News & Notes

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Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter High School seniors Signe Alger and Isaac Peterson were recently announced as the school’s 2019 Triple A (Academics, Arts, and Athletics) Award winners. Peterson was also recently named as the Sub-Section 8 Triple A Award winner.

  SPHS seniors Signe Alger and Isaac Peterson are the
  2019 winners of SPHS'sTriple A (Academics, Arts &
  Athletics) Award.

“Signe and Isaac are great representatives of St. Peter High School,” SPHS Activities Director Jordan Paula said. “Signe has had an accomplished athletics career, but more importantly had success in the classroom. Being involved in multiple activities throughout one's high school career takes discipline, time management, and continual effort. She'll continue to do great things in the future!

“Isaac has shown consistently you can do it all. Unfortunately there's a cultural perception that if you're in the arts, you can't do athletics or vice versa. We want our students to be well-rounded individuals and to be able to follow their passions and Isaac is a picture of that.”

Established in 1988, the Minnesota State High School League’s Triple A Award is sponsored by AAA-Minnesota and Fairview Sports and Orthopedic Care. The award goes to high school seniors who have a “B” or better grade point average (GPA) and participate in League-sponsored athletic and fine arts activities. Triple "A" Award recipients are selected by a multi-level process involving the League's member schools and administrative regions.

St. Peter High School’s Triple A winners for last five years includes:

2019 - Signe Alger & Isaac Peterson
2018 - Jordan Keeley & Rafat Solaiman
2017 - Kelli Hanson & Eric Carlson
2016 - Ella Wiebusch & John Walker
2015 - Marta Springer & Brett Zallek

The following are brief profiles of this year’s Triple A Award winners:

Signe Alger

The daughter of Chelsea and Steve Alger, Signe carries a 3.8 grade point average (GPA) and has taken a rigorous course load during her time at SPHS, including Advanced Placement (AP) and College in School classes.

“The Triple A award is an honor to receive because I know that there are so many qualified applicants,” Alger said. “I feel fortunate to have had great coaches, teachers and my parents who have encouraged me to participate in many different high school activities.

During her time at SPHS, Alger has been member of the SPHS band (grades 9-12) earning superior ratings in solo/ensemble contests her 10th & 11th grade years. She also is now participating in choir during her senior year.

Athletically, she is a multi-letter winning student-athlete in swimming (grades 7-12), girls basketball (grades 11-12), and track and field (grades 8, 9, and 11). She competed this past season in the Minnesota State Swimming & Diving Meet in Minneapolis in the 100 backstroke and 200 medley relay.

Alger is undecided on where she will attend college, but she plans to major in physical therapy and swim competitively at the collegiate level.

Isaac Peterson

The son of Kari and Paul Peterson, Isaac carries a 4.103 weighted GPA and has worked hard academically during his time at SPHS through a challenging course load. He also has taken Advanced Placement (AP) and College in School courses during that time.

“Winning the Triple A award is a tremendous honor,” Peterson said. “I am so thankful to have the opportunity to represent the school that has given me so many opportunities. I’ve had the chance to do so many different things during my high school experience and I’m really appreciative.”

Peterson is very active in the SPHS fine arts program having participated in band and choir in grades 9-12, as well as speech (grades 9-12) and one act play (grade 12). He has earned superior ratings in at solo/ensemble contests for both choir and band, and he has been a two-time state participant in speech.

Athletically, Peterson has been a member of the Saints’ varsity teams in football (grades 10-12) basketball (grade 11) and baseball (grades 10-12).

His future plans include attending Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wis.). He is undecided on his field of study but is thinking of majoring in elementary education or something in the social sciences.

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt


Long-time Traverse Township farmer was big supporter of Saints programs

A generous gift from the estate of the late Lyle “Bud” Gilbertson is going to help expand co-curricular opportunities for Saint Peter Public School students.

     Lyle 'Bud'

Gilbertson passed away on July 7, 2018, at the age of 97, and, in his will, left a donation of $86,282 to Saint Peter Public Schools with directions that it be used to ensure students continue to have access to and the opportunity to participate in the variety of co-curricular programs offered by the district.

According to his nephew, Mark Schaefer of Fairfax, Gilbertson (a 1938 SPHS graduate) was a big sports fan and a long-time supporter of Saint Peter High School sports teams. Towards the end of his life, he lived on Washington Avenue, near the St. Peter Community Center, and Schaefer said his uncle enjoyed looking out to see the flurry of activity going on at the facility throughout the year.

“A while back, my uncle was reading a story in a newspaper about how expensive it was getting for kids to participate in sports and how some were having a hard time affording it and that really bothered him,” Schaefer said. “His donation will help those students and families offset some of those costs so they have a chance to participate in these activities.”

  A plaque recognizing Lyle 'Bud' Gilbert-
  son's generous donation has been added
  to the SPHS Donor Wall. 

SPHS Activities Director Jordan Paula said the school district is honored to accept this generous donation from Gilbertson’s estate and he is excited about the benefit it will provide for District 508 students.

“The beauty of public education is the ability to provide opportunities for kids who may not otherwise be able to participate or get involved,” SPHS Activities Director Jordan Paula said. “We, as a school, do not turn students away from participating because of financial need, but the burden is still present for families within our community.

“The incredibly generous gift from the Lyle ‘Bud’ Gilbertson Estate will allow our students to continue to participate in our wide-ranging assortment of activities, which we as a district believe will help them in the classroom and become leaders in the community.

The vision for this gift, according to Paula, is to break down barriers of entry which prevent kids from participating in co-curricular activities. This will primarily be done through scholarships and equipment for students in need.

“The long and short-term success of co-curricular programming within Saint Peter Public Schools is dependent on the support of the stakeholders within our community,” Paula said. “Without it, our students wouldn’t have the ability to do what they love. We’re very fortunate and very thankful for the generosity of Mr. Gilbertson and his family.”

After graduating from SPHS, Gilbertson later served in the U.S. Army in Korea (1946-47) and returned home to farm for many years in Traverse Township. He married later in life to Gayle (Jan. 1969) and had no children of his own, but did gain a stepson, Bill Groebner, from his marriage.

He and Gayle retired from farming in 1982 and moved to Lake Ida near Alexandria and also wintered in South Padre Island for 35 years. After Gayle passed away in 1999, Gilbertson moved to St. Peter where he lived the rest of his life.

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

School board officially accepts $42,000 gift to be used for French immersion experiences

A gift from the estate of the late Jeffrey Rosoff, a former math professor at Gustavus Adolphus College, will help ensure students from Saint Peter Public Schools will continue to benefit, from experiences at the Lac Du Bois French immersion camps at Concordia Language Villages, long into the future.

  This group of SPHS & SPMS students were the most
  recent to visit the Lac Du Bois French immersion
  camp in early November.

The Saint Peter School Board officially accepted the gift of $41,957.80 from Rosoff’s estate at their November 19 meeting, and, according to Saint Peter High School French teacher Mary Behrends, this gift will pay $100 for each French camp weekend participant moving forward. Additional support is planned for students interested in CLV’s summer Lac du Bois programs.  Rosoff, who was a professor at Gustavus since 1981, passed away on May 16, 2018. During all these years, the Rosoff and Behrends families maintained a close friendship.

Rosoff, whose son David was a 2004 SPHS graduate and very active in the school’s French program, was a strong supporter of Behrends’ program during his son’s time as a student at Saint Peter Public Schools. David Rosoff died in the summer of 2004 from injuries sustained in a car accident, and his father continued to honor his memory by continuing to support the SPHS French program financially as well as endowing the David C. Rosoff Memorial Scholarship given annually to an SPHS graduating senior.

This school year alone, more than 60 students have already benefited from his legacy grants by attending weekend French camps at Lac Du Bois.

“Jeff was a mathematician and a bit of a renaissance man who loved speaking French, and it was a big part of his life,” Behrends said “He loved music as well as woodworking, and was an amazing conversationalist.

“David was a very smart student who was very active with our (SPHS) French department, and Jeff got very involved as well and remained that way long after David passed away and this gift will continue that support probably long past I’m retired.”

Colleen Jacks, who was Jeff’s long-time partner and is currently a biology professor at Gustavus, saw first-hand how much of a supporter he was of the SPHS French program.

 “Jeff was a strong supporter of language study and believed that the earlier it was started, the stronger the outcomes were for students,” Jacks said. “Jeff studied several languages himself (German, a little Italian and Spanish), but was always drawn to French, a language he continued to study and speak as an adult - he was a true Francophile.

“He appreciated the cultural and language immersion experience that Lac du Bois of the Concordia Language Villages provided students, including his son David. Jeff appreciated all that Mary Behrends did/does to encourage French study at all levels, including taking groups of students from North, the middle school and high school for weekend immersion camps at Lac du Bois during the school year.  

“He was very aware that the cost of this experience was beyond the reach of many families, and he didn't want financial constraints to rob St. Peter students of an experience that he believed would expand their worlds.  For a number of years he made an annual donation to the school district to assist students with the tuition for the weekend experiences. His high regard for Mary and her willingness to make these opportunities available to so many students led him to include this bequest to help continue funding students at Lac du Bois in his estate plan.”

FFA chapter earns National 3-Star Chapter Award
Kurt Hildebrandt

SPHS FFA members presented award at national convention in Indianapolis

   SPHS FFA members received the prestigious National
   FFA 3-Star Chapter Award during the recent National 
   FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

The South Central Agri-Science Academy’s FFA chapter, which is based here at Saint Peter High School, was recently awarded the National FFA 3-Star Chapter Award during the 91st annual National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

The National Chapter Award Program is designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards (NQCS) and a Program of Activiteis (POA) that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture.

Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership.In order to qualify for a state or national award, your chapter must complete at least 15 activities: one for each of the five quality standards in each of the three divisions. Additionally, the chapter must meet the minimum requirements as outlined in the National Quality Chapter Standards.

Chapters that receive a gold rating by their state FFA associations are eligible to compete for National FFA 3-star, 2-star or 1-star ratings. Each chapter that competes for these awards will receive a multi-year plaque and a spur designating their 3-star, 2-star or 1-star rating. They will receive additional spurs for each year they compete and receive a rating from the National FFA Organization. Chapters that receive a national 3-star chapter rating will be eligible to compete for the National Premier Chapter Awards, Models of Excellence and Middle School Models of Excellence Awards.

Saint Peter High School senior FFA members Mitch Pettis and Jasmine Witty received the school’s National Chapter Award on stage during the second general session at the National FFA Convention on Thursday (Oct. 25). SPHS FFA advisors are Gena Lilienthal and Michael Reeser. Other FFA members attending the convention were Cole Deegan, Hayden Thole, Blake Rehnelt and Olivia Stevens.

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Class of 2018’s composite score is .5 points better than Minnesota’s average

For the fourth consecutive year, the Saint Peter High School senior class has scored above the state average for composite score in the ACT College Readiness Test. The 152 members of the SPHS class of 2018 who took the test tallied a composite score of 21.8, compared to the state average of 21.3. 

In related news, this past year’s senior class finished above the state average in the four specific testing areas as well. Those average scores (and state averages) included -- English - 21.4 (20.2); math - 21.8 (21.4); reading - 22.1 (21.7); and science - 21.6 (21.4).

“We are always anxious to get our ACT results,” SPHS Principal Annette Engeldinger said. “I believe they’re a great indicator of how well our teachers are preparing SPHS students for success in college, and, once again, our teachers and students should be proud!”

Last year’s senior class tallied a score of 21.4 in English, well ahead of the state average of 20.2, and a score of 21.8 in Math, which was four-tenths better than the state score of 21.4. The SPHS class of 2018 also posted a 22.1 score for Reading, compared to a 21.7 for the state average, and a 21.6 in science, two-tenths better than the state average of 21.4.

Below is a graphic showing a five-year comparison of Saint Peter High School’s ACT scores and the corresponding state averages for those respective senior classes.


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

February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
August 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018