Winberg Warrior

A former Cannon Falls teacher and coach is remembered for her positive attitude, caring actions, and brave battle with cancer.

A collection of pictures gathered for the Winberg Warrior program

Sophie Epps

A collection of pictures gathered for the Winberg Warrior program

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“Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all…”

On Tuesday, December 18th, a class of Cannon Falls third graders piled out of school buses to sing carols in Red Wing. Along with several other Christmas carols like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the third graders sang outside of one house in particular; the Winberg household. While this may seem like a random act of kindness, this support for the Winberg family has occurred for over a year.

Sophie Epps
Cannon Falls Elementary Principal Chappuis came up with the idea of writing messages on heart-shaped pieces of paper. Over 500 heart-shaped papers were cut out by Mrs. Turner, an elementary teacher. The hearts were then put into this box that was decorated by Mrs. Larson, another elementary teacher.

During the school year of 2017-2018, Kiley Winberg was diagnosed with breast cancer. To ensure that Kiley wasn’t going to fight this battle alone, the second grade team of teachers as well as the rest of the school came together to support her. Mrs. Jennifer Chappuis, a new principal at the elementary school remarked, “this was quite a daunting task and to remain uplifting and positive in a stressful time, I told my staff not to worry because #wegotthis.” Mottos such as “Winberg Warriors” and “we got this” were put on shirts in support of Mrs. Winberg’s journey. The pink-colored phrases represented Mrs. Winberg’s fight against breast cancer along with being a bright enough color to stand out against the turquoise-colored shirt, which was Mrs. Winberg’s favorite color.

She was always happy to see us. She was an awesome teacher”

— Former Student

A former student of Mrs. Winberg, now in 3rd grade states that he loved Mrs. Winberg. He goes on to say “I had [her for] 4-5 months and then a substitute came in. She also came in to school to come visit us while she was sick. We would talk to her and give her hugs. She was always happy to see us. She was an awesome teacher.” The former student goes on to say that Mrs. Winberg would do some pretty silly things, such as wearing Mickey Mouse ears and asking all the teachers to dress up in a unique outfit as a way of supporting her. According to students and parents, Mrs. Winberg challenged the children using fun teaching methods. “She tried to get them to learn as much as their curious brains would absorb” states a parent.

While the entire third grade sang carols, the students Winberg had last year held jingle bells to ring while singing the songs. Mrs. Kadrlik who is a third grade teacher came up with the idea of caroling at the Winberg household. After Mrs. Winberg’s passing on December 14th, the staff gathered together. Not only did they gather to remember Mrs. Winberg but they also needed a chance to prepare to help the students grieve.

On Tuesday the 18th, the third graders were previously planning on going to Red Wing for a field trip which is when Mrs. Kadrlik introduced going caroling. Since these third graders were the last group of students to have the most recent connection with Mrs. Winberg, caroling was a meaningful way to cope with her loss. All of the students and teachers loved her and many will say as their grieve begins to flee, “Kiley the Winberg Warrior, you’ll go down in history.”

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