Winter Carnival Court
Iola celebrates Norwegian heritage
By Holly Neumann
Iola-Scandinavia High School seniors Brooke Bonikowske, Liza Gauerke, Ana Holder and Mackenzie Kielblock have been selected for the 2020 Iola Winter Carnival Court.
Winter Carnival will take place Friday through Sunday, Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.
The Queen of Snows will be crowned at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, during the Norwegian Lutefisk Supper at I-S High School.
“I think Winter Carnival is a great community tradition,” said Bonikowske. “It celebrates Norwegian heritage and teaches it to other community members who may not be Norwegian.”
Her Norwegian heritage is important to her.
“My family celebrates our Norwegian heritage by making rosettes, lefse and lutefisk,” she said. “I also work at ScandiHus so I can continue learning about my heritage by exploring the cultural gifts they have and making the food items that are designed around Scandinavian heritage.”
Bonikowske will promote Winter Carnival by educating people about the event and why they should attend it.
Each year, she participates in the ice fishing contest with her dad.
“Being part of the court is important to me because it gets me more involved in Winter Carnival,” she said. “I think I deserve the title of the Queen of Snows because I am very community oriented.”
Bonikowske is involved in many extracurricular activities.
She is the girls basketball manager, films for the football team and involved in the musical and student council.
In addition, Bonikowske is vice president of both the National Honor Society and Leos Club.
Next year, she plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse next year, majoring in psychology.
She is the daughter of Bart and Wendy Bonikowske
“Being a part of the Iola Winter Carnival Court means the world,” said Gauerke. “The opportunity to represent my classmates and the town of Iola is something I will never forget.”
She thinks Winter Carnival is a great community event.
“It reminds us of our roots. That in turn teaches us who we are as a community,” Gauerke said. “We are lucky to have such a wonderful community that ties us all together with many cultural events, like the Winter Carnival.”
Her dedication and ability to lead and communicate effectively are assets she brings to the court.
“When I think something is worth fighting for, I will stand my ground,” she said. “I believe this dedication would make me fit to successfully complete the tasks given to the court.”
Gauerke believes her awareness of community service make her the best candidate for Queen of Snows.
“Coming from a large, Norwegian family, I’ve experienced firsthand the saying ‘it takes a village,;” she said. “I know the power of people coming together, and it is no secret that a strong community can overcome all adversity.”
Gauerke is a National Honor Society member of the National Honor Society, class president, student council member and the student representative on the school board. She also filmed for the football team.
She he plans to study exercise and sports science at UW-La Crosse and then attend graduate school to get a doctorate in chiropractic.
She is the daughter of Thomas and Gwendolyn Gauerke.
“When I first applied to be a princess, it was because I thought it would be fun to be an active participant in the Iola Winter Carnival,” she said. “However, after losing my grandma unexpectedly in the beginning of November, I’m now also doing it for her.”
Holder said her grandmother taught her everything.
“From making rosettes, krumkake and sandbakkels to showing me the steps involved in the crafting of hardanger,” Holder said. “She would be so proud that I’m upholding my Norwegian heritage like this.”
She thinks her social skills are the greatest asset she brings to the court.
“I’m always open to meeting new people and making conversation,” Holder said. “I love making people comfortable and finding out about them.”
She believes dedication makes her the best choice for Queen of Snows.
“I’m very dedicated to whatever I do,” she said. “If I put my mind to it, I will put in 100% effort. It shows that you are dependable.”
Holder participated on the high school football team, track and field, and is a National Honor Society member.
Outside of school, she races endurance horses, hunts and goes fishing.
She swam on the Iola Swim Team and was in the Waupaca Area Triathlon the last 10 years.
Holder plans to attend UW-River Falls, where she will major in animal science, with an emphasis in equine and pre-veterinary medicine.
She will eventually go on to veterinarian school for a doctorate in large animal veterinary.
Holder is the daughter of Nathan and Sarah Holder.
Kielblock believes being part of the Winter Carnival Court is a great thing.
“I am able to get involved with our community in an event that is very important to our heritage,” she said. “In doing so, I can play a huge part in making all the events come to life.”
She thinks the greatest asset she brings to the court are her interpersonal skills.
“I am a very social person and love interacting with the people in my community,” Kielblock said. “Being able to come together and have fun with people of all ages is one of my favorite things and comes easily to me.”
She sees Winter Carnival as being important to the community.
“It’s a time where everyone comes together to celebrate our Norwegian legacy,” she said. “There are so many fun events that take place for everyone.”
Kielblock thinks her personal skills and leadership make her the best candidate for the Queen of Snow title.
“I absolutely love working with other people and this series of events lets me do so in a variety of different ways,” she said.
Kielblock is involved in a variety of activities, including student council, DECA and FCCLA.
In addition she plays softball and volleyball.
Kielblock will attend Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, where she plans to major in sports management and be a part of the softball team.
She is the daughter of Kevin and Teresa Kielblock.