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WDC Wolverine wins first place at state convention

Our town's ability to overcome disaster was recognized during the Minnesota Newspaper Association's (MNA) annual convention in Bloomington last week.

The Wadena Pioneer Journal was among the newspapers present at the two-day event, and we walked home with an overwhelming sense of pride. The WDC Wolverine booklet we released around the time the new middle/high school was opened won first place in the state Better Newspaper Contest, among a sea of weeklies with circulation over 2,500.

As it reads on the plaque our newspaper received, the award recognizes excellence in the field of journalism, specifically in MNA's Special Section category.

First off, I just want to say that the WDC Wolverine wouldn't have been possible without our strong community members, dedicated students and school leaders, as well as the hardworking staff here at the Pioneer Journal.

The WDC Wolverine, which was printed for the first time in fall 2012, features the incredible journey Wadena experienced while rebuilding the middle/high school that was destroyed in the June 2010 tornado that hit our town. It goes without saying that the publication, which is also largely aimed at school spirit and the sports culture of Wadena-Deer Creek Schools, is definitely in sight for 2013.

We at the Pioneer Journal have also envisioned the possibility of printing the booklet more than once a year. The first booklet was somewhat of a trial run for us, and we're pumped to continue providing it in years to come.

The 2010 tornado hits close to home for so many in our area. More than two years ago, when I visited Wadena and gazed at the devastation with family members who lived here, all I could think about was the challenging road this community's citizens would have to take to get back to anything even close to normal.

But the tornado lost. Wadena is still here. The people of this town held on to hope, and now our future is full of promise.

As Wadena was announced at the MNA convention, I saw more than a plaque that can be displayed in our building; I saw Wadena's future, and it's a bright one.

I want to thank all who made this award possible. The people of Wadena should be proud of what's been done to recover from the disaster that struck our town.

Thanks to all of you for making it possible for us to tell your amazing story. May it never be forgotten.