Cyndy Rudolph, of Onamia Community Education, stated during her report to the school board at the June 24 meeting that the MAPP (Mille Lacs Area Partners for Prevention) coalition did four sessions of “Hidden in Plain Sight” in the Onamia School media center for parents to attend over the course of the year. She added the exhibit was a big success.
For the exhibit, a mock bedroom was set up, fully furnished with a bed, dresser, desk, clothes and other teenaged-type furnishings. In the bedroom were various types of drug paraphernalia, and the parents attending were asked to identify drug-related items.
“Parents had to pick out what they thought was concerning,” said Rudolph, “and then we told them what they missed. The parents really liked it.”
The goal is for parents and guardians to find signs of risky behavior and possible drug or alcohol use “hidden in plain sight” and have the conversations they need to with their children.
The Mille Lacs Area Partners for Prevention coalition is a community coalition that works in northern Mille Lacs County to prevent underage substance use. The coalition works in Isle, Nay Ah Shing, and Onamia school communities. The coalition is housed in the Onamia School District and is funded by a federal Drug-Free Communities grant.
Rudolph said they are in year four of the five year grant and can apply for another five years when the grant is up.
Brian Miner, also of community ed, mentioned other work the coalition has helped with including passing a social host ordinance in which parents can get fined for holding parties where those under 21engage in drug or alcohol use. “We sent out a notice to all eleventh and twelfth grade parents to remind them of the new ordinance and that they could get in trouble,” said Miner.
Recent new hires include Stacee Athmann (mathematics teacher Mille Lacs Academy), Heather Dahl (elementary instructional assistant), Jessica Konrad (elementary teacher), Cassandra Larson (elementary teacher), and Daniel Paulson (elementary art teacher). Retirements and resignation include Emma Driscoll (elementary instructional assistant), Craig Pederson (junior high football coach. Garrett Lancaster (assistant varsity football coach) was non-renewed. Marcia Balder was brought on as varsity volleyball coach, Sarah Cafferty as assistant varsity volleyball coach, Jim Hendrickson as assistant varsity football coach, and Brian Miner as an assistant varsity football coach.
The jazz band received a $150 donation from VFW Post 955 Auxiliary, and the Onamia Lions donated $250 toward the athletic banquet.