New and improved
It's been an exciting school year for those at Willow Lane and Lakeaires Elementary Schools as students and staff enjoyed their first year with a much bigger space. Both the elementary schools went through virtually the same renovations; adding secured entry to the building, a designated music space and an additional "Bearified" (orange and black) gymnasium to name a few. Though students and staff have been enjoying these renovations since the fall, this past week, the community was invited to get an inside look. Both schools hosted Renovation Celebration Open Houses for the public to attend. Fifth graders from both schools took guests on tours and very proudly showed off their beautiful new space. You can learn more about these renovations by watching this video
Just recently, Willow Lane Elementary learned it will soon be getting another addition - a community garden. Willow was selected as one of 20 Good Neighbor Innovation Schools in the United States to receive a $5,000 grant from StateFarm Youth Service America (YSA). The school was chosen because of its "commitment to creating a culture of service by utilizing YSA's tools, resources and expertise." Willow Principal Chris Streiff says they'll use the grant to create partnerships with outside organizations to increase STEM opportunities within the school and, in connection with our service learning Core Value, they will establish the community garden with outside gathering spaces and plants native to Minnesota. Classes will maintain the garden using both the community service aspect and will learn from it by studying the plants and habitat.
Excelling beyond the classroom
White Bear Lake Area High School - South Campus junior Juliette Schroeder has been awarded a grant from the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation (WBLAEF). The generous Bear Grant Scholarship
will cover part of the program cost for Juliette to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. and New York City in July. At the 10-day conference, students interact with key leaders who influence global politics, finance, culture and diplomacy. They will visit international embassies and the US Department of State, participate in Global Issues Workshops and a Global Simulation Summit. This is an opportunity to collaborate with peers around the world, preparing students with the critical leadership skills needed to resolve global conflicts.
Juliette is currently in South Africa (pictured on the left, wearing a white hat) for Rotary International's exchange program 2014-2015. She spent her junior year of high school in Benoni, just outside Johannesburg, and will return June 30 to begin her senior year at WBLAHS this fall.
"I want to continue my interest in international relations. I want to be involved in the process of why and how world events occur and become involved in the process of developing solutions to those challenges. I want to surround myself with people that share my interests and the GYLC can provide that opportunity," said Juliette.
The pride in our students extends beyond graduation, which is demonstrated through the WBLAHS Wall of Fame. This spring, 1998 graduate Michael Djupstom was inducted alongside fellow well-accomplished Bear alumni. The work of composer and pianist Djupstrom has been honored with first prizes in international composition competitions of the UK's Delius Society, the American Viola Society, and the Chinese Fine Arts Society. His work has been further recognized through awards and grants from institutions such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Fellowship, Charles Ives Scholarship), Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (Pew Fellowship), New Music USA, S&R Foundation (Grand Prize, Washington Awards), Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, the Académie musicale de Villecroze, and the Sigurd and Jarmila Rislov Foundation, among many others. The Music Teachers National Association named him its 2005 MTNA-Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year. The graduate has represented White Bear Lake Area Schools well!
Students in our Insight Program are making incredible strides as well. They recently participated in the 19th Annual Recovery in the Park event in Maplewood to celebrate their accomplishments with others who've fought similar battles. This event is a celebration for young people in recovery - from local recovery schools, treatment centers and recovery support groups. Representative Jason Isaacson was the featured speaker, telling his story of becoming sober as a teen, local musician Tim Cheesebrow provided music, and area support groups and college recovery programs shared information at booths. A highlight for the Insight students was making it to the championship round in a volleyball tournament, in which they placed second in a close match with a team from PEASE Academy.
The Area Learning Center has additional reasons for which to be proud, as the work of 10 White Bear students was chosen for inclusion in "The Alchemist," the Minnesota Association of Alternative Program's annual literary/art magazine that is filled with work created entirely by students who attend alternative schools in the state of Minnesota. Students whose works were published were: Sara BetharteNiven, Mariah Campbell, Cameron Coile, Tessa Christensen, Chelsea Jewell, Austin Laroen, Madeline Lodden, Trevor Mortinson-Telschow, Andru Nelson and Christopher Stamnes. Find the publication here
Races and relays
It's been a busy couple of weeks for our track stars - from fifth grade, all the way to our WBLAHS seniors. WBLAHS track teams recently participated in their section finals in Stillwater. The girls' team wound up placing second overall in the 4AA Section meet. Eleven of our athletes will be representing eight events at the Minnesota State meet this week.
The Central Middle School eighth grade Girls' Track team has a lot to celebrate this season as well. They went undefeated and took home the title of conference champion! Seventh grade Girls' Track did an awesome job too, taking second place in their conference. See a bit of their celebratory pizza party in last week's 62.4-second video update
Fifth graders across the district also took part in their South Side and North Side annual spring track meets, something our high school students tell us is an activity that stands out vividly in their minds even years later! Though there is some friendly competition at this sporting event, it's also a wonderful opportunity for our fifth graders to get to know one another as they will soon be joining forces and heading off to middle school together in the fall.
Vadnais Heights Elementary students participated in a different sort of relay, one you won't find at your typical track meet. Their fifth annual Relay Recess brought the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life program into the elementary school to promote cancer awareness and healthy living. Vadnais staff have been engaging students in the fight against cancer with month long activities and fundraising leading up to this.
This year's event focused on five main aspects; tobacco prevention, sun protection, nutrition, physical activity and volunteerism. These were incorporated into stations and activities during Relay Recess. This year the students dressed as superheroes against cancer and were able to decorate and personalize superhero capes. Students and staff also walked laps around the school in honor of those who have fought or are continuing to fight cancer. Fundraising included purchasing footprints that will hang in the school's gymnasium representing anyone who has battled cancer.
What do Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Ellen DeGeneres, Shirley Temple and Steve Jobs all have in common? They were all at Oneka last week! Well, sort of. Heading into Oneka Elementary was quite the treat last Thursday, as students (grades 2-4) were greeted along the sidewalk by these (and many more) look-a-like stars! Oneka fifth graders dressed as famous individuals as part of a research project and for their "Living History Museum" event - which took place after school. For about a month, fifth graders individually researched an influential person of their choice and presented their findings in class and at the public event. Students not only dressed as these stars but remained in character all evening!
Our preschoolers hit the sidewalk in search for some much smaller friends. They took part in a special activity where they collected bugs by "sweeping" the nearby grasslands with bug-catching nets, then observing the insects with magnifying glasses. Students and parents alike enjoyed the outdoor adventure, and the students were given their own bug magnifying jars so they can perfect the art of bug-catching over the summer. Parents and family members were present for this adventure because they had been visiting for preschool graduation. Along with this activity, preschools got to show their parents what they've been up to with a video slideshow of photos from many of their neat preschool activities.
Goodbye, for now!
As the school year begins to wind down, those behind the Bear Cafe at WBLAHS - South Campus are reflecting on another successful semester of business. On average, Bear Cafe
fed 40 staff members each month, with their highest customer count being at 62 guests. Each month, Bear Cafe was open for district staff. This restaurant allows students to focus on work readiness skills, social skills and applying techniques taught in the classroom in a "real life" situation. A free will donation of $5 is suggested for each plate. The profit is then used to fund the next Bear Cafe. Bear Cafe is completely self-sufficient with no donations or funding from the school district or the community. WBLAHS - South Campus and the Special Services Department have been very supportive of this venture for the students this year. Though closed as of May 8th, Bear Cafe will open for business again the Fall of 2015.
The end of the year can be bittersweet for our seniors, saying goodbye to a memorable experience at White Bear while embracing an exciting future ahead. As one of the many official send-offs here at the district, our seniors had a chance to gather with one another for Senior Day. This began with the annual senior breakfast where students enjoyed the anticipated inspirational pep talk from Mark Sharonbroich. Mark has inspired White Bear Lake seniors for 30 years at this event, since he agreed to speak to the class of 1985 at their first senior dinner! The event was modified to become a breakfast the following year and, with the exception of a few years when family commitments interfered, Mark has spoken to every White Bear Lake graduating class. Sadly, this Senior Breakfast was Mark's final presentation to White Bear Lake's graduating class. See a photo album of the morning here
. Traditionally, our seniors have even referred to his hilarious presentation as a highlight of senior year. Following Mark's words of encouragement, students carried that energy to Valleyfair for an adventure-filled day with their classmates.
Many of our high schools seniors have had a long career here at White Bear, but a majority of our 2014-15 retirees have them beat. This past week, we honored all of the district retirees at the School Board sponsored Annual Retirement Celebration. The honored retirees were welcomed to the celebration with remarks from School Board Chair Janet Newberg and were later addressed by Superintendent Dr. Michael Lovett. The ceremony shared memories and thanks for their dedicated service to our district. This video
was shared at the celebration to honor each retiree. We would like to again extend our gratitude to these dedicated staff members (some who have been in the district for roughly 30 years!) - thank you for all you have done for our students!
62.4-second video updates
Take a look at our 62.4-second video update that highlights weekly activity throughout our schools.
Girls' and Boys' Golf both advanced to their section finals. Boys' Golf won Section Four and will move on to State. WBLAHS Junior golfer Mason Fiddle was a medalist. Boys' and Girls' Lacrosse begin their section tournaments - the boys are ranked fourth in the state at this time. WBLAHS Girls' Track placed second overall in the 4AA Section Meet - elevan of those athetes are headed to State. The C.H.
Christensen Award for Honor Athlete of the Year was awarded to Peder Solberg. The Dick Bradley Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to Trey Anderson. The Miss Bear Honor Athlete of the Year was awarded to Katie Zoborowski. The Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to Caitlin Broberg.
White Bear Lake Area High School Athletics schedules can be found here.
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