Dream Week

An Hour of Service

Decorah Community School District students and families are invited to join us in an hour of service as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Who: All Decorah School District students, staff, and families.

*Preschool through 4th-grade students should be accompanied by an adult.

What: An hour of service – packing Birthday Bags for the Decorah Community Pantry and making spring decorations for local nursing homes

*a fun snack will be provided

When: Wednesday, January 18, from 3:15-4:15

Where: John Cline Elementary School Gym

*Families are welcome to bring an item to donate to the Food Pantry (it can be a Birthday related item such as cake mix or frosting or traditional items such as canned food, toiletries, etc.)

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DHS presents ‘City of Stars’ January 29

Decorah High School will present “City of Stars,” a memorable evening of musical theater, jazz and popular music, and delicious food on Sunday, January 29 at 5 p.m. at DHS.

“City of Stars,” which is a change from the annual Madrigal Dinner, will be a star-studded, entertaining event featuring vocal and instrumental music as well as performances by Large Group Speech Musical Theater groups. The audience will enjoy a meal of rosemary focaccia, deviled egg with vegetable crudités in Louis dressing, chicken cutlet with a creamy five cheese pasta garnished with broccoli florets, and tiramisu with Bordeaux cherry. The meal was planned and will be prepared by Decorah Community School District Executive Chef Chad Elliott.

Advanced tickets are $25 each and are available online at https://decorahschools.ludus.com/index.php. To pay with cash or check, tickets can be purchased in the DHS office. Only 220 tickets are available and will be sold until noon on Wednesday, January 25 or until sold out. Tables will seat six people at each.

Direct questions to DHS vocal music teacher Jason Rausch at 382-3643, or email him at [email protected]

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DHS vocalists from a past performance of “City of Stars” entertain the audience.
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City of Stars will include instrumental music, as seen in this photo of a past performance.

DHS Vocalists Chosen as Soloist and Solo-Finalists at Dorian Festival

The 2023 Luther College Dorian Vocal Festival was held January 8-9 with nearly 1000 high school juniors and seniors from Midwest schools participating. Each year at the festival a solo competition is held to select individuals to perform at the Festival Grand Concert.

This year four singers from Decorah High School advanced to the semi-final round: Jenna Hartz, Sally Laybourn, Ada Lovelace and Michael Njus.

From the twenty-five semi-finalists, five were chosen to perform at the Festival Grand Concert. One of the five was DHS tenor Michael Njus who sang “Die Forelle” by Schubert for a live audience of 1400 people. The concert was also streamed online.

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Photo ID: (l-r) Michael Njus, Ada Lovelace, Sally Laybourn, and Jenna Hartz    

DMS Mock Trial Team Wins State Trophy

Decorah Middle School teams had strong performances at the State Mock Trial competition, earning a trophy and two outstanding performance medals.

Decorah’s 8th grade team won the seventh-place trophy out of 32 teams that competed at State. Decorah was edged out by 4 points by the team that advanced to the semi-final round.

Decorah’s 7th grade team received the most nominations from participating teams to win the Critelli Award for outstanding “professional conduct, courtroom decorum, civility and sportsmanship.”

Two Decorah students were honored with All-State individual medals: Lulu Bellrichard and Jillian Volz for Outstanding Attorney. To earn this award, a student must be nominated by both judges as their top choice in a single round.

The two Decorah teams qualified for the State competition by placing first and second at the Regional competition in Waterloo. Decorah’s other two teams placed fourth and fifth. Over 125 teams compete in Regionals statewide.

This year’s case was a personal injury civil trial about a customer who fell down two flights of stairs in a restaurant during a busy lunch rush. For the competition, students write scripts as attorneys and witnesses and perform trials as plaintiff and defense against opposing teams.

“This was a very challenging case this year with four expert witnesses and many technical documents,” said teacher coach Carole Sand.  “I’m very proud of our Decorah students. Winning the 7th place trophy, two outstanding performance awards, and the Critelli Award at State is a testament to the students’ hard work, talent, and commitment.”

Many Decorah participants were nominated or honored for outstanding performances as attorneys or witnesses at the regional and state tournaments, some by numerous judges.

Outstanding honors went to 8th graders Lulu Bellrichard, Spencer Christensen, Lawrence Christman, Emma Cline, Thomas Davis, Jackson Irwin, Naomi Kutz, Myla Leitz, Jayden Lundtvedt, Gavin Luzum, Teagan Menke, Olivia Rissman, Grace Stockman, and Jillian Volz.

Seventh grade outstanding performers included Poppy Bellrichard, Isaac Bentley, Matthew Burkholder, Pranav Caton, Leah Garcia-Prats, Max Goodner, Kaya Johnson, Kora Kelly, Sophia McGee, Shriyansh Patel, Kate Pattison, Nils Peterson, and Davis Walter.

DMS Mock Trial is part of the school’s Extended Learning Program. Coaches include Sand, Scott Boylen, and Sarah Zbornik. Supporting the program are volunteer expert mentors: attorney Sandra Benzschawel, Judge Marty Lingreen, Judge Linnea Nicol, Luther graduate Peter Stelter, and former Decorah student Jacob Stock. Decorah High School assistant coaches include Mara Branum, June Breitenbach-Dirks, Grace Blikre, Mikayla Hiner, Evon Leitz, Nora Lesmeister, Lily Sandhorst, Kamryn Steines, and Kaylie Wemark.

“We owe much of our success to all of the mentors, assistant coaches, and high school students who donate countless hours to work individually with our students,” said Sand. “We also appreciate Lisa Lantz at The Getup for donating clothing for our costumes.”

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DMS 8th grade Mock Trial team Tumblrs, winner of the seventh place State trophy, includes (seated, l-r) Jackson Irwin, Gavin Luzum, Teagan Menke, Spencer Christensen; (standing, l-r) Jayden Lundtvedt, Jillian Volz, Myla Leitz, Colin Thompson, Lawrence Christman, and Emma Cline. 
7th Mock Trial Dine Dash Crash
DMS 7th grade team Dine, Cash and Crash, which won the Critelli Award at the State tournament, includes (seated, l-r) Kaya Johnson, Sophia McGee, Kate Pattison, Gavin Carolan; (standing, l-r) Poppy Bellrichard, Matthew Burkholder, Max Goodner, Davis Walter, and Isaac Bentley. Joining this team at the State tournament was Lulu Bellrichard.
8th Mock rial Freefallers
DMS 8th grade team Freefallers, which placed fifth at Regionals, includes (seated, l-r) Thomas Davis, Liam Huang, Grace Stockman, Lulu Bellrichard; (standing, l-r) Naomi Kutz, Noah Potvin, Olivia Rissman, Atticus Raabe, Evan Madsen, Thatcher Brown, and Kinley Leliefeld.
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DMS 7th grade team Mockingbirds, which placed fourth at Regionals, includes (seated, l-r) Nils Peterson, Eva Hurley, Bristol Parker, Addisyn Ivy; (standing, l-r) Oak Pasche, Pranav Caton, Kora Kelly, Leah Garcia-Prats, Anna Knaack, and Shriyansh Patel.

DHS Music department to present winter choral concert

The Decorah High School Music Department will present a winter choral concert at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, December 19 in the DHS Auditorium. The concert will feature Ninth Grade Bass Clef Choir, Ninth Grade Treble Clef Choir, Viking Chorus, and Concert Choir. Audience members will hear music by Rachmaninoff, Ramsey, Fox, Bray, and Gardner; songs in Hebrew–“Dodi Li” and “L’dor Vador”; a Native American piece– “Lakota Wiyanki”; and arrangements of familiar seasonal pieces–“Do You Hear What I Hear,” Barbra Streisand’s “Jingle Bells,” and “Here We Come A-Caroling.” The concert will conclude with Concert Choir and alumni singing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” – a DHS tradition.

The DHS Madrigal Singers will perform carols in the auditorium beginning at 7:10 p.m.

The Decorah High School Music Department will present a winter choral concert at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, December 19 in the DHS Auditorium. The concert will feature Ninth Grade Bass Clef Choir, Ninth Grade Treble Clef Choir, Viking Chorus, and Concert Choir. Audience members will hear music by Rachmaninoff, Ramsey, Fox, Bray, and Gardner; songs in Hebrew–“Dodi Li” and “L’dor Vador”; a Native American piece– “Lakota Wiyanki”; and arrangements of familiar seasonal pieces–“Do You Hear What I Hear,” Barbra Streisand’s “Jingle Bells,” and “Here We Come A-Caroling.” The concert will conclude with Concert Choir and alumni singing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” – a DHS tradition.

The DHS Madrigal Singers will perform carols in the auditorium beginning at 7:10 p.m.

Conductors for the concert are Jason Rausch and Dean Beckman, and collaborative pianist is Mary Beth Bouska. Guest percussionists are Liam Chamberlain, Kealy Hines, Alex McGohan, and Gerald Thompson. The public is warmly invited to attend this concert.

Boys’ Basketball Teams Give Back to their Respective Communities

When the JV and Varsity boys’ basketball teams from Decorah and Sumner-Fredericksburg met recently for the Achieve Scrimmage match, they accomplished much more than just the opportunity to compete against each other. Donations were collected for admission into the scrimmage, and they were split between the schools’ local food pantries. $200 was directed to the Decorah Community Food Pantry, and $200 went to the His Hands Food Pantry in Oran, Iowa.

The Decorah boys’ basketball team met with Matt Tapscott, director of the Decorah Community Food Pantry, to learn more about food insecurity in northeast Iowa and to present the $200 check.

BBB Food Pantry donation
Photo ID (l-r): Joe Stammeyer, Ben Bockman, Kasey Krauskopf, Matt Tapscott, Tate Johnson, Matt Bockman, Andrew Rhodes, Trey McCain, Coach Carlson
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