Decorah Elementary Dance Party a Success

The Decorah FEC (Family, Educator, and Community Organization) recently hosted its second annual Elementary Dance Party.  Over 460 students and family members enjoyed an evening of dancing, glow sticks, and popsicles.  

FEC President Shanna Putnam Dibble expressed gratitude for the Luther football team who volunteered at this event, as well as for all the FEC volunteers and district employees who made the event possible. Dibble noted, “The FEC is proud to support events such as this where educators and families come together for a night of engagement and fun. The smiles on our students’ faces–and their epic dance moves–say it all!”

Associate elementary principal Dana Bockman shared, “Whether it’s volunteering in the classroom, reading regularly with your child, attending FEC meetings, or simply showing up to events like the dance party, parent involvement makes a difference. It sends a powerful message to our students that their education matters and that they have a team of supporters cheering them on every step of the way. Decorah elementary schools are committed to continuing to work together with our families to create a nurturing environment where every child can reach their full potential. Our dedicated FEC is integral in supporting events that strengthen that partnership. We are incredibly thankful for their efforts.”

Elementary Dance Lights
Elementary Dance Circle
Elementary Dance Popsicles
Elementary Dance Luther Football

Decorah FFA Excels at Sub-Districts

Twenty-one Decorah FFA members participated at the Northwest Sub-District FFA Leadership Development Events on Monday, at Crestwood High School. The chapter competed in nine leadership development events and one quiz contest. 

The chapter advanced in six contests, with five of those contests receiving first place and one contest receiving second place.  Contests receiving first place with a gold rating and advancing to districts include Ag Broadcasting: Kiele Eberling; Ag Sales: Anders Lovstuen; Conduct of Meetings: Gabe Monroe, Brinlee Courtney, Madelynn Dahl, Andrew Carolan, Mara Lovstuen, Hadley Alexander, and Aiden Helgerson; Extemporaneous Speaking: Kamryn Werges; and Job Interview: Creed Monroe.

The chapter parliamentary procedure team received second place with a silver rating and also advanced to districts. Team members include Rylee Averhoff, Jerikah Dodd, Lyla Lovstuen, Annika Schmelzer, and Thea Zidlicky.

The chapter also competed in the following leadership development events: Chapter Program: Travis Nordheim and Eden Scheidel – 3rd place, silver rating, alternate to districts; Creed Speaking: Jackson Irwin – 4th place, gold rating, alternate to districts; and Public Speaking: Braunwyn Darrington – silver rating.

The Decorah FFA had one member participate in the Greenhand Quiz, an FFA knowledge exam. Isabella Schnitzler received second place in the Greenhand Quiz contest.

The Decorah FFA will now compete at the District FFA Convention on Saturday, March 9th at Waukon High School. The convention will begin at 9 a.m., and the public is invited to attend. 

2.19.24 Sub Districts at Cresco Decorah FFA Members

Photo ID:

Front row (l-r): Lyla Lovstuen, Madelynn Dahl, Hadley Alexander, Brinlee Courtney, Andrew Carolan

Second row (l-r): Anders Lovstuen, Braunwyn Darrington, Eden Scheidel, Isabella Schnitzler, Mara Lovstuen, Aiden Helgerson, Kamryn Werges, Kiele Eberling

Third row (l-r): Rylee Averhoff, Jerikah Dodd, Annika Schmelzer, Travis Nordheim, Thea Zidlicky, Jackson Irwin, Creed Monroe, Gabe Monroe

DHS and DMS Jazz Bands Present Jazz Coffeehouse March 1

Decorah High School musicians from the 7 O’Clock Jazz Band, directed by Matthew Cody, will be joining forces with the Middle School Jazz Band, directed by Emily Hahn, to share their talents at a Jazz Coffeehouse Friday, March 1, in the high school cafeteria. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and music starts at 7 p.m. 

Coffee from Impact Coffee and desserts prepared by Decorah Community School District Executive Chef Chad Elliott will be available. A free will donation with a suggested price of $5 for one dessert and a beverage is appreciated to support music in Decorah schools. The public is cordially invited to join in the fun, relaxed atmosphere.

Decorah High School Vocalists are Featured Choirs at Honor Festival

In January the Decorah High School Concert Choir and Claiborne Treble Singers performed as the featured choirs at the Wartburg College Meistersinger Honor Choir Festival. The choir performed for 600 Midwest high school singers and their teachers in the finale concert; present was a collective audience of 1200. Each year at the festival a reputable guest high school choral program is selected by college officials to sing solo performances at the concert, sing in the festival chorus, work with Wartburg choir directors, and learn from the featured composer. This year’s featured composer was Craig Hella Johnson, a professional composer and choral director based in Austin, Texas. He is the Grammy award winning conductor of the professional choir Conspirare

Decorah High School choir director Jason Rausch commented, “Our students had a truly meaningful experience at Wartburg College. They were incredible people and musicians throughout the day, leaving a positive impression on all. I could not have been prouder. Thanks to all who made this day possible at DHS and Wartburg.”

Lee Nelson, Director of Choral Activities at Wartburg College, wrote this in an email the following day to the DHS singers: “It is rare to come across a group of people, especially from one high school, who share such a deep passion for music paired with the requisite work ethic to create the level of performance and, more importantly, the clarity of message you so beautifully displayed at the finale concert. You displayed a level of maturity, poise, and musicality that was a model for all of us. You sang with depth of tone, beautiful phrasing, and careful attention to expressive musicality. But what was most remarkable to me was the sincere kind hearts, grateful smiles, and humble spirits that I encountered when I visited with you.”

Claiborne Treble Singers

Claiborne Treble Singers

DHS Concert Choir

Concert Choir

Directors and Coordinators Honor Choir

(l-r): Decorah Choir Director Jason Rausch, Wartburg Choir Director Nicki Toliver, Composer Craig Hella Johnson, Festival Coordinator Sarah Bouska, Wartburg Choir Director Lee Nelson

Decorah Robotics Teams have a Strong Showing at their League Tournament

The Decorah Robotics teams finished their season by competing at their league tournament competition this Saturday at Peet Junior High School in Cedar Falls. The tournament featured 26 area robotics teams all competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) competition.

At the beginning of the school year, these FTC teams–comprised of high school students– were given an obstacle course scenario. Teams then designed, built, and programmed an 18 x 18 x 18 inch robot that they could control in order to score as many points as possible within that scenario.

This year’s competition is called Centerstage and required teams to place hexagonal pixels onto a slanted backdrop, launch paper airplanes into landing zones, suspend their robots onto trusses, along with many other scoring opportunities in both an autonomous and driver-controlled playing period.

The freshmen/sophomore Decorah team, Thor’s Thunder Squad, competed in their six qualification matches, going 3-3 and placing 12th at the competition. Their robot excelled at efficiently picking up pixels from the center using two widening pinchers, and the team could suspend their robot on the trusses using flexible hooks attached to two rack-and-pinion raised towers. Thor’s Thunder Squad also finished second in the Control Award category, which is awarded to teams who demonstrate innovative thinking to solve game challenges through the use of sensors, machine learning, and autonomous control. The team had programmed their robot to sense where a randomly-placed scoring element was located, using machine learning and a webcam on their robot that allowed them to score bonus points during their autonomous program.

The junior/senior Decorah team, The Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men and Women, went 4-2 during their qualification matches, earning them a 6th place finish. They were the first team drafted in the playoff round but lost to the eventual league champion team, the Falcon Bots from Parkersburg. The Wacky Wavers designed their robot to funnel pixels through two boot flywheels into a 3D printed box. The box was then raised up on a set of drawer slides and dropped onto the backdrop using a servo motor to tilt the box. The junior/senior team finished in second in the Connect Award category, which is awarded to teams who best connect with their local STEM community. The team did outreach events throughout the year with Boeing engineers, Gemini, Inc., and the high school freshmen, along with livestreaming many of their practices and competitions.

“I am very proud of our teams this year as both placed high in the standings and ranked higher than we ever have in their two award categories,” says Brett Wilker, the Decorah Robotics coach. “Many of the students in our robotics programs are interested in pursuing careers in engineering, robotics, or computer science; and through this program, they are given the opportunity to learn the skills that will make them successful in these fields.”

Thors Thunder Squad

Photo IDs:Thor’s Thunder Squad poses in their pit area. From (l-r): Joey McFarlane, Evan Madsen, Alec Fleshner-Einck, Eden Scheidel, Keagan Steines, Elias Sassaman, Owen Rix, and Jack Hammel

The Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men and Women

The Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men and Women pose in their pit area. From (l-r):

Seated: Emily Myers and Montana Jump-Gerleman.

Middle Row: Chloe Sabin, Andie Gegax, Quinton LaBelle, Brock Christensen, Bryce Elsbernd

Back Row: Mason Myers, Cody Carolan, Jerald Thompson, Phuong Doan, Kellen Roffman, Travis Nordheim.

Pre Match

Pre-Match:

Members of the Decorah Robotics teams prepare to compete together in a qualification match.

Two Decorah High School Speech Groups Honored with Critics Choice Banners

Two Decorah High School groups were selected as banner recipients at this year’s All-State Speech Festival held in Ames over the weekend: a Musical Theater performance of “tick, tick…BOOM!” and a Radio Broadcasting performance entitled “KWAK.” This is the first time in school history that Decorah has won a banner in the area of Musical Theater and the second time in school history that Decorah has won a banner in Radio Broadcasting.

Approximately 90 Decorah High School students made the trip to Ames over the weekend to perform at the festival at the Iowa State Center on the ISU campus.

Sixteen Decorah High School events were nominated as outstanding performances and joined other elite speech students from across the state to share their performances with a professional critic.

At the All-State Speech Festival, each critic selects one performance at the end of the day and awards a banner to that entry, signifying them as “best of center” in that category. In the eyes of the critic, the banner winner represents a “state championship” quality performance that stands out above the rest.

Cast members of the musical theater performance of “tick, tick…BOOM!,” directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman, include Libby Phillips, Hayley Stowe, Gwen Thompson, Oliver Brummel, Ezra Vorvick, Connor Evelsizer, Lucas Hanson, and Bethany Hanson.

The critic praised the musical theater cast for their creative storytelling, dynamic musical acting skills, and a “performance that stuck with her throughout the day.” The critic was curious about how the story of “tick, tick…BOOM!” would be told, as it is not traditional musical theater storytelling. The critic loved the way that the focus was on the ensemble, even though most of the songs are traditionally written for 1-3 performers. This piece told the story of musical theater writer Jonathan Larson while exploring the themes of living a life governed by love and passion instead of by a fear of failure.

Cast members of the Radio Broadcasting “KWAK,” directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman, include Tommy Hammel, Hannah Arendt, Lily Sandhorst, Alex McGohan, Jerald Thompson, Addison Wicklund, and Camryn Holland.

The radio broadcasting follows the Waddleton duck family as they deliver news from the pond at the “quack of dawn.” However, as the broadcast unfolds, the family starts to fall apart, all while delivering fowl-related news and commercials for duck dating apps. The critic praised “KWAK” for the memorable writing, perfect vocal delivery, and delightful sound mixing. The critic explained that once they heard the performance, “there was no other choice for the critic’s choice. It was undeniable. Perfection.”

“It is incredible to be able to tell stories that make an impact. Whether it’s the tragically beautifully story of an important musical theater writer or the pun-filled adventures of a family of ducks, our students work hard to deliver memorable storytelling,” speech directors Molly Holkesvik, Gabriel Twedt, Carrie Kauffman, Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks, Lyra McKnight, and Annika Krieg shared. “A big thank you to all involved in the fire truck parade, the ringing of the victory bell, and for supporting all of our performances throughout the season. Saturday night was a true celebration of our entire speech team.”

Tick Tick.Boom Banner

“Tick, Tick…Boom” photo ID

Front row (l-r): Hayley Stowe, Bethany Hanson, Gwen Thompson, Libby Phillips

Back row (l-r): Oilver Brummel, Ezra Vorvick, Lucas Hanson, Connor Evelsizer

KWAK Banner

“KWAK” photo ID

(l-r): Addison Wicklund, Lily Sandhorst, Hannah Arendt, Camryn Holland, Tommy Hammel, Alex McGohan. 

Absent from photo: Jerald Thompson

DHS Students Participate in Wartburg’s Unified Sports Day

On Saturday February 10th several students from Decorah High School and Decorah Middle School traveled to Waverly to participate in Wartburg College’s 25th annual Unified Sports Day through Special Olympics Iowa. The Unified Sports program is a way for Special Olympic athletes to learn new sports skills and participate in games alongside general education students.

At this event the Decorah students explored sports they know like basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball, and pickleball; as well as sports that were new to them such as golf and bocce ball.  Throughout the day, the students rotated through stations with Wartburg students to participate in each of the sports, capping off the day with a Unified Sports basketball game with members of the Wartburg basketball team.

DHS Unified Champion Day.jpg

Photo ID:

Front (l-r): Kamryn Leuenberger, Johnathan Bean, Sky Pasche, Daniel Bean, and John Lippe

Back (l-r): Donnie Hrdlicka, Essa Miller, Jude Ryan, Haley Stinson, and Braden Ramstad

Decorah FFA Chapter Celebrates National FFA Week 2024

The Decorah FFA will celebrate National FFA Week from February 17 through . Throughout the week, FFA members, alumni, sponsors, and chapters all over can raise awareness about the FFA organization and the daily impact it has on its members. Agricultural education allows FFA members to achieve premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.

There are currently sixty-nine members in the Decorah FFA. The chapter organizes programs all year to help grow leaders, build communities, and strengthen agriculture. The Decorah FFA will have its annual FFA Awards Program on Thursday, , to honor all the year’s accomplishments. The general public is invited to attend. More information can be obtained by contacting any Decorah FFA member or the Decorah FFA advisor, Joni Bruvold.

The Decorah FFA Chapter works to create a positive impact on the members’ futures by preparing them with leadership skills, personal growth opportunities, and a successful career. Members have opportunities to participate in career development events and leadership development events. This past year, members have competed in various activities and contests including dairy cattle and dairy products evaluation; parliamentary procedure; conduct of meetings; public speaking contests; floriculture; livestock judging; record keeping; and attending district, state, and national convention.

2.2024 Decorah FFA Chapter

Photo ID: (l-r) 2023-2024 Decorah FFA Chapter:
Row 1: Creed Monroe, Brody Courtney, Annika Brynsaas, Anders Lovstuen, Jeramiah Rediske,
Travis Nordheim, Derek Tieskoetter
Row 2: Madelynn Dahl, Hadley Alexander, Elora Schnitzler, Lyla Lovstuen, Andrew Carolan,
Mason Brumm, Aiden Helgerson, Michael Clement, Nick Farley, Karlee Bullerman, Ryan
Rocksvold
Row 3: Kiele Eberling, Ryan Bigler, Mara Lovstuen, Kamryn Werges, Mara Wyatt, Ciara
Wedmann, Karlie Einck, Peyton Schultz, Rylee Averhoff, Annika Schmelzer
Row 4: Isabella Schnitzler, Brinlee Courtney, Eden Scheidel, Lauren Holthaus, Thea Zidlicky,
Jerikah Dodd, Austin Helgerson, Kale Christopher, Kolton Werges, Cade Averhoff, Jordan Sims
Row 5: Gabe Monroe, Braden Hemesath, Logan Frye, William Kruse, William Hahn, Toby
Schnitzler, Henry Brynsaas, Dominick Duffield, Jake Teslow, Kaid Headington
Not pictured: Brooke Anfinson, Caiden Bruns, Camren Darling, Braunwyn Darrington, Ayden
Guevara, Jacob Hageman, Noah Heiselman, Tristan Hunter, Jackson Irwin, Christopher Larson,
Kaylee Larson, Blaine Leidahl, Raleigh Lensing, Rashell Lippe, Karter Orris, Hunter Quandahl,
Kayleigh Smith, Haley Stinson, Gracie Thompson, Olivia Wyatt

2.2024 Deccorah FFA Chapter Officer Team

Photo ID: (l-r) 2023-2024 Decorah FFA Officer Team
Row 1: Travis Nordheim, Sentinel; Anders Lovstuen, Treasurer; Jeramiah Rediske, Reporter;
Derek Tieskoetter, Chapter Assistant
Row 2: Brody Courtney, Vice President; Creed Monroe, President; Annika Brynsaas, Secretary

2.2024 Decorah FFA Chapter Photos 11th 12th

Photo ID: (l-r) 2023-2024 Decorah FFA 11th –12th Grade Members
Row 1: Anders Lovstuen, Elora Schnitzler, Kiele Eberling, Kamryn Werges, Mara Wyatt, Annika
Brynsaas, Ciara Wedmann
Row 2: Brody Courtney, Derek Tieskoetter, Austin Helgerson, Jordan Sims, Kolton Werges,
Jeramiah Rediske
Row 3: Logan Frye, Kaid Headington, Creed Monroe, William Hahn, Travis Nordheim, Cade
Averhoff
Not pictured: Brooke Anfinson, Caiden Bruns, Camren Darling, Braunwyn Darrington,
Christopher Larson, Blaine Leidahl, Rashell Lippe, Hunter Quandahl, Kayleigh Smith, Haley
Stinson, Olivia Wyatt

2.2024 Decorah FFA 9th 10th

Photo ID: (l-r) 2023-2024 Decorah FFA 9th – 10th Grade Members
Row 1: Madelynn Dahl, Hadley Alexander, Lyla Lovstuen, Andrew Carolan, Mason Brumm,
Aiden Helgerson, Michael Clement, Nick Farley, Ryan Rocksvold
Row 2: Isabella Schnitzler, Brinlee Courtney, Ryan Bigler, Mara Lovstuen, Karlie Einck, Peyton
Schultz, Karlee Bullerman
Row 3: Eden Scheidel, Lauren Holthaus, Thea Zidlicky, Jerikah Dodd, Rylee Averhoff, Annika
Schmelzer
Row 4: Braden Hemesath, William Kruse, Gabe Monroe, Toby Schnitzler, Henry Brynsaas,
Dominick Duffield, Jake Teslow, Kale Christopher
Not pictured: Ayden Guevara, Jacob Hageman, Noah Heiselman, Tristan Hunter, Jackson Irwin,
Kaylee Larson, Raleigh Lensing, Karter Orris, Gracie Thompson

DecorahCSD NEW Digital Backpack

February 15th, 2024

Dear Parents and Community Members,

We are excited to introduce the DCSD Digital Backpack, a paperless platform designed to streamline the distribution of non-district information throughout the school year. The Digital Backpack serves as a centralized hub where you can find a variety of resources, including summer camp opportunities, sports leagues, after-school activities, and upcoming events.

With the Digital Backpack, you can easily access new activities every week, providing your student with a wealth of opportunities to explore and engage with their interests outside of the classroom.

Note that all events submitted for inclusion in the Digital Backpack will be subject to approval in accordance with district policy. The posting of any event does not imply endorsement of the program by the Decorah Community School District. For more information on our distribution policies, please refer to our website: http://tinyurl.com/DCSD-DBP

We encourage you to take advantage of this convenient resource and explore the diverse array of opportunities available to our students. 

DCSD Digital Backpack: http://tinyurl.com/DCSD-DBP

Submit an event: http://tinyurl.com/DCSD-DBP-Submit

Thank you for your continued support,

Tim Cronin, Superintendent

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