Part Two: GMR students open up about their school

GMR thespians play out a scene during the fall musical, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” last November in the GMR High School gym.

Derek Knutson throws to first for the out during a Gator baseball game this past spring in Fosston.

GMR second grade student Savannah Anderson sings during a Christmas concert at the Middle River site last December.

Since the 2015 ballot questions were first introduced, several adults have commented, as reported in The Tribune, on the division they have witnessed in the Greenbush-Middle River School district.    

Some GMR senior students having walked the Greenbush-Middle River halls and graduated this past spring addressed this division.

“People think that we’re not getting along with Middle River kids anymore, but it’s nothing like that,” GMR senior Emily Wicklund said. “… The parents are acting like we’re divided in the school, but we’re not.” 

GMR students from third to twelfth grade discussed the technology opportunities and some different improvements they’d like to see in their school. Sixth to twelfth grade students also discussed their thoughts on issues the district has experienced over the last two years.

New School Building

When asked about a new school building, students had various thoughts. Most of those asked said they would have enjoyed having a new school or having one sometime in the future. Mentioning how a new school would be “nice,” eighth grade Tony Olson, said the conditions in the school buildings are bad. To begin with senior Casey Gram didn’t support a new school, knowing Middle River didn’t want to lose its school building, but as time went on, he began to see the problems within the school and thought something needed to happen to avoid worse problems.

“Now that I’m out of school, I see it (a new building) as a very good opportunity to grow for the community and maybe bring in some new students and get higher enrollment,” Gram said.  

“I thought that (a new school building) would be good because then we don’t have to run two separate buildings and it would bring everyone together,” Katelyn Larson said. “You wouldn’t really have to transport people so much.”

Some had different reactions. Moses Creekmore, having mixed reactions, said he enjoys going to school in Middle River, but if it, a new building, is better than what the students have now, he said that he would most likely enjoy having a new school. Ninth grader Abbie Wagner said she was surprised when the vote for a new school reached the ballot in 2015. 

“They want a new school building, but we have everything we need to get a good education,” Wagner said, mentioning the school’s high academic rankings. “… I know the buildings are old and there could be things that are redone, like the showers in the girls locker room are being done right now…”  

Both the boys and girls locker rooms at the Greenbush site received nine new shower heads as reported during the June school board meeting.

As for a location of a possible new school, some brought up putting it in a central spot. Brenna Dallager mentioned Strathcona and senior Connor Graff said Greenbush, believing it is more centrally located in terms of most of the GMR students coming from Greenbush.

Also believing a new school should be built in a more central location, Larson expressed why, explaining how she lives 40 miles from Greenbush, making for some long nights when she had sports practices. She participated in three sports, having most of her volleyball practices in Badger and basketball practices in Middle River, and having all her softball practices in Greenbush. 

To see the complete story, read the August 2 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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