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Volunteers receive recognition

Two Rosemount Middle School volunteers got some recognition recently for the work they put in to make the school a better place.

Jackie Emerson and Kristine McKenzie were both selected to receive Apple Awards from Dakota County United Educators, the union for teachers in District 196. The awards came with an apple-shaped paper weight and a big thank you for the hours of work they put in at the school.

Emerson has volunteered at RMS for the past eight years. She spends most of her time working with kids after school on homework.

"I was just here and I saw the need," Emerson said. "I saw some of these kids not getting their homework done."

Emerson said the kids she works with appreciate her help. She's gotten graduation announcements from several, and she got a special thank you from one student who said he probably wouldn't have graduated without her.

McKenzie hasn't been involved quite as long at RMS, but she's still become an important part of life at the school. She volunteers in the parent communication network at RMS, putting together extra activities like trips to Skateville or Grand Slam or Valleyfair. This year she helped organize a special celebration for RMS eighth graders.

"I'm A-OK doing whatever the teachers want, because I know they work really hard," McKenzie said. "All the teachers are so nice up there. It's really a nice way to give back and help out the teachers."

McKenzie said she got involved last year because her own children were going into middle school. She also serves as a parent advisor for one of the school's Destination ImagiNation teams. That team recently won first place at DI Global Finals in Knoxville.

She and another parent also organize special treats for teachers once a month.

McKenzie called the award a nice surprise.

"I guess I didn't really realize how nice it was," she said. "This is the first I'd ever heard about (the award)."