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Lifelong Learning




2020 Moorhead Teacher of the Year

May 21, 2020

OK team! Let’s Go

Jon Larson, orchestra director, motivates students in the Moorhead High School Commons every morning, three minutes before first period. His energetic and joyous personality makes him an easy friend and an even better mentor. 

“Mr. Larson makes class fun and enjoyable for everyone, with his jokes, stories and unique birthday songs for each student,” says Sophie Pepple, MHS Class of 2020. “He takes the time and care to help any student who is in need. I know for a fact that he has developed a friendship with every one of his students, and all of them look up to him as a role model.” 

Creating Connections Through Mentorship

Jon’s ability to connect on a level past the textbook shows the deep level of care he has for teaching and students. 

He is known at Moorhead High School for his charismatic personality. Pam Redlinger, Moorhead High School band director, says “Rarely do you leave a conversation with him without feeling as though you were listened to.” Redlinger points out that many current or past students claim he is easily one of the teachers who had a strong impact on their high school experience.

“I believe I have been called to teach,” Jon says. “I have a heart for students to instill in them not only music techniques and an appreciation for music, but also life skills to lead a positive, productive life.” 

He found ways to motivate each of us to work through difficult sections, or even songs to draw beauty off sheets of music” says Andrew Fuglestad, MHS Class of 2010. He remembers his days in the orchestra room fondly, “When he finally shaped the entire orchestra to the song, we’d finish it, and the last note would ring out. Every time that happened, Mr. Larson would wipe tears from his eyes. Those tears, we came to realize, were of deep appreciation for the essence of music. I will never forget those moments and greatly admire Mr. Larson for his love of music.”

Passion for Music

An orchestra teacher since 1976, Jon has been with Moorhead Area Public Schools for 17 years. He also donates his time and musical abilities to many community organizations.

“Mr. Larson has a strong passion, and talent, for music. The guidance and teaching from Mr. Larson has earned Moorhead High’s orchestra various awards, recognitions and opportunities for students that simply are not available for students at other schools,” says Greta Seljevold, MHS Class of 2017. 

The collective recognition of Jon's passion for music and teaching was unified amongst all who know and work with him. Kathie Brekke, Moorhead High School vocal teacher says, “He exemplifies every quality of a master teacher and is an incredible asset to the music department and school community.  I cannot think of a more deserving individual than Jon Larson to receive this award. He gives every last bit of himself to see his students succeed, and he finds fulfillment not in his own musical achievements, but the achievements of his students.”

Congratulations to Moorhead Area Public Schools 2020 Teacher of the Year Jon Larson. He was awarded 2020 Teacher of the Year after being named Moorhead High School Teacher of the Year. The other deserving nominees are listed below.


  • Sara Bucher, West Central Academy

  • Rick Eidsness, Horizon Middle School East

  • Stacy Jenson, Ellen Hopkins Elementary

  • Julie Morlock, Dorothy Dodds Elementary School

  • Kate Rockstad, Horizon Middle School West

  • Kathleen Sayler, Probstfield Center for Education

  • Ethan Schnabel, Robert Asp Elementary

  • Judy Werner, S.G. Reinertsen Elementary

Categorized under: School

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Moorhead High School Announces Graduation Plans

May 8, 2020


Graduation is the capstone moment for any high school student; it’s their opportunity to look back and celebrate their friendships and achievements while officially taking the next step in their life’s journey. With the onset of distance learning, the class of 2020's senior experience has been unlike any in history. In an effort to honor the Class of 2020 and at the same time honor the safety of our students, families and community, Moorhead High School will be holding a virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 7 at 2 p.m. in accordance with guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Throughout May, students will be pre-recorded walking across the stage in small groups of ten following CDC guidelines. This will be produced into a comprehensive graduation ceremony and will be livestreamed for families, relatives and the community to enjoy. 

Superintendent Brandon Lunak stated, "The class of 2020 deserves to be celebrated. While we are not allowed to do a live ceremony due to state guidance, we want to give our students the experience of walking across the stage while distance learning is still in session. We will capture those moments to share with families, friends and the community all watching at the same time from the comfort and safety of their homes on June 7."

MHS Principal Dave Lawrence adds, "It is quite a logistical feat to get more than 400 students across a stage in groups of ten or less honoring CDC guidelines. But I'm so excited that these students will get the opportunity to walk the stage even if not in the traditional sense." 



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Moorhead High Senior Fights Cancer Battle With His Team

May 6, 2020


Athlete, academic and true friend: all words that describe Moorhead High School Senior Scott Verkuilen. He shares his story and the importance of having his team support during his grueling battle with cancer.

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Moorhead Area Public Schools Celebrates National School Nurse Day

May 6, 2020


Thank you to our hardworking school nurses that keep our students healthy and provide them a safe place to go when they don’t feel well. Our school nurses are an important part of the Spud team.

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Horizon East Student Pays It Forward

April 28, 2020


Eighth-grader and 2020 Prudential Spirit of Community state honoree Addie Loerzel is wise beyond her years. Already giving the gift of happiness and hope to others, her cupcake stand raises funds to make dreams come true.

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Teamwork Brings Meals And Security To Students

April 23, 2020


Earlier this month we had the chance to ride along for a behind the scenes look at feeding students during the COVID-19 school closure. Between March 18 - April 16, over 39,000 meals have been served because of the hard work and dedication of many individuals.

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Meet Our Team: Julie Frank, District Assessment & Federal Programs Coordinator

April 21, 2020


Adventurous and dream-filled Frank will leave you wondering what accomplishments you should put next on your list. She is a creative thinker, with life experiences that will keep you wanting to get to know her more.

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Horizon West Spuds Learn The Gift of Giving Back

April 15, 2020


Students learn essential skills and empathy while they support fellow students and friends at the Spud Store. A community group continues the spirit of giving back as needs increase during this pandemic.

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Students Connect Through Cultural Activities

April 8, 2020


The Indian Education Program at Moorhead Area Public Schools brings cultural learning experiences to Native American students. The latest initiative includes drumming lessons with a traditional drum.

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Tips For Successful Distance Learning

April 7, 2020


The distance learning system is set up for flexibility. Each home will have a different way of making their learning environment successful.

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Meet Our Team: Josh St. Louis, Principal of S.G. Reinertsen

April 2, 2020


Meet Josh St. Louis, Principal of S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School. His upbeat and energetic presence brings positivity and excitement into every interaction. As a firm believer in having fun, it’s his mission to make school...

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