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Grand Forks seniors go out with Blast: 'Life's a Beach'

"We always knew that looking back on our tears would bring us laughter, but we never knew that looking back on our laughter would bring tears." That's the motto of the East Grand Forks Senior High class of 2008. They are getting their diplomas du...

"We always knew that looking back on our tears would bring us laughter, but we never knew that looking back on our laughter would bring tears."

That's the motto of the East Grand Forks Senior High class of 2008. They are getting their diplomas during graduation ceremonies this evening in the East Grand Forks Civic Center. And there will be a parting- of-ways party afterward at Liberty Lanes.

In homes on both sides of the Red River, there are graduation parties with sloppy joes, cupcakes, potato salad, bars, cakes and a few pickles. On Sunday, graduation ceremonies are planned in the Alerus Center for Central and Red River High School seniors. Sacred Heart graduates also will get their diplomas Sunday afternoon.

And away they go -- more than 700 in Greater Grand Forks -- with a message that rings true throughout the ages:

"This is not the end; it is the beginning."

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It is the last time the seniors will all be together, and it is fitting that parents around Grand Forks are carrying on the custom of holding the Senior Blast. The theme this year is "Life's a Beach." The alcohol-free party for all graduating seniors will be held from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Sunday in Gambucci Arena. Cost is $15 per student -- a small price to pay for four hours of food, prizes and games.

Co-chairmen for this year's Blast are Joyce Muz for Central High and Mary Soergel for Red River. Muz said it could not take place without the support of the community. Donations large and small have come from businesses, parents, service organizations and churches. The people who have watched the seniors grow up are sending them off in style.

School's out in Grand Forks today, and the kids come home with rumpled notebooks and broken crayons. A fresh new round of school supplies will be in order when school starts again Aug. 20.

A visit to the Myra Museum and historical buildings that surround it has become a tradition in May for several area schools. Leah Byzewski, director of the Grand Forks Historical Society, welcomes children to the Campbell House and tells them about the way things were when wheat farmer Tom Campbell and his family lived in that house. She shows them the butter churn and kerosene lamp.

She has been getting volunteer help from Bonnie Cameron, known as "The Story Lady." Cameron tells children who visit the old Blooming Township School how things were in the olden days. She talks about the maps that used to be in all one room schools and the shelf where the students stored their lunch pails.

Inside the Myra Museum, former director Ted Jelliff often talks as a volunteer to children about the French fur trappers and the steamboats that were here in the beginning of Grand Forks. He takes them downstairs and shows a model as he tells them about the Metropolitan Opera House of long ago and of the first 50 years of hockey in Grand Forks.

Ask Marilyn

Q. A reader in Fisher, Minn., asks how to find Rush Limbaugh on the radio.

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A. Nobody in this market area is carrying Rush, although he is on KFYR Bismarck, KRRZ Minot and KKBJ Bemidji. When the new regional station WZFN, to be run by Scott Hennen, is up and running this summer, it will carry Rush Limbaugh on 1100 AM.

Callie, Eric, Tim

Cheerful people of the week: Callie Ronkowski and Eric Sondag. Runner up: Tim Wynne.

Reach Hagerty at (701) 772-1055 or send e-mail to mhagerty@gra.midco.net .

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