Onamia Superintendent JJ Vold opened a work session meeting on May 3 discussing the spring and summer programs that include middle school tutoring, Indiginous art camp, spring concert, prom, and a Valleyfair band trip. A possible twins game was discussed for the sixth graders. There was some discussion on the possible pushback surrounding going to a game under the current pandemic conditions, but it would ultimately be up to the parent/guardian if the student would be able to attend or not. School board member, Lisa Anderson, said, “Some people might frown on us for taking that step; it’s very emotional for a lot of people yet. We can’t just say that it’s for these 50 kids when it could be a bigger downfall for us.”
Further discussion ensued. Normally the seventh graders would go to Wolfridge, but due to the pandemic, that was cancelled. The eighth graders normally go to Valleyfair, but that is still to be decided. The board made it clear that it was important to do something for the kids, if not this year then try to double up next year, to make up for the lost activities this year and last year.
School board chair, Virgil Wind, said, “We have to remember we are here to better students’ lives and meet the needs of their families first and foremost. That connection piece is what we’re lacking right now; it’s really sad that a lot of these activities have been canceled.”
Vold said he will have a meeting with the administration staff and see what the options are. “I’ll push it as hard as I can. We’re going to do as much as we can this summer.”
Excitement is building as plans are well under way for the merging of the remaining sports at Onamia and Isle High schools. Girls track and field, boys and girls golfing and wrestling are the current Raider sports. Baseball, girls and boys basketball, volleyball, and football are remaining sports that will be merged. Virgil Wind, Athletic Director Jason Leonard and Superintendent JJ Vold are representing Onamia on their leadership team. Jerseys will only be changed for the new sports that are merging, and all current Raider sports will use existing jerseys.
Varsity coaches have been hired and junior high coaches are in the hiring process. Schedules have been completed, and jerseys have been ordered. The home jerseys will be primarily black with red and gold accents. The road jerseys will be primarily white with red and gold accents. Helmets will be primarily black.
Volleyball, baseball and girls and boys basketball
The hiring process has begun for all coaching positions, and schedules have been completed. Jersey design has yet to be decided.
Logos and colors
There was discussion on how the logo would be designed, selected and licensed. Vold said, “There are a lot of different logos out there right now.”
School board member, Ben Huson, added, “They should all be the same.” Everyone agreed that there should be a single solitary logo.
Vold noted, “We want the students to be part of this.”
School board member Brian Barnett questioned, “Why don’t we tap into some of their ideas? Those kids are good thinkers and artists; make a contest out of it.”
Wind added, “Ultimately, there will be a lot of people involved in that decision.”
School board member Jason Blomer asked, “What’s going to make the kids want to participate in the Mille Lacs Raiders and make them proud ... What’s going to work for the communities of the Raiders? We’ve been trying to co-op for a long time. If we co-op and start winning, we’re not going to worry about colors, we’re going to worry about banners and having enough room in our gyms and all the kids coming out for sports.”
Anderson added, “It’ll be a work in progress.” Ben Husom noted that the important part is fielding a team and getting together.
Changing of the logo on the gym floor will have to be done with the name change. Wind noted that Isle has a big push to get their gym floor done this summer. “If we’re going to spend that kind of money, we should do it one time. If we have to play until next year with a panther in the middle of the floor then so be it.” Time will be taken to make sure it is only done once after the final logo is determined, the board determined. Blomer suggested, at the minimum, there should be consistent banners at both schools welcoming people to Raider Country or Raider Nation.
Blomer asked, “Did we ever get an inventory of all the equipment we have?” Shannon Brandt said they’re working on it. Blomer added it would be good to know what each school has equipment wise. Discussion ensued about equipment inventory and later turned to determining when and what should be ordered further down the road for each sport.