"Pomp and Circumstance" was cued up, selfies were endless and speeches were bittersweet as the high school graduates reflected on their experiences and discussed their hopes for the future. The graduates had the opportunity to reminisce and inspire the next generation of White Bear graduates during the last week of school at the Senior Walk. The Senior Walk was a chance for approximately 200 seniors to dress in their caps and gowns and go back to their former elementary school. The experience was captured in the June 9 edition of the
. After the Senior Walk, the White Bear graduates walked across the stage and received their diplomas at the White Bear Lake Area High School Commencement Exercises at Aldrich Arena on Friday, June 9. District staff sent the graduates their best wishes on their journey beyond high school. Gabriel Ijjo, Taylor Stumo-Langer, Hannah Falk and Samantha Engrav shared inspiring speeches with their fellow classmates, families and loved ones in the audience. Watch the entire
exactly what being a White Bear grad means to them. (Additional photos of the Graduation Ceremony can be found in the
Prior to the White Bear Lake Area High School Commencement Exercises, Area Learning Center students walked across the stage and celebrated their graduation. All of the graduates were awarded their diplomas by their advisors, who shared the students' strengths, successes and future plans. Graduates Kevin Wann and Eli Hanusa shared their experiences and words of wisdom with the audience about life before and after graduation. Ayan Abdilahi, Jake Birchland, Eli Hanusa, Hailey Hopkins and Kevin Wann were all recognized as Students of Excellence. Also, Kevin Wann was named the 2017 Academic Achiever.
Also, during the final week of school, the Transition Education Center Commencement took place, where 16 students celebrated graduation. Like the Area Learning Center, this graduation ceremony is unique in that every graduate is highlighted individually. Staff called up each graduate and shared their accomplishments and future aspirations. This year's keynote speaker was Dr. Michael Lovett. Following his remarks, was this year's Farewell Address given by 2017 graduate Will Hamilton. Watch his entire speech
. After the ceremony, all guests were invited to attend the reception and enjoy a treat along with one another's company.
The Title VI Indian Parent Committee conceptualized and carried out a ceremony to honor the Native American seniors. This recognition ceremony included the presentation of a beaded Eagle feather in honor of their accomplishments. Jerry Dearly was the presenter of the feathers. He explained to the students, among other things, how the feather is to be used traditionally. The Parent Committee members actually beaded the feathers and provided an engraved wooden carrying case to each graduate. An eagle feather is given as a traditional symbol of an accomplishment of a member of the community. It is something they can carry with them their whole life!
High school graduates were not the only ones to celebrate the next step in their lives. Fifth grade students across the district attended ceremonies to recognize their hard work throughout their school career, thus far. While they may have a few more years before receiving their high school diploma, family and friends gathered to send them off to middle school. There were many fun performances and accomplishments to share at the fifth grade graduation ceremonies. There were also graduation ceremonies held for students in the Bear Fundamentals program. At these ceremonies, students sang and danced while enjoying pictures and hugs with their family and friends after the performances. While the school year ended, summer school kicked off at Birch Lake Elementary, Central Middle School and Lincoln Elementary. Students will have the opportunity to experience hands-on learning through a variety of activities such as touring the Police Station, visiting CHS Field and walking to the White Bear Lake Library. Summer school is run district wide.
A beautiful piece of artwork reflecting patriotism made one soon-to-be eighth grade student the winner of an art contest. Megan Harrington won first place at the state level of the VFW Patriotic Art Explorers Contest. The Central Middle School student was recently recognized for her accomplishments at the state convention. Congratulations Megan! From one art success story to the next, Nolan Von Walter was the Manitou Days Button Contest winner and Rosemary Zarate was the runner-up. Nolan and the students in his fifth grade classroom celebrated with a pizza party at Lakeaires Elementary. Color, color and more color. Students and staff at Birch Lake Elementary enjoyed running around the grounds and getting decorated with a variety of colors at the Color Run. Staff held bottles of orange, blue and purple powder and dusted the students as they ran by. The experience was captured in the June 9 edition of the 62.4-second video update
. This provided the school with an exciting way to celebrate the end of the year while enjoying the sunshine and one another's company. Also, the videos were voted upon for the water conservation video contest at the 1st Annual STEM Water Symposium. Watch these masterpieces
Students' detailed choreography, harmonious vocals and convincing acting captured an audience's attention at Hennepin Theatre Trust's Spotlight Showcase. Students who performed in the Fall Musical created a masterpiece during their performance of "Step in Time" from Mary Poppins. The whole auditorium erupted as the White Bear students brought down the house. They felt great about their performance and the audience's response exceeded their expectations. This is the eighth consecutive year the WBLAHS Theatre Program has received high Spotlight honors! Watch their full performance
. The Spotlight Showcase highlights hard work and talents of the state's finest musical theatre students and programs.
The eighth grade Automation and Robotics class at Sunrise Park Middle School had JudoBots battles during their last week of school to tie in all of their conversations about hydraulics, pneumatics and to review all of the movements that occur in a robotic arm. In Sunrise Park Middle School's sixth grade Project Lead the Way classes, they were working on a sailboat project that the students designed on the Engineering CAD Program called Autodesk Inventor. The experience was captured in the June 9 edition of the 62.4-second video update
. These classes are part of Project Lead the Way curriculum. Project Lead the Ways is a national organization and a leading provider of science technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs across the country. While some science experiments were conducted on land, others went skyrocketing into space. The WBLSAA (White Bear Lake Student Astronomical Association) partnered with South Campus, Matoska International and the University of Minnesota to learn about, experiment with and participate in a high altitude ballooning. Their balloon traveled to approximately 100,000 feet with two bears and multiple experiments related to sound, pressure and temperature. The balloon brought back a large amount of data for students to analyze and some spectacular pictures. The two bears were given to Karen Brabenec and Dr. Michael Lovett in recognition of their efforts and dedication to students' work. After students cheered for Karen, who is a special education teacher at Willow Lane Elementary, they geared up for a Talent Show. Students danced, sang and played guitar for their friends and staff members. Before students geared up for summer, special reptile creatures visited students at Lakeaires Elementary.
Middle school students embraced National History Day's theme by Taking a Stand in History, as they showcased their exhibits at the National History Day Contest. The National Contest is the final stage of a series of contests that have been happening at the local and state levels. Evey year, nearly 3,000 students gather at the University of Maryland, College Park with families and teachers for the event. Sullivan Gunderson, Alexander Lockwood, Ernest Mattson and Oreoluwa Olusi displayed their group exhibit that was ninth in the nation called "Don Haskins: Standing at the Line to Break the Color Line." Emma Wickstrom displayed her individual exhibit, as well as Aliyah Hamlin who took third place at National History Day with her exhibit called "Loving v. Virginia: Taking a Stand For Marriage." Next year's theme is Conflict and Compromise in History.
While students displayed their hard work at National History Day, White Bear Lake Area Schools, local vendors and BearPower offered the community exciting opportunities at the first Marketfest of the season. Families and community members could vote on veggies by giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down to both jicama and carrots at the BearPower booth. Also, the district had a table full of fun, as community members could receive a Bear Paw tattoo. The exciting opportunities did not end at Marketfest, as community members, district staff members and students later lined up for the Manitou Days Grand Parade. District students are heavily involved with the upcoming Manitou Days celebrations, with district winners in the poster contest, button contest, writing contest, and Marketfest t-shirt design art contest. Visit the district's booth on Thursdays until the end of July, in Downtown White Bear Lake to receive a free pencil and Bear Paw decal.
62.4-second video updates