Continuing a legacy

Published 8:15 pm Thursday, February 7, 2019

ALHS Has Talent to raise money for memorial scholarship


For every student who’s ever run into their teacher at the grocery store, this one’s for you.

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“Teachers of ALHS do have talent or hobbies outside of their classrooms that people don’t know or see,” Albert Lea High School business teacher Max Jeffrey said.

That’s one thing the teacher hopes those who attend take away from ALHS Has Talent, a staff talent show scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday in the high school auditorium.

But fellow organizer and Albert Lea High School social studies teacher Jim Haney said the main reason for the talent show is to raise money for a memorial scholarship fund named after former basketball coach, counselor and educator Orrie Jirele, who died in 2013.

So far, the scholarship committee, of which both Jeffrey and Haney are a part, has given out five scholarships — about $1,000 total — in two years, Haney said.

“We just wanted to grow that pool of money,” he said.

The talent show is a fundraiser to ensure the Orrie Jirele Memorial Scholarship has sustainability.

“We hope that we can give it forever,” Haney said.

This is the first fundraiser for the scholarship, and the first staff talent show, to Haney’s knowledge. Haney said he has a friend in another school district who saw success with a similar idea.

Orrie Jirele – Tribune file photo

Close to 25 staff members have pulled together a 14-act show that strongly features musical talents, Haney said. Acts are interspersed with small filler moments, including a focus on Orrie Jirele, or “OJ.”

“I think it’s important to let the audience know why we are doing this and the purpose behind it,” Jeffrey said. “The proceeds are going to help the Orrie Jirele scholarship fund. Orrie is the reason. He was one of a kind. The more we can share (the) impact of his life, the more meaningful the show will be. Those that didn’t know him — maybe we can paint a picture for them as well.”

Sharing that legacy is the other thing Jeffrey hopes those who attend take away from the show.

Haney said responses from students have been positive. Most of the juniors and seniors he teaches have said they plan to attend, he said — to “see what these staff members can do.”

“We have a talented staff,” he said. “Our hope is that we can set a date for next year and more people can mark it on their calendars.”

He also noted staff members are helping behind the scenes who have “talents that you might not see on stage but have helped tremendously.”

Though the weather has made it tough to bring together, Jeffrey said he hopes the show can become an annual thing.

“I think Orrie would have loved to see this show,” Jeffrey said. “In fact, he probably would have participated by playing his violin.”

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults.



Tickets, please

Who: Albert Lea High School staff

What: ALHS Has Talent show

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Albert Lea High School auditorium

How much: $5 for students, $10 for adults


Performing staff members

Jasmine Hansen

Ken Fiscus

Steve Alford

Katie Cords

Jen Zoller

Diane Heaney

Thomas Delano

Steve Alford

Suzanne Mauer

Wendy Keszler

Dani Bryant

Margo Wayne

Kurt Barickman

Jeremy Corey-Gruenes

Todd Lange

Andrew Anderson

Zachary Luther

Hoang Tran

Rebekah Crissinger

Lydia Boorsma and Jens Lange, recipients of the 2018 Orrie Jirele Memorial Scholarship, stand by a memorial plaque inside Albert Lea High School. – Provided

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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