Dr. John Sample
My role allows me the opportunity to remain involved in the wonderful events taking place in our great community. I recently attended two fantastic community events that provided me a glimpse of the great work being done by people who truly care.
PAST EVENTS OF INTEREST
VFW Awards Ceremony
The VFW Awards Ceremony was held on Saturday, January 27. The evening was dedicated to honoring the middle school and high schools student finalists who participated in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest and the Voices of Democracy Contest. I am pleased to recognize the following Prairie River Middle School students placing in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest:
Second Place – Madison VanDerGeest
Fourth Place – Dafney Yates
Sixth Place – Erin Kremsreiter
Seventh Place – Molly Dallman
Eighth Place – Olivia Troyer
Ninth Place – Evan Perry (Second Place for District)
Tenth Place – Liv Cordova
Congratulations to our high school finalists for their Voices of Democracy Contest.
First Place – Abrahm Akey (Second Place for District)
Second Place – Lily L Cordova
Third Place – Ian Springborn
Fourth Place – Dayton Frederick
Fifth Place – Casie McAllister
The evening showcased the skills and talents of our middle school and high school students. Not to be left out, our fifth grade students at Kate Goodrich were also recognized as their Portraits of Bravery art project was on display. Elementary Art Teacher Kim Sample designed and implemented the project using our veterans as models while the students painted their portraits. Students had the opportunity to interact with our brave veterans and greatly benefitted from the experience. Many of the paintings were on display and enjoyed by all.
On a special note, VFW State Commander John Schultz was in attendance at the awards ceremony. He spoke highly of our young people and the obligation we have as a community to support their future success.
Merrill Productions taped this program. You can view this event in its entirety by checking the Merrill Area Public Schools YouTube page.
St. Francis Breakfast
I was able to attend the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School breakfast with a variety of community members on Tuesday, January 30. The welcome was warm and the food was delicious! Following breakfast, participants were provided tours of the educational facility guided by very knowledgeable students.
UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST
Bill Cortright Event
We are pleased to announce that Merrill High School Alum Bill Cortright will be speaking to our 8 – 12 grade students and community members wishing to be present.
Bill Cortright is an international professional speaker with expertise in stress management, self motivation, wellness, anti-aging, weight loss, and personal development. He inspires audiences to open doors and achieve success in their careers, their relationships and their lives. His passion of helping others through his own personal struggles and accomplishments motivated him to create an innovative concept and practical systems that change how to handle the stress response which he has learned through his extensive research and unique approach.
Bill Cortright will be presenting to students in Grades 8-12 at the Merrill High School Fieldhouse on February 12, 2018 from 1:30 – 2:30. His message to our students will addresses empowerment, future success and goal setting.
Bill’s presentation for the community will be that night in the PRMS Auditorium, February 12 at 6:00 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
Sharon Robinson Event
Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson, the famous baseball player who broke the major league color barrier in 1947, will be joining us as a result of our Great Speaker Committee selection this year.
Ms. Robinson has captivated readers with her memoir Stealing Home (Harper Collins Publishers, 1996), her recounting of growing up in the public eye, and Jackie’s Nine (Scholastic, 2001), a book for young readers about the nine heartfelt, hard-won values that helped her father, Jackie Robinson, achieve his goals. Her photographic biography for children, Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America (Scholastic February 2004) received rave reviews. Her fiction novels include Safe At Home (Scholastic, 2006) and Slam Dunk! (Scholastic, 2007). Her first picture book, Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson (Scholastic, 2009) honors her extraordinary father’s memory with her warm, graceful storytelling and illustrations by two-time Caldecott Honor Book artist, Kadir Nelson.
In addition to her writing career, Ms. Robinson is an educational consultant for Major League Baseball. In this capacity, she oversees school and community-based educational programs. “Breaking Barriers, In Sports, In Life” is the department’s core program; it is a national character education program designed to empower students with strategies to help them face obstacles in their lives. The message is delivered by examining the values demonstrated in the lives of Jackie Robinson and many of today’s baseball stars; since its inception in 1997, the program has reached over fourteen million children across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
The Great Speaker Committee elected to do something different this year. Since our budget was getting low, we have partnered with Athens teacher Colin Hanson who founded “A Walk in Their Shoes.” This program allows school districts to hear great speakers such as Sharon Robinson at no cost to the district. All funding is provided by area businesses who receive advertising as a result of their sponsorship. The Great Speaker Committee will remain active and student members can always elect to return to their usual process of selection in the future.
Sharon Robinson will be presenting to students in Grades 6-12 at the Merrill High School Fieldhouse on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 from 1:30 – 2:30. Parochial/Home School students in Grades 6-12 and the public are invited and encouraged to attend.
Please stay tuned for more information regarding these two exciting events!
And finally, I encourage all residents to take the opportunity to learn about the referendum and to be an informed voter on April 3! Please check our website for important referendum information.