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November 3, 2017

Three Lakes, Riverside students share positive effects of YCEP program at Oak
Creek family night

From: Marcia Latta

The second annual Oak Creek Family Night was on Oct. 25. All students had the opportunity to invite family members to join them for the evening and participate in fall activities.

Attendance was up from last year despite lower enrollment at Oak Creek overall.

“Last year, we had eight students and 27 family members attend our Family Night,” said Principal Joy Koenig. “This year, we had 32 students and 52 family members attend.”

One of the goals of this event is to support family relationships for youth who are at Oak Creek and allow the students to share the progress they have made during their time at the site.

Oak Creek Superintendent Mike Riggan emphasized the importance of helping students maintain strong family connections. “I continue to focus on a long-term vision and answer to the question. ‘What do we want youth to look like when they leave Oak Creek?’,” he said. “Supporting and valuing youth and family relationships is very important if we want to create good citizens and healthy young people.”

The evening included a discussion of the positive effects of school and college at Three Lakes and Riverside high schools by an eight-student panel and a video of students participating in school and recreational activities.

During the panel, each student responded to a question about her educational experience at the school. “This evening was about getting together and having fun with family,” said Principal Joy Koenig. “It was also an opportunity for students to take pride in their achievements and inspire others.”

Student comments during the panel discussion included:
Maddie: “[College classes] gave me courage to do the things I didn’t know I could do.”

Sierra: “I come from a low-income area and didn’t know how I would afford college. After I transfer to a university, I’ll have two years paid for.”

Darlene: “Writing is my favorite class. I write all the time. It helps me relieve stress and use my creative side.”

Jo: “Since I’ve been here, I’ve earned about 30 credits.”
Ashley: “Staff are more motivated to help you if you are motivated and want to get the work done. If you ask, they will say yes.”

Another student said: “I’ve learned to drive a forklift, which is really cool. I wouldn’t have thought of it, and it will help you get jobs. Also, I’ve learned to drive a tractor here. I’m excited for the opportunity. I never would have found any of that stuff.”

Arianna: “I change my mind a lot about careers. First I wanted to be a surgeon. Now I’m thinking about drug and alcohol counseling to help people with their struggles.”
After the panel, families participated in activities that included a photo booth, pumpkin painting, sugar cookie decorating, and a gallery of drawings from the 19 students who are taking art on site this term with a Linn Benton Community College professor.

“I had numerous parents thank me and give praises to our staff for the great work they are doing,” said Koenig. “The families I spoke to said they are very proud of what students are accomplishing.”
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