The theme for this year’s Kenyon Public Library learning program is “Tails & Tales!” Young people of the Kenyon area are urged to participate by doing book reports, challenge sheets, and boredom busters that may be picked up at the library. For learners completing activities, prizes will be awarded.

The kickoff for the summer learning program is scheduled to take place in the form of a Fairy Tale Ball at the Kenyon Depot Park from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the morning of Friday, June 4, 2021.

Participants are encouraged to dress like their favorite fairy tale character or Disney character.

This event is recommended for toddlers to upper elementary-aged people, although all ages are welcome to attend. Children age seven or younger must be accompanied by an adult or teenage caregiver.

The library staff has planned a fun morning of activities, including project stations and a scavenger hunt.

Those attending are asked to bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on during some of the planned events.

The popular STEM stations of the past are back on Wednesdays during June from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library. These STEM projects are designed for those who are age 8 and older.

All programs and activities during the summer learning program are free of charge and have educational goals to support the love of reading and learning.

Contact the library staff at 507-789-6821 with questions concerning this program.

End of the school year

Every year the end of the school year is a welcome time for students. As a classroom teacher in the middle of April, I could see the pupils were mentally tired and in need of a few weeks off from the intense learning that began back in Sept. with excitement and enthusiasm.

Last fall, there was considerable concern by various adults about students wearing face masks and following an unprecedented protocol caused by a pandemic. During the year, most learners at all levels were compliant about wearing masks and trying to social distance themselves. The young people valued being in a school building.

This year has been like none other for the professional and support staff, and I hope we do not see one like it again. From the start, teachers had to adapt to teaching to a camera and standing in one place. Every Thursday, the new COVID report brought the uncertainty of what type of learning platform would be used in the future.

The staff of K-W Public Schools deserves recognition and a thank you from the patrons of the K-W district for their dedication to providing the best possible education for our students. They are mentally burned out and need the time over summer to recharge for next year.

K-W graduation

Fifty years ago, as the Class of 1971 marched into the Kenyon High School gym, it marked the first time KHS graduation was held on a Sunday afternoon. Superintendent Arlen Johnson had made the recommendation for Sunday graduation in March of 1971. Before this time, graduation ceremonies were held on a weekday, usually Thursday evening.

Another tradition that started that day was the presentation of a golden school bell by Superintendent Johnson to Maurice Flom, retiring school board member, recognizing his 21 years of service as a board member of the Kenyon Schools.

Since then, retiring school board members have been presented with a school bell inscribed with their years on the K-W School Board.

Red Cross blood drive

St. Michael’s Catholic Church will be the location for the local blood drive scheduled from 1 to 7 p.m. June 7.

At this time, there are three remaining appointment times available. Those times may be seen at the American Red Cross website, redcross.org, under the Find a Drive tab.

Donating blood makes a difference in the lives of others; people with scheduled appointments are asked to keep them.

Historical Society

The annual meeting of the Kenyon Area Historical Society is scheduled to take place on Monday, June 7, at the Gunderson House. All current members and those interested in joining the organization are invited to a 6 p.m. meal, furnished and hosted by the KAHS Board.

After the meal, a short meeting will review the past year’s events, and an event schedule for this year will also be presented.

The evening will conclude with those in attendance having the opportunity to view a variety of Kenyon artifacts and pictures from local private collections and the KAHS collection.

5 Rivers Online School

During the last year, there have been many groundbreaking adaptations to our lives, most notably maintaining connections through technology. As we come out of the other side of this pandemic, some of these new skills will remain with us.

Like all industries, schools need to adapt to changes in society to meet the needs of those who are being educated. Over the last 50 years, there have been numerous discoveries made to meet the needs of students. Those innovations are now part of the world of education and teaching.

This past year of virtual learning has become a new way of delivering an education to students.

Some of them and their families have found that the virtual learning environment fits their learning style.

To meet the need for virtual learning, the Goodhue County Education District (GCED) has developed 5 Rivers Online School. This comprehensive and supplemental online school is open to any K-12 learner from the GCED member schools of Cannon Falls, Goodhue, Kenyon-Wanamingo, Lake City, Red Wing, and Zumbrota-Mazeppa.

Traditional brick-and-mortar schools that we are familiar with from the past will still offer the most significant benefit for most students. In-person learning provides students with an education and allows them to develop social skills needed to survive in our society.

Families from K-W considering 5 Rivers Online are urged to meet with local administrators and teachers to determine if this educational platform is appropriate for the student.

Information about the 5 Rivers Online School is available at 5riversonline.org.

Memorial Day

Last week the roll of the K-W Band drum line was heard coming down Third Street. The band was practicing marching for the Memorial Day parade, but they were on their traditional mission to get to Kenyon Senior Living. The band turned onto State Street and played for the residents in the Kenyon Sunset Home dining room. After that, they marched down Third Street and played outside the Gunderson Garden dining room.

After a gray, rainy Sunday, Memorial Day dawned sunny and bright. Under almost perfect weather, the residents of the Kenyon Area honored veterans at Memorial Day exercises at the Kenyon Cemetery.

Hakon Torjesen, a United States Army veteran, shared his story of growing up in China during World War II and his adventure after the war of coming to the United States.

With no formal remembrance last year, the VFW honored veterans who had passed the previous two years.

It is always interesting the number of people with Kenyon connections that return for this special day. After the program, it is a tradition for people to visit as they leave the cemetery following the program.

Memorial Day in Kenyon is small-town America at its finest.

Kevin Anderson is a guest columnist for The Kenyon Leader.

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