Letters School facilities reflect community values

To the editor:

Just under two years ago, my wife and I were considering a move to Vermillion. Upon arriving, I first went to the Chamber offices and asked questions about the future and potential growth of Vermillion. Since I had other opportunities of employment, moving here would be determined on how we liked what we saw as a community. We would be moving from a community with a population of over one million, so we wanted to be sure that we could make the transition without doing a lot of comparison.

I appreciated the enthusiasm with which those at the Chamber shared their vision for Vermillion. We like the idea of being a town with a diversity that comes when you are home to a university. The new businesses that had recently chosen to locate here were also a positive sign that things were moving and good change was occurring.

The final positive example came when we drove through the neighborhoods and noticed the way in which the school facilities had been built and maintained. The grounds were neat surrounding each of the school locations. We were most impressed with the middle school. It looked like it was the most recently built facility and equaled anything we had seen in the larger city where we lived.

Carol and I both agreed that it spoke volumes to us when we saw that this community cared enough about their children's education and future to provide for them the very best that they could. Knowing that it took dedication and sacrifice on the part of the residents of this school district to accomplish this told us that this was a citizenry that had their priorities in order.

On April 13, we will have the opportunity to continue the excellence by voting yes for the school bond issue. It will take sacrifice and dedication, but it will be worth the cost. I want to thank the Vermillion Public School system for doing such an excellent job of not only educating our children, but in putting forth an important, positive image about our community. We are thrilled that we, too, can be a part of this worthwhile endeavor.

Randy T. Stoecker

Pastor Cornerstone Church


Information sought on WWII casualties

To the editor:

Eighth-graders at Spearfish Middle School in Spearfish have started a Wall of Remembrance and Memorial Book project in an attempt to honor the fallen soldiers of South Dakota in World War II. Students have each chosen a man to research and memorialize from a basic list compiled by the WWII History Commission and provided to us by the Veteran's Affairs Office in Pierre.

According to this list, 1,594 men from South Dakota died as the result of enemy action in operational zones, 25 of these men from Clay County. As an on-going authentic learning task, students have done Internet searches and written letters to potential next-of-kin in an effort to find out more about these men's lives and deaths.

There does not appear to be a definitive, personal record of these men who gave the ultimate sacrifice for America. In Clay County, we are currently looking for information on Army Pfc. Emil E. Hendricks.

Eighth-graders at SMS will be continuing this project in subsequent years, so if you would like to correspond about these or any other Clay County casualties, we will eventually include them in our project. You may contact us by writing to Spearfish Middle School, c/o Mrs. Sheila Hansen, at 1600 Canyon Street, Spearfish, SD 57783. Thank you.


Sheila Hansen

Banquet shares food, lifts spirits

To the editor:

The Welcome Table is a heart warming rendition of the history of the Sioux Falls Banquet by Jo Vaughn Gross. The title Welcome Table captures the essence and meaning of the Banquet in Yankton. For it is at the table sharing food and conversation with others that we will become better people and community is formed.

Community is what the Yankton Area Banquet is about each Thursday evening at the United Church of Christ � Congregational Pilgrim Hall. The table is set, the welcome sign is out and the numbers are growing.

The feeling of warm welcome is evident from the first step into the building as volunteers greet each guest with a smile and handshake. As someone has said, "My first time at the Banquet, I was hesitant, afraid and not sure how I should act, but each time I come it is more comfortable, easier to smile and now I feel like I belong."

Let me tell you about last Thursday evening. CorTrustBank employees served along with a great bunch of confirmation youth. We served delicious taverns to 220 guests and celebrated six birthdays with delicious cakes.

"Give to others" seems to be a catchy phrase that the Banquet staff frequently hears. We have many guests who each Thursday, when they have eaten and visited, come to the kitchen and ask to take a meal home for someone they know is homebound.

Dozens of meals go out with guests for their neighbors and flowers, too. Last Thursday a lady took home a beautiful rose for a special friend. These are just a few examples of how the Banquet helps us become more sensitive to our neighbors. When someone is good to us we are more eager to extend that goodness to another.

The Banquet is growing not only in numbers and volunteer serving groups (most of 1999 is filled), but in the sense of community and sharing the spirit of Jesus with others, reaching beyond the walls of Pilgrim Hall.

Sister Ann Sherman


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