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Kaleigh Henderson
In seventh grade, she wanted to be a teens’ fantasy author. She wanted to create new worlds and to escape the apocalypse around her that everyone else ignored. Kaleigh Henderson, now a junior, had never written anything nonfiction apart from school essays on books or science projects. Essays which she loathed with every fiber of her existence. She declared that she would never write nonfiction. Never. Not in a million years.

But just a few months later, Henderson learned of the Oregon Blue Book Student Essay Contest.

“It took me all of thirty minutes. I wrote it up, gave it to my grandma to edit, revised it once, and mailed it in,” Henderson said. “I never expected to see it again.”

But she did see it again. Her essay, which received an Honorable Mention, was published in the 2015 Oregon Blue Book. She won an all-expenses-paid trip to Salem, where she met the governor, sat in on a meeting of the Oregon legislature, and did a book signing.

“That was my first taste of journalism,” Henderson said, “and I was hooked.”

In the summer before freshman year, she became a member of the West Linn Tidings’ Student Writer’s Advisory Group, and in sophomore year was promoted to student columnist. Also in sophomore year, she became a student writer for the West Linn Living Magazine. In junior year, she joined the staff of West Linn High School’s Amplifier.

“Back then, I tried to escape my world,” Henderson said. “I tried to pretend that there weren’t problems in the world. Well, there are problems. Lots of them. And if I can educate just one person, expose them to what they might not otherwise have seen, then I will have done my duty to the world.”

Kaleigh Henderson, Current Events Editor

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