Monday, April 21, 2008

Students generate newspaper, photo projects as part of writer-in-resident program

Chyanne Stanley, freshman, interviews Megan Greenfield (left) on Monday, April 21, in Wheeler High School's general room during an all-day high school journalism workshop. Photo by Dillon Nelson.

Editor’s note: Twenty-two students from Wheeler High School in Fossil, Ore., and four from Condon High School in Condon, Ore., participated in a journalism workshop Monday, April 21, in Fossil. The workshop was conducted as part of a writer-in-residence program sponsored by Fishtrap Inc., an Eastern Oregon organization promoting "clear thinking and good writing in and about the West." The students participating in the workshop -- under the direction of Cheryl Hatch, the writer in residence, and Gary L. West, associate editor for the Capital Press -- were assigned to write stories about the writer-in-residence program in their communities.

Special to the Capital Press

FOSSIL, Ore. — This year the students of Condon and Wheeler high schools in Eastern Oregon had the opportunity to work with writer in residence Cheryl Hatch, a photojournalist based in Corvallis, Ore.

Hatch collaborated with Condon High School language arts teacher Mike Keown in Condon and with English teacher Angi Humphreys in Fossil, Ore.

Keown believes that the opportunity that the writer-in-residence program provides for students is worthwhile.

"It allows the students to have exposure to experience and topics that they wouldn’t receive in the regular curriculum," Humphreys said.

In 2007, poet Peter Sears joined the students of Condon and Wheeler high schools.
Humphreys is on the Knight Writers board that brought Sears and Hatch to the schools. Humphreys has been teaching at Wheeler for 12 years.

"I would be extremely disappointed if it were not a continued tradition," said Jon McMurray, who teaches history and Spanish at Wheeler High School and coaches the Knights baseball team, which is comprised of student athletes from the two schools and schools in Spray and Arlington.

One student who was interested in photography was Kylie Hankins of Wheeler High School. Hankins wished the program would have included more on how to develop film.

Student Tyler Pike was interested in learning more about writing through the program.

"It’s something new to do, and introduces kids to new forms of writing," said Pike of Condon High School.

For some students the program doesn’t last long enough

Megan Greenfield states, "It would be nice to have more time to work on projects and not so many classes a week," said Megan Greenfield.

Overall most of the students said the program has been educational and they have learned a lot.

"It was magical," said Kirk Fatland of Condon High School.

The writer-in-residence program was created a few years ago when Fishtrap Inc., a writers’ community in Wallowa County, asked if the cities of Condon and Fossil would be interested in bringing a rural writer-in-residence program to the two communities.

Chris Lewallen, 55, of Condon, has been the local co-coordinator for the writer-in-residence program for the past two years. The first year she worked with Adele Barnett, the founder of LB Arts, and this year she worked with Dorothy Schott, who housed Hatch on her ranch in Condon during that city's part of the program.

It is Lewallen’s job to help arrange housing for the writer, monitor the program and help to keep it running as smoothly as possible.

Kelli Kayser, Cole MacInnes, Murphy Palazo, Samonne Palazo, Chyanne Stanley, Kevin Miller, Jessica Miller and Levi Sharp contributed to this story.

The following students participated in the workshop:
Wheeler High School — Megan Greenfield, Brody D’Elia, Harold Stevens, Lisa Wade, Mitch Griffith, Anna Longstreet, Kylie Hankins, Michael Boehlke, Karera Carrell, Samonne Palazo, Dillon Nelson, Chyanne Stanley, Justin Phillips, Macaulay Hankins, Meagan Moore, Kevin Miller, Jessica Miller, Levi Sharp, Cole MacInnes, Murphy Palazo, Annie Wade and Emmalee Keys.
Condon High School — Kelli Kayser, Brook Griffith, Tyler Pike and Kirk Fatland.

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