Robed in royal Ranger history

It’s homecoming at FLHS, and the superintendent has made sure this year’s royalty will look resplendent


Superintendent Linda Madsen sewed Forest Lake’s former set of homecoming robes while a junior in student council in 1975. On Monday, current student council members Austin Riedeman and Jade Haseltine helped Madsen model the new robes she created this year. (Photo by Clint Riese)

Clint Riese
News Editor

In 1975, a Forest Lake High School junior with a knack for sewing stitched together a set of robes for the homecoming king and queen.

The maroon robes of velvet with gold trim donned Ranger royalty each fall until this year, when a school superintendent with a penchant for being involved took on the menial job of crafting a brand new set.

Fortunately for Linda Madsen, she had the old robes to go off of, not to mention the experience gained from sewing the first pair 37 years ago.

The superintendent’s connection to the former set of robes was nearly lost to history until homecoming coordinator Lee Anne Brockman learned of it last year.

Dave Houle and Peggy Ahlm were all smiles in 1975 as the first duo to wear Madsen’s first set of homecoming robes. (Forest Lake yearbook photo)

“Everybody who has subsequently heard about it has said, ‘Really? That’s so cool,’” says Brockman, a media specialist at the high school.

Madsen figures the opportunity to make the first set came through her involvement in student council. She had taken home economics at the school and often sewed her own clothes, so she felt comfortable with the regal duty. Nearly four decades in the spotlight has taken its toll on that set, though. Recently Brockman and Madsen discussed how the robes were beginning to show their age and Madsen, once again, stepped up to the plate.

It had been a long time since the last robe project, but needlework is no challenge for a former family consumer science teacher. The 15-hour labor of love resulted in a fully-lined, gleaming set that will be unveiled during coronation at the pep fest Friday afternoon.

As for the former robes? Perhaps they will be part of a historical display. They certainly would qualify.

“They’ve been on every royalty person from ’75 on, until this new batch will be christened in on Friday,” Brockman says.