Newsletter Roundup: Hear all about what's going on at a Mitchell elementary school from the students

Concerts, fundraisers among events on tap for last month of the year

L.B. Williams Elementary.JPG
L.B. Williams Elementary School
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MITCHELL — What's going on during the holidays at Mitchell's elementary schools?

The Mitchell Republic reached out to the five local elementary schools — Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, L.B. Williams Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, John Paul II Elementary and Mitchell Christian Elementary — in an effort to provide a brief rundown of events, activities and announcements from each school on a monthly basis. The Mitchell Republic will publish this information online as information is made available from the schools.

L.B. Williams Elementary, Longfellow Elementary and Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary will observe Christmas break from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.

For specifics for your particular school, contact that school’s office.

This month’s roundup features a survey of fifth graders at L.B. Williams Elementary on the topic of the holidays. See their response in the video below:


L.B. Williams Elementary

  • The L.B. Williams carnival held by the PTO at the beginning of November was a highlight of the month. After a break of two years, organizers were able to hold the event again. The event was a success and students successfully sold over $15,000 in raffle ticket sales. 
  • There will be a PTO meeting Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Blarney’s. The carnival and future events will be discussed.
  • Miss. Metzger’s 5th grade Power Up class and Mrs. Wede’s Dakota Wesleyan University Children’s Literature class will be walking for clean water Thursday, Dec. 8 from 8 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. The event coincides with a coin drive from Dec. 2 to Dec. 8. Carrying gallons of water, the group plans to walk three miles around the DWU Fieldhouse indoor track to simulate the daily trek students in South Sudan and other countries make to bring water to their families. Money raised from the event will be sent to South Sudan School in conjunction with H20 for Life.
  • Videos of the first and second grade and the third and fourth grade combined concerts are available to view online. The videos can be found at
  • The school requests parents who have changed addresses or phone numbers, including work, home or cell numbers, since the beginning of the school year to contact the office or send a note with your child to update that information. This also pertains to emergency contact numbers. This information is important to keep current for parent contact, including for reasons of student emergency or an early release from school.

The full L.B. Williams Elementary newsletter can be found here.


Longfellow Elementary

  • Longfellow Elementary students will be selling candy canes for 25 cents each Friday, Dec. 16 before school in the commons. The money raised will be used to spread some cheer to fellow Longfellow Lions.
  • The library will host a gingerbread house competition. One paper bag and a set of candy coloring pages were sent home with students prior to Thanksgiving. Families may also choose other decoating materials if they wish. Gingerbread houses should include the family’s name and be attached to a piece of cardboard to be able to be used as a yard decoration during the holidays, as well. Prizes will be awarded.
  • Parents of fourth-graders are requested to ask their child about the music note sent home with them. It contains important information on changes to the upcoming concert schedule. The revised concert date has been set for Jan. 26.
  • Longfellow Elementary welcomed Madison Kontz, Miss Rodeo - Estelline, who spoke to some students. Kontz was also a student teacher in Miss Jira’s second grade classroom earlier this year. 
  • Kernel Klub Basketball practice begins Dec. 6 and 7 at your school building for those who already registered. Sixth graders will go to their previous elementary building. If you have any questions, please contact your coach.

The full Longfellow Elementary newsletter can be found here.

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Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School

Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary

  • The Gertie Belle Rogers Adopt an Ornament Tree will be up and ready to take Thursday, Dec. 1. If you would like to adopt an ornament this year to make another family’s holiday a little brighter, please visit the tree in the school office. Please leave a name and number and what ornament you choose when you select an ornament. The ornaments all have gift suggestions on the back, along with ages and whether the family members are male or female. Please bring gifts to school wrapped and labeled with age and gender along with the ornament by Dec. 19.
  • In honor of Veterans Day, the Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary student council sponsored a penny war fundraiser for the local Veterans of Foreign Wars. Students were encouraged to bring their pennies and bills to create positive points for their classroom buckets. Time was set aside for students to put negative points in the form of silver coins in other classrooms’ buckets. A total of $1,549 was raised. Mrs. Brua’s first grade class brought in the most points, winning a pizza party.
  • Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary student council members will be ringing Salvation Army bells Thursday, Dec. 8 from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the lobby of County Fair, located at 1305 W. Havens Ave. 
  • The school will be observing festive dress up days from Dec. 19 to Dec. 22. Students and staff can dress up with the theme of the day. The days are as follows: Monday, Dec. 19 - Candy Cane Day (dress up in red and white); Tuesday, Dec. 20 - Toasty Toes (wear your most festive, fuzzy or holiday socks); Wednesday, Dec. 21 - Winter Wonderland (wear as much white and silver as you can, snowflakes recommended) and Thursday, Dec. 22 - Ugly Sweater Day (wear your favorite or ugly holiday sweater).
  • The school recently completed its first-ever Read-A-Thon. After prizes were awarded, a total of $3,950 was raised to go toward the library. Students also logged a total of 21,268 minutes of reading time in two weeks. Medals and prizes for the top two earners will be awarded during December’s assembly.

The full Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary newsletter can be found here.

Mitchell Christian eagle logo

Mitchell Christian Elementary

  • The Mitchell Christian School December newsletter features articles that school seniors have written for their Research & Technical Writing class.
  • Mrs. Haskell’s fifth grade class continues to work on its gumball reading project. The class earns paper gumballs by doing well on Bible verses, spelling quizzes and other various activities, and using them to fill a big circle on the wall representing a gumball machine. When it is full, the class is rewarded with a reading book party. Haskell said the she does the gumball project every year “to get us on the right track, be a group motivator and focus on what we are doing right.”
  • There will be school from Dec. 23 through Jan. 4 for Christmas break.
  • The All-School Christmas Concert is set for Tuesday, Dec. 6. Check with your student about time and location.
  • The school board meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 19 beginning at 7 p.m.
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John Paul II Elementary School.
Mitchell Republic File Photo


St. John Paul II Elementary

  • The PTO will be scheduling two or three restaurant fundraising events this year. The first is an online fundraiser scheduled with Papa Murphy’s Pizza daily from Dec. 7 to Dec. 12. There will be a code sent for you when ordering.
  • The preschool through sixth grade classes and Mrs. Morrison are busy practicing songs in preparation for the annual Christmas concert Thursday, Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center.
  • Weekly school gatherings are scheduled for Wednesdays based on the Advent word of the week. Students begin with an Advent prayer in the morning and end the day with an Advent devotion. The Religion classes are focused on Advent activities in the classroom, as well. The second week begins Monday, Dec. 3, with the word of the week: Peace.
  • The sixth grade will sing at the Mitchell Area Optimists Club meeting Wednesday, Dec. 7.
  • There will be Mass music practice and third through sixth grade confessions Friday, Dec. 9.

All school events, including dates, times and locations, are subject to change. For the latest information, contact your child’s school.
Some events listed under the three public elementary schools — Longfellow, L.B. Williams and Gertie Belle Rogers — may be open to all public elementary school students. For more information, check with your student's particular elementary school.

Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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