June 8, 2018: Graduation

Hello, Black River Falls Community!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson with the School District of Black River Falls here to share this week’s installment of our Spotlight on Schools.  This week, as we wrap up the school year, I’d love to highlight the Class of 2018 and tell you a little bit about their plans moving forward. Graduation is one of those incredibly special days of the year that seems to symbolize the complete cycle of the work we do.  From the first days of school in the fall when we welcome our youngest students at Forrest Street Early Learning Center, it seems to build up to the Sunday after our last day of school when we come together as a community to celebrate our graduates.

So what are the plans of this graduating class?  I’ll tell you one thing, their plans got a little bit easier when our incredibly generous community rewarded them with over $75,000 in scholarship funds which were spread out between approximately fifty of the students.  

Of these students, there are forty that have said they are going to a four-year university, most in Wisconsin, but some are venturing out of state to Minnesota or a bit further; 27 are headed to a two-year college; and four of them are already working under some type of an apprenticeship experience in which they will be both working and attending school for training in their trade.  The Class of 2018 has 14 students that have made commitments to one of the armed forces. What an exceptional way to serve our community and country! When we send these graduates off from their ceremony on Sunday afternoon, June 10, from Tiger Stadium, there is much to be proud of! We send them off to explore, take chances, spread their wings, and then invite them to please come back and help to continue to invest in our fantastic community!  

As we wrap up the 2017-2018 school year, we do it with a great sense of pride.  As always this year brought us some shining moments, and most recently, a challenge. As many of you have likely heard there was a threat made at the HS level last week that made cause for some true community collaboration.  I wanted to take a moment to share my heartfelt gratitude with so many for the assistance that we received during this time. The morning in question found each of our five school sites with a law enforcement presence well before any students arrived.  The middle school and high school campus was likely one of the safest places in the state of Wisconsin that day! Black River Falls City Police Chief Kelly Bakken offered the full extent of her department, as did Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera.  We had the help of several canine units and even a couple of State Troopers. I fully recognize the amount of resources that were invested into making it OK for our students to come to school that day. It spoke volumes about where the priorities are within our community: with our students and families.  I am also extremely proud of our staff and their response to a stressful situation. The relationships they have built over the year with their students was the difference maker for so many students getting over their fears and concerns.

You may have heard about state grants for school safety. The district is eligible for $80,000 in grant funds, and if successful, we are anxious to improve our surveillance cameras within our buildings as well as install an emergency button in each office that automatically notifies the authorities of an imminent threat or danger. It is the equivalent of dialing 911 and notifying the authorities of your location with the push of a button.  Along with this work, our buildings always get a good clean and polish during the summer months as well.

There are lots of exciting activities over the summer months!  We hope that you and your family have the opportunity to spend some quality time together on adventures and making memories to last a lifetime!  

As always, if you have any questions about this or anything else over the summer months, remember that while the schools are no longer staffed, the district office is open and will try to answer any questions you may have!  We’ll be back with spotlight messages starting mid-August as we get geared up for another year! Have a fantastic summer and don’t forget to show your Tiger Pride in all that you do!

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