February 8, 2015
- Best Day Ever
- In Photos: Race to Reduce activity at Birch Lake Elementary
- Heartwarming accomplishments
- Frozen fun
- Global connections
- 62.4-second video update
- Activities Updates
School Board News
- School Board Meetings
- General Information
- Awards and Honors
Best Day Ever
"Thank you for getting me into ....(my school from last year)... It was probably my Best Day Ever....thanks for making me feel included."
These words come from a handwritten note I received this month from a middle school student whose family moved away last summer. Like so many families in which a parent serves in the military, it was time to move to a new part of the country.
For this middle school student, the move meant leaving friends, teachers, and a school she loved - for the unknown.
In late December her family returned for a visit, and above all else, the girl dreamed of going back to see her friends and teachers from last year.
Thirteen year olds hope and dream. ("Most of the time", teachers and parents might add). But thirteen year olds do not often share what they hope for. In this case, she did, and her principal, staff, and our students warmly welcomed her back for a special day.
Her words "Best Day Ever" stayed with me.
With all the opportunities and experiences we offer our students and children, why is reconnecting with teachers and friends so powerful?
We all have thoughts on the matter, I expect, but for now let's just be grateful that our staff and schools are so welcoming and supportive.
Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools
In Photos: Race to Reduce activity at Birch Lake Elementary
Nothing warms the heart like good story, especially when it involves White Bear Lake Area School students giving back and accomplishing their goals. At Sunrise Park Middle School, special education students teamed up with paraprofessionals to continue one of their oldest traditions - making Valentine's Day cards.
The Valentine's Day card-making program started in the mid-1990s. After purchasing Ellison DieCut machine, two dedicated paraprofessionals at the school, Leila Horazdovsky and Colleen Young, took the lead in bringing the project to the next level. In May 2004, the "Sunrise Creations" card-making program received the Ellison Exceptional Award, amounting to $5,000. This money helped the program buy many scrap booking supplies and higher quality paper. They also make their own paper from recycled lunch menus as well.
"This program has helped our students learn and practice job skills to become more successful, independent, and confident during class and later in a job setting," said Horazdovsky. In many ways, the program is intended to mimic a job environment. Students are interviewed for positions and are required to check in and out every time they work. They also have a "pay day" and a "store" in which they can purchase small items.
District families can purchase cards at Sunrise Park or at District Center. The program offers cards for many occasions and can even make special orders. Donations from the cards are used to support the special education program and the needs of its students.
Two weeks ago was Paraprofessional Recognition Week and through this story it is clear how great of an impact our paraprofessionals here at White Bear Lake Area Schools have as they work in collaboration with our students. "We are a team that works together getting to the final product," said Horazdovsky.
Also at the middle school level, students at Central held a fundraiser competition last week - The Souperbowl Food Drive! Teams led by student counsel representatives and home base teachers brought in food items each day last week. For each food item the team donated, they gained two yards and for every 100 yards, they earned a touchdown.
This fundraiser gained so much popularity throughout the week that they more than doubled the number of touchdowns within the last two days, leading to a grand total of 49 touchdowns, 2471 food items and $479! Donations will go directly to the White Bear Area Food Shelf. With 9 touchdowns, the winning team was led by Central student Ryan Krall.
While the stories above may make you want to stand up and cheer for our students and staff, you might want to first think about the competition...the cheerleading competition, that is! Our White Bear Lake Competitive Cheerleading Teams had fantastic performances at the Minnesota Cheerleading Coaches Association state competition on Sat. Jan. 31! The varsity team earned second place in tumbling (AA Class) and the middle school team took first place in the largest division in the state. Go Bears!
The winter season allows for so many fun activities - ice skating, ice fishing and, of course, the St. Paul Winter Carnival! First, on Jan. 31, students, staff, families and the White Bear mascot came together for a Bundle Up Bears ice skating event. Hosted at the WBLAHS - North Campus outdoor rink, the afternoon included a DJ, fire pit, warming house and a food truck! The event was a huge success with many district families who enjoyed joining together with the community and racing one another around the rink.
Also on the ice recently were White Bear Lake Area High School students who once again had the opportunity to go ice fishing with science teacher Jacob Montgomery on Jan. 17. For the third consecutive year, Mr. Montgomery has hosted a Bears on Ice fishing event at Bellaire Beach on White Bear Lake.
The event has been growing each year. This year, 27 students attended the fishing outing, most of whom had never fished before. "Thank goodness we were afforded weather that allowed us to be outside most of the time for learning and socializing," said Montgomery. With the assistance and sponsorship of Brad Yaritz from Catch It Outdoors, Evan Pheneger from I MN Fishing, Doug Stahly from Joe's Sporting Goods and Stephen Nelson (fellow WBL Science teacher), the event was very successful. The group is committed to making next year even bigger and getting more sponsors and activities for the students.
In another fun and frozen tradition, students in our schools had the chance to participate in St. Paul Winter Carnival festivities. Nicole Wrona, a ninth grader at WBLAHS - North Campus was recently chosen to be the 2015 Queen of the Snowflakes for the St. Paul Winter Carnival Jr Royalty. She will make more than 85 appearances serving as a good will ambassador for the St. Paul Winter Carnival.
Nicole will participate in many parades and activities to benefit the communities around the Twin Cities Metro Area. As an active North Campus ambassador, she entered the carnival to help pursue her commitment to volunteerism. She will have a fun year meeting lots of interesting people and will proudly represent our schools!
Also in Winter Carnival news, Matoska IB World School had a visit from the 2015 Saint Paul Winter Carnival Royal Family on Jan. 29. In the school's new gymnasium, several people were knighted by King Boreas in a school-wide assembly! Watch the Jan. 30 edition of the 62.4-second update to see photos from the visit.
With our middle schools getting accepted as IB World Schools last month, it is easy to see how as a district, we are dedicated to fostering and maintaining a global perspective both in and out of the classroom. A few other recent stories highlight our global connections as well.
First, two separate White Bear Lake school programs have a connection to a K-12 school in Costa Rica, Cedes Don Bosco. Students from the Costa Rican school recently visited Central Middle School through a "Week Without Walls" exchange program. The group's band performed music for Central and together they will work on an interdisciplinary project involving the St. Croix National Park Service and a sister park in Costa Rica.
The exchange partnership grew out of connections between Fred Treiber at the White Bear Lake Rotary and Noel Schmidt, the Principal at Central. Treiber has worked with Cedes Don Bosco for more than 20 years and Principal Schmidt visited the school in August.
Interestingly enough, our schools had another connection to this school. Last year, two young men from Cedes Don Bosco were a part of the Junior Author's Association book exchange. Together with White Bear students, they created translation books in Spanish and English and shared facts about life, school and family. A couple of these books won prizes at the Minnesota State Fair Education competition.
It came as a great surprise to Richard Chakolis, one of the coordinators of the book exchange process, when he saw these two students at Central Middle School two weeks ago. The visiting Costa Rican instructor, Gonzalo Pazos, who also participated in the book exchange, was very happy to see the ribbons from the State Fair Competition. Chakolis even gave a few of the award-winning books to Pazos to bring back to Costa Rica to show some of his other students!
In March during spring break, about 20 middle school students from White Bear Lake will visit Cedes Don Bosco during a "Week Without Walls," making this global experience come full circle.
Another global connection comes from the other side of the world - Korea. Gwanggaeto Samulnori, a Korean traditional drumming and dance group will perform at North Campus on March 5. The visiting artists are touring the USA and making a special stop in Minnesota to perform.
Gwanggaeto Samulnori's lead, Jun-Sung Kwon, wants to help Korean adoptees and their communities, embrace and experience some of the wonderful performing arts from Korea. Mr. Kwon was a guest teacher and performer a few years ago, at the Forest Lake based Korean summer culture camp, Camp Choson. He fell in love with Minnesota and promised to return - and this March he will!
Jeremy Rockford's WBLAHS - North Campus band classes will have Korean music and percussion workshops during the day on March 5, followed by the performance that evening. Our district has provided space for Korean Cultural performances and events since 1985. Join us and see some of the beautiful traditions of Korea, and will celebrate together with music and dance!
62.4-second video update
Take a look at our 62.4-second update that highlights weekly activity throughout our schools!
White Bear Lake Area High School seniors Connor Hubbs and Andy Lockwood (pictured at right) signed National Letters of Intent on Feb. 4 during a ceremony at South Campus, showing their intent to attend North Dakota State University and Winona State University, respectively. White Bear Lake Competitive Cheerleading Teams had fantastic performances at the Minnesota Cheerleading Coaches Association competition on Sat. Jan. 31! Varsity earned second in tumbling (AA Class) and the middle school team took first place in the largest division in the state. The White Bear Lake Wrestling Teamwon three out of four of their matches on Jan. 30 and 31. The WBLAHS Speech Team competed at Eden Prairie HS and took the small school sweepstakes, meaning they were the best overall performing team that had fewer than 20 students competing. The One Act Play cast and crew finished first in a sub-district competition.
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.