DMS and DHS students earn spots in Opus Honor Choir Festival

Twenty-eight students from Decorah were recently selected for participation in the 36th annual Opus Honor Choir Festival.  Over 2,100 students were nominated by their directors for 720 positions in the four Opus Honor Choirs. Selections were made by means of a recorded audition.

This is the sixteenth year that Decorah has had students audition for the Opus Honor Choirs. During the past 16 years more than 365 Decorah students have been accepted through recordings submitted by Dean Beckman, Jason Rausch, and community youth choir directors. This year, twenty students were selected from Decorah Middle School by recordings submitted by Dean Beckman, the second highest number of students accepted into the honor choirs by one teacher in the state of Iowa in 2022. Eight students were selected by recordings submitted by Jason Rausch at the Decorah High School. Opus Honor Choirs performed on November 17th in C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in the Iowa State Center in Ames.

The following students were accepted in the Open Honor Choir:

5th Grade:  Kaya Olson and Abby Shaw

6th Grade:  Hanna Lensch, Ayla Low, and Marley Phillips

7th Grade:  Kennedy Carlson, Kylie Cord, Cooper Ewing, Derek Hrdlicka, and Kaya Johnson

8th Grade:  Elliot Berland, Spencer Christensen, Sawyer Courtney, Jayden Lundtvedt, Clarence Nimrod, Noah Potvin, Olivia Rissman, Daric Sheffield, Grace Stockman, and Colin Thompson

9th Grade: June Breitenbach-Dirks, Elsa Christman, Will Duder,

Ezra Harman-Wood, Mikayla Hiner, Klara Kelly, Caden Malanaphy, and Naomi Pedlar

In addition, two students were selected as solo finalists to audition for the final concert: Cooper Ewing in grade 7 and Colin Thompson in grade 8. 

Guest conductors of the choirs include Christina Svec, Iowa State University, 5th & 6th Grade Honor Choir; Nick Oswald, Southview Middle School, 7th & 8th Grade Bass Clef Honor Choir; Amy Kotsonis, University of New Hampshire, 7th & 8th Grade Treble Clef Honor Choir; and Andrew Last, Luther College, 9th Grade Mixed Honor Choir. The Opus Honor Choir Festival is made possible by the Iowa Choral Directors Association, Inc.

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Decorah Ninth Graders Selected for Opus Honor Choir
Front Row (l-r): Klara Kelly, June Breitenbach-Dirks, Elsa Christman, and Will Duder
Back Row (l-r): Caden Malanaphy, Ezra Harman-Wood, Naomi Pedlar, and Mikayla Hiner
Opus 2022 DMS
Decorah Middle School Students Selected for Opus Honor Choir
Front Row (l-r): Hanna Lensch, Marley Phillips, Kaya Olson, Ayla Low, and Abby Shaw
Middle Row (l-r): Kaya Johnson, Kennedy Carlson, Derek Hrdlicka, Noah Potvin, Sawyer Courtney, Jayden Lundtvedt, and Daric Sheffield
Back Row (l-r): Kylie Cord, Colin Thompson, Cooper Ewing, Grace Stockman, Olivia Rissman, Spencer Christensen, Elliot Berland, and Clarence Nimrod

DHS Students and Staff Break Record Again during Money Drive for Food Pantry

Decorah High School students and staff donated a record amount of money for the Decorah Community Food Pantry. A grand total of $4252.22 was collected, well over $800 more than last year. 

To prepare for the money drive, members of FFA and Community Club recently met with Food Pantry Director Matt Tapscott on a Saturday morning to discuss the program and offer some help. After learning more about the pantry, students stocked shelves, cleaned freezers and carts, vacuumed, and other tasks. It was an excellent kick off to the food drive; the students came away with a better understanding of the pantry and its needs. One statistic stood out to them: the number of clients who use the pantry has doubled since January, and out of the 46,440 food insecure people living in northeast Iowa, 14,500 of them are children.

FFA member Kyleigh Batterson remarked, “It was wonderful to see our school come together to help out our community. I am thankful for all the opportunities we had this year to further understand food insecurities in our community and act upon them.”

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FFA and Community Club members who helped with the donation collection:
Front row (l-r): Jenna Hartz, Chloe Reiser, Ellen Rooney, Jensen Korsness,  Kathryn Kelly
Back row (l-r): Rachel Mikkelson, Kyleigh Batterson, Hannah Schnitzler, Morgan Moen, and Kamryn Werges
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FFA and Community Club members who volunteered at the pantry on the Saturday before the event present the money collected to Director Matt Tapscott and volunteers.

Photo ID (l-r): Volunteer Jon Hart, Kyleigh Batterson, Addison Wemark, volunteer Kevin Rockwell, Director Matt Tapscott, Natalie Goodner, and Hannah Schnitzler.

Decorah High School Students Compete in State Bowling

Six Decorah High School students traveled to Maple Lanes in Waterloo to participate in the Special Olympics State Bowling Tournament on Saturday, . To qualify, each bowler had to win their division in the Northeast Iowa Regional tournament held in October.

Paxton Remick and Braden Ramstad walked away with gold medals after placing first in their divisions.  Donnie Hrdlicka, Peyton Rentschler, and Kamryn Leuenberger earned silver medals, placing second in their divisions; and John Lippe received a bronze medal, placing fourth.

The entire Decorah Schools Special Olympics team is grateful for the support of Decorah Schools and King Pin Lanes which contributed to a successful bowling season.

SO Bowling State
Front row (l-r): Peyton Rentschler, Kamryn Leuenberger, Paxton Remick
Back row (l-r): Braden Ramstad, Donnie Hrdlicka, John Lippe

Decorah Family, Educator, and Community Organization (FEC) Opens Apparel Shop

The Decorah Family, Educator and Community Organization’s online Viking Apparel Shop is now open.  All orders are due by November 30, and merchandise will arrive prior to the winter break in time for the holidays.  All funds raised will go directly to the Decorah FEC Organization to help support elementary students and schools. The online store link is

FEC Apparel

John Cline Elementary and the Decorah Public Library host pumpkin project

John Cline Elementary School and the Decorah Public Library recently hosted the Pumpkin Literacy Project.  Preschool through second grade students were invited to choose a pumpkin from the John Cline “Pumpkin Patch.”  They were then encouraged to read a favorite book with their families and decorate their pumpkin to represent the book. The Decorah FEC (Family, Educator, and Community Organization) assisted in sponsoring this event.  

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Decorah Elementary Schools Celebrate STEAM Family Night

Nearly 300 students and families participated in Decorah Elementary’s Fall in Love with STEAM Family Event.  The evening was filled with an abundance of science, technology, engineering, art, and math-themed activities hosted by John Cline and Carrie Lee Schools as well as community partners, including Luther College, NICC, Decorah Bank and Trust, Keystone Area Education Agency, the Decorah Fire Department, Winneshiek County 4H, Winneshiek County Conservation, and Eagle Bluff Nature Center. The event was sponsored by the Decorah FEC (Family, Educator, and Community Organization).  

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Engineering with Imagination Blocks
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Building Catapults with Winneshiek County 4H
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Virtual Reality with Keystone AEA
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Origami with NICC
Coding with Decorah High School Students
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Exploring Dig Bins with Winneshiek County Conservation
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Meet and Greet with a Snake and Skunk from Eagle Bluff Nature Center

DHS Variety Show tickets available now

An entertaining adventure awaits audiences in “Mr. Frazzle’s Fantastic Field Trip,” Decorah High School’s 2022 Variety Show. 

Mr. Frazzle and his students find themselves exploring the human brain on a hilarious, family-friendly jaunt that ties together 18 vocal, instrumental, and dancing acts presented by DHS students. The script was written entirely by the cast.

“Mr. Frazzle’s Fantastic Field Trip” performances are Thursday, Nov. 10, Friday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the DHS auditorium. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for students, and are available online at and in the DHS office. The box office will also open an hour before each show with house doors opening 30 minutes before showtime. 

The cast and show writers include Elliana Brodbeck, Ella Grouws, Gabriel Hiner, Adam Jones, Andy Kruger, Sally Laybourn, Ada Lovelace, Jake Magner, Libby Phillips, Kamryn Steines, and Ethan Stravers.

Presenting variety show acts are Julia Alberts, Annaleissa Arnold, Raven Battle, Jr., Quinn Baumann, Doug Bentley, Ashley Bjork, Ben Bockman, Ethan Bockman, Grace Blikre, June Breitenbach-Dirks, Elliana Brodbeck, Rebecca Bruening, Leslie Campbell, Liam Chamberlain, Sophia Christman, Davis Coppola, Chloe Chyle, Braunwyn Darrington, Kathleen Delphey, Evynne Downing, Amelia Dugger, Bryar Duwe, Connor Evelsizer, Natalie Goodner, Ella Grouws, Sydney Hageman, Erik Hjelle, Bethany Hanson, Lucas Hanson, Ezra Harman-Wood, Nev Harper, Jenna Hartz, Aya Hawthorn, Gabriel Hiner, Mikayla Hiner, Kealy Hines, Elayna Hook, Avah Hove, Alexandra Irwin, Lily Iverson, Caleb Johnson, Elsa Johnson, Adam Jones, Greta Jones, Alexandra Kane, Rebecca Kane, Kate Kelly, Sydney Kipp, Jackson Knoke, Jensen Korsness, G. Carter Kowitz, Brinley Krivachek, Andy Kruger, Sally Laybourn, Franklin Lesmeister, Ada Lovelace, Jake Magner,  Carson Merritt, Sami Mount, Beau Newhouse, Michael Njus, Kylie O’Hara, Libby Phillips, Elizabeth Pritchard, Mya Redenius, Ellen Rooney, Sylvia Sandhorst, Elias Sassaman, Julia Schwarz, Chloe Sheffield, Annalise Skrade, Daniel Skrade, Hope Stahl, Joseph Stammeyer, Kamryn Steines, Brynn Storhoff, Hayley Stowe, Robin Suhr, Gareth Sweet, Gwenyth Thompson, Kiah Tweten, Abbie Valkosky, Elias Vorvick, Ezra Vorvick, Adam Walter, Henry Weis, Camielle Wiedow, Rorie Wiedow, Max Wilson, and Margret Zook.

Crew members include Stage Manager Karmyn Bakken, Ariana Albert, Raven Battle, Jr., Grace Blikre, Cody Carolan, Elsa Christman, Sophia Christman, Kealy Hines, Camryn Holland, Abbeke Jensen, Madysen Lippe, Maran Martin, Amelia Pankow, Elizabeth Pritchard, Lily Sandhorst, Sylvia Sandhorst, Ryan Sibley, Annalise Skrade, Kera Walter, Addison Wicklund, and Max Wilson.

Directors for “Mr. Frazzle’s Fabulous Field Trip” are Chris Hadley, Jason Rausch, Karen Trewin, and Kristen Underwood.

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Photo ID: Front row: Adam Jones
Middle row (l-r): Ethan Stravers, Ella Grouws, Andy Kruger, and Elliana Brodbeck
Back row (l-r): Ada Lovelace, Gabriel Hiner, Libby Phillips, Sally Laybourn, Jake Magner, and Kamryn Steines

Fifteen DHS musicians selected to All-State ensembles

On Saturday, October 22 at Independence High School, 43 Decorah High School musicians participated in the Iowa All-State Music auditions. The students prepared difficult musical selections and then competed for spots in the All-State ensembles with students from East Central and Northeast Iowa, including Dubuque and Cedar Rapids schools.

Fifteen students were selected as members of the 2022 ensembles: Cedrik Beiwel, viola; Oliver Brummel, bass; Jenna Hartz, alto; Gabriel Hiner, bass; Mikayla Hiner, soprano; Simon Kutz, cello; Sally Laybourn, alto; Ada Lovelace, soprano; Michael Njus, tenor; Libby Phillips, tenor; Mairi Sessions, tuba alternate; Gareth Sweet, tenor; Elias Vorvick, trombone; Ezra Vorvick, string bass; and Rorie Wiedow, alto.

Front row (l-r): Jenna Hartz, Rorie Wiedow, Libby Phillips, and Gareth Sweet
Second row (l-r): Mikayla Hiner, Sally Laybourn, Mairi Sessions, Eli Vorvick, Michael Njus, and Ada Lovelace
Third row (l-r): Cedrik Beiwel, Ezra Vorvick, Oliver Brummel, Gabriel Hiner, and Simon Kutz

Decorah High School volleyball raises funds for suicide awareness and prevention

The Decorah High School volleyball team participated in a fundraising effort for the Step UP and Reach Out Suicide Awareness Walk by pledging to donate $2.00 for every Decorah kill, dig, and ace serve occurring during the NEIC match against Charles City. Several other families also donated, and over $500 was raised for this worthy cause.

The Step UP and Reach Out Suicide Awareness Walk is important to bring friends and families together in remembrance of loved ones lost to suicide and to offer hope to those who may be struggling. All proceeds will go towards support, materials and suicide prevention education in area schools as well as local communities through Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health.

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Photo ID front row (l-r): Autumn Schaller, Carmen Johnson, Lani Hubka, and Dahlyn Headington 
Back row (l-r): Chloe Reiser, Emma Wold, Sami Mount, Amelia Dugger, Haley Gossman, Britann Mettille, and Addison Wemark

Decorah High School to host Veterans Day program

Decorah High School will host a Veterans Day breakfast and program for veterans and their families on Thursday, November 10. 

Breakfast will be served to veterans and their family members in the high school cafeteria starting at 8:30 a.m. 

The Veterans Day program will be held in the high school auditorium at 9:45 a.m. The VFW Color Guard will post the colors, and the DHS Wind Ensemble and the DHS Concert Choir will perform throughout the program. Decorah High School graduate Mark Kappelmann, Colonel in the United States Army and Senior Army Advisor to the Iowa Army National Guard, will be the featured speaker.

An important part of the breakfast and program is to recognize military men and women who have a connection to Decorah.  Those who would like to submit a photo of a family member who has served or is serving in the military to be added to the “Wall of Veterans” should bring a copy of a photo (no larger than a 5 x 7) to the Decorah High School office.  Pictures can also be emailed with information to [email protected]. The following information should be included:

Name of person

Military Branch

Years served or serving

Wars or conflicts fought in

The deadline to submit photos is Friday, November 4th.   Those with any questions can contact Denise Gulrud at Decorah High School, 563-382-3643.

Parking will be available in the parking lot located on the west side of the high school. Veterans and their family members can enter through either the auditorium doors or the doors located off the west parking lot. 

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