The court has been selected for the Iola Winter Carnival, slated for Feb. 2-3.
The princesses are Amanda Aasen, Katie McNamara, Ellen Oligney and Hannah Bonikowske.
One of these four will be named the 2013 Queen of the Snows. All four are seniors at Iola-Scandinavia High School.
Events for the Iola Winter Carnival include: Saturday – Ice sculpturing, beginning at 8 a.m. by “Vidar of Iola,” located at the corner of State Street and Chet Krause Drive; Norwegian Lutefisk Dinner and Indoor Craft Sale, 1-6:30 p.m., Iola-Scandinavia High School; Twilight Snowshoe Race, 6 p.m., Iola Winter Sports Complex; Sunday – Nordic Combined cross-country race, 9:30 a.m., Central Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships, noon, Iola Winter Sports Complex, E398 County Road MM, Iola.
Aasen is the daughter of Don and Chris Aasen, of Iola.
Her extracurricular activities include junior varsity basketball and volleyball, varsity volleyball and softball, yearbook staff and high school chorus.
While balancing school and athletics, she has worked part time for the past five years at Subway in Iola.
Aasen is also involved in a church youth group and has gone on a mission trip and helped with many community service projects throughout Iola. As part of the youth group, she has spent time at the local nursing home.
“Ever since I can remember, I spent my winters at the Iola Winter Sports Club. When I was just a baby, my dad started to coach ski jumping, so needless to say, as soon I started to walk, he had me on skis. I have been raised to love this sport and the tradition that it brings to this community,” she said
“The tradition of ski jumping and the Iola Winter Carnival is part of my family history,” she said. “My Grandpa Milt Aasen and his family began ski jumping in this area since the early 1900s. The Aasen family even built a ski jump named Aasen Hill. My Grandpa Aasen has been a huge supporter of not only ski jumping, but women’s ski jumping in particular. In fact, the Central Division Most Improved Female Award is named the Milt Aasen Award in his honor and memory.”
“My dad has also worked for many years at the ski hill and has been a member of the Iola Winter Sports Club Board,” she said. “He is now the ‘voice’ of the Iola Winter Carnival.”
She feels her greatest assets as the Queen of the Snows would be her “love for the tradition of the Winter Carnival and my pride and my Norwegian heritage.”
McNamara is the daughter of Patrick and Susan McNamara, of Iola.
Her extracurricular activities include softball, volleyball statistics, bowling, forensics, Student Council (vice president) and National Honor Society (president).
Her community activities include Strawberry Fest (three years), Lion’s International Youth Exchange (two years), Share-A-Tea (two years), Lutefisk Supper (five years), Meals on Wheels (one year) and the Lioness Easter Party (four years). Aside from these activities, she had two jobs – office helper at the high school and manager at Shivers LLC.
She feels the biggest honor she has achieved has been serving as a camp counselor at the Lion’s International Youth Exchange Camp.
In 2005, her family moved to Iola from the suburbs of Chicago.
“The Winter Carnival was the first Iola community event that I attended,” she said. “It was amazing to me to see all of the people coming together to celebrate the Norwegian culture.”
“Winter Carnival affects everyone in the community in a positive way,” she said. “The carnival reflects tradition. Today the world is moving so fast that keeping traditions is almost unheard of, but … the Iola Winter Carnival is our town’s way of taking a step back to celebrate and remember our past, present and future.”
“As Queen of the Snows I would represent everything that I have learned from growing up in Iola,” McNamara said. “I would represent community, tradition and local pride.”
Oligney is the daughter of Darrell and Julie Oligney, of Iola.
Her extracurricular activities include cross country, Student Council, National Honor Society (secretary) and playing French horn in the high school band.
Her interests include art, reading, baking, running and spending time with friends and family.
“The Winter Carnival is a great community tradition because it allows for our community to come together and celebrate our past and present,” Oligney said. “Iola has a large Norwegian population, and we keep the culture of it alive, whether it’s by wearing Norwegian sweaters, eating lutefisk or by participating in the annual ski jumping contest.”
“Being the Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows would be such a fun and, more importantly, rewarding honor,” she said. “I believe that my greatest asset as Queen of the Snows would be my friendly personality. I enjoy being around people and even aspire to find a career that focuses on people’s needs. By becoming Queen of the Snows I would be able to meet and talk with many community members that I haven’t had the chance to speak with before.”
In the past, she has attended and even served at the lutefisk supper. “And yes, I have tried lutefisk,” she said.
Last year, she participated in the ice sculpting contest and received an honorable mention.
Bonikowske is the daughter of John and Michelle Bonikowske, of Ogdensburg.
Her extracurricular activities include National Honor Society, Student Council (secretary) and playing trumpet in the high school band.
As a member of the Symco church, she has served at dinners and helped at the annual Union Thresheree. Her favorite part of church life is teaching Sunday School, which she has done since being confirmed in eighth grade.
She volunteers at the Iola Old Car Show and Scandinavia Corn Roast, working for organizations such as the PTO, church and softball.
She currently works at Premier Community Bank. “I’ve really enjoyed working there and getting to know more people around the community,” she said.
Last summer, she attended Badger Girls State in Oshkosh. “During this week of role playing in a mock government, I learned tons about how our government works,” she said.
Bonikowske has attended several leadership conferences, including the Wisconsin Leadership Seminar and the Youth Leadership Congress.
She has participated in honor bands at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Luther College in Iowa and the conference All-Star Band.
“Through the years (the Iola Winter Carnival) has brought the community together in many ways,” Bonikowske said. “In this day and age, it’s easy for us to forget where we came from, but here in Iola, we are proud of our heritage. I, personally, may be German, but in Iola, we all celebrate our inner Norwegian.
“I would take the role of Queen of the Snows very seriously,” she said. “It would be an honor to be selected to represent my community, and I would reflect it in a positive way.”