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Support unity, community in GFW school vote

To the editor:

I have listened over the past months to mounting negativity towards the plan for a new GFW building. I have also heard many negative comments about GFW Schools. I just want to share some thoughts I have on all of this.

When I was 14 years old, my family moved to the GFW Community. I had lived in Hutchinson my whole life and then in Willmar for one year prior to coming to GFW. Initially, I was not impressed with my parent’s choice on our new place to live. It took me a year to truly embrace the community and start to enjoy small town living.

After adjusting, I loved small town living! When my husband and I got married, we had many conversations about where we wanted to place our roots. In the end, we wanted to raise our family in a small town. I always felt people in small towns became family whether related by blood or not. Everyone had your back and wanted what was best for you.

When I got my teaching license, there was one school I wanted to teach at…GFW! I wanted to give back to the school that taught me the importance of simplicity, of unity and acceptance. When I went to school in the bigger towns, it was about who you were, what you wore and who you were friends with. Here, I always felt accepted by everyone!

Teaching at GFW has been a dream come true. To hear people attacking the school and attacking the teachers breaks my heart!

I didn’t live here when GFW was formed, so all I know is GFW. I don’t know the separation and individuality of each town. I don’t view one town as better than another. I don’t understand the anger and resentment over the past several months. I simply view it as GFW.

I served on the task force that came up with this plan. I wanted to understand what our schools need. I wanted to work to create unity in the communities. Every decision that I made on the task force was guided by two questions important to me: 1. What is best for the kids? 2. What is best for the overall health of the district? (Meaning what will keep GFW thriving for years to come?) My husband and I, along with our four children are graduates of GFW. We all received an excellent education and are all successful, intelligent adults. We made sure that in our household, we stressed the importance of school, of respect and being a lifelong learner.

I’m saddened by the personal attacks over the past several months. I’m disheartened by the number of people who have worked so hard to discredit people that are trying to put out facts. I’m disappointed in the behavior of adults in our communities. As adults,we are supposed to be role models for our youth. I’m devastated by the hatred I have seen thrown at our schools. I always thought that GFW had a ton of support from the communities, but this whole process has shown me how much some people really don’t value what our school is doing and I’m super sad about that.

However, I have also seen amazing support that stands by the school no matter what. The kids have worked hard to prove their worth and many of them have overcome many forms of adversity! I have had the privilege of seeing kids that were stinkers in their youth turn into amazing adults who reach out to others in need! I have seen these same little stinkers turn into role models for the youngsters in the school.

What could one school provide that three cannot? I have had older kids come into my classroom on Fridays and read to the young kids. Older boys have come to the elementary school to play with the kids at recess. A couple weeks ago, I had two football players come into my room and work with a student who doesn’t speak English. They read a book to this student, had a conversation with this student and then played games with them at recess so this student had a sense of belonging. That brought tears to my eyes! If we were in one building, these high schoolers would have opportunities like this all the time! But as of now, it’s on a very limited basis due to the driving element. One building would create unity.

I don’t know if this plan is going to pass. I pray that it does. I truly believe it is the best plan for our kids and for our district. VOTE YES on NOVEMBER 5th!!!

GFW Strong!!

Mandy Blumhoefer

Winthrop

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