Twenty year tradition

Celebrating the OHS Snow Queen

For many years, Snow Week has been quite the event at the Owatonna High School. From the time the senior class votes, excitement is palpable in the building. The skits are a school wide favorite of both staff and students. Snow Week itself is dominated by silly dress up days, co-ed volleyball, outrageous lunch time activities and a Black Light dance complete with glowing neon colors. Twenty years ago, the students of the OHS changed tradition and added one that still continues today- the addition of an Owatonna High School Snow Queen.

It was so important to all of us to celebrate that week together. I have forever friendships because of Snow Week!”

— Mrs. Jennifer Koziolek

Before 1996, there was no Snow Week queen, only a king. But the previous year, the student body voted and chose to add a Homecoming King and a Snow Queen. The student council adviser at the time, Ms. Denise Lage, said, “The students saw it as a way to honor and share recognition with more outstanding members of their class.” And indeed it was. The senior class was now able to recognize twice as many of their peers, going from 24 students between Homecoming and Snow Week to 48 between the two weeks.

And in 1996, senior Jennifer Iverson- now Koziolek- received the honor of being crowned the first Owatonna High School Snow Queen. She said, “I am still honored to be Owatonna’s first Snow Queen. It’s so hard to believe it’s already been 20 years! As a teacher in Owatonna, it has been such a joy to see this opportunity for high school seniors as they prepare to celebrate the culmination of their high school years.” Koziolek returned to Owatonna after college and has been teaching in the Owatonna school district for ten years.

The new tradition was much anticipated and enjoyed by the student body. A junior at the time, OHS teacher Mr. Scott Seykora said, “I felt the student body really enjoyed having a Snow Queen. It was something different at the time and another reason for students to get together and have a little fun at school.” The months during the winter after Christmas Break often become long and dreary. Snow Week is the perfect way to relieve the monotony.

OHS teacher Ms. Mara Oien was a freshman when the Snow Queen was introduced. She said, “I remember seeing the skits and thinking how funny they were. It was a great way to get to know the seniors. I remember doing the class chant. It was so much fun! Snow Week was something to look forward to, even as a freshman. Winter gets dull.” Snow Week brought all the students together, as it still does.

The crowning of the first OHS Snow Queen, Jennifer Iverson Koziolek, and King David Hoffman (Source: OHS 1996 Yearbook)

As Koziolek looked back on her Snow Week, she remembered the skits and friendships the most. She said, “My friend Katie and I decided to do our skit together. We gathered our closest friends, and we marched out wearing inflatable inner tubes, flippers and snorkel gear to the tune of “Fishin’ in the Dark” while tossing fishing lures into the stands. After all of the skits were finished, the girls surprised everyone with a group skit dressed in black fancy dresses as we sang and danced to the song, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” by Aretha Franklin.

While Snow Week is often silly, it also brings the OHS together. From the senior candidates’ skits to the long standing tradition of tug-of-war pitting classes and teachers against one another, Snow Week is designed to bring fun into the building, and it has. The traditions built through Snow Week and the friendships established are a testament to the importance of new ideas that can become tradition.