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Teen summers going further abroad than in years past

July 27, 2008
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Oh, the summers of my younger years. We worked hard on the farm, but we played hard, too.

Still, each day followed the day before with surprising predictability. That's just the way things went.

Many kids these days take a completely different tack on summer.

My young friend Gwynny Vetter-Drusch, for instance, left Manson on Wednesday for a month in New York City, where she will study at Ellison Ballet with Edward Ellison. The 17-year-old daughter of Jo Vetter and Mark Drusch, she graduated from Manson Northwest Webster in May. She dances beautifully.

She has studied in Minneapolis and Des Moines and met Ellison through regional and national competitions in the Youth America Grand Prix of ballet. He told her he'd like to have her in his summer program, and after she decided to go, he gave her a half scholarship.

"That was a much-welcomed surprise," Gwynny said the day before she took off for the Big Apple.

Because she'll be at the ballet school for four weeks, she had to defer her enrollment at Bard College in upstate New York for a year. Bard's mandatory summer program for incoming freshman happened at the same time as the month of ballet classes. The school - a strong academic college - agreed to the deferred enrollment and will keep her scholarship available.

"As a dancer, you have to dance when you're young," Gwynny said. "It's a very difficult decision to make. I wanted to go to Bard very much" because the school stresses "the importance of thinking itself and the process of learning."

While Gwynny's in New York City, she'll likely be able to look up Doug Cochrane, a brother of her good friend, Ali. Son of Bruce and Dianne Coch-rane, of Fort Dodge, he's part of a show called "The Virgin Dictator: A Love Story starring Kim Jong II" made it into the Bad Musicals Festival at the Producers Club.

They're not bad as in no good - these bad musicals are those not politically correct or just slightly off kilter, and, as Dianne describes it, extremely funny. Well, the Virgin Dictator is funny - she doesn't know about the rest.

Ali Cochrane was busy last week, too. She was in Minneapolis for Shrine Camp and on Saturday cheered at the North South Shrine Bowl Game and danced at half time. On Tuesday, the cheerleaders visited the Shrine Children's Hospital to perform for the kids there.

She's not the only one participating, but it was her mother who told me about it.

Others involved are Tyler Winter, of Fort Dodge, who played in the game; Dillon Heesch, of Dayton; Emily Peterson and Emilee Gevock, of Prairie Valley in Gowrie; and Ashley Opheim, of Emmetsburg.

Cheerleading directors are Mindy DeBaun, Prairie Valley-Gowrie; Salli J. Nichols, Storm Lake; and Sandy Norby, Osage. Sixty cheerleaders were selected from Iowa. Both the cheerleaders and players sold ads for the program to raise money for the Shrine Hospital and to add to the proceeds from the game, which also benefit the hospital.

The Shrine Bowl is held annually to make money to help pay for the care of the kids there, and the teens involved are a big part of it.

When I was young, success was mowing the whole lawn in a morning. That was doing something special.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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