Coralie Rose's story is unique in women’s sports from the 1950’s and 60’s. There were almost no opportunities for women to compete in interscholastic sports in the United States prior to the 1970's. Coralie didn’t experience that. Coralie lived on the United States/Canadian border in eastern Washington state. Curlew High School was fifteen miles from her home and had a total enrollment of 60 students. The school administration, far ahead of its time, started a women’s basketball team that played the same league schedule as the men’s team. They even traveled to games together on the same bus. In those years, women played six-player “women’s rules” – 3 players playing offense only in the front court and 3 playing defense-only against the other team's 3 offensive players in the backcourt - against the U.S. teams and five player “men’s rules” against Canadian teams. The Curlew High School teams traveled between 10 and 180 miles to play other Class B schools. “I enjoyed every minute of this rare athletic experience for girls.” Basketball defined Coralie and what her role was within the high school and influenced the rest of her life and thus the many girls she subsequently coached.
Rose went on from Curlew to attend Eastern Washington College (now Eastern Washington University) where she studied Physical Education. During Coralie's freshman year the college started a basketball league for women that included several Spokane-area colleges. During her sophomore year the team traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia to compete in the University of British Columbia basketball tournament with UBC, the University of Washington, and Western Washington University. This international experience was competitive, informative, and exciting. It was unique for women and it spoke to the importance of international athletic experiences. Grateful for the years she played, Rose lettered in basketball at EWC. Her participation on the Eagle women's basketball team helped define the philosophy that would guide her later, incredibly successful, coaching years.
Coralie's introduction to a non-traditional sport came in 1961 when she was assigned to coach the drill team and girls track at Pioneer Junior High School in Wenatchee, Washington. Knowing nothing about “drill”, she educated herself by enrolling in a “drill” physical education class at Washington State University in Pullman. From that class would follow 27 years coaching dance/drill. (And by the way, her Pioneer track team won the state championship in 1962.)
Rose built what could reasonably be described as the first powerhouse program at Sprague High School beginning in the fall of 1978 when then Principal Bill Hanauska hired her to assist with competency testing and to restore a once strong drill program to its former high level. She installed a philosophy which treated dance/drill as a sport. Coralie held dance/drill team members to the same standards as athletes in traditional sports. She stressed the development of leadership skills, team work, advanced dance skills, time management, and the joy of competing for and representing Sprague High School. Good sportsmanship and excellence were her guiding principles.
The many successes of individual dance athletes and her teams speak to the excellence Coralie brought to her program. Twenty one of her dancers earned the honor of being selected to “All State” dance teams. Ten dancers were awarded academic scholarships from the State Dance Coaches Association. The team consistently placed in the top five at state dance competitions, including one state championship and six second place finishes. Many teams in the state hired choreographers to implement their routines. Not the Olys under Coralie. The Olyanne dancers choreographed their own state routines, learning a skill they could use after high school. Their routines – in all aspects - were their routines!
Rose's teams were honored with many invitations to dance at celebrations and events, including the 1986 World’s Fair - Expo '86 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the 1992 NAIA Women’s National Basketball Championship Game, the 1992 Salem/Kawagoe Sister Cities exchange in Kawagoe, Japan, and The Shriner’s Oregon North-South Football game.
During her coaching tenure Coralie served as president of the Oregon Dance/Drill Coaches Association. Twice she was honored with the Dance/Drill Coach of the Coach of the Year and in 1994 she was awarded the Association “Service Award.” In 2011 she was selected to the Sprague High Hall School of Fame. Her selection “had special significance to many of the former dance athletes as it was a recognition that dance and our dance teams were truly accepted as a sport at Sprague High School. The significance of this recognition is these athletes will touch the next generation of female athletes.”
Following her retirement in 2003 Rose served as a volunteer advisor to the Olyanne coaches for two years and since that time she has been an active volunteer and supporter of youth activities in Salem, Corvallis, McMinnville and Sherwood where her eleven grandchildren participate in preschool soccer; Little League baseball and softball; Boys and Girls Club football; middle school basketball, baseball, and track; high school basketball, baseball, softball, track, tennis, dance, and lacrosse; club and college softball.
Rose would like to thank the school principals, athletic directors, athletic trainers, teachers, parents, and athletes who supported dance/drill through her many years at Sprague High School. “Without you this amazing sport could not have thrived and fewer students would have had a high school athletic experience.”
Coralie continues to live in Salem and is married to husband Ozzie. They have four children - two daughters and two sons. All four of their children were athletes, letter winners, and graduates of Sprague – Carleen in ’83; Darci in ’85; Jim in ’89; Mike in ’02. It's safe to say that the roots of these Roses are planted deep into Sprague High School.
As a member of the Sprague High School dance team for four years (1986-1990), I spent countless early-morning and weekend hours with Mrs. Rose. She was our unflappable, fearless leader who knew exactly when to put her foot down and exactly when to laugh along with us. She managed to be unfailingly calm and positive while also being down to earth, approachable, and always, always, always full of love. She demonstrated the most inclusive and compassionate kind of leadership and, perhaps most generously, allowed us to become leaders ourselves. All these years later, it is still a joy to stop by and see Mrs. Rose when I am in town, and I cherish beyond words the experiences that she made possible for me. Thank you, Coralie, for all you have done for so many students!
Unfortunately, we are away for the winter for the ceremony, but rest assured we are there in spirit. The respect that our family has for you, and the services you provided to Sprague all those years, rank above any others we had the privilege to work with in 24J. The anchor you provided for so many of those young ladies is paying benefits through the rest of their lives. We can think of no one who deserves this honor more than you. Personally and professionally, you are the best.
The Heer Family
Dan, Nancy, Gretchen and Alison
Coralie Rose is the embodiment of a Beacon.
Merriam-Webster defines Beacon as a noun: “source of light or inspiration.”
I can not think of a better person in my life that should be honored with this award. My years as a member and team captain of Sprague High School’s Olyanne Dance and Drill Team (1983–1987) was the beginning of a lifetime of friendship and mentorship with Coralie being a “constant source of light and inspiration” for myself and the countless number of team members spanning several decades. The 30+ years that I have known Coralie, she has been a coach, teacher, mentor, friend, and most important, a SUPPORTER.
Her true gift was the unending dedication to ensuring the opportunity and inclusion of EVERY STUDENT that she has coached over the years. Coralie’s commitment to sportsmanship and excellence has been recognized by the numerous coaching awards and team accomplishments throughout the years, however, I believe what really mattered was the source of light she gave to each and every student that was fortunate to have her as a coach. She inspired and supported students to work toward school/life balance, goal setting and achievement, and graceful competitiveness. Coralie gave countless hours of her time as a coach to bring the team experience “to life” for others by really getting to know each participant. As team members, everyone felt important and heard, which resulted in uniting the group for the common good. Her positive encouragement guided team members to explore creative and leadership opportunities, which helped to shape confident team members into future leaders. I personally grew so much as a student, team member, and leader in those formative years of high school.
Although it is hard to remember all of the specific costumes, musical choices, or competitions over the years, what resonates are the gifts of friendship, team, and community that were developed while being a member of the Olyannes under Coralie Rose. I am so proud to have been a part of the amazing Sprague High School Dance and Drill Team and am more than thrilled for Coralie to be recognized with the honor of being called a Beacon. Coralie, thank you for your amazing contributions to the Salem- Keizer School District and the countless students that benefited from your positive influence!
Jill Christiansen - Rittenhouse