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Actively engaging in activities

Red Wing High School students Thomas Lidahl, Elise Leise, Calli Hughes, Ashley Knowlton and Kenzie Irwin received plaques during the first activities recognition banquet held Feb. 28. Daisha Cecil was absent. (photos by Hannah Coyle)

Since the first day of the 2016-17 school year, students have been encouraged to find their "spark." Ultimately, the goal was for students to discover what they are passionate about and how they can use these passions to help the community.

The array of activities available for students in the Red Wing community is helping students develop and apply these sparks. These activities are outstanding outlets for developing skills in leadership, relationships and so much more.

Senior Calli Hughes felt strongly that these activities be recognized for the drive of their advisers and members. On Tuesday, Feb. 28, Hovda Hall was full of committed students and their families to give due recognition for their efforts and participation in a school-affiliated activity.

"We are proud of the community for showing us that our activities and clubs are important and valued. I'm also proud of my classmates for the involvement and dedication to their extracurriculars and their commitment to making Red Wing a community filled with opportunities for all interests," Hughes said.

Hughes has been playing soccer throughout her high school career and remembers the many Red Wing High School athletic banquets she has attended. At these events, she was only recognized as a one-sport athlete, yet for her, community involvement went beyond the sports field. While she is thankful for the letter and the sincerities behind these banquets, she said she felt like the efforts of herself and her peers were not equally represented.

As an athlete, Hughes plays soccer. As a leader involved in her community, Hughes is in 10 extracurricular activities including Ovation, Interact Club and the National Honor Society Executive Board. She wanted students to be recognized for their hard work beyond athletics and academics.

While the main purpose of this banquet was to honor activity members and advisers for their dedication, an emphasis was put on the importance of joining these activities. Community involvement strengthens all aspects of life from the classroom to eventually the work force, participants say. Students involved in activities are having fun and building relationships but also learning to work as a team and what it means to be a leader.

On the back of the bulletin handed to banquet attendees was a list of activities and the emails of their advisers to make it easy for students to get further involved. Underclassmen especially were encouraged to join as many as they can to step into the shoes of the graduating seniors.

The guest list was based on the nominations made by the activity leaders. Students who showed strong leadership skills and who have proved their dedication were invited — 150 in all. As they entered Hovda, teenage musicians performed and a slideshow of photos of all activities played. Six special awards were given to students whom their advisers believed were outstanding examples of strong leaders. The final award was for Advisor of the Year, an honor given to the head of the band department, Dan Marrs.

In all, 300 people attended and 38 clubs were recognized. All students left with a certificate listing the clubs that nominated them.

With only four weeks of preparation, the first Activities and Clubs Banquet was a success, people said. The hope is for a continual increase of attendance and improvement every year.

Extra honor

Every student nominated by an adviser received a certification Tuesday night. Six students and one adviser received a special award. The recipients are:

Excellence Award — Kenzie Irwin

Leadership Award — Elise Leise

Behind the Scenes Award — Daisha Cecil

Community Award — Ashley Knowlton

Winger Way Award — Thomas Lidahl

Most Committed Member Award — Calli Hughes

Adviser of the Year — Dan Mars