Earth Day honor
While many environmental efforts were brought to light in honor of Earth Day, WBLAS students of all ages have been practicing environmentally friendly behavior year-round - especially when it comes to water conservation. Throughout the week surrounding Earth Day, Governor Mark Dayton, Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith and state commissioners traveled throughout Minnesota to focus attention on resources and actions that help conserve and protect water, and Willow Lane Elementary was chosen to be in the spotlight. Governor Dayton was welcomed by Willow fifth grade students as they hosted a mini-summit at their school centered around Willow's water conservation efforts and how they're tied to the district's core values. Governor Dayton wasn't the only special guest in the audience, either - H2O for Life representatives, Mayor Jo Emerson, local law makers, members of the School Board and additional district staff were also in attendance to support Willow students, and students across the district, who've demonstrated the importance of water conservation.
A number of seniors at both White Bear Lake Area High School and the White Bear Lake Area Learning Center were honored for their academic achievements during this year's Excellence Event. Each year, the top ten percent of the graduating class by GPA, along with their families, are invited to attend. 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. A variety of community organizations, businesses and individuals help to sponsor the event each year. Catch highlights from this event in the most recent 62.4-second video update
That same week, White Bear Lake Area Learning Center students celebrated state honors after participating in the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs Student Organization's (MAAP STARS) state competition. Team Parenting Decision Making made it to the finals, and the LifeSmarts team made it to the Wildcard match. The students placed in Gold, Silver and Bronze categories. In addition, senior Kayla Hernandez was recognized as a nominee for MAAP STARS Student of the Year. After receiving the state honors, MAAP STARS students were awarded certificates from both the WBL ALC and from the School Board. This ceremony was also covered in the most recent 62.4-second video update
Middle school students just recently wrapped up the National History Day State Competition this past weekend at the University of Minnesota. A number of Central and Sunrise Park seventh grade students qualified to participate in the event, out of approximately 1,300 students from across the state. Every year, seventh grade students take part in a research project that relates to an annual theme. This year's theme was; Exploration, Encounter and Exchange. Students picked an American History topic back in October, conducted months of research, then were able to present their findings with either a performance, website, exhibit board, paper or documentary. The best projects from either middle school competed on March 12 at WBLAHS - South Campus at the regional level, moving on to the state competition. Click here
to learn more about National History Day MN.
A poem written by Transition Education student Mao Yang recently received national attention. Her love for the written word has earned her a front page spot on the "My Life Without Limits" website, a program of United Cerebral Palsy. Mao wrote a self-portrait poem about how she views herself - a very inspirational piece on self acceptance. To read Mao's beautifully written poem, click here
Though a student's dedicated work ethic plays a tremendous role in academic excellence, having an inspirational educator can, too. The White Bear Lake Teachers' Association recently held its 2016 Teacher of the Year Celebration, celebrating the outstanding contributions of the many talented teachers in the district. Out of the amazing group of finalists, WBLAHS science teacher Philip Wacker was announced the 2016 WBLTA Teacher of the Year. Mr. Wacker was nominated by high school student Grant Loehlein, who expressed how the high school physics teacher genuinely cares about his students in class. Mr. Wacker received a $1,000 gift from the White Bear Lake Lions Club and will serve as an ambassador for educators and our district.
When it comes to encouraging students to make smart decisions, they often have to see it to believe it. High school students were given a strong message during this year's mock car crash demonstration. From police to prosecutors, a number of community members and officials helped pull together a very realistic car crash scene with our own WBLAHS students playing the roles of the perpetrator and victims involved (among other roles). This enactment sent a very powerful message to students as they watched the (acting) perpetrator go to jail after taking the life of another (acting) student because she made the choice to drink and drive. It also sent a strong message of how distracted driving comes with serious consequences. You can watch this very realistic demonstration in this very powerful video
. (Again, the students in the video were acting out specific roles and this doesn't reflect their personal actions.)
Another topic district staff chose to address through video, was testing. This is rarely a popular topic for students to listen to, especially for some restless elementary kids. So a couple of Birch Lake Elementary teachers decided to try something new to grab students' attention regarding the MCA test. Birch teachers Katie Anderson and Michelle Gratz disguised themselves as rock stars with wigs and bright pink feather boas, singing "Just Read It! Just Beat it!" - their own personal spin off of the classic Michael Jackson song, "Just Beat It." To watch this motivational (and hilarious) video, click here
. Birch staff members also got creative during their recent annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day event, where loved ones were invited to the school to take part in fun activities with students and to observe what they've been learning in the classroom.
Pennies for Patients
Vadnais Heights Elementary students recently participated in a coin drive called Pennies for Patients to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (similar to the fundraising efforts of Lakeaires students, which was covered in a recent issue of the district e-newsletter). Vadnais Heights Student Council members made posters to advertise the event and created announcements for the morning broadcast to motivate the student body. Donations were collected in bronze, silver and gold levels, and after combining them all together, the school wound up raising a total of $2,342 to benefit the organization. Vadnais Heights Elementary educates students on the importance of community service. This year, the school has participated in Jump Rope for Heart, Pennies for Patients and the Lion's Holiday Toy and Food Drive. The school's students, staff and families have raised over $5,000 dollars, along with the food and toy collection, which supports our community and other important initiatives.
Take a look at our 62.4-second video updates that highlight weekly activity throughout our schools during the school year.
for a schedule of all fall sports contests. Find a complete list of all WBLAHS Activities, Athletics and Fine Arts
(651-407-7695) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.