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Falls City Program Gets Nod

Merkley honors after-school education for enrichment opportunities

Sen. Jeff Merkley, left, talks about Faces before present director Amy Houghtaling with a flag Friday in Falls City.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, left, talks about Faces before present director Amy Houghtaling with a flag Friday in Falls City. Photo by Jolene Guzman.

FALLS CITY — Education seemed to be the theme during Sen. Jeff Merkley’s town hall meeting in Falls City on Friday.

He was asked questions about and discussed a number of topics, including economic development, green energy, retirement savings plans and health care.

Throughout the gathering, the conversation had a way of circling back to education, touching on the topics of making college affordable or investing in high school and community college career and technical education programs.

So it seemed fitting that Merkley (D-Ore.) would recognize the effort of a Falls City school program working to show students career and college choices around the state.

At Friday’s meeting, Merkley presented a U.S. flag that had flown over the Washington D.C. Capitol to Family Academic Community and Enrichment for Success (Faces) director Amy Houghtaling.

Faces is the school district’s after-school program, offering enrichment classes, homework help and field trips when school isn’t in session on Fridays.

Faces

• Family Academic Community and Enrichment for Success is the Falls City’s after-school program that offers classes, homework help and field trips.

• Faces uses field trips, which are taken on Fridays when school isn’t in session, as a chance to show students real-life jobs. Students also visit colleges on Fridays.

• Among the programs offered include roller coaster physics and geocaching.

Merkley listed a number of program highlights, such as a class called “roller coaster physics,” geocaching, and those “Friday field trips,” as reasons for recognizing the program.

Faces uses field trips not only as educational experiences, but as a chance to show students real-life jobs in a fun way.

Faces has taken students on a tour of a hospital, had them make their own pizzas to see what food service is like, and to a movie while learning about what it takes to run a theater.

“It’s a different way to expose our students to things outside Falls City,” Houghtaling said.

Students also visit colleges on Fridays, which Merkley made particular note of.

“They are getting kids out to see campuses,” he said. “That matters.”

Houghtaling said she was surprised to get the phone call from Merkley’s office saying Faces would be recognized.

She said Merkley’s staff members told her he likes to highlight an organization that benefits its community at every stop he makes in Oregon.

Houghtaling said she appreciated the honor and added:

“It is definitely a community effort. We have lots of community support.”

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