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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo School Board Honors Girls Bowling Team

Issue Date: April 21, 2021

At the Wednesday, April 14 Peshtigo School District Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Patrick Rau was proud to have the State Championship girls bowling team present at the meeting.

Bowling Coach Tony Strublic said, "This is quite an honor. We have a very very special group of ladies here and I am so proud of them. From the moment they started bowling that Friday, we knew something special was happening. To be the top seed in the tournament is special, to begin with, but to go wire to wire and win the whole thing was fantastic. We couldn't be more proud of these girls and hoping we can get them all back next year and do a repeat, that would be fantastic". Matt Kowalski added, "We couldn't be more proud of the way they bowled and kept their composure, every single girl made it better for their teammates. Even in these times, the support was amazing. There were a lot of people in person along with many people streaming it live". Kowalski added, "Beverly Block finished 10th in singles, she was the first Peshtigo girls bowler to advance out of the first round in the singles. Our program has only been around for five years and to advance to state three years in a row and now to win, shows that how much dedication these girls have is wonderful".

Just as Peshtigo fans and residents supported the bowling team, the same support was shown with letters of support as well as in-person support of the recent referendum that was shy of 13 votes for moving forward with a remodel of the Peshtigo High School / Middle School.

Rachel Raygo, a part of the parent group that said yes to the referendum spoke at the meeting in support of saying, "I would like to thank and commend Patrick, the School Board, the Administration, as well as some other parents. We want you to know to please look at something to carry on, we are not giving up this fight, we have more people behind it, we have more ideas to reach out there, we know what the school district and the city needs and know what our children need. I commend you to look forward and look to the future, it is another hurdle to get over, we will get through it".

Tammy Paoli also spoke in person supporting the referendum, "I would like to thank the members of the School Board, Superintendent Rau, Loren and Doreen of Performance Services, Community members that promoted the facts of this referendum as well as the needs of the high school in so many venues. I really felt this referendum passage was going to convince the voters who were concerned about fiscal responsibility and past attempts. We likely did get some of those no's changed to yes's but it's not good enough. Like many of you, I am also disappointed with the outcome. I ask the Board and the Bulldog community to keep working together to make our middle and high school a better place to learn and teach. Let's continue to demonstrate the need for ADA compliance, HVAC and electrical upgrades, technical and educational opportunities that tie to local manufacturing needs, space for larger athletic events, and supporting arts and security upgrades. These needs are not going away, so let's work together for solutions".

A letter was received at the school from Nicole Berndt, parent of a current seventh grader, 4th grader, and future Bulldog in support stating that the past week was filled with emotions of anger, disheartenment, and sadness to those of hope, optimism, and pride. I am asking the Board of Education not to give up and continue to advocate for my children and the student population on what you and I know is best for the students in their education now and in the future. Our children need an environment that can provide the needed 21st-century skills to be successful in the future both personally and professionally.

A letter from Tricia Kleikamp echoed the thank yous to the various people involved in support of the referendum. Being a mother of four children that are all very different in needs required of a school system. She has witnessed the Peshtigo deficits through a parent's eyes and a student's requests and needs. There are special education needs, online and flexible learning needs, space deficits, music limitations, forensic inadequacies, safer entrances and evacuation changes needed, trades needs, heating, cooling, and ventilation issues, and shortages in electrical and plumbing. I hope the district can find a compromise that bridges the gap between what the school needs and what the community can agree to pay for. I realize Peshtigo may not get everything they need but can settle for the most important of the needs being met and still feel confident in good education and preparedness for the student's future. I am ready to keep trying and I hope you are too.

In her letter, she also included her children's point of view reflecting their disappointment that the referendum did not pass. It is their hope that the school still tries to find a plan as soon as possible so students behind them have it better than they did. Their biggest complaints and most important needs are the lunchroom space, gym space, trades, and tech ed space, popped breakers, and heating and cooling issues. Her son stated, "It is too late for me, but I hope they find a solution soon that will help these things for other students like my little brother".

There was one letter read that had a different twist to the process, written by Marshall Lund and Randy Monnette: "The fourth referendum cycle has now been defeated. There is no cause for celebration because the vote was almost even up, meaning half of the community is for and half against. Maybe the voters are tired of saying no, maybe the public has not seen justification in the cost value of the referendum. What's next? Remodeling an old school into a new school has been voted down as well as a new conventional school. Maybe now is the time to start looking into building a non-conventual school in a new location and start thinking out of the box with a new innovative school. We need to come up with a solution that will satisfy the voters of the Peshtigo School District'.

Superintendent Rau and the school board thanked Loren, Doreen, and all the others from PSI Services for all their hard work and dedication. PSI remains dedicated and committed to the school and wants to continue to help the school out on anything they can help with. The general consensus of the board is there will be another referendum, they just don't know when. A comment was made, We did things right, but we need to get the people to the polls.

An important 51-year sixth-grade tradition will continue this year after skipping a year with the pandemic. Pat Devine was happy to announce that he interviewed many parents and sent out a survey to parents for their thoughts about going forward with the tradition of the Camp Bird outing which will be from May 11 through May 14. The response was overwhelming with parents wanting to send their child to the four-day event with all but one that may not be comfortable with it.

We reviewed the CDC guidelines along with the school district doing really well controlling the pandemic. The students will be by their homeroom families and social distancing will be observed. Busses will also be divided into homeroom groups. If numbers go up we will have to cancel. We have everything in place and the students are really looking forward to it. On the Friday that we are there, we will be doing an amazing race and students will have to do different activities to make it through the race.

This will be Devine's 32nd year and last year, with him retiring at the end of the school year. With a bit of humor, Devine said, "Our kids are Bulldogs, our kids are good, they deserve a chance and we will go, hopefully, nothing goes wrong, but if it does, I am retiring, so you can't fire me".

With the approaching end of the school year, there are other events going on including prom, graduation, senior scholarship awards, seventh-grade canoe trip, and the Washington DC trip.

Peshtigo Middle High School, Chad Sodini, gave an update on Prom, which will be held May 1. The public will not be able to watch in person. Sodini said, "We will be broadcasting the grand march to the public to be able to watch it live. Grand march starts at 7 p.m. and we have our Junior court from last year which will now be our Senior court this year. We will also have a Junior court from this year. We will have our Senior court with senior king and queen along with our Junior court with junior king and queen. After the grand march, the broadcast will be turned off so the kids can dance. Kids will be masked other than walking down the aisle for the grand march, so we can take pictures and provide the families with pictures. The evening will wind up with a very large raffle at 10 p.m. and there will be no post-prom. Peshtigo students that attend prom will be put into the raffle".

Sodini also announced other events, "The next event is May 19, Senior award/scholarship event. This also will be a virtual-only event to be broadcast starting at 6 p.m. Graduation is May 28 at 7 p.m. at the Football field and will be in person with limited attendance in reference to family members and such. Each student will be allowed four people they want to attend. Students will sit on the track with the public in the bleachers. This gives us the best opportunity to control the public and provides the best viewing option. This will also be broadcast to the public starting at 7 p.m. in its entirety. There will not be a full band and possibly not any band. We are still working through things. In the event of rain, we will go into the next day starting at 10 a.m. and go right through the day, if it rains at 10 we will go to 11 and if it rains at 11 we will go to 12 and so on through the day so that those that are coming from out of town will have an opportunity to attend while they are in town.

The seventh grade canoe day trip will still be held with about 15 students with two per canoe. It's outside and should be a really fun trip for the seventh graders. We still have on the agenda for our eighth-grade students to go to Washington DC. The dates are at the end of June. We feel very comfortable working with the company, they have very good Covid policies in place. Parents are still able to opt-out of that trip, but there is still a very strong interest in that trip and we are hoping to still be able to do that event as well.

The resignation of Middle/ High School Band Director Alex Shuffield effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year was approved by the board. Also approved were three hirings including Tammy Lesandrini as PELC Special Education Teacher, Andrea Cornett as Middle/ High School Art Teacher, and Elizabeth "Beth" Rocque as Middle High School Technical Education Teacher.

A donation of $3,000 from the family of Wally Polzin for the establishment of the Wally Polzin Scholarship was approved. Another donation was approved in the amount of $2,000 from Gregory and Cindy Archambault for the PHS Alumni Scholarship. The last donation approved was for $500 from Henry Wagner for Skills USA.

Due to a scheduling conflict for the June 9 board meeting for Rau, the board approved the June meeting to be held the following Wednesday of June 16.


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