A big thank you in education
It was a time to look back and say thank you to Blooming Prairie alumni, educators and staff.
The Blooming Prairie Education Foundation's Blossoms Forever group honored two alumni and two staff members at a special BP Ed Foundation annual banquet Saturday night, Sept. 29 at the Blooming Prairie Servicemen's Club.
Accolades and even a bit of a roast greeted the four recipients.
Awards were presented in three different categories:
• Distinctive Service -- Jay Iverson, Class of 1989
• Athletics Hall of Fame -- Dennis Kruckeberg, Class of 1965
• Honored Teacher, Bob Nahlovsky; Honored Staff Member, Peggy Tashima
The banquet is held to celebrate the past and to embrace and encourage Blooming Prairie children and students now and into the future.
Julie Noble, president of the BP Education Foundation, welcomed the 100-plus in attendance and thanked everyone for their contributions over the years. Many alumni attended and became acquainted with former students and staff members.
Sister Franchon Pirkl, gave a very heart warming invocation and prayer.
She offered a prayer of gratitude to the Blooming Prairie community, an "awesome" one at that, she prayed. She thanked the community for being "so generous, joyful and supportive of kids."
She asked for prayers for the Harberts family struck by tragedy with the loss of Rachel, a first grade teacher at Blooming Prairie Elementary School, and of Emerson, her daughter, a third grader.
Prayers were directed to a surviving son and father, Jaxon and Brandon. Pirkl also thanked the military veterans and first responders of the community.
Doug Myers, a 1960 graduate of Blooming Prairie High School, was the program facilitator. He said he and his wife Judy have been together for 70 years. They started first grade together.
Myers said the first Blooming Prairie graduating class counted four graduates.
President Noble gave a short synopsis of the Ed Foundation, saying it makes its money from the banquet and from a charitable auction in March each year. Bequests and memorials are also received.
Teachers make their requests for allocations twice a year, in February and October. The Ed Foundation allocated $69,000 last year.
Three major projects were funded through a Big Ideas Challenge last year with $43,000 accumulated in leftover monies over the years, said Noble.
The Big Idea funds went to an updating of the elementary non-fiction books, purchase of two 3D printers and the implementation of electronic story books. "The school is our center and our art," Noble said.
Nominations are always welcome for the Blossoms Forever awards, said Noble.
Superintendent of Schools Barry Olson thanked the Blooming Prairie Education Foundation for its many contributions over the years. He saluted the community and the school board for its support.
Olson said the Ed Foundation has been instrumental in providing funding for special projects and curriculum in the district. He praised the quality of the Blooming Prairie education staff and of the many programs offered.
Olson said enrollment is growing and is at about 770 for grades kindergarten through 12th grade.
He thanked the community and surrounding communities for their support in light of the recent tragedy that struck the school district.
Each of the four Blossoms Forever honorees was introduced by a presenter and then allowed to make remarks.
BP Elementary School kindergarten teacher Lisa Bruns introduced honored staff member Peggy Tashima. "This is a very special night," Tashima remarked.
She said her son Matt drove from Kansas to be with her at the banquet. She thanked parents for sharing their children who provided smiles, love and lots of hugs.
"Teachers and Mr. Staloch (Chris, principal) have worked so hard and your children are in good hands," Tashima commented.
Superintendent Olson and high school principal John Worke introduced honored educator Bob Nahlovsky. They tag teamed their introduction with Worke mentioning Nahlovsky's involvement in education and in the community and Olson following with true stories.
Nahlovsky praised his wife Joanne and his family for giving him support over the years. She was absent, continuing a trip in Italy.
"I had a great career in Blooming Prairie and can't tell you how much I have loved teaching in this school district," said Nahlovsky.
Distinctive Service Honoree Jay Iverson was introduced by his wife of 23 years, Carol.
He has been very active in the community as a first responder and trainer. "I like to help people and always end up sacrificing something with family but they are supportive of my involvement," said Jay.
"It is a joy for me to help others," Iverson continued. He thanked his employer Minimizer for allowing him to leave work at times to help others. Inverson, a 1989 graduate of BPHS, also praised the local education system.
Bob Tonolli introduced Blossom Athletic Hall of Fame honoree Dennis Kruckeberg. Tonolli praised Kruckeberg for his athletic honors and for being valedictorian of his class.
Tonolli said Kruckeberg was a sharp shooter on the basketball team with over 1,000 points. "If he would have played when the three-point rule was in place, he would have maybe scored 1,500 points,” Tonolli said.
Kruckeberg said he had three pages in a speech he prepared but Tonolli had stolen his thunder. "Thank you," Kruckeberg said simply with sincerity.
"We are all here for our kids," concluded Myers and he ended the program.