- MONDAY POST - Helena, Former 'Outside' Student at Chemeketa, Redirected by Inside-Out Experience

Image My experiences in my first Inside Out class held by Chemeketa Community College in Salem at the Oregon State Penitentiary were dynamic; they forever changed my life. I came into the program as a curious student while also being a bit afraid of what I would encounter on the "inside." What I came to learn is that my preconceived assumptions and fears proved to melt away as the class unfolded. The level of respect and passion for learning was contagious. I had never been much of a slacker in my studies, always striving for the best grade possible and staying on top of my assignments. The fellow classmates that consisted of the "inside" portion of the class came to each class prepared and ready to engage in intelligent dialogue about the subject at hand. I was impressed and on fire! These students had raised the bar. They made me strive to work even harder while looking forward to each week’s interactions in class. These guys wanted to be there, had earned and fought to be there, and were very committed to earning their degrees and or pursuing personal interests. In my prior years as a Chemeketa student I had been in many classrooms where a good portion of the students were not prepared and definitely not engaged in academics. There were the texters, the sleepers, as well as the flakes. Student interaction in these classes was often forced and lacking of substance. The level of drive exhibited by the "inside" portion of our classes held at OSP was not only contagious but inspiring. I changed my career to follow a path into earning my Master's Degree in Liberal Arts with all intentions of becoming an Inside Out teacher within the prisons here in Marion County.

- Helena

Former ‘Outside’ Student

Chemeketa Community College