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2013-14 MS/HS Archive



Middle school students pen their thoughts on bullying


Students in Ms. Kreft’s seventh grade Family Consumer Science class took part in a unit which informed the students about the issue of bullying and how it can be prevented.


As part of their assignments, the students wrote poems which were influenced by what they learned in class. Here is a sampling of some of their works:


“Stand Up” -- by Claire Nuessmeier


By morning I was already hurt.

Undone by someone’s cruel words.

Laughter echoing from them, the followers and supporters.

Lies about me bouncing from person to person

In the Hallway of Dread.



I wanted to hide and so did you

Slip to the side, far away from all the anxiety.

No, let’s make the pain and depression stop.

Telling someone about it won’t be tattling.

Fist fights aren’t the answer.

United we’ll have

No more fear, just happiness.


“Bullying is Cruel” -- by Jacey Welp


Bullying is cruel

It makes the bully feel cool

It happens everyday at school

Bullying makes people feel bad

and makes parents mad

Bullying occurs everywhere

even when you’re unaware

It needs to stop

or it might involve a cop

You should know bullying hurts

It starts with one word,

one word you blurt...stop!


“Bullying Poem” -- by Kaleb Long


He feels insignificant and small

Blocked by a bully who is a wall

Sad and alone in class

Feeling like an out of water bass

I want to tell the bully to stop

And clean him up with a mop

But I am too scared

And have despaired

Beyond repair

But I have come to decide

I will spray with pesticide

The pesticide for stopping bullying!


“Bullies” -- by Kendra Lindquist-Ove


Bullies are here, bullies are there, bullies are everywhere.

They try to bring you down and run you out of town.

The truth is you just want to be alone. You cry and cry but all you want to do is die.

They pushed you too far.

You tried too hard to fake a smile, just to fall apart, now you have a broken heart.


“Non-poem” -- by Noah Gassman



Cold and alone

That is what I feel.


Sad and afraid

That is what you feel.


Stop is said

The bully leaves.


Sunlight comes

For “stop” is all the victim needs.


No bullies for me

Me, I am super happy.


See someone I know

They are getting bullied.


I will defend thee

“Stop” I will tell the bully.


Are you okay

I will ask the victim, me.


Yes I am

The cycle will keep on going.


It must be stopped


Destroy the cycle, make it pop.




SPHS Work Skills students do well at SCC contest




SPHS students competing in Wednesday’s (May 28) Skills USA MN Work Skills Competition included: front row (l to r), Garrett Lunderberg, Deven Engle, and Mario Uvalle Ramos; middle row, Maryam Abubaker, Abdi Jama; back row, Adam Gondreau, Meagan Speiss, Rachael Attenburger, Andrey Chouanard, Scott Leonard, Hunter Everett, Brandon Cruz, Abdul Aziz and Kevin Johnson.


Congratulations to the students who represented St. Peter High School at Wednesday's Skills USA MN Work Skills Competition at South Central College (North Mankato).


The competition included seven school districts and out of the 14 finalists, eight of them were SPHS students. During the contest there were four areas of completition the students competed in at SCC -- applications, general knowledge, interviewing and problem solving


Special congratulations to Rachael Attenburger, Brandon Cruz, Garrett Lunderberg, Meagan Speiss, Scott Leonard, and Adam Gondreau for placing in the competition as well as Andrey Chouanard for taking third place and Abdul Aziz for taking second!  


“It was an awesome job by everyone,”   SPHS Work Skills advisor Kelsey Hutchens said. “Their hard work really paid off!”




Outdoor education class helps students appreciate world around them



Second semester outdoor education students enjoyed a kayaking trip on May 21 on the Blue Earth River, starting near the Rapidan Dam. (Submitted photo)


St. Peter High School has always offered its students wide range of classes to choose from to best fit their educational needs and among those is the outdoor education course offered both semesters that teaches the kids.


The outdoor education class, taught by SPHS physical education instructor Keith Hanson, offers students a variety of outdoor activities to help them gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the outside world and recreational opportunities available to them here in south central Minnesota.


Recently the second semester class took a kayaking trip down the Blue Earth River starting at the Rapidan Dam.


“Each semester we do an all-day field trip with our students,” Hanson said. “We took 21 students down this year for our kayaking trip and our first semester class went ice fishing all day on Lake Washington.”


To see some video highlights of the kayaking trip click here.


Other outdoor education activities, according to Hanson, include gun safety training, trap shooting, archery, water safety instruction, paddle-boarding, land navigation (orienteering), knot tying, outdoor cooking, bean bag board building and snowshoeing.




SPHS adaptive bowlers do well at State Tourney

Saints duo claims second place finish and team wins two other medals



Members of the 2014 SPHS adaptive bowling team includes: (l to r), Deven Engle, Kiersten Stierlen, Hannah Woodrum-Wilson, Ben Bode and coach Jordan Rudenick. Not pictured is coach Kris Voeltz.



Capturing three top-10 finishes, the St. Peter High School adaptive bowling team had a banner day at the Minnesota State Adaptive Bowling Tournament on Friday (May 16).


This year’s state tournament was held at the Brunswick Zone, in Brooklyn Center, and eighth grader Kiersten Stierlen and seventh grader Ben Bode made the most of their trip to state by coming home with some hardware in the PI (physically impaired).


Stierlen and Bode teamed up in the doubles competition to claim state runner-up honors, while Stierlen picked up another medal by placing sixth in the girls’ singles and Bode also grabbed a second medal by placing 10th in boys’ singles.


Also competing for the Saints at State in the CI (cognitively impaired) division were Deven Engle and Hannah Woodrum-Wilson. Those two finished just out of the medals placing an impressive  15th overall (top 10 received medals) in the double competition out of 83 teams.


Engle placed 33rd overall in the boys’ singles division for CI out of 123 bowlers while Woodrum-Wilson ended up in 69th in the girls’ singles division out of 82 competitors.


SPHS State Adaptive Bowling medal winners

Doubles (top 10 of 27)

1. Nicole Turnquist & Jeanne Waskosky, North St. Paul


3. Brandon Ainali & Jordan Kulzer, Albany

4. Abigail MacDonald & Hailey Roering, Anoka-Hennepin

5. Josiah Felling & Joy Zoghelb, Fridley

6. Cory Tesch & Alex Aune, Hopkins

7. Steph Vasquez & Matt Erath, Austin

8. Nathan Binstock & Ty Mashuga, Anoka-Hennepin

9. Megan Nelson & Rachel Cook, Austin

10. (tie) Gabriel Boldon & Jackson LaChappelle, St. Paul Highland Park

     Bella Schaeder & Maddie Schut, Dassel-Cokato


Girls Singles (top 10 of 40)

1. Jessica Kallinen, Monticello

2. Emily Rettinger, Simley

3. Rachel Cook, Austin

4. Emilee Linder, St. Michael-Albertville

5. Kayla Packingham, Anoka-Hennepin


7. Nicole Turnquist, North St. Paul

8. (tie) Kayla Wamstad, Simley

    Megan Nelson, Austin

10. Carol Bratton, St. Paul Humboldt



Boys singles (top 10 of 34)

1. Ryan Harroun, Mankato East

2. Dennis Merriman, North St. Paul

3. Mazin Hassabelrasoul, Simley

4. Zach Lehman, St. Michael-Albertville

5. Jack Botzet, Alexandria

6. Ralph-el Lloyd, Minneapolis North

7. Jason Woitus, Como Park

8. Paul Stokke, Simley

9. Nathan Binkstock, Anoka-Hennepin

10  (tie) BEN BODE, ST. PETER

      Jordan Kulzer, Albany




SPHS National Honor Society inducts 38 new members



The newest members of the St. Peter High School chapter of the National Honor Society were inducted during a special ceremony on Friday at the school's theater. 


Thirty-eight new members were inducted into the St. Peter High School chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) during a special ceremony on Friday, May 9.


This year’s induction ceremony was held at the SPHS theater and a reception for the students and their family members was held in the cafeteria after that. SPHS inducted it's first-ever members into NHS back in 1948, making this year the 66th annual induction ceremony. (See photo below for list of signatures from the first class of inductees from 1947-48 school year.)


SPHS counselor Andy Vander Linden provided the welcome for this year's reception while Principal Dr. Paul Peterson provided the sponsor’s message. NHS president Jessi Weiss gave information to those in attendance about the history and future of the SPHS NHS chapter.


Four other NHS members also addressed the crown about the NHS qualifications. Those members included Aricka O’Gorman (Scholarship), Cassi Lamb (Leadership), Alys Ferragamo (Service) and Keegan McCabe (Character). Sally Morrow assisted with the induction of the new members along with Vander Linden and Dr. Peterson while Shawna Zabinski was in charge of the lighting of the NHS Candles.


Those new inductees included:


Magdeline Anderson, Dustin Andree, Emily Annexstad, McKenna Aune, Avery Bachman, Alexandra Baskfield, Hannah Baskfield, Jennifer Bergeson, Killian Bixby, Sarah Bjorklund, Mallory Blaschko, Heather Borchert, Emily Carpenter, Melissa Chalupnik, Margaret Conlon, Rebecca Favre, Mariel Ferragamo, Taylor Graft, Ezekiel Haugen, Noah Hildebrandt, Skyler Hochstein, Alexander Hoehn, Lauren Juell, Jordan Kienholz, Desmond Krueger, Aaron Leeb, Jacob Marlow, Samantha Mitchell, Joseph More, Gretchen Niederriter, Alexander Quist, Jacob Rinehart, Sara Ronnkvist, Katherine Sandquist, Kaelan Weiss, Ella Wiebusch, Noah Wilson and Nicholas Zarn.


They join current inductees: Bethany Anderson, Chloe Bachman, Allison Baumann, Samuel Bennett, William Bennett, Rachel Beran, Kristina Bergeson, Rebekah Berry, Saijal Bhakta, Abigail Borgmeier, Valerie Bresnahan, Matthew Carlson, Maggie Chouanard, Carolyn Conlon, Kali Cummins, Margaret Dimock, Halla Dontje Lindell, Hallie Douglas, Caleb Ebeling, Alys Ferragamo, Olivia Gullickson, Olivia Hass, Ryan Hoehn, Matthew Huber, Ingrid Karlsrud, Meghan Kaveney, Brennan Kelly, Cassendra Lamb, Danielle Leonard, Kenneth Lusty, Kirsten Makela, Mallory Malecek, Keegan McCabe, Michaela Meyer, David Miller, Kinsale Morrow, Kaylee Neubauer, Noelle Neubauer, Aricka O’Gorman, Sara Osborne, Ashley Plamann, Janna Quick, Emily Rausch, Alexandra Rhodes, Alexia Riley, Jordyn Roemhildt, Cole Rolland, Brian Saulnier, Leah Schroepfer, Matthew Seitzer, Aaron Shoemaker, Calli Sizer, Jolene Smith, Michael Spear, Marta Springer, Martha Stelter, Megan Stenzel, Claire Thoemke, Shaun Timmerman, Natalie Weelborg, Joshua Weisenfeld, Jestine Weiss, Alex Willson, Adam Yeske, Shawna Zabinski, Michaela Zachman, Brett Zallek and Ashley Zutz.






SPHS senior ag students learn about business diversification



St. Peter High School senior ag business students learned about business diversification through poultry farming and worm farming. Above, the students are shown with some of the chicks they raised for two weeks earlier this semester which will be marketed as Cornish game hens. 


As a way to give St. Peter High School ag business students more real life, hands-on experience instructor Gena Lilienthal has implemented two new business ventures for her students to take part in this semester.


Those business ventures these students are involved with include vermiculture (worm farm) and poultry farming (raising baby chicks). The ag business class consists of mostly seniors and it was a new class last last year.


“This all came about from the class members desire to branch out beyond just the farm land that we operate,” Lilienthal said. “I sat down with them at the beginning of the school year to decide how to diversify their offerings.” Brainstorming sessions were held to come up with ventures they felt could be feasible.


The students eventually made the decisions to get into the worm farming and poultry farming options and, since the start of the second semester have pursued those ventures with an open mind willing to learn as they moved forward, according to Lilienthal.


Vermiculture (worm farming)


Getting involved in vermiculture was an interesting process and it was chosen because, other than the initial order of around 3,000 worms from a New Jersey company that specializes in these kind of project, it had a pretty simple business plan.


“The purpose of raising earthworms is for composting purposes as well as selling some for fishing bait,” Lilienthal said. “We are raising the earthworms and red wigglers right here in our classrooms and the students have been in charge throughout the process.”


“Our worms generally eat the same amount as their body weight per day.  It is going to take the full semester to get a few inches of compost. Because of that some of the guys have also become interested in selling the worms for bait. Although worms regulate their population according to the space of their environment, worms can double their population within three months.


“The girls in our class are interested in using the liquid waste to sell as liquid fertilizer. Their sales will not happen until close to the end of the semester.”  


The students started the business from scratch and thorough research was done to prove this kind of venture was feasible especially given the limitations of space the students had. The students utilized the knowledge of local experts to assist them in their planning as well.


The students are using bins to raise the worms and using food scraps to help produce the compost. The worms the students are raising include European earthworms and red wigglers.


“It’s great to be able to do something new, something other students don’t get a chance to normally do in high school,” senior Kyle Bosacker, one of the ag business students, said. “The whole process of raising the worms was really fairly simple and easier than I thought it would be. There is work involved as we have to check on them every day and I’ve really enjoyed being involved with this.”


Poultry farming (Cornish game hens)


The venture into poultry farming (raising cornish game hens) was one that took a lot of planning since there are so many stages involved and the more space is needed as the birds grow it size.


Ultimately it was decided to get involved in the early stage of poultry farming. The class purchased 100 baby chicks and raised them in the classroom until they started growing their feathers. The birds were then moved to Gena Lilienthal’s own farm where they will be raised until they are ready for market as Cornish game hens.


“The chickens arrived at 1-2 days old on March 5th and will be butchered (in a USDA inspected kitchen) within the beginning of May.  It takes Cornish hens about 56-60 days to reach market weight.


The students worked during their morning classes as well as putting in time outside of class as well. Lilienthal comes in on weekends to feed and water the chicks and eventually will provide an area on her own farm to complete the raising process.


“The students weren’t aware of how much work actually goes into either business we are involved with and they soon get a real-life lesson in that it takes a lot of time and energy to make a business run successfully,” Lilienthal said. “We’ve already had staff express an interest in buying some of them and we’re optimistic we’ll be able to sell the rest.”


“It’s cool to be able to work with something in class that is different than we’d normally experience and to be able run a business like this has been very enjoyable,” senior Riley Wenner, one of the ag business students, said. “Most of the students in the class didn’t come from a farm background, so it’s great to give everyone a little taste of what it’s like to run a farm business. Those of us that do have farm backgrounds have never had chickens so that has been worthwhile as well.”


Anyone interested in purchasing the cornish game hens or buying the worms and/or compost should call Lilienthal at (507) 934-4210, ext. #466.


“Based upon what we’ve learned we’re quite confident we’ll break even and maybe even make a few extra bucks,” Wenner said.





SPHS theater students to stage ‘Arsenic and Old Lace” May 1-3




St. Peter High School theater department’s spring production of Arsenic and Old Lace will take to the stage for three performances on Thursday, May 1; Friday, May 2 and Saturday, May 3. Starting time for each show is 7:30 p.m.


Arsenic and Old Lace is a farcical dark comedy which focuses on the crazy antics surrounding Mortimer Brewster, his family members and acquaintances..


The student actors along with the stage and technical crews have been busy for the past month or so gearing up for next month’s performances, according to Colleen Bell, SPHS spring play director.


“Rehearsals have gone awesome, and the crew has done an amazing job on the set recreating the old Brewster home,” Bell said. “The cast has been developing characters that will either steal your heart away or make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.”


“The audience members are in for an interesting evening when they come to Arsenic and Old Lace. The play is a dark comedy where we find ourselves laughing about situations that are not normally humorous and are more likely to  fall into the category of simply absurd.


The following is a list of cast and crew members for this year’s show:


Arsenic and Old Lace

By Joseph Kesselring

(Cast & Crew list)

* Abby Brewster -- Rachel Beran

* The Rev. Dr. Harper -- Dalton Myers

* Teddy Brewster -- Tess chadwick

* Office Profphy -- Lillie Hagen

* Officer Klein -- Winston Taylor

* Martha Brewster -- Claire Thoemke

* Elaine Harper -- Cassi Lamb

* Mortimer Brewster -- Caulen Lusty

* Mr. Gibbs -- Noah Wilson

* Jonathan Brewster -- Logan Woods

* Dr. Einstein -- Lance Willet

* Officer O’Hara -- Dalton Myers

* Lieutenant Rooney -- Sophia Lamor

* Mr. Witherspoon -- Noah Wilson

* Understudy -- Kristina Bergeson

* Director --  Colleen Bell

* Technical Director -- Lyn Vavreck

* Assistant Director -- John Byrnes




Saints speech team sends 7 on to state; place 2nd as a team



Above, the St. Peter High School speech team shows off the hardware it won after placing second overall at the Section 2A Tournament, held Friday evening at SPHS. Below, seven SPHS speakers qualified for the state meet. Those state qualifiers include (l to r), Matthew Huber, David Miller, Kenneth Lusty, Claire Thoemke, Aaron Goedeke, Connor Prafke and Rafat Solaiman. 



It was a bountiful night for the St. Peter High School speech team as the Saints had seven speakers qualify for the Minnesota Class A State Speech Tournament by placing in the top three at the Section 2A meet.


Matthew Huber (Extemporaneous Speaking) and Claire Thoemke (Original Oratory) won individual titles to lead the Saints to a second place in the team standings. St. Peter finished with 114 points, behind repeat champion Fairmont's 164 points. Mankato Loyola finished third with 106 points while Jackson County Central 34 and Maple River 30 rounded out the top five. 


Other state qualifiers for St. Peter included second-place finishers Kenneth Lusty (Prose), Connor Prafke (Discussion) and Rafat Solaiman (Great Speeches) and third-place finishers Aaron Goedeke (Informative) and David Miller (Discussion).


"It was a great night for our team and I'm very proud of their efforts," St. Peter speech coach Tom Fish said. "Coming in I had an idea of who had a good chance ot moving on to state, but we had some kids tonight surprise me by qualifying and we also had a few kids who just missed going on that I thought had a chance.


"We usually have about six or seven kids go to state every year, but last year we only had four advance to state so I'm happy to see us improve on last year's number."


The Minnesota State Class A State Speech Tournament is set for Saturday, April 12, at Blaine High School.


Other section placewinners for the Saints included fourth-place finishers Rachel Beran and Aaron Shoemaker (Duo), Jessi Weiss (Drama) and Gretchen Niederriter (Great Speeches); fifth-place finishers Sklyer Hochstein (Informative), Valerie Bresnahan (Creative Expression), Emily Annexstad (Original Oratory), Maddie Harvey (Storytelling) and Winston Taylor (Extemporaneous Speaking); and sixth-place finishers Carolyn Conlon (Extemporaneous Reading), Jacob Erkel (Extemporaneous Speaking) and Rachel Quist (Storytelling).


The Saints also had nine other entrants compete at the Section 2A meet. Those included: Kristina Bergeson (Creative Expression), Casey Osborne (Discussion), Katie Sandquist (Drama), Taylor Graft (Extemporaneous Reading), Ali Sandquist (Great Speeches), Peter Stelter (Humorous), Cassi Lamb (Poetry), Sophia Lamor (Prose), and Olivia Young (Storytelling).


Section 2A Team Standings

1.  Fairmont 164

2.  ST. PETER 114

3.  Mankato Loyola 106

4.  Jackson County Central 34

5.  Maple River 30

6.  (tie) Mt. Lake Christian and Blue Earth Area 22

8.  Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton 14

9.  New Ulm Cathedral 10

10. Buffalo Lake-Hector 8

11. Martin County West 6

12. (tie) Medford, MN Valley Lutheran and Waseca 4

15. Kenyon-Wanamingo 2





SPHS Academic Decathlon teams 2nd & 5th at state




Members of the St. Peter High School Academic Decathlon program include: front row (l to r) Tanner Peterson, Josh Weisenfeld, Matthew Huber, Runnar Bahr, Connor Winter, Maggie Dimock, Natalie Weelborg, Alys Ferragamo; back row, Grace Kvidera, Brian Saulnier, Rachel Weelborg, Rachael Obermiller, Bre Meger, Jennifer Bergeson, Bryce Hilde and Winston Taylor. (Submitted photo)


St. Peter High School’s two Academic Decathlon teams competed at the annual state competition and placed second and fifth out of seven teams competing. This year’s state competition was held on Sunday, Feb. 23 and Monday, Feb. 24, at the Oak Ridge Conference Center in Chaska.


The state Academic Decathlon program is sponsored by the South Central Service Cooperative is a national scholastic competition designed to stimulate intellectual growth and encourage greater respect for knowledge. The format includes students with A, B and C grade-point averages competing in ten curricular areas. Competitions range from local scrimmages to national contests.


The St. Peter Blue team, which finished second right behind Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, consisted of Runnar Bahr, Alys Ferragamo, Maggie Dimock, Matthew Huber, Josh Weisenfeld, Connor Winter, Winston Taylor and Bryce Hilde. The St. Peter White team, which placed fifth overall, consisted of Brian Saulnier, Tanner Peterson, Jennifer Bergeson, Bre Meger and Rachael Obermiller. Alternates for the Academic Decathlon teams are Rachel Weelborg and Grace Kvidera.


While Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial earned automatic entry into the United States Academic Decathlon National Competition, SPHS’s Blue team has a chance to earn a wildcard spot. This year’s national contest is held April 24-26 in Honolulu, Hawaii.


The advisor for the team is Mary Behrends.


The following is a breakdown of the individual results of the Saints’ team members:


Individual Honors:


* Matthew Huber/Honors Division-- 1st Art, 1st Economics, 1st Music, 1st Science, 2nd Language & Literature, 1st Math, 1st Overall


* Alys Ferragamo/Honors Division -- 2nd Economics, 3rd Science, 1st Essay, 1st Language &Literature, 2nd Music, 2nd Science, 2nd Speech, 3rd Overall


* Maggie Dimock/Honors Division -- 1st Art, 2nd Science


* Joshua Weisenfeld/Scholastic Division --  3rd Essay, 3rd Language &Literature, 3rd Music, 3rd Interview, 1st Math, 1st Speech, 2nd Science, 3rd Overall


* Winston Taylor/Scholastic Division -- 1st Language &Literature, 1st Music, 1st Social Science, 2nd Economics, 2nd Essay, 2nd Speech, 1st Overall


* Connor Winter/Scholastic Division -- 3rd Music, 2nd Language & Literature


* Bryce Hilde/Varsity Division -- 3rd Art, 3rd Economics, 3rd Math, 1st Language & Literature, 2nd Science


* Runnar Bahr/Varsity Division-- 3rd Art, 1st Essay


* Brian Saulnier/Honors Division-- 3rd Language & Literature, 2nd Economics,


* Jennifer Bergeson/Honors Division-- 2nd Economics, 1st Social Science, 1st Interview, 1st Speech


Overall team scores:  Blue team, 2nd place 34,201.5; White team, 5th place 22,891.4





Middle School's performance of 'Treasure Island' set for Feb. 28



Cast and crew members of this year's Middle School play includes: front row (l to r), Chandra O'Brien; second row, Ruby Langr, Caitlin Salfer, Carrigan Miller, Noah Gassman, Isabel Panciera, Claire Eades; third row, Lily Werner, Leah Harms, Isaac Peterson, Shannie Rao, Josiah Johnson, Skyler Hinderscheid, Nia Weiss, Yana Burgess, Kortney Figueroa, Amelia Wernsing and Yuma Bollum. Not pictured is Rachel Quist. 


St. Peter Middle School’s production of “Treasure Island” will be staged at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, at the school’s theater.


Directors John Byrnes and Casey Rose have been busy the past couple months putting the nearly 30-member cast and crew through countless hours of rehearsals in preparation for this year’s performance.


Admission to the play is $5 for adults and $3 for students, children and seniors. Those with SPHS activity passes are admitted free.


Middle school students will get a chance to see the show at special performances during the school day on Thursday, Feb. 27. The first one is at 8:15 a.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m.


The following is a list of this year’s cast and crew for this year’s middle school play.



Jim Hawkins: Nora Leonard

Mrs. Hawkins: Eleanor Grinnell

Long John Silver: Antonia Weiss

Dr. Livesey: Yana Burgess

Squire Trelawney: Rachel Quist

Black Dog: Ashby Roloff

Billy Bones: Chandra O’Brien

Morgan: Molly Jurewicz

Israel: Isaac Peterson

Bonnie Doon: Mara Johnson

Captain Smollette: Aiden Bistrup

Ben Gunn: Skylar Hinderschied

Queen Mahi-Mahi: Caitlin Salfer

Prince Halani: Josiah Johnson

Serving Girl: Leah Harms

Townswoman #1: Ruby Langr

Townswoman #2: Shannie Rao

Islanders / Pirates / Sailors: Kortney Figueroa, Claire Eades, Kyla Thomas, Kalem Heldberg



Yume Bollum

Dylan Graft

Isabel Panciera

Lily Werner

Carrigan Miller

...and all Cast willing to assist!





SPHS students named as National Merit finalists



SPHS students (l to r) Matthew Huber, Jessi Weiss and Hans Johnson were recently named National Merit Scholarship finalists. (File photo)



Three St. Peter High School seniors recently earned a prestigious honor by being named as finalists for the 2014 National Merit Scholarships.


Those three finalists include Jessi Weiss and Matthew Huber, who are full-time students at SPHS, along with Hans Johnson, who is home-schooled but also has taken classes at SPHS on a part-time basis. These students are three of 15,000 finalists nationwide and among those finalists only 8,000 will be chosen as National Merit Scholarship winners.


The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will begin notifying winners of their scholarship offers in March with the list being released to the public later that spring.




Middle School Shining Saints honored for second quarter



These St. Peter Middle School students were honored at a special recognition breakfast Wednesday morning for being named as Shining Saints for the second quarter. These students included: front row (l to r) Isabel Panciera, Greta Anderson, Kortney Figueroa, Lily Anderson; back row, Riley Schloesser, Isaac Peterson, Becca Johnson, Ashley Tebben, Jetun Williams and Cody Seifert. Not pictured are Rafat Solaiman and Nathaniel Dickie.




Saints’ Mock Trial teams having a stellar year



SPHS/MS mock trial team members this year include: front row (l to r), McKenna Aune, Mariel Ferragamo, Hannah Baskfield, Anja Dulin, Kaelen Weiss, Allie Warren, Evan Coakley, Allie Baskfield; middle row, Kylie Grack, Rebecca Favre, Noah Wilson, Kaleb Long; back row, Peter Stelter, Rahma Abdi and Melissa Chalupnik. Not pictured is Kayla Scholtz. (Photo by Kurt Hildebrandt - School Information Coordinator)


There are many programs which have built strong reputations at St. Peter High School/Middle School and the Saints’ mock trial team is quickly joining those ranks.


The Saints, which have no seniors in the program, are fielding two mock trial teams and both have had stellar seasons in which they have won all of their competitions. Those teams they competed against so far this season includes New Country School, Cedar Mountain, Sleepy Eye and Waseca.


The St. Peter teams move into the Regional competition on February 10 at the Rice County Courthouse in Faribault. St. Peter’s teams are the top two seeds for the regional event and will face either Maple River, Cedar Mountain or New Country School in the first round. The winners would advance to the region final on February 8 in Mankato for a chance to go to state.  The State Mock Trial event is set for March 11 and 12 in Duluth.


Team members include juniors Evan Coakley and Kayla Schultz, sophomores Rahma Abdi, McKenna Aune, Alexandra Baskfield, Hannah Baskfield, Rebecca Favre, Mariel Ferragamo, Kaelen Weiss, Noah Wilson, Melissa Chalupnik and Allie Warren; freshman Peter Stelter and seventh-graders Kylie Grack, Anja Dulin and Kaleb Long.


Faculty coach/advisor is John Warren, who is in his seventh year with the program. Lawyer coaches include James Dunn (Nicollet County Assistant District Attorney) and Jennifer Cooklock (with Riley Tanis Law Office). Nicollet County District Court Judge Alison Krehbiel also helps out with the team.


We missed state last year after having made it there the three previous years,” John Warren said. “We had a very young team last year after losing a large senior group the year before that. We are still a very young team but we have a lot of experience and a lot of talent in this group that is dominated by a strong sophomore class.


“It’s been a tough year so far because of all the weather delays that have affected our practice times. We’ve missed four or five practice sessions already, but the kids have really come through to put in the extra work to make up for that missed time.


Each year the mock trial teams around the state rotate between working on a civil case or a criminal case. This year’s case is a civil case involving the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. In this case a mother of one of those crew members who perished when the ship sunk in Lake Superior is suing in the shipping company, which owned the ship, for negligence in the death of her son.


“With so many younger participants, our program has an awfully bright future.


“It’s great having such great community support. That kind of community partnership has been very important to us and we were not be where we are at without it. All of those who help out with the program do so voluntarily and they work around their schedules to help us out.”

According to the Minnesota High School Mock Trial program’s website, Mock Trial is a “law-related education program that introduces students to the American legal system and provides a challenging opportunity for personal growth and achievement. Your students will exercise their critical thinking and teamwork skills, as well as the basic skills learned in the classroom.”




SPHS One-Act Play competes at Sub-Section 6 event

Saints' cast and crew places fourth overall to fall just short of sections



SPHS cast & crew: front row (l to r) Winston Taylor, Taylor Graft, Dustin Andree, Lexie McCann; middle row, Kristina Bergeson, Tess Chadwick, Sam Mitchell, Rachael Obermiller, David Miller and Trevy Weingartz; back row, Jacob Erkel, Caulen Lusty, Claire Thoemke, Rachel Beran, Runnar Barr, Michael Spear, Jessi Weiss, Dalton Myers and Aaron Shoemaker. Not pictured is Megan Ellerbeck. (Photo by Kurt Hildebrandt - School Information Coordinator)


A talented group of St. Peter High School theater students competed this past weekend in the Section 2A, Sub-Section 6 competition at Mankato Loyola’s Fitzgerald Middle School Theater.


The Saints’ cast and crew ended up in fourth place in the six-school event, falling two place short of qualifying for the Section 2A One-Act Play event held this Saturday at Jordan High School. The top three teams included Loyola, Waseca and Cleveland.


The 21-member cast and crew staged “4 A.M.”, a dramedy which was written by Jonathon Dorf and produced with special arrangements by Playscripts, Inc. Lyn Vavreck is the director for this year’s production


The show centered around the question “What's it like to be awake when the rest of your world is asleep?” During the performance audience members will be introduced to a radio DJ, the author of a most unusual letter, a modern day Romeo and Juliet, and many other teen characters as they search for connection in the magic hour. Join them on their journey as they discover whether the monster under the bed is real and collectively wonder.. “Is there anybody out there?”


The following is a cast and crew for this year’s SPHS one-act play:



Frankie 4 a.m. – Dalton Myers

Jane – Tess Chadwick

Jogging Teen – Kristina Bergeson

Anne – Rachel Beran

Monica – Claire Thoemke

Romeo – Winston Taylor

Juliet – Taylor Graft

Sleeper Kid – Michael Spear

Monster Under the Bed, Nightmare – Rachael


Simon – Jacob Erkel

Hale – Caulen Lusty

Fire Kid – Jessi Weiss

First Officer, Nightmare - Lexie McCann

Second Officer, Nightmare – Sam Mitchel

Third Officer, Nightmare – Megan Ellerbeck

Second Runner – Runnar Barr



Lights – David Miller

Sound – Aaron Shoemaker

Stage Manager – Dustin Andree

Stage Crew – Trevy Weingartz





SPHS tech/engineering students tour local businesses


Engineering and technology students at St. Peter High School had the opportunity to tour local manufacturing companies. The event was organized by the St. Peter Chamber of Commerce’s Business/Education Committee.


The high school students had the opportunity to tour Creation Technologies, Jarraff Industries and Alumacraft facilities. At each stop, the students had the chance to see first-hand the products these companies make and how they are made. as well as ask questions of company management about the kind of work done there.


St. Peter Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ed Lee felt it was a wonderful opportunity not just for the students but for the local businesses as well.


“Manufacturing Day taught the students that St. Peter businesses are a player on the global business scene,” Lee said. “The tours let them visualize them in careers as engineers and other high-skilled professionals.


“We’re so appreciative to Creation Technologies, Jarraff and Alumacraft, all of whom seemed extremely proud of their quality and the opportunity to show what they do.”


St. Peter High School Principal Paul Peterson also felt this was a very worthwhile endeavor for the students to visit these local businesses.


“Our school is truly fortunate to have businesses right here in town that are willing to open their doors to students,” Peterson said. “It's so important that we not only talk to kids about the world of work, but show them what it looks like.  


“Manufacturing Day was a great opportunity to do that, and our businesses couldn't have been more generous with their time.  I asked students afterwards if the tours were beneficial, and the answers were a unanimous ‘Yes!’.”




SPHS musicians taking talents to Sunshine State

Saints Marching Band to play at halftime of Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando




By Kurt Hildebrandt

St. Peter Public Schools

School Information & Marketing Coordinator


A dedicated group of St. Peter High School musicians will get the opportunity of a lifetime when the Saints Marching Band & Color Guard travels to Orlando, Fla., to take part in halftime show at this year’s Russell Athletic Bowl college football game.


The 41 students along with band director David Haugh and a group of adult chaperones will board a charter bus in the wee morning hours of Dec. 26 for the 20-plus hour trip to the Sunshine State. Their halftime performance at the Russell Athletic Bowl will be on Saturday, Dec. 28, with the game kicking off at around 5:45 p.m. (Central time).


“This will be my second time in taking the band on a holiday trip like this and we’re really looking forward to it,” Haugh said. “The students have been working hard getting ready for the trip and there’s an outside chance some of the band might see at least a glimmer of camera time during the halftime show. The rest of the trip will also be a well-deserved reward for their efforts.”


The most recent marching band trip of this magnitude took place during the holiday break of the 2009-10 school year. That year the band traveled to San Diego, Ca., and played at halftime of the Holiday Bowl game as well as at a holiday parade. However, none of the current band members were old enough to make that trip.


“We try to schedule this trip every four years to give students a chance to make the trip once during their time at St. Peter High School,” Haugh said. “We’ve been working on the music we’ll be playing in Florida for about the past two or three weeks, right after we received it. It’s a variety of pop songs from the past and present, and we’ll have them memorized pretty well by the time we get down there.”


The SPHS contingent is scheduled to arrive in Orlando the morning of Dec. 27th and shortly after arrival they will join up with around 500 other marching band students from five other bands from around the country at West Orange High School for about a four-hour rehearsal. They will also rehearse for a couple hours the next morning (Dec. 28) at the same location before the entire group shifts its focus to the 65,000-seat Citrus Bowl Stadium.


For two of the more veteran members of the Marching Band, senior Caulen Lusty and junior Aaron Shoemaker, this will not be there first time traveling with their peers. However, this trip tops previous trips scope of distance traveled and size of venue.


“I traveled to St. Louis with the band two years ago and last year to Chicago with the choir, but this trip will top those,” Lusty, who plays tuba/sousaphone, said. “I’ve never been to Florida before, so obviously I’m very excited for that, but I’m also thrilled about getting to go to Universal Studios and having the chance to work with other high school musicians from around the country.


“The chance to perform in a stadium with so many other people like this will be a bit crazy as will riding a bus for 25 hours and then having to get off and rehearse right away for four hours. But, I’m really looking forward to it.”


“I went on the band trip to St. Louis my freshman year, but that was in May,” Shoemaker, who plays the baritone saxophone, said. “To be able to go on a trip like this during vacation time and at this time of year will be great. I’m excited about the whole experience, especially bonding with the other members of our band as well as meeting people from other parts of the country. Performing in the big stadium will be a memorable experience along with the whole trip.”


While this trip will have a business trip-like feel to it, Haugh and the trip organizers made sure to schedule some fun in the sun.


The St. Peter group will have enough free time to make two separate trips to Universal Studios, one of which will include taking in a performance by the always-popular Blue Man Group.


“The cost for each of the students was $800 and we provided a variety of ways for them to raise funds for the trip including fruit sales, Ford test drive event, waiting tables at Pizza Ranch in Mankato and a silent auction during our concert,” Haugh said. “The students worked hard to raise the money for this trip and it’s a great reward for them.”


The trip is organized through an organization called Bowl Games of America, which Haugh said is the same group the band has used for all of its previous trips.   


A History of SPHS Marching Band trips

2013 - Orlando, Fla. (Russell Athletic Bowl)

2009 - San Diego, Cal. (Holiday Bowl)

2005 - Jacksonville, Fla. (Gator Bowl)

2001 - Miami, Fla. (Orange Bowl)

1997 - San Antonio, Tex. (Alamo Bowl)

1993 - Jacksonville, Fla. (Gator Bowl)

1989 - Tuscon, Ariz. (Copper Bowl)


The following is a summary of the group’s itinerary for the Florida trip :


Thursday, Dec. 26

- 4:30 a.m. (Central time) – arrive at school for luggage check in & loading. Depart at 5 a.m. Please pack something to get you through until lunch. We will make two meal stops on Thursday along with other rest stop areas.


Friday, Dec. 27

-- Depending on time we may make a quick breakfast stop, but it might be wise to pack something to eat for the bus.

-- 8 a.m. to noon. (Eastern time) Arrive at West Orange High School for rehearsal with the other bands. Lunch on your own at nearby fast food restaurants (short bus ride).

-- Head to The Florida Hotel – - to check in & relax awhile before we

-- Head to Universal Studios mid to late afternoon. Depending on when our rooms are ready, we may have to spend some time at the adjacent mall. On your own for supper at park. There is a dance party for all bands at 10 p.m. at Universal Studios. Head back to hotel sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight.


Saturday, Dec. 28

-- 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast buffet (included).

-- 10 a.m. to noon. Practice at West Orange High School.

-- Lunch on your own at nearby fast food options (again, we will drive to).

-- 3:30 p.m. - In uniform and ready to go at Citrus Stadium.

-- 6:30 p.m. - Kickoff of game (Miami vs. Louisville). Group to perform at halftime.

-- Return to hotel after game.


Sunday, Dec. 29

– 8 to 9 a.m. Breakfast buffet (included).

-- Later morning. Depart for Universal Studios after some downtime around the hotel.

-- Meals on your own either in mall adjacent to hotel or at Universal.

-- 5:45 p.m. Meet in front of the auditorium for the 6 p.m. Blue Man Group performance (included)

-- Back to hotel after the performance.


Monday, Dec. 30

-- Morning. Pack up & depart Orlando (breakfast stop on way out probaby) Lunch, supper & rest area stops along the way.


Tuesday, Dec. 31

– Arrive back in St. Peter around noon (estimated).



Students taking part in annual Food Fight food drive


The holiday season is a time for giving and sharing, and for families in need it can be a particularly stressful time of year trying to make ends meet.


St. Peter High School and Middle School students are trying to do their part to make the holidays a little brighter through their annual Food Fight food drive for students in grades 7-12. This year’s food drive began on Monday (Dec. 2) and runs through Wednesday, Dec. 18 with all food and money collected going to the St. Peter Area Food Shelf.


PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports) has taken over sponsorship of this year’s Food Fight after the St. Peter High School Student Council had organized the previous drives.


The goal for this year’s Food Fight food drive is to raise 1,000 pounds of food donations as well as $1,000 in monetary donations. All food and money donations can be dropped off in high school/middle school office. Bins have been set up in the office to drop items off with a friendly competition between the grades included as part of the drive to see which can collect the most.


If the students meet this year’s goal then the students will get to play Building Bingo on Friday, Dec. 20, which is the last day of school before the holiday break.




St. Peter School Board OKs move to Big South Conference

2013-14 school year probably marks end of South Central Conference


By Kurt Hildebrandt

School Information Coordinator


For more than six decades, being in the South Central Conference has been an important part of the identity of St. Peter High School student-athletes.


However, by the start of the 2014-15 school year a new era for SPHS athletic teams and other extracurricular activities should become reality.


St. Peter School Board members voted to join the newly-formed  Big South Conference at Monday’s (Nov. 18) board meeting. The new conference is slated to include all six schools of the current South Central Conference and seven members of the Southwest Conference.


To date, St. Peter has joined fellow SCC members Fairmont, Blue Earth Area and St. James Area and SWC members Windom Area, Marshall and Worthington in approving the conference change. The school boards of the other six members schools are slated to vote on the issue some time this week (Nov. 18-22).  


“From what we’ve heard, we expect all 13 schools to approve membership into the Big South Conference,” St. Peter High School Activities Director Steve Alger said. “There has been a lot of hard work put into this since late summer and it appears as if the days of the South Central Conference, as we know it, are numbered.”


The first order of business for the St. Peter board at Monday’s meeting regarding the Big South vote was to first officially withdraw from the SCC and then join the new league. The board unanimously approved both measures.


“This is an either an all-in or you're-on-your-own deal meaning any school not approving membership in the Big South will have to either find another conference to work with or possibly go at it on their own as an independent,” Alger said. “There is no opting out for any particular sports, either. It’s all sports or none at all.”


Having just six members schools is unusual these days for Minnesota high school athletic conferences and makes for a house of cards of sorts when it comes to scheduling and that instability could only be magnified in the coming years, according to Alger, if the SCC maintained the status quo.


“These two conferences each have a rich tradition in multiple sports and by bringing them together it is going to give us an even stronger conference with a lot more stability, which, for me as an AD, is very important,” Alger said.


At first glance, it might seem like there will be more of a burden being placed on student-athletes from a time away from school and travel commitment perspective, but careful planning has been done to split up the new conference into two divisions when necessary -- either in a east-west fashion or by splitting the bigger schools enrollment-wise from the smaller schools.


“There obviously are some concerns that came to mind right away such as the thought of our students having to take a long bus trip out to say Pipestone on a school night and vice versa,” Alger said. “But, with the use of divisions it has been worked out where the travel time and time away from class is very similar to what we have right now. In fact, in some years it may be even less.”


Alger also pointed out the new conference could benefit more than just the school's athletic teams. Discussions have already been held on hosting Big South band and choir festivals and a conference speech meet along with other possibilities.


"I think this definitely opens the door for some new and exciting opportunities for our students," Alger said.


Other options considered


This isn't the first time St. Peter has looked at a change from its SCC ways. A few years ago the school had applied for and been rejected in their request for membership in the Minnesota River Conference, which includes neighboring schools such as Le Sueur-Henderson, Tri-City United, Belle Plaine and Sibley East. The vote was an even 4-4 split among the MRC membership, falling just short of the majority requirement.


Other SCC schools such as New Ulm and St. James each have explored other conference options as well.


“We have explored all of our options, including staying as is, but with the instability of the South Central Conference we feel this is our best option at this time,” Alger said. “If just one school left the South Centra Conference it would have been the end of it.”


Once all 13 schools have voted, each member of the new conference would be required, per the bylaws, to give a two-year notice if they wish to get out of the Big South.


Other factors which could change the current arrangement include the possibility of football going to a section-scheduling format which would change things for that sport or a school opting not to join. However, for now it appears as if the Big South is going to become reality sooner rather than later.


The following is a breakdown of those schools involved:



SCC Schools (Enrollment)

New Ulm  (523)

Waseca (500)

Fairmont (492)

St. Peter (482)

Blue Earth Area (318)

St. James (272)


SWC Schools (Enrollment)

Marshall (678)

Worthington (558)

Redwood Valley (318)

Luverne (308)

Jackson County Central (305)

Pipestone Area (293)

Windom Area (222)

(* - These figures are for the 2012-13 enrollment - grades 9-12 - per MN State High School League website. The final numbers are adjusted based upon free and reduced lunch participation in each district)


St. Peter’s SCC Championships (by year)

Overall -- 107 SCC titles (72 boys, 35 girls)

Boys (* - denotes shared title)

Cross Country - 2 (1975, 1974).

Football - 15 (1999, 1995*, 1993*, 1989, 1988*, 1986, 1981*, 1979, 1977*, 1976, 1975, 1959, 1958, 1955*, 1945).

Soccer -- 3 (2010, 2008*, 2007*).

Basketball - 6 (2013*, 2012*, 2011, 1995, 1955, 1948).

Hockey - 0.

Wrestling - 2 (1975*, 1963).

Baseball - 17 (2006, 1989*, 1982*, 1981, 1978*, 1976, 1975*, 1970*, 1960*, 1959*, 1956*, 1955, 1954, 1953, 1949*, 1948*, 1947).

Golf - 12 (2003, 1978, 1977*, 1975, 1966, 1959, 1958, 1957, 1955, 1954, 1947, 1946).

Tennis - 12 (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008*, 1993, 1988, 1958, 1957, 1956, 1955).

Track & Field - 2 (1988*, 1978).

Girls  (* - denotes shared title)

Cross Country - 0

Tennis - 0

Volleyball - 7 (2013, 1990, 1980*, 1979*, 1978, 1977, 1976, 1975)

Soccer - 2 (2013, 2010)

Hockey - 2 (2009*, 2004*)

Basketball - 12 (2012, 2011, 2003, 2002*, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988

Gymnastics - 2 (1991, 1975*)

Golf - 1 (1978)

Softball - 7 (2009, 2008*, 2004, 2001*, 1992, 1980*, 1979*)





Three SPHS seniors nominated for NHS Scholarship program

St. Peter High School seniors (l to r) Carolyn Conlon, Keegan McCabe and Alexis Riley, have been nominated for the 2013-14 National Honor Society Scholarship program.



Three St. Peter High School seniors have been nominated to compete in the National Honor Society (NHS) Scholarship program for the 2013-14 school year.

Those three students are Carolyn Conlon, Alexia Riley and Keegan McCabe.

National Honor Scoiety chapters from across the country were eligible to nominate a limited number of senior NHS members to compete for these scholarships. They were chosen based upon a variety of factors including leadership skills, participation in service organizations and clubs, achievements in the arts and sciences and general academic record. SPHS chool staff participated in the recommendation process.

This year this program will award more than $200,000 in college scholarships. Special recognition and additional additional awards will be presented to state and regional winners. One national recipient will receive a $13,000 award.

The NHS Scholarship program has been in existence since 1946 and over the years has awarded more than $12 million in scholarships to outstanding members.


Exchange student gets a 'kick' out of SPHS life

Valtteri Korkiakoski (30), a Finnish exchange student at SPHS, was the placekicker for the Saints' football team the last half of the 2013 season. (Photo courtesy of Mark Zallek - zProPhoto)


By Kurt Hildebrandt

School Information Coordinator

St. Peter High School has long been a popular spot for foreign exchange students and as recently as the 2011-2012 school year there 13 of them calling St. Peter home...temporarily.


This is somewhat of a different year for St. Peter High School with just one foreign exchange student, Valtteri Korkiakoski, spending the school year here. However, what the school is lacking in quantity it is making up in quality as the native of Finland has adapted quickly to his temporary home in just a few short months.

Valt, as he’s become known to many of his fellow students and the staff at SPHS, has quickly made a positive impact in the classroom and also has become well known outside of it, too, having been a popular member of the Saints’ football team this fall.

The Spotlight had a chance to catch up with Valt recently to ask him some questions about his life in the U.S. and here are his responses:

Who are your family members back in Finland? I have 5 family members in my real family back in Finland. They include my dad, Marko; my mother, Outi; and my brother Markus, 19, and my sister Anniina, 12. That's the Korkiakoski family.

We live in the city of Espoo (population around 250,000) which is a suburb of Helsinki. My father is a business consultant and my mother is a middle school teacher and she is also studying to become a therapist.

Who are your host family members here in St. Peter? My host family is the McCabe family. My host mom is Schelli and my host dad is Ambrose along with my host brothers, Keegan, Collin, Ryan and Marty. I really enjoy living at McCabes. They are really an active family but that is one of the reasons why I like them very much. They are an awesome family. And I'm very glad to be part of it.

What inspired you to become an exchange student? I decided to exchange when I was about 15. My dad was an exchange student many years ago so he told me and my brother awesome stories and shared positive experiences. When I was fifteen my brother went to California as an exchange student. His stories and experiences gave me a huge boost to go abroad. I didn't see anything negative about going  to a totally different country to study and learn their culture, and I haven't seen anything so far.

How long will you be staying here in St. Peter? I'm here for whole school year (total of 10 months). Estimated departure day is ten days after graduation. It is long time but still too short.

How did you come to choose St. Peter? In late August I was still waiting for my host family information and I knew that departure would be within a week. I didn't have any idea where I was going. That was frustrating because I waited about 1.5 years without knowing any information and other exchange students had already flown into the U.S. My organization let me do a couple of state choices but they didn't work out. I got my host family information on the last day of August and the family (McCabes) seemed so nice so I decided to come here. At first I thought Minnesota would be pretty much same as Finland. But so far it has turned out to be totally different place, but with a few similarities.

What do you miss most about your life back home (besides your family members)? Biggest thing I miss, besides my family, is my way of life. The life I live here is very different than I used to live in Finland. All the friends, family, school and activities. But I don't miss it that much because it is still there and nothing is going to change. So I don't worry it too much because I want to focus on my life here to get as many experiences out of it as I can. But it is sometimes hard to understand that I'm going to be here for 10 months.

What have you enjoyed most about life here in St. Peter? My whole social network here is so great. Including my awesome host family and all the new friends I’ve met at school. I like to be part of Saint Peter’s small town community.

What have been some of the things that have surprised you about life in the U.S.? I've been surprised how well I've been able to learn and fit into American culture in such a short time. I’ve still got a lot to learn. But there is so much new stuff that it is hard to tell those all. Everyday is kind of a surprise.

Do you have any particular goals during your stay here? My goals here are to become an "American teenager" with fluent language skills, learn the Saint Peter way of life, meet lots of new friends and become more independent from my parents. I want to make this year one of the best years of my life. I want to remember all the great stuff and experiences I did here when I get older and probably share those with my children.

What foods do you miss from back home? Food here is so good. In first two weeks I ate more pizza, burgers and junk food than I've eaten in two years in Finland. But my host mom is great baking all kinds of stuff and I'm always ready to try them. But I really like food around here.

The food I miss the most is salmon in all forms. My family in Finland eats a lot of and all kinds of fish. I haven't eat fish here so often. I miss it a little.

Any other thoughts you wish to share about your experience so far? My year got off to a great start when I started in a football team in fall. The team was great and it was honor to be a part of it. I made a lot of new friends and got great experiences (being in the newspaper, etc.).




SPHS to stage 'Charlie & the Chocolate Factory' Nov. 21-23


Members of the St. Peter High School production "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" rehearse a scene in the 'Wonkavator'. (Photo by Kurt Hildebrandt - School Information Coordinator)



The cast and crew for the 2013 St. Peter High School theater department’s fall play, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” have been chosen and have been hard at work preparing for this year’s performances.


The 28-member cast along with the stage crew members are scheduled to put on this popular production, November 21-23 at the SPHS Theater at 7:30 p.m. Colleen Bell is the director for this year’s fall play while Lyn Vavreck is the technical director. The play is based upon the book by Roald Dahl and dramatized by Richard R. George,



“Who wouldn’t want to join Charlie Bucket in his adventurous tour of Willy Wonka’s world-famous Chocolate Factory?,” Colleen Bell, fall play co-director, said. “Those attending this year’s performances will see Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Sale, Grandpa George, Grandma Georgina, Willy Wonka, the Oompa Loompas and Charlie himself come to life and all involved will discover the true meaning of teamwork, self-confidence and self-esteem.

“Each member of the cast will have a role that promotes a special understanding of other people as, together, they and our audience experience a chocolate candy fantasy.”

According to Bell, the entire production is smoothly tied together by an energetic and personable Narrator, who effortlessly bridges time and excites our audience with creative anticipation.

“We like to keep things new and fresh in our theater program so we have invited staff to play the roles of Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina during our 7:30 p.m. performances that weekend,” Bell said. “We will also be doing a special performance on Wednesday Nov. 20 at 8:30 a.m. for 300 North students who earn a Golden Ticket. We may have staff playing Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina for this play too!”

Those staff playing the role of Grandpa George will be::

* Nov. 20 performance- Mr. Snell

* Nov. 21 performance-Mr. Clark

* Nov. 22 performance-Mr. Byrnes

* Nov. 23 performances- Mr. Hermanson

Those staff playing the role of Grandma Georgina will be:

* Nov. 20 performance- Mr. Vavreck

* Nov. 21 performance-Mrs. Severns

* Nov. 22 & 23 performances- Mrs. Annexstad

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cast & crew

Narrator - Rachel Beran

Mrs Bucket - Ellen Eide

Mr Bucket - Runnar Bahr

Grandpa Joe - Caulen Lusty

Grandma Josephine - Grace Kvidera

Grandpa George - Guest Actor

Grandma Georgina - Guest Actress

Charlie Bucket - Micheal Spear

Augustus Gloop - Jacob Erkel

Mrs Gloop - Grace Kvidera

Violet Beauregarde - Taylor Graft

Mrs Beauregarde - Ellen Eide

Mike Teavee - Logan Woods

Mr Teavee - Aaron Goedeke

Mrs Teavee - Cady Belden

Veruca Salt - Jessi Wiess

Mr Salt - Peter Stelter

Mrs Salt - Allison Gessner

Willy Wonka - Dalton Myers


#1 Tess Chadwick

#2 Lexi McCann

#3 Andrey Chouanard

#4 Sam Mitchell

#5 Breanna Meger

#6 Rachel Obermiller

#7 Lexi Ellerbeck

Music: Evan Coakley, Jacob Erkel, Rachel Beran.

Crew: Trevy Weingartz, Dustin Andree, David Miller. Aaron Shoemaker, Yume Bollum, Kyla Thomas, Tristan Mason, Skyler Hinderscheid, Jacob Erkel, Amelia Wernsing, Dalton Myers, Jessi Weiss, Taylor Graft.

Congressman Walz to speak at Veterans Day program

St. Peter High School and Middle School will host its annual Veterans Day program on Monday, Nov. 11, starting at 8:30 a.m. in the school gym.
Serving as guest speaker for this year’s program will be U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, who represents Minnesota’s First Congressional District, which includes St. Peter.
Walz is currently serving his fourth term representing the First District, which spans the southern part of Minnesota – from the South Dakota border in the west to the Wisconsin border in the east.
A former high school social studies teacher at Mankato West, Walz served for 24 years in the National Guard before retiring as Command Sergeant Major. Before retiring, Walz served overseas with his battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Walz is the highest ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress.
The Veterans Day program is put on each year by the St. Peter High School/Middle School Social Studies Department.
This year’s Veterans Day program order of events includes:
* Stories of Service Introduction Videos - John Warren, Social Studies Dept. and Gus Sorbo, Technology Director
* Presentation of Colors - William R. Witty American Legion Post 37
* National Anthem - Saint Peter High School Concert Choir, Scott Hermanson, Director
* Welcome & Introduction of Speaker - Paul Peterson, St. Peter High School/Middle School Principal
* Guest Speaker - Walz
* God Bless the U.S.A - Saint Peter High School Concert Band  Dave Haugh, Director
* Veteran Recognition - Paul Peterson, SPHS/MS Principal
* Retiring of Colors - William R. Witty American Legion Post 37




Middle School first quarter Shining Saints are named



Those earning Shining Saints awards for first quarter of the 2013-14 school year include: front row (l to r), Matthew Straka, Citlali De La Cruz, Danielle Odens, Olivia McCabe, Victoria Hopkins, Stephen Terhurne; back row, Alexis Orth, Kate Hildebrandt, Kayla Oeltjenbruns, Nora Leonard and Halle Overgaard. Not pictured are Abdikafar Abdi, Tony Sarabia and Jorge Vazquez. 




Former High-STEP students pursue healthcare careers


St. Peter High School and High-STEP alums (l to r) Bailey Blaschko and Marissa Olson recently returned to this area after finishing LPN nurses training at Central Lakes College (Staples) and now work at the Benedictine Living Community of St. Peter while also going to school to become RNs.



By Kurt Hildebrandt

School Information Coordinator



It’s been a few years since 2011 St. Peter High School graduates Marissa Olson and Bailey Blaschko walked the hallways as students at their alma mater. However, they are not soon to forget what they learned here and how it has significantly influenced the career path both chose to take.


Olson and Blaschko were part of the inaugural group of students to participate in the High-STEP program. High-STEP is a health science and technology education partnership offered to students at St. Peter High School and surrounding schools who are interested in pursuing a career in health care.


“The High-STEP program definitely had a big influence on my life and helped me decide that I defintely wanted to pursue a career in health care.” Olson said. “It was exciting to be a part of the first class in the High-STEP program and it was a great way to get started in the healthcare field.”


“Those two years we were a part of the High-STEP program were great and really helped me make the decision to continue to pursue my nursing degree,” Blaschko said. “The training we received in high school gave both of us a good foundation on which to build upon once we got to college.”


Upon graduation from high school, the two close friends built upon the training they received through the High-STEP program by enrolling in the nursing program at Central Lakes College in Staples. The two completed their training at Central Lakes earlier this year which including becoming LPNs (licensed practical nurses). Subsequently, the long-time classmates moved back to the St. Peter area to pursue careers in healthcare along with continuing their education at Minnesota State University-Mankato with the ultimate goal of becoming RNs (registered nurses)..


The two SPHS alums have been working part-time at the Benedictine Living Community of St. Peter, which is where they did a lot of their High-STEP training when they were high school students. Their training with the program helped them attain their NAR (nursing assistant registered) certification.


“It’s awesome having two wonderful workers like Marissa and Bailey come back and work with us after they went off to college away from this area,” Benedictine Living Community of St. Peter Admistrator/CEO Linda Nelsen said. “The High-STEP program is a great program to have in this community as it helps provide health care facilities like ours with competent and well-trained staff.


“The fact Bailey and Marissa are going back to school at the same time to get their RN degrees will make them that much better employees whether they continue to work here or move on to another healthcare facility.”


Olson and Blaschko highly recommend that St. Peter High School students with any aspirations of working in healthcare to get involved with the High-STEP program.


“We encourage high school students to take advantage of this great opportunity if they have any interest in health care at all,” Olson said.


“They should learn as much as they can at that age because it will give students a good basis to figure out what they want to do,” Blaschko said. “Even better, the High-STEP program is free which you learn is a good thing once you start going to college and having to pay for it.”


For more information on the High-STEP program, contact coordinator Amanda Bell either via email at or by calling (612) 554-9177. The program’s website can be accessed at





SPHS alum’s move home sparks a new career with school district




Kelsey Hutchins works with high school students at several work sites in the area including the kitchens at all three schools in the St. Peter Public School District. Hutchins is the Work Experience Coordinator for the school district as well as MVED. 



By Kurt Hildebrandt

School Information Coordinator 


Getting out and making her mark on the art world was often on the mind of 2002 St. Peter High School alum Kelsey (Feldmann) Hutchins when she received her diploma more than 11 years ago.


What she has learned since then is sometimes even the best-laid plans change and she’s experienced it first hand.


Hutchins, who recently started her third year with MVED (Minnesota Valley Education District) and the St. Peter School District as their Work Experience Coordinator, once had her sights set on turning her passion for art into a way of life.


While her dream of art fame has yet to materialize, she has learned to adapt and has grown to refocus her passion into a new career -- working with special education students.


“After I graduated from here, my plans were to go to college and become a famous artist,” Hutchins said. “The thought of moving back to St. Peter to pursue the career I’m working at now was something I never imagined doing back then. But, I’m thrilled to be working here doing a job I’ve really grown to love.”


Getting through high school


Hutchins admits she had a tough time in high school socially, but she managed to maintain good grades throughout her time at SPHS.


“In high school I was one of those punk kids with the pink hair and piercings, but I made up my mind that academics were very important to me and I worked hard to become an A student,” she said.


Nina Preheim, who was the St. Peter HIgh School art teacher at the time, helped inspire Hutchins to become an artist. She encouraged Hutchins to enter the Scholastic Art Competition and she did well enough to become a finalist of the prestigious competition which only fueled that inspiration.


Other teachers who influenced her over the years included Mr. (Scott) McClintock, who helped her understand and then pass AP Chemistry, and Mr. (Joel) Moline, her art teacher at South Elementary who instilled an early love for art into her at an early age.


Determined to finish strong academically leading up to graduation and find a way to go college, Hutchins was almost derailed from those plans during the summer of 2001.


“My senior year of high school was very difficult because I had heart surgery that September and, for the first three quarters of the school year, I had to most of my school work from home,” she said. “The teachers and staff here were very supportive and cooperative by working with me from home and I’m extremely grateful they were able to keep me moving forward to be able to graduate.”


Gustavus beckons


Hutchins didn’t go very far to continue her education after her days ended at SPHS. Through the generosity of the Annexstad Family Foundation Scholarship program, she was able to attend Gustavus Adolphus College where she earned degrees in studio arts and art history.


“Our school counselor back then, Mr. (Tom) Marten, really did a lot for me and is the main reason I was able to go to Gustavus,” she said. “He really went out of his way to help me out.”


At Gustavus, Hutchins took advantage of the opportunity she was given.


“There was a lot of stress going on in my life at the time, including giving birth to my daughter my freshman year, but I was able to work my way through it,” she said. “One of the highlights of my time at Gustavus was eventually doing well enough to get a job assisting Paul Granlund at the Gustavus studio. I had the honor of helping cast his very last sculpture, which was incredible to be a part."


The dream continues


Upon graduating from Gustavus, Hutchins set her heart on making her living in the art world. During her time as a Gustie, she also taught art at the Alternative High School (MVED), Riverbend Academy in Mankato, and the Mankato Day Treatment program through a non-profit organization (Project G.E.M).


That teaching stint inspired her to go into teaching as a career and she was able to obtain her teaching license through Minnesota State University-Mankato’s master’s degree program for visual arts.


After her work with Project GEM was completed in 2010, Hutchins took a part-time teaching position with the Annandale School District, but she learned midway through the school year that her position was being cut due to budgets the next year.


“That was tough, but it was a part-time position to begin with so I kind of knew that position being cut was a possibility,” Hutchins said.


Moving back home


She eventually wound up back here in her hometown and, ironically, she worked as a substitute teacher with MVED, but after just a couple of  days on the job she was hired full-time for her current position in September 2011.


“Because I wasn’t licensed in special education, I’ve been working under a three-year variance but I am working towards obtaining my license,” she said. “I spend part of my time teaching the kids about the decisions they’ll face such as whether they will go to work or maybe go on to college.


“We do a personal inventory for them to help them figure out what training or schooling they will need to succeed. We also go over things like writing a resume’, interview skills as well as problem-solving and social interaction activities. They also learn about budgeting and, if and when they go to work, how to understand their paycheck and the responsibilities which come with that.”


Outside of school, Hutchins devotes a lot of her time to her family both through caring for her father, John Feldmann, who suffers from ALS and raising her 10-year old daughter and 5-year old son.


“With my schedule, spending time with my own kids can be a challenge and I make sure that when we are together that we are spending quality time together,” Hutchins said. “We are a very outdoorsy kind of family that enjoys biking, swimming and hiking together. My daughter has started to get involved with gymnastics, which is a lot of fun because I was in gymnastics when I was younger, and my son also has a bit of a daredevil side to him and has started to show an interest in tumbling as well.


“Moving back to St. Peter has been great for my family.  My daughter is a fourth grader here at North Intermediate and this is the first time she’s gone to the same school two years in a row, so she appreciates that security. My son has started up at Little Saints Preschool this year and seems to be enjoying that as well."


Maintaining balance


While life is still often stressful for Hutchins as she tries to balance her career, family life, continuing her education and her passion for art, she looks back and remembers those who stuck by her through it all.


“Everyone has a favorite teacher and I strongly recommend that if they’re having difficulties to communicate with them even if it’s just that one,” she said. “The guidance counselor’s office is a great resource as well and I know Mr. Vander Linden and Mrs. Jensen are amazing people that are always willing to help out when needed.


“I know I am extremely thankful for all of those that stuck by me through everything I’ve gone through. It’s made a huge difference in my life.”