District 194 opens Blanchard Aquatic Center
Lakeville Area School District students found success in and out of the classroom and found new places to explore their potential in 2022.
During the year, the district saw the opening of the Twin Cities Orthopedics Dome at Lakeville North in January and the Lakeville Area Schools Blanchard Aquatic Center in May.
Students utilized both facilities for curricular and extra-curricular activities, as high school teams regularly held practices at both sites before and after school.
Dome Partners LLC was granted the authority in April 2021 to place a dome at Lakeville North. The company paid for all costs related to the dome materials, construction, and management while the dome is installed each year.
The 98,500-square-foot dome contains an 80-by-120-yard field, which can be split into thirds, and also includes two batting cages. The multisport facility can be used for soccer, lacrosse, football, baseball, softball, and several other events.
The Blanchard Aquatic Center was unveiled in May with its new pool, diving well, viewing areas, concession stand, and other spaces for storage and office use.
Previous to its completion, Lakeville North and Lakeville South held swim meets at two locations, Kenwood Trail Middle School for swimmers and Maguire Middle School for diving. KTMS does not have a diving well.
Lakeville North and Lakeville South will share Century as their home pool for practices and competition. The Aquatic Center also held its first curricular swim unit for Century students in November.
Fundraising upgraded the diving well to add a 3-meter and second 1-meter board.
The Buy A Seat Fundraiser was responsible for installing 468 seats with backs for spectators. Donations also funded glass railings, Olympic-quality starting blocks, multiple cameras for online streaming, and a designated classroom with projection capabilities.
The Lakeville Lions enhanced the concession area with an ice maker, refrigeration, prep tables, and an electronic display board with food and beverage selections.
“This pool was designed and built by champions,” said Jay Blanchard, who co-owns Safety Signs in Lakeville with wife, Sue. They donated $300,000 to the project and are the namesakes of the facility. “The Lakeville area produces champions. We are proud to be part of this community.”
After the speeches from school officials, exuberant high school swimmers and divers lined the side of the pool for the inaugural jump.
The Lakeville South marching band earned its second straight state championship in October at US Bank Stadium during the annual Youth in Music Marching Band Championship.
The field included almost 40 bands from six states and from high schools.
The Marching Cougars performed their show “26.2” and earned their highest score in school history.
In addition, the band earned Most Outstanding Color Guard (which earned the top score of all Minnesota bands) and Visual Champion.
One Act Play
The Lakeville South One Act Play cast and crew earned the highest honor in February during the state festival at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium on the campus of St. Catherine University in St. Paul.
They were one of three entrants to receive the Spotlight on the Arts Wells Fargo Award of Excellence in Class AA based on their performance of “Overruled” by George Bernard Shaw.
“The judges mentioned they were very impressed with how well our students handled the challenging Shaw text,” director Cody Carlson said. “Another thing they pointed out was our use of the stage. We had multiple comments about how solid our blocking was, as well as how beautiful our set looked on stage. … The judges also mentioned they thought the show was hilarious, and that the performances were of a very high caliber from high schoolers.”
The Lakeville North and Lakeville South dance teams were among the six teams to advance from the 12-team field to the Class 3A finals at the state tournament in High Kick on Feb. 19 at Target Center in Minneapolis. The Lakeville North team placed third in the finals. The teams also performed at state in Jazz on Feb. 18.
“Placing third in Kick was amazing and unexpected,” coach Monica Fredrickson said. “Going into state, we had not beaten four of our competitors that we knew would be in the top. We had lost to Brainerd, Chaska, Edina and Sartell in January when we competed against them. We knew that making it to finals in Kick was going to be a battle and we were going to have to be at our very best in order to beat these strong competitors.”
The Lakeville North and Lakeville South DECA teams earned several honors at the Minnesota DECA State Career Development Conference from March 6-8. Several students competed in finals and the following students placed in the top three in their state DECA event. Lakeville North DECA: Cole Maddio, first place, Employment Interview - Advanced Level; Zach Hanson, second place, Employment Interview - Advanced Level; Anh Do, second place, Sales Demonstration - Hard Lines; April Krolak, third place, Principles of Hospitality & Tourism; Grace McCarthy, third place, Start-Up Business Plan; Lakeville South DECA: Ethan Starfield, second place, Sales Demonstration - Soft Lines.
The Kenwood Trail Middle School Science Olympiad team finished in third place at the state competition on March 5. The following students earned first-place medals in events at state: Bridge: Jacob Stoner and Darius Sanders; Dynamic Planet: Gracen Halm and Trinity Jensen; and Food Science: Emilia Bisek.
The Lakeville North and Lakeville South High School Science Olympiad teams also competed in the high school state competition on March 5 at Bethel University. The following students earned medals: Ornithology: Mason Ertel and Connor King (LSHS), second place; Bridge: Anh Do and Blake Frazen (LNHS), fourth place; Ping Pong Parachute: Anh Do and Michael Davenport (LNHS), fourth place.
The Lakeville South High School First Tech Challenge team, the Hackercats, finished in second place at the FTC state championship, Feb. 11-12 at Washington Technology Magnet School. This was the Hackercats fourth year competing in FTC and their best season yet. The team was ranked 19th in the world and consisted of students from Lakeville South High School and McGuire Middle School. Members include: 10th-graders: Gabriel Garso, Ely Wickander, Alex Forcelle, Nathan Student, Cian Martin and Matthew Gliniecki; seventh- and eighth-graders: Owen Wickander (8), Logan Hebig (7) and Liam Martin (7).
The Lakeville Area School District’s AVID Awards Ceremony recognized the many accomplishments of the district’s grade 7-12 AVID students Wednesday, May 18, along with honoring graduating seniors, AVID scholarship recipients, and AVID award winners.
The graduating class of 2022 included 25 AVID seniors, all of whom have been accepted into at least one college and 10 of whom are first-generation college students in their families.
Nine graduating seniors received college scholarships through the AVID Scholarship program.
Awards presented at the ceremony included the highest GPA in each grade level per building and the AVID All-Star Award for students that exemplified what AVID is all about.
Tad Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.