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Roosevelt Centennial Celebration a success

Joe Wiegand, who portrays Theodore Roosevelt, addresses the Centennial Celebration on Tuesday at Roosevelt Elementary School, thanking everyone for attending.

Roosevelt Elementary School held its 100th Anniversary Centennial Celebration on Tuesday evening, with people of all ages attending.

Previous alumni showed their Roughrider pride by showing up. Adults whose parents, children or grandchildren went to Roosevelt were there to support their family members as well.

The previous principal of both Roosevelt and Sunnyside Elementary Schools, Curt Medalen, caught up with his previous co-workers and students before the presentation began. He had been at his post from about 1985-2000 prior to his retirement.

As with many other things over time, things have changed drastically in terms of technology. Medalen wants students to learn and remember what it is like to have a face-to-face conversation with their classmates and peers.

“We must not lose the importance of children talking to each other, listening to each other, getting along, the teacher giving instructions, children responding. We must not lose that,” he said.

Former Roosevelt Elementary School principal Curt Medalen sits at a table at the Centennial Celebration before being called to the front of the room on Tuesday.

Jim Schmidt was a student at Roosevelt, attending first through sixth grades, starting in 1964. The biggest change he noted has been the gym. He recalled giving a solo trumpet performance for a talent show in front of the concrete bleachers of the original gym.

“I remember in fifth grade I was taking trumpet lessons and for the talent show, I remember standing in front playing ‘Hello Dolly,'” he said. “I was a nervous wreck. There’s a lot of pressure back then when you’re a kid.”

He also played basketball. His team did not win often, but he was in it for the fun.

Harry Summers, who volunteers at Roosevelt three days a week, said she spent almost every day for the past two weeks at the school getting everything ready for the celebration.

Librarian Caleen Larson welcomed everyone in and showed them through the sign-in process.

Ciara Parizek/MDN Jim Schmidt sits at a table, waiting to see if any of his former classmates would be attending the Centennial Celebration in the Roosevelt Elementary School gymnasium on Tuesday.

Theodore Roosevelt impersonator Joe Wiegand from the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation arrived at the school Tuesday afternoon before the open house. The school held an assembly at which he told the children about who their school was named after. He and a young man who played the role of Roosevelt’s son stood in the old gymnasium and introduced themselves to all who passed by.

The adults and alumni wore red-bordered name tags and the current students wore green-bordered name tags. Between the two buckets of name tags was a box filled with blue and yellow rubber bracelets to commemorate and remember the occasion.

On the very first table, two poster boards were available for signing to show who was there to celebrate.

The turnout was favorable, allowing many people to catch up with one another and see just how much their school has changed over the last several years.

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