A6 • Friday, February 14, 2020 | Seaside Signal | SeasideSignal.com SignalViewpoints Reaching out to homeless students SEEN FROM SEASIDE R.J. MARX T he Seaside School District was among the volunteers, businesses and non- proﬁ ts at Project Homeless Connect on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center. Seaside High School assistant principal Jason Boyd and staff from the school district participated in outreach to the county’s homeless population, particu- larly families with school-age children. We spoke with Boyd about the district’s goals and mission. Q: What role is the school district play- ing here today? Boyd: We’re working with all the schools in Clatsop County trying to work with the state of Oregon. We have to cre- ate a community improvement plan every year to show what we’re doing to reach out especially to the underserved portions of the population. How we can best help the popu- lation that is here today is our goal. Q: How is homelessness deﬁ ned by the district? Boyd: Homeless as deﬁ ned through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal program. It’s called Title X. Q: Do you keep track of homeless students? Boyd: In our district we have roughly 72. Q: Out of how many? Boyd: Seventy-two out of 1,600 in the district. Q: That seems high! Boyd: That’s very high. And those are kids that we know of. We have students that range from living in a car to couch-surﬁ ng, living with a fam- ily for a few weeks. Then something hap- pens and they go to another family, and live with them for awhile, then another family. I worked with a student who had been with 14 different schools before their ﬁ rst year in high school. Q: How do you work with other agencies to meet the needs of homeless students? Boyd: Being here today is hopefully helping us to make some connections with some folks to see what barriers we can help remove. Our big thing is working with other school districts. How can we best serve this population, our homeless population? How can we best help them so that those kids can access the best education on a regular basis. ‘HARD ENOUGH’ High school is hard enough, but trying to do high school and ﬁ guring out where your next meal is going to come from makes it really diﬃ cult. Jason Boyd R.J. Marx Seaside’s Shelby Treick, Trevor Cave and Jason Boyd, with Craig Hoppes, Astoria school superintendent. Q: How do homeless kids cope with all the challenges? Boyd: High school is hard enough, but trying to do high school and ﬁ guring out where your next meal is going to come from makes it really difﬁ cult. Homeless kids lose some of the opportunities we want kids to have. It’s really hard for (homeless) students to see a path to graduation. “Do I have the stamina to deal with the roadblocks and the frustrations that are going to be in my way to get to that goal?” Q: Can you point to success stories? Boyd: We had a student living classiﬁ ed as homeless, mom not in the picture, dad not in the picture. As a freshman and soph- omore, that particular student was a real struggle to deal with in the regular setting. He didn’t like rules. (He thought) every adult was out to get him. Through working and trying to create a relationship, he turned it around. He graduated high school. He went to community college and graduated, and went on to go to an optometry school. Q: Success is within the reach of anyone. Boyd: It is. It’s just how we can remove the barriers so they can see it too. Every human at some point ﬁ gures out,“I don’t want this anymore now I’m focused on get- ting there.” We usually equate that with pas- sion. How do we get the kids to ﬁ nd their passion so they’ll go and work extra hard to do that? We can get to those points if we can remove some of the barriers that are there. And sometimes they’re perceived barriers. Q: What role do parents play? Boyd: (As a parent) your memories of school might be really negative. If you only know school was not successful for you, it’s hard to take your child and really sup- port him on a path. It takes a lot of think- ing about it as a parent to create that oppor- tunity to support your child with what they need to go through. Q: At what point does the district intervene? Boyd: A lot of that comes has to do with that transition eighth grade to freshman year. Part of the district’s strategic plan is improving graduation rates. The Univer- sity of Chicago has done a big study over the years. And the one thing that they found, among data that really works, is if freshmen kids are on track to graduate at the end of their freshman year, they’re exponentially more likely to graduate. You’ve got to have academic success that freshman year. Really building with our population to make that freshman year academically focused. That’s a very critical period. We’ll do a home visit before school even starts. Just an introduction, “Hey, I’m Jason, if you need me for anything, just give a call.” Q: What about student cliques and how kids interact with each other? Boyd: We deﬁ nitely have that demo- graphic: kids driving brand-new cars to school, and then we have kids who have been wearing the same jeans and hoodie sweatshirts for the past month. Q: How do you bring those kids together? Boyd: Well, a lot of that has to do with removing ﬁ nancial barriers. Let’s say we have a sporting event. We get all kids to come to the sporting event. If we have a dance, we’re going to remove that ﬁ nancial barrier. Q: Cinderella’s Closet? Boyd: Cinderella’s Closet is a great example. For homecoming this year, we took seven or eight kids up there, and they got dresses and shoes, they were all ready to go. They weren’t going to be able to afford that stuff or to be able to have that experience. Having those positive experiences shows the world, the school cares about you, so let’s give it another try. We know you’ve been frustrated, but let’s give it another try. A trip to the mausoleum, and the door opens VIEW FROM THE PORCH EVE MARX I thought I’d let a little time lapse before I shared this tale. It’s a strange tale to be sure, and I promise 100% true. It happened the ﬁ rst weekend in Decem- ber. I was spending time with new friends. They’re twins, their names both start with an “N” and they live in Gearhart. In the interest of privacy given the story I’m about to share, I’ll keep their actual names out of it. Some of you may know them anyway as they’re quite memorable, even famous. They’ve hailed for a long time from around these parts. I’ve heard they’ve painted the interiors of half or more of the homes in the south county. The twins picked me up just after 1 p.m. and we headed out on Highway 26, our destination the horse farm where one of the twin’s daughter and her husband live. The young folks have three horses and are improving their property. They recently converted an outbuilding to a luxurious sta- ble, and have installed a lot of fence. Next to come is a round pen. It’s been awhile since I’ve been around horses, so this was a major treat. On the drive home, the twins casually asked if I was up for an adventure. I said, sure, why not, and we traveled on Highway 101 through Seaside and past Gearhart until we got to the Ocean View cemetery in War- renton. On the way, the twins told me that once upon a time a long time ago they were employed at the cemetery as groundskeep- ers and gravediggers. The Ocean View cemetery is part of Astoria’s parks department. It opened in 1898. It’s vast, encompassing 100 acres, only half of it currently developed. There are 16,000 internments at the cemetery, many with lake views. If you like, you can make arrangements for it to be your ﬁ nal PUBLISHER EDITOR Kari Borgen R.J. Marx Eve Marx The door was locked and then it opened. Of course we went in. resting place. My head was on a swivel as we pulled inside the gates. For a graveyard, it’s pretty awesome. The twins said they hadn’t set foot on the property in awhile, but they had memories galore. We parked and walked, and moved the car and parked and walked again. The day was relatively mild and the twins were excited to visit a bunch of graves. They remembered people they loved and graves they dug and pointed out to me special things. They showed me an area dedicated to infant graves. That was sad. We got back in the car and drove around some more. “Is that the mausoleum?” I said as an imposing stone ediﬁ ce hove into view. The mausoleum, which is technically known as the Ocean View Abbey, was established by the Portland Mausoleum Company in 1916. It cost $30,000 at the CIRCULATION MANAGER Jeremy Feldman ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Sarah Silver- Tecza MULTIMEDIA ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE Kim McCaw PRODUCTION MANAGER CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John D. Bruijn Skyler Archibald Darren Gooch Joshua Heineman Rain Jordan Katherine Lacaze Eve Marx Esther Moberg SYSTEMS MANAGER Carl Earl time to build. It was designed by Ellis F. Lawrence, who was the designer of every building erected on the University of Ore- gon campus between 1916 and 1939. The Abbey is a formidable structure, but has been vulnerable to both the elements and vandals over the years. “Hey, look at this,” I said to the twins as I stood in front of the monolithic Abbey doors. “You can see where someone tried breaking in.” As I was talking, I was ﬁ d- dling with the front door, jiggling the giant handle. It was most deﬁ nitely locked. One of the twins stood beside me and examined a place where it appeared the door was crow-barred. “It’s locked, right?” she said. “Absolutely,” I replied, giving the handle another jiggle. To my surprise and quite honestly, hor- ror, the door swung open at my touch. Of course we went inside. The interior of the mausoleum was cold, very cold, but that didn’t stop the twins from their exploration. They spent the next 15 minutes reading and discussing every name carved in granite. Most of the dates of the entombed were before 1950. I noticed while we were inside there was no cell service. Later, after we were safely in the twins’ car, I thought how we might have been stuck inside a tomb. That door swung open, but it just as easily have swung shut. When I shut it as we were leaving, it deﬁ nitely locked. “That door was locked and then it opened,” I said to the twins. They agreed that is what happened. “Do you think the dead are bored and thought it would be funny to open the door and invite us in? I get the feeling they don’t get many visitors,” I said. The twins laughed. Seaside Signal Letter policy Subscriptions The Seaside Signal is published every other week by EO Media Group, 1555 N. Roosevelt, Seaside, OR 97138. 503-738-5561 seasidesignal.com Copyright © 2020 Seaside Signal. Nothing can be reprinted or copied without consent of the owners. The Seaside Signal welcomes letters to the editor. The deadline is noon Monday prior to publication. Letters must be 400 words or less and must be signed by the author and include a phone number for veriﬁ cation. We also request that submissions be limited to one letter per month. Send to 1555 N. Roosevelt Drive, Seaside, OR 97138, drop them oﬀ at 1555 N. 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