Albert Lea students take part in Winterfest fun

Published 5:55 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

Field day gives students a chance to try out activities

Friday marked the penultimate day of Winterfest Week at Albert Lea High School, which started the week before with a pep rally.

And while Winterfest has been around for decades, this was Therese Netzer’s first time serving as student council adviser, meaning running the event was new for her. Netzer serves as an 11th- and 12th-grade language arts teacher at the high school and didn’t know for sure how long the event had been happening, though she remembered doing it when she was a student.

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“It’s to celebrate our winter activities much like we celebrate homecoming in the fall to celebrate our fall activities,” she said.

She described Winterfest as a weeklong celebration of students.

During the week, students participated in a volleyball competition during their flex periods.

Students also voted for royalty among each class. Among the nominees, Joey Maiden, Ava Cunningham, Alyssa Jensen, Morgan Aanes, Logan Strom and Drew Teeter were the finalists for the senior class, while Ava Bremer, Rachel Doppelhammer, Jaylee Waters, Erik Stieler, Jack Skinness and Henry Buendorf were junior class finalists. Avery White, Bailey Abrego, Madelyn Anderson, Noah Wacek, Liam Ball and Mason Attig were listed for the sophomore class, and Hanna Austinson, Keira Erickson, Alexis Martinez, Gach Bor, Erik Boley and Hayden Lowe made up the freshman class. Morgan Goskeson, Sienna Murray, Angela Buansombat, Brecken Wacholz, Edison W and Ryan Collins were the eighth-grade finalists. Winners for each grade level — one boy and one girl — will be announced during a semi-formal today.

Home games during the week included a girls’ basketball game Tuesday, wresting and boys hockey Thursday and a boys’ basketball game yesterday.

In terms of dress up day themes, Monday was PJ Day, and there was flex door decorating.

“We have different homerooms basically that meet once a day, and so with the different activities that we have throughout the year the kids decorate our classroom doors to be festive.”

Tuesday was Celebrity Day, where students could dress up as their favorite celebrity, and Wednesday was Wacky Wednesday.

“I think it’s just [to] be weird, be wacky,” Netzer said.

Thursday was Athletes vs. Mathletes, where students have the opportunity to wear either athletic gear or not, and Friday was AL Tiger Gear Day and students were encouraged to wear red and blue. There was also a field day with a volleyball tournament, guitar performances, cookie decorating and open classrooms with activities including chess, trivia and karaoke among others. Saturday is the Winterfest semi-formal dance from 7 to 10 p.m. The dance will be at Southwest Middle School for 10th, 11th and 12th graders, and at the YMCA for eighth and ninth graders.

“It’s just fun to see kids having a good time coming together, especially after COVID,” she said. “Many of them have never experienced a physical gathering of their peers and the excitement. So it’s just really fun to see them come together and having a good time.”

Mike Olson, a junior at the school, decided to participate in the volleyball tournament Friday.

“Just a fun way to stay active in the school and show some school spirit, along with having a little fun,” he said.

And that’s his favorite part about the whole week: showing school spirit in fun ways.

Olson said last year he participated in both the dodgeball and volleyball tournaments.

Sophomore Hailey Deming played trivia.

“I thought it sounded cool,” she said. “I like trivia.”

She was also looking forward to Saturday’s dance.

Besides teaching English at the high school, Jeremy Corey-Gruenes is the adviser for the chess club and opened a room for anyone who wanted to play the game.

“Since I’ve already got the boards and there’s a lot of kids interested in chess, we decided to do this,” he said.

Ethan Ferns played for the first time at the school, though he said he planned to start attending meetings soon.

“When I was younger I liked playing chess,” he said. “I didn’t know much things, I only know very few moves or openings or all that, and when I heard about it I was like, ‘Maybe I should do it.’”

Jaylee Waters, a junior and president of the student council, was responsible for setting up Winterfest and said setting it up had been great, noting the number of students participating in dress-up days and the field day.

“I think it is a fun way to get students involved in the winter season,” she said.

She said from what she had heard students enjoyed it. And she thanked her fellow students for participating.

“Just remember that you’re only in high school once, and enjoy the time and show your school spirit,” she said.