COOS BAY — The Marshfield High School’s Heritage Hall Committee honored two new Marshfield graduates Thursday morning at its annual esteemed alumnus celebration in Coos Bay.
This year, the committee selected television writer and producer Matthew Partney and State Representative Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay) to celebrate their achievements and talk with students interested in pursuing similar career paths.
Partney, who graduated from Marshfield in 1996, attended the University of Oregon where he studied journalism and later became a writer and producer for a number of popular television shows including “CSI: Miami,” “Teen Wolf” and “The Night Shift.”
He advised students at Thursday’s celebration who may feel stuck in their creative process to pull from their past experiences and write what they know. He also encouraged students to harness the power of modern technology and video-sharing platforms to get their videos and stories out.
“I was reminded today that I am shaping minds and opening people’s eyes to stories and characters they didn’t even know existed,” said Partney. “This was a great opportunity and the best part was being able to speak to the students which is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
McKeown, who graduated from Marshfield in 1970, was also in attendance Thursday and spoke to students about seizing and embracing opportunities as they come as she explained she had done throughout much of her career.
“What I did was just care about a community and when opportunities presented themselves I took advantage of them,” said McKeown. “I think part of my message is when a door opens don’t be afraid to walk through it.”
In her presentation, McKeown talked a bit about her time serving on the Coos Bay School Board, the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay and her experience in the Oregon House of Representatives.
“I know a lot of people who everyday work very hard in this community and do wonderful work,” said McKeown. “I’m one of many so to be chosen for this event it’s truly an honor. My grandmother, parents, sister and husband all attended Marshfield so with having deep roots here it makes me very proud.”
Heritage Hall committee member Mary Paczesniak said each year the board strives to select alumni that it feels best fits its theme which is “To honor the past and inspire the future.”
“We are trying to inspire kids and make them understand although we are in small rural community that it doesn’t hold you back and you can still achieve a lot,” said Paczesniak. “Like Matt was saying, ‘when one door closes you try to open another one’ it doesn’t matter where you come from to just keep going.”