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Health and Wellness

During the 2022-2023 school year, Slinger High School Social Studies, Ag Science, Science, and Art students collaborated to research a health and wellness theme.  The objective was to understand health and wellness in the Slinger area: Past, Present, and Future.  Students used interview, observation, and survey to collect data. Thank you to the many health care workers, historians, group and organization leaders, alumni, teachers, students, administrators who helped teach students more about this theme. 


Special thanks to the Wisconsin Humanities Council, CESA Director of Communications Dean Leisgang, UW-Oshkosh Sociology Dept, the Volunteer Center of Washington County, the Schleisingerville to Slinger Museum, Tower Heritage Center, the Hartford History Room, Washington County Government leaders, the Metro Milwaukee Mountain Bike Club, Village of Slinger leaders, Slinger-Allenton Rotary, Fork Farms, NAMI-Washington County, Washington County Community Garden, Washington County Senior Center, Aging and Disability Resource Center, Albrecht Free Clinic, Aurora Health Care, The Daily Dose, Elevate, the Medical College of WI, MKE Impact Lab, Serenity Villa, MPTC CNA program, Cedar Community, Samaritan Campus, the Milwaukee VA Hospital, the Slinger School District Administration, and the many faculty members, alumni, and community members who supported the inquiry research this school year. 


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.

Since 2014, Slinger High School has hosted a culminating event called the Slinger Area History Culture Night.  This event was inspired by the WI Teachers of Local Culture, the CAPP Sociology Program at UW-Oshkosh, the Wisconsin Humanities Council, Slinger area residents, students, teachers, school administrators, and civic/business leaders.  Click here for the first website, here for Working Lives website, and the drop down menus at the top of this page for village history, Veterans, Music, and Art themes. 


"The biggest thing they taught us was patience and kindness. I think to be in this field, you have to be a natural, kind and caring person and this CNA course is just amplifying those traits that I have."

Dana Unti (CNA student)

"'Being empathetic and learning body language is good.  If you are working on their foot and you look at their face and they are crying, I try to make sure students see that. Recognize the whole situation. Try to learn what the patient needs and try to understand."


Jodie Dolinar (CNA instructor)

SHS CNA students, MPTC instructor, and Serenity Villa RN manager discuss key skills taught in their program (2022-2023)

Slinger Sociology students researched various angles of the certified nursing assistant program at Slinger High School.


In additon, students surveyed local CNA's and RN's to learn more about their motivation, their teamwork, their communication, and biggest challenges.  

*Student data on Nursing (CNA)

*Student data on Nursing School


In March 2022, long-term care residential employment was down 12.1% from prepandemic levels.

State of Wisconsin announces expansion of Wisconsin Care giver Career program


"Staffing is a really big issue right now. We are lucky to have a pool of staff we can pull from but we are always looking for more."  Kymber Gullickson (RN Manager at Serenity Villa in Slinger, 2022-2023)



"There are three aspects of biomedical engineering:   Internal devices, external devices, and scanners.  External devices like prosthetics are something that I am interested in."

Luke Rosner, Class of 2023, Biomedical Student

"One of the most impactful things we did in BioMed was the Elisa test. You take an antigen for a disease and you run different tests and mix it with a bunch of stuff and at the end, it will show you how much antigen is in the system.  So, with COVID going on, I could compare.  I went to get a COVID test that month and it was an Elisa test and I could see how that test worked in the real world."

Caroline Daw, Class of 2023 BioMed Student

Video interview with Class of 2023 student about BioMedical Courses leading to Clinical experiences

One of my favorite labs is the GFP Lab (Green Fluorescent Protein Lab).  It allows students to get an experience in microbiology with bacteria as well as genetics.They learn about how bacteria can be genetically modified and genes can be inserted into a bacterial cell and that bacterial cell can create proteins." Jesse Menghe, Biomedical Teacher

Slinger HS students and teachers discuss the Biomedical (Project Lead the Way) program in this 2022-2023 video short. 

"When they come in as freshman, most biomedical scientists think about nursing and being a doctor. When they leave, they have more ideas about other options."  Scott Gundrum, Teacher

"The Project Lead The Way program allows students to gain experience to find a career that might be right for them. It’s been great to see students matriculate all 4 years of the course.  The students mature and establish themselves and see what interests them." Jesse Menghe, Teacher

 Sociology student research paper on Interaction and Collaboration within BioMedical Courses



"At the community garden, I learned just how many sectors of the local population were engaging around this one goal of growing healthy food for their community." Abby Walter, Sociology student

"The fun thing is you can forget what is going on in your life and escape here.  You get lots of interaction and food production. I don’t eat meat anymore so 80% of my food comes from here." Tom, the gardener

Why was the garden created?

To give people a place to plant and learn from each other and interact with each other. It’s like an old time small village. You have a water source and then people come and then where the water is you stand around and talk for a while.  We might talk about current events for an hour. Then with COVID you had some people wanting to get outside.   It really is not why I came, but it really worked out.  You learn how to run the garden but then there are other interactions." Tom, the Gardener

"We have 78 plots. That's about 125 gardners. On a good year, we can harvest up to 10,000 lbs of food on this one acre. We work with many groups including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4H, and The Threshold." Mary Reilly-Kliss, Master Gardener, Project Leader

"When my group talked to David he explained how they had several maintenance groups such as the Bee Ladies, Weed Walkers, & Water Boys. As a Water Boy, he talked about his job but he also talked about how his role led to interactions with gardners outside of the garden as well like golf and book clubs."  Sociology student reflection

"I  love that I know where my food is coming from.  The tomatoes in my garden taste great.  The carrots I grow, you can’t compare to grocery store. The longer it stays in the ground, the sweeter it gets." Mary, Gardening Mentor, Weed Walker

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"The woman in the corner runs Chix for a Cause, and whenever she is here, I talk to her.  There are lots of interactions where we are sharing ideas.  We will also trade produce. Another gardener and I swap Acorn Squash and Onions." Mary, Gardner Mentor and Weed Walker

Washington County Community Garden

Washington County Community Garden

Extended Interaction Theory of Community (Van Auken: 2010): community forms when individuals and interest groups from various social fields interact around issues of common interest to place in the community field.


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*The Albrecht Free Clinic website

*Sociology students' paper (Fall 2022)

"At Albrecht Free Clinic, those who now have access to healthcare are more likely to continue coming to the doctor to stay healthy instead of avoiding it which would cause even more issues in their personal lives. Albrecht Free Clinic made that opportunity open to those who need it and did so in a respectful way." Sociology student interviewee reflection


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*The Daily Dose website,  Facebook 

*Sociology students' paper (Fall 2022), key site visit quotes

*Sociology class reflections after site visit

"The Daily Dose´s essential mission is to make sure people know what they´re putting into their bodies and to keep it healthy. People tend not to pick the healthier option because it´s less convenient." Sociology student reflection after site visit 

Heritage Trails


*Heritage Trails Park website

*Milwaukee Metro Mountain Biking website and Facebook page

*Sociology students' paper one (Fall 2022) and paper two, Video link one and two of trails

"The trails are connecting people from many different states, and getting people outdoors doing something they enjoy." Sociology student reflection after site visit


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*NAMI-Washington County website

*NAMI-Wisconsin website

*Sociology students' paper

"The social capital of NAMI is evident in how they build bridges between their organization and the locals. NAMI does this through reaching out to schools to target the youth to create a new generation of people who understand how to deal with mental illness and mental health issues." Sociology student reflection after site visit


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*ADRC Website

*Student interview transcripts ,  Sample story

"We have aerobics, and Zumba classes for older adults. I teach a weightlifting class for older adults. We focus on socialization.  We have holiday parties or crafts or bingo. Some seniors organize trips." Kristen Hosking, ADRC



*Cedar Community website

*Student paper (Spring 2022)

"Your options are endless in healthcare & you will always be able to find reward & fulfillment. The work is hard but it’s more than work, it’s a purpose." Lindsay Sauer, RN and administrator in memory care giving advice to students



*Serenity Villa Website

*Serenity Villa student work (coming soon)

*See CNA data in section on CNA 


"Having a clinical at Serenity Villa, we are able to teach students standards of care and potentially hire them as well." Kymber Gullickson, RN Manager at Serenity Villa



*Jazzercise website

*Sociology Student paper (Spring 2023)

"Whether it be a good day, or a bad day, no matter what they were personally going through, they could count on that one hour of Jazzercise to lift their spirits and get their minds off of it all." Stef Kowaleski, Jazzercise owner as quoted in Washington County Insider

"As a kid, I watched the purpose, rewarding challenge, and the camaraderie that my mom’s career, first as a CNA & then as a nurse, fulfilled her with. I grew up loving being surrounded by many older adults in my life who taught me incredible lessons & shared their amazing stories - my great grandmas, and a special great great aunt who over time, needed our help. In my teen years, it simply clicked. I was working as a caregiver at the age of 14 as my friends worked retail & restaurant jobs, and have never stopped."    Lindsay (Weninger) Sauer,  RN manager/administrator Cedar Community, Slinger alum

Slinger Sociology students researched various angles of the nutritional wellness, food scarcity, and fresh foods. As part of the mini-grant focus on present and future wellness,  Ag Science and Sociology students teamed up to learn more about hydroponics. In particular, they learned more about Fork Farms, a WI based company.


After visiting a school with Flex Farm kits and learning more through meetings with community development leaders, Slinger students organized a pitch for a Flex Farm machine with the hope of getting Ag Science, Sociology, Food and Consumer Education, Food Service, and potentially the Slinger Food Pantry involved.



A Slinger HS senior hoping to become a community dietician, discusses how she engaged community development professionals in the hopes of learning more about how hydroponics could encourage nutritional wellness (2022-2023 video short)


Q and A with Fork Farms at SHS.

Site visit to view Flex Farms at Horicon HS

Collaboration with Slinger-Allenton Rotary.

Fall 2022 Aeroponic Training Towers video story (before new Flex Farm).

Nurse Training


Students Interview Nurse Instructors 

*student paper (MATC)

*student paper (Local CNA)

"In order to build a connection with your patient it is important to remember that they are somebody's loved one. Once you make that correlation it becomes easy to approach them in a kindly manner. I would avoid standing over the patient or putting them in any position that may make them feel inferior to me as their nurse." Nurse in training, MATC questionnaire

Senior Center




*Spring 2023 Student paper


"We have one of the best senior centers in Wisconsin. We've had over 17,000 visits by 586 members of the community with 7,100 hours of participation" Kathy Gibson, Letter to Editor, West Bend Daily News, May 13, 2023


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*Students Interview Retired County Jail RN (paper here)

*Jail website

“The officers are my eyes and ears. I am one person. I don’t know how many times an officer would say ‘Hey, can you just look at this fella? He has not come out to eat for two days. I think something’s wrong with him.’ I depended on them, they depended on me. I had to make the medical decision." Steve Waldhardt, retired Jail RN





*Sociology student paper

"We work with many people from the Washington County Court System like judges, public defenders,  district attorney(s), probation officers and Human Services.  We also work with in-person and out-person medical facilities." Michelle Solheim, program manager of one part of Elevate organization

Army MEdic


*Quotes from interview with 14 year Army Medic from Slinger

*Helped Mission WI with vet transition process

"With NAMI outreach, I brought the In Our Voices program to WI to help a person who has experienced a mental health illness to talk about teach break stigma. To speak about depression. We wanted to normalize speaking about mental illness. It helps them feel less isolated."

Building TRUST

*Freelance article about trust

*Transcripts from Student Interview

"Meeting them where they are at is key especially when you have minimum time with the patient.  Sit down and have eye contact and put the computer away. We get tied up in our phones.  Lean in and listen and make eye contact. Explain things in ways they can understand"



*Youth Impact Club paper about West Bend HS program, link

*MKE Impact Lab Challenge, Student paper coming soon!

*County Mental Health Website

*Law enforcement quotes on Acute Care Response Team

*NAMI Washington County


*Aging and Disability Resource Center website

*Transcripts from Student Interview

"Nearly 1/4 of adults 65 and older are socially isolated." National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (2022)

ADRC sponsored program

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Alexandria Steger: RN, Spinal Cord

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Pam Konrath, RN, CNS, Resuscitations, PI Team


Ashley Burns, Physical Therapist

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The Nutman in Hubertus (Hospital Outreach)

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Tony: Occupational Therapy/Recreation Therapy

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Disabled Vets Fishing  (Recreation Therapy)

Slinger Sociology Students Study Extended Interaction Theory of Community and Cultural Study of Work: Milwaukee VA Hospital

Slinger Sociology Students Study Extended Interaction Theory of Community and Cultural Study of Work: Milwaukee VA Hospital

Sociology student site visit reflections

"Most of the work they do at the VA stems to different parts of the community. For example, their outreach programs brought in a lot of different people in order to participate with the veterans. Especially in the past, it seems that the community feel at the VA was connected through music, health, and support from the people in the community." Sociology student reflected on community at VA after site visit

"Extended interaction was shown at the VA by describing and showing interactions of subgroups within the larger groups, for example, the intergenerational practices that the VA holds for future nurses, doctors, PT's, etc. for practice with the main employees at the hospital."  Sociology student reflecting on extended interaction after site visit 

"At the VA hospital, the facility intends to increase interaction among its veterans through social groups and other agencies. This extension brings veterans and families into contact with companies like the Nutman or students volunteering to help work with the residents. Extending the veteran's interactions with others."  Sociology student reflecting on extended interactions 

"To build rapport  in physical therapy  with vets, Ashley said you have to meet the patient where they are at and go from there.  Ashley talked about getting on the patients level.

Pam explained that in order to build rapport with the vets, you need to be respectful, earn the vets trust, and be human. Relate to the vets, get them to understand you're helping them as a person, not just as a healthcare worker.  Ally built rapport by getting on their level, asking vets about their branch of service, opening up about herself, and being human."  Sociology students reflecting on how workers built rapport with patients


"They explained the importance of communication more than any other question because it is the most important aspect of their job. If there is no communication with the patients, there is pretty much no way in helping them get better. Pam stated "silence kills," which I attributed to mean that the patients may not get any better in a room without verbal worker teamwork and the help, courage, or overall aid from the employees. Additionally, it is all a collective effort to aid the veterans through all of these groups such as social workers, doctors, mental health experts, etc." Sociology student reflecting on communication in work place responses from interviewees

Health and History 

Health and History 

Health and History 



(Photo: A Living History of Cordelia Harvey courtesy of Kenosha Civil War Museum)


*History Student Document

*History Student Document


*History Student paper


*History Student paper

*1969 Description from 100 Year anniversary book



*Dr. Crego student paper

*Dr. Hovde student paper



*Dr. Maxam paper           * Dr. Olsen

*Dr. Prefontaine paper    *Dr. Albrecht

*Dr. Riesch                        *Dr. Herdrich

*Dr. Gibson paper        *Dr. Gibson award

*Dr. Driessel                      

"We didn't go to the doctor much back then." Oral History interview


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(Photo: Courtesy of Elaine Burg and Slinger Museum).

*Dick's Ambulance student paper one and two

*St. Lawrence EMS student paper


*Student paper on First Responders (2016)

"We had a good relationship with the EMS over the years. They were amazing. We would have EMT students trained in the ER on setting up IV's. The EMS program has just blossomed over the years." Suzanne Schmidt, retired ER manager at Hartford Hospital



(Photo: Hartford Hospital (1931) courtesy of Aurora Health Care).

*Hartford Hospital worker excerpt one

*Hartford Hospital worker excerpt two

*Hartford Hospital History website (Aurora)

*St. Joseph's Hospital paper one


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(Photo of MRI above courtesy of Medical College of WI Imaging, 2023)


*19th Century Document One, Two, Three (courtesy of Bette Weninger)

*Student Paper 20th Century

"We purchased a .5 Tesla (MR Magnet). Most are 1.5 or 3.  That’s the strength of the magnet.  The Tesla is like the size of a dorm fridge.  It has such a low strength magnet that it could be taken anywhere. It has no risk to patients. It could plug into the wall.  It won’t be as detailed but it can be used for people who can’t afford MRs." Jamie Beaudry, Medical College Imaging. 



Picture from Hwy 60 where Aurora Health Center is today (above)

*Student paper (coming soon)


*Deed showing that Frederick Groth sold or turned over the land to Hartford Memorial Hospital in February 1992.

*Annexation announcement by Village Board

*Building Committee Review of property called Slinger Health Center, the name at the time


*Local Matchbooks/Pre-Smoking Ban trends and quotes

"When I first started, you were often in the hospital for a few days for back or hip surgery. Now, you are often sent home the same day as surgery." Interview with former RN and ER Manager at Hartford Hospital)



Lindsay Walter


Ultra-Marathon Runner

*Student created video short about Lindsay

*Select Transcripts from Lindsay's interview

*Lindsay's Runner Report

"Finding things that make you happy and that don’t make you stressed out are so important.”

Hope Zvara



*Student created video short

*Hope's 7 tips

*Hope's PBS special

*Hope's business website

"I think we can build a foundation for health and wellness that is not dependent on other people, it only builds confidence  on a personal level that puts yourself out there in any situation."

Chad Strupp



*Chad's Dental website

*Chad's transcripts from Sociology student interview

"We use technology to build trust with patients.  We show the patient what we are seeing. They say a picture is worth a million words. It’s true.  The patient may not see the problem in the tooth in the mirror, but the photo we take can help them see what we are seeing."

Colin Mooney


*Student data (coming soon)

*Froedhert Website

*I come from a family of teachers....teaching the patient so they are informed to make diffult's not a one size fits all where I make all the decisions for them. It's important that they are knowledgeable in what they are choosing. "

"Drivers don’t always have the time and resources for traditional yoga or fitness classes. That’s why I wrote “Trucking Yoga: Simple Fitness for the Long Haul,” showing drivers more than 60 stretches, exercises and relaxation techniques they can do right from the cab of the truck so they can get rid of pain fast and start moving again." Hope Zvara (Mind Over Matter,

Jamie Beaudry

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Dept. Administrator, Imaging 

Excerpts from Jamie's Sociology interview

"As far as building rapport with staff, as an administrator, saying 'come to my office at 9:00, let’s talk' doesn’t work as well as going to the staff and seeing staff in their work setting.  I’ve found that rounding, while it seems small, it has a huge impact. Going to the staff and spending time with them in their work setting, helps me relate to the staff."

Kristen Hosking

Nutritional Wellness

*Advice for Students video story, Select transcripts from student interview with Kristen

*Story about Senior Meals Program

"Portion sizes in the United States have exploded. We (ADRC) provide nutrition education for our homebound folks. We have education at the Senior Meals sites for people who come there."  

Kyle Kumbier

Manager of Clinical Services

Excerpts from Kyle's interview

"Soft skills are extremely important.  You can know what you know, but if you don’t have a way to communicate it with you, and getting that trust, you may not be able to help them.  You may have a challenge to get a patient to trust you. You have to earn their trust."

Bridget Kratz-Schwartz

Physical Therapist

*Transcripts from Bridget

*Bridget's website


"We always try to find out how the patient learns best: visually, listening, by doing, or reading. Once we know this, we can personalize their home program to ensure it best fits their individual needs with pictures, videos, and/or written instruction. I also find it to be very helpful to truly get to know the patient and their family and concerns"

"One of the needs we are seeing with our seniors in Washington County are nutritional needs.  The problem is twofold.  Some seniors are looking for extra nutrition and we are trying to keep them independent  in their home.  Some seniors are getting plenty to eat but it’s not nutrient-dense food. So we are looking to improve their nutrition that way." Kristen Hosking (Washington County Senior Wellness and Nutrition)

"The Second Victim Syndrome program is designed to help support the health care worker traumatized by unanticipated adverse patient event.  If there is no intervention, it could lead to depression, loss of ability to concentrate, fatigue, grief, and other stress..  We've trained workers as peer supporters. The very act of reaching out after a traumatic experience to let a co-worker know you care about your wellbeing can be helpful." Jamie Beaudry (Medical College of Wisconsin)

"There are some very hard working people in the county that don't have health insurance. We have a small professional volunteer staff that is filling gaps for the community"  Melanie Gonring (Albrecht Free Clinic)

“There was no healthcare in Slinger while I grew up. We had one doctor in town. Dr. Prefontaine was our doctor. He pierced my ears, my grandmother paid for me to go to a doctor versus a friend sticking a needle in my ear. But, I grew up with parents who lived through the Depression Era so my family and I stuck to home remedies for the most part.” Sue Becker, Slinger alum reminiscing about her childhood in Slinger

“It's really changed now since the pandemic, with nursing care. I mean there’s such a need for medical care and so many people have been burnt out."  Sue Becker, former HR at Local Assisted Living

“Back then with that polio epidemic, they really quarantined us. I mean, we were, you know, we were quarantined at our house. None of us got sick. But to prevent the spread, we were all, you know, we were mandated to stay in our yard and only the dads could go about their business." Student's grandma discussing polio in the 1950s

"Doctor's offices are more of an in and out kind of thing, and an assembly line today. Doctor's offices now are more about the business and the money. It's not like when I was a nurse and we got to spend time with (patients) in the room, get to know them and their needs, especially in the hospital.” Retired nursing assistant, student interviewee

"Hospitals used to be run by doctors. Now they are run by business people.” Retired HR worker at Assisted Living Facility, student interviewee

"One skill that might surprise people is the importance of social skills and communication in dentistry. This may be just as important to the success of a dentist as their fine motor skills. We need to develop a relationship of trust with our patients so they know our treatment recommendations are truly in their best interest. " Katie Carranza, Dentist, Slinger Alum

Links to local yoga studios/fitness locations that students  identified for future research:

*Sacred Space (Hubertus)

*Awakenings Healing and Day Spa (Slinger)

*Cal Fitness

*Kettle Moraine Cross Fit

Alumni views on Health Care worker challenges: click here

Future Research for Dentistry: "There is a shortage of dental hygienists and assistants, so it has been difficult to hire for the past 3 years. Since Covid, lots of hygienists and assistants either retired early or left the field. As a solution I would suggest dental hygienist and assistant training programs need to accept more students each year into their programs. There is always a wait list to get into the dental hygiene program at WCTC, so it appears there is no shortage of interest in the career, just that the school may not be equipped to accept enough students per year to keep up with demand." Dr. Katie Carranza, Dentist

Telehealth: "The emergence of Telehealth is a major trend in healthcare. Makes care more accessible, efficient, cost effective and convenient." Denise Borchardt, Nurse and Client Service Manager, Slinger Alum

Health Literacy: "I think the best way to address health literacy is to find out how different people learn and to offer options." Madeline McLaughlin, Children's Wisconsin, Slinger alum

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