Karen Hagestad (now known as Karen Hagestad Cacy) graduated from Wilson in 1961. After Wilson she graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Russian and attended the American University in Cairo while in college. Karen married and moved to Hokkaido, Japan where she lived for two years (and happened to be there when a 7.8 earthquake hit the country). In 1969, Karen moved to Washington, D.C. and became a speechwriter for US Department of Transportation. Moving back to Portland, she was hired as the Public Information Officer for Tri-Met for eight years. But, it wasn't long before she moved back to Washington, D.C. where she was hired as a federal transportation lobbyist for the State of Maryland.

Today, Karen is an author and substitute teacher at the Portland Jewish Academy. She also volunteers at a hippotherapy facility turning out horses and sidewalking for patients. (Note: Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. Hippotherapy has been shown to improve muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development as well as emotional well-being.) Karen also is working to raise funds to bring a Yemeni woman to Portland State University for four years.

Karen has written one play and two novels, with a third on the way. Her play "SAY UNCLE!!" won two awards from the Stanford University and an Albuquerque, New Mexico play group. The screenplay, "SAY UNCLE!" was revised at the request of Warner Brothers.

Her first novel, "Death by President" published in 1971 grew from her play "SAY UNCLE!" and its screenplay version. The novel is about Washington insider, David Kelly, who finds himself an unexpected and unwilling accomplice to a wealthy widow as they unravel a government scandal that involves the untimely death of the woman's wealthy presidential donor husband. "Death by President" is available as an E-book on

Her second novel "Return to Ismailia" published in 2012 derives from her experiences in Cairo, Egypt in 1964. The characters are drawn from actual people, but the story is fiction. "Return to Ismalia" is available as an E-book on and the paperback is available at Powell's downtown bookstore.

Karen is working on her third non-fiction novel "Dinner at Mr. B's" set in New York City in 1958 and is about the ballet world. She is in the final editing and the book should be complete within 6-9 months. She plans to convert the novel to a two act play. Follow this link to read a synopsis of her current novel:

When asked about her time at Wilson, Karen remembers two teachers, Walter Poepping and Jean Halling. Karen says she still remembers Poepping berating Sandy MacNab '61, "What do you do with your time, Mc MacNab? His reply, I stick pins in my Poepping doll." A classic!"

Her advice for current Wilson students is, "keep an open mind. Read books. Don't trust the media. Contact your members of Congress -- it DOES make a difference. Travel. Love. Grab each day."

Today, Karen lives in Portland near Multnomah Village and says, "I remember when it was just Multnomah".