Years Five, Six and Beyond… Fishtrap Story Lab

In short, Wallowa County’s students are graduating or entering their school years with a storytelling skill set for the digital age.

In length: September. Students are back in school for all three school districts of Wallowa County’s 6,500 person population. I meet my new next door neighbors and one of them is reading at a Fishtrap Fireside in a few weeks. I stop into Farmer’s Insurance and another person begins chatting me up about the new “pads” Enterprise School is getting, an off-shoot from Fishtrap Story Lab’s impact in the classrooms. While this is only the beginning of year four, the groundwork has been laid for a successful program that reaches beyond the scope of just Fishtrap.

Thanks to administrative meetings with school administrators last spring during year 3, Fishtrap Story Lab continues to grow and is in even more classrooms than before. Instead of reaching 360 students a school year, in years 5 and 6 and beyond, Fishtrap Story Lab is involved in almost every student’s school year, whether through showcases, collaborations with other organizations like WREN, The Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, Wallowology, Rotary, 4-H, or the impactful and gracious classroom time given by teachers.

In the future, not only is Fishtrap Story Lab being integrated into other Fishtrap programs, but other community programs.

Ex. 1: For Chief Joseph Days, one of the Rodeo Queens decides to create a mini documentary on dressage riding. She applies everything she has learned from story boarding to writing to shooting photos, capturing video, and sound, edits down the material into a video that ends up being shown all across Eastern Oregon at other rodeo events.

Ex: 2: For Mr. Baird’s biology class, another student documents their Senior trip down the Snake River and posts it on YouTube catching the attention of a hundred thousand viewers which contributes to a scholarship for college at a film/media school.

And just as Fishtrap’s arts education strengthens Wallowa County, so does the Josephy’s, etc. While Wallowa County’s populous is small, the arts education opportunities are limitless. Collaborations happen often. By this time several students have excelled over the course of many years within Fishtrap Story Lab’s programming and have headed off to college and/or are looking at internships to match their passion for telling stories with words, photography, stop-motion, and digital stories. They are confident and comfortable with editing, working with iMovie, and have a portfolio of finished projects they can use to land internships, etc. Meanwhile, Fishtrap Story Lab’s curriculum is dynamic and fantastic as its educators which implement it.

For example, this fall, artist and educator, MOsley WOtta presented at Wallowa School this fall thanks to a partnership between OCF Studio to Schools and Oregon Humanities. The assembly drew nearly 100 kids from both Wallowa and the Alternative school. Most education and cultural events don’t make it down to the tiny town of Wallowa so, teachers and administrators were grateful for the opportunity and the kids really enjoyed it. Wallowa School Superintendent, David Howe had this to say following Mr. WOtta’s presentation.

I can’t tell you how much we appreciated you making this happen for Wallowa. The positive comments have been overwhelming most saying that this was the best assembly that we have ever had. Several students have asked again for the speakers name so that they could go on-line to access some of his material.  Jason (MOsley WOtta) reached a lot of our students.”

Between years 3 and 4 the decision was made to begin bringing in more educators for FIshtrap Story Lab and now Fishtrap’s educators are able to be in multiple classrooms at once, collaborate on bigger projects and cover more ground with more flexibility. Students are exposed to multiple ways of teaching and are learning even more. In this way Fishtrap Story Lab becomes a well-known and well-received program in the overall community as each talented educator hits the ground running, bringing their unique styles and talents to different age groups.

All along the way Fishtrap Story Lab helps bolster arts education in Wallowa County with its support and integrity, authenticity and impact with students of all ages.