Ellie’s ‘The Art of Words’

March 5, 2010

The Kid on 11th and King St.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 5:25 am

This article was part of my senior capstone class in Southern Oregon Unversity. The capstone class is a big project that all senior journalism students needed to complete in order to graduate. I took the group capstone class with tweleve other seniors. We all decided to shadow teenagers in high school who have dealt with serious issues such as eating disorders, drug abuse, family abuse, runaway, homelessness, injuries and

This article is on Chris Graham who lives in Medford, Oregon. I wrote this article in May/June 2009 and the article wasn’t published until January 2010. It was very hard to “find a teenager” to write on, at first I went to South Medford High School and tried to talk to the administration. I completed a background check yet nothing ever came of it. I finally received a contact from the Medford Juvenile Detention Center and met with a woman there who decided to help me. She introduced me to two teenaged boys and I interviewed both of them, however, when I first met Chris I instantly knew his story was worth writing about. I shadowed him for most of May and the first week of June. I attended class with him some days, hung out with him and his friends and went to his house. I conducted interviews with Chris, his teacher, the school’s office manager, his grandmother and his girlfriend. After all of the interviews, shadowing and observation I finally wrote this article for my class and it was published in The Ashland Daily Tidings. Enjoy.

Website for the article: http://www.dailytidings.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100102/NEWS02/1020312/-1/rss01

It also includes pictures (a photo journalism took the pictures for her capstone project).

By Ellie Corso
Southern Oregon University
January 02, 2010

Chris Graham was expelled from South Medford High School for bringing a knife to school. He now attends an alternative school in the Medford Juvenile Detention Center. When he grows up, he aspires to be president of the United States.

On this sunny, but foggy Tuesday afternoon he is standing outside the Minute Mart, waiting for the South Medford lunch period to begin. He waits for 12:30 every day, an hour and a half after his school gets out, so he can spend a 40-minute lunch break with his girlfriend. He holds the book “Into The Wild,” which a teacher gave him for being a good student.

He usually sits in the shade while kids he knows come up to him and talk. When the conversation turns to how high someone got yesterday or how fun it was, he moves away. Chris doesn’t want to hear about it anymore. He’s been clean and sober since Jan. 1. He still smokes cigarettes, but would like to quit that too.

Chris checks the time. She should be arriving at any moment. He looks around for her, brings his arms down and clenches his fists. His friends ask him what’s wrong. They look straight ahead and realize what the problem is. Chris has spotted a guy that he hates — a guy in a black shirt with a blue bandana around his neck. “I want to punch him in the face,” Chris says quietly.

Caught with the knife

On the day Chris was caught with the knife, he had decided to cut fourth period. Before he could get off campus, he was stopped by a security officer who accused him of smelling like marijuana. The officer asked if he could check Chris’s backpack and without thinking, he said yes. He hadn’t gotten high that day, but he was afraid for his life. A group of kids had accused him of making fun of their friend who had committed suicide. Chris denied it and says he told school administrators, but they said they couldn’t do anything about a threat. His grandmother called the school, but nothing was done.

Chris decided to take the matter into his own hands. He asked a friend if he could borrow a knife to protect himself.

. . .

The guy in the black shirt and blue bandana has moved on, but back on the corner, Chris can’t let go. Sitting on the ledge, Heidi wraps her arms around him and whispers in his ear. Chris says, sternly, “Did you see me walk a step towards him?”

“I shouldn’t have to worry about you all the time,” Heidi says.

Heidi’s friend, Pandora, who has bright, dyed orange hair with black underneath, tries to pull Heidi back toward campus. Chris follows them to the end of the block then stands, holding Heidi’s hand, across from the school.

The bell rings.

Chris and Heidi start to argue. She’s angry that she has to worry about him getting into a fight. He’s angry because he feels he held back and didn’t fight, even though he wanted to. He punches a metal pole with a “No Parking” sign on it and slams his book against it.

“Every time I’m near this school something … bad happens!” he shouts. Heidi steps back.

“Heidi, come on!” Pandora shouts, walking into the building. The second bell rings. Heidi tells Chris she has to go and walks away.

Chris isn’t sure if he’ll even be readmitted to SMHS. And he isn’t sure if he wants to go back. He says he’s afraid he will get into a fight on his first day. At Medford Opportunity High School, he and the other kids there don’t stand out as problems.

‘They’re just kids’

“They’re just kids,” office manager Jill Campbell said. “We love them, we take care of them, we show them that they can go to college and be successful.”

On the 10-minute break between classes, kids drop by her office to make peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. These kids need special attention, and they get it here.

“They are worthwhile human beings even though they have been put on the backburner by other schools,” Campbell said. “I think Chris is great. He’s very positive and we haven’t had any issues with him. He always has a smile on his face.”

. . .

Chris sits in a classroom that is plastered with signs encouraging kids to learn from their mistakes, to not join gangs and not drink and drive. He opens up a computer program and starts an essay on stem cell research. His teacher, Bruce Stranbridge, comes by and checks out Chris’s work. He nods his head and he reads over it.

Bruce started as a substitute teacher at Medford Opportunity, but fell in love with the program and applied for a permanent position. He says every teacher has their niche and working with alternative kids is his niche. He teaches both the morning and afternoon classes, which have separate sets of students. Chris attends the morning session and always arrives a half-hour before school starts.

Most kids turn in a couple of paragraphs for their essays, but not Chris. His are at least six paragraphs long, well-researched and detailed. Stranbridge calls him one of the brightest students in the class, describing Chris as, “intelligent, very bright, but he has issues to deal with.”

In the last half of class Bruce shows a wildlife video. When an alligator attacks a smaller animal Chris starts screaming, not wanting to watch, wanting the prey to live. Bruce sends him out of the room. Chris still screams as he walks out the door.

“He can get a little feisty,” Bruce says. “He has a temper and needs to tone it down a bit and to express his opinions in a way that doesn’t alienate people. He can be very successful if he sticks with it.”

As Heidi disappears into the school, Chris walks down the street and a car pulls up alongside him. Campus Security Office Daniel Ashworth gets out.

“Great,” Chris says. “Now I’m being pulled over. I didn’t even do anything.”

Ashworth is the same officer who caught Chris smoking a cigarette and gave him a ticket for being a minor in possession. He also found the knife.

Chris is mostly silent and mumbles to the officer’s questions. He wants to know why Chris punched the sign and screamed. Chris says it’s a personal matter and he doesn’t want to discuss it. Ashworth reminds Chris he can arrest him for disorderly conduct, but this time he will be nice and let him off the hook. He tells him, “Stop punching my signs.”

Chris stands on the corner of King Street and 11th. He leans on a metal fence and looks down at the book in his hand.

“I got a book. I guess good things can happen today,” he says. “I just don’t know what to do. This is the last week of school. I should be happy.”

He searches his pockets for a cigarette.

“If I was just any other person, they wouldn’t have called Ashworth.” He figures he’s been labeled a bad kid and watched closer than the rest. “If they just looked into my eyes and saw that my life was in danger”»” He doesn’t finish the sentence.

Chris bums a cigarette off two girls walking down the street and starts to smoke. He has always thought that for some reason he will have a short life.

“I sometimes think that people’s lives would be 10 times as better if I was never born,” he says.

Young mother

Chris’s mom was 16 when she was pregnant. He has never met his father and the last he heard he lived in New Mexico, but that was years ago. His mom raised him, but says he grew up mostly in his grandparents’ house. At the end of middle school he officially moved into their house.

Although he sees his mother almost every week, he feels that she has her own life now. She’s remarried and is raising three small children. Chris feels there is no room for him. Whenever he wants to spend time with her, he says she tells him that he is bugging her too much.

In his room there is a brown bowl with black marker drawings all over it that Chris made. One scribble says “I love you — Mom.”

Chris says he wrote that. “She never says ‘I love you,'” he says, looking at the words he wrote. “I say I love you first and then she will say it back, but she sounds annoyed.”

One of Chris’s battles in life has been weight. Kids made fun of him constantly in middle school, and by freshman year he weighed 300 pounds. He says he lost most of his friends because of the constant ridicule. The next summer he decided to stop eating so much and start walking around more. He lost 100 pounds.

He met a girl who he thought liked him back, but ended up with a broken heart. The only cure he knew was drugs and alcohol. He got drunk every week trying to dull the pain and forget about his life. Then he met Heidi.

“In a way Heidi saved my life,” Chris said. “I was going to drink myself to death.”

He started attending class at SMHS regularly, got political, started thinking about college and what career he might want. Then Officer Ashworth found the knife. Chris was suspended for a week, but on his first day back he was called to the front office during his 4th period English class. They told him he was expelled for one year. When he told Heidi, she cried.

“I told Heidi I was going to do my best in school,” he said. “The chance that I wanted — it just wasn’t given to me.”

Life at home

At home, Chris’s grandmother, Shawn Graham, sits on the sofa, her spine stretched. She has a permanent hunch and trouble moving around. She can’t stand up straight anymore. She takes a lot of pain medication but barely visits the doctor anymore. She has a legal disability, however, she isn’t sure exactly what she has.

She has Chris’s artwork in her lap as she talks about he’s overcome so many obstacles. She believes he can do anything he wants. She’s noticed that he has become more angry, but to her, he’ll always be her baby.

“He’s got a very kind heart,” she says. “He thinks of others. He worries about me and he loves his friends very much.”

“I’ve always told him he can do anything he wants,” Shawn said. “If you want to be president, you can. Just put your mind to it.”

Chris has taken her advice to heart. His plans are to graduate from Southern Oregon University with a double major in political science and either business or journalism. He then wants to write for the San Francisco Chronicle for 10 years. After that he plans to go into politics, easing in slowly, running for mayor first, then governor. Someday he’d like to be the Democratic Party candidate for president.

He’d also like to marry Heidi when he’s 19 and have a family with her. Heidi also aspires to attend SOU and be a journalist.

“I know she’s only a freshman and I’m only a sophomore, but I feel like we’ve been through everything,” Chris said. “She taught me to smile and be happy. She made me into the person I am today.”

As Chris sits on his bed, his round, overweight dachshund, Harley, jumps up and waits for him to come over. Chris holds him in his arms and breathes in deeply. He feels enclosed by his four walls and trapped in his room. He hates being in his room and describes his walk home as the “pathway to hell.” He loves his grandmother and he loves Heidi, but he can’t wait to move out.

The only problem is that he hates to be alone. It is his greatest fear in life, besides dying.


No Wine Allowed in Wine Appreciation Class

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 5:05 am

Published in The Siskiyou, Southern Oregon University’s weekly student newspaper.

Wine is no longer served in the wine appreciation class.

Wine appreciation seminar, BA 407, started out with a lecture and then each student was given an ounce of the wine that was discussed.  Generally, students would try two different types of wine in the two-hour course.

“SOU is not a dry campus,” said Jonathan Eldridge, vice president of student affairs.

Dave Harris, dean of business, who was in charge of the controversial decision that took place fall quarter, said that he was merely enforcing university policy.

University policy states there are specific designated areas that are pre-approved by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The policy also states that a licensed server must serve the alcohol.

“We also want the class to more accessible for students,” said Harris.

Harris explained that now that wine isn’t served in the class, the age limit requirement for the course has been removed. Students under 21 years old have not enrolled in either quarter for the course yet.

Helena Verduyn, a senior, who is currently enrolled in the course, disagrees with the policy.

“You’re making a connection between what he’s saying and what you’re learning about how its processed and how it ages in oak barrels and then being able to taste the utter breakdown of the different flavors of the wine,” Verduyn said.

Professor of the course, Lorn Razzano, owner of The Wine Cellar and a licensed pourer, feels that tasting, although not essential, brings a lot to the course.

Harris said he hasn’t received any negative feedback from students about the new decision. However, Razzano said that many students have verbally told him their disappointment about the restriction.

“The evaluations are laced with very upset students,” said Razzano.

On the SOU website, the course description says that there will be on sight wine tastings.

Jennifer Krauel, who took the course last quarter, was disappointed and had originally assumed that wine would be served.

“Not having the wine in class is just pointless. All of us were 21 or older so basically it’s like saying we’re not responsible enough to have one sip of wine,” Krauel said.

According to university policy, Central Hall, where the class is located, is not pre-approved by the OLCC. However, Eldridge said that there might be another issue involved since there is a way to get around it.

“If the question is, is there a way that wine can be served in a wine class on campus, the answer is yes there is a way to do it, but the way might be in conflict with other things they’re trying to accomplish,” Eldridge said.

“There are ways to do it without violating laws or policies,” said Eldridge.

Liz Shelby, chief of staff and director of government relations, said that they currently reassessed the policy and made it tighter.

Razzano has been in the wine business for over 29 years in Southern Oregon and has taught at the university for about 10 years.

“You’re taking the colors out of the painting, you’re taking the reasons out of the fact and I think it’s a really sad situation. I think it’s profoundly short sighted,” Razzano said.

Chris Saunders, who is currently enrolled in the course, felt that to be able to taste the wine in class would make a difference.

“I really feel like I’m missing out on a huge portion of wine appreciation, you can’t just talk about it without understanding the complexity of the flavors,” Saunders said.

Vernalee Kennedy, who is studying for her MBA agreed with Saunders.

“It would totally make a difference, I think it is necessary, mainly because you’re loosing part of class, that way by not having the wine to taste,” Kennedy said.

“I think it’s a sad commentary for where education is going and I really believe that,” Razzano said.

The future of wine appreciation and whether or not wine will be offered in the future is still unknown. Liz Shelby commented that she likes the current structure of the class, which includes lectures, and visits to wineries on the students’ own time.

“What’s the point of having a wine appreciation class if you can’t even appreciate the wine in class,” Verduyn said.

March 2, 2009

Students Take Back the Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 1:36 am

Photo by Beth Pahl

Students Take Back the Night
By Ellie Corso
The Siskiyou

Students and community members marched and chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, sexual assault has got to go” and made plenty of noise in taking a stand against sexual violence for Take Back the Night on Friday.

Men and women met in the SU where they marched to the downtown Plaza. Women’s Resource Center advocates and peacemakers organized the march. People held signs, banged on drums, blew whistles and raised awareness about sexual abuse as part of the Yell It! Tell It! Stop Sexual Assault Campaign.

Jennifer Garcia, who works for the WRC, helped plan the event. All week, WRC members have presented the Clothesline Project to raise awareness for the campaign. The Clothesline Project allows people who have been affected by sexual assault to design T-shirts, and the shirts are put together in a collection, displayed on clotheslines.

Take Back the Night is thought to have begun in England in 1877 and didn’t reach the United States until 1978. The event is designed to inspire survivors of sexual assault and encourage the local community to take action against sexual violence.

Sociology professor Erika Giesen shared an inspirational speech to all participants before the march took place.

“We are manifesting night and days of freedom when we can play in the darkness and embrace it. Take Back the Night is really important, the moon, the stars, and the night, it misses us, so we need to get back out there,” Giesen said.

“What do we want? Safe streets! When do we want them? Now!” was shouted by all the participants in the march and projected with a loud speaker.

The signs held said, “No, means no,” “Respect women” and “Rape is a violent crime; hold perpetrators responsible.” Cars driving by honked in support, onlookers cheered and people stepped out of their homes to yell in support. “People unite, take back the night!” “Sexist, rapist, anti-gay, you can’t take our night away!”

Associated Students of Southern Oregon University President Monique Teal participated in the candlelight vigil to help protect the community.

“The least I can do is march and hold a sign and hold a candle and hear the stories,” Teal said.

Judy Haas, a nontraditional student, woke up that morning and dressed up because she realized she wanted to celebrate. After years of childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence, Haas decided it was time to recognize what had happened to her and share her story.

“These people, women, survivors, allies coming together and joining and saying we stand here together, it’s very healing,” Haas said.

When the marchers reached downtown, a candlelight vigil was held. People shared personal stories about their own encounters or talked of people they knew who have suffered from sexual violence. Tears were shared as people put their arms around each other, and the crowd cheered in support of everyone in the circle.

“It’s empowering to be able to march. The night and the candlelight vigil is cool because people get to share their stories and experiences,” Garcia said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that as we walk towards this plaza, that women, children and even men are suffering right now at the hands of another person,” Haas said. “We may only reach a couple of people this evening, but that’s how it starts and it builds.”

March 1, 2009

‘Show Some Love’ at the Humane Society

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 12:19 am

With a paw stretched out from the cage, a little dog called out to an SOU volunteer with the hope of being adopted and just looking for some love.

 Friday afternoon ‘Show Some Love’ by the Civic Engagement program introduced student volunteers to the Human Society in Medford. The students worked on volunteer projects and then had alone time with the animals for the last hour.

 Judi Hanstein, volunteer coordinator for the Humane Society explained that their dogs are given to them because they were in neglected homes.

 “We give them a second chance,” Hanstein said, emphasizing the point that they do not euphonize their animals.

 An SOU van drove a handful of students to help the Humane Society paint two rooms that would be used as a quarantine room for sick animals.  The students splashed on the yellow paint in high spirits and sang songs loudly to keep themselves occupied.

 “I liked all of it, I got to know a bunch of people, its just one of those feel good projects,” said Marissa Christensen, a freshmen theater major.

 The students were then able to go into the play yards and interact with the dogs and were given alone time with puppies. They were able to finish off their time in the cat room and finally had to paint one last room of the day.

 Participant Melissa Butkov had volunteered with the Humane Society over the summer and was experienced with how to handle the dogs.

 “I have a great love for animals. I can’t keep dogs in the dorms, so I thought this would be a very fun way to spend time with the animals,” Butkov said.

 Butkov was apart of the ‘Pals’ program, which are classes that train a volunteer how to handle animals and is given one on one time with their assigned pooch.

 “It was amazing, I know its good for the dogs but I loved coming here every day, it was almost therapy for me,” said Butkov.

 Ross MacDougall, a freshman, bonded with a large dog with black and tan spots, sporting a bright orange collar, named Gary.

 “Gary seems to like me the most,” MacDougall joked as he scratched the ears of his favorite dog,  “we seem to be the most mutual friends.”

 Cerrisa Payment, civic engagement coordinator, felt the Humane Society was popular among students.

 “During Civic Engagement Day the Humane Society was one of the first to fill up, students just loved it,” Payment said.

 “It felt good to do something with my Friday,” confirmed MacDougall.

 Hanstein was glad that the students came on a Friday to help paint the new rooms for the animals.

 “I think the best thing we can do for our community is have the involvement of all age groups, including students at a college level,” Hanstein said, “we’re making them change their lives, that’s what we did today.”

 Even through the smell of cat litter and the echoes of the barking dogs, students still enjoyed themselves.

 “It makes you feel good about yourself when you’re done cause you feel like you helped. Painting was kind of like the work part but then we got rewarded by seeing all of the dogs, cats and puppies, that was really neat,” Christensen said.

 After all the hard work and relaxed time with the animals, the students returned to SOU, after a long goodbye with the animals.

 “My favorite part was the doggie I met – she was a sweetheart,” Christensen said.

SOU’s part of the ‘AIDS Quilt’

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 12:16 am

A huge patterned quilt is soon going to be displayed on campus in remembrance of victims of AIDS and spreading awareness about the disease.

 It is the 3rd year that the Names Project ‘s ‘One World, Many Voices, One Quilt,’  will be displayed on the SOU campus. The giant SOU quilt, which is 12×12 feet, will be on campus from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3 and a celebration will be held  Dec. 1. The national quilt is over 1,293,000 square feet long and hasn’t been shown all together since 1996, because the quilt is too large.


 Grace Weil has been working on the project for seven months and is glad a lot of people are paying attention to the cause.

“This is a really dark time of year and it’s important for us to remember the people who have passed away, but it is also really important for us to celebrate the life that we still have,” Weil said.

The candlelight vigil and celebration will be held on World AIDS Day, Weil wanted to make it a celebration of life. The vigil will be led by Janelle Wilson, which will start at 5 p.m. Afterwards Rev. Shepard from United Church of Christ will speak. There will also be performances by the Rouge Valley Ensemble, NASU singers and drummers and Dulcet.

 “I really worked at this of making it a celebration of life evening as well as remembering our past,” Weil said.

Three panels of the quilt was made by Hands Around Quilting Group from The First Methodist Church and has been held on display ever since.

 “It symbolizes hope for future generations,” Kitty Calhoun said who helped out with the project since the beginning.

All of the Rocky Horror Picture Show proceeds went to the Quilt celebration, as well as man other donations including a generous $500 from the Abdel-Ellis Center. Various other campus organizations such as the Health and Wellness Center also went to the cause.

 “It was a wonderful contribution,” said Calhoun.

 Katherine Gohring, a QRC volunteer, helped table for the quilt and kept an eye on it.

“I think it’s really amazing, I have done some study of the quilt and to have part of it here is a really unique experience,” Gohring said.

According to Weil some people have certain stereotypes about the disease and she says the rising age group being affected by AIDS are females between the ages of 18-25.

“It’s scary, it’s really terrifying and having a tool like the AIDS quilt, to bring that home, to make that emotional impact is a really good way of reaching people,” Weil said.

 Gohring thinks it’s important to take notice of the disease that claims a lot of lives each year.

“It is really important for us to understand that this is an epidemic and sometimes it takes a personal view to truly understand how much impact AIDS has had on our community,” Gohring said.

There will also be two art projects going on while the quilt is displayed.  Students can make collages out of magazines, which will be put in the library. There will also be construction papers, in which students can make their own paper quilt square, which will be stitched together with ribbon.

Weil said the main point of the quilt is to bring awareness and hopes that one-day a cure could be found.

“I’ve known people who have lived 15 or more years fighting this disease and that needs to be acknowledged, that there has been strides made even if it’s not a perfect world, it’s better than it could be,” Weil said.

For more information on the quilt check out: http://www.aidsquilt.org

“It symbolizes hope for future generations,” Calhoun said.

Gonzo Piece: First Time Snowboarder!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 12:08 am

NOTE: This piece was written for my feature writing class. Our assignment was to do something we’ve never done before. We were experimenting with Hunter S. Thompson’s style of the Gonzo piece. Luckily my teacher didn’t make us join Hell’s Angels, or anything that extreme!  Here it is: 

                                    First Time Snowboarder

I reluctantly decided to go snowboarding but fears arose in my mind immediately. On the way up to the mountain I had hoped that somehow the mountain would be closed and we were forced to go home. Everything was fine. There was even a fresh patch of snow and we found a good parking space in the front of the lot. I took a deep breath.

            There I was in borrowed snow clothes, the only thing I was wearing that was my own were my undergarments and jacket. I picked up the snowboard, which wasn’t mine and started to face my fears.

            I am from California, which has some really good mountains for skiing, but I have barely been to the snow. The mountains in California are a long distance and one would have to be dedicated to their beloved sport. I have never met skiing or snowboarding so I never had a strong desire to partake in the journey.

            However, now in Ashland, the drive to the mountain is about a half hour and the expenses doesn’t add up to a monstrous amount. The lift ticket is very cheap if you go to the bunny slope and that was the only slope I planned to do.

            I climbed up the mountain dressed in my snow gear and I found myself getting out of breath just by walking to the lift. I was terrified about what was to come.

            I went with my boyfriend, Clark, who has been snowboarding for two years and works at Mount Ashland for every winter season. He felt perfectly fine because for him this was just another day.    

            I was finally outside the lift and was already having trouble attaching my boots to my snowboard. After help from Clark, I hobbled over to the lift and looked helplessly at the lift attendant. The chair quickly came my way and I froze. Clark grabbed my arm and forced me on the chair. I looked behind myself as the ski attendant became distant.

            I tried not to look down, I finally remember my small fear of heights and started to complain. I yelled at Clark for brining me here and told him I did not want to get off the lift.

            I accidentally looked down and saw how high up we were. I felt like someone’s hand was on my chest, making it difficult for me to breathe. I started to then bite my fingernails as I saw our final destination approaching.

            I had no idea how to get off the lift! I’ve never done this before! Clark instructed me to face the snowboard to the hill and just slide down. He told me I would probably fall.

            I aimed the snowboard for the hill, balanced my boots on top and just slid down. Well, mostly, I fell.

            I made it down and I stumbled over to the side so no one would fall on top of me. I then secured my other boot to the board and was ready to do my first run. I listened to Clark’s instructions but he talked very quickly and then made his way down. I was supposed to follow him but I didn’t even know what he said.

            I aimed my board and I gulped very deeply and hoped for the best. I was in motion for about a few seconds when I felt like I was going way too fast. I was afraid of losing control so I put down my hands and forced myself to fall in the snow.

            I sat there for a few moments trying to get up but whenever I tried to pull myself up, my lower half stayed on the ground. The board was hard to control and I was down in the snow for about five minutes. I finally found courage and lifted myself up, after many attempts.

            I aimed the board again, bended my knees slightly and took off. I was boarding for about a few more seconds when I made myself fall again. I spent the whole time on the bunny slope in motion for a few minutes and forcing myself to fall. Clark had already completed three runs while I was still on my first.

            I finally made it back to the lift where Clark was waiting for me. I told him that I didn’t want to do it again but he talked me into going on the lift. I sat back down on the lift but this time I didn’t gulp a lot. I didn’t have to bite my nails and I wasn’t afraid that I was going to fall off. I didn’t yell at Clark, this time I was telling myself not to fall.

            I got off the lift smoothly and I slid off with only a tiny fall at the end. Clark congratulated me and I smiled. I was ready to go again.

            Standing on the edge I stared at the end of the mountain and I took a deep breath. I glided down and was amazed that I hadn’t fallen yet. I was sliding down for almost half a minute. I did fall to the ground and my head was faced down in the snow. Somehow, I had fallen forward and I didn’t even know how I did that.

            I kept lifting myself up even though all I wanted to do was lay back into the snow and give up.  I kept going but I went at my own pace and saw everyone speed past me. Children that were as tall as my knee would ski right in front of me and not fall.

            At some point, during one of my runs, I tried to aim away from the orange net fence but I didn’t succeed.  I fell on top of the net as the guy who worked for ski patrol was taking it down. I got up and he pulled me away from it so I wouldn’t run into it again.

            Clark took off to ski at a different slope that could challenge him. I was left alone at the bunny slope. As I was boarding down, I hadn’t fallen yet and my heart was beating fast. I then saw this woman sitting on the ground and I screamed, “MOVE! I CAN’T STOP!”

            She looked up at me with confusion and I forced myself to fall so I wouldn’t touch her. She was with another woman and a man, as I apologized they simply laughed and forgave me. During the same run I ran into a little boy and his skis. I looked at my unmarked hands, back at him, and he took off down the mountain. I gulped and made my way down the mountain back to the lift.

            As the sun went down, I saw Clark in the far distance and I knew that the mountain was closing for the day. I looked behind myself and saw how small the bunny slope actually looked. I took off my boots and put the board back in the car and smiled as I sat in the front seat, waiting to finally go home..

February 28, 2009

Bill Clinton Campaigns for Hillary at SOU

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 11:49 pm


Photo by Carson Michag/ Bill Clinton stops by SOU

Photo by Carson Michag/ Bill Clinton stops by SOU

Bill and Chelsea Clinton stop at SOU
By Ellie Corso
The Siskiyou

Students and community members gathered in the Stevenson Union courtyard to hear former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea speak and represent Sen. Hillary Clinton late Sunday afternoon.

Chelsea Clinton introduced her father to the crowd.

“I’m excited to be here with my dad,” Clinton said, “I strongly believe my mom is the most qualified and the most progressive.”

Bill Clinton came on stage and gave reasons why Oregonians should vote for Hillary. He brought up worldwide issues, such as the Iraq war, maintaining that Hillary wants to bring the troops home. He also addressed global warming and environmental issues.

“There’s no free lunch in the green movement,” Clinton said.

Clinton also talked about issues that pertain to students such as financial aid. He introduced Hillary’s plan called Student Borrower Bill of Rights, a bill that allows students more leeway in repaying their loans, among other options.

He addressed Hillary’s famous healthcare plan, and he asked the audience if they knew someone who wasn’t insured, and a majority of the crowd raised their hands.

“She has the only healthcare plan that will cover everyone for affordable healthcare,” he said.

Clinton shared personal stories of people he had encountered who his wife has helped in one way or another. He ended his speech by reaffirming that she was the best choice for president.

“She’s a change maker, and she has been for as long as I’ve known her,” Clinton said.

Peggy Mezger, assistant director of information technology production for Enrollment Services, felt that it was time for a woman president.

“I think everyone needs to have a chance to vote. I wanted to be able to vote for a woman for president for the first time, and I don’t think it’s over,” Mezger said.

Taylor York, Associated Students Southern Oregon University freshman senator, felt that it is good that Clinton is representing his wife.

“They’re going into this as a team because they are husband and wife, and they are creating the image of a unified front,” York said. “I am so excited I get to be a part of this entire system because it is such a historic race.”


SOU and NPS Join Forces

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 11:37 pm
SOU and NPS work together
By Ellie Corso
The Siskiyou

SOU collaborates with the National Park Service. It’s the makings of a beautiful friendship, complete with benefits for students.

The NPS and SOU began their partnership five years ago under the Pacific Northwest Cooperative Ecosystem.

Greg Jones of the environmental studies department manages two task agreements based on biogeography ecosystems and geographical information systems.

“We’re right in the middle of many very prominent national parks, so it was the ideal location for the corporative agreement to occur,” said Jones.

“We really felt the region didn’t know that SOU had very interesting, profitable research relationships. We wanted to make sure that the word got out,” Jones said.

Jones thinks that this will bring up a lot of opportunities in terms of practicum, internships and capstone experiences. Without having a relationship with the National Park Services, SOU would be unable to have this experience.

Daniel Staar, Klamath Network Monitoring Coordinator, is also a part of the collaboration agreements.

“Hopefully, it will increasingly be that there is an ability to potentially do internships or work in parks. We will also be available to service guest lectures for students and to teach them what it is like to work in a park service,” Staar said.

Staar brought up that there were a lot of activities going on and how students were involved in an interruptive newsletter, the main web page and various other projects. One project included students who worked on the wetlands inventory in Crater Lake.

“We can’t do it all on our own; we want to do it in partnerships,” said Staar.

“I would think that for students who are contemplating environmental careers, [they] would be interested in potentially working with the parks, getting internships with the parks and to get some real work experience,” Staar said.

The Klamath Network is comprised of six NPS units – Crater Lake National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument, Redwood National and States Parks, and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

“It’s very important to have these kind of relationships whether they be on campus or off campus. Those are the kinds of things we need to provide vehicles for students, to have experience because that’s what ends up giving them insights for what they can do with their career and potential job opportunities for down the road,” Jones said.

‘Athena in Velvet’

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 11:25 pm

showphotophp1Appeared in the Entertainment Section of The Siskiyou, May 2007.

‘Athena in Velvet’ prides the empowerment of women
By Ellie Corso
The Siskiyou

The empowering art of being a woman was the theme for the third annual “Athena in Velvet,” hosted by the Women’s Resource Center.

The spring celebration of women and creativity had live performances, real-life art, wine and plenty of chocolate.

The event, packed to full capacity, was held at the Mojo Rising Workshop and Events Studio. It was decorated with pillows and candles which created a peaceful and elegant atmosphere. The two female hosts started with a colorful introduction before introducing the first group, Darlingtonia.

The singers, who are Oregon natives, began with an introduction explaining the origin of the groups name. It comes from a plant called ‘cobra lily’, which they described as “curvaceous.”

During the performance, Darlingtonia singer Kerrissa Fuccillo played the harmonica and guitar. One of their songs was inspired from the poem “Still I Rise,” by Maya Angelou. They recited lines from the poem in sync with harp player, Sofia Jensen.

Fuccillo, who used to be a high school teacher and now teaches guitar to young people, feels it is important to get the message out, especially to young women.

“The idea of women in empowerment,” Fuccillo said, “especially at the age range of 17 to 19, I feel like it is a really pivotal time when women start to decide who they want to be in the world and it feels really important to me to be a role model of strong, creative and empowered women.”

Former Vagina Monologues director Brook Colley suggested that they perform for this event after working with Fuccillo during the monologues.

“The Women’s Resource Center does such a good job on getting that out to young women all over the world, older women too but especially [the young] age group I think really needs to hear that women can be strong, creative and be themselves,” she said. “It was just a great event.”

Coming from Los Angeles, Oregon natives Jimmy Strong and British-born Sheila Nicholls were the other performers for the night. Strong is currently working on a record and Nicholls was featured on the “High Fidelity” soundtrack.

Nicholls and Strong sang a song from the “Left Behind” series, in which the women refused to have sex with the men unless they stopped fighting. Strong also played songs such as “Georgina” and “Scoops,” inspired by her favorite ice cream parlor. Another song Nicholls sang was inspired by a dream she had about her husband.

“I was really excited to do something that felt gentle, woman-based and leaving Los Angeles was a treat and it was a great experience coming to Oregon,” said Nicholls.

Nicholls, who is pregnant, made comments in between songs about how she could feel her baby moving all around. She then had the audience vote which name they liked best for her unborn child.

During their performance, an actress portraying goddess Athena inspired models, whose bodies were painted and made to look like statues, to grace the stage. The models would change positions to fit with the song. One of the statues, Renee Fisk, was painted silver and black from head to toe and was tied with rope around her body.

Fisk, the AmeriCorps VISTA Civic Engagement Coordinator for SOU, said she enjoys doing all types of performance art.

“I get into the theme concept a lot and I appreciate being able to do my own art, sort of in a way that is expressed along with the attributes of Athena,” said Fisk. “It was really neat to be able to find positions that gave off the same energy as the music.”

Student Mandy Engler, who attended last year, enjoyed the whole event and especially the Dagoba organic chocolate.

“I like how it brings the people locally and out of the area together and there’s chocolate,” Engler said. “It’s a really great event and I am really glad it goes on and I will be back.”

Community resident Jill Mackile, who heard about the event from her daughter, felt the theme of the event was very important and the message needed to get out. “Especially nowadays when everything is sort of trying to take woman’s empowerment away from them,” Mackile said.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Vivacious Voices: Empowerment through Education and Expression, the Women’s Resource Center’s creativity program.

The hosts ended with words of encouragement. “Recognize the extraordinary way you live your life and the changes you make that make you who you are.”


Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 8:08 pm

seahorse1Welcome to my blog! This blog is really about my past works, I am basically posting my clippings all in one spot! These are mostly clips from The Siskiyou, Southern Oregon University’s Campus Newspaper! I also will post some other clips such as some school work from my journalism classes and will write out a few blogs on my take of what is going on in the world. I love experimenting with different ways to write! Including feature pieces (I wrote my first Gonzo piece!) and blog style. A lot on here will be article form, but like I said, I will post a little extra.
Enjoy 🙂

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