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Published May 14, 2009, 10:28 PM

Special graduation ceremony in Waubun

Waubun, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A special graduation ceremony on Friday in Waubun, a group of elementary and high school teachers is graduating from college after a 3-year specialized course in their small town. WDAY 6 Reporter Stephanie Goetz tells us how the teachers got their extended education catered to them in their own backyard.

By: Stephanie Goetz, WDAY

Waubun, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A special graduation ceremony on Friday in Waubun, a group of elementary and high school teachers is graduating from college after a 3-year specialized course in their small town.

WDAY 6 Reporter Stephanie Goetz tells us how the teachers got their extended education catered to them in their own backyard.

Students at Waubun-Ogema-White earth schools will be watching eager grads walk across the stage. But it won't be your typical student under the cap.

"So far so god."

19 teachers, anywhere from 20-year veterans to those with just a couple years under their belt will get their master's degree after a three year master's education program at Minnesota State University Moorhead and each class was held in Waubun.

“They came out so it was an opportunity for everybody so they didn't all have to drive to Moorhead.”

The four hour a week class was catered specifically to teaching in the Waubun area, one of the only areas in the state where the entire county is a Native American reservation.

The highest poverty in Minnesota, the lowest per capita income and the highest property tax in Mahnomen County, so some of the problems we have, other schools don't see.

“Realizing the importance of education and how it can be the key to your future and unlocking doors for you.”

Some of the classes addressed specific student issues like cultural differences and social services and, the importance of a support system.

“Relationship building is huge! Our students, for them to have someone they can come and talk to.”

The "on the road" education isn't stopping at graduation: teachers will do research studies with the students in the school. To be an example for their students as they take the step to graduation.

One of the teachers says she was planning to go to the cities to get her master's, but instead went through the MSUM program in Waubun. The district Superintendent says the recent grads could help boost enrollment.

The district will go from two or three teachers with Master's to more than 20. Mitch Anderson says this can help attract potential students and families to come to the region or stay here. Also, he thinks the continuing education will set an example for the students.

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