by Crystal Glanz-Kreutz

Celebrate North Portland is an appreciation and recognition event for the many people that have dedicated their time and energies to making our community such a great corner of the world. Held annually, this event is a sit down dinner and awards ceremony. The $40-a-seat event is a volunteer appreciation dinner organized by St. Johns resident Mike Verbout. Verbout, a retired James John Elementary School principal, organized the first event in 2011 to honor the people and organizations who have shaped North Portland.

The 7th annual Celebrate North Portland event was held on Saturday, May 19th at the University of Portland. This year’s theme, Celebrating our Community Heroes, was dedicated to recognizing all of the amazing individuals, organizations, and businesses that make North Portland such a great place to live and work. The event included dinner, an awards ceremony, and live entertainment. Convergence Architecture’s very own Maria Rojas received one of the awards.

Maria was nominated as the Community Rising Star due to her diligent hard work with the St. Johns Museum, a pro bono project of our firm’s to establish a museum in this wonderful community. Maria joined the project in November 2017 and quickly took on her current role as co-chair of the Steering Committee. Some of her work includes coordination between museum partners such as St. Johns Heritage Association, Roosevelt High School Alumni Association, and St. Johns Center for Opportunity. She loves learning more about the history of North Portland and is excited to share that with the community. She is extremely honored to be given the award and promises to continue her work for St. Johns!