News & Notes

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Three alumni and a former teacher/administrator will be the newest inductees into the Saint Peter Public Schools Hall of Fame during a special ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 29, starting at 9 a.m. in the Saint Peter High School commons area.

Admission is $10, which includes breakfast, and tickets can be purchased in advance from the SPHS office (2121 W. Broadway Ave.) or at the door prior to the ceremony.

The latest group of inductees includes Saint Peter High School graduates Howard Hermel (class of 1940), Bob Lambert (1963), and Mary Pettis (1970) along with the late Lester Hillger (former teacher and administrator).

In addition to the induction ceremony on September 29, the inductees have been invited to participate in the annual SPHS Homecoming parade at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. The parade route runs from the football field parking lot north onto Sunrise Drive, east onto Broadway Ave., south onto Third Street, and then west onto Grace Street back to the Saint Peter Middle School building.

The inductees will also be recognized during halftime of the Saints football game against New Ulm that Friday evening. Pre-game tailgate starts at 6 p.m. with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. at Floyd B. Johnson Field.

For more information on the Hall of Fame and bios on this year’s class go to

The following is a complete list of SPPS Hall of Fame inductees:

Howard Hermel (1940)
Bob Lambert (1963)
Mary Pettis (1970)
Lester Hillger (Faculty)

Donald Olmanson (1949)
John Lager (1958)
Gayle (Hanson) Olson (1973)
Jennipher Wiebold (1987)
Gil Carlson (Faculty)

Martin Menk (1941)
Steve Neils (1969)
Ed Drenttel (1977)
Rosemary Mickelson (Faculty)
Eunice Amos (Faculty)
Fran Braunger (Faculty)

Bill Pell (1957)
Marty Davis (1983)
Sushil Keswani (1985)

Carl Schmidt (1921)
Bob Wettergren (1938)
Stuart Johnson (1957)
Jack Dranttel (1959)
Don Nesheim (Faculty)

Gen. William H. Nutter (1920)
William Wettergren (1932)
Lyle Pearson - (1938)
Sam Gault (1948)
John Annexstad (1950)
James McPherson (1954)
Al Annexstad (1959)
Mark Davis (1959)
Richard Stippel (1960)
Vicki Davis (1967)
William Brekke (1969)
William Harvey (Faculty)

SPHS culinary arts students enjoy ‘The Bubble’ experience
Kurt Hildebrandt

Culinary arts students in Amanda Pogatschnik’s classes at Saint Peter High School had a unique experience to start the 2018-19 school year by creating ‘The Bubble’ in their classroom.

    SPHS culinary arts students RaeLee Larson, Becca Gordy,
    Hassan Dayib, Ikzela Estrada, and Alannah Irvin check out
    'The Bubble' they helped create in Ms. Pogatschnik's 

The materials needed for the project included landscape plastic, packing tape, and a box fan. Students in her Introduction to Culinary Arts and Advanced Culinary Arts classes helped build all of the panels by cutting sheets of the landscape plastic and then taping them together. Ms. Pogatschnik helped tape the all of the sections together, inserting the box fan, and creating a door for students to enter and exit The Bubble.

“We built an environment by adding different lights, music, decorations, and snacks inside The Bubble,” she said. “Once it was inflated, students were able to make their mark by using markers and glue sticks to write and draw on the plastic. The students really took to it right away.”

"The Bubble" in SPHS culinary arts room

  The Bubble took up a good portion of the culinary arts
  classroom for a few days at the start of the new school year.

This past summer Ms. Pogatschnik was looking for a unique first-week project for her Introduction to Culinary Arts and Advanced Culinary Arts students in grades 10-12 where students could build community and understand how to develop an atmosphere. She drew from her own high school experience, when one of her classes did a similar project, and she was excited to try it again.

“The idea behind The Bubble is to have students have a hand in creating something unique while working together,” she said. “It helped give them ownership over a space and make it their own. It gave the students a place to do homework, meet each other, and relax.

“The Bubble experience has been assigned as the topic of an essay. All of my culinary arts students will write about their experience, compare it to past learning experiences, and describe how The Bubble might relate to culinary arts.”

The Bubble stayed up for the first week of school before being taken down later in the school day on Monday, but, Ms. Pogatschnik said the plan is to save the materials and reuse it again in the future.

SPHS High-STEP students take part in Orientation Night
Kurt Hildebrandt

High-STEP Academy students from Saint Peter High School participated in the Orientation Night activities on the evening of September 10 at River’s Edge Hospital here in St. Peter. The event was coordinated by Gwenn Wolters, South Central Service Cooperative, and Christi Bixby, High Step-Health Science Academy instructor.

  High-STEP instructor Christi Bixby gives a presentation
  during Orientation Night activities on September 10. 

The mission of the High-STEP program — a dynamic, regional partnership between secondary and postsecondary education, business, and community — is to provide secondary students with health science coursework and work-based learning experiences, to excite and prepare them for health science and technology careers. The program is uniquely designed to allow students who have interests and passions in health and health sciences to pursue those pathways.

Roughly 40 students and parents attended the orientation session, which included a tour of a surgical room with full scrubs on. Introductions were also presented by Bixby; Paula Meskan, River’s Edge Hospital’s chief nursing officer; Laura Attenberger of South Central College; Mandy Quist, SPHS Career and College Readiness Coordinator; and Michelle Forletti of MNVAC (Minnesota Valley Action Council).

Among the topics addressed during the orientation event included attendance, time management, volunteerism, communication, code of conduct, and dress code. Parent expectations were also addressed as well as ways parents can support their students in the High Step Academy program.

SPHS French students enjoy summer trip to France
Kurt Hildebrandt

A group of SPHS French students get the opportunity to travel abroad to visit France in person. 

   Those SPHS French students make the trip to France this
   summer included: front row (l to r) Alex (California student),
   Amelia Urban; back row, Sarah Busse, Charles Redmond,
   Nicole Schilling, and Erin Hill. SPHS French teacher Mary
   Behrends accompanied the group on the trip.  The group is 
   show here at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Getting the chance to travel is on the minds of many Saint Peter High School students when classes end for the summer, and a group of SPHS French students took advantage of an wonderful opportunity to experience life in that country during a two-week stint in June.

The five SPHS students making the trip included Nicole Schilling, Charles Redmond, Amelia Urban, Erin Hill, and Sarah Busse along with their teacher, Mary Behrends.

“Our two-week tour included a fast train ride from Paris to Avignon, followed by three nights in Avignon and two in Villefranche-sur-mer,” Behrends said. “During those days, we had the company of a very entertaining professional guide who took us to many cultural sites in those southern areas, including the Pont du Gard, the Popes’ Palace, Arles and les Baux de Provence.”

“We had a tour of the Chagall museum in Nice and spent time on the beach there and in les Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer.  After another fast train ride back to Paris, the students were welcomed by French host families, where they spent six days visiting the city and practicing their French.  They mastered the métro, visited as many interesting places as time would allow and discovered wonderful things to eat. Some would have liked to stay a bit longer.”

Schilling, who is entering her junior year at SPHS this fall, felt the experience really brought the students close together.

“I really enjoyed our group,” she said. “I didn’t really know other SPHS students but by the end we got really close, and, even now that we’re back, we still group chat all the time.”

The two-week trip gave the SPHS contingent a great view of French life, according to Schilling. She felt the experience was once in a lifetime and she hopes to go back some day.

“This was my first trip to Europe and I was really awed by architecture, but at the end you get used to it because it’s everywhere,” Schilling said. “We hit a lot of the tourist areas, but then we’d stop and our awesome tour guide (Christian) would give a couple hours to tour on our own. We also had the chance to walk around without our chaperones, which was a good test of how well we knew the language. There were so many sites to see and I was amazed at how different the topography is in France from one area to the next. 

“The food on our trip, both on our tour and with our host families, was also amazing. There was a lot of cafes and really no fast food. The food we had was all fresh and made locally. It was well worth the trip.”

Schilling, like the other SPHS students, spent four full days and parts of two others with a host family near Paris. Her host family had two girls, ages 16 and 12, close to her age which made the transition fairly smooth.

She spent part of her time touring some of the famed Paris landmarks such as the Louvre, The Arc de Triomphe and Notre-Dame Cathedral, to name a few. She also took a boat ride on the Seine River with her host family where she was able to see other famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower.

“My host family also took me to an amusement park and they also hosted a party with one of the girl’s basketball team and their family members,” Schilling said. “They all wanted to know about the NBA, but I’m not that into basketball like they were and couldn’t tell them much. I really enjoy soccer, and we were able to watch one of France’s World Cup games, which was a lot of fun.

“By the time I had to leave my host family it was very emotional because I had such an amazing time with them.”

After the SPHS group reunited for one last night they were able to visit the Eiffel Tower for dinner and took another boat tour on the Seines River before flying back to Minnesota.

“While it was tough leaving my host family, it was great to reconnect with my St. Peter group,” Schilling said. “We had a lot of fun comparing notes about our trip and it seemed like everyone had a great time. I would highly recommend it to any future SPHS students thinking about making the trip to France.”

Vistas In Education info

Arrangements for this adventure were made by Vistas in Education, with offices in Minneapolis and Paris.  They have been planning excellent trips for SPHS students and their French teacher, Mary Behrends, since 1992.  They have also brought many French kids to St. Peter for summer family stays. During the coming school year, plans will begin for another fabulous tour in June, 2020.


The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

New staff at Saint Peter High School and Middle School were honored at a special breakfast, hosted by the St. Peter Chamber of Commerce, on August 23 at the Minnesota School Board Association's (MSBA) office building.

  New Saint Peter High School & Middle School staff includes:
  front row (l to r), Courtney Shey (8th grade ELA), Charlotte
  Smith (7th/8th grade ELA), Sarah O'Brien (high school ELA), 
  Jennifer Curtis (high school ELA), Leah Knutson (middle
  school ELA); back row, Air Chantharak (high school special
  education), Jordan Paula (SPHS Activities Director), Annemarie
  Clemenson (middle school special   education), Callie
  Rodenbiker (middle school ELA).

The annual New Teacher Breakfast was hosted by the St. Peter Chamber of Commerce on August 23 at the Minnesota School Board Association's (MSBA) office building. The breakfast is an opportunity with St. Peter business and community leaders to meet and network with the new teaching staff.

MSBA and Scholarship America sponsor the event each year for the new teachers from Saint Peter Public Schools, Gustavus Adolphus College, and local private schools.

Those addressing the large crowd of new faces (and some familiar ones) included Ed Lee, St. Peter Chamber executive Director; Juli Sowder, Scholarship America marketing manager; Kirk Scheidawind, MSBA executive director; and Saint Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson.

Raffle prizes were provide by Nicollet County Bank, First National Bank, and the St. Peter Chamber of Commerce.



Check out the latest and previous editions of the Saint Peter Public Schools Highlights Newsletter!

August 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017