Wren Menke, a senior at Algona High School, is extremely interested in history. This interest has played a significant role in her life. During the 2020-2021 school year, Menke was supposed to have an internship at the Camp Algona Museum. However, due to Covid restrictions, she was unable to complete this.
This didn’t stop Menke from trying to help the community and learn more about history right here in Algona. The summer before her senior year, she helped restore a set of original bunk beds from the POW camp that are now on display in the museum. When school started, Menke continued to work at Camp Algona, taking inventory and cataloging WWII interviews that have been conducted over the past 22 years. Menke also helped write a grant to get funding for permanent storage of the priceless artifacts in the Camp POW Museum. Brain Connick, Algona High School history teacher and Camp POW Museum vice president, states, “Wren has provided an invaluable service to our community by helping to preserve so many local stories. I can’t wait to see where her interests lead her.”
Menke’s drive to learn history and help out the museum has not gone unnoticed. Menke was recognized for her leadership and community involvement by being named the 2022 Billy Michal Student Leadership award recipient for the state of Iowa. Each year, only one student from each state is chosen to receive this award. She will be recognized for this accomplishment at the American Spirit Leadership Luncheon and Forum. This will take place at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans on June 9th and 10th.
After graduating from high school this May, Menke plans on attending the University of Wisconsin-Superior to pursue a career in public history.