DCSD, Police and Sheriff Departments Issue Joint Statement Regarding Decorah Motorists Illegally Passing School Buses

Tricia Thein, Decorah Chief of Police; Dan Marx, Winneshiek County Sheriff; and Tim Cronin, DCSD Superintendent, have received a steady stream of reports from school bus drivers indicating that several vehicles have been illegally passing school buses, jeopardizing the lives of students.

This week, Decorah bus drivers reported four stop-arm violations.

Thein, Marx, and Cronin want to emphasize in the strongest possible terms that passing a school bus with its stop arm extended is not only illegal but also incredibly dangerous. They stated, “The safety of our children is paramount, and we cannot tolerate reckless behavior that puts their lives at risk.”

The Decorah Community School District buses are equipped with cameras that capture these violations, and the footage is promptly turned over to the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office, Decorah Police Department, and Iowa State Patrol. Offenders will be identified, and appropriate legal actions–including fines–will be taken against them. Fines for school bus stop-arm violations range from $345-$930, and offenders WILL lose their license for 30 days upon conviction—for the first offense.

“We urge all drivers in Winneshiek County to be vigilant, patient, and considerate on the roads, especially during school hours,” Thein, Marx, and Cronin continued. “Please share this message with your family, friends, and neighbors to raise awareness about the

gravity of this issue. Let us work together as a community to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. By respecting the stop arm on school buses, we can create a secure environment for our students to learn, grow, and thrive.”

Students getting off bus

16 DHS performances nominated to Large Group Speech All-State Festival, Tying School Record

Decorah High School students participated in the Northeast State Large Group Speech Contest hosted at Dubuque Senior High School on February 3. Judges at the state contest selected 16 of Decorah High School performances as outstanding, tying the school record. These performances are honored with the coveted All-State Speech nomination to be part of the All-State Speech Festival, which will include performances by the best speech students from across the state of Iowa. 

Twelve of the Decorah High School groups nominated will perform at the festival on February 17 at Iowa State University. More information about the festival, including a schedule, can be found at https://www.ihssa.org/contests/large-group/all-state/.

Being designated a non-performing group at All-State is as special of an honor as performing; however, scheduling limitations prevent all nominees from performing.

DHS speech students are coached by Molly Holkesvik, Gabriel Twedt, Carrie Kauffman, Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks, Lyra McKnight, and Annika Krieg.

The directors remarked, “We are thrilled with the results of these All-State nominations. Our students worked hard, performed well, and supported one another passionately throughout the season. We are a part of a very competitive region of the state, which makes these nominations even more meaningful. We look forward to celebrating all of our nominees at the festival next weekend.”

DHS speech groups nominated as an All-State Honoree include two choral readings, one ensemble acting, two group improvs, one group mime, two solo mimes, two musical theaters, one radio broadcasting, a readers theater, three television newscasting, and a one-act play. 

Cast lists for those groups performing are as follows:

Choral Reading “The Eras of Taylor Swift” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Annika Krieg.

Participants include Alex McGohan, Julia Severtson, Lexy Walker, Paige Wrightsman, Hannah Arendt, Natalie Goodner, Kaylie Wemark, Caden Branum, Bethany Hanson, Evon Leitz, Nathan Swarbrick, Liz Pritchard, Grace Blikre, and Caleb Johnson.

9th grade Choral Reading “Walt’s Guide to a Happily Ever After” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Annika Krieg.

Participants include Lulu Bellrichard, Thatcher Brown, Clarence Nimrod, Lawrence Christman, Emma Cline, Ava Hanson, Naomi Kutz, Myla Leitz, Jayden Lundtvedt, Carter Riley, Oliva Rissman, Isis Timm, and Jillian Volz.

Group Improv was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks, and Lyra McKnight. 

Group One: Anders Lovstuen, Henry Weis, Oliver Brummel, and Beau Newhouse

Group Two: Joe Stammeyer, Tommy Hammel, and Jack Sovern

Solo Mime “Midnight Madness” by Jensen Korsness was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Gabriel Twedt, and Carrie Kauffman.

Solo Mime “Magnificent Malvolio’s Mishaps” by Nat Roberts was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Gabriel Twedt, and Carrie Kauffman.

Musical Theater “Tick, Tick…Boom” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman.

Participants include Connor Evelsizer, Bethany Hanson, Ezra Vorvick, Libby Phillips, Hayley Stowe, Oliver Brummel, Gwen Thompson, and Lucas Hanson.

Radio Broadcasting “KWAK” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman. 

Participants include Tommy Hammel, Camryn Holland, Lily Sandhorst, Addison Wicklund, Alex McGohan, Hannah Arendt, and Jerald Thompson.

Readers Theater “The House in the Cerulean Sea” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie

Kauffman. 

Participants include Sydney Kipp, Abbie Valkosky, Henry Weis, Greta Jones, Annika Keefe, Nora Lesmeister, Davis Coppola, Ansel Kowitz, McKenzie Riley, Mikayla Hiner, Jameson LaBelle, Klara Kelly, Luke Arendt, and Elliana Brodbeck.

Television Newscasting “Close Encounters: Strangers from Space” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Gabriel Twedt. 

Participants include Naomi Pedlar, Caden Branum, Braunwyn Darrington, Simon Kutz, Brynn Storhoff, Nathan Swarbrick, Sam Cline, Peter Essa, Gwen Thompson, Eily Hegdahl, Liz Pritchard, Paige Wrightsman, Mara Branum, and Natalie Goodner,

Television Newscasting “Breaking Barriers: The Rise of Girls Wrestling” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Gabriel Twedt.

Participants include Jack Sovern, Kamryn Steines, Will Robinson, Beau Newhouse, Annaleissa Arnold, Karmyn Bakken, Grant Zilka, Jensen Korsness, Naomi Simon, Ana Simon, Leah Holland, Kelby Kerndt, and Lauren Luzum.

One Act Play “She Kills Monsters” was directed by Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks and Gabriel Twedt.

Participants include Kathryn Kelly, Elliana Brodbeck, McKenzie Riley, Ezra Vorvick, Gabriel Hiner, Libby Phillips, Julia Severtson, Hayley Stowe, Annika Keefe, Andy Kruger, June Breitenbach-Dirks, Nora Lesmeister, Kaylie Wemark, and Cody Carolan.

The following have been selected as outstanding non-performing at the All-State Festival:

Ensemble Acting “The Day the Internet Died” was directed by Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks.

Participants include Davis Coppola, Karmyn Bakken, Kathryn Kelly, Klaara Short, Liam Chamberlain, and Lucas Hanson.

Group Mime “Night at the Art Museum” was directed by Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks and Lyra McKnight.

Participants include Brynn Storhoff, Kathleen Delphey, Anopa Mtisi, Evynne Downing, Camryn Holland, and Ariana Albert.

Musical Theater “Newsies” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman.

Participants include Mikayla Hiner, Jameson LaBelle, Caleb Johnson, Andy Krueger, Abbie Valkosky, Gabriel Hiner, June Breitenbach-Dirks, and Elsa Christman.

9th grade Television Newscasting “Iowa Roots: Indigenous Heritage” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Gabriel Twedt. 

Participants include Lulu Bellrichard, Thatcher Brown, Sawyer Courtney, Thomas Davis, Ava Hanson, Kaelyn Kuhn, Clarence Nimrod, Kyan Oftedahl, Carter Riley, Oliver Rissman, Nina Sessions, Claire Storhoff, and Colin Thompson.

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Photo ID: Eras of Taylor Swift Choral Reading

Front Row (l-r): Kaylie Wemark, Hannah Arendt, Julia Severtson, Grace Blikre, Caleb Johnson, and Lexy Walker

Back Row (l-r): Natalie Goodner, Paige Wrightsman, Evon Leitz, Liz Pritchard, Caden Branum, Alex McGohan, Nathan Swarbrick, and Coach Molly Holkesvik

Missing from photo: Bethany Hanson and Coach Annika Krieg

325C58E6 7E9C 4995 834E C52BD7A61F39 1 201 a

Photo ID: 9th grade Choral Reading: Walt’s Guide to a Happily Ever After

Front Row (l-r): Coach Molly Holkesvik, Isis Timm, Naomi Kutz, Jayden Lundtvedt, Emma Cline, Jillian Volz, and coach Annika Krieg

Back Row (l-r): Ava Hanson, Oliva Rissman, Lawrence Christman, Clarence Nimrod, Carter Riley, Thatcher Brown, Lulu Bellrichard, Myla Leitz

DHS Speech Participants Perform Well at State Contest

Decorah High School speech students participated in State Large Group Speech Contest on Saturday, February 3rd, held at Dubuque Senior High School.

The performers had an excellent showing, earning 24 Division I ratings out of 27 entries. The ninth-grade team performed in 6 entries, while the varsity team performed in 22 entries. 

“Our students did a wonderful job representing our school. They worked hard and performed with poise, professionalism, and personality. We are extremely proud of them. They continue to bring so much to the speech program and our community,” remarked the directors.

All-State nominations will be released later this week.

Cast lists for the varsity groups who received a “I” rating at state contest are as follows:

Choral Reading “The Eras of Taylor Swift” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Annika Krieg.

Participants include Alex McGohan, Julia Severtson, Lexy Walker, Paige Wrightsman, Hannah Arendt, Natalie Goodner, Kaylie Wemark, Caden Branum, Bethany Hanson, Evon Leitz, Nathan Swarbrick, Liz Pritchard, Grace Blikre, and Caleb Johnson.

Ensemble Acting “The Day the Internet Died” was directed by Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks.

Participants include Davis Coppola, Karmyn Bakken, Kathryn Kelly, Klaara Short, Liam Chamberlain, and Lucas Hanson.

Ensemble Acting “The Yellow Boat” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Annika Krieg. 

Participants include Anders Lovstuen, Evon Leitz, Ezra Harman-Wood, Klara Kelly, Peter Essa, and Grace Blikre.

Group Improv was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks, and Lyra McKnight. 

Participants performed in three groups. 

Group One: Anders Lovstuen, Henry Weis, Oliver Brummel, and Beau Newhouse

Group Two: Joe Stammeyer, Tommy Hammel, and Jack Sovern

Group Three: Liam Chamberlain, Greta Jones, Ansel Kowitz, and Nat Roberts

Group Mime “Night at the Art Museum” was directed by Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks and Lyra McKnight.

Participants include Brynn Storhoff, Kathleen Delphey, Anopa Mtisi, Evynne Downing, Camryn Holland, and Ariana Albert.

Solo Mime “Midnight Madness” by Jensen Korsness was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Gabriel Twedt, and Carrie Kauffman.

Solo Mime “Magnificent Malvolio’s Mishaps” by Nat Roberts was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Gabriel Twedt, and Carrie Kauffman.

Musical Theater “Newsies” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman.

Participants include Mikayla Hiner, Jameson LaBelle, Caleb Johnson, Andy Krueger, Abbie Valkosky, Gabriel Hiner, June Breitenbach-Dirks, and Elsa Christman.

Musical Theater “Tick, Tick…Boom” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman.

Participants include Connor Evelsizer, Bethany Hanson, Ezra Vorvick, Libby Phillips, Hayley Stowe, Oliver Brummel, Gwen Thompson, and Lucas Hanson.

One Act Play “She Kills Monsters” was directed by Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks and Gabriel Twedt.

Participants include Kathryn Kelly, Elliana Brodbeck, McKenzie Riley, Ezra Vorvick, Gabriel Hiner, Libby Phillips, Julia Severtson, Hayley Stowe, Annika Keefe, Andy Kruger, June Breitenbach-Dirks, Nora Lesmeister, Kaylie Wemark, and Cody Carolan.

Radio Broadcasting “KWAK” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman. 

Participants include Tommy Hammel, Camryn Holland, Lily Sandhorst, Addison Wicklund, Alex McGohan, Hannah Arendt, and Jerald Thompson.

Radio Broadcasting “KZZZ” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman. 

Participants include Grant Zilka, Ezra Harman-Wood, Faith Meyer, Lyla Lovstuen, Sam Cline, and Joe Stammeyer.

Readers Theater “The House in the Cerulean Sea” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie

Kauffman. 

Participants include Sydney Kipp, Abbie Valkosky, Henry Weis, Greta Jones, Annika Keefe, Nora Lesmeister, Simon Kutz, Davis Coppola, Ansel Kowitz, McKenzie Riley, Mikayla Hiner, Jameson LaBelle, Klara Kelly, Luke Arendt, and Elliana Brodbeck.

Short Film “Not Gone, But Forgotten” was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Lyra McKnight, and Annika Krieg.

Participants include Corina Timm, Jerald Thompson, Mara Branum, Patrick Gallagher, and Lyla Lovstuen.

Short Film “Almost Gone” was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Lyra McKnight, and Annika Krieg.

Participants include Klaara Short, Evynne Downing, Ariana Albert, Anopa Mtisi, Livia Dix, Jorja Folkedahl, Sage Fornasiero, and Dakotah Teepe.

TV News “Close Encounters: Strangers from Space” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Gabriel Twedt. 

Participants include Naomi Pedlar, Caden Branum, Braunwyn Darrington, Simon Kutz, Brynn Storhoff, Nathan Swarbrick, Sam Cline, Peter Essa, Gwen Thompson, Eily Hegdahl, Liz Pritchard, Paige Wrightsman, Mara Branum, and Natalie Goodner,

TV News “Breaking Barriers: The Rise of Girls Wrestling” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Gabriel Twedt.

Participants include Jack Sovern, Kamryn Steines, Will Robinson, Beau Newhouse, Annaleissa Arnold, Karmyn Bakken, Grant Zilka, Jensen Korsness, Naomi Simon, Ana Simon, Leah Holland, Kelby Kerndt, and Lauren Luzum.

Cast lists for other varsity groups who performed at state contest and received a “II” rating:

Ensemble Acting “In a J.A.M.” was directed by Lyra McKnight.

Participants include Corina Timm, Luke Arendt, Alex Mercado-Arneson, and William Duder.

Short Film “Tik Tok Boom” was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Lyra McKnight, and Annika Krieg. 

Participants include Kathleen Delphey, Leah Holland, Will Robinson, Annaleissa Arnold, Kamryn Steines, Marri Feuerhelm, and Kelby Kerndt.

Cast lists for the 9th grade groups who received a “I” rating at state contest are as follows:

Choral Reading “Walt’s Guide to a Happily Ever After” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Annika Krieg.

Participants include Lulu Bellrichard, Thatcher Brown, Clarence Nimrod, Lawrence Christman, Emma Cline, Ava Hanson, Naomi Kutz, Myla Leitz, Jayden Lundtvedt, Carter Riley, Oliva Rissman, Isis Timm, and Jillian Volz.

Musical Theater “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” was directed by Gabriel Twedt, Carrie Kauffman, and Annika Krieg.

Participants include Emma Cline, Jackson Irwin, Noah Potvin, Vivian Searcy, Grace Stockman, Colin Thompson, Isis Timm, and Jillian Volz.

Radio Broadcasting “KRTR” was directed by Gabriel Twedt and Carrie Kauffman. 

Participants include Elliot Berland, Spencer Christensen, Sawyer Courtney, Jayden Lundtvedt, Teagan Menke, Kyan Oftedahl, and Claire Storhoff.

TV News “Iowa Roots: Indigenous Heritage” was directed by Molly Holkesvik and Gabriel Twedt. 

Participants include Lulu Bellrichard, Thatcher Brown, Sawyer Courtney, Thomas Davis, Ava Hanson, Kaelyn Kuhn, Clarence Nimrod, Kyan Oftedahl, Carter Riley, Oliver Rissman, Nina Sessions, Claire Storhoff, and Colin Thompson.

Short Film “Growing Up” was directed by Molly Holkesvik, Lyra McKnight, and Annika Krieg.

Participants include Kaelyn Kuhn, Naomi Kutz, Myla Leitz, Nina Sessions, and Oskar Swanson.

Cast lists for other 9th grade groups who performed at state contest and received a “II” rating:

Ensemble Acting “Toy Tale: A Toy Story Knockoff” was directed by Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks. 

Participants include Grace Stockman, Margaret Hahn, Teagan Menke, Noah Potvin, and Oliva Volkmann.

Luther College to host bystander intervention workshop Feb. 22

DECORAH, IOWA—Luther College will host a Green Dot Bystander Intervention Workshop from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, in Peace Dining Room on the second floor of Dahl Centennial Union. The workshop is open to all Decorah area community members to learn strategies for preventing interpersonal violence in the community. To RSVP for the event, email the Luther College Title IX coordinator Kasey Nikkel at kasey.nikkel@luther.edu.  

Workshop facilitators are Nikkel; Brittany McIntyre, a youth advocate at Helping Services for Youth and Families; and Jake Dyer, assistant dean and coordinator of new student services at Luther. 

Green Dot’s curriculum on bystander intervention is a crucial tool in reducing incidents of sexual assault, dating violence and stalking at Luther and in our Decorah community,” Nikkel said. “Through active engagement and intervention, individuals contribute to fostering safer environments and play a key role in the prevention of harm. It is a practical strategy that empowers communities to collectively address and mitigate the risks associated with these forms of interpersonal violence.”

Green Dot’s curriculum aims to prevent interpersonal violence through bystander intervention.

Attendees can learn the basic elements of Green Dot’s program, focusing specifically on the vital role college employees and community members play in establishing and reinforcing a healthy culture. This workshop is interactive and action-oriented, so participants should bring a smartphone. 

Luther staff also trains students in the Green Dot program throughout the year. During the 2022-23 school year, nearly 550 Luther students, nearly double from the previous academic year, attended a workshop to promote a healthy culture on campus. If students are interested in attending a workshop, they can email Nikkel at kasey.nikkel@luther.edu to set up a training session.

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

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DCSD Holds Kindergarten Parent Meeting Tuesday, February 6

The Decorah Community School District will be holding a Kindergarten Parent Meeting for the upcoming 2024-25 school year on Tuesday, February 6th at 6:00 pm at Carrie Lee Elementary auditorium. Participants should enter using the middle doors. Preregistration starts at 5:30 pm.

This informational meeting is for parents of potential Kindergarten or Transitional Kindergarten students for the 2024-25 school year. To be eligible for Kindergarten or Transitional Kindergarten, students must be five years of age on or before .

Current Transitional Kindergarten families are welcome, but they do not need to attend.

Those who have any questions should call John Cline School at 563-382-3125.

Nicole Keller to perform the 2024 Luther College Benefactor’s Organ Recital

DECORAH, IOWA—Luther College will host its annual Benefactor’s Organ Recital, featuring Nicole Keller, assistant professor of organ at the University of Michigan. The recital will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, in the Center for Faith and Life’s Main Hall. 

Keller’s program will include works by Buxtehude, Mendelssohn, Shearing and Bach. The recital is open to the public with no charge for admission. 

Nicole Keller

The Chicago Crusader described Keller as “an aggressive player with outstanding technique and fine musical sensibilities.” She has performed widely in the United States and abroad in such prestigious venues as St. Patrick Cathedral in New York, Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Paris and Kazakh National University for the Arts in Kazakhstan. Keller specializes in eclectic programs, pairing familiar sounds and genres with less familiar ones.

“Keller has the rare ability to play an immense variety of music from different times and places thoughtfully and sensitively,” said Alexander Meszler, assistant professor of music at Luther College. “We’re excited to host her for this program as well as provide opportunities for her to engage with Luther students.”

The annual Benefactor’s Organ Recital features outstanding artists of international caliber on Luther’s 42-stop Robert Sipe Organ in the Center for Faith and Life. The intent of the concert is to provide an inspirational role model for current and prospective students who wish to pursue organ or church music study at Luther, as well as offer the community a concert of the highest quality. It is made possible through the Kathryn Ulvilden Moen ’41 Organ Fund and the William B. Kuhlman Endowment. Learn more about the organs at Luther College

About Luther College Music 

Luther is home to one of the largest undergraduate music programs in the nation, with five choirs, three orchestras, two bands and two jazz bands. One-third of all Luther students participate in music, including large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons and master classes. Nearly 175 music majors study music theory, ear training, history, education, composition, jazz, church music and performance. Learn more at luther.edu/music.

 

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Decorah Community School District Is Asking for Community Input on Changes to Northeast Iowa Conference

Dear Decorah School District Community Members,

The Decorah Community School District is reaching out to our community to gather input on an important matter. As we discussed in a recent statement (http://tinyurl.com/DCSDNEIC23), recent developments have placed the viability of the Northeast Iowa Conference in jeopardy.  Given these developments, we are seeking community input on our options for conference affiliation.

To ensure that your voice is heard in this decision-making process, we have created a brief survey focusing on five key elements related to conference affiliation. We ask you to rank each of the five elements provided, with 1 being the most important and 5 being the least important.  Your participation in this survey is vital to ensure that the administration and board have a comprehensive understanding of the community’s perspectives. 

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Decorah Community School District. 

Sincerely,

Tim Cronin, Superintendent

Decorah Community School District

Luther College to host series of Black History Month events in February

DECORAH, IOWA—Luther College invites everyone to recognize and celebrate Black History Month this February with a series of events on campus. The month will include a jazz performance of one of Langston Hughes’s poems, film screenings and a distinguished lecture. The events are open to the public. 

Black History Month provides an opportunity to reflect on the contributions and influences of African Americans,” said Robert Clay, diversity, equity and inclusion officer and assistant to the president for community engagement at Luther. “It also challenges us to further social justice and civil rights efforts that are necessary for African Americans to have equitable experiences in local and global capacities.”

Luther College’s Black Student Union (BSU) will host a film screening of “Pariah” (2011) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, in Valders Hall of Science 206. Directed by Dee Rees, the film tells the story of Alike (Adepero Oduye), a 17-year-old Black teenager embracing her identity as a lesbian. BSU will also host Nerdology Trivia at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3, at Marty’s in the basement of Dahl Centennial Union.

“I’m thrilled to announce our Black History Month theme, African Americans and the Arts,” said Jasmine Studer-Sarjeant, president of BSU and a junior. “This theme embodies a celebration of the remarkable contributions made by African American artists throughout history. Join us in a series of enriching events that aim to highlight the diverse talents and creativity that have shaped our cultural landscape.” 

Erik Clark, class of 2009, will host a reading and signing of his book “Blunt Force Trauma” from 4–6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9 in the Center for the Arts Atrium. Attendees will be able to gain insights into his creative process. 

Ron McCurdy, professor of music at University of Southern California, and his quartet will perform Langston Hughes’s “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” for Luther College’s Center Stage Series at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall. Langston Hughes wrote “Ask Your Mama” between 1959 and 1960 and shared sections at the Newport Jazz Festival. McCurdy and his quartet have brought the poem fully to life with jazz accompaniment, visuals and spoken word. Tickets are required for this event and are available online at tickets.luther.edu or by calling the Luther College Box Office at 563-387-1357.

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, BSU will host a film screening of “Fences” (2016) in Valders 206. Written by August Wilson, the film stars Denzel Washington and is based on the 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. 

Rev. Lamont Wells

Rev. Lamont Wells, the executive director of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU), will give the Black History Month Keynote Address at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the CFL’s Main Hall. His lecture will share insights about ecumenism, queer identity, social justice and inclusion and how these themes motivate him as a faith leader and community organizer. 

“Together, let’s honor the past, appreciate the present, and inspire a future where the arts continue to be a powerful force for unity and understanding within our community,” said Studer-Sarjeant. 

BSU will host an Afro Music Concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, in Marty’s. Experience an evening of vibrant music, dance and spoken word that pays homage to inspiring stories throughout history. 

“Black History Month is a wonderful opportunity for the Luther campus to get a fuller understanding of American history,” said Novian Whitsitt, professor of Africana studies and English at Luther. “We still live in times in which the accepted constructed American historical narratives eliminate or diminish the integral role of Black American contributions to intellectual, scientific, political, artistic and athletic endeavors.”

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

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Decorah High School Students Excel at Music Listening Contest

The High School Music Listening Contest regional event took place on Friday, Jan. 19, at seven regions across Minnesota, Iowa, and Utah. Nearly 90 teams participated in the contest this year, representing 35 different schools, home schools, and private music studios.

Decorah High School had 13 teams of three students each competing at Decorah High School at the Region 5 competition. Organizers said this was the biggest group from any school, and it is the largest number of teams from DHS thus far. This is the fifth year Decorah students have competed in the contest. They are coached by Nicole Cody, a member of the music faculty at the high school.

Ten of Decorah’s 13 teams placed in the top 10 of the competition out of 15 teams participating from four schools. Earning first place with a score of 94/100 were Nora Lesmeister, Mason Myers, and Karmyn Bakken. Two Decorah teams tied for second place with a score of 89/100: Alex McGohan, Elizabeth Pritchard, and Jensen Korsness; and Aidan Nalean-Carlson, Ansel Kowitz, and Evon Leitz. The Decorah team of Julia Severtson, Lauren Severtson, and Grace Stockman placed 3rd with a score of 88/100. 

Cody remarked, “I am incredibly proud of all the teams. Their performance at the contest was remarkable. They learn so much, so quickly, and we have so much fun listening together. It never gets old to watch students argue about Robert Schumann vs. Johannes Brahms or laugh at the comedic parts of a Medieval piece of music about two very good dogs.”

The top two scoring teams from two different schools from the regional contests automatically advance to the championship competition held at Augsburg University in Minneapolis on Friday, . Because of this rule, the team who scored in 11th place, Wisconsin Hills Middle School, will advance to the championships along with Decorah’s first place winning team. The 2nd place teams and the 3rd place team were chosen as wildcards because of their high scores and will compete at Augsburg as well. 

According to Cody, the contest is an ideal opportunity to enrich students’ experiences with classical music in a fun and competitive environment. This statewide contest connects high school students with classical music and enhances their ability to identify composers, periods, and styles. In the fall, teachers or coaches recruit three students to form a team. Team members receive a study guide and access to all the musical selections they will need to compete effectively.

The mission of the Music Listening Contest is to assist teachers in their efforts to expand the music experiences of students—primarily through the use of Western art music, commonly referred to as classical music. The contest materials cover classical music, global perspectives, and a variety of musical influences. The objective of the contest is to inspire students to become lifelong participants in the musical experience.

MLC Full Group

MLC Full Group: All thirteen MLC teams from DHS

MLC First Place Team 24

MLC First Place Team: Nora Lesmeister, Mason Myers, Karmyn Bakken 

MLC 2nd Place Tie 24

MLC Second Place Tie: Alex McGohan, Elizabeth Pritchard, and Jensen Korsness

MLC Top Teams 2024

MLC Top Teams: Lauren Severtson, Julia Severtson, Grace Stockman, Mason Myers, Nora Lesmeister, Evon Leitz, Ansel Kowitz, Aidan Nalean-Carlson 

Decorah Community School District Monitoring Possible Changes to Northeast Iowa Conference

The Decorah Community School District Board of Directors and administration continue to monitor possible membership changes in the Northeast Iowa Conference, which has a long and proud history spanning more than a century.

Founded in 1920, the NEIC was the state’s first interscholastic conference, and Decorah is a charter member. The league consisted of the same seven members from 1970, when Waukon joined, until 2022, when Oelwein departed the conference. Waverly-Shell Rock will cease its NEIC membership at the conclusion of the 2023-24 school year.

In recent weeks, the Howard-Winneshiek Board of Education authorized its superintendent to formally request admission to the Upper Iowa Conference. In response, the Charles City Board of Education granted approval to its superintendent to inquire about moving to the North Central Conference.

Potential new conference membership options for the Decorah Community School District are limited due to the district’s geographic location. The administration and board will continue to monitor these developments, seek feedback from the community, and evaluate the district’s options moving forward.

Overhead picture of athletic complex at night
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