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'Greats' will live again on May 14 -- Middle School and Holy Rosary kids plan for fun

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Judy Garland, Wally Szczerbiak, Jessica Lange, Gump Worsley and George "Pinky" Nelson will all be walking the red carpet in Detroit Lakes on May 14.

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During the Capital for a Day celebration in Detroit Lakes, Detroit Lakes Middle School sixth graders are dressing up as famous Minnesotans, taking a limousine ride, walking the red carpet from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Washington Square Mall and preparing to be interviewed by paparazzi.

"We usually do a celebrity day," teacher Linda Mickelson explained, "but our curriculum changed to all of Minnesota for this district."

Holy Rosary students will also be performing from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. that day in the Pavilion. The third through eighth graders are performing "Assignment Earth: What Kids Can do to Save the Planet."

DLMS Students would read biographies, prepare reports and dress up as their celebrity each year. But after the superintendent e-mailed teachers and asked who would be interested in partaking in the Capital for a Day festivities, Mickelson included the sixth graders.

Each student -- about 85 are participating -- chose which famous Minnesotan they wanted to research and become.

"I wanted to do someone different. He's a family friend and I got to learn more about him," Grace Lindquist said about local artist Hans Gilsdorf.

Trisa Hutchinson said she chose basketball player Wally Szczerbiak because she grew up in a household of basketball and "I grew up knowing his name."

Michael Herrmann chose Roger Maris, who happens to have ties to his family.

"He was one of my grandpa's good friends and my mother's godfather," he said of the baseball star.

He said before the project he knew a little about Maris, but knows much more now.

Another student with a tie to the family was Maddy Schiller who chose to portray actress Jessica Lange.

"I had trouble deciding and then I remembered my uncle went to school with her in Detroit Lakes," she said.

For some students, the decision wasn't as easy.

"I liked 'The Wizard of Oz' and I was talking to my mom and she said she was from Minnesota," Kylee Edwards said of actress Judy Garland.

Students have been researching and learning about their famous person since February. They have had to research, write a report and come up with questions and answers that they will most likely be asked about their famous person.

"We'll go to the mall and get asked questions and dress up as that person," Emily Zok described as what the day will consist of. She will be dressing as astronaut George "Pinky" Nelson.

Students are now working on the questions and answers, preparing for their red carpet interviews.

Some of that research has been difficult though.

"There's not a lot about her," Emilee Freeman said of actress Lea Thompson. What she found on the Internet, she said, was a lot of repeated material, so she had to continue to dig and dig for more information.

Ben Nelson said he had difficulty "finding pictures. They were from the '70s and not good quality." He will be dressing as hockey player Gump Worsley.

The students said memorizing shouldn't be too difficult since they have done so much research and writing on their famous Minnesotans, but there is still a fear they'll forget pertinent answers when it comes time to be interviewed.

Hutchinson said she hopes she doesn't trip on the red carpet.

"I'll be wearing goalie pads," Nelson said, and he learned Friday he'll have North Stars attire for sure.

The excitement is hopefully overriding the nerves.

"It's really exciting because I've never ridden in a limousine," Edwards said.

Freeman said it was interesting to see that famous people don't just come from California or New York.

"Some people dream of being famous. Now we're living the dream," she said.

Adam Alider, who is going as actor William Demorest, said "being able to dress up and act as one person for that day" is exciting. "He appeared in the first sound movie, 'The Jazz Singer.'"

Logan Peterson agreed.

"You can act like them. Plus you get a limo ride," he said is what he's looking forward to on May 14. Peterson will be Kevin McHale that day.

Students said finding out interesting facts out about their famous people was fun.

"It was interesting that he liked hockey more than basketball," Peterson said of McHale, who was famous for his basketball skills.

Holy Rosary musical

Every year the Holy Rosary students have been part of the Groundwater Guardian Group and take part in the festival each year. This year they decided to work in a musical and be a part of the Capital for a Day festivities.

"Assignment Earth: What Kids can do to Save the Planet" includes some dialogue, but mainly singing various songs about what kids and adults can do to save the earth. Music ranges from contemporary to rock, pop to rap.

"We're excited about it. It should be a lot of fun," fourth grade teacher Carol Foltz said. She and music teacher Terri Hutchinson are heading the project. "The kids become the teachers, so to speak."

The musical is by Roger Emerson, but "we did a little tweaking here and there," she explained.

Some of the examples students will be singing about include adopting the 3 R's attitude, turning off unnecessary power and water, reusing paper grocery bags, walking instead of driving, repairing rather than replacing, and getting fast food places to use paper products instead of Styrofoam.

Fourth-graders will also have display boards up at the Pavilion on May 14. Topics include city water treatment, Pelican River Watershed District, reduce, reuse, recycle and a rain garden being installed at Country Field's greenhouse.

Holy Rosary's involvement with Capital for a Day started from day one.

"First of all, we all went on our computers at school and voted to be Capital for a Day," Foltz said.

Once the call went out for ideas and participants during that day, Foltz said she thought rather than doing a separate water festival like years past, the school would get involved and combine the two celebrations.

"Mrs. Hutchinson had the material on the musical and it pertained to Earth and recycling and everything -- kind of the same idea, in the same line of our water festival, so we thought, just combine it," she said.

"Since part of Capital for a Day focuses on education, we thought it would be a great tie in to that. Kind of one thing led to another."

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