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    By: RSM Journalism On December 2, Remsen St. Mary's had its annual Anointing Mass held in the Sandy Augustine Memorial Gym. Some of the elderly were brought over from the nursing homes to join the Mass. Two other priests joined the Mass, as well. The people were blessed by the priest while a student put his or her hand on their shoulder. After that, the band played songs, and everyone stayed to listen. After the Mass concluded, everyone was welcome to eat a hot meal in the cafeteria. The students helped serve those who needed help getting their food.
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    On Friday, November 11 Remsen St. Mary's held a Veterans' Day Service in the Sandy Augustine Memorial Gym. The service began with the advancement of colors and an invocation was led by Father Bill. David Grady then said a poem about a soldier as he reaches the gates of heaven. The guest speaker for this years' service was David Nicks. He spoke about how little comforts are a big deal to deployed soldiers. He told the story of how he fed a whole unit of soldiers in a remote base by filling helicopters when they came to refuel and was rewarded by getting to fly a helicopter. He then became an honoring member of this unit. After David Nicks' speech, the students played a video from Danika Portz called "My Superhero". The video was a music video to honor soldiers and the video was partially shot in the Middle East. After the video, the Armed Forces Medley was played and veterans stood up for the military branch that they served in. The flags were carried out for each branch of the military. Then each veteran in attendance was recognized and stood as their name was read. Tom Augustine read the proper way to fold the American flag while Ted Nothem and Steve Matgen were folding the flag. Mr. Les Douma explained the significance of the Missing Man's Table at the entrance to the gym. The Color Guard performed a 21-Gun Salute, and Taps was played by Robert Russell and Ms. Stephanie Niewohner. The National Anthem was then played by the high school band. The closing prayer was led by Father Bill before the retirement of colors. Everyone ended the prayer service by singing God Bless America. Afterwards the veterans were invited to the cafeteria for refreshments. Everyone really appreciates what the veterans have done for our country and the service was a great way to recognize the importance of the veterans.
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    By: Hunter Johnson, MMCRU Journalism What is Veterans Day? It is a public holiday held on the anniversary of the end of World War I, November 11, to honor U.S. veterans and victims of all wars. It took the place of Armistice Day in 1954. It is a day to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military, in wartime and peacetime. MMCRU celebrated the day with a Veterans Day program. The Student Council was in charge of the program, which started at 10 am in Remsen, with the Color Guard from Post #220, Remsen; F.I. Goodburn Post #517, Marcus; and VFW #3225, Remsen presenting the colors. The Pledge of Allegiance was said by all, and the proclamation from President Obama was read. Next was the an acappella group called "Blend." They had four singers, and they sang "God Bless the USA" and "God Bless America." The veterans who were present at the program were recognized. There were veterans from each branch of the service. The guest speaker was Capt. Tony Opbroek, Ret., South Dakota Army National Guard. He is the father of an MMCRU High School teacher. Father Bill McCarthy gave the benediction, and then the folding of the flag took place. T. J. Schaefer, volunteer organizer for the Veterans Day program, had this to say, "I thought it was fun and very nice to see all the students enthused about putting on the program. I thought the students were great and the guest speaker did a fantastic job of portraying the sacrifices our brave young men and women go through to serve our country."
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    The Remsen Thunderbolts youth football teams had a great season this year. All four Thunderbolts teams ended the season with a perfect 5-0 record. They ended the season by playing the last game against each other. Also a fun fact, with their 5-0 record, the Remsen White 3rd/4th grade team never let their opponent score a single point! The Thunderbolts are part of a small youth football league that includes the towns of Le Mars, Kingsely, Marcus, and Remsen. They play six games in a season. The Remsen Youth & Rec Board, who organizes the youth football league, would like to thank all the coaches for volunteering their time, the parents for supporting the program, Remsen Lions for their continued support over the years, American Bank for players t-shirts, the city of Remsen for field use, RSM Activity Club for opening the concession stand, and the volunteers who painted the fields every week. Also, thanks to the refs: Brad Hodgen, Ryan Galles, Travis Schroeder, Andrew Haggert, Monte Konopasek, and Adam Konopasek. Congratulations on a wonderful season!
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    By: Brooklyn Frederes, Sydney Lewis, and Kaitlyn VanDenTop, RSM Journalism On October 12, sixty-two Remsen St. Mary's High School students went to Planned Parenthood in Sioux City to pray for the unborn and the end of abortion. The students were willing to get up and be on the bus for a 5:45 a.m. departure. Being Pro-Life is very vital to the students and staff at Remsen St. Mary's, "It is important to be Pro-Life because we need to defend the babies that cannot defend themselves," said Ashley Willman. The students attended Mass at Our Lady of Incarnation Monastery with the Carmelite nuns. They all celebrate Mass together, but the Carmelites were seated in front of the students behind a wooden screen. "I liked how Father Cosgrove explained to us how the Carmelites live and why they are separated from us during Mass," said Emma Galles. Another difference throughout the Mass was that Father Cosgrove faced the Carmelites and his back was faced toward the students. After Mass was over, the students went to the meeting room and asked the Carmelites questions and gave them special intentions to pray for. Then the students went to Planned Parenthood and stood outside the wall to pray. They were praying, singing, and peacefully protesting for the end of abortion. The forecast was rainy and cold, but as the students started praying the sun started to shine. "I've never been a part of standing up for Pro-Life, so it was cool to see all of us students caring so much about the unborn," said Erika Strassner. The students made signs and they stood by the curbs to get people to fight for the end of abortion. Some people that drove by honked at them and some did not like what they were doing. While the students prayed at Planned Parenthood, a few groups went on a tour of Mary's Choice, a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization, that is operating on donations from the community. Mary's Choice provides compassion, support, and accurate information about parenting, pregnancy, adoption, and abortion. The families that walk into Mary's Choice are welcomed and feel like they are at home. There are toys for children to play with while waiting for their family. People walking down the hall in Mary's Choice will eventually walk into a room full of donated clothes, shoes, baby food, diapers, etc. Every volunteer makes the women feel as if they are part of some big family. "We need to inform other people that there are options other than abortion," said Rebecca Johnson. Mary's Choice is a great alternative instead of Planned Parenthood, and is located right next door. The day at Planned Parenthood was a great experience for the students at Remsen St. Mary's High School. The students learned how important it is to stand up for what is right even though some people in the community near Planned Parenthood didn't agree. Standing in the cold was worth it, and most of these RSM students come back to stand outside and pray for the unborn every year that they can. "We can help prevent the loss of many lives and remember the 60 million babies that have perished [since Roe vs. Wade]," said Shay Galles. Attending Mass with the Carmelite Nuns was a great way to start the day for the students; and all of them enjoyed visiting Mary's Choice and speaking with some of the volunteers. Everyone that attended had an amazing day as they prayed for the unborn.
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    Vicki Heeren was among three across the Diocese of Sioux City who received an Excellence in Education Award at the Bishop's Dinner of Catholic Education on Saturday, September 24. Fifty-one RSM supporters attended the dinner. The Today Show weatherman, Al Roker, a product of Catholic education, gave the keynote address. Vicki is in year thirty-one as a teacher in the St. Catherine-St. Mary's School System. Mrs. Heeren's first and only interview was at RSM in the summer of 1986 and she was hired on the spot! She taught 7th and 8th grade her first year and then taught 5th grade for nine years. In her eleventh year she was asked to initiate a kindergarten program. Since kindergarten had been absent from RSM Schools for decades, there was no curriculum, so she developed her own, which was sought after by other diocesan teachers and administrator when they wanted to start their own all-day kindergarten. Her teaching is very much faith-based with emphasis on Jesus Christ. The focus of holidays like Christmas and Easter is on Jesus, rather than the Easter bunny and Santa Claus. The All Saints prayer service in fall and St. Patrick's Day prayer service in the spring are favorites of the students. These occasions are much loved by parents and grandparents who enjoy being guests at an open house that follows the prayer services. Guests are invited into the classrooms for participation in educational activities, as well as beverages and treats. Mrs. Heeren keeps parents informed with a weekly newsletter as well as posts on her webpage and Facebook page. Mrs. Heeren is organized, motivated, and dedicated, and has made teaching at St. Catherine-St. Mary's her ministry. Along with her award, colleagues presented Vicki a memory book consisting of pictures of each of her present kindergarten students along with their text of their favorite kindergarten adventure. Included were pictures and text from former students presently in first through eighth grade at RSM telling of their favorite kindergarten memory. Mrs. Heeren's teaching and service on numerous committees has made Remsen St. Mary's Schools a better place to teach and learn. Mrs. Heeren receives the support of her husband, Doug, who is currently in deaconate training. Both are dedicated to St. Mary's Parish, serving as Family Faith Formation teachers and Extraordinary Communion Ministers. Both of their daughters are graduates of St. Mary's, and their oldest daughter is in religious life formation while their younger daughter is finishing a master's degree and working in Catholic education in a Sioux City Diocesan school.
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    On Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, the Remsen Lions Club hosted the Punt, Pass & Kick (PPK) competition where 80 area youth competed at the Remsen Football Field, starting at 1 p.m. The first place winner of each age group advanced to the sectional competition, which will be hosted in Centerville, S.D. on October 2, starting at 3 p.m. The top three winners of each age group are pictured above. Boys and girls ages 6-15 could participate in the competition. No one competed in the 14-15 Girls groups this year. Congratulations to all the winners and participants this year!
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    St. Mary's started the first week of school with in-service and teacher/staff retreat on Monday and Tuesday, August 22 and 23. Kris Schiltz, Spiritual Life Director, and the RSM administration had two well-planned days of activities starting with introduction of new faculty and staff and prayer on Monday. New Assistant Administrator, Les Douma, and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the diocese, Dr. Dan Ryan, and Fr. William McCarthy were the main speakers. Tuesday was retreat day which began with Mass at St. Mary's Church, breakfast at Three Sisters' Bistro, and the balance of the day with speakers and activities at the American Bank meeting room. Wednesday faculty/staff and students gathered at the Grotto for the opening school prayer service followed by the raising of the flag and pledge. The ringing of the "Old school bell" (brought out on a cart) signified the official beginning of the 2016-17 school year. Students and faculty/staff then each went to their respective buildings. At the high school, Mr. Douma addressed the high school students on expectations and their role as students to be the light of Christ throughout the school year. A special thanks from St. Mary's Schools goes to American Bank for donating and serving the noon lunch and dessert and providing their meeting room for the RSM faculty/staff retreat; along with Ann Muller at Three Sisters' Bistro for her hospitality. Thank You!
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    The 39th annual Remsen Demolition Derby took place on Saturday night, Aug. 13. The event, sponsored by the Remsen Community Action Club, was held at the Remsen Derby Arena. Four classes of cars competed in the event: full-size modified, full-size stock, standard compacts and a brand new class, hobo. Also new to this year's demo derby was the Power Wheels Derby for kids ages 4-9. This year there were a total of 45 cars and nine power wheel entries. Last year's total was 42 cars. Power Wheels Derby participants were Daxten Blake (sponsored by Beef N' Brew), Taytem Pearson (sponsored by Drago), Alexis Gaalsulk, Lucas Sheehan (sponsored by Sheehan Pit Pumping), Levi Hoffman (sponsored by Tri S Farms), Caleb Wurth (sponsored by Remsen Hardware), Reed Baker, Cameron Rolfes, and Philip VanWestern. Proceeds from the derby benefitted many Remsen area organizations and clubs, including the Remsen Fire Department, Remsen EMT, Oyens Fire-Rescue, Remsen Lions, St. Mary's Knights of Columbus, and the snowmobile club. The following are the results from Saturday's Demolition Derby: Modified Class: 1st - Tim Lange 2nd - Brian Kunkel 3rd - Booger 4th - Mike Wurth 5th - Jeremy Blake Mad dog - Mike Wurth (Also received the Mad Dog Trophy) Small Car Class: Split 1st and 2nd - Jacob Spieler and Brian Wurth 3rd - Jordan Miller 4th - Jared Wurth 5th -- Justin Breshnaham Mad Dog - Justin Pick Limited Weld Class: 1st - Nathan Clausen 2nd - Jesse Rayevich 3rd - Travis McBride Mad Dog - Travis McBride HOBO Class: 1st - Trey Claycamp 2nd - Keaton Bohnenkamp 3rd - Tim Preuss Mad Dog - Zach Oolman