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Klobuchar pays visit to WDC Schools

Wadena-Deer Creek junior Victoria Witthuhn giggles as she explains the details of a class assignment to Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Wednesday. Klobuchar toured the WDC School to see the progress that has been made since a June 17, 2010 tornado destroyed the old school. Photo by Dain Sullivan

Students and faculty members at Wadena-Deer Creek Middle/High School had a special visitor last week.

The school was on Sen. Amy Klobuchar's list of stops to make during her visit to Wadena and Staples on Wednesday.

As Klobuchar stood at the WDC school entrance, she expressed how impressed she is with the new facility. She also praised the community for pulling together after a tornado destroyed the old school on June 17, 2010.

"It's incredible. Just all that work in two years," Klobuchar said after touring the new facility. "These kids are so proud of this school, just like their parents are."

Klobuchar previously visited Wadena for the school's Veterans Day program two years ago. On Wednesday, she was also scheduled to visit the Leaf River Ag building and take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new interchange project in Staples.

WDC Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom and Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden were among those who helped guide Klobuchar through the WDC school. As she strolled through the halls, Klobuchar greeted students and staff who crossed her path with a smile and a handshake.

The senator's first stop was a technology class being taught by Mike Shrode, where she was able to talk one-on-one with Shrode and a few of his students.

Klobuchar immediately made her way to the back of the room, where Victoria Witthuhn was working at a computer. As the senator observed the new computers, she smiled as Witthuhn explained the details of her assignment.

Klobuchar then walked a few feet over to Ryan Jahnke, who was examining a virtual propeller prop on his iPad. She said she could tell Jahnke liked technology and could have great success with it.

Also, Shrode told the senator how happy he was to be working in the new school.

"I have fun doing what I do," he said.

In addition to visiting Shrode's classroom, Klobuchar was able to weave between student lockers to see one of the school's common areas. Also, as she moved through a portion of the walking track surrounding the gym, she saw a physical education class running around below on the main gym floor.

After peeking inside the school's weight room, Klobuchar also was able to see the safe room addition, which is nearing completion.

Wednesday wasn't all business for the senator. She was also excited to chat with students as they ate their lunch.

As freshmen Hannah Vorderbruggen was taking her tray back to the kitchen, she was able to briefly talk with the senator and shake her hand. Not far from Vorderbruggen, Klobuchar engaged in a lighthearted conversation with sophomores Danielle Post and Morgan Zeise about whose milk had more calories.

After leaving the cafeteria, Klobuchar finished off her tour by visiting music teacher Mike Ortmann as he was working with a choir of 11- and 12-year-olds. She smiled as the students sang her a couple of patriotic songs.

Dahlstrom was glad Klobuchar was able to see how far students and staff members have come since tragedy struck two years ago.

"I think she's thinking it's a beautiful sight and the kids are doing well," Dahlstrom said.

In the end, Klobuchar said the new building is proof of a team effort between the community and the school.

"It's a tribute to leadership in this town, but it's also about everyone in the community that got everything cleaned up and done,"

she said.