White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus recently played host to a Deaf Awareness Day event and it was a major success. More than 2,500 people were in attendance and kept busy with the 57 exhibitors. World Language teacher David Nathanson says this was an invaluable experience for our ASL students. He says some even expressed that their confidence with signing grew because of this opportunity.
Minnesota State Patrol recently came to spread an important message to some of our high school students. The period from mid-May through August marks the 100 deadliest days of the year for teens on the roads, so state officials visited our juniors and seniors to conduct a safe driving assembly. They presented the video "Gone Too Soon" followed by some insights regarding safe driving. White Bear Lake Area High School provides a session focused on safe driving for juniors and seniors each year alternating between this event and a mock car crash called "Every 15 Minutes."
Willow Lane students did a great job of spreading awareness and raising money for the American Heart Association at their Spring AHA Bake & Craft Sale. This was in support of Zach & Team Walgreens. Zach Bohrod is a Willow fourth grade student. He spearheaded this event three years ago after losing his father to a stroke at a young age. Whether it was a donation, a purchase, or simply to wish them well, the Willow community shared their generosity and support for Zach and his family, raising $1,100 for the American Heart Association. Zach and his mother Kerry were inducted into the 2015 American Heart Association Hall of Fame.
Over at Vadnais Heights Elementary, Student Council has been bringing awareness to the water crisis. They've been learning not only about the water problems we have in our area, but the water problems across the Earth. The council used powerful statistics to demonstrate to their peers how sparse water is in different parts of the world. Then, to give students a hands-on experience, they had classrooms go on a "water walk." Students were able to carry one gallon jugs filled with water so that they could feel what it would be like to haul water on a daily basis. Some classrooms completed the entire three and a half mile walk (14 times around the school) over the course of several days.
Vadnais Heights Elementary also hosted their first-ever Rice & Beans event, bringing awareness to our multicultural community. More than 600 visitors enjoyed a free culture night of music, dance and folk art at this free event, which celebrated Chinese, Hmong and Latino cultures. Children received a passport which was stamped as they journeyed through the nine interactive stations, such as Chinese paper cutting, making Andes pan pipes, creating Hmong ornaments and more. There was also a dress-up photo booth for visitors to try on traditional costumes and take pictures. Many enjoyed the high quality dance performances from different culture groups on stage. Everyone had opportunity to taste authentic food as well.
Since September 2014, teachers Lai Lau and Margaret Lane have been collaborating to plan, organize and apply for grants for this event. In November, they received a Brosious Grant from White Bear Lake Education Foundation and in December, they were awarded a mini-grant from the Confucius Institute at the U of M. As a result of being awarded these grants, Rice & Beans culture night was a success.
"Rice & Beans was the best event at school I have attended," a parent commented. "I hope this event can continue to happen."
Pulling together a school assembly is almost second nature now to Willow Lane fifth grade students, who've been helping the staff put on their IMAGINE! Youth Summits every other Tuesday morning. The summits are intended to teach, model and recognize the WBLAS core values of compassion, integrity, respect, responsibility and service. The students recently added perseverance to the list, too. Each summit has a theme around one of those core values. At this most recent event, fifth grade students surprised the younger classes with a "flash mob" they've been working on for months. Principal Chris Streiff says it's a great way for students to have some fun while still building relationships and taking on leadership roles.
Over at Oneka Elementary, fourth grade students are taking initiative to become a BOSS. The BOSS, or Bears Outstanding Service Superheroes, group began with last year's fifth graders. They attended the 2013 We Day and wanted to start a service group. This year, the BOSS group has led a number of service projects, raising thousands for different organizations. While they celebrated their accomplishments at an assembly back in March, they're now getting ready to pass on the torch. As part of this transition, fourth graders interested in participating in BOSS next year joined the 5th grade BOSS group for an activity called Poetry in a Pocket Day. The students decorated the sidewalks with poems to welcome Oneka students to school. Some poems were written by the students and some were from their favorite books.
WBLAHS seniors also passed a torch to the incoming National Honors Society members. They recently hosted an event for the soon-to-be freshmen at WBLAHS - South Campus for the official NHS induction ceremony. The seniors welcomed the new members by sharing personal stories of what they've accomplished through NHS and also said goodbye as prepare for their next chapter. NHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character.
Each year, WBLAHS students in the College in the Schools (CIS) German program take initiative and take a risk by entering a University of Minnesota video contest. This year, their creative work paid off - they took home two out of four awards. The 5th period GER 1003 class won the Oskar for their spoof of the TV show "The Office.
" The 6th period GER 1004 class won the Creativity Award for their movie trailer
portraying the Romeo & Juliet story re-imagined during August 1961 in East and West Berlin. There were 17 videos throughout the state in all in the running this year.
Seniors tend to have a lot on their plate, but this group has proven they can balance it all. Each year, the top ten percent of the graduating class by GPA, along with their families, are invited to the Excellence Event. It's a recognition program that honors academic excellence in the senior class and the educators who inspired each student. Each student is asked to identify one educator in the White Bear Lake Area School District who inspired them toward excellence. The district also invites a distinguished alumni of White Bear Lake Area High School or Mariner High School to address the guests. This year's honored educator was Dr. Nick Meyer ('89), an orthopedic surgeon at St. Croix Orthopedics. A variety of community organizations, businesses and individuals help to sponsor the event each year.
As the end of the school year looms, these seniors and the rest of their graduating class are busy preparing for the next chapter. The WBLAHS - South Campus Counseling Department hosted a National College and Career Decision Day for the Class of 2015 during lunch periods this past Friday. Seniors were able to flag the location on a large map where they intend to be attending school, enlisting in the military, or entering the work force in the fall of 2015. It's a visual representation of where our bears will be scattered after high school. The seniors also celebrated their exciting future with some cupcakes and "I'm Going Places" orange wristbands.
62.4-second video updates
Take a look at our 62.4-second video update that highlights weekly activity throughout our schools.
On April 25th, the WBLAHS softball team teamed up with the American Cancer Society in sponsoring a hit-a-thon event. The team raised over $3,000 in pledges and donations for the American Cancer Society. Click here for more on this event.
The National Center for Fathering honored five WBLAS students in the Father of the Year Essay Contest. Garrett Johnson ( 9th grade) and Abigail McCullough (10th grade) were the contest winners. Liselle Diaz ( 9th grade), Yajaira Lansiquot ( 9th grade) and Christian Sand (10th grade) were the runners-up.
The Ordway ARTwalk is using WBLAHS student Emma Corcoran's graphite drawing of Willie Nelson on billboard during the month of May throughout the Twin Cities as an advertisement for their event. Click here to see her artwork.
There were 17 winners out of 233 entries this year for the White Bear Center for the Arts contest, WriteNow! The special awards ceremony will take place May 7 from 7-9 p.m. at the White Bear Center for the Arts.
White Bear Lake Area High School Athletics schedules can be found here.
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School Board News
School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here