February 26-March 1st is Public School Week in Wisconsin

My mother, Elvie, grew up during the Depression on a family dairy farm in Maple, Wisconsin. She graduated from a small elementary school that educated children from first through eighth grade. Because she was the oldest of three children, she was needed on the farm and was unable to attend a high school in Superior.

Thankfully, that was not the case for me when I graduated from 8th grade in the Northwestern School District. I was able to graduate from Northwestern High School which is located in Maple.

How did this come to pass? The Miracle of Maple, written by Taisto Hayrinen, describes the process of funding and building Northwestern High School. I am assuming the article was published in the Superior Evening Telegram about 1950.

“Higher Ed Didn’t ‘Come’ to Rural No. Wis, The People Built it Up!”

He writes, “The story is a small miracle of a new consolidated school district, its revolutionary school building, and how it was built through COOPERATIVE effort literally and actually.” The consolidated school district served eight towns. People donated their time and money to achieve this “Miracle.”

The people who worked together to build the High School speaks to the importance and value of our amazing public schools.

I am forever grateful to the dedication of my public-school teachers as well as to the people who believe in a great public education.

Mrs. Agnes Juntti, my first and second grade teacher, gave me the gift of reading. I knew I wanted to be a teacher after the first few days.

Mr. Eino Kortesma, my seventh and eighth grade teacher, opened our eyes to the world through World and US history. I have loved history ever since!!

Mr. George Conley, my high school teacher, instilled in me how important it is to ask questions and to investigate what others are writing and saying.

Miss Tartar, one of my English teachers, opened my eyes to the amazing world of books.

However, our job is not done. We must continue to advocate for our public schools: the parents of our students, the teachers, administrators, and all those who dedicate their lives to students who will one day be the leaders.

We must continue to advocate for additional funding from the state and federal governments to assure our students receive the best public education that they all deserve.

Lastly, I want to thank the Wisconsin taxpayers for providing the money to fund our public schools for future generations.