December 17, 2014

GFW student earns four-year scholarship to Yale

By Amy Berg, Staff Writer

Carolina Carrillo’s enthusiasm for life is evident from the moment you meet her. She is full of energy and life, as any high school senior should be. But now she has another reason to be enthusiastic.

Carrillo recently found out she was accepted into Yale University, an Ivy League school in New Haven, Connecticut, and will be attending on a fully paid four-year scholarship.

“I’m still in shock,” she said. “But I’m excited.”

According to Yale’s official website, tuition for the 2014-2015 school year is $63,250. Over four years that’s $253,000, without adding in the cost of inflation.

Carrillo’s path to Yale began when she started receiving college letters in the mail. One of the letters was from Yale.

“I kind of wrote it off,” she said. “It didn’t seem plausible.”

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‘Tis the Season to give

This photo from last year shows it was truly “deck the halls” on Spirit of the Season’s pick-up day at GFW. On pick-up day the gifts are separated into bundles for each family and are marked with a certain corresponding number. The families also receive a turkey dinner on pick-up day. (Submitted photo)

By Amy Berg, Staff Writer

GFW teacher Sharon Fossum takes the idea “‘tis the season” quite seriously. Her program “Spirit of the Season” is in its sixth year and it shows no sign of stopping.

“Each year it grows,” Fossum said.

Fossum adopts or sponsors families within the GFW school system for Christmas. These families receive gifts specific to each child. Items they receive include typical Christmas gifts but also essentials, such as winter jackets and socks.

The Early Childhood Special Education teacher’s idea for Spirit of the Season began in the classroom. As she saw children in her class without winter jackets or essentials, the idea for the program formed.

“It started off on a needs basis with socks, boots, hats, mittens, and pajamas,” Fossum said.

She started “adopting” families for Christmas, with money out of her own pocket.

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December 10, 2014

Knights of Columbus donates coats to kids

By Amy Berg, Staff Writer

Minnesota winters can be harsh and they are most certainly long. Good outerwear is important to combat the frigid cold, but not all children have a jacket suitable for winter.

The Knights of Columbus has recognized the necessity of a winter jacket for each and every child. The local Knights of Columbus, Council 1625, recently donated 48 coats to local children in need.

Local KC member Vic Serbus reported that this is the second year they have participated in the program. Last year they donated 48 coats. The “Coats for Kids” program was launched in 2009 on a national Knights level.

In last year’s winter season 1,195 councils participated donating a total of 51,924 coats. The Knights of Columbus reported that this was the highest amount of coats they had donated since starting the program.

This year, the local Knights council donated 24 coats to the GFW Elementary School and 24 to the Santa’s Closet of Renville County. Serbus indicated that they were going to donate to the Cedar Mountain School system, but they had already received coats through the Morgan Knights of Columbus Council.

“We just got a call from someone at the Santa’s Closet saying that they were very much needed,” Serbus said. “That’s what this is for. As long as there’s a need, we would like to continue to do this.”

All of the coats are ordered through the national Knights of Columbus. A case consists of 12 coats in a variety of sizes from small, medium, large, to extra-large. The sizes are geared toward elementary and middle school students. Each case costs $220.

Part of the funding for the program was generated through a steak fry hosted by the Knights at Squirrels Bar and Grill. The remaining dollars came from a grant the council applied for and received from the Knights at the state.

Since the program’s inauguration in 2009, the Knights of Columbus have donated over 167,000 coats.

“It’s a very worthwhile program,” Serbus said.

The KC Council 1625 consists of about 100 members from Fairfax, Franklin, Gibbon, and Lafayette.