Friday, November 6, 2009

Oregon 150

If you are very cool, you already know that 2009 is Oregon's 150th birthday. (Do you know the exact date of Oregon's birthday? Send me a comment if you do.)

So of course there is an "Oregon 150" website. One of the features of the website--my favorite feature--is the "Oregon Stories" section. Anyone can go there and post a story, or lots of stories, about what it means to them to be an Oregonian, or a memory of Oregon, or a vignette of Oregon, or a little story about something from Oregon's history, get the idea.

It has been a wonderful way to have my high school writing students go public with their writing - free, safe website, contributing to Oregon's ongoing story, etc. I'll be sad when the birthday year is over and we can't keep posting.

This morning I was showing the website to my students, and explaining that next week they will prepare their current writing assignment, based on observations in their own neighborhood, for publication on Oregon Stories. I put the website up on the projector, and something caught my eye...there was a new story on the website from Provo...hmmm...Oh my gosh, it was a story by Katie!!

Katie rocks.

This was so very cool. I clicked on the link to show the class Katie's story, and I recognized the piece as one of her blog posts from a while back. My students already know about Katie, because I show them photos of her darling Olivia when I miss school to go to Utah, so they were excited to read Katie's Oregon story. (Actually, "excited" is a bit of a stretch for these half-awake juniors and seniors on a VERY rainy Oregon morning, but they were at least interested.) One of my students finished her daily assignment early, and she has already written her own piece about our rainy morning, and why she appreciates the rain even though she came to school drenched, inspired by the writing in Katie's piece.

So here's what you should do. If you have any connection to Oregon at all, you should go to the Oregon 150 website and post your own story. Then you should comment to me so I can be sure to read your brilliant writing. Oh, and by the way, I have a story on the site, too. It's here. My memories after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, back in 1980.

I have to warn you that this website will only provide a brief experience with writing fame. Unless they choose you to be one of the featured stories on their very front page, you will only be on the first list of stories until more people submit their stories and you drop down further on the page. Then you're like me and you're buried somewhere. But the stories are all there, in the archive, and someday, when Oregon is 200 or 250 or 500 years old, people of the future will go back and read our stories of today, and know a little about who we are, who we were.


David Mayer said...

That story was great Mom! I had never heard you tell us before that you spread newspaper over the lawn when St. Helens erupted. Thanks for posting.

Cindy said...

Feb. 14, 1859?

Kathy Haynie said...

Yes, Cindy--you win the prize!

Annemarie said...

I believe Oregon became a state on Valentines Day . . . (oops and now I looked at Cindy's post to see I am correct).

Good teacher question, Kathy. One that all teachers of Oregon Literature appreciate!

Kathy Haynie said...

Ok, Annemarie, I believe you that you didn't peek at Cindy's response first, so of course you win a prize, too! :)