Decorah FFA Excels at Districts

By: Kaia Franzen, Reporter

Forty FFA chapters from around Northeast Iowa attended the 2022 Northeast District Convention held at Decorah High School on Saturday, March 12th. Chapters had the opportunity to compete in seventeen leadership development contests and three test contests.

Decorah FFA competed in eight state qualifying contests and two test contests. Three event entries were selected to advance to the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference on April 10th-12th, held in Ames, Iowa.

The three events advancing to the state competition in Ames include the Secretary’s Book: Karter Einck & Grace Gerleman – 1st place, gold rating; Treasurer’s Book: Sage Wedmann – 1st place, gold rating; Parliamentary Procedure: Annika Brynsaas, Brody Courtney, Anders Lovstuen, Creed Monroe & Kayleigh Smith – 2nd place, gold rating.

The seven other events that members participated in consisted of the Reporter’s Scrapbook: Kaia Franzen – 3rd place, alternate to state, gold rating; Chapter Program: Melia Kruse & Morgan Moen – 3rd place, gold rating, alternate to state; Public Speaking: Grace Gerleman – silver rating; Ag Sales: Braunwyn Darrington- bronze rating; Ag Issues: Bryss Ehrie, Ciara Wedmann, Mara Wyatt & Olivia Wyatt – bronze rating; Farm Business Management Test -1st place team: Brendan Hunter (2nd place individual, gold rating), Dylan Elsbernd (3rd place individual, gold rating), Sage Wedmann (5th place individual, gold rating) & David Kreitzer (silver rating); Chapter Test (7th place team): Jeremiah Rediske (gold rating) & Gavin Sims (silver rating).

3.12.22 District FBM Team 1st Place Kreitzer, Hunter, Elsbernd, Wedmann
Photo ID (l-r): David Kreitzer, Brendan Hunter, Dylan Elsbernd, and Sage Wedmann earned first place honors in the farm business management contest at the Northeast District FFA Convention.
3.12.22 Decorah FFA at District FFA Convention
Front Row (l-r): Morgan Moen, Braunwyn Darrington, Olivia Wyatt, and Maggie Lovstuen
Middle Row (l-r): Anders Lovstuen, Brody Courtney, Creed Monroe, Caiden Bruns, Jeramiah Rediske, Melia Kruse, Annika Brynsaas, Mara Wyatt, Chezny Ryant, Ciara Wedmann, and Dahlyn Headington
Top Row (l-r): Logan Frye, Gavin Sims, Brendan Hunter, David Kreitzer, Dylan Elsbernd, Sage Wedmann, Kayleigh Smith, Travis Nordheim, Bryss Ehrie, Hannah Schnitzler, and Addison Wemark
Members who competed in a contest but are not pictured include Kaia Franzen and Grace Gerleman.

3.12.22 District 1st Place Secretary's Book Gerleman, Einck
Grace Gerleman (pictured) and Karter Einck received first place in the FFA secretary’s book contest and will advance to state.
3.12.22 District 1st Place Treasurer's Book S. Wedmann
Sage Wedmann received first place honors in the FFA treasurer’s book contest. Her treasurer’s book will advance to the state competition in April.

Eight DHS Individual Speech Students Selected as All-State Performers

On March 14th, eight individual speech participants were selected as All-State performers. The All-State Festival will take place on the UNI campus on Monday, March 28th. The following students’ performances were selected as receiving All-State honors:

Acting: Alex Kane – directed by Gabe Twedt

Original Oratory: Nat Roberts – directed by Molly Holkesvik

Improvisation: Jake Magner – directed by Lyra McKnight

Public Address (9th): Grace Blikre – directed by Lyra McKnight

Radio News Announcing: Simon Kutz – directed by Gabe Twedt

Solo Musical Theater: Ella Grouws – directed by Gabe Twedt and Carrie Kauffman

Spontaneous Speaking: Landan Folkedahl – directed by Carrie Kauffman

Storytelling: Ramsey Zilka – directed by Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks

DHS Speech Students Perform Well at State Contest

Decorah High School’s individual speech participants—coached by Molly Holkesvik, Gabriel Twedt, Carrie Kauffman, Rachel Breitenbach-Dirks, and Lyra McKnight—competed Saturday, March 12, at Clear Lake High School. Around 45 students participated in the contest.  Out of Decorah’s 49 performances, 41 received I (excellent) ratings.

The directors shared, “We are always so pleased with the personal growth we get to witness through the course of the individual speech season. Our students brought a lot of professionalism, heart, and talent to this contest.”

All-State nomination results will be posted after 4 pm on Monday, March 14.

Results for Decorah Speech Performers Grades 10-12 Receiving a I (excellent) rating:

Original Oratory: Nat Roberts, Nadia Johnson

Public Address: Jenna Hartz, Anya Lovstuen, Kathryn Kelly

Expository Address: Ellen Rooney, Annika Franzen, Gabriel Hiner

Storytelling: Nadia Johnson, Ramsey Zilka

Prose: Danielle Rix, Sophia Christman

Poetry: Kathryn Kelly

Review: Braunwyn Darrington

Literary Program: Alex McGohan, Grace Bachelder

Solo Musical: Dylan Muhlbauer, Ella Grouws, Mikiah Krieg

Acting: Ada Lovelace, Ellen Rooney, Alex Kane

After Dinner Speaking: Joe Stammeyer, Landan Folkedahl

Spontaneous Speaking: Anya Lovstuen, Landan Folkedahl

Radio News: Simon Kutz

Individual Improv: Jake Magner, Cori Timm

Results for Decorah Speech Performers Grades 10-12 Receiving a II (good) rating:

Storytelling: Hayley Stowe

Prose: Wyatt Hackman

Poetry: Koryn Bakken

Spontaneous Speaking: Michael Njus

Individual Improv: Nat Roberts

Results for Decorah Speech Performers Grade 9 Receiving a I (excellent) rating:

Original Oratory: Natalie Goodner, Gwen Thompson

After Dinner: Davis Coppola

Prose: Evynne Downing, Margret Zook

Literary Program: Alex McGohan

Improvisational Acting: Jack Sovern

Radio: Karmyn Bakken

Public Address: Grace Blikre, Andy Kruger

Poetry: Elsa Johnson

Expository Address: Elliana Brodbeck

Storytelling: Margret Zook

Results for Decorah Speech Performers Grade 9 Receiving a II (good) rating:

After Dinner: Ezra Vorvick

Solo Musical: Gwen Thompson

Review: Grace Blikre

DSCD Reports Active COVID Cases, Seeks Input on DHS Principal Search

District COVID-19 Active Positive Cases

  • Total number of students and staff in isolation (currently positive) for COVID-19: one (1)
  • Current district facilities with known positive cases: Carrie Lee Elementary

DCSD reports COVID-19 data in alignment with the direction of the Iowa Department of Public Health. The full guidance can be found at the link below.

IDPH Information Sharing Guidance for Schools and Local Public Health

DHS Principal Search Stakeholder Survey

The application window for the DHS Principal position is currently open. The District will receive applications from interested applicants through March 20. As applications are collected, the District would like to gather feedback from stakeholders that will help inform the process. 

DHS parents and students are encouraged to use the link below to provide responses to the following question:

What might be the most essential attributes, knowledge, and skills needed to be an effective principal of Decorah High School?

Responses will be reviewed to build key themes. Those key themes will be used to develop interview questions and assessment tools designed to help the interview teams identify the best candidate to serve as the next DHS Principal.

DHS Stakeholder Survey Link

2022-2023 Academic Calendar

On Monday evening at 5:30 pm, the Board of Directors will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed 2022-2023 Academic Calendar. Like the past two years, the proposed calendar is an hours of instruction-based calendar and is similar in structure to the past two years. The draft of the 2022-2023 academic calendar can be reviewed at the link below.

DRAFT 2022-2023 Academic Calendar

Decorah Students Participate in Kennedy Honors Orchestra Festival

Thirteen Decorah Schools orchestra students from grades 7-9 were selected to participate in the Kennedy Honors Orchestra Festival at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, March 5. The musicians chosen include Liam Huang, Ezra Vorvik, Madysen Lippe, Eli Sassaman, Ivy Sullivan, Gwen Thompson, Kinsey White, Naomi Kutz, Nina Sessions, Lulu Bellrichard, Owen Rix, Spencer Christensen, and Thatcher Brown.

IMG 1823
Pictured (l-r):  Liam Huang, Ezra Vorvik, Madysen Lippe, Eli Sassaman, Ivy Sullivan, Gwen Thompson, Kinsey White, Naomi Kutz, Nina Sessions, Lulu Bellrichard, Owen Rix, Spencer Christensen, and Thatcher Brown

DHS and DMS Students Participate at Special Olympics Track and Field Competition

Viking student athletes participated at the Special Olympics Track and Field competition held at UNI on Sunday, March 6. In all the team earned 19 Gold medals, three Silver Medals, and one 4th place Bronze. The team’s coaches are John Dunt, Michelle Monreal, Marie Conway, and Laurel Fadness. DHS Seniors Ruby Sullivan and Hallie Busta volunteered at the event.

The following Decorah High School students competed and placed:

Andrew Schaller

            1st Softball Throw

            1st 50 M Dash

Timothy Bean

            1st 100 M Dash

            4th Shot Put

Klaressa Miller

            1st Softball Throw

            1st Standing Long Jump

Allison Kalvelage

            1st Softball Throw

            1st 100 M Dash

Francesca Wilkerson

            1st Softball Throw

            1st 50 M Dash

Wyatt Pleggenkuhle

            1st Standing Long Jump

            1st Shot Put

Juan Lopez-Garcia

            1st Shot Put

            1st 100 M Dash

The following Decorah Middle School students competed and placed:

Donnie Hrdlicka

            1st Standing Long Jump

            2nd 50 M Dash

John Lippe

            1st Shot Put

            1st 50 M Dash

Kamryn Leuenberger

            1st Tennis Ball Throw

Zoey Lollar

            1st Standing Long Jump

            1st 50 M Dash

Daniel Bean

            2nd Softball Throw

            2nd 100 M Dash

DMS Special Olympians
Front Row (l-r): Klaressa Miller, Francesca Wilkerson, and Allison Kalvelage
Second Row (l-r): Juan Lopez-Garcia, Andrew Schaller, Timothy Bean, and Wyatt Pleggenkuhle 
DMS Special Olympians
Decorah Middle School Participants (l-r): Kamryn Leuenberger, Donnie Hrdlicka, Zoey Lollar, Timothy Bean, and John Lippe
IMG 6906
Special Olympics Volunteers Hallie Busta and Ruby Sullivan volunteered at the Special Olympics.  Here they can be seen with Andrew Schaller, front.
IMG 1654
DHS Junior Allison Kalvelage was chosen for the honor of leading the Opening Ceremony Parade of Athletes while carrying the Special Olympics Iowa Flag.

DCSD Preschool Open House Rescheduled, New Principal Survey

2022-2023 West Side Four-Year-Old Preschool Open House & Registration Rescheduled

The previously scheduled Open House on Tuesday, March 8 for four-year-old preschool at West Side Early Childhood Center has been rescheduled for Monday, March 14 from 6:00-7:00 pm. due to the Decorah High School boys’ state basketball game.

District COVID-19 Active Positive Cases

  • Total number of students and staff in isolation (currently positive) for COVID-19: one (1)
  • Current district facilities with known positive cases: Decorah Middle School

DCSD reports COVID-19 data in alignment with the direction of the Iowa Department of Public Health. The full guidance can be found at the link below.

IDPH Information Sharing Guidance for Schools and Local Public Health

DHS Principal Search Stakeholder Survey

The application window for the DHS Principal position is currently open. The District will receive applications from interested applicants through March 20. As applications are collected, the District would like to gather feedback from stakeholders that will help inform the process. 

DHS parents and students are encouraged to use the link below to provide responses to the following question:

What might be the most essential attributes, knowledge, and skills needed to be an effective principal of Decorah High School?

The District will review responses to build key themes. Those key themes will be used to develop interview questions and assessment tools designed to help the interview teams identify the best candidate to serve as the next DHS Principal.

DHS Stakeholder Survey Link

Decorah High School Principal Kim Sheppard Announces Retirement

After 21 years of service to Decorah Community Schools, Kim Sheppard has informed the DCSD Board of Directors  and Decorah High School staff, families, and students of her intention to retire at the end of the current school year.

Mrs. Sheppard reflected, “I am especially proud of the work of the Decorah High School staff as we researched and implemented a variety of new classes, including those that are rigorous and challenging; developed a new class schedule based on the needs of our students; and put interventions in place designed to assist our students in the development of the skills needed to be successful beyond the high school setting.”

“Mrs. Sheppard is one of the finest educators with whom I have had the pleasure of working. She is dedicated to success for each student and is tireless in her efforts to create high quality learning and extra-curricular experiences. I am incredibly grateful for her service to our district.” said Decorah Superintendent, Mark Lane.

DCSD Announces Early Out Tuesday, Bus Mask Requirement Change

Early Dismissal Tuesday, March 8

School will be dismissed at 12:30 pm next Tuesday, March 8 to allow students and staff to attend the boys’ quarterfinal round game in the state basketball tournament. The game will be played at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Semi-final games are scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, March 10, and the class 3A championship game will be played at 5:00 pm Friday, March 11. 

Superintendent Mark Lane said, “This is our school’s first trip to the boys’ state basketball tournament in over 40 years. We appreciate the great support our community gives our students, and I hope as many people as possible are able to attend.” 

Like weather-related closures, early dismissals and/or cancellations related to state tournament participation will impact the student instructional hours for the current school year. Once the tournament is over, the District will share an update on the end-of-year calendar.

CDC Ends Masks on School Buses Requirement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ended the federal requirement of wearing a mask while on a school bus. With this change, the District will align guidance for buses to their current guidance in district buildings: individuals are encouraged to wear an appropriate mask when physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained. The District appreciate everyone’s efforts to keep our students and staff safe and healthy.

DMS 7th and 8th Graders to Present “Night of Plays” March 10

Decorah Middle School 7th and 8th graders will be presenting their “Night of Plays” on Thursday, March 10, at 7:00 pm in the Carrie Lee Auditorium. The students will perform the plays “Discount Phone Line,” “Psycho Psychic Network,” “Baitline News,” and “Beowulf on a Budget.” The public is cordially invited to attend this light-hearted evening of fun.  There is no admission charge for this event.

Play Pic 1
Front Row (l-r): Naomi Pedlar, Mikayla Hiner, Kaylie Wemark, June Breitenbach-Dirks, Caleb Johnson, Ezra Harman-Wood
Back Row (l-r): Mary Brown, Olivia Rissman, Evan Madsen, Noah Potvin, Colin Thompson, Jillian Volz
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