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Emmetsburg To Leave Lakes Athletic Conference

School Board Votes To Join Twin Lakes Conference In Fall Of 2017

May 24, 2016
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

An association of over 70 years will end a year from now following action by the Emmetsburg Community School Board Wednesday evening, May 18. On a unanimous 7-0 vote, the board approved Emmetsburg's departure from the Lakes Conference to find a new home in the Twin Lakes Conference.

The question of remaining in the Lakes Conference had been raised several times in recent years, with concerns over Emmetsburg's ability to compete against the larger student populated schools in the conference, such as LeMars and Spencer, as a primary concern. In March of this year, after discussion by the board, administrators and the athletic staff, a motion was made to apply to the Twin Lakes Conference for admission.

Under the Twin Lakes Conference constitution, applications for admission required two votes; the Superintendents of the member schools formally approved Emmetsburg's application for membership at the end of April. Schools that comprise the Twin Lakes Conference are Southeast Valley, Manson Northwest Webster, Pocahontas Area/Laurens-Marathon, South Central Calhoun, West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore City-Bradgate, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire, Storm Lake St. Mary's, Alta-Aurelia, Sioux Central and East Sac County.

"Emmetsburg's application for membership has been officially accepted by the Twin Lakes Conference," Superintendent Amanda Schmidt informed the board to begin the discussion. "The Athletic Directors approved the request and recommended to the Superintendents approval. The question we need to address is do we proceed, and if so, we need to set a date to start participating with them."

"I visited with the Athletic Directors in the Lakes, and they would like us to play baseball and softball with them through the summer of 2017," Emmetsburg Athletic Director Mike Dunlap said. "We could start the Twin Lakes schedule with volleyball that Fall of 2017."

It was noted that the Twin Lakes has a clause regarding new membership that requires an 18-month waiting period, which would move a potential entry to the 2018-19 school year, but Schmidt noted the clause could be waived.

"So the Lakes Conference wants us through the Summer of 2017 and we could start volleyball that Fall?" Board member Pete Hamilton asked.

"Yes," Schmidt replied.

Hamilton then asked for a moment of indulgence. "I graduated from Emmetsburg in 1963 and know that Emmetsburg was one of the charter schools in the founding of the Lakes Conference along with the five S's, Spencer, Spirit Lake, Sheldon, Sibley and Storm Lake, as well as Cherokee and Estherville. I can't tell you how proud of Emmetsburg I've been all these years academically, the music, drama programs, all these years. We helped start the Lakes Conference over 70 years ago and in those years, the Lakes Conference had something like 45 team state champions in sports, and 25 of those came from Emmetsburg. I think we've represented the Lakes Conference very well in that time. I commend all the athletes and coaches over the years for the way they've represented Emmetsburg. Now, enough said, let's move on."

"I was a four-sport athlete in high school here and so was my husband, and we've raised three daughters who have been multi activity participants in Emmetsburg activities," added Board President Tammy Naig. "Leaving the Lakes Conference is not an easy thing for me, but in light of enrollments and what's best for our students, it's the right thing to do. I don't leave the Lakes Conference lightly, it pulls at my heartstrings."

After a moment of silence, Board member Rick Bird offered a motion to join the Twin Lakes athletic conference beginning the Fall of 2017. Board member Dan Chism offered a second and a unanimous vote approved the action.

In other business, the board approved the resignation of Guidance Counselor Trent Griggs, along with varsity boys golf coach Paul K. Freeman, and Para-educators Lynne Farnsworth and Cheryl Henrich. A contract was approved for the hiring of Jamie Fisher as the new 8-12 guidance counselor for the upcoming year.

The board also approved an agreement with Upper Des Moines Opportunity's Head Start Program that will bring the Head Start Four-year old pre-school into a classroom at West Elementary and integrate those students into the District's four-year old preschool.

According to Elementary Principal Joe Carter, bringing the Head Start program to West will allow for collaboration between the Head Start staff and school staff, as well as programs and the students.

"This is something that we had looked at doing a while back, but didn't physically have room. With the building project at West completed, now we have a room that will work for this program," Carter explained.



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