October 18, 2015

In this issue

Superintendent's Message

  • Lasting Influence

Student News

  • In Photos: Homecoming Football Game!
  • Homecoming wrap-up
  • Tools for learning
  • Prairie projects
  • 62.4-second video updates
  • Activities updates

School Board News

  • School Board Meetings

District News

  • General Information
  • Opportunities

Upcoming Events

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Lasting Influence

Mr. Edwin Nakasone taught high school students at White Bear Lake High School from 1956 through 1970.

But to watch the gathered alumni on Saturday morning of Homecoming weekend, his former students were thinking about the first day of a new semester.

After an eloquent introduction from the Alumni Association, Mr. Nakasone, now a distinguished 88 years young, rose to speak to alumni gathered in the White Bear Armory.

At the sound of his booming voice, former students sat tall, shoulders square to the front, once again attentive 17 year olds, eager to please. When Mr. Nakasone relaxed and smiled, so did they.

And when the program ended, lines of students waited in line to talk to this inspiring teacher and mentor whose stories, wisdom and encouragement proved a lasting influence.

Mr. Nakasone expressed gratitude for the "Scholars Award for Excellence" bestowed upon him by the Alumni Association. But his warmest smiles were for his students, taught between 45 and 65 years ago.

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

For the recent White Bear Press Article on Edwin Nakasone and this event, click here.

In Photos: Homecoming Football Game!

The Community Baby Shower was also featured in the most recent 62.4-second video update.

Student News 

Homecoming wrap-up
From week-long activities, to pulling off a win at the buzzer, this year's Homecoming celebration was certainly one for the books. The sea of orange in the bleachers roared as the Varsity Football Team capped-off Homecoming Week by "wrecking" the Roseville Raiders at this year's football game. The packed house watched as WBLAHS student Brett Hronoski kicked the last-minute field goal, which sent the Bears to victory with a score of 32-29. 

Even before that match-up, energy was high across the district. That Friday morning, several of our schools participated in an activity called "Kindness in Chalk." Students at the elementary, middle and high school levels arrived bright and early to cover the sidewalks outside of their schools with positive messages for their peers. Students left with smiles and chalk covered knees as they filled almost every inch of the pavement. Our middle school students took this welcoming activity to the next level by bringing instruments and pompoms to cheer students on as they walked through a tunnel of peers. Though a very fun Homecoming activity, the objective of this was to ensure students feel welcome and safe as they enter their place of learning. This event and the Homecoming Parade were featured in a recent 62.4-second video, which can be viewed here.

Though students and staff wore most of their orange clothing for Homecoming Week, hopefully they haven't packed it away just yet! Orange "Bear wear" will make for the perfect ensemble on Unity Day, which takes place Wednesday, October 21. Unity Day is the signature event of National Bullying Prevention Month and has been recognized in the United States since 2011. Generally, individuals, schools, communities and businesses wear or display orange to show support for those who have been bullied. Hugo, Oneka, Willow and Lincoln Elementary Schools plan to hold assemblies for Unity Day. Birch Lake and Vadnais Heights Elementary schools plan to make and display orange banners with anti-bullying messages. We encourage students and staff to wear orange Wednesday, October 21 for this important cause!

Tools for learning
The White Bear Lions Club is on its fifteenth year of providing our students with some important tools for learning. Each year, they provide a dictionary for each third grade student and a thesaurus for each fifth grade student in our community. The White Bear Lions purchase these books and present them to all of our students (and the students attending private schools) during the months of November and January. The coolest part is that the books become the property of the students - theirs to own and take with them for keeps! The idea came from Lion Bob Lunberg, who found he could purchase the dictionaries and thesaurus from a non-profit organization called "The Dictionary Project" located in Charleston, South Carolina. A group of principals and teachers assisted in choosing a dictionary and thesaurus which they thought was most appropriate for third and fifth grade students. Thirty-five cases of these books are being shipped to White Bear as we speak.

Prairie projects

After months of planning and preparation, the nearly two-and-a-half acre prairie in Otter Lake's "backyard" has been planted. The idea sprouted roughly two years ago after Otter Lake teacher Thom Greene took a class that encouraged educators to come up with an environmental project for their school. At that time, stood a patch of weeds adjacent to Otter Lakes playground, so Greene decided it would be the perfect spot for a prairie. He applied for a BEAR Grant from the White Bear Lake Educational Foundation and was awarded $3,200 for the project. Additionally, the school partnered with the Ramsey County Pheasants Forever Chapter for a $2,900 grant, using funds from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund

Preparation of the land began back in June with herbicide treatments, a controlled burn and tilling, but the actual planting of the prairie took place just recently at a community-wide event. On Wednesday, October 14, Otter Lake students planted seeds across the prepared land. The event concluded with a drum/dance by the whole student body where students pushed the seeds into the soil using their dancing feet (as the bison might have done 200 years ago). This soon-to-be prairie will not only help students learn about the environment, it will help the environment too. Helping out pollinators by planting native plants is an issue that has sparked national attention. This project even caught the attention of Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who joined in this planting celebration. This event was also featured in the most recent 6.24-second video update, which can be viewed here.

Matoska students and staff also took part in a prairie restoration project recently. They have a beautiful design to renovate their existing prairie into an outdoor classroom and learning area for all Matoska students to enjoy as well as the community. Parent and staff volunteers gathered together on Saturday, October 10 to help dig out existing plants in order for them to be re-planted in the spring when the beds are ready. Families had fun getting dirty as they started first phase of this project.

62.4-second video updates

Take a look at our 62.4-second video updates that highlight weekly activity throughout our schools during the school year. 

Activities updates

The Varsity Football Team beat the Roseville Raiders 32-29 during the Homecoming Football Game Friday, October 9. Three WBLAHS students were recognized by the National Scholastic Press Association (Minnesota chapter) for their yearbook contributions: Emily Magnuson won third place for feature copy, Ashley Tessier won second place for yearbook spread design and Madi Tegg won an honorable mention for featured sports photo.

Click here for a schedule of all fall sports contests. Find a complete list of all WBLAHS Activities, Athletics and Fine Arts here.

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

School Board Recognitions

Before the October 12 School Board Meeting, the School Board recognized the following students and staff:

  • Tech Cohort staff members
  • AP Scholars
  • National Merit Finalists


School Board Meetings

School Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.

Date Type Time Location
October 26 Work-study 5:30 p.m. District Center
November 9 Regular 7 p.m.  District Center
November 23 Work-study 5:30 p.m. District Center

Highlights from the most recent School Board meetings can be found here.