Hannah Bonikowske has been named Queen of the Snows for the Iola Winter Carnival, set for Feb. 2-3.
The 2013 Winter Carnival Court includes princesses Amanda Aasen, Katie McNamara and Ellen Oligney.
“Through the years, the Iola Winter Carnival has brought the community together in many ways,” Bonikowske said.
“There is always lots of fun to be had at the ski hill. Kids start ski jumping and cross-country skiing at a young age and even those of us who aren’t good enough for competition can have a good time either skiing for fun or just watching,” she said. “Also, the ice carving competition is a great way to bring people together for a fun day of testing our ice-pick skills.”
“These are both great traditions, but I think the best is the Norwegian Supper/Craft Fair,” she 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. It’s great that we can keep our past alive with the sweaters, sweets and lutefisk.”
A senior at Iola-Scandinavia High School, Bonikowske is the daughter of John and Michelle Bonikowske, of Ogdensburg.
Through the years, she has been involved in school and the community. She plays trumpet in the high school band, performing in concerts and community events like the Scandinavia Corn Roast, Iola Christmas Parade, the Lions dinner and at Living Oaks.
This is her second year as I-S Student Council secretary.
“Student Council is an important part of our school, and it’s been great being a big part of it throughout my high school career,” she said.
Bonikowske has also helped out around the community as part of National Honor Society.
Another part of her life has been church. 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.
“It’s so much fun to see the little kids love to learn about God and Jesus,” she said.
The Scandinavia Corn Roast is a big event for her.
She volunteers throughout that weekend serving food, cashiering and stocking coolers.
Bonikowske also volunteers every year at the Iola Old Car Show, working for organizations such as the PTO, church and softball.
She played softball for two years of high school but stopped so she could work at Premier Community Bank.
“I’ve really enjoyed working there and getting to know more people around the community,” she said.
She hopes to be one of the two valedictorians in her 2013 graduating class, with the goal of someday being a dentist.
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. “I even ran for city treasurer, but, unfortunately, I lost the election. It was a great experience nonetheless.”
Bonikowske has also attended several leadership conferences, including the Wisconsin Leadership Seminar and the Youth Leadership Congress, sponsored by electric co-ops around the state.
In addition, she has participated in honor bands, such as those put on by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Luther College in Iowa and the conference All-Star Band.
Winter Carnival events
Events for the Iola Winter Carnival include: Saturday, Feb. 2 – 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, Feb. 3 – 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.