Star News » Education http://erstarnews.com The Star News covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for Elk River, Otsego, Rogers and Zimmerman, Minnesota and their surrounding areas. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 13:14:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Refuge seeks funds for nature education http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/27/refuge-seeks-funds-for-nature-education/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/27/refuge-seeks-funds-for-nature-education/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:35:22 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=792809 The Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is kicking off a campaign to support nature education.
Submitted photo The Oak Savanna Learning Center is under construction at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Zimmerman. A fund drive is underway to furnish the building.
Submitted photo
The Oak Savanna Learning Center is under construction at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Zimmerman. A fund drive is underway to furnish the building.

The Friends is a nonprofit that supports education programs and conservation efforts of the refuge, which is located near Zimmerman. The group will announce the campaign at a free event open to the public. The Be Wild Show-and-Tell à la Mode will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, at the refuge. The specific location is Schoolhouse Road, south side of Sherburne County Road 9, 5.5 miles west of Highway 169, or 2 miles east of Sherburne County Road 5. Look for signs.

The campaign seeks $250,000 to furnish the refuge’s Oak Savanna Learning Center, which is under construction, and provide outside learning spaces nearby. Visitors will have a chance to see how construction is progressing and ask questions about the project. A variety of kid-friendly activities will be offered, and everyone will be invited to enjoy make-your-own sundaes.

The Friends group is nearly halfway to its goal; these early donors will also be recognized at the event.

For more information about the campaign and this event, see the Friends of Sherburne Facebook page, or go to www.ExploreSherburne.org. ]]> http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/27/refuge-seeks-funds-for-nature-education/feed/ 0 Ladies and gentlemen, start your 2015-16 planning http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/26/ladies-and-gentlemen-start-your-2015-16-planning/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/26/ladies-and-gentlemen-start-your-2015-16-planning/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:34:58 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=792733 Submitted by District 728

Look inside the July 25, 2015 edition of the Star News for your 2015-16 Elk River Area School District calendar. It’s inserted into the paper or click here for an electronic version:

http://www.elkriver.k12.mn.us/files/filesystem/ISD728-CALENDAR-15-16-WEB.pdf

ISD728-CALENDAR-15-16

 

 

 

 

 
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Mainstreams: 728 Cadets ‘Rise’ Continues http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/22/mainstreams-728-cadets-rise-continues/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/22/mainstreams-728-cadets-rise-continues/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:30:23 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=792364 Special to the Star News

The 728 Cadets have enjoyed another spectacular marching season, knocking off two of their goals by retiring two grand champion awards.

This feat is achieved by earning Grand Champion awards for three consecutive years.

The 728 Cadets perform “Rise” at the Vikingland Band Festival in Alexandria.
The 728 Cadets perform “Rise” at the Vikingland Band Festival in Alexandria.

The marching band, composed of students from Elk River, Rogers and Zimmerman middle and high schools as well as Spectrum High School, retired a traveling flag from the Vikingland Band Festival in Alexandria and the Owat-onia trophy from the Henry Wenger and Waconia Band Festivals.

In total this season, the Cadets have earned 42 awards, including 15 awards for Grand Champion and First Place, nine for Best Color Guard, eight for Best Drumline, three for Best Winds, two for Best Drum Major, one for Best Marching and three for People’s Choice.

Cindy Martin, a member of the 728 Cadets marching band board of directors, credits the band members’ hard work and dedication.

Over the past month and a half, the Cadets have competed in parades across the state of Minnesota, and in St. Louis, Missouri, marching in the Veiled Prophet Parade on July Fourth.

728 Cadets ‘Rise’ to the occasion

Photo by Cindy Martin  The 728 Cadets received honors at the Vikingland Band Festival: first place and caption awards for Best Drumline and Best Color Guard in Class AAAA, along with overall Grand Champion and People’s Choice for the festival.
Photo by Cindy Martin
The 728 Cadets received honors at the Vikingland Band Festival: first place and caption awards for Best Drumline and Best Color Guard in Class AAAA, along with overall Grand Champion and People’s Choice for the festival.

The Cadet’s show, “Rise,” tells the story of the phoenix, a fiery bird from ancient mythology. The phoenix obtains new life by rising from the ashes of its predecessor in a constant cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

The show’s first movement includes the music “Dies Irae,” from “Requiem” by Giuseppe Verdi, and depicts the phoenix in the final moments of its life, collapsing in flame and losing its wings.

During the second movement, the band performs an arrangement of “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber and portrays mourning the phoenix’s death. The final movement illustrates the triumphant rise of the phoenix from the ashes with “Festive Overture” by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Cadets’ co-directors, Michael Reed and Joe Jaeger, sought to challenge musicians with this repertoire, marrying the demanding music with bold visual elements and artistic movement, including a colorful representation of the phoenix weaving through the performance.

Photo by Cindy Martin  The 728 Cadets perform in Monticello’s RiverFest Parade.
Photo by Cindy Martin
The 728 Cadets perform in Monticello’s RiverFest Parade.

The Cadets’ first major success came on June 20, when competing in the Harry Wenger Band Festival in Owatonna and the Lake Waconia Band festival in Waconia. In the morning, at the Owatonna festival, the Cadets won many caption awards, as well as the People’s Choice Award, but came in third overall.

That evening, the Cadets rallied at the Waconia festival, earning first place in their class, winning all caption awards, and received the day’s second People’s Choice award.

With the Waconia victory, the Cadets achieved the highest combined score of the two festivals that day, taking home the prestigious Owat-onia Award and earning the right to retire the traveling trophy and keep it.

The Cadets traveled June 28 to Alexandria, home of the Vikingland Band Festival, one of the largest street marching band competitions in the Midwest. They received first place in Class AAAA and were awarded Grand Champion of the festival for the third year in a row; giving the honor of retiring both the AAAA class flag and the festival’s Grand Champion flag.

Photo by Cindy Martin  The 728 Cadets’ performance in Sauk Rapids’ Rapid River Days Parade.
Photo by Cindy Martin
The 728 Cadets’ performance in Sauk Rapids’ Rapid River Days Parade.

The Cadets are the fourth band in Vikingland Band Festival’s 30-year history to retire the Grand Champion flag. Other bands that have retired the flag are Litchfield (1989), Irondale (1993, 1996) and Waconia (2006).

“The Cadets are known for bringing a conceptual production to life on the streets and holding themselves to a high performance standard,” Martin said.

In a recent article in the St. Cloud Times, Tom Haugen of Tri-State Judges Association said about Minnesota, “It is the only state in the United States that has a competitive marching parade program.” Assistant judge, Lane Powell, added: “People don’t get that this is truly unique to Minnesota. … They (bands) do shows in the street. You go to Iowa, this won’t happen; they just do a straight traditional march through.”

When the Cadets recently traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, and marched in the Veiled Prophet Parade on Independence Day, the parade attendees were captivated by the Cadets’ performance on the streets.

Reed summarized their show, saying: “The 728 Cadets have always been a crowd favorite. We built upon our past successes and created a challenging production for all members and still provided a show that was entertaining, but had a real message at the same time.

“By providing a challenging repertoire and visual theme, we brought to life a memorable experience for our members and the fans on the streets where we marched.”

About the Cadets

The 728 Cadets Marching Band is made up of 93 students from District 728 schools, including Elk River, Rogers and Zimmerman middle and high schools and Spectrum High School.

“In addition to the educational value they receive from their instructors, the students enjoy the excitement their performances bring to events as well as the relationships they build through meeting other students across the school district and from other bands,” Martin said.

In fact, during a rain delay during this year’s Rosefest Parade, the Cadets enjoyed an impromptu student-led jam session with the St. Michael-Albertville and Richfield marching bands.

“The camaraderie between schools made a lasting impression on the Cadets,” Martin said.

This season’s staff consists of Mike Reed and Joe Jaeger (head directors, music and percussion instructors, respectively), Keith Saxton (music instructor), Jonathan Su and Carrie Snyder (color guard instructors), Jake Esterberg, Roberto Munoz, Joey Wattenhofer, Mark Walentiny, Matt Brisbin, Nick Campbell and Hannah Maher (techs). The music arrangements as well as band drill were created by Reed and Jaeger.

The 728 Cadets performance schedule:

•July 18: Sherburne County Fair, Main Street in Elk River

•July 25: Wabasha Parade

•Aug. 1: Elk River Relay for Life, Elk River High School track

•Aug. 29: Minnesota State Fair ]]> http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/22/mainstreams-728-cadets-rise-continues/feed/ 0 Elk River Area School Board breaks ground on RHS expansion http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/07/elk-river-area-school-board-breaks-ground-on-rhs-expansion/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/07/07/elk-river-area-school-board-breaks-ground-on-rhs-expansion/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 03:08:13 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=791605 Next up for the school district will be winter construction of auditorium

by Aaron Brom

ECM Sun Newspapers

A host of community officials participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Rogers High School third-wing addition Monday, June 29.

The 53,000-square-foot project will add 14 general classrooms, six science rooms, six special education rooms and one family and consumer science room. There will also be administrative, office and conference spaces.

Submitted photo Members of the Elk River Area School Board broke ground this past week at Rogers High School for long-anticipated third wing. The project will add 53,000 square feet, including 14 general classrooms, six science rooms, six special education rooms and one family and consumer science room.
Submitted photo
Members of the Elk River Area School Board broke ground this past week at Rogers High School for long-anticipated third wing. The project will add 53,000 square feet, including 14 general classrooms, six science rooms, six special education rooms and one family and consumer science room.

Attending the ground-breaking were Superintedent Mark Bezek; School Board Members Shane Steinbrecher, Sue Farber, Tony Walter, Dan Hunt, Jamie Plantenberg-Selbitschka and Holly Thompson; new Rogers High School (and former Rogers Middle School) Principal Jason Paurus; Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Jana Hennen-Burr; Director of Community Engagement Charlie Blesener; lifelong Rogers residents Jack (former School Board member) and Carol Hines; I-94 West Chamber of Commerce President D.J. Hartley; and others.

Terra General Contractors of Rogers is supervising the project, which is expected to be completed in about a year. The new wing will be ready for school in fall 2016.

Next for Rogers High School is a winter construction start of a new auditorium.

 

Submitted photo
Members of the Elk River Area School Board broke ground this past week at Rogers High School for long-anticipated third wing. The project will add 53,000 square feet, including 14 general classrooms, six science rooms, six special education rooms and one family and consumer science room.
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Submitted photo Members of the Elk River Area School Board broke ground this past week at Rogers High School for long-anticipated third wing. The project will add 53,000 square feet, including 14 general classrooms, six science rooms, six special education rooms and one family and consumer science room.
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Salk students in the thick of D.C. action http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/30/salk-students-in-the-thick-of-d-c-action/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/30/salk-students-in-the-thick-of-d-c-action/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:00:38 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=791332 Special to the Star News

Standing amongst a full military color guard inside the National World War II Memorial, three students from Salk Middle School participated in a special commemoration for the 71st anniversary of D-Day on Saturday, June 6.

Submitted photos   Former Salk student Brendon Wallock, now a member of the Naval Ceremonial Guard, speaks with current Salk students at Arlington National Cemetery about the meaning of honor, sacrifice and service as he sees it through his experiences.
Submitted photos
Former Salk student Brendon Wallock, now a member of the Naval Ceremonial Guard, speaks with current Salk students at Arlington National Cemetery about the meaning of honor, sacrifice and service as he sees it through his experiences.

Rachel Ford, Madison Stout and Alexis Wagenfeld led the Pledge of Allegiance for a large audience that included dozens of World War II veterans, many of whom were part of Honor Flights from Texas, Illinois and California. The students were selected by teacher Ron Hustvedt based on their family connections to World War II and an essay writing contest.

“It was such an amazing honor that Salk was invited by the Friends of the National World War II Memorial to participate in this ceremony,” said Salk social studies teacher Ron Hustvedt.

The three students participated in the ceremony as part of Salk’s four-day school field trip to D.C. A total of 95 Salk students went on the trip and were honored guests at the ceremony, sitting with veterans and current members of the military.

Standing at the National World War II Memorial, Salk students (from left) Alexis Wagenfeld, Rachel Ford and Madison Stout with John McCaskill, their D.C. tour guide who also is a Tuskegee Airmen re-enactor.
Standing at the National World War II Memorial, Salk students (from left) Alexis Wagenfeld, Rachel Ford and Madison Stout with John McCaskill, their D.C. tour guide who also is a Tuskegee Airmen re-enactor.

The ceremony was a commemoration of the 71st anniversary of D-Day, when 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded on D-Day and were memorialized with a wreath laying during the ceremony.

“My great-grandfather Walter Ford was in the U.S. Army in the 4th Cavalry Squadron and involved in the D-Day invasion. He received a Purple Heart after being severely injured when his reconnaissance Jeep hit a mine and he was the only survivor out of four soldiers,” said Rachel Ford, seventh-grade Salk student.

“Being part of the ceremony was even more special than I thought it would be, and I especially enjoyed meeting and talking with veterans,” Ford said.

Wreath Laying  at Arlington

Salk students Isabella Dusbabek and Sophia Wetherille, followed by Nate Gfroerer and Emily Schmitz, begin their walk down the stairs where they participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Salk students Isabella Dusbabek and Sophia Wetherille, followed by Nate Gfroerer and Emily Schmitz, begin their walk down the stairs where they participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Later on that day, four Salk students participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Nate Gfroerer, Isabella Krueger, Emily Schmitz and Sophia Wetherille were selected because they won an essay contest about the significance of honoring the sacrifices of servicemen and women.

After the ceremony, Salk students met with Brendon Wallock, a guardsman in the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard and former Salk student. Wallock spoke with the students about his service in the ceremonial guard that includes playing taps at military funerals and firing a rifle during a 21-gun salute. He spoke about the extreme care that goes into preparing to be part of sacred ceremonies and the value of honoring the service of others. ]]> http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/30/salk-students-in-the-thick-of-d-c-action/feed/ 0 728 Cadets on fire http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/24/728-cadets-on-fire/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/24/728-cadets-on-fire/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:00:46 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=791113 Members of the 728 Cadets were recognized at the Rum River Festival in Princeton.

The marching band and color guard, composed of students from the Elk River Area School District, won the parade’s contest among participating marching bands.

There were about 100 units that paraded down the streets of Princeton for more than two hours.

Photo by Jeff Hage, ECM Publishers
Photo by Jeff Hage, ECM Publishers
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District 728 to roll on with Vision busing http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/21/district-728-to-roll-on-with-vision-busing/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/21/district-728-to-roll-on-with-vision-busing/#comments Sun, 21 Jun 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=791101 by Paul Rignell

Contributing Writer

Local school officials are finding that Vision Transportation, based in Elk River, is still the most economical choice for busing students to school and other school-sponsored events.

A new contract between Vision and District 728 will come for a vote by the School Board at a meeting June 22.

At a workshop held June 15, board members told Executive Director of Business Services Greg Hein they preferred a renewal with Vision over a second proposed option from another north metro company.

The agreement being considered with Vision would cover the district’s busing needs for the next five years, or through the 2019-2020 school year.

Hein had reported to the board last February that the Elk River company proposed a four-year renewal of its partnership with the district for after the current contract expires July 31.

The board was willing to consider that offer, but any option of more than two years in length required the district to issue a formal request for proposals from Vision and any potential competitors.

Hein said in February that he expected an earlier request for proposals this year would result in more bids for busing than the district saw in 2013, when he managed this process the first time after being hired that March.

Still, the district received just one other proposal this year, from the Metropolitan Transportation Network based in Fridley.

Either the proposal from Vision or from MTN would have come with cost increases to the district through the next five years (partly to cover employee medical insurance and also equipment maintenance), but Hein told the Star News this week that the fifth year of Vision’s bid still came in lower than the first-year offer from MTN.

Hein said that although the district’s payments to Vision will be higher in the coming year than they were in 2014-2015, that increase will be offset largely by more state funding, which was approved last year for special education busing. Starting this fall, all school districts are getting full reimbursement for those costs, he said, whereas they only collected partial aid in previous years.

The Elk River district’s financial obligation to Vision will rise by 2.75 percent annually from 2016-2017 through 2019-2020, Hein said, but the schools’ budget for busing still will be less than what other area districts are paying, he added.

Students in some districts are riding to school in buses that are equipped with GPS tracking technology, but District 728 has not had that feature, which comes at an extra cost with Vision, and does not desire to add such an upgrade, Hein said. He noted that the district’s commitment to basic safety and competent bus service reflects the district’s mission to focus more of its dollars on classroom instruction.

“(Vision) provides a quality level of basic service, and we’re happy with that,” Hein said. ]]> http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/21/district-728-to-roll-on-with-vision-busing/feed/ 0 Schunk snares Rotary honor http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/17/schunk-snares-rotary-honor/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/17/schunk-snares-rotary-honor/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 15:55:16 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=790951  

Jenna Schunk
Jenna Schunk

Student: Jenna Schunk

Parents: Don and Tammy Schunk

List the activities you have participated in and tell of your proudest accomplishments. 

I used to be in gymnastics, in which I won a few different first and second places. Now I am in colorguard and I have gotten awards such as rookie of the year and member of the year.

What is your favorite class and why? What is your favorite subject? 

My favorite class is honors chemistry because it is interesting and challenging and very fun. My favorite subject is science.

What are your future plans? 

In the future, I hope to attend a good college and possibly enter the medical field, preferably as a pediatrician.

What are your hobbies and/or personal interests? 

Marching colorguard with the 728 Cadets is one of my personal interests and one of the biggest parts of my life. Along with that, I like to read, listen to music and spend time with my amazing friends and family.

Who is your hero, if you have one, and why?

I look up to my dad quite a bit because he is extremely hardworking and has accomplished a lot, and is also a very kind and caring person.

Tell of a most memorable experience that relates to school, personal interests or a hobby.

My most memorable experience would have to be going to Dayton, Ohio, with Rivervalley Winterguard and competing in world finals.

How do you demonstrate leadership:

I demonstrate leadership inside of school by helping my peers with things they need extra help with, and outside of school by taking on a leadership role at colorguard and answering any questions others may have.

How do you approach academics to achieve success?

I try to find enough time in my schedule to finish my schoolwork and to study for any difficult test I have coming up. I try my best to make sure I understand the material, and I ask for help when I don’t.

What special projects have you done, in or out of school? 

Outside of school, I’ve done things such as recruiting for colorguard by making posters and hanging them up around school.

Why do you think you won this award: I think I won this award?

Because of my hard work and successes in school, and my leadership through helping others.

What does it mean to you? 

This award means a lot to me because it shows me that my hard work has not gone unnoticed and it motivates me to try harder. ]]> http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/17/schunk-snares-rotary-honor/feed/ 0 Class of 2015: Rogers High School graduation http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/14/class-of-2015-rogers-high-school-graduation/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/14/class-of-2015-rogers-high-school-graduation/#comments Sun, 14 Jun 2015 11:00:32 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=790949

Preparing for their big day before the procession are Rogers seniors, left to right, Sophia Schmidt, Sydney Yantes and Elizabeth Rubbelke. There wasn’t an empty seat in the Rogers High School gymnasium as the Class of 2015 was sent off with formal pomp and circumstance Thursday, June 4. Leading the occasion are salutatorian Hannah Bremer, left, and valedictorian Savannah Seiter. Smiles come natural for seniors on their big day, and, left to right, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jared LeClaire, Jake Meyer and Jack Lindquist are no exception.
Supt. Mark Bezek offers words of advice and encouragement for the Class of 2015.
Principal Roman Pierskalla bids the Class of 2015 farewell. This was Pierskalla’s final class, as he is retiring. Friends, family and the Class of 2015 pack in the Rogers High School gymnasium as they celebrate the seniors’ big occasion.
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There wasn’t an empty seat in the Rogers High School gymnasium as the Class of 2015 was sent off with formal pomp and circumstance Thursday, June 4. Leading the occasion are salutatorian Hannah Bremer, left, and valedictorian Savannah Seiter.
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Class of 2015: ‘Varied and respectful’ Elk River High School seniors graduate http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/11/class-of-2015-varied-and-respectful-elk-river-high-school-seniors-graduate/ http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/11/class-of-2015-varied-and-respectful-elk-river-high-school-seniors-graduate/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 13:27:16 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=790866 by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

Elk River High School valedictorian Jordan Haack advised his classmates to remember what they learned in high school — but he wasn’t talking about every little fact and theorem.

Valedictorian Jordan Haack spoke to the Class of 2015.
Valedictorian Jordan Haack spoke to the Class of 2015. Photos by Erik Jacobsen

“Remember how you have been educated in high school. You’ve learned how to interact with other people, you’ve learned how to follow directions and also think outside the box. You’ve learned how to cooperate and to collaborate. You’ve learned how to make friends and, most importantly, you’ve learned how to learn new things,” Haack said during his speech at commencement Friday, June 5, at Elk River High School.

He urged his classmates to use what they learned in high school to make good decisions the rest of their lives.

On a lighter note, Haack put his math skills to work and figured that he and his classmates had each spent 4,800 hours in high school. In that time, they have had about 20 different teachers, 400 classmates and 720 school lunches, he said.

“Speaking of school lunches, assuming that you had chicken nuggets every Tuesday since kindergarten, you would have eaten 175 pounds of the school’s chicken nuggets,” he said, as the audience laughed.

Class President Ryan Herrboldt addressed the graduates.
Class President Ryan Herrboldt addressed the graduates.

Senior class president Ryan Herrboldt also spoke. He urged his classmates to not waste a single day.

“Do not be afraid to try something new,” he advised. Join a chess club, learn to cook, start a garden or build a bird feeder, he suggested.

“Try something new, because in 20 years from now we will not remember that report we wrote for our boss or those tweets from Kim Kardashian. However, we will remember all those times we boldly challenged ourselves and tried something new,” he said.

The graduation ceremony opened with the processional by the Elk River High School band,  a solemn presentation of the colors by the Elk River Police Department Honor Guard and an introduction by Principal Terry Bizal.

The concert choir sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and Superintendent Mark Bezek and faculty representative Karl Sagan also spoke.

The Concert Choir performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
The Concert Choir performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Bezek told graduates about the power of choices.

He talked about his own father, the son of Slovenian immigrants. His father was the youngest of four children, and it was assumed that he would be pulled out of school to work on the farm like his siblings before him. But one evening in 1937 the local school superintendent and football coach visited Bezek’s grandparents and urged them to see that their son graduated from high school.

“On that night, just another night like any other, my grandpa and grandma made a choice. They chose to make sure my father graduated from high school, and that’s exactly what my father did,” Bezek said. Today his children include two doctors, an engineer, and a nurse, and most of his grandchildren have advanced degrees.

Karl Sagan, faculty representative, gave a humorous speech at the Elk River 2015 commencement.
Karl Sagan, faculty representative, gave a humorous speech at the Elk River 2015 commencement.
Karl Sagan used a selfie stick to take a selfie with the class of 2015.
Karl Sagan used a selfie stick to take a selfie with the class of 2015.

Bezek told the graduates that the choices they make, now and in the future, will have a profound effect not just on them but on their siblings, children, grandchildren and generations to come.

Sagan shared his Class of 2015 Top 10 list. When he finished, he told the seniors that he would miss them. He said the class is caring, compassionate and amazing.

“This is not goodbye forever,” he said. “It’s just goodbye for now. You will all have wonderful adventures. You will all have stories to tell. Someday, I want to hear them all.”

Assistant Principal Ken Jordan donned a pirate hat and told the graduates that though the seas are rough, they will make it. He gave them a parting salute. Photo by Erik Jacobsen
Assistant Principal Ken Jordan donned a pirate hat and told the graduates that though the seas are rough, they will make it. He gave them a parting salute. 

Once the speakers completed their talks, Assistant Principal Ken Jordan accepted the class.

He said each graduating class is special in its own way. He described the Class of 2015 as “varied and respectful.”

He told graduates that challenges and hard work build character. “(They) teach us that even though the way can be difficult, those that keep going are the ones that will achieve the most and make the most out of their lives,” he said.

School Board Director Tony Walter accepted the class. Counselors presented the seniors, who walked across the stage and received their diplomas from school board members.

One poignant moment came when Aaron Dwyer accepted his diploma and his classmates gave him a standing ovation. Dwyer was diagnosed with lymphoma in December 2013. ]]> http://erstarnews.com/2015/06/11/class-of-2015-varied-and-respectful-elk-river-high-school-seniors-graduate/feed/ 0