Getting creative for a cause
For the past three years, WBLAHS - North Campus ninth grade students in Cassidy Wegwerth's Language Arts class have been tasked with creating a public service announcement (PSA) for a particular cause (as part of the research paper requirement). Students must choose two topics for this paper - a concern that they have and a Minnesota non-profit organization that works to address that concern. While the students work on this project, they bring in money with some friendly competition between classes to see which class can bring in the most. Then, all of money raised goes toward the winning PSA's organization. This year, Wegwerth's students raised a total of $850, which is the most her students have ever raised to date by more than $300! This year's winning PSA was created by student Deklan Hoff, whose mother passed away from brain cancer. His PSA was for The American Cancer Society and he has chosen to give the $850 to The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Minneapolis. A representative from the Hope Lodge will be coming to Wegwerth's class to speak to students and to share with them how the money raised will be used to help someone who is receiving cancer treatment.
Lakeaires students also raised a significant amount of money for a similar cause during their second annual "Pennies for Patients" fundraiser. Students participated in two weeks worth of fundraising activities, one in particular that put principal Cary Krusemark in a sticky situation. During "Stuck for a Buck Day," students could purchase a piece of duct tape for $2 to be used to tape Mr. Krusemark to the wall during lunch. Students had a blast taping their principal to the wall, so much so that some students even purchased several pieces of tape to make sure he couldn't wiggle loose. All of the money raised during "Pennies for Patients" goes to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The school has a special connection to the organization this year, as one of its staff members has Myeloma, one of the blood cancers that LLS funds research on. Lakeaires Student Leadership members collected and counted the funds, and in all, the school raised roughly $1,300 during their two weeks of fundraising!
Central Middle School students recently had the opportunity to engage with a guest visitor from Uganda who shared some of the country's culture along with his personal life experiences. Okello Sam is an artist, dancer and musician from the East African country. He is also the founder of Hope North, a school in Northern Uganda which helps kids who are homeless because of wars and internal strife. Hope North is important to Okello Sam because at the age of 16, he was abducted by the rebel army of the now defunct UNLA of Northern Uganda and forced to serve as one of their soldiers. He escaped and vowed to bring an end to violence and bring hope to the people of Uganda. Today, Okello Sam runs the famous dance company, Ndere Troupe. He also has worked with the movie industry and directed the choreography and dancing in the movie, "The Last King of Scotland," starring Forest Whitaker. At Central, Okello Sam taught the kids how to dance, play the drums and learn musical instruments from Uganda. He was a big hit with Central students and they say they can't wait for him to return. He will be visiting Sunrise Park students this week.
When it comes to the familiarity of our global world, Sunrise Park student Patrick Glava is great at mapping it out. He recently competed at the Minnesota State Geography Bee at St. Cloud State University, competing against 100 other students from around the state. Patrick proudly represented Sunrise Park Middle School, his parents and his eighth grade teachers at the competition. Unfortunately, Patrick did not move on to the final round, but is already considered a winner considering he qualified for such a challenging opportunity.
The happy hum of productivity and power tools filled the room as Lincoln's Explorations students engaged in a morning of "Makerspace" learning. Makerspaces are often referred to as "hackerspaces" and "fablabs," but these focus primarily on learning and education. They are a physical location where (in this case) students gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects and build. For this group of students, Makerspace is a time and place focused on innovative thinking. They build, make messes, try new things, encounter problems and solve those problems in creative ways. Recently, students in Julie Stonehouse's Explorations class tied their Makerspace to a current science unit, exploring the concepts of force and motion as they learned about simple machines. Students were presented with a couple of simple requirements: They were to build something that does something, and it must incorporate at least two different simple machines in its design. With the support of some fantastic parents handling those power tools, students created things like trebuchets, vehicles and even a book holder.
Employment Exploration is also the name of a course that Transition Plus student Jordan Vance is currently taking every day. She also participates in a paid work experience at Central Middle School Kitchen as a dishwasher. Transition Education students who participate in Work Based Learning as a part of their education, are working towards their goals and independence in the area of employment. Students get trained in, receive job coach support as needed and work towards achieving their goals and becoming independent. Jordan loves her co-workers at Central and is a hard worker, responsible and efficient. Jordan has learned independence, self advocacy and good communication skills through this opportunity. Watch this video
highlighting her hard work and love for working independently.
'Sips and Swallows'
WBLAHS students recently hosted their fourth annual "Sips and Swallows" event which is the celebration of the WBLAHS Writing Center's publication of Sensicality - a student literary and art journal. Sensicality is comprised of student artwork and writing and is a tribute to students' creativity and talents. The student committee works hard to select the art and writing for the publication, pairing them in order to create a unique final product. The event name "Sips and Swallows" comes from the Stephen King book, On Writing, where he writes..."The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as long swallows." Copies of Sensicality can be found at the WBLAHS Writing Center. You may also view some highlighted student work on this website
62.4-second video updates
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Two WBLAHS seniors were honored during the National Letter of Intent signing day on Tuesday, April 13. Garrett Zakrezweski signed with Winona State University's Cross Country Team. Makala Keefe signed with the University of North Dakota's Track and Field Team.