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School boosters, staff earn honors

"We all have a birthdate-and we all have an expiration date," said Perham school Superintendent Tamara Uselman at the March 27 Honeybee Gala banquet.

Having just returned from a family funeral, Uselman said that every cemetery monument has a birth date and death date, "but your legacy is in the dash between the is what you do in between with your life."

"Investment awards" are a way of acknowledging staff, students and community volunteers who contribute to education, and it is a central theme of the annual gala-with its theme "Investment in Youth."

"I love to share stories of adults who are committed to our school," said Uselman, as she announced the recipients of the "Community Investment Awards."

Topping the list of Investment Awards was Kenny Nelson, owner of KLN Enterprises, who has been a consistent contributor and supporter of the school and community.

"Kenny's support is not just financial, he is a champion of the school system," said Uselman. "What comes out of his pocket financially also comes out of his mouth."

Also earning a community investment award was Liz Swanson, who spearheaded the "backpack program" that ensures students have food when they go home for the weekend. With the help of school staff, students who were coming to school hungry were identified and added to the list of "backpack" beneficiaries. The program presently serves 43 students.

Earning the honor as the hardest-working Yellowjacket volunteer was Connie Mort. Presenting the "Worker Bee Award" to Mort was Activities Director Fred Sailer.

Kathy Bickell, a para-educator who works in the elementary library and gives individual attention to nearly 400 grade school students, also won an investment award.

Winning teacher investment honors were Heidi Solberg in the elementary school; Dave Cresap in the middle school and Robb Moser in the high school.

In presenting the honor to Cresap, Principal Scott Bjerke said "every student should have Cresap as a teacher."

High School Principal John Rutten described Moser as a teacher who "makes his students think" through creative practices and "bulldog" determination.

Solberg is one of the finest special ed teachers she has ever worked with, said Principal Kari Yates, adding she "is second to none."

Following is a list of Yellowjackets who received student investment awards:

William Parks, grade 7

Austin Erickson, grade 8

Leah Wuebben, freshman

Mark Schumacher, sophomore

Annalee Beaver, junior

Sam Stoll, senior