I Am a Public School Graduate

Minnesota graduates share stories about the impact public schools have had on their success.

Over the coming months we will feature stories of a dozen Minnesota public school graduates to highlight the role public schools have had in their success. Parents United is grateful that Minnesota provided a quality public school experience for these graduates and we work to ensure that our state does so for every student long into the future – because great public schools benefit everyone. We thank these business owners, nonprofit leaders, artists, astronaut, explorer and Nobel Prize winner for sharing their stories. If you have a story to share with us please let us know.

Melvin Carter

Melvin Carter didn’t dream of growing up and becoming an elected public official. In fact, he cites his career plans in college as having been Olympic running, Olympic running and finally, Olympic running. Although it did not happen in the way he had originally planned…Read More…

Wing Young Huie

Photojournalist Wing Young Huie credits a high school teacher for developing his interest in literature, which led to a distinguished career in journalism and photography where he has focused on highlighting the socioeconomic and cultural realities of Minnesota’s cities. Read More…

Dr. Peter Agre

Dr. Peter Agre, 2003 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry and a Minneapolis Public School graduate, credits a high school class trip to Europe as sparking his interest in majoring in chemistry. “There are huge challenges we now face and we can answer them. I believe that answer is in our public schools. We need to respond to how important our public schools are.” Read More…

Anni Simons

Anni Simons, program manager for the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, said a public school class project about child labor in China had a lasting impact on her and her classmates, paving the way for a career in advocacy work. “At a dinner a few weeks ago with some old friends from that class I realized that everyone at the table…” Read More…

Dan Buettner

Dan Buettner, international explorer and founder of Blue Zones–an innovative company that engages U.S. students in tracking global expeditions–credits a few of his public school teachers for teaching him to think outside the box and push the boundaries of education. Read More…

 

Brenda Cassellius

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said her enthusiasm for school began with an outstanding kindergarten teacher who taught positive reinforcement in creative ways. “I always knew education was my ticket. My father would tell me that I could either continue the cycle of poverty or I could make a different choice and continue my education and break the cycle.” Read More…

Duane Carey

Duane Carey, a former astronaut and fighter pilot for the U.S. Armed Forces, credits public schools for providing the foundation of his success. “If a kid is motivated, there is an opportunity for them in every public school. …With that motivation and the help of the parents and the community, that child can be prepared for any great opportunity.” Read More…

Bao Vang

Hmong American Partnership President Bao Vang, who knew no English when she arrived in the United States in fourth grade, says the teachers who stayed after school to tutor her and her siblings helped put them on the path to success in a new country. With support from public schools and her parents, Bao and all of her siblings went on to college.  Read More…

Dan Jurgens

Dan Jurgens, one of the great comic book artists of our time, credits his public school art program in Ortonville, Minnesota, for fostering his talent. “Because it was a small community, teachers knew entire families. There is a mutual interest in small towns–the community has an interest in everyone’s well-being. Needless to say, my teachers were very interested in my well-being and took it seriously.” Read More…