Forest Lake High School will honor athletic achievement

Hall of Fame nominations are due March 24

Linda Madsen
Guest Columnist

Last spring, our district honored 66 members of the newly created Forest Lake Area Schools Hall of Fame.

This was a fun and exciting time for our district, as we were also celebrating the 100th graduation class to come through our school system. It was also a great opportunity for the district to accomplish two important goals.

Our primary goal was, of course, to pay tribute to the many, many people who have made this school district great throughout its more than 100 years of existence. Many of our Hall of Fame inductees had spent their lives in the educational field in the pursuit of providing the best learning experience possible for the students of this area, while others had excelled in other career areas and had stood out as community and professional leaders.

The second important goal was to bring together the people of our communities in a mutual celebration of excellence; to join together as residents of the Forest Lake area in appreciating the people and the great institutions that make our community a wonderful place to live.

I believe we successfully achieved both of these goals, and I truly believe that our school district and communities are better places as a result.

This spring we will be inducting our second Hall of Fame class, and more names will be added to that list of outstanding people who have studied and worked in our district. In addition, we have decided to build upon the great success of last year’s Hall of Fame by re-establishing and re-energizing our high school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

The Athletics Hall of Fame has actually been around for quite a long time, and many outstanding athletes and coaches who have been key parts of the history of Ranger Nation are already inducted. Their photographs and biographies have been on display at our high school, but unfortunately we have not inducted any new members in many years.

Principal Steve Massey, Activities Director Joel Olson and I have felt that the Athletics Hall of Fame is an important part of our high school and district’s history, and we recently decided that we would re-establish it at the high school and continue with the tradition of inducting new members.

The current members of the Athletics Hall of Fame will of course remain as members, and we are hopeful that alumni and members of our community will contribute to this effort by nominating worthy individuals who are not already inducted.

Academic excellence is, of course, the primary mission of our high school and our school district. I believe our success in this area in self-evident, and we certainly will make every effort to continue this good work and to make continual improvements to get better and better each year.

But a big part of the overall mission of our schools is to provide challenges for our students and to help create good, well-rounded and contributing members of our community. As important as academic success is, we build our own successful future in this community by helping students become goal-oriented young men and women of high character and great passion.

Providing a good education for students is truly a balancing act. As a former Ranger athlete myself, and later a coach, I can say without hesitation that participation in sports and other activities helped me grow as a person. Sports not only did not interfere with my studies and academic pursuits, but rather they enhanced my high school experience and taught me the value of hard work, teamwork, sacrifice and commitment.

Today, I take great pride as I see all of the outstanding coaches working in our schools to develop quality student-athletes who in turn, through no coincidence, are fine people as well. I see our community continuing to grow and thrive because our academics and activities programs work in synch to produce successful and driven students who often go on to become some of the finest leaders of our community.

As long overdue as our District Hall of Fame was in its creation, so too is our Athletics Hall of Fame long overdue for re-energizing and long overdue for the induction of new people who deserve to be honored.

Nominations are now open for both the District and Athletics Halls of Fame. Anyone interested in submitting a nomination should go to our district website at for more information. Nominations are due by March 24.

Dr. Linda Madsen is superintendent of schools in Forest Lake School District 831.