News & Notes

SPPS saves taxpayers over $8 million dollars

Heather Deshayes
Mar 25 2022

Saint Peter, Minnesota - Saint Peter Public School Board enthusiastically voted to approve an $8 million saving to taxpayers at the March board meeting. The approval of the sale of bonds was actualized from months of work reconsolidating existing debt and taking advantage of the current lower interest rates.

Saint Peter Public Schools (SPPS) recently took action to restructure the debt associated with the new High School. Superintendent Bill Gronseth stated, β€œBy refinancing our current bonds, the district will save over $8,000,000. These are savings realized by taxpayers and result in a slower increase in tax rates over time”.

Gronseth worked with SPPS Business Manager, Tim Regner, the School Board Business Committee, and Michael Hoheisel from the Robert W. Baird Company to review the previous bond financials and loan details to determine if lower interest rates could benefit SPPS with substantial savings. The board unanimously voted to ratify the bond purchase agreement and lock in the savings of over $8 million by replacing a 4% interest rate with a 2.8% interest rate. The savings will be realized over the next 17 years with the final savings totaling $8,027,000.

Gronseth explained, β€œThe board approval was very excited to be able to save taxpayers such a substantial dollar amount. The yearly amount saved by the average taxpayer is greater than the referendum that was passed in November. The growth projected for the city of Saint Peter will also help to stabilize tax rates. That being said, education finance is an ever changing landscape from year to year. Changes in Federal and State funding and mandates directly affect us at the local level. Many changes have been proposed by legislators for the coming year and we are monitoring the legislative session.”

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter High School’s National Honor Society (NHS) chapter held its final meeting of the 2021-22 school year on Monday, May 9 as they bid adieu to 32 members who are part of the senior class and will be graduating later this month.

The SPHS NHS chapter will also be welcoming 44 new members during its annual induction ceremony at the SPHS gym on Wednesday, May 18 starting at 5:30 p.m.

“These students get together once a month to work on and develop their leadership skills,” SPHS NHS Advisor Maggie Carlson said. “They also have been out in the community volunteering their time in a variety of ways. As of this spring, the National Honor Society has 111 members.”

The newest members of the SPHS National Honor Society chapter includes: front row (l to r), Rachel Salfer, Piper Ruble, Macy Weller, Grace Dlouhy, Lili Deming, Desi Willaert, Madison Honetschlager, Sydney Marthaler, Riley Rubischko; second row, Jasmine Dezurn, Jolin Huang, Hannah Denzer, Laura Klatt, Claire Meyer, Tate Olson, Cole Filand, Sam Moelter, Will Elias, Mackenzie Moline, Olivia Hollerich, Ella Engstrand, Ximena Olivares; third row, Andrew Baji, Rylee Stadick, Alexandra Mattarese, Kailyn Embacher, Daniel Zhang, Henry Leonard, Tate Yeager, Ryan Domras, Matthew Otterness, Luke Gilbertson, Anthony Nicolai, Keira Dunn, Alexis Boettcher, Liana Snow. (Not pictured: Allan Eberhart, Rhyan Holmgren, Molly Leonard, Abby Maloney, Sophia Matarrese, Mackenzie Steinborn, Grace Tollefson, and Callie Voeltz)

SPHS senior National Honor Society members include: front row (l to r), Adrian Rojas-Malledo, Zach Smith, Teddy Pierret, Connor Snow, Shea Hildebrandt, Bennett Olson; back row, Hannah Wohlers, Eleanor Winterfeldt, Lauren Odland, Lexi Johnson, Maija Tollefson, Anna Klatt, Katie Gurrola, Sophia Doherty, Mackenzie Pettis, Sky Gassman, Eva Kracht, Josie Wiebusch, Ryenne Pettis, Molly Voeltz, Grace Remmert, and Brooke Rehnelt. (Not pictured: Luke Borowy, Sarah Busse, Bryan Harroun, Ellie Johnson, Jaiden Landsom, Elyssa Meixner, Jake Moelter, Makayla Moline, Morgan Petersen, Lilly Ruffin, Salena Smit, Lilian Sund, and Madelyn Tollefson)




The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter High School had 16 students participate in the Gustavus Honor Choir Festival on Monday, which included them learning four songs. 

 Those SPHS Choir members taking part in the
 Gustavus Honor Choir event on Monday included:
 front row (l to r) Melanie Hopp, Afrah Daidzic, Meg-
 han Sikkema, Jaydon Thompson, Symon Schott; 
 second row, Eleanor Hughes, Emmalyn Hastings, 
 Sarah Haggenmiller, Olivia Seys, Sam Stuewe; third
 row, Lexi Wentworth, Sophia Ruffing, Nibraas
 Sayidnour, Abby Kukacka, Max Bultman, and
 Aamista Weaver.

The Gustavus Honor Choir Festival brought together outstanding singers and fine choral repertoire in an exciting one-day experience. Students refined their musical skills through engaging choir rehearsals, faculty-led masterclasses, and had a special opportunity to learn from nationally recognized guest artist, Dr. Jeffery Ames.

“The students worked with Dr. Brandon Dean and Dr. Elisabeth Cherland from Gustavus, and two of the pieces were written by Dr. Jeffrey Ames who they brought in to be the guest conductor,” SPHS Choir Director Brianna Bergstrom said. “They finished with an evening concert at Christ Chapel on Gustavus Campus that featured not only the honor choir, but a featured high school choir from St. Michael-Albertville and the Gustavus Choir. It was an awesome day!”

Those SPHS students participating at the Gustavus Honor Choir Festival included: Olivia Seys, Sarah Haggenmiller, Eleanor Hughes, Emmalyn Hastings, Max Bultman, Alexia Wentworth, Afrah Daidzic, Aamista Weaver, Meghan Sikkema, Sophia Ruffing, Melanie Hopp, Abby Kukacka, Nibraas Sayidnour, Sam Stuewe, Jaydon Thompson, and Symon Schott.

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Four Saint Peter High School art students earned superior ratings at the 2022 Section 2AA Visual Arts Contest, held at Mankato East High School on Saturday (April 25th).

  SPHS art students earning Superior Awards in the recent
  Section 2AA Visual Arts Contest includes, (l to r) Isabel 
  Avant, Rocio Romero, Psyche Juantos, and Audra Bixby. 

SPHS juniors Isabel Avant (ceramic) and Audra Bixby (ceramic), sophomore Psyche Juantos (mixed media), and freshman Rocia Romero (digital art) earned Superior Awards at the Section 2AA Contest. To view all of the SPHS students’ work that participated in the Section 2AA Contest please click HERE!

“These students did an amazing job and I’m so excited for how well they all did,” SPHS art teacher Eva Hendrickson said. “We’re continuing to build up our art program here at SPHS and this is proof of how well our students are progressing. I’m so proud of all of them!”

The following is the list of the SPHS artists who participated in the Section 2AA Visual Arts Contest:

Student (grade) - Title (category)

Isabel Avant (11) - Compassion (ceramic)
Psyche Juantos (10) - Fey Amor, Feo Amor (mixed media)
Rocio Romero (9) - Vanitas (digital art)
Audra Bixby (11) - Coil Plate (ceramic)

Student (grade) - Title

Leilani Rayna (9) - Elevated Dimensions
Heidi Weber (11) - Christmas Time
Rowan Snay (11) - Woman in Watercolour
Jess Hass (12) - Warrior’s Horse
Ella Ruble (11) - Tux Cat
Madelyn Tollefson (12) - We’re All In This Together
Norah Timmerman (11) - Josie de Vivre
Ava Pettis (11) - Coral Cup

Other Saints competing – Miranda Adams (9), Ella Fritsch (10), and Eleanor Winterfeldt (12).

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Mrs. Blue's Advanced Culinary Arts class, from Saint Peter High School, visited St. Paul College on April 20th in St. Paul for a tour of their culinary program.  Chef Jason Ross and his culinary students hosted the Saints. 

  Members of the SPHS Advanced Culinary class 
  visited St. Paul College's culinary arts program on    April 20th. They are shown here with some of the 
  college's students and staff.

St. Peter students were immediately assigned to teams with college students to engage in a variety of culinary tasks with the end goal of producing a meal for everyone to share.  In total, Mrs. Blue's students seared salmon, carved roasted chickens, frosted cakes, seasoned soup, made rice pilaf, Caesar salad, roasted asparagus, and raspberry lemonade for the buffet meal alongside their college student counterparts.

"Overall, it was a great way for my students to see what goes on within a culinary classroom at the collegiate level,” Mrs. Blue said. “Students were given hands-on opportunities to work elbow to elbow with future chefs. They were able to showcase the skills they have learned within my classes, and Chef Jason and his students took notice. It was educational, interactive, and just fun, plus who doesn't love a lunchtime feast? I will gladly bring students there in the future."

  SPHS culinary arts students got some hands-on 
  experience during their visit to St. Paul College.

Those students who made the trip to St. Paul College included – Yahye Ahmed, Aaron Baxa, Lily Deming, Jasmine Dezurn, Katie Frey, Kaitlyn Henry, Avery Hibbard, Ellie Johnson, Paige Meffert, Riley Throldahl, Taylen Travaille, Heidi Weber, Desi Willaert, David Pehrson, and Nick Mahowald.

Mrs. Blue learned of the opportunity through the workforce coordinator services from the South Central Service Cooperative (SCSC).  

"SCSC has been a huge resource for me over my last five years of teaching,” she said. “They help me find industry professionals to bring into the classroom or field trip experiences like this one.  Family and Consumer Sciences is a part of Career and Technical Education.  It is very important for students to see how their class content extends to professional industries.  There is nothing better than knowing that what you are teaching students has a direct impact on their future outside of high school -- the service coop has made that a reality for me."

St. Paul College is a part of the Minnesota State College system, and their Culinary Arts program offers a  Culinary Arts Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree.  They run the City View Grilled on their campus, nestled within the Capitol and Cathedral Hill neighborhoods.

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Heather Deshayes

The Saint Peter High School band is all packed and ready to fly over the ocean to perform in Italy. Under the leadership of Band Director, David Haugh, the group representing Saint Peter consists of 43 students and 16 adults and are set to head out Friday morning.

  The SPHS band members and chaperones departed mid-
  Friday morning on its eight-day trip to Italy, where they 
  will perform two concerts. 

The itinerary begins landing in Amsterdam and then heading to Rome, Bay of Naples, and the Sorrento Peninsula. The tour continues to the fabled Isle of Capri to enjoy the tiny white houses and narrow streets up an amazing route referred to as the ‘Mamma Mia Road.' Director Haugh explained, “many of the participating students were in the high school musical ‘Mamma Mia’! and it should be a fun side trip to see where the film was modeled after!” They’ll end the day with an evening concert at the iconic Piazza Andrea Veniero.

The group will continue to tour and perform along the beautiful Amalfi Coast and enjoy the sites of the Mediterranean Sea. The remainder of the week will be filled with visiting the ruins of Pompeii, the Circus Maximus, Caracalla Baths and the Lungotevere. Of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Colosseum. The band will also perform at the St. Paul Within the Walls church located in the center of Rome.

The last day will be the highlight visiting Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. “This will definitely be a trip of a lifetime”, Director Haugh said. The entire tour was coordinated and hosted by the staff of GrandTours, Inc. out of St. Paul.

The students spent the last 3 years fundraising to earn this trip. The group is set to return on Friday, April 15th.  Watch the Saint Peter School District Facebook page for updates and photos!  

More information and updates can also be found at: