MS-HS News and Notes

Middle school logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

While the Saint Peter Middle School’s play is still a few months away from taking to the stage, students and the directors involved in the production have been busy already this fall in preparation for this year’s show, which will be “Treasure Island.”

  SPMS Play directors Angie Schilling (seated on
  stage to right) and Bailey Britton (seated on stage
  to left) go over some instructions with their
  Theater Group before they begin their hands-on

Advisors Angie Schilling and Bailey Britton meet with the SPMS Theater Group’s students Monday through Thursday after school on most weeks. There are 72 middle school students (grades 5-8) signed up for the program. During this time, a lot of behind the scenes/set work takes place during these meetings, which is a team effort. 

“Theater provides an opportunity for students to showcase their many talents,” Schilling said. “Not everyone likes to be on stage and talent is needed to help create the whole show, from scenery and props to sounds and lights. Many of our students have gained confidence over the years and we help push them out of their comfort zones being on stage.  

“We welcome our students to provide their own input into the show and have used many of their ideas, making for memorable moments on stage.  This year, we are welcoming many new faces who are trying theater out for the first time.”

This year’s SPMS Theater Group’s performance of “Treasure Island” is set for Friday, March 22, 2022, in the Middle School theater, so mark your calendars!

“We are currently looking for a cast of around 40 students.  Many of them coming from the crew we work with now,” Schilling said.

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Members of Saint Peter High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society helped area law enforcement/emergency services personnel, including St. Peter Police Department and Fire Department members, during the fourth annual Shop With a Hero event. The event took place on Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Mankato Fleet Farm store.

  SPHS National Honor Society members (front row
  l to r), Sky Gassman, Ryenne Pettis, Grace β€‹  ​​
  Remmert, Katie Gurrola, Morgan Petersen, and
  Jaiden Landsom, helped area law
  enforcement/emergency response personnel
  during the fourth annual Shop With A Hero event
  on December 4th.

The Heroes were able to take 14 area children Christmas shopping, thanks to donations from the Minnesota South Central Investigators Coalition, Fleet Farm, and charitable gambling donations from Blaschko's Embassy Bar, the Red Men Club, The Flame Bar, and the William R. Witty American Legion Post 37.  Additionally, a few NHS members were given the opportunity to shop and used a gift card to purchase presents that were donated to the local Toys 4 Tots drive, while Dunkin' Donuts provided coffee and donuts!  

“After the shopping was done, several of the National Honor Society members from Saint Peter High School helped with gift wrapping,” Saint Peter Public Schools’ School Resource Officer Jon Hughes, who helps organize the local volunteer effort, said. “A truly heartfelt thanks goes out to all of the organizations that donated time, facilities, money, and snacks.  Without you, we would not be able to hold such an important event.”

In addition to the St. Peter Police and Fire Department members volunteering their time, other area agencies participating included North Mankato Police Departments, Minnesota State Patrol, and a United States Army veteran. 

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

  Quinn Rassbach (third from the left) and her
  North's Clothes Closet crew (l to r), Sophie Meyer,    June Elias, Keira Friedrich, Rahaf Salim and Julie

SPMS 8th grader Quinn Rassbach has organized this event for the last four years

Hi, my name is Quinn Rassbach and I am an eighth grader at Saint Peter Middle School.  My mission is to collect warm clothes and give them away to students and their families in the Saint Peter School District. Over the years I have always noticed that some of us don’t have warm clothes for the winter and I want everyone to have the opportunity to have warm clothes.

When I was in fourth grade I decided to organize an event that would help all students in the Saint Peter School District stay warm. If you would like to donate clean, new or gently used clothes, please bring them to your school’s office donation box by Thursday, Nov. 18. (Donation boxes are located in the office of all four buildings -- SPHS, SPMS, North Elementary and South Elementary). Some of the clothes we need are hats, mittens, snow pants, jackets, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts.

North’s Clothes Closet will be open for two days this year! Friday November 19th and Sunday November 21st. Everything is free! We hope you can make it!

Come Shop at North’s Clothes Closet! 

  • When: Friday, Nov. 19th 5-7p.m. & Sunday, Nov. 21st 12-4p.m.
  • Where: North Elementary Gym (815 N. Ninth Street, Saint Peter)  

More information about North’s Clothes Closet

Quinn Rassbach recently shared some more information about her worthwhile cause. The following is a Q&A with her about this year's event: 

When you first had this idea for North's Clothes Closet, did you have any idea that it would keep going all these years? -- When I first had the idea to do North’s Clothes Closet I was in fourth grade and I just wanted to help people who didn’t have the warm clothes that they needed for our Minnesota winters. I had always planned on continuing this project until I graduate from high school because there are always going to be people that need warm clothes and don’t have a way of getting them. I have been so lucky to be able to put this project in motion and I’m so excited to do it again this year. 

Are other students or staff involved with you in organizing/setting up for this project? -- I have the most amazing team of people helping me with North’s Clothes Closet. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Landsteiner helped me plan the very first North’s Clothes Closet and she has been so amazing these past years. She is always helping with planning the event, setting up the event, helping during the event, and cleaning up after the event is over. Mr. Doherty, North’s principal, is also such an important part of North’s Clothes Closet. Without his help I would never have been able to do this project in the first place and I cannot thank him enough for his help. He has been very supportive since the start. Miss Zitur has also been a great volunteer since the beginning. The last two years that I have done North’s Clothes Closet, the Gustavus Softball team has been a big help by helping with every aspect of North’s Clothes Closet. I also have a lovely team of my friends from school. I enjoy having friends from school help out every year because we work hard and are able to just have fun together at the same time. This year my friends helping out will be Kiera Friedrich, Rahaf Salim, Sophie Meyer, Julie Weber, and June Elias (all eighth graders at the Saint Peter Middle School). 

Do you take monetary donations, too? -- I do take monetary donations! I love to get new clothing for North’s Clothes Closet so that people can get nice and new clothing as well as gently used clothing. Monetary donations can be given through cash or check and can be left in an envelope (attn: Quinn Rassbach) at any Saint Peter Public School front office. If you have any questions you can email me at

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

2020 alum Michael Moline earns prestigious American FFA Degree 

  Saint Peter High School FFA’s group attending 
  the recent National FFA Convention & Expo 
  convention included: (l to r) co-advisor Gena
  Lilienthal, Makayla Moline, Jesse Fast, Lauren
  Powers, Triston Krakow, Jaxson Witty, Daniel
  Klein, Michael Moline (SPHS alum), Colton Willaert,
  and co-advisor Michael Reeser.

Several members of the Saint Peter High School FFA chapter made the trek to Indianapolis to take part in the National FFA Convention and Expo which took place October 27-30.  The event was offered in-person with health and safety precautions after the cancellation of a physical event in 2020. 

Those Saint Peter High School students attending the National FFA Convention included Makayla Moline, Jesse Fast, Lauren Powers, Triston Krakow, Jaxson Witty, Daniel Klein and Colton Willaert, along with SPHS FFA alum Michael Moline and SPHS FFA co-advisors Gena Lilienthal and Michael Reeser. 

Minnesota students and supporters who attended the National FFA Convention, including those representing SPHS, found opportunities to connect with other members from throughout the nation, explore college and career options, engage in leadership and personal development experiences, and earn recognition. Our students attended award sessions, visited with agricultural exhibitors in the career expo, listened to motivational speakers, participated in an educational behind the scenes tour at the Indianapolis Speedway and attended a rodeo.  

Michael Moline, a 2020 SPHS graduate, also attended the convention where he was awarded his American Degree at the conclusion of the festivities. The American FFA Degree is the highest degree a student can earn as part of their FFA membership.  Students invest in work-based agricultural projects throughout their FFA membership and earn the degree after receiving their State FFA degree, holding active FFA membership for at least the last three years, completing secondary instruction in an agricultural education program and operating an outstanding supervised agricultural experience.  Community service, leadership abilities and outstanding scholastic achievement are also required.

Michael Moline's Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project consists of raising high quality show hogs.  To earn this degree he needed to invest a significant amount of earnings and recorded numerous years of hours of work towards his SAE.  Michael is only the second student from the St. Peter chapter to earn this award since the chapter's re-establishment in 2011. The other to earn the American FFA Degree was Alexia Riley (2014 SPHS grad). 

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

While the focus for high school students is often geared towards college prep courses, at SPHS, students can get plenty of hands-on experiences in industrial technology and building trades. These course offerings are part of the school’s overall CTE (Career & Technical Education) program, which includes agricultural science and FACS (Family and Consumer Science). (More information on those two programs will be shared in next month’s Highlights.

  SPHS teacher Michael Reeser chats with
  Marshall Nicolai and Jeremy Plonske about
  the small engine they took apart and will
  eventually put back together as part of
  Automotive Mechanics class. 

SPHS CTE teachers Michael Reeser and Scott Robinson provide students with instruction in several areas of study, including Woodworking, Introduction to Engineering, Building Trades, Metalworking I, Metalworking II, Automotive Mechanics, and Introduction to Power Mechanics. Reeser has worked with the district since the high school opened in 2017, while Robinson is new this year, replacing long-time teacher Warren Peterson, who retired after the 2020-21 school year.

These courses are specifically designed to provide students with the skills and training necessary should they consider choosing one of these tracks as a field of study either through vocational/technical school or college or move right into a career path upon graduation.

Courses offered in the Manufacturing Lab include Intro to Power Mechanics, Principles of Metalworking I and II, and Automotive Mechanics. 

  SPHS woodworking teacher Scott Robinson
  works with freshman Johnny Kennedy on
  the design for his shelf project.

“Students enrolled in the Introduction to power mechanics course learn about outdoor power equipment and small gas engines with a basic overview of things to know when you own a car but may not necessarily plan to perform all of the maintenance yourself,” Reeser said. 

Students engage in various hands-on activities such as engine disassembly, engine components and systems identification, engine inspection, engine assembly, engine troubleshooting, and basic automotive components.

Automotive mechanics student’s hands-on opportunities include general vehicle maintenance items such as oil change, tire change, tire rotation, undercarriage repair, brakes, steering suspension, driveline, exhaust, and fuel systems.

“Principles of Metalworking I students learn to use the 4-basic arc welding process and 2-basic cutting systems -- shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding, flux core arc welding,  gas tungsten arc welding, plasma arc cutting, and oxy acetylene cutting,” Reeser said. “Students in Metalworking II will be able to complete and pass the American Welding Society Welder qualification and certification test for industry recognized training as well as learn to fabricate from blueprints to create precise, inspected components.”

Robinson, who works with students mainly in the engineering/design lab as well as the woodworking shop, has enjoyed getting to know the students and staff here at SPHS since the start of the new school year.

“Being new this year I am excited to see all the opportunities our students have to develop skills in different areas,” Robinson said. “The community support for the school and CTE programs is really paying off for our students. St. Peter offers CTE classes that start with the basics and progress to the advanced skills that give our students an advantage going forward. Some will use these classes as a starting point for a whole career, some will find a new hobby and others will just go forward knowing that they can design, build, fix, cook or grow things when they want to. It is always exciting to see what students do with the skills learned in these courses and I am excited to have joined such an impressive team.”