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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • There aren’t very many left

  •   When I first started working at the Gazette way back in 1997 I was assigned to primarily cover the education beat. While my experience in journalism was limited to say the least, education in Redwood Falls was the perfect fit. After all, it was a world in w...
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  •   When I first started working at the Gazette way back in 1997 I was assigned to primarily cover the education beat. While my experience in journalism was limited to say the least, education in Redwood Falls was the perfect fit. After all, it was a world in which I?was very familiar. I?had only been away from the school six years, nearly to the day, when I?again walked into the local school district for my introduction into local education. The school building was new, but the people were not. Of course, there were a few unfamiliar faces, but for the most part when I walked the halls of Reede Gray and Redwood Valley I saw the faces of those I had learned from and who provided for me the education I?needed. With each passing year more and more of those all-too-familiar faces of 1997 are no longer found in the classrooms and offices, and this year certainly is no exception. The list of people in the education system who had an impact on me is long, but the list who still walk those halls is not. I have fond memories of times in Wayne Junker’s fourth-grade classroom. In fact, some of my fondest school memories took place under his tutelage. I?remember the friendly faces, like that of Linda Zick and the challenging seventh grade English class I?had with Jan Ellingworth. (I want to tell you it pains me as I write this to use the first names of teachers I never called anything but Mr. and Mrs. in their classrooms and offices, and to this day when I?meet them still can’t do it to their faces.) For me it is going to be odd to walk into the high school office next year and know Don Yrjo is not going to be there. I?remember words of encouragement from Mr. Yrjo the shop (I?mean industrial arts)?teacher who knew a kid like me would never make it as a carpenter or architect. As a bit of an anti-social kid, I recall spending time at school dances talking with the custodians whose job it was to be on hand to clean up after the students left. Guys like Greg Young were certainly among those I?got to know and respect. While my relationship with these and all educators is certainly a lot different than it was when I?was a Redwood Falls-Morton student, I?can say today I?am still learning from those who are leaving. They are going to be missed when they leave at the end of this school year. I want to wish all of the teachers who have opted to retire at the end of this year, whether you taught me during my school days or not, good luck. You have certainly done your part to mold the lives of many students over the years and will likely never really know the full impact unless they all would come back and work for the Gazette. Of course, we all can’t be that lucky. … This past Thursday a Guest Commentary appeared on this page addressing the issue of a possible name change for Alexander Ramsey Park.  I must say this has caused quite a stir in town. To be clear, no official meetings on this issue have taken place and no decisions have been made.  Of course, I?am of the belief this is an issue we are going to keep hearing about in the months to come. Stay tuned. I?know I will.
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