Five decades of Lancers, together with their families and friends, gathered on Saturday, July 20th at La Follette High School for the kickoff event of a yearlong celebration of La Follette's 50th Anniversary. "We attended an excellent public school, and that's something we have come to really appreciate," said Norm Couture, a La Follette 1980 grad.
Attendees took self-guided tours of the school or tours guided by Lancer Pride students. A number of La Follette staff volunteered their time this summer to prepare classroom showcase displays. Students prepared displays in C17 that showcase activities of the clubs and organizations they belong to.
La Follette also held its second Wall of Honor Recognition Ceremony. Plaques for Dave Maas, Paul McIntosh, and Rod Witte were added on the wall. In addition to recognizing worthy Lancers, the Wall raises funds for La Follette's school endowment and capital fund through the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools.
A current/former student and staff art show in La Follette's art gallery was coordinated by current art teacher Monique Karlen. Former history teacher Victoria Straughn hosted an exhibit in the LHS Archives and History Museum, reflecting 50 years of the school's history. Volunteers recorded video for La Follette's own version of "Story Corps" asking alumni and retired staff to share a favorite story or funny memory. And the day was the occasion for a choir reunion of unprecedented size. Summit Credit Union, which now has a branch right in the school, was open for part of the day and provided 50th Anniversary cupcakes. The anniversary kickoff was a resounding success thanks to highly engaged alumni and supportive community members that value what La Follette High School contributes to the community.
The anniversary kickoff was a resounding success thanks to highly engaged alumni and supportive community members that value what La Follette High School contributes to the community.
More information about this event:
In the enthusiastic spirit of their namesake, Fighting Bob La Follette, who promoted the ideal of creating a society made up of “educated and patriotic free [people]", five decades of Lancers, together with their families and friends, will gather on Saturday, July 20th at La Follette High School. The occasion is LHS Fifty Fest--the kickoff event of a year-long celebration of La Follette's 50th Anniversary. "We attended an excellent public school, and that's something we have come to really appreciate," remarked Norm Couture, a La Follette 1980 grad who indicated that he can't wait to walk in La Follette's hallways and classrooms again and reconnect with classmates and former teachers. He added that he also happens to be especially excited about playing in "Battle of the Bands (BOB)"-- one of the many offerings at LHS Fifty Fest.
The Fifty Fest BOB is based on a popular Lancer tradition of decades past--in fact, Norm played in the very first La Follette BOB back in 1980! This LHS Fifty Fest BOB won't be a competition between bands as it was back in the day. However, it is seen by its coordinators Rob Hecimovich, Class of '80, and Scott Meeker, Class of '83, as one of many opportunities during the school's 50th to re-energize the Lancer extended family with "Fighting Bob" creative energy for the greater battle to preserve and promote quality public education. "We can all come together on this regardless of our politics," says Scott, "and sharing our music is just one of many ways we'll be using our creativity for the common good to celebrate and support this place that has meant a great deal to so many people over the past five decades." In addition to Norm's band "Metal Gonz" (which will include Gonzo, Ralphie, and others from the Class of '80), BOB will feature a set by two-time Grammy Award nominee Joey Banks, Class of '83, with one of his bands, as well as popular local Madison band "The Leeding Zero's" whose band members include Lynda Higgins and Rich Stanek, both Class of '87.
During transitions between bands on another stage in the outdoor courtyard the event "Lancers Got Talent" will take place. During these 20-minute segments shorter acts, made up of individuals or groups of past and present La Follette staff and students, will perform. Some of the acts recently performed by current students at La Follette's Diversity Day celebration in April will be performed at this time. La Follette's Inspirational Choir, a gospel music ensemble made up of current students, will be one of the featured groups. BOB and Lancers Got Talent will take place under a giant tent covering an outdoor enclosed courtyard.
According to Jim Reichling, the current physics teacher at La Follette, an abundance of colorful ripe vegetables in a garden planted by his students in this same courtyard will provide colorful decor for the performances. "I love the idea that the Battle of the Bands and Lancers Got Talent audience will be sharing the space with a vegetable garden!" he beamed. He and his students are eager for the opportunity to share about their inquiry-based school garden project through a laminated display which people can read while enjoying the performances. In addition to veggies growing, the smell of brats on the grill will provide additional ambiance courtesy of the La Follette Booster Club and Ken’s Meats and Deli (manager Joe Mazzara is an ’82 La Follette grad). In addition to handling concessions the La Follette Booster Club will hold a 50/50 raffle and will be selling Lancer wear, which can also be purchased online. Summit Credit Union, which has a branch right inside La Follette, will be open throughout the day. Summit Credit Union Thierer Road Branch Manager Jenna Gordon, a 90's era La Follette grad, says that Summit employees will be providing various types of assistance with the July 20th event.
Science, athletics, music, marketing and other departments and classrooms will welcome visitors on either self-guided tours or school tours guided by Lancer Pride students. A number of La Follette staff will be volunteering their time this summer to prepare classroom showcase displays and be present on July 20th to greet the public. Students will also prepare displays in C17 that showcase activities of the clubs and organizations to which they belong.
An important event at LHS Fifty Fest will be the second Wall of Honor Recognition Ceremony. The first Wall of Honor ceremony took place in October, 2012. On July 20th plaques for Dave Maas, Paul McIntosh, Rod Witte and possibly a few more people will be added on the wall. In addition to recognizing worthy Lancers, the Wall raises funds for La Follette's school endowment and capital fund through the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools.
A current/former student and staff art show in La Follette's art gallery will be coordinated by current La Follette art teacher Monique Karlen. Please CLICK HERE if you are interested in submitting artwork or email her if you have questions. Former art teacher Rodger Hansen will be setting up the show and submissions must be in by July 10.
Former La Follette history teacher Victoria Straughn will curate an exhibit in the LHS Archives and History Museum, reflecting 50 years of the school's history. Created in 1999, the Archives & History Museum preserves the history of La Follette High School. To further that goal volunteers will be video recording La Follette's own version of "Story Corps" -- asking LHS alums and retired staff to spend 5-10 minutes sharing a favorite story or funny memory, to be recorded during their visit to the school on July 20.
Click on the image above to purchase LHS 50 Fest Memorabilia
Last but not least, LHS Fifty Fest will be the occasion for a choir reunion of unprecedented magnitude at La Follette. Students who who sang under the direction of Pam Schroeder (2000 to the present) will perform in the auditorium until 2 PM. At 2 PM students who sang under the direction of Rod Witte (1968 – 2000) will take the stage. Choir reunion coordinator Sherry Savee Zimball, Class of '88, suggests that people bring plenty of Kleenex. She added, "But we don't anticipate that the tears will be due to poor singing! Many alumni are ordering packets of music from Ward Brodt, so they can practice. We are also holding a practice at La Follette the night before. Ordering music and showing up for the practice is optional--alumni are welcome to just show up and sing at the event if that's their preference. Most people still remember all of the choral pieces we have chosen."
When the last band finishes their final number in the courtyard around 5 PM, those 21 and older are welcome to start migrating to the East Side Club for more music and hanging out. Smoky Jon’s Barbecue will be providing free food until it runs out -- "Smoky Jon" Olson graduated from La Follette in 1973! Music will be provided by ’86 grad Andy Larson’s DJ company and Lancer Jam musicians. If you are a Lancer musician who would like to jam at the East Side Club after LHS Fifty Fest you can sign up here.
The planning committee made up of current and former La Follette staff, alumni and parents anticipate that LHS Fifty Fest will be a wonderful experience for all who attend. Whether you are a Lancer of the past present or future, please come and join the fun and festivities at La Follette on July 20--bring your friends and family!