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Students put to pen the community’s Bears that shine | News

Six area students were chosen as winners of this year’s Manitou Days Student Writing Contest. 

This year’s theme was “Bears that Shine” celebrating those who inspire students in the community.

The winners are not ranked. Winners were each given $50 from the White Bear Lake Rotary Club. They were thrown a pizza and pool party at the White Bear Lake Country Inn and were invited to walk in the Manitou Days Grande Parade.

Congratulations to: Otter Lake Elementary fourth grader Bella Bussiere; Central Middle School sixth grader Grace Conroy; Vadnais Heights Elementary fourth grader Brynn Gamradt; Matoska International Elementary first grader David Harman; Lakeaires Elementary first grader Gianluca Rio; and Central Middle School sixth grader Aida Thiam. 

Following is the students’ writing:

We learn the lessons that they teach

They teach us history, math and speech

The teachers love us one and all

They will catch us if we fall

The school district of White Bear

Makes a difference that is rare

They grow our body and our mind

Our teachers are caring and also kind

You teach us from September to spring

Thank you teachers for everything!

It’s great to know how much they care

I’m proud to say I’m from White Bear

They make a difference everyday

They’re Bears that Shine, wouldn’t you say?

When I think of Bears that Shine, I think of Rheanna O’Brien. Not only is she the board president of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society, she also teaches middle school social studies at Frassati Catholic Academy in White Bear Lake. Rheanna was my fifth-grade social studies teacher and I had a blast learning about U.S. history and immigration. During class, we did fun and interactive activities instead of worksheets and lectures. One of my personal favorites was when we did an “Antiques Roadshow” and everyone brought in a family artifact. From this activity, I learned more about my family history and got to hear the stories of my classmates’ families.

In addition to teaching, Rheanna O’Brien is the board president of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society. She has encouraged me to volunteer during multiple Historical Society events, and it was so much fun! I met new people in my community and learned so much about the history of White Bear. Last year Rheanna received a grant to travel to Washington D.C. and study Cass Gilbert’s connection to the White Bear Township Town Hall. She searched through sketches and other primary sources in hopes to design a curriculum to teach kids about the amazing history of White Bear Lake. Between the positive impact she makes on her students and saving history for White Bear Lake, Rheanna O’Brien is a Bear that shines. 

My sister Bear that shines

My sister Meghan Gamradt is a Bear that shines. Meghan and her friend started a nonprofit called Creations4acause. They made nail art, paintings on canvases, coasters, and printed shirts all related to Minnesota. They sold their products at Heritage Days in Vadnais Heights. The money they raised went to a organization in our community called Solid Ground. Solid Ground is a place for people to stay for about two years until they are able to find a home. 

Another thing Meghan has done with some friends is collected donations of food and personal hygiene products. They handed these items out to people on the street in St. Paul. 

Meghan and her friend have also put together a spaghetti dinner. The money they raised from the dinner was donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. That is why in my opinion Meghan is a Bear that shines. I think my sister is pretty awesome! 

Have you ever wondered who the people are with the blue clothes and a shiny silver star? Well your question is about to be answered! These people are called police officers! Police officers help and protect us in many different ways. Here are some of them. First, they protect us from robbers and criminals. Second, whenever I see a police officer at a car accident I know it will be okay! Third, my grandpa is allergic to wasps. Once he was stung because of the allergic reaction. He was unconscious. My neighbors called 911. It was ok!

These are the reasons that I think police officers are awesome community helpers!

My name is Gianluca and I am writing to tell you about a group of friends that shine and make a difference in our community. They call themselves the  ̈ Trash Pickers ̈ and this is what they do. They wear white t-shirts with name  ̈Trash Pickers ̈ on it. They go around my neighborhood and Spruce Park picking up trash. This is good for our environment and helps keep our earth clean. The  ̈Trash Pickers ̈ are helping our community stay clean. Especially at Spruce Park where a lot of kids play. This keeps kids safe from broken glass bottles or other sharp objects. Hopefully others will make up a trash picking group in their neighborhood and we can all be Bears that shine. 

As I take a stroll through the…

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