News and Notes

SPHS to kick off FFA Week with Farm-To-School Luncheon & Career Fair
Kurt Hildebrandt

School menu that day to feature foods raised by Agri-Science Academy students

Saint Peter High School’s South Central Agri-Science Academy will host its first-ever FFA Farm-to-School Luncheon and Career Fair on Thursday, Feb. 22, as a way to celebrate National FFA Week.

The Career Fair will take place from 11:15 a.m. to 1:25 p.m. in the SPHS commons area. Area CTE (career and technical education) related companies have been invited to participate to provide information to the students on apprenticeship opportunities or to expose them to future career areas and summertime job openings.

The Luncheon will be served to the SPHS student body and will feature chicken noodle soup, which will be made from the chickens that were raised by the South Central Agri-Science Academy students during the school year. Various vegetables grown in the school’s greenhouse will also be a part of the luncheon menu that day.  

“Besides appreciating their meal, we want our student body to be aware of all of the careers that are related to each pathway within the Career and Technical Education (CTE) tracks,” Gena Lilienthal, South Central Agri-Science/SPHS FFA advisor, said. “We are aware of the extreme shortage of young people entering into our agriculture, mechanics, and trade career areas.  We hope this event will help bring increased awareness of job opportunities to our St. Peter students.”

The agriculture, food and natural resources pathways includes:

* Power, Structure and Technical Systems
* Plant Systems
* Environmental Systems
* Biotechnology
* Natural Resources Systems
* Agribusiness Systems
* Animal Systems
* Food Products and Processing Systems

Those area businesses interested in learning more about the Luncheon and Career Day can contact either Mike Reeser at  or Gena Lilienthal at or phone: 507-934-4212 ext. 6110. Businesses can also register: by filling out the following Google Form prior to Feb. 20 →


SPHS teacher pens book on welding
Kurt Hildebrandt

Michael Reeser, who teaches CTE (Career Technical Education) at SPHS, recently had a book on welding published by Cool Spring Press that, according to him, is a “how-to” book on the subject. The title of the book is “Welding Complete (2nd Edition): Techniques, Project Plans & Instructions.”

Saint Peter High School students taking technical education courses, and more specifically welding classes, can take comfort in knowing they are learning from a published expert on the subject.

Michael Reeser, who teaches CTE (Career Technical Education) at SPHS, recently had a book on welding published by Cool Spring Press that, according to him, is a “how-to” book on the subject. The title of the book is “Welding Complete (2nd Edition): Techniques, Project Plans & Instructions.”

The book, which is available through most online outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is geared towards anyone who has an interest in welding including high school students and  adult learners. It was made available to the public right before the 2017 Christmas season, according to Reeser.

According to the Cool Springs Press website’s description of Reeser’s book, “Welding is a fun and surprisingly affordable activity, with complete welding kits available at home-improvement stores for just a few hundred dollars. This book shows you everything you need to know to become a competent and safe welder of a wide variety of metal projects. Featured projects include a coffee table, magazine rack, wine rack, truck rack, firepit, and gate.”

“I was first approached by my publisher in the fall of 2016 about doing a book about welding, while I was teaching the subject at Dunwoody Institute,” Reeser said. “In all, the process from start to me approving the final copy took about eight months to complete.

“Since I already had a full-time job, it took up a lot of my free time. I had to work a lot of nights and weekends to make sure the book got done on time.”

In addition to all the text needed to complete the 200-plus page book, Reeser helped oversee the photography aspect of the book in which 80 photos were used throughout the pages.

“I’m in some of the photos and some of my students at Dunwoody were nice enough to help out as well,” he said. “The photography alone took the better part of 10 evenings and a couple weekends to complete.

“This was the first book I’ve written and, while the whole process was very time consuming, it was a lot of fun of which to be a part and also very challenging. It was well worth the time and it’s very cool to see the book once it came out in print.”

To check out Reeser’s book you can check out the Cool Springs Press’s link at

About the author

Michael Reeser, a native of Alabama, has had a long career teaching agriculture/FFA and career technical education courses here in Minnesota. He began his teaching career in 1996 at Brainerd High School and worked there until 2008 when he entered the private sector selling welding equipment as well as servicing that equipment and educating customers on how to use it.

He returned to teaching technical education classes in 2010 at Central Lakes College in Brainerd and remained there until 2014, when he took a job teaching welding at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis.

He began his teaching career at Saint Peter High School this school year, while his wife, Denise, teaches in the farm business management program at South Central College, North Mankato. The Reesers have three school-aged children, Shelby, MaryEmma, and Brooke, who attend New Prague Public Schools. 

SPHS announces 2018 ExCEL Award winners
Kurt Hildebrandt

Two members of the Saint Peter High School junior class, Signe Alger and Isaac Peterson, were recently announced as the winners of the school’s 2017-18 ExCEL Award.

Two members of the Saint Peter High School junior class, Signe Alger and Isaac Peterson, were recently announced as the winners of the school’s 2017-18 ExCEL Award.

The ExCEL (Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership) Award program recognizes Minnesota high school juniors who are active in school activities, who show leadership qualities, and who work voluntarily in their community. The award is sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League and Wells Fargo.

“Signe and Isaac are outstanding students to have been chosen as Saint Peter High School's ExCEL Award winners,” Saint Peter High School Principal Annette Engeldinger said. “ Both are dedicated, hard-working students who take their academics seriously and represent us well in their co-curricular activities. I have watched Signe battle her way back from injury to be able to compete at incredibly high levels. And I love that I can watch Isaac perform in the musical, play in the band, play piano, and compete on the fields and the court as a three-season athlete.”

Here are brief profiles of the two SPHS ExCEL winners:

Signe Alger

Alger, the daughter of Chelsea and Steve Alger, has balanced her schedule at SPHS with a wide range of academic, fine arts and athletic activities.

“Winning the Excel award was a big accomplishment for me,” Alger said. “Being in sports, keeping grades up, and being active in other school activities isn’t easy. It gets to be really busy, and stressful. But with a little hard work, it will pay off.

“To me, this award means that all the hard work I put in is worth it. I am very thankful for the great teachers and coaches that helped me achieve this award.”

A member of the National Honor Society since her sophomore year, Alger has also been involved with Project For Teens, served as an SPHS Ambassador, as well as serving an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Leadership Team.

Alger has also been very active in the arts earning multiple letters and awards for her participation in Concert Band, Jazz Band, Pep Band playing the saxophone, as well as in ensembles, where she has earned superior awards.

The junior standout has lettered five times in swimming, where she surpassed the 1,000-career point mark this past fall, as well as earning varsity letters in track and basketball.

Among her volunteer activities include serving as an usher, acolyte, reader, and communion server at her church as well as participating with elderly visits, food drive, blood drive and assisting with moving church members. Her other volunteer activities include working at youth basketball events.

Her future plans include attending college after her days at SPHS are complete and majoring in physical therapy. She also has an interest in swimming at the collegiate level.

Isaac Peterson

Peterson, the son of Kari and Paul Peterson, has kept busy during his time at SPHS with a variety of academic, athletic and arts activities as well as maintaining a strong sense of giving back to his community.

“Winning the ExCEL award means a lot to me,” Peterson said. “I know that it is a step to becoming a great leader and a better person overall. I hope I can represent SPHS well.”

Academically, Peterson has also been a member of the National Honor Society since his sophomore year and has been involved with the SPHS Student Council for three years. He also has been a participant in the SPHS Project For Teens and served as a Saints Ambassador.

The versatile junior has taken part in a wide variety of fine arts activities at SPHS including speech, playing percussion in the band (Concert Band, Marching Band and Pep Band), choir (Concert Choir, Men’s Choir, and Chamber Singers), fall musical (Footloose), and playing the piano throughout the years including earning state honors recital honors three straight years. He was a State Speech Tournament participant this past season and has also earned solo and ensemble superior ratings in choir.

Athletically, Peterson is a three-sport athlete who has earned two varsity letters in football and was on the Saints varsity baseball playoff roster this past spring. He also is on the varsity basketball team this winter.

His volunteer activities outside of school include serving with the city of St. Peter’s Volunteer in the Park (VIP) program, fundraising activities with the Autism Society of Minnesota’s Steps for Hope, playing with the community theatre pit orchestra and working with his church youth group and the youth mission trip.

Peterson plans on going to a four-year college after graduation from SPHS, but he is undecided on which school to attend at this time and he is undecided on a major.  


Check out the February 2018 edition of Highlights by clicking HERE!

To check out previous editions of Highlights see the following links:
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017