BIG LAKE MIDDLE SCHOOL HIGH HONORS STUDENTS were recognized Friday, along with all the students who showed the most improvements in their grades. (Photos by Jennifer Edwards).

BLMS recognizes academic all-stars

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
Big Lake Middle School recognized their Minnesota Academic All-Stars Friday before school was dismissed for the summer.
“The middle school has undergone many changes this year,” said Principal Mark Ernst. “We set out last August, taking on some huge challenges and asking that we show our Hornet Pride every day as we walk the Hornet Way.”
But students and teachers rose to the challenge, reducing discipline referrals by almost 70%, Ernst said. “I believe you get what you expect,” said Ernst. “With those expectations we have been able to add back 1,300 hours of instructional time.”
Another area the school set out to improve was its image, said Ernst.
“It is impressive to walk down the hallways here and see how clean and neat the school is. From the floors to the bulletin boards on the wall, this place beams with Hornet Pride.”
Student growth in learning in all grades in math and reading showed significant improvements, said Ernst.
“This year we’ve been able to have a combined growth across all grades in math and reading of 37 percentage points,” he said. “And I am excited to tell all of you we more than tripled our goal in reading and almost tripled out goal in math. Three times what we set out to is incredible. It’s hard work and you’ve all risen to the challenge.”
There were 128 students who were recognized for having a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the first two trimesters of the year. These students received medals. Of those, 84 had a GPA of 4.0 or better. These students received medals and a pin.
Students with a GPA of 3.9 or better are invited to attend the Gathering of Champions at the Mall of America Aug. 1 at 10 a.m.
Sixth Grade
 For the sixth grade, top honors students are Karissa Anderson, Rose Bailey, Abby Barfknecht, Kyler Bordwell, Isabel Breitkreutz, Lexie Carlson, Emma Curtis, Isabella Dahlen, Cameron Deckard
Adrien Dooley, Robin Driscoll, Alexys Erickson, Emily Euteneuer, Nisse Flaten, Jadyn Fletcher, Annabelle Foner, Samuel Gammel, Jonathan Gertz, Drew Griffitts, Samantha Gunderson, Broc Hamrin, Brandon Hanes, Madison Harris, Nathan Hedstrom, Emma Jacobsen, Colby Jensen, Klayre Johnson, Zebulon Johnson, Lauren Jones, Amaya Joseph, Brady Josewski, Morgan Kapsner, Kirsten Kartak, Lane Keller, Jenna Kilian, Mason Krause, Hannah Lang, Matthew Leeseberg, Mikael Lohi, Ashlyn Mattson, Taylor Matzke, Alyvia May, Hailey May, Owen McKenzie, Taylor Meuhlbauer, Taylor Moen, Alec Morehead, Amaya Moshier, Alexis Nau, Phong Nguyen, Sasha Niemela, Victoria Nygaard, 
Amanda Nystrom, Amanda Parker, Nicholas Perovich, Maisey Peterson, Joshua Pirness, Trent Ramert, Adam Rempel, Kyla Scheer, Abby Schreifels, Kacey Skarhus, Bailey Smith, Megan Springsteen
Kaitlyn Stahn, Reagan Sternquist, Michaela Strom, Braden Stromberg,  
Cole Vetsch, Vanessa Waldorf, Caden Weber, Ray-Quown Wehye, Brenne Welle, Elizabeth Wertish, Ella Weyhrauch, Korri Wojack, Matthew Wolfe and Minnerva Zou.
Seventh Grade
Seventh graders awarded high honors are Peyton Adelman, Kayla Ahrens, Mykaela Akerman, Emma Anderson, Hailey Atwood, Gabrielle Aubuchon, Sabrina Bach, Addison Bellor, Jonathan Book, Benjamin Busse, Cheyenne Carlsen, Megan Carlson, Lance Christensen, Nathan Clausing, Katilyn Cox, Ethan Cypull, Alexander Dembinski, Amber Dittbrenner, Nicholas Doucette, Bradley Duerr, Olivia Eckerdt, Logan Edmonson, Denton Eisenschenk, Joseph Fussy, 
Ronald Gellerman, Keeley Gelling, Alex Griffitts, Dylan Harbaugh, Nicholas Harris, Mackenzie Harris, Aleksa Haselius, Levi Hayes, Andrea Heid, Spencer Hinrichs, Kourtney Hintz, Kevin Huberty, Courtney Huver, Arianna Iaquinto, Gabrielle Imm, Jacob Ireland, Braden John,  Ambria Joos,
Noura Kassem, Gabrielle Klinkenborg, Kodi Kolasa, Andrea Kubitschek, Erica Kubitschek, Jeffrey Kubitschek, Paige Lang, Evan Lannes, Abigail Meyer, Rachel Miesen, Logan Miller, Rachael Moore, Brooke Morrison, Zachary Nagorski, Haley Newhouse, Robert Olson, Morgan Payne, Annika Poe
Erik Poffenberger, Emma Polacec, Brianna Pothen, Kaytlin Reiling, Makenzie Reiter, Alyssa Rezac, Shane Roberts, Alexis Roehlke, Tyler Ruppelius, Jennifer Sandberg, Brandon Schwartz, Emma Shiota, Taylor Skinner, Julia Smith, McKaylee Snyder, Natalie Sornsen, Elizabeth Starmer, Joseph Stowell, Grace Terlinden, Cassidy Thompson, Sydney Throolin, Ani Vang
Ellie Visser, Allison Voigt, Eric Voigt, Cassidy Walsh, Evann Wandersee, Alize Wang, Abbygail Warnke, Ashton Warnke, Jenna Wendlandt, Hunter Wessel, 
Kendra Willert, Julia Wuollt, Sage Wuornos, Lindsey Youngquist and Jacob Zastrow. 
Eighth Grade
Eighth grade high honors students are Alica Adio, Natalie Akerman, Taylor Amundson, Sydney Anderson, Autumn Asher, Molly Caouette, Shelby Chapman, Marissa Daniels, 
Brennan Deckard, Emma Decker, Jared Deiley, Ella Deutsch, Jaydon Dickey, Allison Dinsmore, Danielle
Domka, Kayla Donais, Patrick Doperalski, Ava Dotzler, Teagan Downs, Rachel Eisenreich, Rachel Erler, Anna Featherston, Shelly Flagg, Elias Flicker, 
Jamee Fox, Mackenzie Frederick, Alexis Freund, Jade Fruge, Zachary Gibis, 
Gabrielle Gingras, Haylie Goracke, Jack Hagberg, Emily Hartfiel, Ally Helgoe, Luke Hettler, Grace Holbrook, Hailey Horvath,  Avery Huber, Lea
Huhta, Kayli Hulbert, Kiana Johnson, Logan Johnson, Stefan Jones,  Eve
Kangas, Morgan Klein, Rayveen Koha-Jallah, Hannah Kuhlow, Amber Lahti, Kayla Larson, Parker Liebl, Megan Martin, Leah Merten, Taavan Mielke, Bethany Miller, Sophia Miller, Savannah Mitchell, Makayla Mullen,  Amanda
Nelson, Ashley Nelson, Maxwell Nelson, Jennifer Nguyen, Benjamin Norgren,  Adam Nygaard, David Peredo, Kelly Peterson, Alexander Prom, 
Alyssa Provost, Makayla Remer, Rebecca Renslow, Kamryn Robarge, Lauren Ruffcorn, Zachary Schleif, Paige Setrum, Kristen Shaw, Brittany Simmons, Caleb Slack, Jessica Stenberg, Alexis Stern, Kaitlyn Swanson, Madison Terlinden, Tarin Theis, Grace Thieke, Emma Thompson, Justin Tolkkinen, Matthew Trutna, Maria Turk, Steven
Valerius, Alex Vander Heyden, Emily Vetter, Amber Vickerman, Andrew
Wachowiak, Alexa Wardarski, Ashlyn Werner, Sydney Wertish, Miranda Werts, Alexia West, Alexander White, Megan Wilcox,  Brandon Wuollet and Jasmine Xiong.
Most Improved
Students were recognized for attaining academic growth and improving their skills. The top 10% in each grade for the most academic growth were recognized. 
For the eighth grade they are Corran Phillips, Dennis Dasch, Matt Leesberg, Courtney McKeen, Carson Simonson, Abigail Jendro, Elleyna Jurkovski, James Wichterman, Sasha Niemela, Jack Barzee, Caleigh Howe, Ray-Quown Weyhe and Ella Weyrauch.
Seventh grade students with the most growth include Nolan Killian, Nicholas Tirevold, Evan Deutsch, Kayla Pinter, Julia Wuollet, Lance Christensen, Brian Sauer, Hailey Atwood, Olivia Ekherdt, Avery Hendrickson, Spencer Kilian, and Andrea Kubitschek.
Sixth graders who demonstrated the most academic growth are Joseph Gorlove, Teon Britton, Kortlynd Atkinson, Ashley Campbell, Brandon Wuollet, Francisco Carbajal, Savannah Wanhala, Brooklyn Bengston, Max Diaz-Villasenor, Nateeja Johnson and Alexia West.
“Sixth grader Joey Gorlove made the most growth over the year,” said Ernst.
All the students who had made improvements had their names entered into a drawing to win one of two bikes donated by Horace Mann, thanks to Patrick Michaud. Bike winners were Ben Beckers and Sam Harrer,
Alexander Hugh Prom, who read the morning announcements on the school’s morning show each day, was given the Principal’s Award.
“We had to hold auditions to see who would replace him next year,” said Assistant Principal Paula Foley. 
Alex handed his joke books off to Jenna Wedlandt and Trent Ramert, who will announce the news of the day when school resumes in September.
Students honored Brenda Hill, who retired from her role in the front office after 22 years working for the school district. She was presented with a sash, paper crown and flowers.
“A special thanks goes to Emily Hartfiel Kristen Shaw and Ms. Larson for cutting and sewing the stage skirt,” Principal Ernst said. “In addition, Glenn Litwiller and the rest of the custodial staff deserve recognition for their efforts in getting the gym ready.”
Principal Ernst closed the proceedings by thanking all the parents for attending.


(From left) Lexi Freund (Big Lake), Betsey Cornelius and Ben Cornelius (Nowthen), Gunner Dorweiler and Colton Dorweiler (Princeton), Ben Manning (Zimmerman), Bailey Dorweiller (Princeton) and Salene Krueger (Big Lake.) The county fair runs from July 16-19. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

Dr. Lola Sutherland is retiring from clinical practice after 33 years in the Big Lake community. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards.)

SMITTY’S AMATEUR FIDDLERS CONTEST drew 22 musicians to compete in Big Lake this year. They were accompanied by Gilmore Lee.

LEE GERHARDSON, 47, from New London, was found dead in Big Lake near the swimming beach in 10 feet of water Monday. Cause of death is unknown at this time but foul play is not suspected.

Adopt-a-Road participants volunteer for Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and work to clean roadsides that border and bisect refuge land. This spring, from April to June, approximately six individuals, three families, and seven groups, such as boy and girl scouts and 4-H groups, volunteered to clean countless miles of roads. (Submitted photo.)