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'Perham Pride' nets nearly $20,000 for books, computers

Perham students display some of the tattered books--which will be replaced thanks to nearly $20,000 in donations from the "Perham Pride" campaign. Also pictured is one of the 30 new computers that will be purchased for the middle school computer lab. Students in the back row, from left, Tyler Mayfield, Patience Peterson, Ryan Shepsky and Colton Lee. Front, Taylor Obowa and Austin DuRose. Perham Superintendent Tamara Uselman is at far left. At right, Marion Johnson, who launched the "Perham Pride" drive,...1 / 2
One of the aging, tattered books is pictured here2 / 2

Christmas came early for Perham elementary and middle school students-and the school superintendent enjoyed a memorable birthday the same day, taking possession of $19,300.

It was a welcome Christmas and birthday gift for Superintendent Tamara Uselman, who has been faced with school budget cuts in the millions over the past several years. The gift of nearly $20,000, from the "Perham Pride" campaign, will put money directly into the education process-at a crucial time when funds are scarce.

The money will buy 30 new computer stations for Prairie Wind Middle School and dozens of new books for both the middle school and the Heart of the Lakes Elementary School.

The person who conceived and spearheaded the Perham Pride campaign, Marion Johnson, said she was "surprised and delighted" with the success of the magnetic bumper sticker campaign.

"It has been wonderful...I get almost giddy when I think about it," she smiled, as she joined students and school administrators at the middle school library.

The Perham Pride bumper stickers were purchased by Bill and Marion Johnson's "Keep it Local" business, and sold for $5 each. The company matched the sales of the stickers. To date, the sales and match totalled $19,500.

"Ho, ho, ho," said middle school Principal Scott Bjerke, with holiday gusto-since the Christmas gift will double the number of computer work stations at the middle school.

For Uselman, a career educator who spent many years in the classroom before becoming an administrator, the financial boost enables the school to purchase books and computers for clasroom use in an economically difficult time.

"We have 11,000 books, and they are read a lot...and they do wear out," said Uselman.

Sales of the "Perham Pride" magnets are continuing, said Johnson, noting that one proud Perham booster bought a bunch of them for Christmas stocking stuffers.