The Free Press, Mankato, MN


February 8, 2014

Diversity thrives with council

Thumbs up to the Greater Mankato Diversity Council for making an impact on the culture of diversity in the Mankato area for the last 10 years.

The council celebrated its 10-year anniversary last week, noting that it had conducted some 9,300 students benefited from prejudice reduction workshops last year, a tenfold increase from the number in its first year of existence.

But the council also has worked in many areas of diversity education and development from the school-based workshops to diversity training in organizations and businesses. Diversity Council Executive Director Bukata Hayes indicated there were some 96,000 interactions with community members and organizations over the last 10 years.

Diversity education is a simple idea, but one that reaps huge dividends. The Mankato area has been a leader in this respect and has been key to preventing community conflicts that involve diversity before they become a larger problem.

With education comes understanding and the Diversity Council has played a key role in both. Organizers note the council has benefited from the cooperation of many community partners. The council and its partners can take pride in knowing they’ve helped create a peaceful community that is built on respect for all.

The diversity workshop and student numbers have been corrected from an earlier version of this story.

Cleveland hits right note

Thumbs up to Cleveland Public Schools and their music program for generating great enthusiasm among students.

Schools at their very essence are designed to create an enthusiasm for learning among their students and it’s clear Cleveland Public School has done an excellent job at this in its band and music program.

Some 85 percent of the kids in sixth through 12th grade are in band. That is not only an incredible number, but one that shows kids love the school and the band. Much of this enthusiasm among students can be attributed to longtime band teacher Erik Hermanson.

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