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2004 Graduate – Sandra Kaye-Owen


Sandra Kaye-OwenThe transformation of East Grand Forks from sinful frontier outpost to progressive, modern city began in the dynamic and exciting era of the late 1800’s. The area at the coming together of the Red and Red Lake Rivers was a popular trading center and stopping off place for teamsters who drove the Red River Valley ox carts between Winnipeg and St. Paul. James Deering became the first entrepreneur when he bought a stock of goods in 1871 and set up the first store in a tent on the banks of the Red River.

W.C. Nash, a fur trader and government mail carrier, was the first to establish permanent settlement and the town became known as Nashville. A post office was established in 1873 and the name was changed to East Grand Forks. Efforts by Nash to incorporate the settlement of East Grand Forks as a city didn’t become successful until 1887 when the first city election was held.

The community prospered for a short time but, when the rails crossed the Red River in 1880, Grand Forks benefited while East Grand Forks slumbered. By 1885, Grand Forks was the largest town in the western Dakota Territory. It boasted a brewery and 26 saloons. But that was about to change….In 1889, North Dakota officially became a state and at the same time, the prohibition amendment was passed. On July 1, 1890, Grand Forks went dry and East Grand Forks became a boomtown. Almost overnight, fourteen Grand Forks saloon proprietors moved their businesses lock, stock and barrel across the river to East Grand Forks.

Today, major manufacturing companies are closely related to the agricultural economy. The hard-drinking, colorful times of the past have been replaced by a community that has several times more churches than bars and prides itself on the public and private school education opportunities provided for both children and adults. But East Grand Forks’ greatest asset is its civic-minded citizens and leaders. These dedicated individuals work together to keep East Grand Forks Growing in the Right Direction.

Citizens’ High School is pleased to present one very such civic-minded individual. This is Ms Sandra Kaye-Owen. Sandra’s family did a considerable amount of moving around during her high school years. Attending a brick and mortar high school was extremely difficult for Sandra to do. Two high schools rarely, if ever, are synchronized. A transferring student usually finds herself way ahead or way behind with the new school’s curriculum. Sandra was not fond of that prospect, nor was she crazy about all the peer pressure placed on her for things unrelated to academics. Things like, appearance, drug use, sex, just to name a few. Sandra chose Citizens’ High School as a means to an end.

Sandra enrolled with us for her last two academic years. She needed to complete eight courses to earn her diploma. She accomplished the task and immediately moved on to higher goals. We asked her what her plans for the future were. She responded with the following:

“Well, I was recently married to an awesome man, Brian Owen, in the fall of 2003. Brian is an EMT-I and is attending Northland Community and Technical College. Brian will graduate in the spring of 2004 with an A.S. degree in Paramedicine. I ‘m currently a CNA and attending the same college as Brian and will also graduate in the spring of 2004 With an EMT- B certificate. In the future we plan to continue our Education. Brian will more than likely get a P.A. degree and I will go To Nursing School and become an LPN. We will soon there after be in the mission field.”

Sandra is a humble and determined young woman. We wish her and Brian all the successes for the plans they have intended for their lives. We are grateful we could provide the needed curriculum that enabled Sandra to reach for the next brass ring. She has impressed all of us here at Citizens’ and we wish to honor her with Graduate of the Month for October 2004.

Sandra Kaye-Owen is Citizens’ High School
“Graduate of the Month” for October 2004.