Tuesday, July 27, 2021
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Letters to the Editor: Ronan Hall of Fame in the works

| July 15, 2021 12:15 AM

Ronan Hall of Fame in the works

A small committee composed of graduates of Ronan High School is working toward creating a Hall of Fame that would recognize and honor former graduates and Ronan community members who have made important contributions to society as a whole. The Hall of Fame, when completed, will have an online version as well as a location in the Ronan Event Center. The committee is hoping that induction of the first class into the Hall can take place during the 2022 winter sports season.

The Ronan schools and the Ronan community have produced many individuals and teams that have contributed greatly to the Mission Valley and the world beyond. Our goal is to recognize these individuals and teams and encourage the younger generation to aspire to achieve something remarkable while in school or after graduation.

The committee is working with a software company to determine the cost and type of software that best fits the needs of the project. The committee wants the virtual version of the Hall of Fame to be available to anyone having internet service. At the on-site location in the Event Center, visitors will be able to access the Hall by using a touchscreen that will bring up a menu of available options.

The committee received some start-up funds from the Flathead Reservation Historical Society and is waiting to hear whether other grant applications have been successful. Total start-up costs are estimated to be about $10,000. The committee has written articles of incorporation and received 501(c) nonprofit status. Hopefully, RHS graduates and community members will help support the project through donations. Donations can be made at the Valley Bank to the “Ronan Hall of Fame Committee,” and all donations are tax deductible.

Committee members are Chris Jackson, Naomi Mock, Ray Aylesworth, Mackenzie Kelch and Gale Decker.

— Gale Decker, Lake County commissioner, Ronan

The real history

The American Experiment has been a fascinating story — and a study in contrasts. We have proven to the world that a democratic republic can work; provided lives of opportunity for immigrants who faced poverty and oppression at home; fought a powerful fascist movement and won; and made our country an engine of innovation. There is a great deal to be proud of.

It is not the fault of anyone living today that our economic success was at one time deeply tied to the institution of slavery — or that the fruits of that success have not been extended fairly to the descendants of those who were enslaved.

In fact, many people of all backgrounds were allies in another great American accomplishment — the civil rights movement — and today few people would say that racial discrimination was ever justified. That does not mean, sadly, that the effects of discrimination do not live on — in decreased capital wealth, health care disparities, unequal treatment in the justice system, and decreased education and opportunities.

That's it — the basics of what some academics call Critical Race Theory — but what the rest of us might just call the real history that we need in order to understand our nation, and to grow into a more just and fair society.

We should be teaching this history in our schools, just as we should teach the experiences of Native Americans, Chinese, Hispanics, European immigrants and women, as we forged a great nation from one which was created long ago for the benefit of white men who owned property.

— Gail Trenfield, St. Ignatius