Educational Narratives

Epiphany on the Range
"Epiphany on the Range" is about a unique program at Whitman College that puts students face to face with public lands issues in the West. Calling themselves the "Westies," the students and their professor spend the entire semester on the road, traveling 8,000 miles through 12 western states, and meeting with more than 70 people with various perspectives on issues affecting public lands. They carry a full course load and post writings about their experiences on a website maintained from their mobile classroom...a converted horse trailer with solar panels and a satellite dish on the roof.

The group is totally self-sufficient, camping out and cooking for themselves the entire three months. They study issues such as water, development, mining, politics and the environment. In "Epiphany on the Range," the students focus on public lands cattle grazing as they meet with anti-ranching activist Jon Marvel and family ranchers Steve and Robin Boies.

Deep West Radio is produced by the Western Folklife Center's Hal Cannon and Taki Telonidis, and made possible by the generous support of the R. Harold Burton Foundation and the George S. & Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.


John A. Lomax, impressario and folklorist

Spy Hop: Making Music, Changing Lives
The teenagers come to make music, setting their personal story to verse and beat, and in some cases finding a brief respite from an otherwise confusing and even dangerous life. And its all free.

The teenagers are taking part in what's called the Open Mic program, one of the many offerings at Spy Hop. Matt Mateus founded Open Mic, and he mentors kids as they craft their songs - everything from rap to jazz to acoustic. Their backgrounds are equally diverse: everything from East African refugees, to kids with disabilities, to suburban kids aspiring for a career in the music business. 

Jeremy Johnson in his music studio at the Boys and Girls Club of South Valley in Salt Lake City.

Jeremy Johnson in his music studio at the Boys and Girls Club of South Valley in Salt Lake City.

Saquan Smith recording a song at a Spy Hop Open Mic session

Saquan Smith recording a song at a Spy Hop Open Mic session

Many of the songs are powerful, and often represent a breakthrough emotionally as well as musically. The Western Folklife Center's Taki Telonidis reports on this transformational program that has, for the past six years, allowed young mostly at-risk youth to find their voice and set it to music..

Spy Hop is an arts organization whose motto is "Empowering youth through multi-media," teaching them film, photography, web and audio skills. Visit the Spy Hop website and learn more. Listen to complete songs featured in our story:


Supaman, Photo: Brook More

One-Room School
Though most one-room schools have gone the way of the slide rule, they remain vital in tiny rural communities like Jiggs, Nevada, where we spent a day with the students and teacher at the Mound Valley School.


Paralympian Andy Parr with Coach and Guide, David Markey

Paralympian Andy Parr with Coach and Guide, David Markey

Paralympic Skier
We train with a sight-impaired downhill skier who’s preparing for the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.