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Written by Jerry Ness
Tuesday, May 21 2013
The Class of 2013 seniors were honored for their achievements on Monday, May 6. Along with recognizing the seniors, the 544 Education Foundation and School District honored our rich tradition by inducting distinguished alumni and staff into the Fergus Falls Public Schools’ Hall of Fame.
The evening began with the National Anthem sung by Fergus Falls High School Chamber Singers. The annual parade of seniors preceded their video highlights of kindergarten, elementary, middle School, and high school events and achievements. The videos were introduced by Jackson McAllister, Tommy Weaver, Rachael Heidorn and Ben Haugmo.
Outstanding musical selections were performed by members of the Wind Ensemble Brass Choir: Taylor Johnson, Elise Anderson and Samantha Velde; along with Kaleb Rotering and Samantha Velde singing Landslide.
The Arts-Outstanding Visual Artist-High Achievements in presentation and completion of artwork awards were presented to: Leila Allen, Michael Aasness, Austin Begley, Kim Bosworth, Sierra Carlson, Anne Childs, Joe DeBord, Nikki Ellingson, Samantha Evenson, Sam Gilbert, Tyler Hauck, Stephanie Kolstad, Cara Scott, Taylor Smith, and Christian Stock. The Outstanding Visual Artist award went to Christian Stock for excellence in presentation and show of work at a competition level, along with having a desire to pursue visual arts in his future endeavors.
The Outstanding Theatre Achievement awards were presented to: Morgan Fylling, Ben Haugmo and Brooke Wallington. The Outstanding Choir Leadership award was given to Taylor Johnson and Josh Johnson. The Outstanding Band Leadership award went to Keianna Vogel and Nathan Stowman. Also Keianna received All-State Honors in Band, along with the Louis Armstrong Jazz award.
The 3-Sport Athlete awards were presented to: Michael Aasness, Alex Anderson, Dakota Birch, Cody Breen, Jason Burns, Clay Danielson, Alec Davis, Derek Davis, Brady Hansen, Walker Heinen, Reece Johnson, Brady Martin, Megan Niblock, Drew Reinertson, Jesse Schneeberger, Dillon Sillerud, Sam Steen, Samantha Velde, and Casey Ward.
The Minnesota State High School League Triple “A” Award Winners (Arts – Academics and Athletics) went to Callie Ann Hoffbeck and Samuel Steen. They are receiving a $100 scholarship through the Otter Coaches Association.
Outstanding Male & Female Athletes
To receive the Outstanding Male and Female Athlete award a student must letter in two or more sports during their senior year and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. This award was presented to Megan Niblock–Soccer, Hockey and Golf and a tie for the boys to Michael Aasness–Diving, Weight Training and Baseball and Casey Ward–Football, Hockey and Weight Training.
Congratulations to the following seniors on their scholarships:
· Robert & Elaine Olson Scholarship – Rachel Hofmann and Jackson McAllister: $1000
· Wessberg Family Scholarship – Keianna Vogel and William Eerdmans: $2000
· Thomas C. Wright Scholarship – Mary Sanders: $150; Mitchell Nacke: $150; Kristopher Brokke: $655; Tessa Haggstrom: $655; Amy Hosch: $655; and Emily Hexum: $150.
· Randy Wanek Memorial Scholarship – Mitchell Nacke: $600
· SaraLee Scholarship – Rachel Appert: $544
· Mike Rohde Spirit Scholarship – Amy Hosch: $1,500
· American Legion Post #30 Lee Franklin Memorial Scholarship – Keianna Vogel and Rachel Appert
· Fergus Falls Masonic Lodge/Cornerstone Lodge #99 scholarship – Cody Danielson and Josh Johnson
· Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Senior Scholarship Award – Nicole Ellingson: $1000
· Lake Region Builders Foundation & West Central Initiative – Alec Davis: $1500
· NDSCS Academic Scholarship – Alec Davis: $1,000 and Morgan Hensch: $500
· Stalker Lake Sportsman Club, Dalton – Emily Nelson: $500
· CocaCola Scholarship Award – Austin Sandmeyer: $10,000
· Gate City Bank Scholarship – Jen McDermott: $1,200
Otter Coaches Association Scholarships
Four $250 Otter Coaches Association scholarships – for students who have lettered in two or more sports during senior year, have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and cannot have any MSHSL violations – were awarded to: Alex Anderson, Callie Ann Hoffbeck, Drew Reinertson and Samantha Velde.
Written by Jerry Ness
Tuesday, May 14 2013
Congratulations to the students and directors for their performance of A Piece of My Heart by Shirley Lauro. It is a play depicting the experiences of six women who served in Vietnam. The cast of six women and two men are made up of all juniors and seniors – with our very talented group of seniors performing for the last time as students at KSS. The cast includes seniors Morgan Fylling, Ben Haugmo, Abby Kiefer, and Brooke Wallington; and juniors Danielle Crowe, Cassandra Eerdmans, Allyson Godel, and Connor Murphy.
7th Grade Honors Breakfast
The Fergus Falls Public Schools would like to thank Glende-Nilson Funeral Home for sponsoring the 7th Grade Honors Breakfast for the ninth consecutive year. Congratulations to the fifty 7th grade students who were honored on May 8 for their academic achievements.
Senior Austin Sandmeyer was selected for a $10,000 scholarship by Coca-Cola. As part of his scholarship, he was given the opportunity to honor an influential teacher in his life – for which he chose Ms. Elizabeth Abrahams, his social studies teacher. His comments included, “Mrs. Abe's: In the past four years, I have been fortunate enough to have you as an educator and friend. You have shown me my true potential and I have seen you unlock countless other students. For myself and those unnamed, I thank you. You have always believed in me, and pushed me to become better, day in and day out, whether you know it or not. Thank you so much in helping with the seemingly endless college and scholarship applications. I hope one day I inspire someone in the future as much as you have inspired me. That being said, you were my clear pick in designation for the 2013 Coca-Cola Scholars Program Educator of Distinction Award. Thank You Mrs. Abes!” Congratulations to both Austin and Ms. Abrahams!
On Friday, May 3rd a group of juniors and seniors from Ms. Appert’s business class attended the M-State (Detroit Lakes Campus) Business Program Expo. The students learned about the business programs available at M-State, listened to a speaker from Lakeshirts in Detroit Lakes, and participated in a scavenger hunt activity and a T-shirt design contest. It was exciting to hear that a group of Fergus Falls High School students won both the scavenger hunt and the T-shirt design contest! The T-shirt contest winners were awarded M-State jackets for their efforts, but even more fun was the fact that Lakeshirts will be printing the design and providing all participants with a finished T-shirt as well as providing extras to sell in the M-State Bookstore.
Congratulations to Distinguished Alumni and Staff Honored
On May 6, the Fergus Falls High School held its annual award ceremony for seniors, Distinguished Alumni and the Hall of Fame. I would like to thank the Activities Department – Gary Schuler and Sue Thorsen – for the evening’s success. I would also like to congratulate all of the new inductees:
As a research scientist, 1986 graduate Heidi (Kennedy) Manning has a continuing role in the American space program and currently teaching physics at Concordia College in Moorhead.
Donald R. Cressey, 1937 graduate, was a penologist, sociologist and criminologist who made innovative contributions to the study of organized crime, prisons, criminology and white-collar crime.
Roger Johnson began teaching at Fergus Falls High School in 1965 after graduating from Augsburg College. Forty-eight years later, he continues as a substitute teacher and general manager of the Otters boys’ hockey team. Before retiring from full-time teaching in 1999, he taught American and world history for 34 years.
Following college graduation Jadee Dahlen taught high school math, science and art and coached basketball for two years in North Dakota before joining the Fergus Falls School District as an art teacher.
Greg “Fuzz” Noren graduated from Fergus Falls High School in 1967. He worked for the school district until 2010 as a custodian and groundskeeper and was the district’s certified pool operator. For 16 years he served as assistant track and field coach.
Battle Lake native Roger Olson joined the Fergus Falls School District in 1969 and during his 42-year career taught math at many levels and served as dean of students and the district’s staff development coordinator.
Written by Jerry Ness
Tuesday, May 07 2013
Middle School health teacher, Renee Erickson, organized a very informative and enthusiastic program through her 8th grade leadership class. For the past nine years the middle school has used OAAO – Otters Are Always Otters – as their theme. Otters are always accountable, respectful and enthusiastic. Those three traits, along with integrity, innovation, and responsibility are the District’s core values.
The theme for this semester’s program was the six core values from our District’s mission and values statement. The students wrote the script, choreographed the dance routines, ran the soundboard, ran the backstage and gave an absolutely wonderful performance. Ms. Erickson extends a HUGE thank you to the staff and students for their continued efforts to believe in and daily demonstrate the OAAO message.
The sophomore Honors Biology classes, along with some juniors and seniors, have been working hard to prepare for this year’s Envirothon. They are having a blast learning about the environment and working this year's oral presentation scenario, "Managing Grazing Systems in MN." The Fergus Falls Envirothon team members Sarah Overton, Sarah Taylor, Mitchell Cole, Kate Rinke, and Alicia Quamme finished 2nd overall in the oral presentation round at the Regional Envirothon held at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center (PWLC). The team finished 4th overall in the competition.
What is the Envirothon?
The Envirothon, an outdoor learning event for high school students in grades 9-12, is one of the state’s largest environmental education competitions. Teams consisting of five students from the same school/organization visit six different learning stations covering aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and a current environmental topic that changes every year. Students are given a 25-point exam relating to the station’s topics. At the sixth station, the students are required to give a brief (eight to nine minute) pre-determined oral presentation to a panel of judges, also based on the current environmental topic for the year.
Natural resource professionals from across the state are presenters at each of the stations. They use the outdoor setting, as well as their own props to add to the experience.
In Minnesota, teams participate in various regional Envirothons, which are organized by Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) personnel. The top three teams from each of these regional events advance to the Minnesota State Envirothon, where students compete for the chance to represent Minnesota at the Canon Envirothon.
What are the benefits of an Envirothon?
The Envirothon is more than a competition. Together with teachers, schools and professionals, it helps develop knowledgeable citizens who can make informed decisions that affect the quality of life in our communities. Ultimately, it’s creating new leaders who will provide the vision for our future and well being.
Who Sponsors the State Envirothon?
The Minnesota State Envirothon is sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts and the Minnesota Association of Conservation District Employees.
FFEA Community Service
The Fergus Fall Education Association (FFEA) has a goal of being a pro-active local association throughout the school district and community. I would like to personally commend them for their work outside the classroom as they run annual campaigns for the Red Cross Blood Drive, Humane Society, Toy Drive, Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army, Food Shelf, along with highway clean up efforts. They have also organized many events in the community that support our local businesses. These businesses have contacted me directly acknowledging and thanking the FFEA for their patronage.
Written by Jerry Ness
Wednesday, May 01 2013
Once again the employees of Fergus Falls Public School District, Lake Region Healthcare, and M State are invited to join in a friendly competition to see who can get the most participants for “Bike or Walk to School or Work Week,” scheduled for May 4-12. Prizes will be awarded for the largest turnout, as well as the best group photo. Winners will be announced at the Fourth Annual Community Celebration Breakfast scheduled for June 13, with photos posted on the PartnerSHIP 4 Health Facebook page.
Students from the Fergus Falls Area Learning Center recently competed in the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs (MAAP) Success Teamwork Achievement Respect Self-Esteem (STARS) State Conference in the Twin Cities – with each student participating in four or more events. Students participating included: Seniors - Kayleen Whayley, Jen McDermott, Jessica Rondorf, Lynnise Williams; Juniors - Betty Bellet, Kori Biksen; and Sophomores - Matthew Hoeper, Cameron Steinhofer.
All eight students advanced to semi-final rounds, and many in multiple events. One student, Kayleen Whaley, advanced to finals, eventually placing 3rd in Employment Interview out of over 220 competitors. The individual events included: Employment Interview, Workplace Decision Making and Public Speaking. The team events included: Parenting Decision Making, Management Decision Making and Community Service Projects. And last, the artistic events included: Individual Artistic Display and Individual Artistic Performance.
MAAP STARS is a broad-based vocational organization for students in secondary alternative programs in the United States. The purpose of MAAP Stars is to help students:
- develop employment, academic and social skills.
- experience career related activities that in turn assist them in making an informed career choice.
- build a cooperative and competitive spirit through individual and team activities and competition.
- strengthen social skills and build an appreciation for the responsibilities of citizenship, brotherhood, and the American free enterprise system.
- develop self-confidence; increase motivation, and create a desire for and belief in life-long learning.
- meet with, have fun with, and ultimately develop an appreciation for students and staff from other alternative programs.
Lakes Country Service Cooperative was fortunate to line up a workshop with NASA to present on the activity of “Curiosity, the Mars Land Rover.” Presenters will be arriving from Arizona State University for a two-day workshop in June and will provide science teachers with hands-on classroom activities for students. Three teachers from our School District will attend this workshop.
Fergus Falls High School students recently displayed art pieces created over the past few months at the Regional High School Show held at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center. Their work was completed through elective art courses taught by Peder Butenhoff. Anne Childs constructed her ceramic sculpture of a "Celebration Dance" in pottery and received the "Peoples Choice Award." Claire Ripley's watercolor called "Autumn Watercolor" was composed in the drawing and painting course and received a first place prize. Michael Aasness constructed his "Grizzly" on an armature with wax in a rare mediums course – which earned him a second place overall. The public is invited to view these works and many more at the Blondeau Fine Arts Festival scheduled from 5-9 pm, May 20th at the Kennedy Secondary School.
Denise Wiese, MS Band teacher, was awarded a $10,000 grant from Lake Region Arts Council. The grant will be use for the Copper Street Brass Quintet as Artists in Residency for four days in May. They will present four showcases, three master classes, and two elementary assemblies and will work with band students in grades 5-8. As a special treat for our community, they will perform with the 7th and 8th grade Middle School Honors band in the school concert on Monday, May 13 and perform their own concert on Tuesday, May 14.
Written by Jerry Ness
Monday, April 22 2013
Our swimming coach, Tom Uvass, recently received a letter regarding one of our Otter swimmers at the state swimming and diving meet. Mr. Porter, an official for the event, wrote the following:
“On Saturday during finals, I was one of the officials behind the block in Lane 2. When the finals of the 100 backstroke came up, your swimmer Joe Kitzman entered the block area to prepare for his race...he looked at both of us officials and said, ‘thank you for taking time out of your busy lives and volunteering to officiate at the meet.’
Swimmers all prepare for an upcoming final differently, but for me, a swimmer doing that behind the blocks was a first. We thanked him and wished him good luck, but that does not seem enough. I wanted to write this letter so you would know, and please pass on my thanks to him (Joe) once again. It meant a great deal to us both. While I can honestly say I love my time on the deck during the championships, moments like that make it all the more special.
Congratulations on your 6th place overall finish, as well as successes like this out of the pool. I hope Joe was happy with his performances in the Fly and Back. In my book, Joe represented Fergus Falls very well during his time at the Championships and I hope I get the pleasure of being in his lane again next year!
Best Regards, Craig W. Porter – Winona Swimming and Diving Official”
Mr. Porter also shared this letter with Jim Marshall, State Swimming Officials Coordinator, who read it at this year’s All-State Swimming and Diving banquet.
When I told Joe about the letter and thanked him for representing the Otters, he was surprised anyone knew about it. Small gestures, like a sincere thank you, make a difference. Thanks again Joe!
Please encourage your children to attend the Youth Summit being held on Wednesday, May 1st at Kennedy Secondary School from 5-7 pm. It is open to grades 6-12 and the summit will focus on leadership. Two speakers will be sharing their stories on leadership: Jeff Morris - 2012 National Coach of the Year and Dr. Sandra Wieser - Matthews, 2012 MN Outstanding Individuals in Community and Theater. For more information, please contact Mary Matteson, 218.998.0544, ext. 1601.
Larry Anderson Honored
Sara Anderson, former teacher at Fergus Falls Public Schools, recently sent a letter informing me her son, Larry, will be inducted into the Crookston Coaches Hall of Fame on April 29. Larry has been a teacher, coach and athletic trainer at Crookston for 35 years. Congratulations to Larry, a Fergus Falls High School alumni, and thanks to Sara for sharing this great news.
New Horizons Donation
The School District would like to thank New Horizons, a division of CHS, Inc., for their donation of $1825. New Horizons recently took part in a Harvest for Hunger campaign to raise money, grain, and food for area food banks. CHS, Inc. made a local donation that was divided among area locations. New Horizons wants the District to use this donation to invest in our children’s education through technology. Again, we thank New Horizons and appreciate the partnership in educating our students.
5th Grade Choir Concert
Congratulations to the 5th grade Choir and director Joni Wasberg on their wonderful performance on Thursday, April 18. Each week, the group meets one day before school to practice. The concert was titled, “Songs from Around the World.” Members of the choir include Hunter Arntson, Sydney Batzlaff, Brody Bowman, Jack Culbertson, Bryianna Davison, Madeline Eastwood, Madeline Godwin, Atlanta Goulet, Jacey Johnson, Sam King, Alanna Keller, Kaitlyn Krensing, Maya Maihori, Alexis McGary, Brayden Marquard-Hauger, Chloe Nelson, Leslie Pelletier, Lindsey Petterson, Emma Rund, Brita Sonmor, Haylie Stach, Zachary Steinhouse, Josh Thorstad, Izabel TSherman , Anna Wallock, and Eric Workman.
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