Serving Roseau County for over 100 Years - The Official Roseau County Newspaper

Meet this year's Standout Young Graduates

It's not like the usual mail where you're inundated with requests to buy the Mayo Clinic Health Booklet or Save the Bees or Social Security is going broke and can you send $15, $30, or $75 because you old codgers will soon be homeless.

And then there are the graduation cards that catch your eye.

"What! They're already graduating? Unbelievable! They were just in diapers, weren't they!"

These are just kids hoping their graduation cards won't start the fire in the barrel stove on a cold May morning.

It's been done here!

But not this time.

One of the first cards was from Maggie Mulloy, possibly an Irish surname. I've never asked.

Maggie is my sister Barb's granddaughter, who lives out in Colorado Springs, where her mother, Lt. Col. Julie (née Thode) Mulloy is an Air Force flight instructor.

Ordinarily, we throw in a little cash and hopefully get a thank you note that actually cheers us up with some sass.

"You cheapskates! I'm worth a helluva lot more than a 10 spot."

I called Julie last week and we had a great chat. Maggie will attend the University of San Diego this fall and do her Air Force ROTC at San Diego State.

"She got a full Air Force ROTC scholarship, which are really hard to come by these days. She's extremely happy," said Julie.

Maggie's dad, Brian, is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. Along with Julie, and Julie's older sibling, Mike Thode, also a pilot and a retired colonel, they all flew combat missions during our most recent wars.

Maggie's aunt, Air Force Lt. Col. Lisa (née Thode) Seymour, is the only one who didn't attend the Air Force Academy.

She went the ROTC route at the University of Notre Dame.

One other thing, Lisa's husband, retired Air Force Colonel Tom Seymour, also flew combat missions.

It's all in the family, so there wasn't a concern that the young lady might join the Army.

Is there something that really stands out about Maggie?

"Well, she did win the Prettiest Eyes for her class, which we think is pretty funny. Her horse, Rooster, is for sure her best friend. She's a wonderful student and absolutely loves to drink Nestle Quik milk."

Maggie is ready for college after graduating from Palmer Ridge High School this weekend.

"I ran cross country and played soccer and I do barrel racing."

Her college options are still to be determined.

"I think I'm going to study some kind of engineering and maybe go to pilot school. Maybe not. I'm not totally sure yet."

Ever been thrown from your horse?

"Yes, many times," she laughed, adding that she hasn't broken anything yet.

"I've been scratched and bloody."

If she climbs right back up in the saddle, bruised and bloodied, she's ready for ROTC..

She has a great laugh which guarantees an extra buck in her card.

Meet Madison

It seems like I have known Madison Jo Dahl forever, a petite lady who was so very tiny at birth.

On the day she was delivered on June 28, 2005, at the University of Minnesota Hospitals, she was the ultimate premie.

Just 17 ounces!

That's a 16-ounce can of Busch Light and an ounce chaser.

Adam Dahl and Leslie Renfroe, now deceased, raised a wonderful young lady.

Last week, Adam, a 1994 Roseau High School graduate, was asked what's really special about his daughter.

"Oh, you're going to make me cry," he said, choking up.

"She's got a big heart. If she was as big as her heart, she'd be a giant. She genuinely cares for people. Sometimes, I worry her heart is too big."

Her plans are to attend North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D., about 150 miles from Thief River Falls.

How tall is Madison now?

"In her boots, she's about five-two, and she's 100 pounds on a fat day."

At least five times over the years, Madison has been featured in the Roseau Times-Region.

She definitely beat the odds.

"Her chances were one in a hundred. She had a one-percent chance of survival."

There was no quit in this tiny baby, just 12 inches at birth.

"Well, they said when she was born that we were better off that she was a girl because, for whatever reason, girl premies tend to fight harder. And she did!"

Amazingly, she's going to college for Power Sports Technology, which amazes her dad.

"She's learning how to wrench on four-wheelers and motorcycles and boats. I have no idea where she got it from. She took a couple of courses in high school and loved it."

She's the miracle child and she holds her own.

"Yes, she's got a spine."

Her mother, Leslie Renfroe, died three years ago this July following two unsuccessful kidney transplants.

Madison was asked about her grades.

"I've been pulling A's all year and made the Academic Honors Banquet this morning," she said a week ago.

Since her sophomore year, Madison has cleaned at Lincoln High School for Midwest Cleaners.

"You're ready for the world, girl!" I told her, adding that she's got spunk too.

She's the million dollar baby who weighed five pounds on her first birthday.

"That's what she was, a million dollar baby!" said her dad.

"I opened up bills that were half a million dollars. I'd be paying on them for the rest of my life if it wasn't for medical assistance."

Madison Jo is worth every single penny of it.

A few years ago, she went to her first prom. She was all dressed up and was the closest thing to Cinderella - pert and pretty!

Ms. Lilly

I've never met Lilly Olson, a fine young woman, but I know her dad, Justin "Brit" Olson, a state runner-up in wrestling in 1999.

He and his wife, Anika, count their blessings.

"We were so lucky. She was the easiest child to raise. She's a great daughter."

Is she dating anyone?

"David Nelson, that's Randy and Jana Nelson's son, who has graduated from college. He went to Bethel for accounting and is now working for Marvins."

Lilly helps out at Sunday school, is a member of the National Honor Society with a straight "A" average, and has worked the past several summers for Adventure Camp in Roseau.

She's the beautiful Lilly.

"I'm going to the University of North Dakota for elementary education," she said

You like little kids?

"Yes, I'm actually babysitting right now."

Her interests, she said, are taking care of kids, and they have a special place in her heart.

"I also like going on walks, spending time with my friends, spending time with God, and I like to go on prayer walks."

She then mentioned Adventure Camp, a paid position during the summer.

"We're either at the City Park or at the Splash Pad. We have like a six-to-one ratio. So, every counselor has six kids."

She's a natural around youngsters.

"I've grown up with kids like my whole life since my mom does daycare."

She's a humble lass, mentioning that she's not as athletic as her three younger siblings.

She laughed about the incident when her boyfriend wasn't allowed to take her to the senior prom.

"Yeah, he was too old!"

It was fine, she said, because she went to the dance with a friend, Brennen Johnson.

"My parents made me who I am today. So, I'm really thankful for that."

Lilly Marie Olson is a definite keeper with a winning smile and beautiful heart.

Maybe we'll meet someday.


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