Hornet Hall of Fame
The Hornet Hall of Fame recognizes some of our outstanding Big Lake graduates who have embraced our “Hornet Way” throughout their lives. Within their life’s work in each of his or her communities, inductees have successfully shown strong characteristics of honesty, integrity, and strength of character, have personified exemplary citizenship, and have educated and inspired others to reach their full potential.
Make a Nomination!
Do you know an outstanding former Hornet who has continued to live the "Hornet Way" after graduation? Nominate him or her to be inducted into the Hornet Hall of Fame!
Applications submitted by March 1 of the current school year will be considered for the current year's inductee. Candidates not selected will remain in our system and eligible for induction the following year. You may request a paper form in either the district office or the high school office.
Dee Juhl Leslie (Class of 1960)
Dolores “Dee” Juhl Leslie has been a resident of Big Lake since 1947, and has been giving back to the community of Big Lake most of her life.
While in high school, Dee was involved in band and choir, was the yearbook editor her senior year, and represented Big Lake for Girls State during the 1958-59 school year.
Dee has been an involved member of Saron Lutheran Church since 1963, having taught Sunday School, serving as the church superintendent, and giving time to the church’s council and building committees. She has been a Charter Member of the Big Lake Lioness-Lions Club for 40 years, and has also been a Spud Fest volunteer for many summers.
Uniquely, Dee earned the Minneapolis Aquatennial Association Commodore's Award in 1997. Continuing to contribute to our strong community, Dee worked in Big Lake Elementary Schools from 1967 - 2000, and in 1998, she was awarded the Secretary Appreciation Award by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association.
Dee received the Boreas Rex LXXX Medallion in 2016 as the King of the St. Paul Winter Carnival for Outstanding Volunteer to the City of Big Lake. Dee is married and has three children, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Eric Petersen (Class of 1987)
Just like his father Ewald, Eric Petersen has made it his priority to give back to the community in which was raised.
Eric began his Big Lake High School experience in the band and basketball programs. While in school, he worked on the family farm with his parents and five siblings.
Beyond BLHS, Eric has been the proud owner of McPete’s Sports Bar and Lanes since 1998, an establishment that was awarded Big Lake Business of the Year in 2020. Eric is a proud member of the Big Lake Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus and also partners with many local non-profit organizations, booster clubs, chambers, and sports teams in fundraising projects.
Eric feels honored to serve his hometown. He is married to Stephanie and has two amazing stepchildren, Brennen and Anissa, who also graduated from Big Lake High School.
Tim Hayes (Class of 1981)
While attending Big Lake High School, Tim Hayes participated in one act play, band, choir, student council, yearbook, 4-H, and DECA. Additionally, he was a football and basketball manager, salutatorian of his class, and a member of the National Honor Society.
Tim served on the Big Lake school board for 19 years, the Big Lake commerce board, the food shelf board, the Spudfest board, and the United Way board. Tim also served as president of the Big Lake Youth Athletic Association and treasurer for Becker-Big Lake Youth Hockey Association. He was a founding member of the Backpack Buddies program and a member of Saron Lutheran Church council.
Tim received his BA from Concordia College and his MBA from the University of St. Thomas. After completing college, Tim and his parents opened a clothing store in Big Lake. He has been married to Ellyce since 1985, and has two sons Mark and Adam, who also graduated from Big Lake.
Wade Olson (Class of 1996)
While attending Big Lake High School, Wade Olson participated in pep-band, knowledge bowl, basketball, and football.
He taught for five years at Hastings high school, during which he was president of the St. Croix affiliate of Minnesota Technology and Engineering Educators Association. Through this organization, Wade volunteered to train educators based on the new standards in technology education. This work led to an award for the MTEEA New Teacher of Excellence.
Wade began teaching in Big Lake in 2007. He created the video production class, and was part of the team that implemented the 3E Initiative for Exposure, Exploration, and Experience along with the REAL program (Relevant Experience Apprenticeship Learning) in Big Lake. This work has garnered state and national recognition. Wade also received the Leadership in Education Excellence Award in 2012 for his contributions to teaching at Big Lake High School.
Wade is married to his wife, Jillian, and their three kids attend Big Lake Schools.
Bruce Jacobsen (Class of 1958)
Bruce lived in Big Lake his entire life. He lettered in football and baseball while in high school.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1965-1967. Bruce was a member of the Big Lake township board, the Big Lake school board, as well as the Minnesota and Sherburne county historical societies.
He was a contractor from 1960-2020. Bruce built the Professional Building, the medical clinic and ambulance garage, and he also remodeled the old Big Lake school building.
Bruce was married 55 years to Diane and raised two children, who also graduated from Big Lake.
Joe Kalla (Class of 2012)
Joe participated in baseball, football, and wrestling while attending Big Lake High School.
After high school Joe attended Alexandria Tech and Community College for law enforcement. He has been part of the Big Lake police department since 2013; first as a reserve officer, then as a licensed full-time officer.
After the death of his mother in 2012 by a drunk driver, Joe prioritized the enforcement of traffic safety to protect families from this happening to them. He has received the Silver Pin award and others honors for his work with DWI enforcement.
Joe is very proud to serve the Big Lake community. He has met many great people in the Big Lake area who strive to make our city a better place.
Teresa Smock-Potter (Class of 2000)
Teresa participated in Swimming, Basketball, Track, YDYS, and band while attending Big Lake High School. She was co-valedictorian of her class and an All-State athlete in track and swimming. She went on to the University of St. Thomas where she was a three-time Div. III All American in track.
Teresa majored in elementary education and earned an administration degree. She was hired as an administrator in the Big Lake school system. Teresa is humbled and honored to be able to put in many hours of volunteer time with students and staff in partnership with our families and the Big Lake community.
Teresa and her husband live in Big Lake along with their three children, whom all attend Big Lake Schools.
Bill Miller (Class of 1979)
Bill was very active in high school and was involved in basketball, football, baseball, golf, and track. He had multiple MVP and all-conference awards and went to state in Track. He was inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Bill lived in Big Lake from 1971 to 2018. He spent many years working with and coaching youth sports. He built a baseball field in his back yard that he allowed Big Lake youth baseball and football teams to use. Bill coaches basketball and golf for Big Lake schools. He strives to start kids out on the right foot instilling sportsmanship along with physical and mental strength. Bill has been married to his wife Terri since 1989 and raised 4 boys in Big Lake.
Stanley M. Anderson (Class of 1943)
Stan was acknowledged for maintaining perfect attendance throughout his academic years at Big Lake High School. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Army and served for two and a half years.
He came back to Big Lake where he owned and operated the Standard Station on Main Street. Stan was a member of the school board in the 1970’s. He taught firearm safety for 40 plus years. He was a member of the Big Lake fire department for 28 years. Stan was also a member of the Big Lake police department and later became justice of the peace. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Stan enjoyed hunting, fishing, and tending his garden. He loved spending time with his wife of 63 years, Donna, and their children.
Thomas Dean Wilts (Class of 1979)
Tom was known for the support and guidance he showed others throughout his life.
Shortly after graduation, Tom joined the ambulance service for Sherburne County, and during this time he met many law enforcement officers who encouraged him to enter this field. He began his career in law enforcement with Sherburne County before moving to South Dakota. After serving as a Moody County Deputy, he transitioned to investigative and undercover work with a multi-county task force. He spent the majority of his career with Meade County Sheriff’s office in Sturgis, South Dakota as Chief Deputy.
During his off hours he worked as a Special Agent for the state of South Dakota. On the day of Tom’s retirement from law enforcement, the Governor of South declared it as “Thomas Dean Wilts Day.”
First Lieutenant Orville S. Anderson (Class of 1938)
First Lieutenant Orville S. Anderson was involved in athletics and drama during his time at Big Lake High School. In 1939, immediately after graduation, Orville joined the Civilian Conservation Corps where he stayed until 1940. He was inducted into the United States Army in November of 1942.
Orville was a highly decorated WWII night fighter pilot. He flew thirty-nine combat missions as a Black Widow Night Fighter. In those combat missions, Anderson flew over Italy, France, Belgium, and Germany.
First Lieutenant Orville S. Anderson was killed in action in Germany in 1945 and is buried in an American Military Cemetery in Holland.
Sarah Noble (Class of 1991)
Dr. Sarah Noble graduated among the top ten students in her class and was a member of the National Honor Society. She lettered in cheerleading, gymnastics and speech. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota and her Doctorate (PhD) in Geological Sciences from Brown University.
Sarah is a Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters, who works to develop missions and facilitate research to help explore and understand the solar system. Asteroid 133432 Sarahnoble is named in her honor, in recognition of her research and artistic achievements.
Sam Olson (Class of 1991)
Sam Olson was a three sport athlete as well as captain. He participated in the state track meet, was homecoming king and received a National Choral Award for choir.
Sam served as a member of the Big Lake Fire Department for 23 years, and retired with captain-ranking. He joined the Big Lake Police Department in 2001. In 2018, with Sam at the helm as police chief, Big Lake was named the second safest city in Minnesota. He has been in a number of situations in which his quick thinking and calculated actions have saved numerous lives.
Sam loves living and volunteering in Big Lake Schools and in the community. He plans on retiring in Big Lake with his wife and two children.
Christina (Miller) Picha (Class of 1979)
Christina Picha was a well-rounded student during her time at Big Lake High School, having participated in choir, band, student council, prom, cheerleading, NHS., volleyball, basketball, track and field, and gymnastics. In addition, she graduated number one in her class as Valedictorian.
Christina went on to graduate from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Speech Communication, before earning her Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from William Mitchell College of Law.
Christina has had a life-long passion for education and is currently working for Owatonna Schools as Human Resources Director. She encourages others with her growth mindset as well as her positive spirit.