A student at Park Rapids Area High School is the inaugural recipient of the Mid State Conference Athletic Directors’ John Schumacher Award.

Logan Jackson, a junior at the school, was selected for what is to be an annual award, Activities Director Jeremy Nordick told the school board on Monday.

The award, in memory of former Park Rapids teacher, coach and activities director John Schumacher, recognizes a student athlete for “displaying outstanding character, leadership, sportsmanship and courage.”

The Mid State Conference Athletic Directors will award the John Schumacher Award annually in memory of the former Park Rapids Area High School activities director, recognizing a student athlete for "outstanding character, leadership, sportsmanship and courage." (Photo by Robin Fish/Enterprise, March 15, 2021)
The Mid State Conference Athletic Directors will award the John Schumacher Award annually in memory of the former Park Rapids Area High School activities director, recognizing a student athlete for "outstanding character, leadership, sportsmanship and courage." (Photo by Robin Fish/Enterprise, March 15, 2021)

Schumacher died on Oct. 14, 2020 after multiple bouts with cancer. According to the plaque, he remained positive even during his darkest days, often repeating the phrase “Livin’ the Dream.” “His courage, positive attitude and genuine love for life and people were an inspiration to all with whom he came in contact,” the plaque reads.

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In a press release about the award, Nordick wrote that Jackson “has dealt with many hardships in his young life and continues to rise above those hardships to excel as a two-way starter in football, a starter on the Panther basketball team, and by improving his academics in the classroom.”

Nordick told the school board that Jackson transferred to Park Rapids last year from Big Lake High School, moving with his father’s support to live with his grandparents, Robert and Linda Buss, after his mother’s death from cancer.

Jackson initially struggled with his grades, fitting in on the athletic program, adjusting to his new school, Nordick said.

“There was kind of a moment in time, last year, when Logan just kind of made a decision that he was gonna take hold of things,” said Nordick. “Ever since then, he’s just been on a skyrocket to the top. … His grades are steadily improving. He’s a leader in the classroom. He’s got a ton of friends. He’s just been doing an awesome job for us, and he’s become a great leader.”

Despite other Mid State athletics directors having their own nominees, Nordick said, “I just think it’s fitting … that our first recipient of this award comes from Park Rapids, and … a person that went through a lot of hardships, just like John did.”

“I’m very humbled by the award,” Jackson told the school board. “I never got to meet John Schumacher. I did get to meet his wife, though. It just seemed like a great family. I’m very thankful for the award, thankful for everybody who has helped me through this.”

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Hired Jason Haas and Joe Haen as paraprofessionals.

  • Approved Jason Haas as a volunteer boys basketball coach.

  • Approved the resignations of Katie Winters as a high school English teacher and Chari Buhman as a sixth grade teacher, both effective at the end of the school year.

  • Recognized Community Education Director Jill Dickinson for being named Region 7 community educator of excellence by the Minnesota Community Education Association.

  • Recognized Shawn Andress, principal at Century Middle School, for being named Minnesota middle level principal of the year by the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals.

  • Heard Business Manager Kent Fritze report that the U.S. and Minnesota departments of education are still negotiating how schools will be funded, and he expects to have concrete numbers to budget with by around April 9.

  • Acknowledged a $4,000 donation via Donorschoose.org to the Alternative Learning Center.

  • Acknowledged donations from the Park Rapids Education and Activities Foundation totaling $11,136, including $1,200 to tune 12 pianos; $1,500 for girls golf uniforms and equipment; $1,500 for boys golf transportation; $500 for softball equipment; $2,500 for boys track uniforms; $2,500 for baseball jackets; and $1,000 for books for the English Language Learners program.

  • Received an enrollment review showing that, for the one-month period ending March 11, K-12 enrollment held steady at 1,543 while district-wide enrollment, including the high school Alternative Learning Center, gained five students for a total of 1,681.

  • Approved payments presented, totaling $931,318.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 6 at the Frank White Education Center. This is a special time due to the Easter Monday holiday on April 5.