Past Feature Pics

WAPS Spring Festival

The Winona Area Public Schools' Orchestra Spring Festival, held on May 17, 2016, included the presentation of awards. The WSHS senior recipient of the prestigious National School Orchestra Award is chosen by fellow students.  This year's voting resulted in a tie for the award,  which went to both Dicey Spring, violin, and Cassidy Cyert, bass.  One senior orchestra member receives the CodaBow Award--a fine bow made and donated by CodaBow International, based in Winona. The winner was Dicey Spring.
Cindy Johnson, director of the Winona Senior High School Orchestra, said,  "Both Dicey and Cassidy are outstanding students and musicians, who have contributed greatly to the orchestra through their playing and through their spirits of enthusiasm and commitment to the orchestra."
Photo left to right:  Dicey Spring and Cassidy Cyert


Kiri Sannerud, daughter of Paul and Peggy Sannerud of Winona and a senior at Winona Senior High Schoo,l has been awarded a full scholarship to live and study in Germany.  Through an application and interview process Kiri was accepted for the prestigious Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) funded by the United States State Department.  
During the 2016-2017 school year Kiri will live with a host family and attend a local college preparatory high school in Germany.   This exchange is for motivated American high school students who want to fully immerse themselves in the German culture.  Kiri is currently completing the College in the Schools German 1003 course offered through the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and taught at Winona Senior High School by world language teacher, Ruthanne Weisfpenning. 

Cotter-U.S. History

11th grade US History students at Cotter High School were tasked with determining the next chapter in US History. Looking at the time period 1990-2016, students were asked to brainstorm what events and ideas define this era--their era (and a little before). After several brainstorming sessions the 3 sections had a long list of topics and themes from the time period. Each student chose a topic that they would be interested in researching and then creating a museum display. Students were given minimal guidelines on what the display should look like, only that it should be suitable for a museum and allow the visitor to spend from 1-6 minutes at their display. In addition to creating a display item, students wrote an essay analyzing their topic and its role in the time period, as well as how it connects to issues or events from the past. Projects included videos, PowerPoints, Prezi’s, posters, replicas, sculptures, board games and much more. There were 10 themes in the museum: Technology, Environment & Disasters, Pop Culture, Sports, Global Events, World Conflict, Politics, Terrorism, Human Rights, and Shooting. Under these topics were a wide range of specific topics including Facebook, Hurricane Katrina, the 1994-95 MLB lockouts, Beijing Olympics, 2000 Election, 9/11, Central American Migrant Children Crisis, and the Aurora, CO shooting.  

Halverson Exhibit

Local artist Barb Halvorson’s wildlife, floral, and landscape paintings will be on display June 1-30 at Galleria Valéncia. The public is invited to view the exhibit and see the artist in action on Wednesday, June 1, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Valéncia Arts Center. The galleria will also be open during regular office hours: Mondays, and Wednesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.—as well as while evening and Saturday classes are in session. Halvorson has traveled extensively for 30 years and literally taught thousands of people to paint at major art conventions throughout the United States. She has authored five how-to- paint books in a series titled Sharing Gifts of Nature. She is known for painting wildlife, landscapes, and florals and for painting on leaves.  For more information about her art or classes, call 507-454-7617, or email:

Super Gav Scholarship

The Foundation for Winona Area Public School was honored to open a new scholarship fund this year called the “Super Gav Memorial Scholarship Fund”.  It was opened to celebrate the life of a little boy, Gavin Quimby, who touched the lives of thousands of people in the Winona area. Gavin was active, happy, always smiling, and loved Superman.  Gavin’s parents, Shanna and Nick Quimby, wanted to honor Gavin by giving back to the public schools with a scholarship to a senior who plans to go on to college, was active in athletics or extra-curricular activities, community-service minded and liked working with children.  Hayley Gerdes is just that individual. Hayley plans to attend the Southwest MN State University in the fall.  Congratulations Hayley and Fly High, Super Gav, Fly High!!!!

Haake Poetry Awards

“The Foundation for Winona Area Public Schools congratulates the 2016 Annual Haake Poetry Award winners.
        WSHS Winners:
        First Place ($100 Prize): Pippa Armstrong & Muhammad Usman Nawaz
        Second Place ($50 Prize): Nikki Miller, Lucy Nelson, & Ariana Chavez
        WMS Winners:
        First Place ($100 prize):  Tara Ziegeweid & Aaliya Delmore
        Second Place ($50 Prize):  Linda Moua, Julia Kronebusch, & Morgan Walker
Thank you to all student contestants for their participation which generated 124 original poetry compositions this year. The Foundation would like to thank Laura Armstrong and Eileen Dahlin, and all of the language arts teachers at WMS and WSHS, and our esteemed judges’ panel.  

Pictured: WSHS:
Muhammad Usman Nawaz, Nikki Miller, Lucia Nelson, Laura  Armstrong, Pippa Armstrong, Ariana Chavez

Page Series-Shapiro & Smith Dance

The Performance Center at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will offer several opportunities this summer for area dancers to work with 2016-2017 Page Series artists Shapiro & Smith Dance. The Minneapolis-based modern dance company will be in Winona June 24-25 for the first in a series of master classes for dancers ages 9 and older. The company will return Sept. 2 for further classes. In addition, several dancers will have the opportunity to participate in the company’s Sept. 10 performance at the Page Theatre. The Performance Center has partnered with Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, which will host classes and rehearsals at the Valéncia Arts Center (1164 W. Howard St.). Participation is free, but registration is required as space is limited. For more information and to register, visit

Photo credit: V. Paul Virtuccio

WMS Choir

The Winona Middle School 7th and 8th Grade Choir participated in the "Trills and Thrills Music Festival" at Highland Park High School and Valleyfair in the Twin Cities on Friday, May 20th
The WMS 7th and 8th Grade Choir, directed by Courtney Zupancich, performed for a panel of master adjudicators who provided written and audio comments/critique as well as an overall rating for each performance. The WMS 7th & 8th Grade Choir received a Superior rating as well as a plaque and ribbon for their achievements. This trip was made possible by the generous support of the WMS PTA, The Foundation for Winona Area Public Schools, WAPS, and parent volunteers.


Oxford University thrower Arran Davis finished 7th in the javelin throw at the 2016
British Universities and Colleges (BUCS) National Outdoor Athletics Championships. Davis’ throw of 55.22m (181 feet) qualifies him for a Full Blue award, given to student-athletes who have performed for Oxford University at the highest standard. Davis followed up his performance with a 2nd place finish in the javelin throw at the 142nd Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Athletics Match. In 2015, Davis won the 141st instantiation of the Varsity Match, and later placed 1st in a combined meet pitting Oxford and Cambridge against American rivals Harvard and Yale. A native of Winona, MN (USA), Davis is studying for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Anthropology. Before attending Oxford University, Davis was an Academic All-American in the javelin throw at South Dakota State University, where his best throw of 57.91m (190 feet) ranks third all-time.