It is a Wednesday afternoon, about 4:00. I am sitting in the quiet halls of the third floor library at my college. I have just finished reading ahead and taking notes for biology, chemistry, and human communication. I completed ten practice chemistry problems, reviewed my biology notes, and wrote cue cards for my upcoming speech. I have all of my homework completed for the day, and I am prepared for the next. I just realized, 'I have the rest of the evening to myself, wow!' As I walk past more and more students just beginning their homework, I simply smile to myself and want thank my previous teachers for all they have taught me in my early years. If not for them, I would be one of those students just arriving to the library, preparing for a long evening of studying.
I am a 2010 graduate of Perham High School and a 2004 graduate of St. Paul's Lutheran School, and I am writing this letter to simply thank the staff, teachers, and faculty of ISD 549 for teaching me how to succeed. Obviously, I am away at college this fall and beginning to realize how much Perham has influenced my life. I sit in biology and chemistry classes listening to lectures about topics I am familiar with and already understand due to Perham's dedicated science staff. I also listen to my public speaking professor discuss the importance of clear and appropriate communication, and I know I can perform speeches with confidence. In all subjects, I know how to write proper and academic papers with minor problems. Needless to say, I am more than adequately prepared to succeed, on a knowledge level, in college.
Besides the facts and textbook knowledge Perham has taught me, I have learned how to recognize when I need help and how to get it. This fall, I attended many required informational sessions regarding how and where to obtain academic help during the semester. These sessions were common sense to me. The speakers repeated that our professors are here to help us and it is ok to talk to them during their office hours- I was astonished. It seems so natural for me to talk to a teacher when I need help, I cannot imagine struggling without some sort of guidance. I definitely feel ahead of a majority of my fellow classmates for that one reason.
Another area numerous Perham staff emphasized is study habits. I remember Mrs. Ulmer teaching our eighth grade class how to take good notes. Senior year, Mrs. Sedivy's reading check quizzes showed me the importance of critical and active reading. Between those years, I practiced and honed my study habits until I discovered what worked best for me. Now, I know how to read, take notes, and study those notes to prepare accordingly for each class period. Once again, I feel ahead of many of my classmates because of this single fact.
The final area Perham instills in its students is a sense of community service and civic duty. From my early years at St. Paul's up through my final days at PHS, service to others, near or far, was always a concern. I recall a program, coined 'By Kids, For Kids,' I participated in at St. Paul's. We sent school supplies and letters to children in underprivileged countries. This allowed me to have some ownership over what I did to contribute to society and how it made me feel, in second grade. The many Pay It Forward Days in high school also taught me that if I am able to help another person, it is my responsibility to help- whether it's throwing sand bags in Fargo or opening a door. In addition, I learned how to be dedicated. Senior year, I took calculus with Mr. Morris and experienced his extreme dedication to students and learning. I also remember Mr. Moser and Mr. Solberg lecturing our government class about the importance to take part in one's community and if one didn't, he or she should not expect anything in return.
Currently, I am a registered voter, involved in multiple community service groups, and attend church regularly. I stay informed of the national news and feel as though I am a contributing member of society. I feel the staff of ISD 549 genuinely care about their students- something not every school district can say. Now, I'm not out to change everyone's mind about ISD 549, but I can say if it wasn't for this school district, I would be in a world of hurt. Not only would I be confused with many difficult textbook concepts, but I would not be the caring individual I am today. I have observed how Perham's staff treats each other and their students, and I carry that level of respect with me.
As I continued down the aisle of the library, the other thought on my mind was, 'I hope this continues, that there are other students who feel ahead of the game and responsible to promote their community. If there are more of us, I feel the future is bright- not just for those individuals, but for Perham. Many of these people could return to the area, as I am planning to, and the outlook may not be as horrible as it seems.' So, please take this to heart. I was not recruited to write this, and I am not trying to earn personal pride. I want to raise awareness from a recent graduate's prospective. I could not be a competitive student if it was not for the role models, influence, and pride of Perham staff. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You!