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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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December 17, 2008     The New Era Paper
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December 17, 2008
 

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r:i Page 1 4 ~OtJR (~.g)M M| JNITV :11~ ~,~ '~r~ - December 17, 2008 By Scan C. Morgan Of The New Era Volunteers are needed to mentor high school juniors and help prepare them for life after high school. Because the Sweet Home School District 55 recently was awarded a grant to operate a Gear Up program, the Oregon Student Assistance Commission approached the district and asked if it wanted to also add the ASPIRE program. ASPIRE is the "the state's largest mentoring program for post-secondary education," said Kristin Adams, the district's Gear Up-ASPIRE coordinator. "It's a volunteer-based program, and it matches students to mentors to extend and enhance the reach of high school counselors. It cost the district $8,000 to add the ASPIRE program, which will assist juniors this year and eventually expand to every high school grade. "What I'm looking for is community members that can help with one-on-one mentoring of students to help think about their futures after high school." College is just one option, Adams said, rather than focusing entirely on college. Options can include the military, vocational school and apprenticeships, so mentors will work with students instead on career objectives and how to attain those. Two hours of training will be provided by OSAC on Jan. 14. Following that, Adams will provide training, Initially, students and mentors will spend time getting to know each other. A manual provides step-by- step instructions about working with students. It also provides college visitation dates, information on SATs and help for preparing for SATs. "The other big piece is the scholarships," Adams said, "A lot of kids don't understand you need to fill out an application accurately." Mentors will help organize college and scholarship applica- tions, and the local program is planning four college visits, she said, one of which she hopes will be a sporting event, to help give students a taste of campus life. "Volunteers just need to have a desire to work with teenage students and be sensitive to the challenges facing our community's particular teenagers," Adams said. Students throughout the district face financial challenges, and increasingly local families are below the poverty line. "So our students are watching their parents just put food on the table," Adams said. They sometimes can't think of anything but getting a job to help out. College is not an option. In 2004, 36 percent of graduating seniors had taken the SAT, Adams said, but unlike the number of families living in poverty, that number is decreasing. In 2007, only about 17 percent of graduating seniors had taken that test. It's not a complete picture of what graduates are doing, she said. For example, that number doesn't represent the number of students who go through community college and into the university system. Those students don't necessarily have to take SATs. That's where Gear Up and ASPIRE can help. Gear Up, which is operating at the junior high level this year will work with students through graduation and provide a scholarship to students who want to go on to college. In the meantime, ASPIRE will help high school students do that or follow some other career option. "Our overall goal is to change the culture," Adams said. "It's going to be a slow process. So many of our students think college is beyond their reach." These programs help show students there really is something beyond high school, she said. When she graduated from Sweet Home High School in the 1980s,Sweet Home's socioeconomicstatuswas completely different. Many students didn't go on to college because they went to work in logging. Now, Sweet Home has some multi-generati0nal poverty with the changes in the timber industry. The interest in changing is out there, she said. They want to change their situation and Adams wants to show students that it is achievable. It isn't just students who want this, she said. She has had students tell her how their mothers want to go back to school. The volunteer work also requires a background check, paperwork and fingerprinting, she said, For information, contact her at 367-7177, at Sweet Home High School or by email at kristin. adams@ sweethome.kl 2.or.us. Beautiful, treed acreage ready for your new home! This 4.5 acre property already has the septic, well and power in. 15 x 30 garage/storage. Paved road, in a quiet area. Adjacent to private timber land.Wildlife and solitude are ........ waiting! A great value at $159,000! mls#600336 Bill & Robbie Nyara- Heritage NW Real Estate Inc. (541) 401-9559 or 401-9560 (cells) / Let me help you with your real estate needs. Just give me a call 367-6889 or 367.2487 Billie Weber 367-6889 (Office), 367-2487 (Home) Heritage NW Real Estate Inc. ACREAGE and HUGE HOME! This is a great custom built home with all the bells and whistles you can imagine. All stainless steel appliances, stone floor in kitchen, and custom -hardwood floors downstairs. You have both master suites on upper and lower floors, and all this in 4t 00 plus sq feet. Sits on 3.98 acres with privacy and trees for seclusion. Great master closet and bath, mud room, a den and workout room are just a few of the extras. $535,000 MLS# 601556 Wendi Melcher 409-4813 (Cell), 367-6889 (Office) NW Real Estate Inc. UNBELIEVABLY PRICED! Recently remodeled 4 Bedroom home with new paint inside and out, new carpet, new sheetrock, vinyl windows and fresh landscaping. Home has large living room with new pellet stove, dining room, big mud room and covered balcony. Full of windows and light. Plenty of parking and room for the RV. ML5#602707 5119,900 Fisher/Shield Realty (541)259-2661 Jennifer Anderson (541)990-4617 (cell) www.fishershield.com A TOUCH OF CHARM! Adorable three bedroom home with hard- wood floors, coved ceilings, arched entry ways and a covered deck in the back yard for entertaining, all situated on over 1/4 of an acre. Conveniently located close to schools and shopping! $135,000 MLS# 605057 HOME WITH A HEART. Relax in front of the cozy fireplace this winter in this nicely maintained 1538 sf, 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. Single level home with open floor plan, large bedrooms and fully fenced yard. $149,900 MLS#605055 MULTIPLE POSSIBILITIES for this property!! Home has 3bd/2bth with a formal dining room, open floor plan with vaulted ceilings and a separate garage with a 2bd/1 bth apart- ment with 672 sq ft on top! Large fenced yard and RV parking. This home is waiting for you!!! $183,000 MLS# 604605 THE TREWIN AND WELD TEAM "A Team You Can Trust" Kitsey Trewin & Angela Weld 409-4962 401-5612 www.kitseyandangela.cona Coldwell Banker Branson & Associates 367-6364 (Office) From page I he said, and "if they can get a viable business running,that generates its own money." And the board is heading in the right direction, Keene said. "For the most part, the stewardship of our district has been very good compared to the rest of the state." The district has had to make cuts, but they haven't been as deep as other districts, he said. The district has already implemented some cuts. If more cuts are required, his goal, as Board Member Diane Gerson suggested last week, is to "try to keep (cuts) away from the classroom as much as possible. We don't want to cut classes. That's why we're here - for the kids to learn." Efforts to reinstate PE and music programs at the elementary level should continue, Keene said, and he would like to keep them protected should more cuts be necessary. "We had PE every day when I was in grade school," he said. "If it does get cut again, it's going to be much tougher to get going again." The economy and finances are probably the biggest challenges facing the district right now, he said. "We've got a fairly close- knit community." And that means opportunities, he said. That, combined with using resources in different ways, is key to keeping the district humming along. District officials will have to think outside the box, he said. "'I try to, but I'm just as guilty as everybody. We're going to have to think outside the box to get over the hump." Keene was born in Lebanon and raised in Sweet Home. He attended school in Sweet Home and graduated in 1987. He played sports in high school, was amember of the National Honor Society and Key Club and participated in drama and leadership. He attended Oregon State University for three years. He studied electrical engineering and then switched his major to physical therapy with a minor in psychology, he said. "And then life happened." He worked for Hewlett- Packard in injection molding and then from there to another Corvallis company. He later worked at Advanced West Resources making golden firewood pellets. He has worked in retail and currently works in receiving at Target Distribution Center in Tangent. He is married to Michel[e Keene, who is the librarian and media person at Crawfordsville Elementary School. They have one son, David Skeen, who is attending the eighth grade at Sweet Home Junior High. He attends Highway 20 Church of Christ and is unit commissioner, overseeing four Sweet Home units, with the Boy Scouts Calapooia District. He and his wife are district trainers. He volunteers during Day Camp in the summer. He enjoys.fishing and hunting when he gets the time. He said he also enjoys on-line computer gaming.