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Honey Bee Gala

Tamara Uselman, Perham-Dent School Superintendent, told those in attendance at this year's Honey Bee Gala that she's always identified with the saying "it takes a village to raise a child."

She then took this a step further and gave the adage a local application, concluding, "It certainly takes a village to make a 'School of Champions' like we have."

With all of the financial stress the district's schools have faced over the past several years, and more budget cuts predicted for the future, community organizations such as the 549 Family Foundation will be even more essential in helping to provide local students with a high quality education.

This year's Honey Bee Gala was the fourth annual event for the 549 Family Foundation. Held at Mulligan's on March 29, the gala gathered together a roomful of people, all invested in helping Perham-Dent schools.

It is because of the support of the organization's many members and sponsors that several of the school district's programs are made possible.

One example Uselman gave of how the 549 Family Foundation has helped support students was the laser engraver that was recently purchased for the Perham Industrial Technology program. Grants from the foundation assisted with purchasing the engraver, which, in turn, was used to create the plaques given to this year's Honey Bee Gala award recipients.

The 549 Family Foundation also helped purchase technical equipment for the science department, a laptop computer for the media center, and sent students of all ages on a variety of field trips during the past year.

The 549 Family gala started out with pre-program entertainment by Bomb the Day Band, composed of students John Carlson, Luke Hofland, Mike Howey, and Gus Rutten. Scott Eickschen and Tony Guck followed the band's performance with several guitar selections.

Soloist Sam Stoll, accompanied by pianist Jennifer Strege, took the stage next, with Strege also playing some solo selections on the piano.

The event's emcee was Perham High School Student Council President David Tomporowski. Joining Tomporowski in hosting the gala were the host and hostess Abram Silbernagel, Perham High School Snow King, and Haley Skow, Miss Perham.

Event sponsors, who donated $1,000, were Arvig Communications Systems and Bauck Busing LTD. It is because of these donations from area businesses and individuals that 549 Family is able to have the impact that it does.

"Membership and sponsorship are the backbone of our foundation," said 549 Family Foundation President Brian Mort.

The guest speaker for the evening was Bill Bauck, a 1948 PHS graduate. Bauck gave an account of the changes he's seen in the school over the time span of several decades. He expressed his appreciation for the multitude of people who've helped shape the Perham school system into what it is today.

Bauck recounted a time in the 1920's when married women were prohibited from teaching. He also talked about his happening upon a 1917 PHS yearbook, featuring a graduating class of just 10 students-- five boys and five girls.

The 549 Family Advisory Board is composed of Coordinator Jo Strege, President Brian Mort, Secretary Dean Bahls, Treasurer Sandra Waldon, Treasurer IT Tom Spencer, Delegate Tom Tomporowski, and Delegate Bob Wilkowski.

Gala Awards List:

549 Family Past President - David Arvig

HOTL Community Investment Award - June Stafki

DENT Community Investment Award - Marcene Doll

AR Achievement Award - Grade 5 - Aimee Christopherson

AR Achievement Award - Grade 6 - Jonathon Siira

Student Investment Award - Grade 7 - Tanya Berns

Student Investment Award - Grade 8 - Samantha Salathe

PWMS Community Investment Award - Erin Anderson

Civic Investment Award - FOCUS - Lisa Glynn

Civic Investment Award - Rotary - Tamara Uselman

Civic Investment Award - Perham Lions - John Knight

Student Investment Award - Freshman - David Altstadt

Student Investment Award - Sophomore - Jessica Speicher

Student Investment Award - Junior - Andrew Gorentz

Student Investment Award - Senior - Audrey Huwe

PHS Community Investment Award - Jean Gunderson

K-4 Teacher Investment Award Nominees:

Julie Vomacka - winner

Deb Johnson

Marcia McEachran

PW Teacher Investment Award Nominees:

Kitty Krueger - winner

Shelly Januszewski

Peggy Rutten

PHS Teacher Investment Award Nominees:

Jeff Morris - winner

Scott Bjerke

Karen Zepper