Why I Love Albert Lea

Published 11:49 am Monday, March 6, 2023

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Why I Love Albert Lea By Avery Benda

Avery Benda is a senior at Albert Lea High School and plans to attend college at Winona State University majoring in education. 

The first word that comes to my mind when thinking about Albert Lea is “opportunity.”  Prior to my junior year of high school I wasn’t noticeably involved in my school or town. This all changed when I passed my driver’s test and got my first taste of independence. With this newfound freedom, I finally realized I had the power to decide what activities I wanted to join. I learned to take advantage of all that Albert Lea has to offer. Once I started branching out and trying new things, let’s just say I was hooked. I am now quite involved in my school: National Honor Society, Well-Being Club, Student Council, Link Crew, Choir, Show Choir and the Prom Committee.

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When I realized I could truly make a difference by simply putting myself out there, I also started volunteering throughout my community; I teach dance, lifeguard at the Albert Lea Aquatic Center, teach swim lessons, volunteer at Sunday school and attend many of the activities we often have in town.

One thing that I love about Albert Lea is how family oriented we are. This realization hit me when I switched to the teaching side of many of these opportunities. In particular, through my work as a dance teacher at Unlimited Possibilities Dance Studio, I was able to see the joy in kids’ eyes when they find an activity that they are passionate about. This experience helped me to recognize and appreciate the countless activities Albert Lea offers for kids to find their passions: They can go to the skate rinks anytime for free and even go into the warming houses to play games, they can go to the rock wall and climb for free if they are students from Albert Lea, they can take advantage of our state park, they can go for a walk at the Blazing Star State Trail, they can take skating lessons at the Roy Nystrom Arena, they can play at our many playgrounds and parks, they can swim at the city pool or even take swim lessons, they can join countless sports, they can go to the public library for any of their events, they can use our fairly new splash pad, they can watch the annual Third of July Parade, they can go to the boat house and rent equipment, and this is just what first comes to mind!

Another element of Albert Lea I cherish is that it’s a small town. I love being around town and seeing a familiar face; it makes me feel at home everywhere I go. My friends are often surprised when we are walking through a local store and I run into multiple parents who want to say hi and ask about my plans. Of course, the most heart-warming is when one of my students comes up to me, outside the dance studio, and gives me a big smile or a loving hug.

Prior to my junior year, I was very reluctant to branch out from my safe zone. I was hesitant to try new things and put myself into situations that I did not know what to say or do.  This fear definitely kept me from enjoying so many new and different opportunities. If you are a kid in this community, please trust me when I say, do not be afraid.

If I had to describe Albert Lea, I would say it’s a small town with big opportunities. If you take one thing out of this article, I want you to realize that life is what you put into it, and I cannot emphasize this enough: Make the most of it! We need to be constantly pushing ourselves to try new things and taking advantage of all the opportunities around us. Explore and don’t be afraid to try something new. Albert Lea offers more than you expect.