Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit www.grandforksherald.com.
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Families in need "shopped" at the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo (Minn.) School District earlier this month to help provide Christmas toys for their children. Fourth-grade teacher Stacy Hanson posted a request on the district's Facebook page for donations of gently used toys or winter clothing, and she got a strong response, Elementary Principal Kirk Thorstenson said. "It just kind of exploded," he said. Several tables full of toys and coat racks of clothing were available for families to choose from on Saturday, and Thorstenson said only half a bag was leftover to be donated to the Dakota Boys Ranch
First-graders in Thompson, N.D., are receiving a Christmas surprise Tuesday courtesy of a high school woodshop class. Sophomores and juniors spent a few months designing wooden toys — tractor trailers, tic tac toe boards and planes — that were delivered to younger students. During the process, the students developed their fine motor skills with tools and even created a computerized model for the toy, according to teacher Darwin Potter. First-graders were chosen as recipients because they were still young enough to appreciate toys, he said.
Recent Xcel Energy power outages in Grand Forks have been tied to a major substation upgrade, according to a company spokesman. "We're working to minimize the possibility of long-term outages, but unfortunately, a couple of things that could go wrong did go wrong," said Mark Nisbet, principal manager for North Dakota.
Eighth-grade girls from Grand Forks recently participated in a STEM camp in Fargo, according to the district.
Grand Forks students didn't meet Dasher or Dancer, but they did spend time with a reindeer on Monday. Head Start children had a chance to meet Iggy, a reindeer from Kyle Hoselton's hobby farm in Drayton, N.D. It's the first time the school has had such a visitor, according to staff. Hoselton, who has a son who attends Head Start, just wanted to do something fun, said director Jerry Jonnson. "The kids love it," he said.
Five winners of a contest through the Canadian Pacific Railroad will have $1,000 donated in their names to their local food bank, according to a release. Each year, two trains travel throughout the U.S. and Canada, stopping in towns to offer free concerts and encourage donations to local food banks. The train is scheduled to stop at Thief River Falls and Plummer, Minn., Sunday, among other upcoming stops in the state and North Dakota. Residents can submit up to three photos of the train, its performers or people donating food to the train.
Volunteers delivered packages Friday morning for one of Grand Forks' oldest charities. Every year, the Herald's Santa Claus Girls delivers gifts for children who otherwise might not have the opportunity. About a dozen people showed up Friday to help deliver toys, books and other gifts, said Anita Geffre, the Herald's finance director and charity president. While the number of volunteers was a bit lower than last year, the need was still strong -- about 343 families signed up to receive gifts for children, she said. So far, Santa Claus Girls has received about $10,000 in donations, a little
One Denny's waitress can't stop singing. On a slow Wednesday morning, Dorothy "DeeDee" Downs, 29, gave diners and the Herald a preview of the style she'll be showcasing February at her audition for "The Voice" in Chicago. "I sent in my application," she said.
Gym classes at Grand Forks high schools have been providing more than just a workout. This semester, special education students have joined what’s called a unified class at Red River and Central to expand their social interaction, teacher Lisa Perreault said.
Red River High School students recently collected dozens of shoes as part of a global campaign aimed at fighting poverty. The school unofficially collected 278 pairs of shoes during the Soles4Souls campaign last week, though that number may grow to more than 300, Activities Director Tyler Nelson said. Soles4Souls is a Tennessee-based nonprofit that collects shoes and clothing for distribution to people in need.