Congratulations to the Class of 2013 and the District 544 staff for being an outstanding example of living up to our mission and values while achieving at the highest level. Students from our three high schools – the Fergus Falls High School, the Area Learning Center (ALC), and iQ Academy (online) – will all be receiving Fergus Falls Public School diplomas this spring.
The large ceremony, where graduates from all three high schools are invited to participate, is scheduled at 7 pm Friday, May 31 in the Gold Gym at the Kennedy Secondary School. iQ Academy will host a student reception on the afternoon of May 31, followed by participation in the graduation ceremony that evening. The ALC will hold their graduation ceremony at 7 pm Thursday, May 30 in the Kennedy Secondary School’s auditorium. A reception will follow in the Area Learning Center’s cafeteria.
This class has had a very exciting year. They had an unexpected trip to the President’s Inaugural Parade, outstanding individual and team sport achievements, wonderful concerts, and academic achievements, along with many scholarships given through Dollars for Scholars and the 544 Education Foundation.
We continue to tell students, and especially seniors, that graduation is just the beginning of their journey. The diploma they earned gives them the opportunity to “dive” into their next educational opportunity. With a very few exceptions, attending a postsecondary institution is almost a requirement to ensure a successful career. Good luck to the Class of 2013!
Dollars for Scholars Banquet
On May 1, the local chapter of Dollars for Scholars awarded 59 scholarships to Fergus Falls Students. During the event, Executive Director Nancy Eldredge Hess commented:
“Dollars for Scholars is comprised of community members who volunteer their time and expertise. Our goal is to raise money and manage the endowment fund that helps graduating seniors from Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and the Fergus Falls High School to defray some of their college tuition expenses through scholarships. These scholarships are made possible through the efforts of our board and the generosity of our donors. Our board and our donors value higher education and want to make it affordable for students who wish to continue their education. This year, two new named scholarships were awarded for the first time: The Conrad G. Blegstad Scholarship for math and/or science and the Gordon Johnson Scholarship.
A group of donors and community volunteers came together in 1991 to start the Fergus Falls Area Dollars for Scholars and created an endowment fund. In 1992, five $500 scholarships were awarded. Today, 22 years later – because of the generosity of donors and with the guidance of board members – 59 students received over $50,000 in scholarships.”
Middle School Awards
Loren Blume, 7th grade, and Tommy Bowman, 8th grade, were selected as Outstanding Band Students and Emily Keller was the winner of the Al Jacobs Band Camp Scholarship. The 8th Grade Honors Program was held on May 15. During this event, 80 students were honored for their academic achievement. Tucker Johnson and Emily Ratz won the American Legion Citizenship Awards, and Gabe Enderle was selected for the Rotary 4-Way Award. Congratulations to all the students recognized!
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.
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.
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.