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APPLAUSE to all the local graduates who threw their hats into the air at recent commencement ceremonies. Nearly 120 students in Perham and 50 in New York Mills graduated this year, and are now preparing for the next phase of their lives – whether that be college, a career, traveling, or something altogether different. Whatever the future holds for each of these graduates, we at the Focus want to wish them all the best of luck. And may high school graduation be just one of many important and memorable steps forward that they take on life’s journey.

A PAUSE to the vandalism at the high school. Graduation is supposed to be a celebration of knowledge gained, and is a traditional rite of passage into adulthood, but breaking windows and spraying graffiti is the opposite of a good show of maturity. And this incident is certainly not a good example of ‘Perham Pride’ in our schools and students. An investigation into the matter was still ongoing at press time. We hope those responsible for the mess will also be held responsible for the cleanup – and the repair bill.

APPLAUSE to the local VFW, Auxiliary, ITOW, and other veterans organizations and volunteers for their planning and participation in the area’s many thoughtful and respectful Memorial Day services. Each service was a worthy tribute to our fallen soldiers, as well as an honorable reminder of the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom.

APPLAUSE to local firefighters, who have recently spent a great deal of time running toward the fires that the rest of us run away from, battling blazes large and small. Before the recent string of rainy days, it had been a dry season, and last we heard, the Perham Fire Department had responded to well over 20 calls in May. Many of the reports related to grass fires, but there were also barn, house and vehicle fires, as well as the headline-making Green Valley Fire in the Menahga area.

APPLAUSE to Perham for making a statement of peace. The Peace Pole installed near the high school in May is a welcome symbol of the community’s hope for international peace, as well as a sign of friendliness toward diversity. A joint venture of the Perham Rotary and the high school’s Interact Club, the pole features inscriptions of “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in six different languages.