Growing and giving
An ocean full of change-makers and almost 250 White Bear Lake Area Schools representatives packed the Excel Energy Center for WE Day. At the event, students and adults learned how they can truly make a difference in the world and make it a better place. Elementary, middle and high school students cheered, smiled and reflected together. The experience was recently captured in this Friday's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
. World-renowned speakers and performers shared stories and experiences to inspire students to take positive actions by being the change they wish to see in the world. This event provides students with an opportunity to follow their passions while devising plans about how to give back to causes on either a local or global scale. Students learned how they can turn their thoughts into concrete actions on their journey to support charitable organizations or causes they choose.
Matoska International is growing and supporting causes in exciting ways. The school just received four new raised garden beds. The beds were donated by Giving Gardens. Giving Gardens is a local non-profit organization that donates raised garden beds with the requirement that at least 51 percent of the food grown goes to a local food shelf. Students and teachers will be planning over the winter about what exactly they will be growing next season. Students will be able to better understand nature by being able to watch something develop from a seed, into a plant and finally into food. The new gardens will allow students to embrace growing and giving together in a refreshingly organic way. Recently, Matoska International's families and hardworking first grade students worked together to collect an abundance of food for the district's annual Food Drive. Last year, the schools throughout the district brought in 16,000 pounds of food and $5,000 for the White Bear Lake Emergency Food Shelf.
Speaking of giving to others, more than 170 students and 100 adults volunteered at Lincoln Elementary for the annual Fall Hug-A-Heart event. Students picked up rakes and walked to houses in the Lincoln Elementary neighborhood to assist community members in fall clean-up. This is the fifth year of the event. This benefited residents who needed help with their autumn yard maintenance in White Bear Lake. Students at Sunrise Park Middle School also expressed their kindness towards other by uniting and creating a kindness chain. This activity was a positive reminder and continuation of the messages shared during Unity Day, which were about the importance of showing others the impact they can have by being kind. While middle school students expressed kindness, high school students were honored at the Breakfast of Champions event at WBLAHS - North Campus.
Students at Vadnais Heights Elementary didn't have to travel far to observe furry friends they might experience at a petting zoo. Twenty five goats were roaming around The Bear's Backyard at Vadnais Heights Elementary with purpose, as they chomped on buckthorn for several days. The Bear's Backyard is the area on the western portion of Vadnais Heights Elementary used as an outdoor classroom for many educational areas of instruction. Goats are a great way to address buckthorn. They are eco-friendly, quiet, naturally fertilize and best of all they reduce the production of seeds by consuming seeding stems; therefore, invasive plants, like buckthorn, cannot sprout as the immature seeds consumed do not survive passage through the goat's digestive tract. Using goats is a cost effective way to address buckthorn and it will be paid through money collected from students turning in Box Tops for Education.
While there may not have been goats at Central Middle School, the Commons area was full of laughter and smiles as the students tested out their skills with the game "Uno." Students in the Avid Program and the Functional Academics Program spent time with one another while enjoying the game. The experience was captured in last week's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
. The objective of the game is to match the color, number, or the symbol of one's card with the discard pile. When a player has just one card in their hand they must say "Uno." Whoever gets rid of their cards the fastest is the winner. While the middle school students had fun with this game in school, other students in the FLEX program embraced their day off on Monday, Nov. 6 and explored the Mall of America.
Students were kicking off their Sunday shoes during the first weekend of performances of "Footloose The Musical." They have been working hard at rehearsals to perfect their songs and dance numbers. The experience was recently captured in last week's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
. The story is about a student, Ren McCormack, who moves to the small town of Bomont where the Reverend has convinced the town to outlaw dancing because of a previous tragedy impacting their community. Ren and the Reverend's daughter, Ariel, work together to help the town heal while making dancing acceptable again. There are three more performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 16-18. View a sneak preview of the show
. Congratulations to the cast and crew for another sold out production.
Families could receive a sneak preview of important safety tips, as The White Bear Lake Police Department visited WBLAHS - South Campus to educate families and answer their questions at the free Safety Information Night. Adults were able to learn more about topics such as mental health, human trafficking, Internet safety, youth drug trends and awareness, and teen driving laws and safety. See more fun pictures on the White Bear Lake Police Department's Facebook page
. Families will have another opportunity to take preventative steps to ensure youth between 14 and 18 years old are safe by signing up for the Play for Patrick Free Youth Heart Screening on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at WBLAHS - South Campus. The screens include opportunities such as checking of height/weight, blood pressure, EKG (electrical current of the heart) and CPR and AED training. The Schoonover family is working to help educate and inform families about heart defects after their son Patrick Schoonover was playing in a hockey tournament, collapsed and responders were unable to revive him. It was later determined Patrick had numerous heart defects that caused his early death. More information about the event can be found about volunteering and registration on the Play for Patrick website
Other community members enjoyed shopping for beautifully crafted necklaces, mittens and bags, which were just a few of the items for sale at the Annual Holiday Boutique and Bake Sale. Families gathered for another community-building event at the Senior Center and Normandy Park Education Center. Early childhood students, veterans and families were invited to enjoy a flag ceremony in honor of Veteran's Day. This was a special time for people to express gratitude and show respect to those who have served. There was also a veteran aid and benefits presentation for individuals to attend after the flag ceremony. Students of all ages, parents and community members will have an additional opportunity to gather together and learn at the 4th Annual Manufacturing and Engineering Showcase at WBLAHS - South Campus on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 5-7:30 p.m. See the flyer
and register today
While the community gathered at several exciting events, it was National Community Education Day on Thursday, Nov. 9, which is a recognition of the district's programs that serves residents of all ages. Community Services and Recreation offers a variety of classes for community members of all ages. They offer a range of different activities including Adult Coed Volleyball, Grandmasters of Chess, ACT Preparation and Driver's Education. One of the fun opportunities that is being offered to middle school students currently is the American Sign Language classes. The experience was recently captured in this Friday's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
. During the first session, students learned how to sign the alphabet and their own names. Students were able to practice introducing themselves to their friends and other participants using sign language. Learn more
about fun classes being offered throughout the district.
Exercising the mind
Families had a calm and relaxing, yet energizing morning this Saturday. Community members gathered together and learned a few poses at Family Yoga Day. Mayor Jo Emerson and The White Bear Lake City Council have proclaimed the second Saturday of November White Bear Lake Family Yoga Day. This was an opportunity for individuals to celebrate the health and wellness of the White Bear community. LifeCore Yoga provided the class instruction, as families learned the importance of balancing and meditation. Yoga has not been the only form of exercise families have been enjoying throughout the White Bear community. Families dressed up in costumes and participated in the BearScare Family Fun Run/Walk at Otter Lake Elementary. The event was recently featured in the White Bear Press
. While Mayor Jo Emerson played an important part in making Family Yoga Day happen, she also recently visited Transition Education Center to talk about city government and voting.
Creativity was flowing at Birch Lake Elementary. Heidi Walsh's fifth grade classroom was able to participate in the Tile Project. They were able to learn how to draw a self-portrait by examining their facial features and etching it out on a piece of paper. The experience was recently captured in last week's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
. They carefully crafted their ears, nose and eyes by reflecting on how those features would look on a piece of paper. After they drew with pencil, they filled in the portrait with colors. These masterpieces will then be crafted into tiles, compiled together and hung in the hallway. This is a fun opportunity for students to see their friends' and their own drawings when they walk into school each day. While students had fun expressing their artistic talents in the classroom, they also had an exciting experience after school at Birch Lake Elementary's Family Fun Night.
Early childhood students were also able to have fun at the first-ever STEM Early Childhood Night at Normandy Park Education Center. The experience was captured in this Friday's The Week in 62.4 Seconds video
. STEM is a curriculum that focuses on providing students with opportunities to gain skills while exploring science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Families could identify different smells in jars, play with a rainbow mixture and explore ramps to race balls. While early childhood students were able to enhance their STEM skills, elementary students received a special gift to inspire new ways of thinking and seeing the world. Students received new reading materials at Willow Lane Elementary. Subaru donated 150 books as part of a Subaru Loves Learning Event. The books will be given to classroom libraries.
Middle school students had a fun activity happening in their classroom. Okello Sam spent time with all choir students at Sunrise Park Middle School. The students learned about the culture and music from Uganda. He taught them how to play drums, that he makes, as well as a song in Swahili and a dance from Uganda. The students also learned about how children in Uganda learn. Okello visits Sunrise Park Middle School every other year to spend time with the students. He has a foundation in Uganda called Hope North. Hope North helps orphans, former child soldiers, and young victims of Uganda's civil war achieve peace and success through education, inspiration, and personal development. For more information visit Hope North's website
. The 6th, 7th and 8th grade AVID students at Sunrise Park Middle School were also busy creating hope for hurricane victims by raising money during an exciting and successful fundraiser. The students planned, coordinated and executed an after school carnival/fair in which they raised over $1,000. The students determined that the money they earned would be sent to the Red Cross - Puerto Rico.
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