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MARILYN HAGERTY: Area students offer different view on winter, life

Winter's coming. Well, bring it on. That's what fourth-graders at Holy Family-St. Mary's School were thinking with the first hint of snow Friday. They say you can build snow men. You can drink hot chocolate. You can guide your sled down the dike ...

Winter’s coming. Well, bring it on.

That’s what fourth-graders at Holy Family-St. Mary’s School were thinking with the first hint of snow Friday.

They say you can build snow men. You can drink hot chocolate. You can guide your sled down the dike along Lincoln Park. But you have to be careful. You could bite your tongue off if you hit too much of a bump.

I got a different look at life when I visited with a dozen students who are 9 or 10 years old. Their teacher is Trish Mohr, who reaches out and welcomes community members to visit her class.

Mohr started teaching in Bismarck, where she attended the University of Mary. She has been at Holy Family since 1980. She and her husband, Don Mohr, have three children: Thomas, a junior at University of Mary; Kathleen, a senior, and James, a junior at Red River High School.


“The big downer in teaching today,” Morh says, “is there is not enough time to do everything that is out there. They are doing pre-algebra in kindergarten!”

Then there are video games and smart phones. “They’re not all bad,” Mohr says, “but we don’t allow their use in school. Still we know students need to keep in contact with their parents to know when they are getting home.”

She wonders how the written and oral language will survive video games. “Kids still have temptations, and they are hard. We talk about what we are doing for the common good.

“We talk about truth and mercy,” Mohr said.

Beyond that, her students are quick with answer to every day questions. They will tell you what scares them. One girl is afraid of flu shots, although she found that wasn’t too bad. Another boy was worried about bullying, but it hasn’t happened. Still another is scared of spiders, and another is scared when whistles blow in a small town. Then there are scary movies on television.

Mohr’s students are looking ahead to Halloween. Gillian Riskey loves sledding, skating and making snow angels. Like Elizabeth Tjellesen, she looks forward to having hot chocolate when she is really cold.

When it comes to the future, they have plenty of ideas.

  • “I want to be a nurse practitioner because my mom and an aunt and grandma are nurses.” – Jessica Vigen
  • “I would like to take care of cats, dogs, birds, fish and hamsters.” – Elizabeth Siemers.
  • “I want to be a teacher because I like to learn about things.” – Brianna Peterka
  • “I would like to be a vet because I love animals.” – Katelyn Hinschberger
  • “A football player – or some other sport like baseball – because it’s fun for me.” – Jack Bidwell.
  • “An engineer, because I am a future man, and I’m going to make the future vehicles.” – Jack Sommers
  • “A marine biologist or vet. I love animals and I love the ocean.” – Madeline Elseth
  • “I would like to be a meteorologist. I like studying weather, so I think it would be fun to use weather instruments.” – Abigail Zwilling
  • “A newspaper person or an airplane flyer. I like to read and write, and I like being heights.” – Isaak McHugo.

Sometimes, problems are solved in grade school. Shayleigh Hanson has said she wanted to be a police officer with a dog because she wanted to be a vet and a police officer. So her mother suggested she could be a police officer with a dog.

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