as a fingerprint–but one that is faster to encode and store digitally.

EyeDentify Inc. was established by Buzz to market the scanning device in 1976 and by the late 1980’s the devices were used by the Departments of Energy and Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency and other governmental and private entities including Boeing and American Airlines. The company was bought out by a venture capital firm in 1987 at which time Buzz founded “Minds Eye Laboratories” to create a less expensive version of the device. A 1988 scanner engine version of Buzz’s prototype was recently donated for placement in the school’s display case. Buzz’s brother Ty (Matthew M. Hill Mark Morris Class of 1970) assembled the prototype under Buzz’s direction. Funding restrictions prevented the company from its goal of creating a cheaper version of the original.

Buzz also developed audio editing software which he named after his daughter.

Buzz passed away in March 2017. He is a stellar example of a Longview graduate who was able to see innovative possibilities!

MM staff and friends

Principal Phil Suek accepted the prototype donation on behalf of Mark Morris High School, with Buzz’s sister Judy Hill Ozuna (’66), Buzz’s wife Hyun Hill, and Mark Morris alum Dr. Rich Kirkpatrick (’64).

2018-05-21T22:55:20+00:00 May 21st, 2018|

Thoughtexchange: let us know your top safety ideas

School safety–a  current topic of various opinions and many comments–is the subject of  a digital conversation offered by Longview starting Monday, June 4.

Through the Thoughtexchange process, all community members are encouraged to take part in voicing their ideas on their ideas for the most important considerations about school safety and security.

Improvements to Thoughtexchange now make it possible for participants to review and respond to others’ ideas after a number of ideas have been collected.

The information gathered in this Thoughtexchange will help the district as it constantly works to keep students and staff members safe, and to best respond when school safety is threatened.

Email us and say you’d like to be added to the Thoughtexchange process.

2018-05-21T23:06:02+00:00 May 18th, 2018|

Mark Morris High School’s Travis Ruhter is Teacher of the Year

Travis RMark Morris High School leadership and Spanish teacher Travis Ruhter received the Crystal Apple Award at the annual Pillars of Strength event presented by the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce May 2.

Travis, a National Board Certified Teacher and former state ASB Advisor of the Year award recipient, is credited with supporting students to strive to reach their full potential through a balance of pressure and support.

Students feel both comfortable and challenged in his classes through his constant focus on learning and careful and creative daily lessons.

Travis recently became one of the first Mark Morris teachers to implement the Achievement Through Individualized Determination (AVID) program at the school.

2018-05-17T18:11:08+00:00 May 17th, 2018|

Educators honored by Chamber of Commerce

Staff nominated for Crystal Apple AwardsLocal area educators, along with business persons were honored May 2 at the annual Pillars of Strength/Crystal Apple Awards presented by the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce.

A number of Longview nominees were included in all categories, and Rich Reeves (R. A. Long) was named Principal of the Year and Travis Ruhter (Mark Morris) was named Teacher of the Year with their Crystal Apple Awards.

Sandy Catt, Director of Communications and Technology, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nominees included assistant principal Lacey Griffiths and teacher Jodi Kruse (R. A. Long); principal Scott Merzoian and teacher Tracy Gould (Monticello); principal Aaron Whitright (CVG); assistant principal Brooks Cooper, paraeducator Jamie Allred (Mark Morris); principal Chris Rugg and teacher Dawn Julian (Cascade); director Mary Carr-Wilt; teacher Marie Gilchrist (Robert Gray); teacher Kimmie Flint (Mint Valley);  paraeducator Kara Warner (Robert Gray); and secretary Laura Norton (Northlake).

2018-05-17T23:50:42+00:00 May 15th, 2018|

Mainstage Theatre show covers discovery, dragons and dungeons

A PG-13 presentation, “She Kills Monsters” is set to open at the Dana Brown Theatre at R. A. Long Friday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. and continues the following weekend.

A 2 p.m. matinee is offered May 19

The story focuses on the escapades of Agnes Evans, who, in a quest to learn more about her recently-deceased sister, uncovers her sister’s notebook and dives into the world of Dungeons and Dragons.

General admission tickets are $5, and VIP tickets, which include reserved seating and dessert with the cast after the show, are $10. Proceeds from the VIP tickets help support the Dana Brown Mainstage Theatre scholarship fund.

2018-05-04T16:59:53+00:00 May 4th, 2018|

Mark Morris senior is United Way Volunteer of the Year

For the second consecutive year, Becky Grubbs received the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum United Way Volunteer of the Year award.

Becky is a senior at Mark Morris High School and has been deeply involved in the organization helping organize events including the annual Day of Caring.

The award was conferred at the annual Breakfast with United Way on May 1.

2018-05-02T19:58:46+00:00 May 2nd, 2018|

Mark Morris musician takes state championship

Isabel Buckingham earned first place in the April 28 Washington State music solo and ensemble contest for multiple percussion performing Ditamik by Guillaume LePicard.

Previously Isabel  earned seats on the All-State Orchestra and All-State Band. She has won multiple honors in regional solo contests and performed with the regional honor band and the PLU Northwest High School Honor Band.

Isabel is a senior at Mark Morris.

2018-05-01T23:52:10+00:00 May 1st, 2018|

Students go on-site to see construction trades

Local contractor JH Kelly hosted 20 high school students March 21 at the Kalama construction site of the McMenamins  restaurant and lodge for a first-hand view of construction trades work.

The tour covered design, engineering and planning, permitting and various aspects of construction. Students who expressed interest in carpentry, pipe-fitting, engineering, and electrical toured the site and witnessed how those interests would look in on a job site.

“This was an incredible opportunity for our students to see concepts and opportunities out of the classroom that could spur a their interest in an outstanding vocation,” said Jill Diehl, Director of Career and College Readiness. “We are grateful for J. H. Kelly’s willingness to provide the tour.”

Thanks to partners such as JH Kelly, next fall the district will offer expanded programs for high school students interested in building trades apprenticeships. Through the pre-apprentiship pathway, students’course work will culminate in twelfth-grade on-the-job internships with unions and contractors.

2018-03-22T17:28:44+00:00 March 22nd, 2018|

Bus routes update-Feb. 23

Schools will be operating on their regular schedules, but due to road conditions, the following bus routes will be following snow/lowland routes:

Elementary–5, 6, 13, 15

Middle- and high school–16

Families should use their discretion about the safety of getting their child from home to the bus pick-up or school. Please use caution and share safe walking tips with your children.

If you haven’t done so already,  consider subscribing to FlashAlert notifications and download the FlashAlert Messenger app to your phone easy access to up-to-date information. Information will be also posted on  (families-school delays and cancellations),  on Facebook, and on local media.

2018-02-23T13:27:44+00:00 February 23rd, 2018|

Late start Thursday, Feb. 22

Longview School District plans to delay the school start two hours Thursday, Feb. 22 due to road conditions.

Buses will follow snow/lowland routes. Families should use their discretion about the safety of getting their child from home to the bus pick-up or school. Please use caution and share safe walking tips with your children.

Schools will convene two hours later than their regular start times. No breakfast service will be provided. Please continue to monitor FlashAlert for any updates that might be made.

If you haven’t done so already,  consider subscribing to FlashAlert notifications and download the FlashAlert Messenger app to your phone easy access to up-to-date information. Information will be also posted on  (families-school delays and cancellations),  on Facebook, and on local media.

2018-02-22T12:54:14+00:00 February 22nd, 2018|
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