Administrator’s Corner: Student participation  in activities is growing

Published 8:00 pm Friday, December 2, 2022

Administrator’s Corner by Paul Durbahn

It has been a great start to the school year for Albert Lea High School activities. Hard to imagine we have completed a full fall season, and we’re already beginning our winter activities. We’re very proud to the extent our students are excelling and of the number of activities that we’re offering. As a district, we’re striving to provide all types of activity offerings at secondary levels from the middle school ages through the high school. Our coaches and advisers are working hard to align their programs and values all the way down to the youth programs in our community. During this fall season, we had about 510 students in grades 7-12 participate in a school-sponsored activity. That’s up from about 475 students last fall.

Paul Durbahn

Education-based activities are more important than ever to our students and their families, especially considering our focus on social and emotional growth. Co-curricular activities do an excellent job building social and emotional wellness and developing life skills. As a school district, part of our mission is also to ensure academic success, and when students participate in activities they tend to have better attendance patterns and they also achieve higher marks in the classroom. Just this fall, we had approximately 290 students in our fall activities earn high enough marks to be on the honor roll while participating in activities, we had 29 seniors earn Big 9 Conference Scholar awards, and we had about nine students earn section and state academic awards. We’re happy to see more students getting involved at Southwest Middle School and Albert Lea High School — we know they are making the community proud!

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This fall we had another state tournament appearance for the Albert Lea Tigers as our boys cross country team earned a trip to the Minnesota State High School League state tournament for their second year in a  row. We’re very proud of their achievements!

Our robotics program continues to excel as they embark on another season. They brought home the Judges Award from their most recent tournament at Southland. We’re excited to see what their season brings this winter!

We had a great musical this fall, “Beauty and the Beast” put on by Ms. Diane Heaney. The amount of work that goes into these performances is tremendous. The involvement from our community, staff and students to put this show on was amazing. What a great production it was, and it was great to see the community come out in waves and fill the auditorium! We were at near capacity every night!

We’re proud to say that we are now offering athletic opportunities to all 7-12th grade students to participate in every sport that we offer. It has been very important for our community that the school be able to run our middle school sports again. The ability to offer activities to all middle school students has been to the credit of our finance office staff as well as our community youth associations and booster clubs. We’re happy to lift that financial burden off community associations.

We should be proud of the number of activity offerings, whether it’s fine arts, non-traditional sports, clubs or athletics. We offer something for all types of student interests. If you would like to see a list of everything we offer please visit our web site at and click on “Activities/Team Pages.” We continue to reflect on what is best for our students, and we hope to keep providing new opportunities for students as our community evolves. 

As we embark on the winter season, we are eager to see how our programs fare. We invite everyone to come out and support our teams/programs this winter season. The activity calendar is posted on our website at Our home winter athletic events will be streamed online from, and tickets are available for purchase in advance from If you have questions you can always reach out to our office at 507-379-5345. 

We would like to extend a thank you to our community for your support of our schools and student-athletes. The opportunities they have are very important, and we’re very thankful to be able to provide them. It’s a credit to the people that live in our district and community. Thank you! 

Paul Durbahn is the Albert Lea High School activities director.