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Alumni re-redicate class gift

On Saturday, Aug. 20, the Morris High School class of 1951 gathered to celebrate their 60th reunion and celebrate a re-dedication of their class gift, a flag pole they moved from the old elementary school to the Morris Area Schools Memory Garden.

The project was spearheaded by alumnus Joel Killoran who saw that his class' senior gift - the flag pole - was painted over and abandoned at the old elementary school site.

After a call to the high school, Killoran said he discovered the district didn't have a record of gifts from various classes and decided to do something about the flag pole. He researched the cost, then contacted other members of the class to see if they wanted to try and save the flag pole.

"You came back with an endorsement that was astounding," Killoran told his classmates during the flag pole's re-dedication ceremony last Saturday. Despite not formally asking for a donation, Killoran said 16 different classmates immediately donated between $35 and $100 each after sending out the letter to help support the project. Since then, more classmates have stepped up to contribute.

Weather delayed moving the flag pole for part of the summer, but on July 28, 2011 the flag pole was finally transported to the Memory Garden, a space behind Morris Area High School,. and was put back up on August 12.

Two coats of the "best Sherman Williams paint" were added to the pole, a new plaque was attached, and lights that will come on to illuminate the flag from sunset to sunrise were installed. Killoran was especially proud that all the work on the project was complete by people in Morris.

Killoran especially recognized Otter Tail Power and John Dickey for their support.

About 20 members of the class of 1951 and their families attended the re-dedication ceremony. After an introduction to the project by Killoran, Superintendent Scott Monson addressed the group.

"We haven't done a great job about keeping track of [class gifts]," Monson acknowledged. He also thanked the class for their efforts and for the addition to the Memory Garden.

Class member Wayne Nystuen raised the flag for the first time, Ruth Olander Stewart read "The Flag of the United States" to commemorate the event, and Killoran presented Dave Stoffer, buildings and grounds supervisor at MAHS with a second flag so "Old Glory can always fly" on the flagpole.