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March 2023 Student of the Month

James Vannurden

James is the son of Phil and Jill. James says his family has been a huge part of his life, “My family has been really influential in my life, they have pushed me very hard in everything. My parents have always made sure to push me to getting good grades and being active in sports and activities.”

Whether it is in school or outside of school, James is involved in a variety of activities, “I am in Youth Group for my church. We do a lot of activities. I do enjoy being involved with my church; it feels very rewarding to do things to help my community. I’m in Football, Track, and YES Club. I have always loved football since I was very little, I would play it every day. Football has help me through life because of all of the memories and friends I’ve gained. I first joined track when I was in 7th grade. I joined track because I thought I was very fast in 7th grade; The first meet was very humbling for me. I moved around a lot in track, until I found out i was good at jumping. Track has been fun over the years because of the friendships I made. Im also in YES Club. I have done a ton of activities in YES club like building a retaining wall for the school, and doing fun activities with our group like snow tubing at Power Ridge. Overall YES Club has been a good experience for me.”

When it comes to his classes James says his favorite class was welding and his favorite teacher is Mr. Robert Skwira. “My favorite class I have taken in high school is Welding. What I liked about Welding so much is that I got taught a whole new skill, Welding was one of the only classes that I couldn't wait to go to. It stood out because at first, I was a little bit scared of trying it but once I got comfortable, it was awesome. I would suggest it to other students because it’s a good skill to have with you, and not many know how to do it. My favorite teacher would have to be Mr. Skwira because of all the knowledge about the trades that I have learned. Skwira is a teacher that has always been very nice to me and really expected a lot out of me. I like how he teaches because he let me try to figure it out on my own, and if I was struggling, he would jump in.”

James' favorite memory from school took place this fall, “My favorite high school memory is homecoming. Homecoming is such a fun time because of all the activities we did including the Olympics and dress up days. What made it the best memory was at the end of the day I played football with all of my buddies versus the Paynesville bulldogs. It was a brutal game, but it all made it worth it when we pulled ahead and won the game. After that everyone was pumped up and it was a good time.” James then said the best event he was part of was during his junior football season, “The best game I was involved in is my junior year of football, where in the second round of the playoffs. We played against the Paynesville Bulldogs, and we were going back and forth at each other. The nerves were hitting because there was a full crowd and we had to stay in the game, but when the clock struck zero, we managed to pull out the win. At the end it was so rewarding because even though my body felt like garbage, I was so excited we won.”

After graduating and where he sees himself in the future James had this to say, “Next year I will be jumping right into working doing construction, I chose construction because I like to work with my hands and I like to moving around all of the time. The best thing that I like about construction is going through building and looking at the progress made on the building. In the next 10 years I plan to work hard and make some money, I hope to buy my own house and start to develop a family. It is important to me because I would like to have something to push me to work hard.”

James’ advice to high school freshmen is, “One thing I would advise is to get your required classes done earlier so you can have fun classes that you will like when you’re an upperclassman and make sure to have fun.”

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