Joe Teirab, a criminal prosecutor in the Nicollet County Attorney's Office and a former JAG lawyer with the U.S. Marine Corps, will be the guest speaker at the annual Veterans Day program at Saint Peter High School. The program begins at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, at the SPHS gym.
All area veterans are welcome to attend, and a special reception for veterans will be held before the program. Donuts and coffee will be served in the Saint Peter Community Room, next to the commons area.
Teirab was born and raised in Minnesota, graduated from Windom Area High School, Cornell University, and Harvard Law School. He served as a JAG (Judge Advocate General) lawyer for five years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Captain. In 2017, he was deployed to Iraq in support Operation Inherent Resolve, where he provided legal advice on combat operations against ISIS. He currently a criminal prosecutor in the Nicollet County Attorney's Office.
“Veterans Day is about showing honor and respect to those who have given sacrificially to our country, so I'm just honored and humbled to get an opportunity to speak,” Teirab said.
The Veterans Day program is put on each year by the SPHS social studies department. Music for the program will be presented by the Saint Peter High School Concert Choir, under the direction of Scott Hermanson, and the Saint Peter High School Concert Band, under the direction of Dave Haugh. Members of the William R. Witty American Legion Post 37 Color Guard will also participate.
A special veterans’ recognition will also be presented by SPHS Principal Annette Engeldinger honoring those SPHS alums who have served in the armed forces.
PARKING INFO: Those attending the Veterans Day program are encouraged to park in the lots on the west side of the SPHS building near the event/gym entrance.
North Elementary and MVED to each receive funds to improve building safety
State school safety grants totaling $139,000 were awarded to North Elementary and the Minnesota Valley Education District (MVED) recently which will be used for security enhancements and improving communications systems at both buildings.
North Intermediate will received $79,100 in grant funding while MVED will receive $59,900. Those were two of the 123 school building sites from around the state that were awarded funds from the $25 million in grants the Minnesota Department of Education awarded to 90 public school districts or charter schools. MDE received 1,187 complete applications, requesting $255.5 million in funding--more than 10 times the available amount of funding. Governor Dayton and the 2018 Legislature passed the school safety grants program this past spring.
“Students and teachers clearly need more support to ensure our kids are safe,” Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said. “When we have more than 1,000 schools asking for more than $250 million in funding to secure their buildings, we must respond with urgency. The school safety grants announced today only scratch the surface. A more comprehensive approach, including efforts to improve school climate, expand mental health services, and enact common-sense gun safety measures is needed.”
Grant funding applications for Saint Peter High School, Saint Peter Middle School, and South Elementary were also submitted, but they did not make the final list of awards.
“This is great news for those two locations in our district, and we are grateful to receive funding to help improve safety and security in those buildings,” Marc Bachman, Saint Peter Public Schools’ building and grounds supervisor, said. “However, if only 10 percent of the funding requests were met this year, we are hoping the state provides funding like this again next year because these are important upgrades for school districts across the state.”
Those projects that will receive grant funds at North and MVED include the following:
Unsecured exterior door notification system -- this helps monitors who is leaving the building through unsecured doors during the school day by sending notification to North’s office in the single point of entry area whenever one of these doors is opened. “This increases security and helps monitor students,” Bachman said. “When these notifications are sent out our office staff can then use our video system to figure out the situation.”
Electronic emergency notification system -- This includes an app that allows teachers a direct line of communication with the main office, in the case of emergency, other just the PA system. The app also allows teaching staff, during an emergency, to have cell phone access to the student roster and emergency handbook. Bachman added District 508 is looking to provide funding of its own to purchase this system for other three buildings.
Exterior communications system -- Purchase radios from the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office to provide direct contact with the Sheriff’s Office when necessary to improve communications with first responders. The high school and middle school currently have these systems and the district will look to purchase one for South so each site has this system in place.
Exterior and interior strobe lights -- these lights would be placed in louder parts of the building to help alert students and staff of a potential emergency situation and that information is being shared over the PA system.
“We still have to submit our actual plan to the state on what we will be doing with these grant funds and have them sign off before we can move forward on any of these safety and security improvements,” Bachman said. “Once that is done, most of these improvements will take place at some point next summer (2019), with the exception of the radios, which we can purchase at any time once we receive the grant funds.”
School safety grant program info
School districts across Minnesota were able to submit separate grant applications for each building. Due to the large number of applications received, high-priority projects submitted on the first day were assigned random numbers to determine the order of funding up to the available $25 million.
The final grant award values will be determined after recipients get complete bids from contractors. Schools were able to apply with qualifying projects for up to $500,000 per building. The Minnesota Department of Education, in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Minnesota School Safety Center, determined grant eligibility based on project priority, with half of the grant funds available to schools outside of the 11-county metropolitan area.
High-priority projects included improvements to exterior entry security, such as access controls, keyless entry systems, door locking and glass integrity, door alarm systems, and structure changes to main entrances. Additions or improvements to communication systems, such as electronic emergency notification systems for staff and first responders, were also considered high-priority projects.
District 508 works with Tri-City United and Le Sueur-Henderson districts to create grant-funded position
A collaborative effort between Saint Peter, Tri-City United and Le Sueur-Henderson school districts, was recently awarded a grant that will provide funding to hire a work-based learning coordinator that will be shared by the three districts over the next two years.
Funding for the position is part of a larger grant awarded by the Greater Twin Cities United Way to a project called South Central Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) of which these three districts, as well as Mankato Public Schools and St. James Public Schools, are a part along with Minnesota Valley Action Council, South Central College, and the South Central Service Cooperative.
The purpose of the grant is to increase equity and access for the underrepresented population in their pursuit of long-term careers, either through work experiences and/or the opportunities to earn college credit and college-like experiences. According to the grant application, “The ongoing partnership among these organizations has already resulted in positive outcomes for students and workers, and created strong collaborative ties that are particularly helpful in serving the largely rural population in our service area and addressing low-incidence barriers to career development.”
“College and career readiness is a top priority for our school district, so we are very excited to be a part of this collaboration with Tri-City United and Le Sueur-Henderson,” Saint Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson said. “Work-based learning opportunities add to the richness of the school experience, and Saint Peter High School’s academies provide a solid academic foundation for authentic work-based learning to occur within the Saint Peter community.”
“Our goal for creating this new, multi-district position is to help deepen the connections between the high schools in our districts and our business communities. There are tremendous learning opportunities for students all around the region, and it has become really apparent that an active liaison between schools and the business community is a key ingredient in these dynamic partnerships.”
Tri-City United Superintendent Teri Preisler and Peterson had initial discussions about creating a position like this for the three districts when the South Central Guided Pathways to Success was awarded a grant in early 2017 of $420,000, but at the time the idea wasn’t pursued any further because of other project needs. However, when an additional $300,000 of grant funding was provided to the project to support the work it was doing, the three districts moved ahead with a request for two years of funding for this new position.
“It’s not just about the money aspect that helped move our request forward, it was the timing of it as well,” Preisler said. “There is an immediate need to have someone within our schools with a dedicated focus on making connections with our local business community, nurturing those relationships, and serving as a liaison to create meaningful experiences for our students in their pursuits of long-term careers.”
“We have always had a good relationship with our business community here in St. Peter, as they do at Tri-City United and Le Sueur-Henderson with their respective business communities, but there are always ways we can improve that and we feel strongly this is a good step in that direction,” Peterson said. “The three districts involved in this position also have a very positive relationship and being able to work together on this project is only going to strengthen that connection.”
With funding secured for the next two years for this new position, the next step for the three districts involved will be to finalize the job description and eventually post the position with the goal of having someone hired around the start of 2019.
“Grant funded positions can pose a challenge, but we are hopeful that the data collected over the next two years and the results that we see in terms of student learning and business connections help all our districts consider whether to continue the position once grant funding ends,” Peterson said.
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.
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)
Four new members will be inducted into the Saint Peter Public Schools Hall of Fame at a special induction ceremony during Saint Peter High School’s Homecoming Weekend (Sept. 28-29).
Those four individuals chosen as the newest members of the Hall of Fame include alumni (year of graduation) -- Howard Hermel (1940), Bob Lambert (1963), Mary Pettis (1971); and staff -- Lester Hillger (former teacher, coach, athletic director, and principal).
“We are thrilled to honor the newest inductees into the Hall of Fame,” Saint Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson said. “Once again, the Selection Committee had a challenging task and the school district is grateful that they take their role seriously. The 2018 members have made significant contributions throughout their lives and are exceptional choices.”
The Saint Peter Public Schools Hall of Fame was established in 2008 to honor outstanding individuals who have earned significant distinction or achievement in their chosen field or volunteer endeavors. (To see a list of the previous Hall of Fame inductees please click here.)
Alumni are not required to have graduated from Saint Peter High School to be eligible, and staff eligibility is to those who worked at any of the schools in District 508.
Nominations for the Class of 2018 were received and reviewed by a selection committee comprising of the high school principal, high school guidance counselor, one member of the All-School Reunion Committee, one member of the Saint Peter Education Foundation, and one member of the Saint Peter School Board.
The following are brief bios on each of the Class of 2018 Hall of Fame inductees:
Howard Hermel(Class of 1940) -- Howard, a retired local business leader and World War II veteran, has been long-time supporter of the St. Peter area and Saint Peter Public Schools. Howard, along with his wife, Myhra, helped build up the Hermel family’s candy selling business (A.H. Hermel Company). The company was started in 1935 by his late father, Adolph, here in St. Peter, with just a handful of employees. The iconic business, well known around south central Minnesota for its red delivery trucks, eventually grew to become a vending machine and wholesale food service distributor with offices in Mankato and New Ulm and warehouses at several locations. Howard’s son, Dave, and his grandson, Blake, eventually took over the four-generation, family-owned business, which now employs around 140 people. Howard still resides here in St. Peter.
Bob Lambert(Class of 1963) -- Bob, a Vietnam War veteran who logged 1,200 hours as a helicopter pilot there, was the long-time Director of Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources for the city of Eden Prairie, and before that served in similar roles at Cottage Grove and St. Peter. While at Eden Prairie, Bob oversaw a department that went from four incomplete parks to 52 parks, recreation areas and conservation areas when he retired. He also was a big part of increased cooperation between the City of Eden Prairie and the Eden Prairie School District on sharing resources which led to similar partnerships across the Twin Cities metro area. He eventually returned to St. Peter where he served two terms on the Saint Peter School Board and also chaired the St Peter Area Veterans Memorial project which opened earlier this summer. Bob earned his bachelor’s degree from Mankato State College and a master’s degree from the University of Oregon.
Mary Pettis(Class of 1971) -- Mary is a well known artist living in Taylors Falls, Minn., who has been juried into and won awards in national and international painting events and exhibitions from New York City to Scottsdale and from Maui to Barcelona. Designated in 2017 as an ARC Living Master by the Art Renewal Center, Mary is also a Signature Member of the American Impressionist Society and the American Society of Marine Artists. Her art has taken her all over the world including China, Russia, and much of Europe. She has exhibited widely, including the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland, and collectors of her work reach across the globe. Mary earned bachelor’s degrees in art and humanities, along with a French minor, from the College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph, Minn.), along with serving as a full-time student apprentice at Atelier Lack, a prestigious art school in Minneapolis started by famed artist, the late Richard Lack.
Lester Hillger(Staff) -- Lester, who passed away in 1970, wore many hats during his time at Saint Peter Public Schools. He was a well-respected and well-liked educator who worked for the school district from 1948 to 1970 as a science teacher, coach, athletic director, and junior high principal. In addition, he also helped organize and run the City of St. Peter’s summer recreation program for many years during his tenure. A native of Morgan, Minn., Lester was a veteran of World War II, serving with Naval Intelligence in North Africa. He eventually earned his teaching degree from Mankato State College and a master’s degree from Macalester College in St. Paul.