2019-20 Year in Review

Article submitted upon request to Lake Mills Leader newspaper for publication in the Graduation insert released May 2020, specifically to celebrate the class of 2020.

2020 collage

To see the collage and download individual pics that comprise the collage, visit llhs.smugmug.com/LLFamily/Class-of-2020-Senior-Moments

The new biennial 2019-2021 theme for Lakeside Lutheran celebrates “Witness,” recognizing that all the students have been called to live their faith with the people around them.

Boys track won the overall Capitol Conference title. At the state meet, Collin Schulz placed second in the high jump and Casey Ponyicsanyi medaled in three events. The boys 4×1 relay of Caleb Bilitz, Brevin Jegerlehner, Tersony Vater, Casey Ponyicsanyi took 5th place with a school record of 43.59.

Warrior baseball won the regional championship and had 8 all-conference nominees.

After performing in several June Wisconsin parades, the Warrior Marching Band scored an incredible 93/100 and received first place in the Cherry Royale Parade in July 2019.

At the 60th annual Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Jefferson County, Warrior FFA hosted a food tent within the 70-acre “Tent City.”

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Okauchee, joined the Lakeside Federation, a group of 32 churches and 20 schools that support LLHS.

August 19 began our 62nd school year with 407 enrolled. New faculty installed included Activities Director Todd Jahns and Eric Dorn, sophomore Religion teacher and boys soccer coach. Kirk DeNoyer, our Executive Director, was inducted into the 2020 Hall of Fame from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association for his success at Wisconsin Lutheran High School.

A Cappella Choir traveled to 15 area churches sharing God’s Word before cancelling the rest of their Sunday worship services. Warrior Band and choirs held Christmas and Pops concerts and canceled Easter and Commencement. The band marched in the annual Gemutlichkeit parade and presented its annual concert in November with Swing Choir and elementary cadets. Swing Choir joined with a total of 515 student singers for National Choral Fest at Winnebago Lutheran Academy.

Almost 200 students comprise Teens for Christ, kicking off the year by collecting 71 pairs of athletic shoes for kids in need. Members visit nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, prepare meals for foster families and host “New Friends” afternoons for local residents with special needs. They also help Alpha Center in Watertown and Second Harvest in Madison.

Juniors Evelyn Schauer and Mia Murray were awarded a Certificate of Merit from Michigan Technological University’s section of the Society of Women Engineers. The Society of Women Engineers (at) Lakeside Lutheran is a branch of the national SWENext outreach program. Lakeside is one of only two high school branches in the state. To pass along STEM excitement to the next generation, members held a workshop for 33 K-8 girls on March 7.

After strong finishes at both District and State dairy judging competitions last summer, Senior Matthew Gunst qualified for the Wisconsin team at the North American International Livestock Exposition, in Louisville, Ky.

Lady Warrior golf were second in conference and took Regionals! Junior Maya Heckmann was conference Golfer of the Year again, and she and freshman sister Ava went to state.

Freshman Abigail Minning and senior August Gresens advanced to the State Cross Country meet.

Warrior football reached playoff Level 3 as underdogs, defeating higher seeds both weeks. Four players took first team all-conference honors.

The boys soccer team ended with a record of 3-11-0.

Warrior volleyball won conference undefeated, then took regionals. Three girls earned first team all-conference and Ella Collins was named Conference Player of the Year.

The 15-member Academic Bowl team placed 4th of nine teams at the annual Conference competition.

National Honor Society hosted “Tosses for Teens” cornhole tournament Nov. 17, raising over $3,500 to bring awareness of the growing need for mental health support for teens.

Wisconsin DPI creates report cards for private schools based on students participating in the choice program. For 2018-19, LLHS received a score of 84.8, a 5-star rating of “significantly exceeds expectations.”

The charter year for the Lakeside Bowling Club, a co-op team of students from Lakeside and Lake Mills High School, wrapped up its first season. The team won three matches and placed 4th in D2.

ACT results for the class of 2019 were released: of 110, 87 wrote the exam. On a 36-point scale, their composite score was 24.1 (state average 20.3), keeping Lakeside in the top 2% of 460+ Wisconsin schools.

At Fall and Spring Conference Math Meets and at the competitive Madison East Math Meet, both Varsity & JV Teams took 1st.

Warrior forensics took first in Conference on Feb. 3 with a total of 333 points, ahead of the second place team with 189.

For the first time in its 3-year history, Warrior Robotics Club sent a team to the State VEX Robotics Championship that included seniors Katelyn McGurk, Trevor Geerdts, and Gilbert Haw.

Haw is also a Finalist in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program, marking his place in the top 1% of participants, and McGurk won the Kohl Student Initiative Scholarship, which recognizes students who put forth extraordinary effort and have overcome significant obstacles or adversity.

Eighteen Class A entries, including the Warrior Percussion Ensemble and several instrumentalists, pianists and vocalists, were awarded starred-first ratings at the WSMA Solo-Ensemble District level. Altogether, Lakeside had 66 solo or ensemble entries that involved more than 85 Warriors.

Winter sports round-up: wrestling (10-4); boys basketball (13-11); girls basketball (14-10). Girls head coach Tim Matthies announced he was stepping down (assistant Andy Asmus to succeed), as did wrestling coach Mike Twohig. Warrior Dance took D3 jazz regional championship and 2nd in D4 pom. Jada Teteak is the first dancer in LL history named to the D3 all-state team.

In February, Warrior FFA celebrated National FFA Week with many ag-related contests and activities. The almost 50-strong group held its annual banquet and recognition night in early March. In addition, they joined forces with the construction class and renovated the school’s greenhouse.

Classes did not resume after 2020 spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Online delivery of courses commenced March 25 and finished May 21.

The 9th annual Grand Event dinner/auction was switched to an all-online format held May 9.

92 seniors will graduate. Co-valedictorians are Elise Meier, Megan Reinke, Lauren Thiele, and Grace Westrate. Co-Salutatorians are Isabella Collins and Kirsten Thundercloud.






A totally SWELL STEM workshop

The Society of Women Engineers (at) Lakeside Lutheran—aka SWE-LL—
is a branch of the national SWENext outreach program and part of the international Society of Women Engineers, which calls itself the “world’s
largest advocate and catalyst for change for women in engineering and
technology.” Lakeside is one of only two high school branches in the state.
Because numbers of females in engineering careers are still low, SWE-LL members want to pass along STEM excitement to the next generation too.

Our Warriors got their start with a STEM workshop for K-8 girls held on March 7, with 33 participants. “An all-girls STEM day is important because it gives them an opportunity to learn about things they aren’t going to get exposure to every day, and to do so in an environment with only girls,” said SWE-LL president Ella Butzine, a junior. “This event—beneficial because it shows them that women can be great engineers and scientists—opened up their eyes to a future they maybe never knew they could have.”

After beginning with devotion, girls rotated through four hands-on stations:
• elephant’s toothpaste (i.e., exothermic reaction)
• pasta rockets (propulsion/thrust)
• making sorbet without a freezer (chemistry/freezing point depression)
• building marshmallow-toothpick towers (structural stability)
Disclaimer: the pasta rocket wasn’t actually hands-on . . . because it was on fire.

To round out the 3-hour workship, all the girls engineered paper airplanes and took home a Mega Construx kit for future building efforts.

As fun as the day was, all the SWE-LL members knew there was another mission: sharing more about God’s creation. Senior secretary Lauren Thiele summed it up, “The best part about the day was the opportunity to reach out to girls from all over—not just from our grade schools. We got the chance to share God’s Word with them, be role models for them, learn about them, and teach them about how exciting STEM is!”

Lakeside Lutheran robotics team heads to state

Robotics teamOne team from the Lakeside Lutheran High School VEX Robotics Club is advancing to the Wisconsin State VEX Robotics Championship on February 22 in Appleton. The senior team clinched the state berth by finishing third in skills at the 2020 Wisconn Valley VEX Robotics Competition held Jan. 18 at Shoreland Lutheran High School, Somers.

Team members include Katelyn McGurk, Lake Mills; Trevor Geerdts, Lake Mills; and Gilbert Haw, Marshall. This is the first-ever state qualifier for the three-year-old LLHS VEX Robotics program. Participants strategically drove the robots they designed, built, and programmed—with guidance from their teachers and mentors—to score as many points as possible in matches and skills challenges.

The high school participates in the VEX VRC division in a game called “Tower Takeover.” The goal is to strategically stack six-inch cubes in corners and place cubes in towers. Two teams compete in matches involving driver-controlled play and self-driving play, which relies solely on coding skills.

“These student competitors raise their own funds, design and construct their robots with in game criteria, and enter competitions to test their progress. Today’s students need to develop skills for jobs that don’t even exist yet,” said Andrew Willems, technology director and VEX Robotics coach at Lakeside Lutheran. “VEX Robotics pushes students to be creative, problem-solve, and work together to help students learn to apply their STEM knowledge.”

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is the largest and fastest growing middle and high school robotics program globally with more than 11,000 teams from 32 countries playing in over 750 tournaments worldwide. The 2020 World Championships are in Louisville, KY April 23-25.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education in the STEM Academy at Lakeside Lutheran teaches a curriculum designed by Project Lead the Way (PLTW). The PLTW program engages students in activities, projects, and problem-based learning to focus on college and career goals. STEM courses are for students who may be considering college or technical fields related to STEM, and considered an Academy because STEM courses are taken concurrently with required math and science courses needed to graduate from Lakeside Lutheran. For more information, contact Director Andrew Willems at awillems@llhs.org or visit llhs.org/stem.

Students recognized by MTU’s Society of Women Engineers



Lakeside Lutheran High school juniors Evelyn Schauer (left), Watertown, and Mia Murray, Middleton, were each awarded a Certificate of Merit from Michigan Technological University’s section of the Society of Women Engineers. The Certificate of Merit Program recognizes young women in their sophomore or junior year of high school based on academic excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics courses. In past years MTU has recognized 400 remarkable young women across Michigan and Wisconsin with the goal of spurring these students to achieve their full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, as well as expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in diversity, improving the quality of life, and demonstrating the value of life-long learning.

Using nationally established Project Lead the Way© (PLTW) engineering curriculum, Lakeside Lutheran High School offers a STEM Academy—a special program for students interested in taking engineering or biomedical sciences in their post-secondary education. LLHS is also one of the first in the state of Wisconsin to offer a SWE chapter at the high school level.  For more information, contact STEM Academy Director Andrew Willems at (920) 648-2321.