November 16, 2014

In this issue

- Lessons for the journey

- In Photos: 257 WBLAS students attend We Day 2014
Student News
- Traveling for greatness
- Elementary excitement
- Honorable activities

- 62.4-second video update
- Activities Updates

School Board News
- School Board Meetings

District News
- General Information
- Opportunities
- Awards and Honors

Upcoming Events

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Lessons for the journey
(From remarks to students at Central Middle School's National Junior Honor Society Induction in October.)

More than 150 years ago, during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, a portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California was set aside and preserved as wilderness. 

More than 100 years ago, during the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt, spectacular Yosemite Valley became part of Yosemite National Park. Some of you may have visited this scenic valley, but I am confident that nearly all of you have seen pictures of Yosemite. Perhaps you have seen photographs of climbers scaling "El Capitan," a sheer granite face rising 3,000 feet out of the valley. (By comparison, El Capitan is 150 times the height of Central's climbing wall!) Another familiar landmark is Half Dome, rising nearly 5,000 feet above the valley. 


Just this autumn, we begin at dusk, hiking up out of the valley as the final light of evening faded from Half Dome. Our goal for our first night is a campsite five miles through the dark and 3,000 vertical feet above us. 

"Pay attention to what your body is telling you," cautions my guide. 

"When you are tired, rest. When you get thirsty, drink from your water bottle. When you get hungry, stop and refuel." 

We hike into the moonless night. Stars are bright above us, and the mountains only a shadow blocking out stars closer to the horizon. I follow my guide, visible only by the beam from his headlamp. 

I stop to rest, tired, thirsty, and hungry. A mountain breeze cools me rapidly. I lose track of my guide. I wonder if I am on the right trail. Am I lost? 


A few minutes later, my guide returns. I explain, "I was afraid I had gone off the trail." 

My guide replies, "I'm not going to let you get lost, Dad... I'm looking out for you!" 

We continue on the trail together, into the night. By early the next afternoon, we stand on the summit of a mountain 6,000 feet above the valley, more than 1,000 feet above Half Dome. 

What lessons do I remember from this backpacking journey? 

1. Know my goal. 

2. Understand what will help me achieve the goal. As a hiker or climber, I pay attention to the path, to my strength, and to my need for rest, water, and food. I listen to each breath. 

3. Listen to my guide. In this case my guide is an experienced climber. He is also my son. He helps me achieve the goal and not falter along the way. I need to listen and gain knowledge by practicing what he teaches until I am confident on my own. 

You too are on a journey. Your journey is your life at school, at home, and in the community. Tonight you are recognized for accomplishments you demonstrate on your journey - scholarship, leadership, service and character. 

What lessons might help you as you continue on your journey? 

1. Know your goals. 

2. Understand what will help you continue to achieve the goals of leadership, scholarship, service and character. A hiker understands safety, health, nourishment, and keeping to the path. We will not be successful climbing the mountain - and returning - if we compromise safety or health. Likewise, you will not be successful reaching your goals if you sacrifice one goal for another. For example, as important as you may value scholarship, in your pursuit of scholarship never compromise your integrity and blemish your character. And no matter how much you desire to be a leader, never compromise your character in your pursuit of leadership. 

3. Listen to the guides in your life for help on your journey. Your guides include your parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors, and friends. Some are here tonight supporting you. 

Inductees, remember these lessons for your journey. Be grateful for each breath, and listen to those who guide you along the way.

Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools

In Photos: 257 WBLAS students attend We Day 2014


Student News

Traveling for greatness 


Students at White Bear Lake Area Schools have had many opportunities to travel outside of the school district to attend enriching events. On Nov. 2, Marie Dymit, the high school vocal music instructor, took 17 student singers to St. Olaf College to participate in the school's 112th Choral Day Concert. 

Prior to traveling to St. Olaf, students learned their vocal parts to four massed choir pieces. Then, they had two separate rehearsals with the massed choir of approximately 900 singers. The giant choir performed in a 4 p.m. concert, alongside four specially-invited choirs and three choirs from St. Olaf College.


Another enriching event White Bear students had the opportunity to participate in was We Day 2014. On Nov. 12, more than 250 WBLAS students attended We Day at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. We Day brings young people together to inspire positive change in the world.

Through performances from world-renowned speakers and performers, students had the chance to learn more about supporting local and global causes. Interestingly, to attend We Day you cannot simply buy a ticket. Instead, you need to earn your ticket by taking on one local and one global action. Our schools had an incredibly high number of students who took the steps toward becoming global citizens!


Finally, one White Bear Lake Area Schools student had the amazing opportunity to travel to Atlanta, Ga. to receive a RISE (Rising in Spirit of Expectations) Award. Sean Sieleni, a Special Olympics Athlete, was selected to receive the RISE Award for his hard work and dedication.

The red carpet event was hosted by actor and recording artist, Justin Mise and was held at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center. The RISE Awards honor individuals with Down syndrome who are making a difference in their community.

Elementary excitement


White Bear Lake Area elementary schools have been full of excitement throughout the past few weeks. First, students at Lakeaires Elementary got an introduction to democracy on Election Day - but they were not voting for governor. Instead, they were voting for the name of the school bear in front of their building. 

Each class submitted one name for the bear. Then, student leadership members voted and narrowed the choices down to three. After that, it was time for the all-school vote. Students and staff were each given a ballot, and when they dropped in their vote they received an "I VOTED" sticker. Student leadership members helped with the voting process and counted the ballots. In the end, with 160 votes, "Snowball" won the election!


At Hugo Elementary, excitement stemmed from making strides to reduce the amount of waste in their lunchroom. On Nov. 4, Hugo Elementary started recycling their food waste through a Food-To-Hogs initiative. Now, three times each week, a farmer comes to the school to pick up all of the elementary school's food waste. After getting rid of any bacteria that may be present on the food waste, it is fed to the farmer's pigs. 

Our other WBL elementary schools have adopted a similar recycling program. However, being an EC-1 school, Hugo did not have older role-models to facilitate. Luckily, the Transition Plus program stepped up to the plate and provided supervision during Hugo Elementary's lunch time every day. "We are extremely grateful for this and look forward to the partnership," said Jason Healy, principal at Hugo Elementary. Read all about the elementary school's fantastic recycling statistics!


Birch Lake Elementary has also participated exciting activities recently. First, third graders at Birch Lake have been learning how to sew! The students had the opportunity to design, plan and sew their own fabric monster.

In addition, the elementary school hosted the first annual "Muffins With Moms" event sponsored by their PTO. On Nov. 14, grandmas, mothers and other family members gathered at Birch Lake Elementary to meet teachers, staff and other families. The event was a huge success with a great turnout of engaged families!

Honorable activities


Our schools have been participating in many honorable activities throughout the year. One of the most recent and honorable events was a Veterans Day assembly at Central Middle School. In addition to entering students in the Lion's Club Peace Poster Contest and the VFW Patriot's Pen Essay Contest, the school hosted Sargent Major Barry Henriksen as a guest speaker for all seventh graders. 

During the assembly, Sargent Henricksen spoke about his time overseas and three students (Chloe Schwieger, Brianna Askin, and Julia Thomalla) sang the National Anthem.


Our schools also host many ongoing honorable activities. For example, the WBLAHS - North Campus Ambassadors have been participating in a multitude of volunteer jobs this fall. 

Seventy-five Ambassadors helped at the Twin Cities Marathon and another 75 cleaned Highway 61 and school grounds as part of the Adopt-a-Highway project. In addition, they have volunteered at the Eagles Club, Lincoln's BOLT Night, Parent Night at South, Tamarack Nature Center, and a cancer benefit. North Campus Ambassadors have eight H2O for Life events set up to run in November and December. 

Overall, the Ambassadors boast 233 students, of whom 14 had never volunteered before, 11 are new to the district, and all 233 of them have participated in an event this year!

Another ongoing and honorable outreach program has been the White Bear Lake Area Schools BearPower Initiative. BearPower was recently spotlighted in the district video below, which was presented at a regional conference last week!



62.4-second video update

Take a look at our 62.4-second update that highlights weekly activity throughout our schools!



Activities Updates
The White Bear Lake boys cross country team received a silver award for their academic achievements. Read an article summarizing the girls tennis team's great season here

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

Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7695) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.

School Board Meetings

Watch the most recent 62.4-second update for photos from the Nov. 10 school board meeting!

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
November 24 Work Study 5:30 p.m. District Center
December 8 Regular 7 p.m. District Center
January 12 Regular 7 p.m. District Center