WBL Newsletter

District News
- Questions You Ask
- General Information
- Opportunities
- Awards and Honors

Student News
- Hats Off to the Class of 2013
- Good News Bears
- Turning Points
- Coming Together
- Activities Updates

School Board News
- Student Recognitions
- School Board Meetings

School Board Regular Meeting
7:00 p.m.
June 10
District Center

District Booth at Marketfest
7-9 p.m.
Every Thursday through July 25
Downtown WBL

Find the complete 2012-13 Activity Calendar and other calendar listings here.

June 14, 2013

District News

Questions you ask

White Bear Lake Area High School 2013 Graduation Ceremony

The warm summer I arrived as your superintendent you were preparing for eighth grade. Since then, I have been watching you... in the cafeteria, choir, band, classrooms, plays, sports and activities. Back in eighth grade I remember mostly that you were ...awkward. If you have doubts about my memory, just look at your eighth grade school picture.

Perhaps you remember that in eighth grade you really wanted to be in high school and treated as an adult, which at that point you thought went together automatically. Other times you thought it would be great to be back in fifth grade again, reliving track and field day. You took the baton and in spectacular fashion carried your elementary school to glorious victory. Yes, such is the awkwardness of transitions. 

I learned about you during lunch conversations, while we munched on chicken nuggets and gobbled deep-fried french fries (in that ancient history both were still legal for school lunch). I was particularly eager to hear what important questions you might ask me.

But mostly you asked, "Will we ever, ever get a snow day?"

This March it happened - and none of you saw it coming. Class of 2013, that snow day was for you!

In disbelief, you overwhelmed social media, almost shutting down Facebook and Twitter. Such was your excitement, a couple of you claimed you even had difficulty getting back to sleep.  But mostly you used the day wisely, for homework, time with friends and family, and perhaps for indulgence in a movie or three. A few of you, no doubt remembering our core values, surprised your parents by finishing a chore they had asked you to do last October. 

During your years in school you have asked other important questions, too. 

In the first year of the millennium you began kindergarten and  wondered, "Will my teacher like me? Who will be my friend?" 

You asked your parents for reassurance: "Will you be here when I get home?"   

By middle school you asked, "Will my friends be on my team?"  

You asked your parents for independence: "You're not going to be around when I get home from school, are you?"

As ninth graders you went to North campus and wondered, "How will I keep from getting lost?"

When you approached your parents you didn't know whether to ask for a ride away from home or time together at home.

During your senior year you realize tough questions remain.  On the verge of graduation you face the exhilaration of freedom and independence. You also face doubts. Surprise: you are at another awkward transition. So what questions are on your minds tonight?

One for sure is: "How can I get across the stage without tripping?"

During the past thirteen years you have learned three lessons important to recall tonight.

First, your teachers really do like you. Even on days they wear red shirts and give you tests.

Secondly, the friends of your elementary days are still your friends. After the ceremony you may hug a classmate you haven't talked to since third grade.

Third, those in the audience tonight really love you, even if you argued all they way to the ceremony. We will clap and cheer for you and are very proud of you and your accomplishments.  But we find our eyes moist when we watch you walk across the stage. Why? 

That, Class of 2013, is your next question. When you begin to understand the answer why, you will realize what it means to become an adult.

Tonight we honor you. Our community is proud of your service, achievements, and character. We are grateful to your teachers and staff and our community for teaching you to dream and to never give up. We are all proud to be Bears.

Finally, remember the lesson of the snow day. Sometimes life will grant you a surprise gift when you least expect it. Be grateful and use it wisely.

Congratulations, Class of 2013... Go Bears!

Dr. Michael Lovett

To see photos from each graduation ceremony, please click the appropriate link below:


General Information
Did You Know?

Community Services

The WBLAS Community Services and Recreation Department provides a wide range of services and opportunities that enhance the quality of life for all members of ISD 624.

The Community Services and Recreation Spring/Summer 2013 Catalog is now available online. Click here to register for upcoming courses.

Playground and Pre-Playground Programs begin the week of June 17 at various locations throughout the District. Click here to register your child for these programs.

Parent Notices:

  • 2013-15 Academic Calendars - Calendars for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years are available here. Classes for the 2013-14 school year begin on September 3. The 2013-14 Activities Calendar will be mailed to District families in August.
  • Otter Lake All-Star Birthday Bash - Mark your calendars! Otter Lake Elementary will host an All-Star Birthday Bash from 5-8 p.m. on September 26 to celebrate the 25th birthday of the school. All current and former students, parents, teachers and staff are invited to attend.
  • Tech Talk - Find the latest Assistive Technology Newsletter here.

Senior Program Updates:

The White Bear Area Senior Center is a program of the White Bear Lake Area Schools Community Services & Recreation Department.

  • Community Resources - The White Bear Lake Area offers many resources for older adults in the community. Click here to view a comprehensive list of programs and services.

In Every Issue:

  • White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation - The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, Inc. (WBLAEF) is an independent, non-profit corporation promoting excellence in education in White Bear Lake Area School District 624 schools. Find the WBLAEF website here.
    • WBLAEF Golf Tournament - Wells Fargo-The Private Bank and National Insurance Services present the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation's 14th Annual Golf Tournament on Monday, June 24, at Dellwood Country Club. Golfer slots and sponsorships are available. Please call Lisa Lindvall at 651-407-7696 or visit wblaef.org for more information
    • Grants - A reminder to teachers that applications for the Brosious Teaching Grant, Glasrud Family Fellowship Grant, and Ryan Elementary Art grants are available online throughout the summer and academic years We hope that you take a look at these grant opportunities this summer and keep them in mind as you plan your next school year!
    • WBLAEF Newsletter - Find the most recent White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation's newsletter here. To sign-up for the electronic newsletter, please send a request to lisa.lindvall@isd624.org or call 651-407-7696.
  • Energy Efficiency Program - The Schools for Energy Efficiency® (SEE) is a comprehensive program for K-12 schools to save energy and money by changing behavior throughout the district. As the school year is rapidly coming to an end, find the latest update here to see how much WBLAS saved this fall and winter.



Support WBLAS Students

  • Theatre Alumni Show - White Bear Lake Area Schools theatre alumni are teaming up for a performance of: "White Bear Lake Musical Theatre Alum Show: Past, Present and Future" at 7 p.m. on June 15 at the Community Auditorium. Click here to get your tickets.
  • International Exchange Students - It is our hope to invite 6 to 8 international students between 15-17 years of age into our schools each year. It is a wonderful experience to host an exchange student, and necessary to have a current high school student in your family. If you are interested in hosting, please contact Tim Wald at 651-773-6205.

Awards and Honors

  • Financial reporting awards - The White Bear Lake Area School Board recently received awards for excellence in financial reporting from both the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials and the Government Finance Officers Association for its audit report of June 30, 2012. Click here to see a full press release with information about the awards. Send a note of congratulations to the finance team here.
Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit District News, General Information, Opportunities or Awards & Honors for inclusion in future publications.

Student News

Hats off to the Class of 2013!

Last week the district celebrated nearly 650 high school graduates from the Transition Plus Program, White Bear Lake Area Learning Center and White Bear Lake Area High School. After achieving success in the classroom, fine arts and athletic activities for many years, we are proud to help them begin their postsecondary and career plans.

The first to receive diplomas were ten graduates from the White Bear Lake Area Transition Plus program on Thursday afternoon. Transition Plus provides a set of coordinated activities that assist students with disabilities, ages 18-21, to move from the school setting into post-graduation activities. From the White Bear Lake Area Learning Center, seventy-four students received their high school diploma in a special ceremony held at WBLAHS - South Campus on Thursday evening.

Family and friends filled Aldrich Arena last Friday for the WBLAHS Ceremony, which featured selections from the band and choir, student speakers, the announcement of the 2013 Bear Awards and the presentation of diplomas. Following the ceremony, seniors spent the night at the 2013 Senior All-Night Party lock-in, enjoying the chance to win prizes, play games and spend one last evening together with their classmates.

We thank the Class of 2013 for being a part of the White Bear Lake Area Schools family and wish them the best in all of their future endeavors. Visit the District's Facebook page to view photos from each graduation ceremony.

Good News Bears
What did you want to be when you grew up? ...a television anchor, journalist or sportscaster? White Bear Lake Area Schools, in conjunction with the 2013 Manitou Days "Good News Bears" theme, sponsored a writing contest asking students to report on a media profession to which they aspire. Students submitted articles on a variety of media careers and six students were selected as top winners. Congratulations to Sam Lemoro - Grade 1, Jordan Anderson - Grade 4, Kylie Kendall - Grade 4, Collin Little - Grade 4, Abby Maahs - Grade 4 and Zachary Swanovich - Grade 4 for their outstanding entries. Click here to read their stories.

Student winners will have the opportunity to be mentored by a media professional and have the opportunity to experience a day working in their desired profession. Other winning prizes include a celebratory pizza and pool party, the opportunity to walk in tonight's Manitou Days Grande Parade and the chance to participate in the school district Marketfest booth on July 18. 

Stop by then to say hello to the Good News Bears students, and stop by every Thursday through July 25 at the WBLAS Marketfest booth in Downtown White Bear Lake to meet District leaders and pick up school supply lists, pencils and Bear Paw decals. Select dates also will feature highlights of our innovative programs.

Turning Points
Congratulations to recent WBLAHS graduate Sarah Westad who was honored with a bronze award for her participation in the National History Day competition. Sarah traveled to Washington D.C. this week to take part in the Senior Individual Performance category. Entitled, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the 14th Amendment: The Turning Point of In re Gault," Sarah's project addresses the Supreme Court's ruling that juveniles are entitled to the same due process rights as adults.

This is the twelfth consecutive year that a student from WBLAS has advanced to the competition in Washington D.C. Other qualifiers include Sunrise Park Middle School seventh-graders Anna Wieland, Emily Zoborowski and Jennie Hebaus. The annual competition invites students in grades 6-12 to research a historically significant person, event or movement and prepare a report, exhibit, presentation or documentary on the theme "Turning Points in History." Students may then enter their projects into History Day competitions at school, regional, state and national levels. Several students were recognized as state level competitors earlier this year.

Sarah participated in National History Day and competed at the state level each of her four years at White Bear Lake Area High School. Some of her past projectors include researching Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the evolution of child beauty pageants and Mary Surratt - a conspirator in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Coming together
More than four decades ago, a group of seniors walked across the stage to receive their diplomas from White Bear Lake Area High School. Although they have since gone their separate ways, the classmates will come back together this weekend as they celebrate their 45th class reunion. While at the Manitou Days Parade, see if you can spot members of the Class of '68 on their float. The group will then have a chance to reconnect and reminisce at their reunion on Saturday evening.

Several members of the Class of '68 currently work in the District including: Mary Cleary Kowitz - Health and Safety Coordinator/Custodial Supervisor, Kim Price - Custodian Substitute, and James Shelhorn - Custodian Birch Lake. Fellow classmate Carol Venburg McFarlane is also a former member of the WBLAS School Board. To see other highlights and news from the class, click here to visit their webpage.

Activities Updates
Congratulations to the WBLAHS Boys' Lacrosse Team on an outstanding season leading to the state tournament semifinals!

White Bear Lake Area High School Athletics schedules can be found here.
A comprehensive 2012-13 District Activities schedule can be found  here.

Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7578) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.

School Board News

Before its June 10 regular meeting, the School Board recognized the following students who recently competed at state or national competitions:

Students who placed 1st in Minnesota (3rd nation-wide) in the National Geography Contest

WBLAHS Boys' and Girls' Track and Field teams who participated at the state meet

WBLAHS Student Council who recently received the Outstanding Student Council of the Year award.

Also recognized were members of the WBLAHS Boy's Golf who won the Section Championship and participated at state. The team was not able to attend the ceremony, but were provided with certificates to be distributed at their end of the year banquet.

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Upcoming meetings
Date Type Time Location
Monday, July 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112
Monday, August 12  Regular 7 p.m. District Center Community Room 112