By Shannon Johnson
Plevna Public School is adding a new Ag teacher to their crew. Cele Menees will be heading the program for the 2019-2020 school year.
Menees grew up between Baker and Ekalaka and attended school in Ekalaka, where she graduated in 2011. In high school, she liked to keep busy participating in FFA, FCCLA, 4-H, Science Olympics, the math team, Honor Society, C-Club, basketball, volleyball, choir, and band.
After graduating, Menees moved to Stillwater, OK to attend Oklahoma State University. Initially she planned on majoring in ag and minoring in music, so she wanted to find a college that had strong programs for both. “They gave me really great scholarships to attend and it just felt right when I went and visited,” she added. “It worked out well.”
Menees admitted that having a father (Bruce Ketchum) who taught ag for several years while she was younger was part of what sparked her interest in teaching ag amongst other reasons. “My biggest thing was that I just wanted to help people and I thought I wanted to be a teacher,” she explained. “I have a passion for agriculture. I grew up with it and grew up on a ranch so it just all kind of fit together.” Being a teacher’s aid during her junior and senior years of high school confirmed her notion that teaching was what she wanted to do for her career.
Before graduating in 2014, Menees met her husband, Jeff, who she was in several classes with.
Menees had finished her major in ag, but despite her love of music and her ability to sing and play various instruments including the piano, alto and tenor saxophone, trombone, baritone, flute, and bass guitar she decided to graduate early and not complete her minor in music. “It would have taken me another two or three semesters,” said Menees.
After graduating, Menees moved to the town of Indiahoma, OK where she taught for three years. “I enjoyed it,” she said. “I kind of had to rebuild the program, so that was a challenge, but it was very rewarding once we got to about the third year.”
Although Menees enjoyed her time in Oklahoma she wanted a change. “I wanted to move closer to home,” she acknowledged. She and her husband moved to Glasgow, MT in October where she substitute taught.
This summer upon hearing that Plevna Public Schools needed an ag teacher, Menees eagerly applied. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she smiled. “I’m positive that this is probably where we’ll be for quite some time.”
Plevna Public School is also welcoming a new 6th-12th grade Social Studies teacher, Maria McSorley.
McSorley was raised in Morris, MN, a town in the northwestern corner of the state. In high school she participated in Girl Scouts, 4-H, and worked as a dietary aid in a nursing home. Along with that, McSorley had a love for helping others and committed much of her free time to doing just that. “I primarily did community service projects,” she explained.
After graduating in 2010 from Morris High School McSorley went on to begin college at Fergus Falls Community College where she worked on her generals and studied social studies. Along with obtaining her degree, she also continued working in nursing homes throughout college.
In 2012 while attending FFCC she met her husband, Jeff. “We met through some mutual friends,” said McSorley. “They set us up on a blind date.”
She and Jeff moved to Moorhead, MN after she transferred to the teaching program at Moorhead State University. “Some of the best memories I have with my family are sitting around talking about history and politics,” McSorley mentioned. “I also wanted to be a mentor to young people.” She graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in social studies and a minor in Special Education.
Since graduation McSorley has had some teaching experience as a substitute teacher in the Moorhead District, spending a great deal of time in their Alternative Schools. She has also worked at a juvenile detention center in Moorhead for the past two summers. Along with that, she was also the School-Aged site assistant for a YMCA After School Program. “This will be my first full-time year,” she acknowledged.
McSorley is getting settled in to both her new classroom and her new community, but she is glad to be in a smaller school where she can get to know all of the students and work with all different age groups. “It’s good to get away from the hustle and bustle,” she smiled. “We’re excited to be here and we’re looking forward to meeting everyone in the community.”