By Rachel Kytonen
“My challenge to you today is to make education personable, and engage your students in a meaningful manner.”
That was the message Scott Thune, superintendent of Cambridge Christian School, gave to the teachers gathered at the 13th Annual Cambridge-Isanti New Teacher Luncheon held Friday, Aug. 26, at First Baptist Church in Cambridge.
The luncheon was hosted by the Rotary Club of Cambridge & Isanti, Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce and Isanti Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the event is to welcome new teachers to the community.
Thune, the main speaker of the luncheon, talked about the warmth of the Cambridge-Isanti community.
“I’ve been in several communities, and I’ve yet to be in an area that does this—bringing the public, private and community members together,” Thune said. “This is really a testament to the community.”
Thune grew up in the Twin Cities area, and has been in education for 21 years, and said he feels he has “another 21 years left in me.”
“I’m going to throw a challenge out to all of us in this room to continually invest in our youth and community,” Thune said. “Education is like a pilgrimage. Ideally we are there to open their eyes to ideas of possibility.”
Thune said as teachers, you need to make sure you are preparing students for their future.
“Are we training our kids to jump in to the environment and adapt?” Thune asked. “I think Cambridge-Isanti kids are a cut above the rest. Cambridge-Isanti is a very interesting place. It’s not urban, rural, or a suburb—It’s its own type of being.”
Thune told the new teachers, veteran teachers, community members and others gathered that everyone can make a difference.
“Each and every one of you has an opportunity to make a difference in each other’s lives,” Thune said. “Each child is a unique individual and what we do in the classroom will either nourish or diminish them.”
Thune told the new teachers they shouldn’t be afraid to take chances.
“This year, all you wonderful new teachers, and those who have been around, dare to be different,” Thune said. “Take a chance …. New teachers, talk with your mentors and pick their brain. Find out things that worked, and make them better. There’s no such thing as a dumb question. There’s no such thing as a bad experiment as long we you keep the kids safe. We have to try different things.”
During his speech, Thune talked about the different teachers who have impacted him, and his career.
“As teachers, you are really not allowed to have an off day; you are on stage all the time,” Thune said. “What you say to your students during first period will impact them to the last period of the day. Tell yourself that today, you are going to be a positive influence on each child that comes through my classroom.”
District 911 Superintendent Bruce Novak said he was excited about the new teachers joining the Cambridge-Isanti School District this year.
“It’s really an honor for me to stand here this afternoon and welcome our new staff to the Cambridge-Isanti schools,” Novak said. “A successful and high quality school reaches that level because of a high quality business community, and because of the support and cooperation we receive from the business community and different civic organizations.”
After introducing all the new teachers, Novak also gave credit to the other administrators, administrative assistants, and other district staff in attendance. He mentioned it’s not uncommon for the district to get 200 applicants for one position, and recognized the hard work of the other administrators who look through all the applications.
Novak also mentioned the district provides the new teachers with mentors throughout the school to help them succeed and provide support as they begin in their new position.
Deidra Peaslee, with Anoka-Ramsey Community College, also introduced the new faculty at the Cambridge Campus.
Peaslee mentioned as the fall semester at the college began last week, the college has 8,478 students enrolled, with 2,163 enrolled at the Cambridge Campus. She mentioned the college does nation-wide searches when filling open positions, and noted the two openings the college had at the Cambridge Campus were filled by faculty members already working the college, which speaks to the high quality of faculty working at the college.
When Thune wrapped up his speech, he relayed the message that “teaching is more than a profession.”
“You are an artist, and you have a bunch of canvasses coming into your classroom next week,” Thune said. “Is it going to be a work of art, or are you going to just slap something on? I believe you are all artists and will do something wonderful with each and every one of the kids you have.”
Vocational Service Award
Clyde Bloyer, from Peoples Bank of Commerce, presented Dennis Troff with the Rotary’s Vocational Service Award.
Bloyer explained the award is given to someone who has a high level of service, and aligns with the Rotary’s four way test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Troff has been in the Cambridge community for over 18 years, and is a 1958 graduate of Carleton College, and majored in government and international relations.
He also served in the U.S. Navy from 1959 to 1963 as an Operations Officer USS Interceptor, stationed in San Francisco.
As far as his professional work, Troff worked for Northwestern National Bank (now Wells Fargo) in Minneapolis in commercial lending from 1963 to 1969; served as president of Moorhead State Bank in Moorhead from 1969 to 1992 and served as president of Peoples Bank of Commerce in Cambridge from 1993 to 2005.
Troff also did extensive volunteer work in all three communities he worked in. In Cambridge he initiated, along with Kristy and Jon Grayson, the startup of the Rotary Club of Cambridge-Isanti in 1998.
Other volunteer committees he served on in Cambridge included: Anoka Ramsey Community College Advisory Committee; ARCC Cambridge Foundation; Central Minnesota Initiative Foundation Finance Committee; Grandview Christian Home/GracePointe Crossing; Cambridge Community Center Task Force/ and Cambridge Medical Center Foundation; Volunteer Administrator at First Baptist Church (last 4+ years).
Troff said he was very honored to received the Vocational Service Award.
“I am gratefully honored to accept this award for service,” Troff said. “And, when I look out into this room, I see many people who are doing this type of thing and are active in the community.”
Troff mentioned he has been a part of the Cambridge-Isanti Rotary Club since its inception, and feels it’s a wonderful world-wide organization to be a part of.
The Rotary Club of Cambridge & Isanti meets weekly on Friday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Fireside Room of First Baptist Church, and its current president is Michele (Mickey) Erlandson.