Mar 5, 2019 | By: Rachel Johnson

Brainerd School District Honors 20 Legendary Women Of Brainerd Public Schools

The Brainerd Public School District wanted to honor women who have gone through the district and have made an impact in the world around them. On Monday night, 20 women were inducted into the inaugural Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools exhibit.

Last year, a group of representatives from the Brainerd Public School District came together with a plan to honor legendary women that attended Brainerd Public Schools.

“We probably started meeting about six months ago and thought what could we do to lift up women that have graduated from Brainerd Public Schools and how can we showcase and lift them up and share their stories,” said Lisa Salo, chair of the Legendary Women of BPS organizing committee.

They started by asking the public for names.

“We had a list of between 85 and 90 names and we culled it down by year of graduation, their contribution, and their category,” explained organizing committee member Sherri DeLaHunt.

The 20 inductees have established careers across the country that span from a middle school math teacher, a member of the military, authors, athletes, and more.

“We wanted a range. We wanted diversity, in walks of life, in ages, in passions, in career paths,” added Salo.

The women honored were surprised and humbled.

“Most of them said, ‘Me? Why me?'” DeLaHunt added.

“I was very surprised, very surprised. I didn’t expect it because there’s so many people that have done things bigger,” said Jessica Ryan, Legendary Women of BPS honoree.

The importance of the exhibit could be felt in the room.

“What’s being put together here to archive women who have come through these buildings, to inspire more young women, girls, and even boys,” said honoree Shelly Boyum-Breen. “If we can be lifting each other up, sharing each other’s stories, it matters.”

The committee hopes that by having this exhibit at the high school it will inspire the students that walk the halls.

“This exhibit is for the young women that walk in these hallways every single day. If she can see her, she can be her,” said Salo. “To inspire. To inspire and empower.”

“That sense of ‘I can do it. If somebody else can do it, I can do it too if I just take a little risk,’” said Ryan. “Just with a little bit of effort there’s countless possibilities out there.”

The committee hopes to make this an annual tradition and induct more legendary women each coming year.

The exhibit will be on display in the media center at Brainerd High School at least through the end of May. Anyone is welcome to view the exhibit Monday through Friday during school hours.

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