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Success stories

If you have a success story for us, please share. Find our emails on the contact page.

Stories of quality education in Cloquet:

CEF’s collaboration and teamwork in the district has come full circle


The Cloquet School district would like to highlight the new emphasis on the Industrial Arts program offered at CHS. On a recent visit to the CHS Lumberjack Design and Fabrication classroom it is clear there is an abundance of inspiration, creativity, technique, and enthusiasm. According to Michelle Wick, CTE Program Coordinator teacher, one of her goals is to collaborate and support the fabrication needs of the district and community while teaching high school students’ relevant skills for “real-world” solutions. It is remarkable how the students have embraced the cutting-edge skills of the 21st century- lasers, high-end printers, and work with CAD design programs alongside time-honored skills such as carpentry, design, hand-finishing, and safety.


The CEF, who recently funded a Direct to Garment Printer to the program, is now the recipient of some of the fine work of the students.  A few Lumberjack Design and Fabrication students have designed and crafted a “Lumberjacks vs. Vikings” KUBB Lawn Game to be used for auction at the 21st annual Blue Jean Ball, February 4, 2023. (Kubb is a Nordic lawn game of strategy, a cross between bowling and horseshoes.)


Thank you to Mrs. Wick and the students of

Lumberjack Design and Fabrication Studio for

your collaboration and teamwork in support of

Cloquet education. We look forward to seeing more from you!

Music Is...thoughts on Fall 2021

By Students of Larissa Donnalley, Music educator, CMS/CHS

With music, the possibilities are endless. The CEF is very proud to support the various music opportunities that engage Cloquet students in musical expression, from bells for elementary students to choral folders for the senior high choir.


Music allows a group to move in one direction, and gives those who need space be alone, but not lonely. Music has inspired generations in Cloquet, beginning as kindergartners gathered around the piano to singing as a Madrigal in a winter performance. Memories are made by singing the school song as a fan in the stand or more informally bouncing modern electronic dance beats off your buddy on the weekend.


Whatever the style, study after study shows music is good for the brain and body. Throughout the years, the Cloquet School District has been fortunate to have the support of so many talented individuals who have worked to keep the legacy of exceptional alive and well within our schools.  This dedication has not gone unnoticed. We talked with current students and asked them to express, in their own words, what music means to them. Here are their responses:


“Creative expression through sounds. You can dance to it, sing with it, or just sit and enjoy it. Music can portray emotions and ideas. Music can be powerful or soft. Music is INCREDIBLE.” - Lilyana Rosen


“As beautiful as autumn.” - Lily Summar


“Putting unsaid words into a song, as it is less scary to sing.” - Elise Cawcutt – Sertich


“What speaks when words fail.” - Madi Fredrickson


“Like poetry, and saying what you think and feel out loud.” - Olivia Goeres


“Something everyone can enjoy. It can be emotionally and physically inspiring.” - Annika Nelson


“Music isn’t just a one-word adjective. It’s a whole story from its own words… whether it’s told through a trumpet, violin, piano, choir, one singer. Music is the story.” - Nicole Buscher


Once in a Lifetime Experience

by Courtney Jackson, CHS senior

Because of the Cloquet Educational Foundation, I got to meet the President of the United States! I'm involved with a science project that involves mapping Venus. It's been successful, but I never imagined it would help me meet President Obama. It is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me!

The whole experience was very surreal. I got to meet President Obama and even when I was sitting behind him while he gave his speech, it was hard for me to comprehend what was happening. During my trip, I was also able to meet the Myth Busters and Bill Nye. None of that would have been possible without the continued support of the CEF. Their assistance ensures that Cloquet students will continue to excel at the national and international level in science research. With your help there will be many great accomplishments ahead for Cloquet science fair students!


And we owe it all to….The Cloquet Educational Foundation!

By Sam Rauschenfels, CHS senior and The AXE Editor in Chief

Sometimes, money matters. Printing a paper is neither easy nor inexpensive; 1000 copies of the Axe cost around $300!

This year Axe staff wrote to the Cloquet Educational Foundation (CEF), requesting a grant to cover costs for the 2009-2010 school year. The CEF is the only local foundation dedicated solely to Cloquet children. The CEF has provided over $585,000 in funding for Cloquet area enrichment opportunities since 1989. To our immense joy, the CEF responded to our application with $1,000! This allows us to put together quality issues without worrying so much about how we will afford to print them.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the CEF for funding our endeavor into student journalism. Without you, these words would only exist in a computer file. The Axe is alive and well thank to the CEF and their generous donors. We hope everyone appreciates what the CEF does for Cloquet- we certainly do! Thank You!

Stories from our teachers:


Support Makes it Possible

by Cynthia Welsh, Cloquet Science Teacher

For the last six years I have received support from CEF for my middle school monarch research projects and middle school/high school science fair projects. With CEF's support we have touched over a 1,000 children lives. Usually at least 300-400 students have participated in science fairs at the regional, state and international level, while interacting with scientists, communicating science, improving technology and math skills. We have been so successful that the state of Minnesota has awarded the Middle school a: Systemic STEM School Redesign Grants.

Because they felt what you were helping us do was so important the State of MN is supporting us curricular, offering the teacher's time for planning and professional learning. The STEM money will allow math/science/engineering/and technology teachers time to do planning across curriculum to bring relevance and continuity across and within each field of study while also supporting the new math standards. This money is not for materials (you help us with that), but for time for planning and curriculum writing. This curriculum writing will be based, in 7th grade around the projects that the CEF have been supporting. So now not only will we have your support for materials, fair registration assistance and transportation, but a strong curricular component will be worked on. Because of your continued support this has and will benefit not only Cloquet Science, but math, technology and engineering students.

The Cloquet Middle School STEM program goals include two components. The 7th grade component includes student projects that are infused with the revised math standards. Students will collect, analyze, and use data for individualized science research projects. Continuous data collection and analysis will be used to measure progress towards set goals.  While doing these projects, math, science, and technology teachers will collaborate to accomplish the STEM vision.

Without your past and continued support none of this would be possible.



Donation Towards Ojibwe Unit

from: Washington Grade 3 Team: Jason Godnai, Heather Johnson, Kim Peddle, Annette Wick


Dear Cloquet Educational Foundation Members:

Thank you very much for the generous donation towards our Ojibwe Unit.  Our guest speaker, Mr. Jack Peel was a huge hit with the kids!  They were simply mesmerized by him!  They loved hearing all about his stories, life’s experiences, all of the neat artifacts he brought in to share with them, and best of all, his advice and words of wisdom for them!

I think his final words to the kids really made an impact, “Be proud of who you are no matter what your background. You are all special.”   Mr. Peel truly embraced the concept of understanding, peace, acceptance, and respect for one another.  Our students will remember this time with Jack Peel for many years to come!

Stories from our donors:


A Well Rounded Education

from: Rhonda Johnson, CEF Director


We honor and remember our current and former teaching and support staff for their dedication to the many students who have passed through the Cloquet school district.


Growing up, the one thing my Mom wanted for us children was to make our lives a bit better than hers. To give us stability and opportunities that often only a good, well rounded, education could provide. She was successful in her endeavor, thanks largely in part to the Public School System and its teachers. For me, most activities, whether academic, athletic or artistic in nature, were funded through our schools. Opportunities were more easily accessed.


But the times have changed. I find it challenging to even give my children a similar educational experience to mine. The ever tightening of the budgets and the desire to keep a well rounded education at the top of our community’s priority list, is what fueled the formation of the Cloquet Educational Foundation.


The foundation has steadily worked to grow their endowed funds.  The foundation needs an ever growing base to allow giving without depleting the principle. This growth is only possible with the combined passion and donations of each of us. Fund raising is all about you and me.  We see together the needs and it is only by our joint efforts that we reach any of the goals for enhancing our children’s education.


Let’s review the ways in which we give.  We have opportunities at our Blue Jean Ball, our Ameriprise Financial golf outing, Employee payroll deductions (over a 100 employees donate each paycheck!) and the Invest in Kids Sponsorship that many local businesses and organizations support.


We are also blessed with the desire for many to leave an education legacy, a memorial, a family fund to help others remember the dedication and desire these people have or had for placing a high value on education.


It is a wonderful way to give whether anonymously or openly to include CEF in your estate planning process as seen with the family funds of the Szyman, Plankers, Puumala, Schroeder, Nordholm, Newby, Textor, Chinnock, Oakes, McKenna and most recently the Allen Spafford Memorial Fund. All of these people and many more want what we want, to prepare our children for the life ahead of them in the best way possible.  A well rounded education and the Cloquet Educational Foundation is here to help now and for years in the future.



To Inspire Future Generations

from: CHS Alumni Class of 1964

“I've decided to include the Cloquet Educational Foundation in my will because I now recognize that Cloquet Schools provided me with an exceptional education that has served me well ever since.  With reduced Federal and State funding of education in general, many important school activities and events have been cut. That means many children, especially kids from low income families, are not receiving the same fine, well rounded education I was lucky enough to receive. That's not fair, and I want to do my part to ensure they have the same opportunities I had.” Miiigwech!

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