Blossoms celebrate big honors at banquet
Blooming Prairie Blossoms were in full bloom on Saturday night, Sept. 28, when alumni gathered to celebrate their accomplishments over the years.
Seven special Blooming Prairie Blossom alumni were saluted at the 12th Annual Blooming Prairie Education Foundation Alumni Awards Banquet. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the BP Ed Foundation.
The Blooming Prairie Servicemen's Club was jam packed with alumni, families and friends of Blooming Prairie High School.
Special awards to honor alumni and staff were created by the Blossoms Forever group in 2008. The fundraising banquet has been in existence since 2001, says Blossoms Forever Committee member Julie Noble, past president of the BP Education Foundation.
Awards were presented in three different categories:
• Distinctive Service (3) -- Capt. Theodore (Ted) Schreier, Class of 1933, posthumously; Tom Burke, Class of 1961 and Shannon Pfeifer Kruckeberg, Class of 1989.
• Athletic Hall of Fame (3) -- Alan Morton, Class of 1948; John Dale Worke, Class of 1984 and Lisa Meshke, Class of 2000.
• Honored Educator (1) -- Diane Anderson, Class of 1972.
The evening started with Sister Franchon Pirkl, Blooming Prairie Homecoming queen of 1952, offering an invocation. She said the evening was marked with "great gratitude" to the Blossom alumni of the past for their many gifts.
Pirkl applauded the Blooming Prairie community for supporting education on all levels. She pointed to Blooming Prairie as being a strong faith community.
"Tonight is a Homecoming where we rejoice in the gifts everyone brings," she remarked.
Warm-up speakers prior to the presentation of the Blossoms Forever awards included emcees Becky Noble and Sue Zweiener, BP Education president Mark Larkoski, Blooming Prairie Public Schools Superintendent Chris Staloch and former superintendent Erv Peterson.
Larkoski announced that the BP Ed Foundation has made $945,000 since its existence and has donated $840,000 to enhance educational opportunities for students.
"Blooming Prairie is a special place," said Larkoski.
Some of the Ed Foundation's contributions include: S.M.A.R.T. Rooms for those in K-grade 3; promethean activboards, technology upgrades for the elementary and high schools, spelling bee sponsorship, collegiate band symposium and digital recording studio, special education speaking dictionary, scientific and cultural field trips for grades K-12, robotics, iPads for grades K-6, Lego STEM kits, flexible seating, lab equipment for science department and school garden start-up.
Staloch praised the efforts of the BP Ed Foundation, saying he was "extremely proud" of Blooming Prairie schools.
The superintendent said the Ed Foundation "has been a big part" in the successes enjoyed by the students and staffs at Blooming Prairie schools.
He said technology has played a key role in the school's education programs.
Many great things have been accomplished with the help of the BP Ed Foundation, said Staloch. "There are still challenges ahead and we are very grateful for the funding we receive from the Ed Foundation," he added.
Staloch said the Ed Foundation funding has been welcome because the school district receives 30% less funding than it did in 2003.
"Blooming Prairie's schools are a great place to work and a great place for our students to learn," said Staloch. He praised the school board for the proud tradition it has created by setting the bar higher.
Former Superintendent Erv Peterson attended the Blossoms Forever banquet and gave a historical perspective of how the BP Ed Foundation was founded 20 years ago. Peterson, Frank Henefield and Tamzen Johnson were instrumental in founding the foundation.
"You folks are outstanding and many said 'yes' when we asked them to help organize an educational foundation," remarked Peterson.
Distinctive awards were the first recognition to be given. Amy Noble Seitz, great niece of Capt. Ted Schreier, recounted Schreier's part of piloting a B-36 bomber airplane presumably carrying a nuclear weapon. Schreier was a member of the Class of 1933.
Margaret Noble, Schreier's niece accepted the posthumous distinctive award for Schreier's family.
Lyle Noble introduced Distinctive winner Tom Burke, Class of 1961. He said Burke has conducted more than 10,000 Angus sales. Burke thanked those responsible for his receiving the award. "I didn't get here by myself," he said.
"The richness of where we grew up is what made us who we are," Burke commented. "A handshake tells it all, and I am proud to be a Blossom," he said with sincerity.
The third distinctive winner, Shannon (Pfeifer) Kruckeberg, was unable to attend. She sent a note, saying she "loves" what she does, mainly working with the dental industry.
Tammy Bissel introduced her father, Al Morton, as a winner of a male athlete Hall of Fame award. "This all happened 73 years ago," he said. "It's been a good life," he affirmed.
Mary Worke introduced her husband John Dale Worke as a male athlete Hall of Fame award winner. Worke said athletics has been his life for over 40 years. He was BP recreation director and coached at the high school for 22 years.
H. Peterson, former BP golf coach, introduced Lisa Meshke as a female athlete Hall of Fame member. She was a star golfer, making it to the state tournament six times and winning it all in her senior year. She also played basketball. Meshke is now a pastor of a Lutheran church in Tyler, Minn.
Meshke said she was very thankful for the opportunities that Blooming Prairie High School helped her achieve.
Final award winner on the evening was Diane Anderson, honored educator. She taught 22 years in the BP school system and recently retired. She was nominated by her former principal, Chris Staloch and by elementary secretary Julie Naatz.
"We have great schools in Blooming Prairie and have a community that supports us," Anderson said.