DLHS grad now activity director at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School
Patti Weldon is coming home, and she's bringing about 100-plus of her friends along for the ride.
Weldon -- a 1980 graduate of Detroit Lakes High School -- sparked the game between the Laker and Robbinsdale Armstrong football teams, which will meet at 7 p.m. Friday on Mollberg Field.
As acting Robbinsdale Armstrong activity director, Weldon saw the opportunity arise for her current school's football team to travel to her hometown after seeing both squads had season openings on the same date.
A call to DLHS activity director Mitch McLeod later, it was game on.
"I'm looking forward to the game," said Weldon, who is planning on being in attendance. "It will be great to be back in Detroit Lakes and revisiting some memories. I haven't seen the football field there in over 20 years."
Weldon was a standout athlete at DLHS, where she lettered in both basketball and track three years in a row.
She played for Steve Sundby on the girls' basketball team and under Bob Gorden in track.
"There was just great structure there (in DL) and it was a great place to get a good education," Weldon said. "I took a lot of good experiences from there."
She earned a scholarship to play for the women's basketball team at Bemidji State University, where she also gained her degree in teaching and coaching.
After graduation from college, she started her teaching career at Bloomington Kennedy and later became an assistant basketball coach at Bloomington Jefferson.
But her mark was made in the sport of basketball when she was named the head girls' basketball coach at Robbinsdale Armstrong.
Weldon took over a downtrodden program and nurtured it into a consistently winning team, which won the tough metro Classic Lake Conference title five years in a row, and made three consecutive trips to the state playoffs during her 15 years in that capacity.
"I really used what I learned back during my high school and college years," Weldon said of the keys of turning out the Robbinsdale Armstrong basketball program. "I had such good role models who taught hard worth, a good work ethic and dedication."
That in turn led to her eventual hiring in the Robbinsdale-Armstrong's activity director's position, which she has held for the last seven years.
Robbinsdale Armstrong has 2,200 students, with up to 1,500 partaking in extra-curricular activities, thus keeping Weldon busy -- and also giving her the opportunity to influence many students positively.
"Giving up coaching was hard, because the (basketball program) was my baby and I helped turn it around," Weldon said. "But now, I feel I am touching the lives of a lot more kids as activity director."