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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow ISLAND CITY HONORS STUDENT ACHIEVEMENTS



By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

ISLAND CITY — Students and parents clapped, gave standing ovations, and shared lots of hugs Wednesday morning as Island City Elementary put on a final awards ceremony to say good job and goodbye to students, staff and parents.

The awards ceremonies at the county's elementary schools are part of the final days of each school year, but the one at Island City makes a point of highlighting more than school activities and achievements.

For four years, the school has honored a "graduating" sixth-grader with a Community Service Award.

The award, named for Lowell Beeman of Island City, is to recognize youngsters who demonstrate the merits of "giving back to the school and community," explained Principal John Tolan.

"These are very positive kids," he said of this year's award winners, who he described as "very valuable to this school."

"These kids step forward," explained school counselor Sandi Donnelly.

Beeman himself, who presented the awards, told the collected school students and community adults that "this is the only time I've ever been able to talk in school and not get in trouble," before explaining how lucky Americans have ways to show their thanks.

Beeman, a frequent visitor at the school as a volunteer firefighter, a member of the Island City city staff, and as a community volunteer, told the gathered students that his grandmother had attended Island City Elementary in 1908, his mother in 1925, and he started his school career there in 1949.

"My family says, ‘Go Rams!'," Beeman said to the audience's laughter.

Keeping it secret until the last second, Beeman described this year's two winners of the Community Service Award, Chrissie Younggren and Amanda Hartell, as students who promote school activities throughout the community, help purchase Christmas gifts for needy families, who put together food baskets for the firefighters to give to needy families and who have donated time to walking dogs at the animal


Younggren, Beeman said, is the youngest in her family, and is following in her brother, Jeremy's footsteps. Jeremy Younggren won the award the first year it was presented, in 1999. Of note, Chrissie Younggren last year collected 1,000 food items for the school's community food drive.

Hartell, the co-winner of the award, was as involved in school activities as Younggren, but added church work to her list of accomplishments, donating money and school supplies for missions in Africa.

Before presenting the Community Service Awards, teachers recognized students for being especially helpful, empathetic to others, successful learners, hard-working, respectful, and in each class, risk-takers.

Other students were honored for their attendance, academic improvement, participation with student government, and for the work they did with the Ram Pride school cleanliness and maintenance


Certificates were also given to those parents who worked closely with the school, and to members of the Parent-Teachers Organization.

Reach T.L. Petersen at tpetersen@lagrandeobserver.



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