SPANISH STUDENTS Chelsea Savage and Julia Morris take Mrs. Crocker’s Spanish class.

The world comes to Big Lake

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
Most of the students in the Big Lake School District were born in or around the area but recently there are more and more students from other places attending school in Big Lake.
Teachers and principals recognize their students are coming from more diverse backgrounds. At Liberty Elementary School, they recently celebrated Multic Cultural Night.
Those attending found a number of activities set  up in the hallway, including a hand art project supervised by Mrs. Hagberg, a world map, marked with stickers showing the different places all the visitors had been too, organized by Mrs. Jelen, and an origami art project demonstrated by Mrs. Nygaard.
In the cafeteria, the Duniya Drum and Dance group, sponsored by the Big Lake PTO, gave a performance of Guinea, West Africa dancing. Scottish dancers Andrew and Chandi McCracken taught all comers the ins and outs of Scottish dancing, and the Mixed Blood Theater group performed a play about the history of Mexican people in Minnesota.
The gymnasium was set up with table displays all around the room. Mrs. Crocker’s high school Spanish students taught mini Spanish classes and the third graders entertained the crowd by singing the World-Wide Hello Song.
The Spanish language students’ table included a Dia de los Muertos showcase and face painting, which drew quite a crowd to learn about the traditional Mexican Day of the Dead memorial activities and to make some arts and crafts, including pinatas.
Another very popular table was from the Number One China restaurant, where free tasty appetizers were available.
Enya Mably modelled a Japanese kimono at a booth hung with paper lanterns. Mrs. Mably and Mrs. Miller’s students decorated the area with home made paper lanterns.
Three young ladies, Quan Le from South Vietnam, Danayit Almauenu and Lydia Amnaric from Ethiopia have been in America for three years or less.
Mrs. Mitberg spent two years in Russia teaching English. Born in France, Alice Story has spent the last 15 years in the United States, teaching French. She started with three years in the Milaca school district, teaching students from other countries how to speak our language.
Art teacher Claudia  Forsberg was born and raised in Madagascar, where she developed an interest in the islands colorful insects, which are often featured in her work.
There was also a display table from the Sherburne County History Center which showed where most of the people who settled in this area came from. Many came from Scandinavia and northern Europe.
The Big Lake Public Library also had a table full of books about other countries and other cultures.
“We all learn from each other,” said Assistant Principal Teresa Smock Potter, who is a born Big Laker. “This is very exciting.”
According to the Dept. of Education's website, Big Lake School District is comprised of 0.8% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 2.8% African American, 4% Hispanic/Latino, 90% White/Caucasian.


(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.)