By Per Peterson
A 1975 Tracy High School graduate and a longtime elementary school principal became the 56th and 57th inductees into the Tracy Area High School Wall of Fame at last Thursday’s American Education Banquet:
Erbes looked back at the 1960s and how divided the country was over The Vietnam War — a conflict that took the life of his brother, John. Through the strife and political vitriol, he remembers fondly how the Tracy community shared their compassion.
“In the midst of this divided country and this divided community, my family and I were surrounded with love, caring support and gratitude. I remember vividly walking into my sixth-grade classroom in March of 1969 — and this is when we met in the huts because the tornado had destroyed the elementary school — and being embraced by the power of compassion by my classmates, my teachers.”
Erbes said the people of Tracy had the ability to set aside all of the conflict and controversy that prevailed in the country and in the community.
“I learned that the love of neighbor was more important than any political or personal agenda,” he said. “Since then, I’ve felt driven to show compassion for others. My whole life and career was changed by that experience in Tracy Schools.”
Erbes graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Ancient Studies and Religion in 1979 from St. Olaf College. He earned his Masters of Divinity from Luther Seminary in 1983 and continued his doctoral study at the University of Minnesota and added advanced leadership certifications at the University of Indiana.
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