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Finding Voice,
Building Community

During the 2020-2021 pandemic school year, Slinger High School sociology, history, and music students conducted socially distanced in-person interviews, virtual interviews, surveys, and socially distanced site visits to help capture ways that people in the Slinger Area find their voice and build community.  Significant emphasis was placed on current Slinger students as well as Slinger alumni. There was a strong sense coming out of the Spring 2020 COVID 19 lockdown that students and adults might have something to say if we could find ways to help them express themselves.  It certainly was a unique year gathering information during a pandemic, and some of the attempts at creative ways of community outreach, even virtually, were thwarted by the pandemic, contact tracing, social distance limitations, and other challenges.  Regardless of the limitations, the data below reveals evidence of human interaction and some layers of understanding about what many interviewees found important both before, during, and after the pandemic.  Sociology students heard stories from student musicians and artists about the school building being a valuable gathering place where social infrastructure is built and community is fostered.  History students conducted oral histories with veterans, family members, community members, and alumni and added key pre-pandemic historical photos. Additional data will be added. 

Funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wisconsin Humanities strengthens the roots of community life through educational and cultural programs that inspire civic participation and individual imagination.


Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



Every connection made during this project added a bit more to student understanding of the human voice.  Every connection made during this project added a bit more to student understanding of community and how it is built and sustained. We will be continuing to add data to this page in future years as we interact with more people and encourage students to practice getting to know human beings beyond the surface level in various aspects of our communities.

Support for video work came through the Wisconsin Humanities Council mini-grant (WHC grants are partially funded by the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment of the Humanities).  Special thanks to Dean Leisgang, Director of Communications (, HS student Ethan Schulteis (Class of 2021), and Choir Teacher Heather Peters for help with the video work in this interdisciplinary project.  Video work is CESA7 unless noted.

Finding Voice During A Pandemic

“The coronavirus pandemic is going to cause immense pain and suffering. But it will force us to reconsider who we are and what we value, and, in the long run, it could help us rediscover the better version of ourselves.”
― Eric Klinenberg, Sociologist

2008 Alum, Joe Neary, discussing music during the pandemic

Slinger Choir "Hope Lingers On" November 2020 (H. Peters video)

Slinger Teacher's Poem: "You Can't Keep Her from Tapping Her Toes"by Paul Walter

“People forge bonds in places that have healthy social infrastructures—not because they set out to build community, but because when people engage in sustained, recurrent interaction, particularly while doing things they enjoy, relationships inevitably grow.”
― Eric Klinenberg, Sociologist

2009 Alumni, Andres Crovetti, discussing music during the pandemic

Slinger Choir "Stand Up!" November 2020 (H. Peters video)

Sheltering with Poems: Community and Connections During COVID Door County Pulse Review/Anthology link



*2020-2021 school year choir profile video (above)

*Sociology student research about HS Choir and research about HS Choir and Community (Fall 2020)

*Sociology Middle School Choir and Library Outreach "Princess Party" student research (Spring 2021)

*Sociology student research on Music Culture (Spring 2014)


*2020-2021 video short about the power of high school musical in finding voice, building community


*Partial Gymnatorium Musical list

*2017 PAC vs. Old Gym quotes

*Student paper (Old Wizard of Oz vs. New PAC Wizard of Oz)

*Audio, Set Design

Music Commons

*2020-2021 video short about importance of music commons as gathering place (above)

*October 2020 HS choir feedback: Sociology qualitative data 

*The Music Commons was added during a 2017- 2018 construction addition to Slinger High School

Jazz Band

2020-2021 Video Short with Students Reflecting on Jazz Fest experience (above)

*2019 Slinger HS Jazz Fest song 

*2014 MJ Stevens outreach synopsis

*2014 student history research

Band Halftime Shows

2020-201 Video Short showcasing Band Half-Time shows (Above)

*Band Homecoming link  (2015)

*Sociology paper (2021): Impact of Band

Pearl Harbor

2020-2021 Video Short with Students Reflecting on Pearl Harbor experience from 2019 (above)

*Footage courtesy of Candice Altenburg

Hawaii Parade

2020-2021 Video Short with Reflections on Waikiki Holiday Parade experience (above)

*The Slinger Marching Band has been invited to perform in Hawaii, London, Pasadena (the Rose Bowl parade), and Washington D.C. (the Presidential Inauguration Parade) over the years

*Waikiki Holiday Parade official website

Music Alumni 

2020-2021 Compilation video of Several Music Alumni from 2008 to 2019 reflecting on how they found their voice and built community with music at Slinger.   


Produced by Senior student Ethan Schulteis (2021 grad). 

More music alumni including Paul Spaeth, Hannah Mrozak, Amy Pierchalski, Kaleigh Gamache, and Joe Neary available here or here

Band Alumni: Andres Crovetti

2020-2021 Video Short from an interview with Slinger Music alumni, Andres Crovetti, during the pandemic.  Sociology and Music students ask him how he found his voice and built community.  Crovetti is a 2009 grad.


Produced by Senior Ethan Schulteis (2021 grad).

*Andres Crovetti website (2021)

*Andres Crovetti with Slinger Band (2009), with Matra on vibraphone (2018), on keyboard with Michael Sodnick (2020)

Student Council

2020-2021 Video short sharing how students found voice and built community when participating in the Student Council at Slinger High School

*Photos of Student Council building community (2020-2021), Sociology paper

*Transcripts from advisor, current and past Student Council president

*Slinger Student Council Website

*Autumn Oaks Sociology Paper (including Student Council data)



2020-2021 FFA student leaders discuss finding their voice and the skills they've learned in FFA at Slinger High School (above) 

*Slinger HS FFA website 

*Slinger FFA Facebook page

*Ag/FFA students finding voice, building community w/Food For America Day

*2018 History student paper about 3 generations of FFA students in his family

*FFA Charter Member List SHS, 2014 history and sociology student data 

Slinger Food Pantry/"Support Dairy"

2020-2021 Video short sharing aspects of a unique service project during the pandemic with the Slinger Food Pantry, Washington County Dairy Board, the Slinger FFA, and Local Businesses

*Slinger Pop-Up Food Pantry (Spring 2021)

*Food Pantry general information

*Fall 2020 Sociology Paper 

*FFA President Article from Summer 2020


This 2020-2021 video short explores how a student used art to find her voice at school both before and during the pandemic (above)

Click here for a 2016 video story about Julia Gueller finding her voice with art

Click here for a website on local art from 2014

Slinger Community Library

2020-2021 video short explaining interdependency of schools and libraries with pandemic related projects

*Fall 2020 Structure Sociology Paper 

*Spring 2021 "Princess Party" Sociology paper

*Slinger Community Library Website

*National article on library value culturally

Helping Veterans

2019-2020 Video short about a Slinger student building community with a VFW Patio Renovation and Honor Tile Project (Above)


*Class of 2020 student Brooke Kiefer discussing building community with veterans using horses in this 2019-2020 story


Jimmie Lorch discussing music being used to build community n Vietnam, VA Music Therapist discussing work with vets

The Rookery

*Video story coming soon!

2017-2018 video short (above) explores the impact of the school store on students lives at Slinger High School as they find their voice in the business world

*2018 Sociology paper

Ice Age Trail

20200929_091847 (2).jpg

The Village of Slinger expanded the Ice Age Trail to connect people and place in 2020-2021. Sociology students studied the connections.  


Ice Age Trail video coming soon!

*Choir song, Sociology paper, Sociology paper, 

Welding Apprentice

2017-2018 Video short (above) looks at how a Slinger Technical Education student found his niche in the welding apprenticeship program

More student angles on video  here

Motorsport Management

20210324_094432 (1).jpg

*Senior Alex Lange, interested in motorsport management and preparing a display for the Slinger Museum, interviewed 2013 Slinger grad and current NASCAR racers Josh Bilicki about the business side of auto racing in a 2021 Zoom interview. Audio excerpt from that Zoom interview is here.  More student data from previous research is  here. 

*Back when Josh was in HS, here was a feature made about Josh by a local news channel.  More on Josh here. 

Ski Club

2018-2019 Video short (above) looks at how a Slinger School District students and Little Switzerland staff build community through skiing.

*2018-2019 Slinger High School Student discusses finding her voice with Adaptive Skiing video

*Slinger Skiing and Snowboard Champions Prep Plus video

Sailing Club

2016-2017 Video short (above) looks at how Slinger School District students found community in the Cedar Lake Sailing Club

*CLYC website

*Student paper on sailing culture (2016)

*Sophomore student sailor (2016)

*8th grade student sailor (2016)

*HIstory student paper (2016)


*Senior Alex Lange, interested in motorsport management, interviews 2013 Slinger grad and current NASCAR racers Josh Bilicki about the business side of auto racing in a 2021 Zoom interview. Audio excerpt from that Zoom interview is here.  More student data here. 

*Back when Josh was in HS, here was a feature made about Josh by a local news channel.  More on Josh here. 

This is a 2016 video story about a Slinger High School student who used art to express herself while in high school.

Adaptive Skiing

2018-2019 Video short (above) looks at how a Slinger School District student gained career experience and made connections with adaptive skiiers

Sailing Club

Science Olympiad

This 2016 video short explores the Slinger Schools experience of two Science Olympiad students.

Additional Credits 


Additional thanks to Dr. Paul Van Auken, Sociology chair at UW-Oshkosh, for helping nurture data collection frameworks, the Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture (early advisors on our Slinger community projects), the Village of Slinger, the Slinger Community Library, Autumn Oaks, the Slinger Food Pantry, SHS Student Council, SHS FFA, SHS Music teachers and students, SHS Social Studies teachers and students, the Slinger Area History/Culture Committee,  Slinger School District Administrators, the Slinger-Allenton Rotary, the Ed and Minette Wolf Schleisingerville to Slinger Museum, Fohl-Martin Legion Post, the Slinger Zunker-Held VFW, Nancy Smith-Watson (Feast of Crispian), Shep Crumline (retired music therapist from Milwaukee VA Hospital), music and staff alumni (particularly Andres Crovetti and Kaleigh Gamache, Evan and Emma Sievers, Paul Spaeth, Ryan Kerr, and Ashley O'Rourke for early support of this project that gave us models to show students, and Joe Neary for a virtual class appearance/performance), UW-Milwaukee's Dr. Arijit Sen for active listening reminders, Candice Altenburg/Heather Peters/Heather Kiefer/Amy Keliher/Katelyn Dei/Nolan Miller/Linda O'Rourke for photos and videos, Leslie Schultz for Library connections, Tom Haase/Cindy Rogers/Don Thies/Jeremy Wilson/Josh Bilicki/Tom Lehn/Dean Otte/UC Acosta/Amanda Avrit/Tony Dobson/Paul Grimm for extra curriculum work help, and the many local historians, current and former teachers, students, veterans, and civic leaders who were instrumental in aspects of our work this year as we pushed students to find human connections.  While there are too many students to thank, special note to Ethan Schulteis who helped with video work, Grace Bassett and Colette Poree for organizational leadership, and Megan Kelly and Hannah Klink who helped with website.  While there are too many teachers to thank, special thanks to Amy Keliher, Heather Kiefer, Heather Peters, Adam Kieckhafer, Graham Westley, Nancy Schilling-Genz, Emily Lofy, Melissa Stolaski, Jeff Wolf, Brent Hug, and Katelyn Dei for help with 2020-2021 theme. 

Related Links:


Wisconsin Humanities Council website

Humanities During the Pandemic website

Love Wisconsin website

The Power of Listening with Dr. Arijit Sen podcast, UW-Milwaukee

National Endowment for the Humanities website

Journal of Folklore and Education: Common Ground Issue Two

Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture website 

Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets "Sheltering With Covid" link

Volunteer Center of Washington County,  The Hub

The United Way of Washington County website

Fox 6 News and Michael Loomans (2022)

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