Start Making a Reader Today

To the editor:

After completing a school year as a SMART volunteer at Lincoln Elementary School, I am amazed by the teachers and staff in Woodburn schools. I look forward to seeing the students again next school year.

I now have an appreciation for the amazing accomplishments being made in Woodburn schools. I found a very caring community of teachers, volunteers, parents and administrators. Everyone works together to achieve success and growth. I even participated on a day when there was an unannounced fire drill. Everyone got out systematically and all were accounted for when we returned to the classroom. I followed the children, since they knew what was expected of them.

During my teaching days in Ohio, I taught in an Amish community with many cultural and language differences. I did not, however, experience the language and cultural differences, the family groups or many colorful dress customs seen in Woodburn and the customs that make Woodburn such a unique place to live and work. These differences and larger class sizes make our Woodburn schools a challenging environment in which to teach basic skills and nurture personal growth in all students.

The SMART Reading Program at local elementary schools provides students K-3 with an opportunity to choose and read age-appropriate books to a volunteer. Volunteers read with a student as little as two half-hour sessions a week. Students pick their own books to read and are given one to keep every other week. New books are donated by other nonprofits such as the Woodburn Lions. The love of reading is thus instilled and children have their own library to read and to be read to at home.

We have learned that children who are unable to read often become adults who cannot find work, or at least advance in the workplace; neither can they fully take part in society. Neither can they avoid the traps and pitfalls in life that literate people can avoid. Many children who fall behind their peers in reading will most probably be playing catch-up and fail to live up to their potential during later years.

If you are interested in helping a K-3 student achieve success and you want more information about the SMART program, contact Beth Faulhaber with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) at 503-982-5255, Patrick Paradis with Woodburn Lions at 503-981-4622 or Nancy Russell with SMART at 503-981-2825.

Lee Carol Howe


Why does it matter if this is Fiesta’s 50th or fourth?

To the editor:

I read with interest the letter to the editor by Miguel Salinas in last week’s Woodburn Independent (“Is this Woodburn’s Fiesta number 50 or number 4”). Mr. Salinas and others have over time subscribed far too much credit to me for the role I played in launching Fiesta Days in Woodburn in 1964. To set the record straight, here are the names of a few individuals who played roles in establishing Fiesta Days:?Harley Piper, Bob?Sawtelle, Bud Stalnaker, Bernabe Medina, Orrin Ostrom and Mary Garcia, all members of the Woodburn Downtown Merchants Association, an arm of the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce, as I recall. There are others, but this 82-year-old has trouble bringing them to mind.

The original Fiesta Days was intended to say thank you to the migrants who came to Marion County to plant, tend and harvest our fruit and vegetable crops. Most came from Texas and the Southwest, but increasingly, more came from Mexico.

The event, which included food booths, sidewalk sales and a very spirited parade that included a gang of “desperados” who were shooting their six-guns in the air and scaring, yet entertaining, young and old alike. The queen drew plenty of oohs and aahs from parade watchers.The day concluded with singing, dancing, entertainment and merriment in Library Park.

The event went off without a hitch and was considered highly successful. My memory tells me that the Merchants Association continued to sponsor Fiesta Days for three years. At that time, led by Adrienne Schooler, the Latin America Club of Woodburn took over sponsorship and held it until three years ago when it was again taken over by the chamber of commerce, with an assist from the city.

Salinas wonders if Fiesta Mexicana in 2013 celebrates its 50th year or fourth year??Who cares?

Go to Fiesta Days, Fiesta Mexicana, whatever you call it. It is, after all, a celebration of a diverse community. Locate the food booth serving beef cooked underground. Muy bueno!

Russ Baglien


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