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Editorial: Thumbs

To Albert Lea High School teacher Kevin Gentz.

Congratulations to Albert Lea High School math teacher Kevin Gentz, who was named the 2021 Albert Lea Teacher of the Year Wednesday in a ceremony in the high school auditorium.

Gentz has taught in the district for 13 years and has been known for having a contagious energy and passion, making a subject fun that many dread having to take.

We congratulate Gentz for his dedication as a teacher and for the impact he makes on students every day.

Gentz has been nominated for Teacher of the Year five times and was a finalist four times.

During a year that has been challenging for all educators, we thank all who have gone out of their way to help students grow.

To Freeborn County’s new COVID-19 deaths.

Health officials announced this week the 28th and 29th person have died from COVID-19 in Freeborn County.

The deaths were both people in their early 90s. Two deaths were also reported in Steele County, marking that county’s 13th and 14th deaths.

The new deaths are an ongoing reminder of the seriousness that COVID-19 can cause, and we encourage people to remain vigilant in practicing proper safety protocol to reduce the spread, particularly amongst our county’s vulnerable populations.

Though vaccinations are increasing, so are cases and hospitalizations across the state.

To plans for an in-person graduation with the entire Albert Lea High School class.

We were pleased to hear plans moving forward this week for Albert Lea High School’s graduation ceremony for the class of 2021.

Albert Lea Superintendent Mike Funk told the school board on Monday that he hoped one graduation ceremony for high schoolers could take place May 21 at Hammer Complex. Students would be allotted four tickets each for guests, and bleachers on both sides of the field would be used.

The graduation ceremony for Area Learning Center students would be the night before in the high school auditorium.

We are thankful the entire class will be able to celebrate this milestone together, and we hope COVID-19 numbers will stay manageable to allow for this to happen.