(Published in the September 5th Warroad Pioneer)
Something beautiful happened at The Angle this past weekend, this whole past summer, in fact. Our little one-room school house was in need, and people showed up en masse to donate and volunteer.
Thanks to District 690 and construction company NW Angle Services, the building finally got a much-needed face-lift – new roof, ceiling, external siding, windows, carpet, renovated bathrooms and storage closet, wheelchair accessible front entryway, and rear steps.
When the construction was complete, the interior needed a paint job and the entire classroom had to be put back to rights in the six short days before classes were to begin.
The call went out Wednesday morning and within hours community volunteers showed up with cleaning and painting supplies, ladders, tools and food. Teacher Mrs. LaMie and Paraprofessional Mrs. Shoen took advantage of the disarray to sort and discard old supplies, furniture and antiquated technology; seven grades are taught in that one room, and it held the accumulation of many years and an extremely busy teacher.
Volunteers taped every edge and began the careful job of painting around bulletin boards, immovable cupboards, and window, door and floorboard trim. They boxed up books in order to paint between the library shelves that were nailed to the wall once upon a long-time-ago. They climbed on top of storage cabinets to reach the nooks and crannies visible but nearly unreachable.
More volunteers hauled away garbage, brought tools at a moment’s notice, came when called for heavy lifting, built shelving, refinished the kids’ cubbies, sanded and varnished rough trim, helped with landscaping and repaired the outdoor play equipment.
Visitors to The Angle, many who simply came to sightsee the unique school, jumped in to lend a hand. On the second morning of volunteer work, a group of well-wishers arrived, offering up their positive energy in a prayer meditation. They were traveling from school to school across the state of Minnesota, praying for the teachers, students and structures that house them. There are no coincidences, of course…they arrived not to a quiet school and lone teacher prepping lesson plans but to a building full of volunteers vibrating with a sense of shared community.
One volunteer later said with tear-laden eyes, “it’s just amazing, awesome-even, to be part of this. It feels so good.”
Mrs. LaMie, in her ever-present graciousness, picked up a paint brush now and then, but mostly she stayed busy greeting dozens of visitors, answering their questions, directing volunteer traffic and arranging the room.
Her desk was completely inaccessible throughout, and after the last volunteer left, she would have to sit down, organize it and then build the week’s lesson plans for seven grades. But, …she would do it in a space left overflowing with the love and gratitude of a community who once again pulled together to take care of its own.
We may not face hurricanes in this little corner of the world, but we are definitely witness to the uniquely human outpouring of love and compassion that happens when others are in need.
There is a long list of people who volunteered hours and hours of time, supplies, tools, lumber, expertise, food and general goodwill. I personally feel to so grateful to have been part.
Also, some notable and incredibly generous donations for the school have arrived in the last few weeks: Jerry’s Bar and Restaurant, Angle Inn Lodge, Melissa and Anthony Ebnet of Albany, MN, and Karleen and David Peterson of Ashton, SD. Thank you!
This is The Angle at its finest.