Former Scandia Elementary principal Marilyn Opp and former music director at Elim Lutheran Church, Dennis Alfveby, were inducted into the Forest Lake Area Schools Hall of Fame Monday, June 3.
The Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made great contributions to the school district, either through their work in the district or through their professional work or other community service.
Hall of Fame members must be former students, staff members, administrators or school board members, or current or former members of the school district community.
Seven new members were added the district’s Hall at the June 3 ceremony and two to its Arts and Athletics Hall of Fame. With the addition of these new members, the District Hall of Fame includes 88 members and the Arts & Athletics Hall of Fame has 104 members.
Marilyn Opp began her career with Forest Lake Area Schools in 1979 as a teacher at Forest Lake Elementary. In 1993, she became the Principal of Scandia Elementary and helped lead many school activities, including the Wild Walk, Art and Academic Fair, Family Discovery Nights and more. She took every opportunity to build and strengthen ties with the community and in 1993 became the first active female member of the Scandia-Marine Lions Club. Opp retired from the school in 2005, but continues to serve as a community volunteer both with the Lions Club and other organizations.
At an early age, Dennis Alfveby became an accomplished musician. While still in junior high, Alfveby was selected to be the organist for Faith Lutheran Church in Forest Lake, a position which he continued until he graduated from Forest Lake High School in 1970 and left to study music at Augsburg College. Alveby taught for many years at New Richmond High School in Wisconsin, directing a very successful choral music program. He was also the Director of Music at Elim Lutheran Church in Scandia from 1987 until his retirement at the end of 2018.
Gerald (Jerry) Wavrin
As a math teacher for thirty-three years, Jerry Wavrin was always looking for ways to innovate and improve. Wavrin had the foresight to understand how integral computers would become for math and other subjects and created the first computer lab and computer curriculum unit for the district. He also developed the first accelerated math option to challenge high-achieving students. An active volunteer and community member for over 50 years, Wavrin still attends Ranger sporting events, concerts and plays and continues to hear from former students whose interest in math, science or technology was fostered within his class.
A tireless advocate for children and youth in the Forest Lake area, Karen Morehead was an active member of the school board and the Forest Lake Park Board for many years. As a school board member, she worked to make sure that students’ voices were always heard and became a strong advocate for many programs that benefit students today, like Spanish Immersion, STEM, anti-bullying, FFA and strong music programs. Even after her retirement from the school board at the end of 2018, Morehead remains a tireless spokesperson for the good work that students, staff and parents do every day.
Through a quarter century as the owner and publisher of the Forest Lake Times, Duane Rasmussen made his mark on the community both as business owner and community volunteer. Through his company, SELL Publishing, Rasmussen employed nearly 100 people and led a culture of volunteerism within his company. He was a member and backer of many community organizations and established the Forest Lake Community Scholarship Foundation, which this year surpassed $1.5 million in total scholarship dollars given to local students.
As a Forest Lake resident and business owner for more than 30 years, Dave Purdy has a long history of building up our community through service and volunteerism. Purdy has been a leader in Rotary, Lakes Center for Youth and Families and other community organizations. As an avid guitar player and musician, Purdy has played with several local bands over the years, often donating entertainment for fundraising and community events. Purdy is also a volunteer for Best Prep, a statewide non-profit organizations that provides educational programs for students in grades 4-12 and has often shared his professional knowledge with students studying business and economics.
As a member of Forest Lake’s class of 1989, Todd Loushine was a three-sport varsity letter winner and an active member and leader within student council, National Honor Society and Student Athletes Against Drugs. Loushine went on to earn a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Loushine has had a distinguished career in safety and compliance, working for Occupational Safety and Health Association office in Minnesota and the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. Loushine is now an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Internships at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he created a very successful online Master of Science degree program in Occupational & Environmental Safety and Health.
Arts and Athletics
Hall of Fame Class of 2019
The criteria for inclusion in the Forest Lake Area High School Arts & Athletics Hall of Fame is slightly different. Individuals must have participated, as either a student participant or a coach, in a school-sponsored sport or activity that is recognized by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL).
Henry Hebert coached the Speech team at Forest Lake Area High School for over 30 years. During his tenure as coach, the team never lost a Section 7AA Championship, winning at least 20 years consecutively. Hebert also directed the high school’s theater program for several years, leading the One Act Play to several section finals and working with several students who would go on to have careers in theater, including Christopher Sieber and Jim Lichtscheidl.
While he was a student at Forest Lake Area High School, Stephen Anthony was a two-time Section 7AA Champion and led the speech team to three consecutive section championships. He graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Acting and continues to perform in productions on Broadway, off Broadway and in regional theater. He also has performed in television roles, with an appearance on CBS’ “Blue Bloods” this winter.