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One Moment Please... Journal Scholarship Recipient

Mon, May 28th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

The past couple of weeks have come with a flurry of graduation reminders.

A couple of weeks ago, parents, officers and students celebrated the annual D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony in Peterson, recognized on page 21. Thank you to our Sheriff’s Department and the schools who collaborate to keep this program alive and well. And, congratulations to the students. As a side note, I am not quite sure why all of our school districts don’t participate in this program in Fillmore County. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

Also, this past week, our family had the pleasure of attending our son’s pre-school graduation ceremony at the Preston Elementary School. The celebration filled the gymnasium with students, teachers, parents, siblings, grandparents and great-grandparents.

In last week’s Journal, you probably noticed a 16 page graduation section celebrating the Class of 2012 for all six school districts in Fillmore County. This annual tradition for our staff and the communities we serve is quite a comprehensive project, and we appreciate working with the students, parents and school districts to make this possible. As I’ve heard from many parents, this graduation section becomes a keepsake that students will refer to for many years to come.

Journal Scholarship

I am proud to announce that the annual scholarship for the Fillmore County Journal has been granted to Mitchell Walbridge, and for many, many reasons.

Below you will find the essay that Mitchell provided with his application for the $500 scholarship, telling all of us why he is proud of his community.

Over the past couple years, our staff has watched Mitchell grow with our newspapers. His work has actually appeared in both the Fillmore County Journal and the Olmsted County Journal, reaching a combined 74,000 households. That’s a lot of potential critics!

I remember when Abby Stocker, another Lanesboro High School graduate, became the first high school student I entrusted in my entire 18 year career to cover a school board meeting -- the Chatfield School Board.

It’s not common to have high school students cover civic meetings and write an accurate and complete article to be published in a newspaper read by over 21,000 readers every week. For the most part, high school students are taking classes to learn about how our government works. How can they possibly comprehend and then articulate what happened at a local government meeting?

I was skeptical in the beginnging, but Abby proved to be exceptional. And, for those of you who have never covered a school board or city council meeting for publication in a newspaper, if you make a mistake then those who were misquoted in that meeting or actions that were inaccurately depicted in print will undoubtedly be called into question. A retraction will soon follow.

We never received a single phone call regarding Abby’s coverage of meetings.

And, I am happy to say that before Abby went off to Bethel College, she trained Mitchell Walbridge to carry on her tradition of news coverage for the Chatfield School Board. Abby paved the way for Mitchell, and he didn’t let us down. He maintained that continuity.

Now, Mitchell is graduating as the Valedictorian and President of the Lanesboro High School Class of 2012, and I’m not surprised with his academic success.

He is a mature and smart young man, and our newspaper has been blessed to have his talent during these high school years.

Based on how fondly he thinks of his community, I am sure he will help us do great things in the future, as well.

Mitchell, thank you for all that you’ve done, and please don’t be a stranger as you embark upon some exciting years ahead.

As our newspaper looks to the 2012-13 school year, we will again be offering the Journal scholarship along with an opportunity for high school students to express themselves in the Journal Student Writing Project.

Until next fall, to all of the returning students and the graduates, have a safe and funfilled summer.

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