Observations from the Hall of Fame

The following are some of my observations from the K-W Hall of Fame evening which was held at the K-W Middle/High School on Sat. night.

During his introduction of Hall of Famer Danny Quam, Chuck Aase drew a large round of laughter when he said the Kenyon teams that Danny played on passed as often as Steve Sviggum voted Democrat.

In his acceptance talk Quam attributed his success and that of the teams he played on due to the gritty confidence instilled in them at an early age by Dick Anderson.

Quam also made a point of mentioning his fellow tri-captain, Kevin Walker, as the toughest middle linebacker he ever played with. Teams did not run the ball up the middle against Walker.

Current K-W Wrestling coach Nathan Lexvold recalled how the late Jacob Baalson’s amazing win in the 2008 Section 1A Team Championship match against Zumbrota-Mazeppa was a deciding factor in the team going to the state meet.

As a youth coach, Jeff Schoenfelder has found that coaching is more than Xs and Os. He concluded his comments by saying, “Have a dream and dream big.”

During the presentation 1973-74 Wanamingo girls basketball Team Patty (Friese) Larson talked about Betty Jo Grothe, who passed away in 2017, being their team leader.

Lois Bjorngaard, coach of the Wanamingo girls’ team, referenced how Karen Zakula ran the clock and Karen Brandt kept the book for many years.

Mr. and Mrs.

Allen Hoversten, George Olson and Gary Skundberg have one thing in common, they have the same first name, Mr. Just like Doreen Finnesgaard and Ione Overby also have the same first name of Mrs. Former students have so much respect for these educators that they have a difficult time calling them by their first names. As educators, they challenged their students and expected them give their best effort every time. They respected their students as much as students respected them.

I know there are more than these five people who are highly appreciated teachers, but these are the ones that I consistently hear called by Mr. and Mrs.

Sons of Norway

During Chris Falteisek’s “Nordic Holiday Customs and Music” presentation at the Sons of Norway he talked about how Christmas is traditionally celebrated throughout the month of Dec. finishing on St. Knut’s Day, Jan. 13.

Falteisek explained that in the Scandinavian countries Lille Julaften, Little Christmas Eve, is celebrated on Dec. 23, with the family members coming together to clean, decorate the house and set-up the Christmas tree.

Julaften, Christmas Eve, is signaled by the ringing of church bells at 5 p.m. throughout the cities to announce the official start of the holiday. After the traditional meal, family members hold hands and dance around the Christmas tree while singing carols.

The time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is known as Romjulen, when shops are closed and people use the time for skiing or sledding with their families.

Dec. 26 is called Boxing Day and is a European tradition of putting together holiday boxes for the less fortunate.

In the United States many people have the yearly tradition of watching the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” during the holidays. Although not a Christmas movie, a Czech made movie “Three Gifts for Cinderella” has become a holiday classic.

Knut’s Day in Jan. is the day to throw the Christmas tree out into the snow and consume all of the edible decorations from the tree.

At the conclusion of his presentation Falteisek played a song he titled “Endless Christmas Melody” which consisted of the first line of many familiar Christmas songs. The challenge he laid out to the audience was to see if they could count the number of songs they heard with correct answer being 26 songs.

Byron vs K-W volleyball

Prior to the varsity volleyball match between Byron and K-W a homemade sign was unfolded by Elliett Wieme that said “We Love Brittney.” Brittney is Byron’s assistant volleyball coach and K-W graduate Brittney Flom.

At the introduction of K-W volleyball alumni between games, Flom received a loud and boisterous cheer from the Byron varsity players when she was announced as one of the many volleyball alumni in attendance for the match.

John Thorson

Kenyon High School class of 1959 member John Thorson of Sparta, Michigan, passed away on Sept. 21, 2019, at the Allendale, Michigan, Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after having cancer for the past six years. Thorson, the son of Rev. and Marcella Thorson, moved to the Kenyon area when his father became the pastor of the Holden and Dale Congregations. Following graduation from Wartburg Theological Seminary, Thorson served churches in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana before retiring to Sparta, Michigan, in 2000. His sister, Elizabeth, and her husband, Dean Hanson of Hudsonville, Michigan, survive. Inurnment takes place in the Holden Lutheran Cemetery.

Kevin Anderson is a guest columnist for The Kenyon Leader.

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