MS-HS News and Notes

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Sean Keating, a science teacher here at Saint Peter High School, was surprised April 15 with the news that he is a recipient of a 2021 WEM Outstanding Educator Award, an honor that is accompanied by a $15,000 award.

Keating is one of six educators being honored by the WEM Foundation and Synergy & Leadership Exchange for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to student learning. His recognition comes in the Athletic Coach category, which recognizes teachers who are exemplary coaches of athletic teams.

Sean has been teaching and coaching for 11 years. Keating’s vision is to build character first and educate everyone that winning is short term, but character building is the long-term goal. He feels a focus on character traits is more important than wins, points, statistics, or any other transactional measurement. The most important trait of that being empathy.

“I am extremely honored to receive this prestigious award,” Keating said. “My family always supports me in all my endeavors and to have them present for this honor made it extremely special.  I want to thank all of the students and players I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. It's hard to put into words. This community and school mean so much to me and I'm proud to be a St. Peter Saint.”

“While this award was for his work as an outstanding coach, the same attributes are reflected in his classroom,” SPHS Principal Annette Engeldinger said. “All of his students, whether members of his basketball team or not, are taught not only the content of the course but also about being responsible and resilient members of our school community.”

Keating believes if they teach kids to put themselves into other people’s shoes, they will create compassionate, humble and servant leaders. One example of how they incorporate this goal, is to have students put phones away on bus rides and pair up with other players. The players are then given questions to ask each other or topics to dive deeper. All of this is calculated, planned and done with the purpose of helping players grow as people which in turn grows their team.

“You can really feel how much Coach Keating cares about his players by the way he interacts with us,” said Wyatt Olson, a former Saints player. “Conversations with Coach went beyond basketball, he cared about the person before the player. He always put an emphasis on being a team and being selfless which helped bring the team closer together.”

In addition to coaching and teaching, two years ago Keating started a club at the high school called the Mental Warriors. He saw that many high school kids were stressed out about school and the expectations that their parents and society put on them, so the vision for the club was to educate teenagers on the importance of their mindset to handle the stresses of life. Mental Warriors has now grown to more than 100 students and meets bi-weekly. These meetings give students time to express themselves, talk to other students and share their feelings within the community. It’s a safe space where people all share the common goal of growing together.

“His ability to operate as a coach and mentor simultaneously, while seeing each players’ individual strengths and weaknesses, allows for tremendous development and growth for each athlete,” shared community member Bill Soderlund. “This focus translates into a strong, balanced and outstanding team. He isn’t just coaching basketball, he is building a team of responsible, resilient and ethical young men.”

In addition to the Athletic Coach Award, other educators are being honored with the Academic Challenge Coach Award (teachers who are exemplary coaches of student teams that participate and compete in academic challenges), Ethics in Education Award (exemplary educators who embody ethical behavior and promote ethical development for students through classroom or school activities, policies or curriculum) and the Teacher Achievement Award (exemplary teachers who support, inspire, and assist students to attain greater learning as evidenced by student achievement).

Educators are first nominated for the WEM Outstanding Educator Awards program by students, parents, colleagues or community members. Those who accept the nomination provide additional information for consideration by Synergy & Leadership Exchange and a blue ribbon selection panel, which reviews and ranks the nominees. In addition to the six statewide honorees, additional educators have been selected as regional honorees for 2021. These names will be announced in May.

Synergy & Leadership Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering collaboration to advance the development of ethical citizens, providing educational resources, and celebrating achievement and best practices in Minnesota schools, businesses and communities. For more information on the WEM Outstanding Educator Awards Program and Synergy & Leadership Exchange, visit: www.synergyexchange.org.

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

  SPHS Mock Trial team members, shown above in
  Zoom practice session from this past season,   
  included top row (l to r), Autumn Pauly, Erin Hill,
  Anna Lofaro, Vera Berglund; middle row, Paige
  Meyer, John Borgmeier, Sophie Matarrese, Miranda
  Seham; bottom row, Kiera Dunn and Rahima
  Jamac.

Saint Peter High School’s Mock Trial team earned a repeat trip to the Minnesota State Mock Trial Tournament by winning the Region 5 virtual contest over Northfield on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The win propelled the Saints into the state tourney, held virtually on March 3 and 4, where the Saints placed 11th out of 16 teams.

At state, the Saints defeated Nova Classical Academy but dropped close contests to state runner-up Apple Valley and sixth-place finisher Hill-Murray to end up in 11th place. SPHS also had two team members garner All-State honors, with senior Rahima Jamac named as an All-State Attorney while senior Miranda Seham was chosen as an All-State Witness.

Members of the Saints’ Mock Trial state team included John Borgmeier, Rahima Jamac, Paige Meyer, Sophie Matarrese, Vera Berglund, Anna Lofaro, Erin Hill, Autumn Pauly, Miranda Seham, and Kiera Dunn. SPHS coaches for the team are Dan Clark and Kyle Hilding, while Judge Alison Krehbiel and local attorney James Dunn serve as assistant coaches for the team.

This year’s case for Mock Trial competitions statewide was the fictional Payton Knox v. Nixon Lodge & Catering, Inc., which was a contract dispute involving a wedding venue and a couple that had hoped to get married on July 4th, 2020, but plans had to be changed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

There were enough participants in Mock Trial this season to form a second team, the SPHS White team. Those team members included -- Drake Portner, Nabiil Jamac, Najma Jamac, Amelia Hildebrandt, Isabel Avant, Christiaan Hajos, Raina Roemhildt, Sydney Marthaler, TC Hopp, Jaxen Sandland, Adrik Rojas-Malledo, and Ellie Letts.

The Saints have a history of faring well at the state competition, including last year’s fourth-place finish at the state meet. This will be SPHS’s seventh state tournament trip in Mock Trial. The Saints also went in 2016 (9th), 2015 (5th), 2012 (tie for 3rd), 2011 (10th), and 2010 (12th).

For more information on the MN State Mock Trial Tournament, please click HERE!

 

DSC_0083 -- SPHS Mock Trial state team members included: front row (l to r), Vera Berglund, Kiera Dunn, Sophie Matarrese; back row, Autumn Pauly, Paige Meyer, Rahima Jamac, Miranda Seham, Erin Hill, John Borgmeier, and Anna Lofaro.  

 

Zoom pic -- SPHS Mock Trial team members, shown here in a recent Zoom practice session, includes top row (l to r), Autumn Pauly, Erin Hill, Anna Lofaro, Vera Berglund; middle row, Paige Meyer, John Borgmeier, Sophie Matarrese, Miranda Seham; bottom row, Kiera Dunn and Rahima Jamac.

 

Middle school logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

The Saint Peter Middle School theater department has been busy recently fine tuning their performances for the three different productions that make up this year’s Middle School Play. Directors for this year’s play are Angie Schilling, Rachel Ryan, and Bailey Britton. (See poster below for more information include QR code to buys tickets!)

“We will begin streaming our show on April 23, and it will run through May 2,” Schilling said. “Our streaming service has allowed us to have a website where the public will be able to buy a ticket to stream all of the productions. (www.onthestage.com/show/st-peter-middle-school).  We are also using this platform to raise money for two local organizations that the students chose.  This year, we are raising funds for both P.A.W.S. in St. Peter and BENCHES in Mankato.“

The following is a cast list and brief synopsis for each of the three different Middle School Play productions:

“INTO THIN HEIR”
Synopsis: An unlikely detective is hired to find a missing (and presumed dead) heir to the Hawkthorne fortune.  What she finds is a nest of vultures.

Cast
Polly Peabody - Gretta Baker
Lola Lane - Katherine Callahan
Sylvia Stark - Maya King
Phillis Potts - Paige Marthaler
Norma Newcomb - Miata Erickson
Danielle Defoe - Lydia Fell
Constance Bashing - Charlie Hagen
Buttles - Ethan Harbitz
Archie Adams - Cyrus Fremo

“CLUE IN THE LIBRARY”
Synopsis: An old library is in jeopardy from a demolition team….whispers of hidden treasure...a body found in the stacks...and dedicated teens who just might be able to save the day.

Cast
Saul Slaughter - Ethan Harbitz
Ms. Grundy - Maya Winsell
Alice - Isla Gassman
Eric - Elijah Cherland Nerum
Kaitlyn - Ahna Herron
Ms. Pinchfork - Katherine Callahan
Cornelius Crump - Cyrus Fremo
Monica Harvey - Charlie Hagen
Eunice Davenport - Faduma Muhidin
Alicia Banks - Paige Marthaler
Detective Fortune - Drake Smuder

“MYSTERY OF THE MAGICAL FOREST”
Synopsis: What strange secret does the Magical Forest hold?  Hopeful gardener Leo must find out or lose his hope of finding his fortune in the city just beyond.

Cast
Lea - Lyric Ruble
Gertrude - Aashyla Weaver
Troll - Paige Marquardt
Stella - Alix Johnson
Nona - Ella Twaddle
Misty - Nevaeh Rezmerski

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter High School inducted its 36 newest members of the SPHS Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) at a special ceremony at the Performing Arts Center on October 26.
 

  The newest members of the SPHS National Honor
  Society chapter were inducted at a special
  ceremony at the Performing Arts Center on Oct. 26.

The National Honor Society is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, the SPHS chapter of NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1921.

In a normal school year, the NHS induction ceremony is held in late spring but due to the pandemic situation, the induction ceremony for most of the newest members was postponed to this fall.

SPHS school counselors and NHS co-advisors Jana Sykora and Maggie Carlson presided over the October 26th induction ceremony while Principal Annette Engeldinger provided the welcome. NHS leadership team members John Borgmeier and Rahima Jamac also spoke on the four qualities that serve as standards for NHS -- Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character.

The newest member of the SPHS Chapter of the National Honor Society inducted on October 26 includes the following students (listed alphabetically by this year’s grade):

SENIORS - Megan Beran, Gergely Hajos, Alyssa Hrdlicka, Autumn Pauly, Seth Reicks, Aubree Volk, Wesley Yang, and Chase Yeager.

JUNIORS -- Luke Borowy, Sarah Busse, Sky Gassman, Katherine Gurrola, Bryan Harroun, Shea Hildebrandt, Anna Klatt, Eva Kracht, Jaiden Landsom, Elyssa Meixner, Makayla Moline, Lauren Odland, Bennett Olson, Morgan Petersen, Ryenne Pettis, Brooke Rehnelt, Grace Remmert, Lilly Ruffin, Salena Smit, Zachary Smith, Connor Snow, Lilian Sund, Maija Tollefson, Madelyn Tollefson, Molly Voeltz, Josephine Wiebusch, Eleanor Winterfeldt, and Hannah Wohlers.

The four new inductees from the SPHS Class of 2020, who were inducted in mid-May, included Matthew Witty-Frank, Allison Madden, Kaden Oeltjenbruns, and Marina Sawyer.

After the induction, Carlson also announced SPHS’s NHS leadership team for 2020-2021. Those included:

  • Senior class representatives - John Borgemeier & Rahima Jamac.
  • Junior class representatives - Shea Hildebrandt & Eva Kracht.
  • Secretary - Eleanor Winterfeldt.
  • Treasurer - Hannah Wohlers.
Middle school logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter Middle School recently named its Saints PRIDE All Stars for the month of September. 

Each month, SPMS teachers will be nominating two students from their house who show Saints PRIDE to become our school’s All Stars.  These are students who show Preparedness, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Empathy in their learning, attitude, and behavior.  

The students listed below have been nominated for the month of September.  Congratulations and keep up the amazing work!

Oak House:

  • Grace Penner 
  • Lucia Penner

Spruce House: 

  • Charlotte Maxfield
  • Eli Peters

Maple House:

  • Quinn Rassbach
  • Callum Harmes

Pine House: 

  • Rahaf Salim
  • Daniel Olson