To answer my last blog Yes it has stopped snowing for the most part. (We did have a light dusting on Friday) The high desert is green, the birds are singing and all is good with the weather in Jordan Valley.
We are on our final count down of the school year. About three weeks left of school. Just like when you were in school everyone is excited for the summer. Especially when it is in the 70's outside and no snow clouds in site. Some of the things that have been going on and are yet to come are:
Prom: Do you remember your high school prom? I never went to mine but since high school I have attended 27 proms. The excitment was lost long ago but it is interesting to see how things have changed over the years here in Jordan Valley. When I first came here 27 years ago we had about 90 students in grades 9-12. Now we have 36. We have always alllowed all grades to attend because of our small size. Most students bring dates from out of town and now because of our small girl population we allow boys to bring more than one out of town date. This year my junior class was responsible for choosing the decorations, purchasing the decorations, building the prom, and hosting the event. We worked all year in the concession stand to pay for prom so money was not an issue. We decided to have the event in the old gym but because of our small student body we create a small space by using daming plastic, bailing twine, and wooden post. The theme this year was Island Getaway. With a class of 6 boys and 1 girl I was worried what the boys would pick out for decorations. The first thing they wanted was a blow up cooler that was a palm tree. I thought oh my this could end up tacky. My wonderful class for the most part stayed away from the tacky and created a wonderful Prom. We had palm tree and tourches that were purchased in a kit with pages of instructions. (Yes at first the boys wanted to use REAL tourches. but when I reminded them that the walls were daming plastic they understood that fire and plastic may not work well together) They spent a week putting the event together as I cooked them dinner. Not an easy task for a single person. The night of prom my students were so excited and proud of what they accomplished. This is one of those moments as a teacher that melts your heart. When students are proud of their accomplishments that is the icing on the cake.The day of Prom I went to town to get food for the event. We went with all kinds of fruit, lots to drink, chease, meat and crackers. I told the boys that I would be at the school in the afternoon cutting up the fruit and if they needed me they could stop by. Well about 1 pm the first wave stopped to get a snack so I stopped to cook them some hambugers. Then about 3 pm the second wave arrived to ask how to tie a bow tie. How am I to know. Thanks to the internet we figured it out. At 4 pm the dates and the boys came by so I could meet them. I thought this was cute. I did not even ask but all six of the boys came by, they did have a snack of course. At 6 we had pictures. All the students were dressed so nice. The boys looked dapper and the girls were stunning. Purple the the popular color this year for some reason. Before the dance started all the students must take a breathlizer test. Once they do this then they can not leave. Most schools are so big that they do not take this step but being small we are able to make sure that students do not come to school events under the influence. The kids had a wonderful time and I did too.
Senior Projects: The state of Oregon requires students to present a project based on their career choice. Our students must to a research project on an issue assoicated with their career, a job shadow, and a community project that is linked to their career. At the end of the year they give a speech and poweroint presentation of their project and their future plans. They seniors have 52 minutes a day all year long to work on this project. Today they are making their presentations and some of them just started working on the project seriously. They did the main pieces along the way but they also have a bunch of reflection questions they must answer. This is what has been put off. Since Monday they have been running around like a chicken with this head cut off. I wish I could take away the stress but it is part of life so all I can is listen and let them know they are more ready then they know. There is a part of me that does want to tell them you have had all year to do this but what good would that do. As a senior I do give them a long rope to hang themselves but I will not let them fail. For many the project is a postive learning experience if they can live through it.
Rodeo: The Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo is the third weekend in May. In the olden days school was out this weekend. This year we will be going to school for another week after rodeo. My class has decided to sell Chirizos and legal weeks during the rodeo dance which is held at the high school. I did tell my boss and my students that I am nervous exposing my students to people that may be drinking too much. My boss said did not understand my concern because according to her all the students have seen their parents drink too much. I do know that in a small town their is more gossip then most but I don't think that all my students are exposed to parents that have had to much to drink. Even if they have I do not make it a habit to cook Chirizos for people that have had to much to drink. Anyways I am going to help my students make some extra money and hope for the best and plan for the worse. What else can a teacher do.
End of the year activities: Field Day, Awards Deserts, Town Clean Up, Last Minute Field Trips, Graduation, 8th Grade Graduation, FFA Banquet, and of course the Town Dinner After Graduation. All these activities are wonder gathering events for the town but it can be a tad much. I feel sorry for my parents that have students in grade school, middle school and high school. Of course it would not be the end of the year with out these activities.
Ranch Life: In the middle of all these school activities the ranch work still needs to get done. This time of year the ranchers are busy branding their new babies so they can turn the cows out onto the range. They put them on the range for the summer so they can harvest the hay fields that the cows are on during the winter. Many of our ranching students love the brandings. It is a "fun" time for many. Since they were babies they have help their dads and grandads with the branding activities. The roping, the branding, the giving of shots, and of course the making of Rocky Mountain Oysters. Many of the girls also enjoy branding time. Some are stuck in the house with their mothers cooking up a storm but many are right alongside the men getting the branding done. All the fun is done duirng the school day so this time of year attandance goes down. I tell my students that it is a family decision but I do expect them to get their homework done. I do not complain or tell them that school is more important like some of our younger teachers. This does not do any good. All it does it put the student in a spot between the teacher and their parents. Parents always win and most of the time this is fine with me.
As you can see life in Jordan Valley this time of year is busy. The days are long and I am sore at night but at least I have a good reason for being sore. I am finishing my 27th year teaching here in Jordan Valley, a frontier school in the high desert of Oregon. My family at times thinks I am crazy to live in a place with none of the modern conviences of the city such as a grocey store, a movie house, or a doctor office. The city is only 60 miles away which takes only an hour to drive since there is no traffic. Jordan Valley may be in a time worp but I do not lock my car or my house, crime is minimal, I am queen of my classroom, the students do have respect for teachers, and there is a feeling of calm around. Of course no place is perfect but my mom once told me that no matter where you live always find the beauty. When she married she left the greeness of Oregon for the browns of Barstow. She told me that she found the sunrises and sunsets the most beautiful things she had ever seen.