By Michelle Knippen


St. Mary’s Catholic School

So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Strength, we have all needed a lot of that this year. 2020 has been hard. In a moment of an instant, life came to a halt. We will always remember Friday the 13th of March 2020.

I am the principal at St. Mary’s Leipsic. Education has definitely changed over the last ten months. Things are different: there are fewer activities, fewer events we can do in school or invite parents and grandparents to. Teachers and Administration have had to adapt to a new way of teaching, more cleaning protocols, social distancing and masks. Through it all our kids continue to show strength. Everyone has had to learn to adjust to a new routine, new normal and a new way of life. We have all had to sacrifice, but God gives us the Strength to continue.

My Why?

My why is for my son and nephew with Asthma. My why is for my mother with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. My family works hard to protect them and keep them safe with masks, social distancing, proper hand washing and sacrificing to not attend family gatherings. Is it hard, yes it is hard. God will give us all the Strength we need to continue to persevere.

My why is for my St. Mary’s students and my St. Mary’s family and community. My goal is to keep my students and staff safe each day.

My Why? I want a sports season, band concerts, math club, school, recitals, 4-H, dance and cheer competitions for my children and their competitors. I want my two children and my St. Mary’s students to remain in school. I don’t want to go back to March 2020. I know it may not be our old “normal,” but I want to create a “new” normal so we can continue to go on with life making memories with our family and friends and keeping everyone safe.

So I ask you to have Strength and please JUST MASK UP! If not for you, for our KIDS and our COMMUNITY!!

By Anna Ricker

Quality Management System Lead

Whirlpool Ottawa Operations

Prior to COVID-19 entering our world, my life was filled with spending time with my four daughters. We’d go shopping together and have fun day trips to interesting places. My four daughters have blessed my husband and I with nine grandkids and they mean the world to us. We always enjoyed going to their events, volleyball, basketball and football, as well as just spending time with them when they come to visit us at our home. Seeing the world through their eyes brings me great joy!

One of my favorite activities is our family dinner which is held every Sunday. We make a nice sit down meal and everyone comes over to eat and visit. These meals are always filled with fun and laughter! The time we have together at the dinner table are times that I want to continue. These Sunday family dinners create a bond that cannot be broken.

Although, COVID-19 has disrupted our normal activities, I am still hopeful that we will be able to resume them again in the future. Our family has faced COVID-19 headon. We’ve had to stop our Sunday family dinners, shopping trips, sporting events and sometimes just a “normal” visit doesn’t happen due to an exposure or symptom.

Our family is the most important thing to us. They are my reason to follow safety protocols. I want my grandkids to be able to play sports again - and I want to be able to go watch them! So I will be wearing my mask, practicing social distancing and washing my hands to keep myself and my family healthy and safe.