The kids were chanting “Walk with us! Walk with us! Walk with us!” how can I say no to that. So I went for a walk around Lake Sylvan with 55 students and teachers from St. Peters School in Canby Friday morning.

It was a fundraiser for St. Peters Catholic School in Canby. I should mention that I attended catholic schools from kindergarten to 8th grade. Looking back on that now, it was a great education and experience. I attended St Mary’s in New Ulm and St Michaels in Madison. I was invited by Principal Lori Rangaard last spring to mark October 7th on my calendar. They do this fundraiser for the school every year and it was the first time I had heard about it. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the park that surrounds Lake Sylvan. I saw a good number of students and adults walking on the paths around the park and lake. I set up my broadcasting equipment on a picnic table and was greeted by a number of parents and teachers. Lori just finished another lap with her students and stopped to go on the radio with me. I was ready to broadcast from Sylvan Lake.

St Peter’s Principal Lori Rangaard

Lori explained that this is St Peter’s major fundraiser and the students take pledges from people. Everyone was wearing a t shirt and some students had their parents walking with them. It was a bit chilly Friday morning but that didn’t stop anyone. I was presented with a t shirt and badge. The badge you wore around your neck and each time you completed a lap someone punched a number on it. It was a way to keep track how many laps you had done.

Schubert sisters

I did a number of radio broadcasts with students. I enjoy visiting with students in grade school, you never know what they are going to say. I was surprised at how many of them wanted to talk on the radio. A number of them told me they like going to St Peters School because they get to learn about Jesus and they get to donate and help other children. Favorite subjects were Art and PE. All the students were having so much fun. It was a day for them to get out of the classroom and spend all day outside being with their friends and teachers. The most important part was raising money for their school.

My favorite part of the day was after I was done broadcasting on the radio, I was putting the radio equipment away and all of a sudden behind me I hear this chant from the kids. “Paul, walk with us! Paul, walk with us! Paul walk with us!” Now, I was just recovering from a bad case of covid two weeks before and I wasn’t sure if I was up for walking a mile. At first I said, “Sorry, I have to go,” but the chant continued and really how can you say no to grade school kids chanting your name. So off we went. When we started, we had to take a number of pictures from parents. I was humbled to say the least. I walked with a few adults, but a number of students wanted to walk with me. I was talking with my friend Brian while walking when I felt someone grab my hand! A small girl came up behind me and grabbed my hand and we walked holding hands for a while. She didn’t say anything, just looked at me and smiled. I don’t even know who she was. I thought that was so kind. It really made my day. To my surprise I finished the lap around Lake Sylvan pretty easily. The kids, teachers and parents were so kind to me. They invited me to stay for lunch.

As I was leaving and driving away, I thought with all the bad things happening in the world today, there was some really good things happening right around me. Lori invited me back next year and I already have it on my calendar.

Tony Ourada - State Farm ad

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