by Anna Bird
The one thing I knew about Churchill before we were even assigned to the neighborhood was the school district. I knew there were at least two or three schools in the area, and from my experience with public schools, I knew they were my best bet in finding a worthwhile profile subject.
One of the school programs in Churchill is the Bailey Hill Instructional Center (BHIC), which is a program for students who have been expelled from, or were having trouble with the other schools in the district. These kids are considered at-risk and need extra attention in order to receive an adequate education. Knowing this, I assumed there were more than a couple interesting stories to be found. I was hoping to interview a student who might give me some insight into the mind of a troubled teen trying to make it against the odds, or a teacher who worked harder every day just to give these kids a fighting chance. However, the person I found seems to be a much less dramatic or dark character, and more of just your regular do-gooder.
Tim Whitley works with an energy and water education grant program called the EWEB Education Partnership. He is a coordinator of the Conservation and Renewable Energy program, and he works within the Eugene 4J School District, investing a lot of his time in the Churchill High School, Kennedy Middle School, McCornack Elementary, and Lane County Head Start. When I called BHIC, a man referred me to Whitley because of the work he does in the schools and said he would be a “very interesting guy to talk to.” I didn’t want to get my hopes up because I have had my heart broken by possible profile subjects before.
However, Whitley called me back the next day and said he would be more than happy to help. I was delighted and felt very lucky to have made contact with him so quickly. I hope that when I interview him next week he will live up to my (probably high) expectations of being the most interesting subject I could have found on the first try.