Volume 124, Number 17
Wildcats girls are No. 1 again
The Benson County Wildcats girls’ track team brought home the Class B first place trophy from the 2007 ND state track meet Saturday. These 11 girls placed in almost every event they qualified in, earning a total of 94? points, well ahead of second place Rugby. The cold, windy conditions in Bismarck didn’t keep the girls from performing their best. In 2005 the co-op (Leeds-Maddock-Minnewaukan) won its first state championship, followed by a second place finish in 2006.
The reigning champs are, front row, left to right, Kendra Leibfried, Erin Leier, Bobbi Grann, Jordan Callahan, Mackenzie Bullinger and Allison Manley. Back row, left to right, Jessie Schwanke, Sharisa Yri, Lindsay Anderson, Kaia Pranke and Katrece Thompson. The girls are coached by the 2007 state girls’ coaches of the year, Jeff Manley and Bobby Hoffner. More pictures and the complete story on the state track meet will appear in next week’s issue. (Photo by Donna Grann)
Leeds native earns unique honor
Editor’s note: The following article concerns Leeds native Julie Rodakowski, a 1967 graduate of Leeds High School. She is the daughter of the late Quentin and Juliet Maristuen.
BY MIKE DOUGHERTY
The Post-Bulletin Rochester, Minn.
Julie Rodakowski didn’t set out as an English and communications instructor to build an award-winning resume. But things add up when you spend more than 25 years teaching students and looking for new challenges.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) did their own resume addition and awarded Rodakowski of Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) the first-ever Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching. It was just one of three awarded to instructors in a system with about 18,000 full- and part-time faculty members. RCTC President Don Supalla wasn’t surprised.
"It’s nice when you see one of your best recognized as one of the best of the best in the state," Supalla said. "Minnesota has quite a reputation for high quality education and teachers, so we consider her one of the best in the nation."
Dr. Rodakowski said she wasn’t sure how she would fare, but sat down one weekend afternoon to sort through her portfolio to see if she could assemble the necessary information. She found it.
It was sort of a stroll down memory lane and a reminder to Rodakowski of how she works on a project.
"I tend to grab something, absorb it for five to seven years, get it on solid footing and then pass it on to keep it going," Rodakowski said.
As an instructor, she has taught at Oxford University, studied as a Fulbright scholar in India and volunteered in Tanzania.
Close to home, she initiated the Common Book event, a visiting scholars program and a faculty lecture series.
"I feel like we’re such a hidden gem here that there’s much to highlight among our faculty and students," Rodakowski said.
And yet, she hasn’t held on to all of the programs she’s helped launch.
"There are so many talented people here, so it’s easy to hand things off, because you know it’s going into good hands," she said. "With the Common Book program, it’s been taken way beyond what I could have imagined."
For Rodakowski, it seems the challenge is in the idea, the creation and the early struggles.
"I remember getting the honors program for students going and selling May baskets to help fund a trip to the national meeting for our students to present," she said.
Rodakowski also has pushed for programs that go beyond the traditional. She taught full-time online while her husband was in Boston. And she established Spanish online at RCTC, as well as establishing language classes in Arabic and Chinese.
"With most of my work, I never intended to move on, but at some point I discover something else and the timing works," Rodakowski said.
In her case, it’s worthy of an award, the MnSCU board said.
Comments from the Rochester Community and Technical College Web site
Julie Rodakowski has taught at Rochester Community and Technical College for more than 25 years with teaching techniques, use of technology, enthusiasm, and frequent innovations that keep her delivery fresh and improvements continuous. She is recognized by her students and colleagues for excellent teaching, but the breadth of her co-curricular activities also make her an exciting person to study and work with in ways that improve the college and the community.
For example, although she teaches English, her foreign-language experience led the college to become the first in the system to offer world language totally online; she also helped lead the college to introduce both Arabic and Chinese as new language offerings. Rodakowski was the first faculty member at the college to teach entirely online.
Rodakowski’s interest in assessment has caused her to continually refine rubrics to guide students in their educational development. She has used her experience in K-12 education — where she first began as a French and English teacher — to help in formation of the Rochester Area Council of Teachers of English, where secondary and postsecondary instructors identify common teaching issues and foster better working relationships between high schools and colleges.
She conducted the college’s pilot of the Educational Testing Center’s grading course software and utilizes Classroom-Assessment-Techniques to measure day-to-day instructional effectiveness. Her striving for excellence is evident in her work as the developer of the college honors program. As the author of Easy as Toast: A Guide to Tasty Writing, Julie shares her strategies to help students to improve their writing.
Julie Rodakowski has traveled the world, teaching and studying on three continents. Her experiences in England, Tanzania and on a Fulbright seminar in India have provided valuable insights for internationalizing the curriculum at the college.
Not only does Julie cross boundaries — national, disciplinary and institutional — but she is able to break them down. Her teaching prepares students with communication, language, writing and technology skills for success in a global 21st-century Minnesota.
Dr. Julie Rodakowski
Earns GED diploma
Brandie Duran of Leeds is pictured with Dr. Wayne Sandstead as she is recognized for completing her GED. The Devils Lake Adult Learning Center celebrated its GED graduation in honor of the 40 students who completed their high school equivalency this year at Lake Region State College. Doug Darling, vice president for instructional services, was the master of ceremonies. Eddie Army was the guest speaker and Erin Wood presented financial awards for all students who will attend Lake Region State College.
Team breaks record
Kendra Mackey’s 4×4 relay team at the Hobart Middle School in Painesville, Ohio broke the school record with a run of 4:35. That bested the old record of 4:43 that stood for 18 years. The school will be demolished this year, so this will be a permanent record for that school. Eighth grader Kendra has Esmond roots. Her grandmother is Jeannette Arnold of Esmond and her mother is Michelle Arnold Mackey. Left to right are Karina Razo, Kendra Mackey, Tyler Tibiyan and Sierra Aston. Kendra will be running for Harvey High School in Painesville next year as a freshman.
Braun to attend NDSU in the fall
Ross Braun has been admitted to NDSU "With Distinction" for the 2007 fall semester. "With Distinction" means NDSU is acknowledging him as an honor student. He plans to major in landscape architecture. In high school Braun was senior class president, FFA president and band section leader. He was also active in the National Honor Society, football, golf, Teens Against Tobacco Use and FCCLA. He is the son of James and Susan Braun of Leeds.
Team wins title
The Foss Trucking team won the men’s bowling championships at Maddock Cafe & Lanes for the 2006-07 bowling season. Left to right are team members Wayne Aanderud, Lee Simon, Scott Foss and Ryan Knatterud.
500 attend benefit
On May 6 more than 500 people attended a benefit for Becky Wald of Maddock, a victim of cancer. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans provided supplemental funding and St. Williams Catholic Church members and friends and relatives from many communities donated hundreds of hours to support a successful benefit. Left to right are Gary and Becky Wald and Louise and Ralph Olson, representing Benson County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.