Award-Winning Children’s Author to Visit West Elementary Students for “I Love To Read” Month
Forest Lake, MN – Award-winning children’s author Tracy Nelson Maurer visits West Elementary students in honor of “I Love To Read” month on Monday, February 24, at the MMC High School Auditorium in Slayton.
Ms. Maurer’s presentation follows the publication process, emphasizing nonfiction research and writing. Her interactive approach features props and a reading from John Deere, That’s Who!, which was illustrated by Tim Zeltner and published by Henry Holt in New York. The title was named a 2019-20 Minnesota Star of the North nominee, a Junior Library Guild selection and the 2018 American Farm Bureau Foundation Book of the Year among other honors. Her newest book, Samuel Morse, That’s Who! also received recognition from the Junior Library Guild and several “recommend” reviews from national publications.
“I’m excited to meet readers there and have fun with nonfiction,” said Ms. Maurer, who will visit kindergarten through sixth-grade students during the school day. She has written more than 100 books for children and young adults, including the picture book biography Noah Webster’s Fighting Words from Millbrook Press in Minneapolis and Storm Codes, published by Windward Publishing in Minneapolis, which won the Northeastern Minnesota Children’s Book Honor, the national Mom’s Choice honor, and other awards.
Ms. Maurer’s books are available for purchase and signing through advance order forms available from teachers at the school. For more information about the author and her books, visit TracyMaurerWriter.com.
MINNESOTA’S TOP YOUTH VOLUNTEERS OF 2020 SELECTEDBY NATIONAL PROGRAM
Finalists include Katherine Jorgenson of Westbrook
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 25th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
These are Minnesota’s top youth volunteers of 2020:
High School State Honoree: Grace Myler. Nominated by Shakopee High School
Middle Level State Honoree: Addison Loerzel. Nominated by Horizon Middle School East Campus
The program judges also recognized six other Minnesota students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
These are Minnesota’s Distinguished Finalists for 2020:
Katherine Jorgenson, 17, of Westbrook, Minnesota, a senior at Westbrook Walnut Grove High School, created and helps run “Keeping Up the Kourage Foundation,” which helps families cover medical expenses and offers academic scholarships to local students; she has helped organize fundraising events including concerts, pie and ice cream nights and calendar raffles. Katherine was inspired to start this organization by the support she received from her community after a traumatic ATV accident.
About The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. All public and private middle level and high schools in the country, as well as all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and Points of Light Global Network members, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award. These Local Honorees were then reviewed by an independent judging panel, which selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria including personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.
While in Washington, D.C., the 102 State Honorees – one middle level and one high school student from each state and the District of Columbia – will tour the capital’s landmarks, meet top youth volunteers from other parts of the world, attend a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. On May 4, 10 of the State Honorees – five middle level and five high school students – will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2020. These National Honorees will receive additional $5,000 scholarships, gold medallions, crystal trophies and $5,000 grants from Prudential for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.
Since the program began in 1995, more than 130,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level. The program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, China and Brazil. In addition to granting its own awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program also distributes President’s Volunteer Service Awards to qualifying Local Honorees.
MCC Honor Society Gives Back
Minnesota Honor Society is a group of high school students that demonstrate scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Traditionally, members of the Minnesota Honor Society participate in an overnight lock-in at the high school. However, this year, the students decided instead to use the time to volunteer and participate in several service projects. The group headed to Sioux Falls on Saturday, January 11, 2020, and their first destination was the “Girls on the Run” headquarters. “Girls on the Run” is a program that not only encourages young girls to run, but also teaches them life skills and empowerment. At the facility, the Minnesota Honor Society helped pack boxes with numerous materials that are needed for the curriculum. The boxes will later be distributed to different “Girls on the Run” groups in the surrounding area. Packing materials at the headquarters was a wonderful volunteering experience. Another rewarding service, and one of the most meaningful parts of the day, was serving at the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House is a twenty-one bedroom house that provides free living quarters and meals for families that have kids staying at the children’s hospital. Children receiving cancer treatment or other medical care often need a place to stay for an extensive amount of time. Additionally, medical bills are extremely expensive; therefore, the free rooms offered by the Ronald McDonald House are quite a blessing to many children and their families. The amount of time that families reside there varies anywhere from one day to multiple months at a time. The Honor Society members served at the Ronald McDonald House in a variety of ways. They cleaned bathrooms, dusted, vacuumed, “tried” to fold fitted sheets, organized toys, and cooked a meal for the residents. After a full day of volunteering, a few of the students tried their luck at an escape room. After an intense struggle of unlocking padlocks, deciphering riddles, and finding clues, the students successfully escaped, and they even made it on the leaderboards! The Minnesota Honor Society truly had a wonderful and meaningful day in Sioux Falls. The experience consisted of volunteering, but more importantly, it showed the students that helping and benefiting the lives of others can bring about immense joy.
4-H Retreat Builds Leadership And Civic Engagement Skills In Local Young People
Seven Murray County youth attended leadership retreat in Marshall
SLAYTON, MN 02/03/2020-- Minnesota 4-H held the Southwest BLU leadership retreat on February 1 at Southwest Minnesota State University for 86 youth from across our region.
BLU – Building Leadership and Understanding – is an annual leadership retreat offered regionally across Minnesota. This year’s theme, Unmask Your Inner Leader, encouraged youth to discuss their strengths, leadership styles, and the characteristics of great leaders. Youth participants engaged in a variety of activities throughout the event, including small and large group discussions, team-building activities, personal awareness experiences, and informational sessions. The leadership retreat was facilitated by youth leaders from the Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador program and supported by a team of adult chaperones.
The SW BLU leadership retreat was one of five 4-H events offered this month to Minnesota youth in grades 6-12,” said Karen Beranek, Extension Educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development. “4-H uses these retreats to help youth learn valuable leadership skills they can apply in their communities and make connections with people from other counties. In addition to the youth teaching youth component, participants learned more about life post-high school as they explored the SMSU campus, including campus tours, a Q&A session with current college students, and the dining center. All youth also had the opportunity to learn more about a specific program at SMSU: Agriculture, Performing Arts, Culinology and Business. A huge thank you to SMSU faculty and student organizations for leading those sessions.”