- Crater High School
RETIRED CRATER TEACHER REMAINS ACTIVE
Ever since the beginning of the Crater Foundation some 20 years ago, Crater graduates have been featured in the Alumni Newsletter that comes out three times a year. While this tradition will continue, after numerous requests, we begin a new feature recognizing teachers who have retired from School District #6.
The first teacher to be so honored is much loved and respected retired Crater teacher, Vince Wixon, who has honored as the Oregon Teacher of the Year for 1987-88. Vince spent 22 years at Crater as a mainstay of the English department. He taught a variety of courses over those 22 years including Advanced Placement Literature and Writing, Creative Writing and a number of communications classes. Outside of class he was the advisor for a number of Crater organizations, specifically, Brain Bowl, Academic Scavenger Hunt and the Literary Magazine, Inside/Out. He initiated the International Writers Series, a program that brought well-known writers to Crater and other Rogue Valley Schools. His warm, genial personality, wide variety of ties and the academic rigor of his classes meant that his classes always filled early.
Mr. Wixon did not take the “easy chair” approach to retirement in 2000. His long-time love for poetry prompted the writing of two books of poems, The Square Grove (Traprock books, 2006) and Blue Moon (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2010). He is a board member of the Chautauqua Poets and Writers which brings nationally known writers to southern Oregon and with wife, Patricia, has enjoyed traveling to Greece, Spain, Prague and the American Southwest. In addition to these activities, he continues to work in Oregon poet, William Stafford’s literary archive in Portland, an endeavor he started while still teaching at Crater. He is the Poetry Editor of the Jefferson Monthly, the members’ magazine of the Jefferson Public Radio Listeners’ Guide. If this is not enough activity, he is actively involved in the lives of six stepchildren and their spouses plus 14 grandchildren.
Reflecting on his experience at Crater High School and School District #6, Vince relates, “What I found at District #6 was an enlightened school and district administration, who were committed to the students, to art and writing and to good teaching.” He fondly remembers a time at Crater when art was emphasized throughout the curriculum, supported by a National Urban Arts grant, and “Jock Rock” built by students still stands as a result of all teaching areas focusing on the arts. Vince was instrumental in developing the All School Writing Project where “Everyone in school wrote an essay in answer to a question. All writings were read and scored by teachers from all departments of the school who were trained to read holistically—an extremely collaborative event.”
Thinking back on classes that he taught while at Crater he remembers, “I enjoyed teaching AP English and Creative Writing most of all. I remember my last Creative Writing Class, second semester 2000, as the best Creative Writing class of all my years at Crater – great way to go out.”
While Vince Wixon, as a former writing teacher, might say it was trite, we can’t help but say he was an educator who made a difference and we applaud him for that.