Letter: Reading important through the years
I was surprised to read in the paper that both New York Mills and Perham were having problems with the students' reading marks. It was about 15 years ago that I established a permanent trust in the amount of $50,000, with the cooperation of the Perham Community Bank, that gave Perham $3,600 a year for summer reading classes where students could attend classes to improve their reading efforts.
About the same time, I established a Living Trust for the New York Mills High School that gave their students also the opportunity to take summer reading classes. One mother in Mills thanked me as she said her son had an opportunity to take part in this program.
Neither of the schools have reported to me as to how the programs were mak-ing out, how many students took part or anything about the programs, so I don't know how they are doing.
I made these trusts when I was able to finance them, as I had problems with education when I started school.
When I was seven years old, we moved to Mills from the farm, as my father had a job with the Finnish newspaper that was printed in Mills, The Usi Kotima, "New Homeland." My mother was born in Finland so that was the language at home.
When I started school in Mills at the age of seven, I knew very little English and Mills didn't have preschool or kindergarten
I had no opportunity to learn it before going in the first grade.
Maybe the teacher passed me into the second grade, as she didn't want to put up with me another year. The second grade teacher probably had the same idea as I went into the third grade.
The third grade teacher decided I should repeat the third grade so I did and had an opportunity to catch up a letter. I remember having problems in future grades, but I did graduate from high school in 1935.
If students can't read, they can't learn and all schools should hold back students who haven't reached the proper level of reading at all grades, otherwise they will have problems later in life, and I know because I experienced it.