Congratulations to the 2020 graduates! While this year certainly looked differently than others, families, graduates and the community made the most of this spring and enjoyed celebrating in unique and virtual formats. WBLAHS graduates were able to celebrate in a variety of ways such as stopping by the high school at a designated time to take their photos on a Bearified stage. Additionally, students were able to drive through staff members waving goodbye and wishing them congratulations. High school and even elementary staff members showed up holding signs to wish their former students the best in the next chapter of their lives. That same evening, graduates were able to hop online with their families and watch the WBLAHS Virtual Graduation Ceremony together, which featured student speeches, performances and the Presentation of the Class of 2020. View the graduation program. One of the beautiful songs featured in the ceremony was by choir students when they virtually recorded the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water!” The band also played an impressive rendition of “What A Wonderful World.”
Area Learning Center graduates also enjoyed the celebrations, as they recently picked up their diplomas, any scholarships they received and commemorated their graduation by taking a photo! The Area Learning Center students were also able to celebrate with their families and enjoy the Virtual Area Learning Center Graduation Ceremony, where they could follow along in honoring the graduates with this program. The ceremonies continued, as families cheered for their graduates as they came across the screen in the Virtual Transition Education Center and Project SEARCH Graduation Ceremony, where graduates were also highlighted in this program. 2020 graduates even took time out of the end of their year to answer "What does it Mean to be a White Bear Grad?" in this honorary video. High school students have been featured and celebrated in local newspapers for their accomplishments this year!
In other awesome graduate news, this year's class president Kaitlyn Stender '20 comes from a family of class officers. Kaitlyn's father, Jeff Stender '87, was student council and class vice president. Also, Kaitlyn's great-grandfather was William Fleming '41, who was class president, and Kaitlyn's great-uncle Bruce Stender '60, was class VP. Other graduates also recently enjoyed celebrating their accomplishments at the American Indian Honoring Ceremony. Check out more in the latest edition of the WBLAS Indian Education Newsletter.
Moving for a cause
A group of Lakeaires Elementary staff members recently had fun with participating in a virtual Stir Crazy! 5K with proceeds supporting the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's COVID-19 Response Fund. The group enjoyed the beautiful walk at Tamarack Nature Center. The activeness continued at Lakeaires, as Lakeaires Elementary families could celebrate with Professor Ransbottom and Marjorie on the last day by moving and grooving along at the End of the Year Dance Party! Oneka Elementary Principal also recently had fun creating a video to show families and incoming students what Oneka Elementary is all about! Check out the fun tour in this video.
In other creative news, White Bear Lake Area Learning Center students recently enjoyed creating “Where I’m From” poems. This was an opportunity for students to exercise their writing and creativity skills by sharing their story and including pictures to highlight the imagery. From poetry to musical talent, Central Middle School students recently brightened seniors’ days at the Waverly Gardens by recording themselves playing instruments and singing in this video. In other fun video news, staff members throughout the district wrote a special encouraging message to families and students to wish them well during their summer break in this fun video compilation.
Staff members throughout the district made the last week of school special for students as they picked up and dropped off materials, while saying goodbye before the beginning of summer. Families could enjoy pulling up to decorated sidewalks and fun signs to wish families a happy end-of-the-year! Central Middle School even made this fun Tribute video for their eighth grade students, as well as a Farewell video for all students. Sunrise staff members also had fun encouraging their eighth grade students with messages in this graduation video to tell them “good job” and “good luck” on their next chapter in life! While some students were congratulated for graduating from Sunrise, staff members also created this video to welcome incoming sixth grade students to Sunrise Park Middle School.
Willow Lane Elementary staff members also waved goodbye to families, as they drove through the school’s parking lot, which can be seen in this video. Bear even made a special appearance! Staff members held signs and families decorated their vehicles to celebrate the end of the school year and wish all a restful summer. The day was also made special, as Willow Lane Elementary Intervention Teacher Marilyn House made their final lap around the Willow Lane parking lot on their bike as fellow colleagues cheered for Marilyn as they enter retirement! In other important community efforts, Lincoln Elementary fifth grader Ryan Herrera shared with their classroom recently that their dad created the mural in honor of George Floyd, which was featured in this White Bear Press article.
It was another successful and busy year, as students enjoyed many opportunities through Career Pathways. Students took advantage of internships, attended the Annual Employer Breakfast, participated in National Manufacturing Day, networked at the Health & Human Services Expo and learned more about various careers at the Career Pathways Expo. Students ended the year with learning from industry professionals through seven episodes of Success Story Fridays, which can all be found on this page in the “Helpful Links” section. While this year looked different, students persevered and 50 students even became Certified Nursing Assistants since the beginning of the course. Some of the newest CNA graduates have already even entered into Nursing School with tuition being paid for! In other successful news, the Birch Lake Elementary Community Care - Tier 1 and Tier 2 Childcare site recently celebrated their time together this spring with a Color Run. They celebrated meeting new friends and creating wonderful memories together through the tough times. The Birch Lake Elementary PTA donated the colors that the students had so much fun running through!
In other donation-related news, the White Bear Lake Area Educators and Student Council have been working together to facilitate a Community Donation Drive. Multiple car loads were delivered to South Minneapolis locations recently, and multiple pallets of supplies have been collected to bring in the weeks to come, along with donations equaling nearly $1,300 to purchase additional resources.
The WBLAHS Virtual Graduation Ceremony featured a performance of "What a Wonderful World" by the high school Band. Also, WBLAHS choirs recently shared a socially distanced rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that they've been working on this spring, which debuted at the WBLAHS virtual commencement ceremony. Go Bears!
Please contact the Communications Department (651-407-7695) to submit Student News for inclusion in future publications.