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      Varsity letter worth the 73 year wait

      Most high school athletes only have to wait until the end of the season or school year to receive a varsity letter. But for one former Baraga High School athlete, the wait was a lot longer.

      It took 73 years, but on Monday, 90-year-old Ellen Raymond finally received the varsity letter she'd earned back in 1938 as the school's only cheerleader. She dressed in Viking colors for the special occasion, proving that the past oversight had not diminished her school spirit.

      "It was just great, said Raymond. It was very unexpected, but I'm happy to be here and I TMm very happy with the reception. I was promised a letter just as the boys received. In those days the girls didn't get letters at all. But when I graduated, I was supposed to get a letter and it just never showed up."

      While Raymond was specifically honored for her dedication to cheerleading, it was only one of her many achievements during her four years. She also played basketball, did pole-vaulting for track and was the valedictorian of her class.

      "We wanted to make a correction to the error that was made back then and make sure Ellen received the varsity letter she so truly deserved, said Interim Superintendent Norman McKindles. At the same time, we felt it would be an educational experience for our kids, knowing that it's never too late to be recognized for the accomplishments you may have made in the past."

      Through the years, that varsity letter was never far from Raymond TMs mind, and now that she has it, she plans to keep it close by.