The Purple Star Is a Big Deal!

Written by: Rod Wilson

Let’s face it, there are those kids who can walk into a new school and immediately fit into the fabric. They find friends, they are not afraid to get involved, in general they fit in right away. Well, that would not have been me. In our small-town school, the traumatic move was from the grade school building to the high school building, which happened after 8th grade. Yeah, we spent 8 years (no kindergarten back then) in the same school building. We played outside on the same school yard. Walked to and from school with the same friends. And when we did have to move to the high school building, all 47 of use moved together. New school, but not a new class.

When we got a “new kid” in school, it was a big deal. We welcomed the opportunity to have another schoolmate, and more exciting was the opportunity to gain a new classmate. Having never moved from one community to another, I would have been on the welcoming side of the equation. If they were living in town, they were a “town kid”. If they were from the rural area they were a “country kid”. Those country kids would arrive on buses, while us town kids would gather on a certain corner and walk to school.

I am speaking to the choir a bit here, when I talk about the life of a student whose family is tied to the military. On average, these kids move 7 times over their school years. Not only that, but they seldom know anyone in their new school. All new students, all new teachers, all new surroundings…7 times! That’s the reason and the rationale for the Purple Star Award. Each school, and there are 3 receiving the Purple Star Award on Minot Air Force Base, must institute a program that helps bridge the gap for those new students who arrive at a school. The key word here is connect. The Purple Star program help students to connect to their new school.

Our congratulations to School Liaison Program Manager, Joy-Nicole Smith, and the many others who have worked hard to bring the Purple Star to Memorial Middle School, and North Plains & Dakota Elementary Schools. Through the network of Purple Star schools all across the United States, the groundwork is in place for every student to become a part of their new school and to connect quicker and easier.

Let’s Talk Weather
Or maybe we shouldn’t talk weather, because it appears we are headed into a cold spell with below zero temps and double digit below zero wind chills. Face it, we’ve had a great November and December weather wise. A couple of days we didn’t even have to wear jackets. That October snowstorm, well it’s just a memory, as was the snow it brought. On Christmas we traveled to Fargo and encountered pouring rain. The negative side of that scenario is the one inch of ice it left, coating trees, homes, and roads. My nephew in Bismarck was able to get the neighborhood kids together and have a hockey game on a parking lot across the street from his house. Rain does not belong in December!

If I could give Mother Nature a bit of advice, it would be “moderation, moderation, moderation”. We can deal with those below zero temps, but double digit below zero temps with those chilling northwest winds, that makes for those nasty wind chills. You can keep all of that really cold air in Canada where they are used to dealing with it. Of course, we do live in North Dakota, and we are going to experience some of that really cold air, but just for a few days at a time. And then get above zero again. And when precipitation comes, even though I am not a fan of shoveling, snow is better than freezing rain.
Finally, we really don’t need any of those weather “events”. Let’s just have middle of the road, North Dakota weather, Mother Nature. Enough said.

Best Kept Secret(s)
Tubing Is great fun at Bottineau Winter Park! Give it a try. There is always more snow in the Turtle Mountains than in Minot. Plan for a day of tubing, or skiing at Bottineau Winter Park or any of the areas around Minot. FrostFire is just a couple of hours to the east. Huff Hills an hour and a half to the south, and Holiday Mountain is north and east of here in Canada. May as well enjoy the snow, right.
Other Best Kept Secrets: The Minot Minotauros and the MSU Beaver hockey teams are having really great seasons.

Today’s Chuckle
On Christmas day my granddaughter received a “Barbie” doll house. It appeared that it would be my job to put it together with her. (She’s my ONLY granddaughter). In reading the box I found out that there were over 100 action pieces. What ever happened to giving kids ice skates? You know the ones that have 4 action pieces. 2 skates and 2 laces. Then my son delivered the news that a storm front with freezing rain was moving into the Fargo metro area and that if we were going to hit the road, sooner would be better than later. I hated to let my granddaughter down, but…the doll house with 100 action figures was still in the box when we left.

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