'We’re going to be rebuilding because there’s just a ton of memories associated with that place. I can’t imagine being anywhere else…'
Makinzy Elton-Wooley, sophomore, Phoenix High School
I was born in Medford but raised in Phoenix. I’m a cheerleader and a dancer, and I also really like music, like the violin and piano.
I had a friend come over that day and we were hanging out. As the day progressed, we saw smoke in the distance and we thought, ‘oh, it’s fine. It’s probably just a small fire. It will never reach here.’ As it got later in the day we started looking for things…like if we were supposed to be evacuated. Then it was around 5, and a police officer drove through and told us, ‘You have only a couple of minutes, you should be leaving now.’
We threw a couple of things in the trailer and truck. For me it was just the things that were immediately most important to me. Like my cheer stuff. It’s silly, but I grabbed my favorite stuffed animal that I had bought a couple of months before. I grabbed like two electronics ‘cause they were very expensive. My grandpa was telling us, ‘hurry up, we need to go, just leave the stuff.’ Then we hooked up the trailer and went to my great-grandma’s house for the night.
Thinking back, I wish I would have grabbed things that I’ve had since like 3 that I don’t have any more. We’ve gone back twice. We knew some places had made it and some didn’t, it was a bit hit and miss. Um. So yeah, that was not fun. I cried a lot.
My school is amazing. We have a lot of really good teachers and staff members who are always trying their best to be helpful. If you are struggling, they go out of their way to be helpful. The same with our community. ‘Cause it’s such a small town. We know everyone that lives…well, lived, within three blocks of us.
I love everybody that lives there. We’re going to be rebuilding because there’s just a ton of memories associated with that place. I can’t imagine being anywhere else in a new place that doesn’t have all those memories.
OSBA is telling personal stories of hope and perseverance from the state’s three hardest-hit districts: Phoenix-Talent, McKenzie and Santiam Canyon. These “Rising from the Ashes” stories, told in images and words, will show where support is needed most to help Oregon students and their families rebuild. OSBA has established a Wildfire Resources page that includes links to donate to the hardest-hit communities: Phoenix-Talent; McKenzie; and Santiam Canyon.