November 3, 2013

Student News - Classroom visitors

Earlier in the school year, Lakeaires Elementary’s artist in residence taught the students about the African Kente cloth. The lessons were reinforced last week when the mother of one of the Lakeaires students visited the classroom and spoke to the class about clothing from Nigeria. The students now know Gele is the tie hat, Buba is the skirt and Iro is the wrap. 

Two other elementaries also welcomed visitors and members of the media into their schools recently. At Vadnais Heights Elementary enjoyed visiting songwriter Randy Peterson. As reported in a recent Vadnais Heights Press issue, Peterson recorded a song about friendship with kindergarteners at the school. Find the link to the students performing the fun song here. And KSTP was at Lincoln elementary to cover an innovative e-field trip the students took a couple of weeks ago. Find video coverage of the virtual field trip here.

Students at WBLAHS - North Campus, Sunrise Park Middle School and Otter Lake Elementary welcomed area residents into their schools recently during the district’s School Tours to showcase how Capital Projects funds are being put to use in the classroom at elementary, middle school and high school levels. At each site, students accompanied our guests and took video footage which we pulled together into this one-minute video. 

See comprehensive Capital Projects Levy information here

Lasting impact

A group of fifth Grade students at Oneka Elementary had the unique opportunity to attend WE Day a few weeks ago. White Bear Lake Area Schools had representatives from Oneka, both middle schools and the high school for what was the first year of WE Day in Minnesota. The day was filled with inspirational singers and speakers, challenging all attendees to do community work, global service and help change the world one person at a time. 

In response to the enthusiasm and the challenge, Oneka Elementary now has fifth grade students who meet weekly after school as members of the team called B.O.S.S.(Bears Official Service Superheros). The group will be perform some community-based service projects and one service project specifically for the country of Haiti. The students and teachers will also be working with the middle school and high school with a global initiative called “H2O for Life,” a non-profit organization that educates, engages and inspires youth to learn, take action and become global citizens.

This was an obvious activity for us to be involved with, states Carla Triggs, one of the fifth grade teachers at Oneka. White Bear already has such a community service mindset, this is just reinforcing it with the younger grades. We are partnering with our wonderful Student Council here at Oneka to make some positive change for our community and beyond. Seeing the students get excited about using their unique talents and abilities to make a positive impact in the world is so rewarding.

October celebrations

Students throughout the District came to school looking a bit different on Halloween. For some, it was a cowboy hat that was pulled out of a long-lost closet. Others were a bit more colorful version of themselves with superhero costumes, hilarious headware and fake mustaches. Staff got into the action as well, with costumes of the feathered friend and fairy varieties, cartoon characters and professional athletes. Still others relied on their colleagues to enjoy a cooperative costume in the spirit of We're Better Together! See a few photos from throughout the district at District's Facebook album.

That same day, students recognized Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world. Students at White Bear Lake Area High School set up a Day of the Dead alter in a North Campus hallway so they could celebrate the important day. The display, called an ofrendas, honors the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. The display allowed all students the opportunity to celebrate and learn about the holiday. Different buildings have celebrated Day of the Dead in years past, including similar displays and even traditional food brought in some years. 

Another reason to celebrate at WBLAHS came on October 28, when online tickets for the high school's family-friendly fall musical, "Once Upon a Mattress," went on sale. The play starts this week (with performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 9) and already has limited seating for the opening weekend. Make sure to purchase your tickets soon if you're planning to attend. Tickets are available for purchase online here or at The Nest in Downtown White Bear Lake. There is no mystery as to why the tickets are going so quickly - the WBLAHS Theatre Program has received Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Award accolades for the last four consecutive years. 

Raking in the service experiences


On a recent Saturday morning, Lincoln Elementary students participated in a community service activity that involved raking the leaves of senior citizens in the Lincoln neighborhood. This morning of raking is the first of three activities planned for this year as a part of a new "Hug-A-Heart" service program. More than 80 students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade volunteered, along with parents and staff members from the school. The activity was highlighted in the White Bear Press Photo Gallery, with one of the photos - of six-year-old Clara Seeley jumping into the giant pile of leaves she and other student and adult volunteers helped create - being named the Photo of the Week!


Elementary students aren’t the only ones serving the community. Last week, the Sunrise Service Club and Central Serves Club teamed up with the Northeast Youth and Family Services Senior Chore Program to rake the yards of two local seniors. A total of 16 middle school students logged several hours raking and bagging leaves for appreciative local residents.

In addition to raking, students throughout the District have also been taking in donations for the White Bear Area Food Shelf with the Trick-or-Can program. Students have collected non-perishable food donations from households while they’ve been out trick-or-treating. The resident is one that has been hosted by the high school’s Student Council for many years. Said one resident who was visited by District students: “It was fun to have the students accept a piece of candy, then wait for me to go through my pantry for food shelf donations. This is such a creative service project!”

Saying “au revoir”

The scene at White Bear Lake Area High School was similar to the real-life video footage at the beginning and end of the movie “Love Actually,” with newfound friends giving heartfelt hugs and sharing laughs and tears beside suitcases filled to the gills with Bear Wear among other fun items. The students in the scene were WBLAHS students who are studying French and those from the district’s partnership school Lycée International Bossuet in Meaux, France. 

For more than a week, the students were paired as visitors and hosts while the French students were visiting for the exchange. In addition to spending time with their host families, the students traveled throughout the Twin Cities and to Duluth to see the sites. They also experienced the quintessential White Bear life with a welcome bonfire, a day to shadow their American students, a meeting with White Bear Lake Mayor Jo Emerson and a trip to Cup and Cone. 

See photos of the students’ final day in White Bear at the District’s Facebook album.

Student named "Volunteer of the Year" by The Arc Minnesota

Madisyn Kephart, a student at WBLAHS, was recognized as Volunteers of the Year from The Arc Minnesota at The Arc Minnesota’s November 1 Awards Banquet. A sophomore, Madisyn is the youngest person to receive an award from The Arc Minnesota. She was recognized for her leadership in ensuring her classmates with disabilities are included and respected in area high schools and the larger community.

Kephart organizes and participates in many activities to promote inclusion. She started a Special Olympics unified volleyball team (made up of students with and without disabilities), is a member of the Special Olympic Youth Advisory Council, and coaches Special Olympic athletes as well. She is a leader in PALS (Peer and Leadership Society) in White Bear Lake; one of the PALS activities is hosting game days at the local YMCA for students with and without disabilities to socialize and play together.

In addition to being a leader for these recreational activities, Kephart has organized and run a campaign in White Bear to raise awareness about the hurtfulness of the “R-word.” This campaign encourages people to pledge not to use the word, supports the elimination of its derogatory use from everyday speech, and promotes the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

The Volunteer of the Year Award honors an individual or family who gives generously of time and talent to support The Arc organization and/or promote the inclusion and independence of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc Minnesota is a statewide, non-profit organization that promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.

Leslie Sieleni, a parent of a student in the district, also was recognized as a Volunteer of the Year from The Arc Minnesota at the banquet.

Activities Updates

The WBLAHS 2013 Fall musical is Once Upon A Mattress. A parody on the story of Princess and the Pea, this fun-for-all-ages musical is sure to entertain! This rated PG spoof of a potential marriage between the prince and the princess (from the swamp) has many fun twists and turns. A cross between Shrek and Cirque Du Soleil, this high energy show will be sure to wow the audience and tickle the funny bone! The show will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8,9,14,15 and 16. A 2 p.m. matinee will be performed on Nov. 9 (matinee free for senior citizens). All performances will take place at the WBLAHS - North Campus Theater. Girls' Cross Country runner Bethany Kozak qualified for the State Cross Country Meet. This was her 4th trip to the State Cross Country Meet. She has had an incredibly successful career at WBL. The Boys' Cross Country Team advanced to the State Meet after placing second out of 16 teams region 4AA. White Bear has been to the State Meet six out of the last seven years.The White Bear Band has a good showing of students being selected for honors: five students were selected for College Honors Bands, 13 students were selected for Suburban East Conference All Conference Honor Band or Orchestra, and 12 students were selected to perform in the pit orchestra for the high school musical. The women of the Mariners Choir from South Campus, will be singing in a special concert on Saturday, November 23 at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. These fine singers will be participating in a concert entitled "Empowering the Spirit: A Celebration of Women's Voices" as part of the American Choral Director's Association (ACDA) fall conference. They will combine with the concert choir women from Wayzata and Chanhassen High Schools for one set, and then will sing in a massed choir of over 300 young women, including the Manitou Singers from St. Olaf College. This concert will also honor the pioneering legacy of Alice T. Larsen, choral director from St. Olaf College from 1957-1984, and mentor to numerous female choral conductors around the country, including Marie Dymit, director of the Mariners. Information about this concert can be found here. A great new Facebook page celebrates WBLAHS Student Activities and the photography of seniors Lindsay Oien and Savannah McDowell - look for "White Bear Lake HS Events". Girls Choir members Brittany Hutchinson, Lauren Carlson, Patrick Timmons, Joey Perreira, Julito Cabrera, Maggie Fischer, Anna Solomon, Maddie Chaplin, Allyson DeSera, Alison Croswell, Kelsey Westveer sang in the Men's Choir/ Women's Choir Festival at St. John's University Saturday Oct. 26th. 600 singers from MN colleges and high schools performed in mini concert sessions and sang together in a finale mass performance.

White Bear Lake Area High School Athletics schedules can be found here.

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

School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.
Upcoming meetings 

Date Type Time Location
November 11 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
November 25 Work-Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
December 9 Regular 7 p.m. District Center