A student in the Kingsland School District, Hailee is the oldest child in the family of Rick and Julee Warren and has two brothers, Charlee and Rylee. Rick was raised in Fillmore County and his wife, Julee moved to the area from North Dakota when educational opportunities transplanted her to the Mayo Clinic. “The entire family is quite proud of and thrilled for her!” exclaims Julee.
The excitement actually began when Hailee’s fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Milz, provided the class with an extracurricular opportunity to write about the connection between school and community in rural areas. Hailee thought it would be fun to participate. “My teacher, Mrs. Milz, presented it to us in our classroom one day.” comments Hailee. “I wanted to write the essay to see if I could win.”
As its website mentions, “The NREA (National Rural Education Association) was originally founded as the Department of Rural Education in 1907. It is the oldest established national organization of its kind in the United States. Through the years it has evolved as a strong and respected organization of rural school administrators, teachers, board members, regional service agency personnel, researchers, business and industry representatives, and others interested in maintaining the vitality of rural school systems across the country. NREA is the voice or rural communities and schools across the United States.”
To be eligible for the Essay Contest, Hailee needed to be student who attends a rural school in grades 3-8 and uses the provided prompt and rubric to complete a written essay of approximately 250 words.
As stated on NREA’s website, “THE PROMPT – Rural schools are often the center of the community. Think about your school and how it relates to your community. Why is your school important to you and the community? What are events and activities that connect your school to the community and why are they important to the livelihood of your community?”
This 10-year-old thought of all the ways the Kingsland Schools and the areas around Spring Valley and Wykoff relied on each other, then completed her essay to get it entered before its spring due date.
Hailee found out on June 14, 2018, that of all the entries from around the country, she’d won the NREA Essay contest. Hailee will be presented with her award at the July 16 Kingsland School Board meeting; she already has plans to donate to a local program.
“We are glad that her teacher had a willingness to provide our daughter and the other students in her class with additional opportunities for growth and development which allowed her to think about the connection between her school and the community; then to enter the contest, and be chosen as a first place winner is quite an accomplishment,” stated Julee.
The link to where you can find more information regarding the NREA foundation Essay Contest, including the guidelines, rubric and 2018 Essay Contest winners is: http://www.nrea.net/Awards_and_Programs.
National Rural Education Association
By Hailee Warren
My school is located in a small rural community in Southeastern Minnesota. The towns of Wykoff and Spring Valley joined in 1993 to make my school today, Kingsland. The approximate number of students that go to Kingsland is 580. My school is important to two communities for many reasons.
Education is not just available for grades PreK-12. There are classes for adults, families, and for kids that are too little for school. It is important that no matter how old we are that we all continue to learn. My school has a special program where students learn how things work. It is a science, technology, engineering, and math course for all students called Project Lead the Way (PLTW). Kingsland School Parents (KSP) is a group of volunteers that helps organize events and activities. They raise money to pay for the Missoula Children’s Theatre program to come to our community. Another important program is the Backpack Program. Youth that qualify for this take home a bag of food (4 meals) that feeds them over the weekend. Our school takes care of their students even when they are not in school.
My school is handy for some people because of job opportunities. These jobs include teachers, cooks, bus drivers, and custodians. Without the school many of these people would need to travel to other places or move for a job.
Students give back to the community in many ways too. In late October, our community’s VFW suffered fire damage when the building next to it burned. Students helped by making place mats for the VFW’s dinner and silent auction to raise money for repairs. On Earth Day, students cleaned up the community by picking up trash.
These are all reasons why I feel my school is the center of my community. In summary, the school provides education for youth and adults, community events and activities all year. The school provides job opportunities too. Schools help create a feeling of pride and belonging. Last but not least, I’m proud to live and go to school in my rural community. I’m proud to be a Kingsland Knight!