Gresham Superintendent/Principal Newell Haffner recognizes graduates of the 2017 class in May
This Saturday a celebration is planned in the Village of Gresham to mark the school district’s 10-year anniversary on its own, after succeeding from the then Shawano-Gresham School District.
Organizers say the celebration is not about proving to Shawano that they were able to sustain their own district, but rather celebrate what Gresham has been able to accomplish along the way.
“Really what this is, is just a time for us to get together and just kind of celebrate what we’ve done as a district to be on our own these 10 years and to come together as a community,” said Gresham School Board member Pat Pleshek. “It’s a way for us to reminisce about where we’ve come, talk about where we’re headed, thank the community for their support and those who have helped us along the way.”
As a parent, Pleshek said the joint district was the best of both worlds-having the options of a more intimate setting in Gresham while having larger opportunities available in Shawano-but he’s pleased with the current state of the Gresham district.
To his knowledge, a community had never before succeeded from an existing school district, but they’ve come a long way during that time.
“It was difficult,” Pleshek said of the transition. “They had some really lean years, but with the help of some administration, some teachers, the community, we were able to weather that storm. Now, from my perspective of being on the school board for just over a year, we’re now financially in a very good spot.”
If Gresham were to fail before the 10-year period, they would have been absorbed back into the Shawano district, according to the state protocol, which is another reason the 10 years is important for the district.
Now that they’ve met that milestone, however, on the chance they would fail from here on out, they’re able to control their next move.
“We could absorb ourselves, maybe we could make arrangements with Menominee [Indian], or Bowler, or whatever,” Pleshek said. “I think that’s another reason why the board wanted to do something at this 10-year mark, to say we’ve reached this threashold.”
While the district is proud of how far they’ve come over the last decade, they also want part of the celebration to be about what’s to come in the future.
“With any district you want to be able to maintain a high level of proficiency with your students. We are looking in the future of addressing some of our building needs.”
The celebration Saturday includes a short opening program, featuring those like Garry Olson, who played a key role in helping Gresham begin their own district.Other activities during the day include 5K run-walk at 9 a.m., with more festivities beginning at 3 p.m., like an alumni vs. staff kickball game, a dance and a potluck dinner.