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‘Ellen Show’ invites Pendleton teacher

Kathryn Youngman, a Pendleton teacher in her third bout with cancer, has been invited to the Ellen DeGeneres show this week after a community campaign received national attention.
Kathy Aney

East Oregonian

Published on February 15, 2016 2:18PM

Last changed on February 15, 2016 8:37PM

Spanish language teacher Kathryn Youngman waves to the crowd gathered Monday alongside daughter Becky Youngman when she announced she will be attending a taping of “The Ellen Show” during an assembly at Pendleton High School.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

Spanish language teacher Kathryn Youngman waves to the crowd gathered Monday alongside daughter Becky Youngman when she announced she will be attending a taping of “The Ellen Show” during an assembly at Pendleton High School.

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Spanish language teacher Kathryn Youngman speaks during a town hall meeting with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden on Monday at Pendleton High School.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

Spanish language teacher Kathryn Youngman speaks during a town hall meeting with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden on Monday at Pendleton High School.

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Spanish language teacher Kathryn Youngman speaks during an assembly where she announced she will be attending a taping of “The Ellen Show” on Monday at Pendleton High School.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

Spanish language teacher Kathryn Youngman speaks during an assembly where she announced she will be attending a taping of “The Ellen Show” on Monday at Pendleton High School.

Buy this photo

Señora Youngman is headed to “The Ellen Degeneres Show.”

Students of Kathryn Youngman, a popular Pendleton High School Spanish teacher, started a Twitter campaign last month to get Youngman on “Ellen.” The teacher, who is fighting cancer for the third time, has expressed a desire to meet the comedienne because of DeGeneres’s positivity and how she ends the show by exhorting her audience to be kind. The #YoungmanOnEllen campaign trended and attracted thousands of tweets from students, professional athletes, politicians and others from around the world.

Youngman made the long-awaited announcement Monday morning in the school gym where students had gathered.

“On Thursday,” she told them, “I will be in the audience at the Ellen Show.”

A huge roar ricocheted off the walls of Warberg Court.

Youngman and several family members will fly out on Wednesday. The teacher doesn’t know if she’ll actually make it on camera, but Ellen staff members have requested numerous photos of Youngman.

“This is not about me, it’s about the message,” she told the students. “The message is to be thankful and grateful for what you have and not resentful about what you don’t have. If you are kind to others, that kindness will come back to you.”

She had just brushed away a tear or two after watching a video produced by her niece, Katie Monchalin. The video showed students holding up cards with adjectives describing the Spanish teacher such as positive, passionate, faithful and courageous. Other clips featured groups from around the world holding #YoungmanOnEllen signs from Mexico to Kansas City, Australia to Butte, Montana. From Disneyland, Holland, Tokyo and Finland. The images showed students, soldiers, athletic teams, police officers, fraternity and sorority members, firefighters and employees at banks, a post office, stores, libraries and myriad others.

Youngman had come to school Monday morning from the St. Anthony Hospital, where she had gone Sunday night with a low white blood cell count and a fever. The teacher rolled into school in a wheelchair and wearing a mask. She first appeared at Sen. Ron Wyden’s annual Umatilla County Town Hall then trekked over to the gym for the assembly.

Junior Emily Griffin, who introduced Youngman, said she feels a kinship partly because of her own fragile health condition, which involved a liver transplant. She said her fellow students often deal with anxiety, depression and doubts about self-worth.

“She has taught us that no matter what you struggle with, whether it’s health-related or not, to always have a positive attitude and always be kind,” Griffin said.

The students gave Youngman a high-decibel welcome as she walked slowly to the microphone. She looked out at the teenagers and her colleagues, basking in the roar and looking amazed.

“I am overwhelmed beyond words,” she said.

A family member said they don’t know exactly when the show will air, but guess it could be Friday or Monday.

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Contact Kathy Aney at kaney@eastoregonian.com or call 541-966-0810.





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