An Invitation to the Oakridge Community

Oakridge High School invites the Oakridge Community to join us in an Independent Study of the American Civil Rights Movement

Two foreign exchange students – Helmi Kipelainen (Finland) and Nathalie Pamin (Germany) are enrolled in Mr. Wood’s first hour Oakridge High School Senior Current Issues class.  When others work on college scholarships (a course concentration) Helmi and Nathalie are engaged in a guided Independent study of the American Civil Rights Movement.  We are using the book “Let the Trumpet Sound” by Stephan B. Oates as our text and Eyes on the Prize, a six-part video series, as supplemental material.   Our (50 to 75 page) readings are steered by three focus questions that also base bi-monthly discussions.   Our study will run approximately three months. The goal is for Helmi and Nathalie to leave Oakridge with a thorough understanding of the movement.

Other students have hopped on board this Civil Rights study via the Internet for extra credit.  Senior Jessica Carrier has joined our first hour bi-weekly discussions and nineteen juniors are following us on-line through the Internet based site Google docs.  I have purchased each of the students a copy of the Oates book.  All have access to Eyes on the Prize through YouTube.  Student extra credit assessment will be based on the quality of their online Google docs posts, however they are also welcomed to join us in the first hour discussions.  This intense Civil Rights study will provide a platform for next Spring’s bi-annual trip for Oakridge students to the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, Alabama.

Our proposal to the Oakridge Community – we welcome anybody in the Oakridge Community to join us in this study.  The Oates’ book is a wonderful read.  If you’d like to follow along, view our postings, even post with us, we encourage you to do so.  If you’d like to participate in our bi-weekly roundtable discussions, we welcome you in the classroom every other Friday at 8:00 AM.  If you are interested in either option, go online or to Barnes and Nobles and purchase “Let the Trumpet Sound,” or stop by we have some extra copies, get yourself a g-mail account, send Mr. Wood an email (  We will put you on our Google docs list.

Many urban areas in the United States participate in summer shared reading programs;  Kalamazoo, Boston, Chicago among others.  In each, the city proposes a particular book(s), schedules a calendar guideline for chapter completion and encourages the entire community to read along in unison.  The hope is that the exercise stirs conversation between community members on shared issues inspired through reading.  We hope that our study of the Civil Rights movement through the book “Let the Trumpet Sound” coupled with an invitation to the community, will encourage such dialogue.

If you think this is something that would interest you, please join us.  We, myself and some fine young Oakridge juniors and seniors, hope to hear from the Oakridge community, and that you choose to collaborate with us on this unique and ground-breaking opportunity.

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Filed under 1 Senior Current Issues, 2 Government, 3 Economics, Uncategorized, X MLK 2011

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