News & Notes

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Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter Middle School students went above and beyond expectations for their recent Pennies for Patients fundraiser that raised $1,628.32 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), which was well above the goal set for the school.

  SPMS students along with their advisor, Courtney
  Maxwell Shey, load up the money they raised in their
  recent Pennies for Patients fundraiser. 

The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Through the Pennies for Patients fundraiser, children, teachers, parents and school administrators are able to directly support the mission of LLS by participating this philanthropy program.

Each classroom in the Middle School had a collection box for students to donate their change and once the collection was over, student council members gathered up the money and transported it to Hometown Bank to have it counted.

“We just want to say thanks to Bob (Southworth) and the staff at Hometown Bank for counting the donation brought through our Pennies for Patients Drive,” Courtney Maxwell Shey, SPMS Student Council advisor, said. “St. Peter Middle School raised more than double of what was expected by our size!  These kids rock!”

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Kurt Hildebrandt

Free public performance set for 7 p.m. on Friday at MS theater

The cast and crew of the Saint Peter Middle School’s production of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” have been busy recently fine turning their performance for three shows they will stage this Friday, March 8, at the middle school theater.

Directors Charlotte Smith and Angela Schilling have been working with the students for the past couple months in preparation for two shows they will put on for the Middle School students during the school day on Friday. Then, the public performance is set for 7 p.m. on Friday evening at the theater, which is free and open to the public.

Based on the beloved children's book of the same title by Lewis CarolI,  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is the story of young Alice and her journey through the magical world of Wonderland--a life-sized chessboard populated by a number of peculiar people and animals. All Alice wants to do is reach the 8th square of the chess board and be crowned Queen Alice, but every person who crosses her path seems determined to send her in circles. Add in a homicidal queen on a rampage, and poor Alice might never make it back home again!

The following is a complete cast and crew list for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”:

Alice - Liliana Hughes
White Rabbit - Ian Gerstbauer
Mouse - Emma Smith
Mock Turtle - Adrik Rojas-Malledo
Lory - Katherine Callahan
Dodo - Izzy Avante
Red Queen - Rowan Snay
Soldier One - Meri Bush
Knave of Hearts/Daisy - Isabell Johnson
Soldier Two - Madison Peterson
Queen of Hearts - Molly Leonard
Caterpillar/Knight - Isabeau Fuller
Fish Footman/Flower -Evalyn Specht
Frog Footman/Caucus Animal/Sister - Norah Timmerman
Duchess/Flower - Greta Baker
Cook - Brendan Larson
Tweedledum/Caucus Animal - Nevaeh Rezmerski
Cheshire Cat - Grace Tollefson
Tweedledee/Caucus Animal - Ahna Herron
Mad Hatter - Quinn McQuire
March Hare/King of Hearts - Wesley Toupence
Dormouse - Ella Osborn
Rose/Soldier - Ryan Ranft
Lily/Soldier - Maya Winsell
White Queen/Caucus Animal - Melanie Hopp
Humpty Dumpty/Soldier - Roy Hendrickson

Crew: Auden Anderson, Anoushka,  Sophia Christianson, Ian Gerstbauer, Gia Holland, Melanie Hopp, Eleanor Hughes, Connor Hunt, Payton McCann, Quinn McGuire, Annika M, Matthew Otterness, Madison Peterson, David Pehrson, Isabel Putz, Ryan Ranft, Emmy Remmert, Raina Roemhilt, Neveauh R, Rahaf Salim, Samuel S, Evalyn Specht, Norah Timmerman, Aidan W, Vaughn W, Heidi Webber, Julie Webber


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Kurt Hildebrandt


Seventh graders at Saint Peter Middle School hosted their annual History Day event on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the school’s media center.

The interior of the media center was filled with colorful cardboard tri-fold exhibits depicting significant people or events in American history. Students from Erick Boe’s, Dustin Sharstrom’s, and Sean O’Brien’s U.S. History classes participated in the event. Each of the exhibits is judged by Middle School staff, other volunteers, as well as some of the eighth grade students.

“This is a social studies project, with a little bit of an English component to it with the writing the students need to do,” Sharstrom said. “The students started on these projects around the second week of December (2018) and this is final presentation for most of them.”

The top 15 to 20 projects at this year’s event will advance to the South Central Regional History Day competition at Minnesota State University-Mankato on March 19 with a chance to go all the way to the state competition later this year.

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Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter Middle School students literally collected more than a ton of food during this year’s recent annual Canned Food Drive with the final total being 2,161 pounds that was donated to the St. Peter Area Food Shelf.

  SPMS Student Council members who helped deliver
  the food to the St. Peter Area Food Shelf included: 
  front row (l to r), Lexi Wentworth, Anna Boomgaarden,
  Abigail Lorentz, Satasha Egnes; back row, Milo Biehn,
  Kevin Castaneda, Cole Junso, and David Marlow.

The SPMS Student Council sponsored this year’s drive in which students in all four grades (5-8) collected food and non-perishable items during the week of December 10-14. A total of 2,125 items were collected during the drive.

SPMS Student Council advisor Courtney Shey and eight members of the Student Council’s executive team transported all of the donated items to the Food Shelf personally, with Saints Bus Service providing the mode of transportation.

“The amazing thing is that our food drive was short and sweet, only three days, and the student council wrapped the collection boxes in wrapping paper and created a slideshow for advisories detailing the food drive,” Shey said. “This was their first ‘event’ that they did as a student council, and they wanted to be something that contributed to the community.  It is obvious by how much we collected that the student body and the staff at St Peter Middle School wanted to contribute to their community as well. A big thank you to all the students, their parents/guardians, and to the staff!”

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Kurt Hildebrandt

Education Minnesota celebrated American Education Week by honoring Melissa Terpstra, Saint Peter Middle School’s thinking room supervisor, as the 2018 Education Minnesota Education Support Professional (ESP) of the Year.

  Missy Terpstra (middle) recently received Education 
  Minnesota's Education Support Professional of the 
  Year Award. She is shown here with Education MN 
  Vice President Paul Mueller (left) and SPMS Principal
  Jon Graff (right). 

Terpstra has worked in St. Peter Public Schools since 2003, first as a special education paraprofessional at South Elementary and then as a thinking room supervisor at South Elementary and now at St. Peter Middle School. She also serves as the local president of the Education Minnesota Paraprofessional Educators of Saint Peter union.

“Missy is a whatever-you-need kind of person who is always so supportive and helpful for all of us at the middle school,” Principal Jon Graff said. “We started the Thinking Room during the middle of the first quarter in the fall of 2017, and she was the perfect person to supervise that area.”

As a thinking room supervisor, Terpstra is the first point of contact for students experiencing behavior issues in the classroom, lunchroom, hallways or during recess. In her award nomination materials, Terpstra’s colleagues describe her as authentic, impressive, dedicated and award-worthy.

“I love what I do and I do what I love,” said Terpstra. “I’m not sure what our school would look like without ESPs. We go hand-in-hand with the teachers.”

Terpstra also works tirelessly to make sure ESPs are supported and valued members of the district. As local union president, she makes sure all ESPs know the value of the union. She advocates for ESPs to receive professional development, attend conferences and be a part of the larger labor movement.

St. Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson summarized what all her colleagues shared about Terpstra in his recommendation letter for her award nomination, “What I have found is the key ingredient to success within schools and working with students is authenticity, and this is something that Missy brings to her job every single day and every single year.”

As the new Minnesota ESP of the Year, Terpstra will receive a new Apple iPad and a $1,000 honorarium. She will also be nominated for the National Education Association’s ESP of the Year and will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas for the awards ceremony in March.

“ESPs are often the first people that interact with our students each day and the last ones to say goodbye,” said Education Minnesota Vice President Paul Mueller, who presented Terpstra with her award. “A big piece of our students’ successes is the personal interaction that ESPs can give them, in and out of the classroom. I don’t think anyone knows that more than our 2018 Education Support Professional of the Year, Melissa Terpstra.”

American Education Week, a national celebration of public education, runs from Nov. 12 through Nov. 16. Wednesday had been designated as Education Support Professionals Day to honor the people who keep schools running and students safe, healthy and ready to learn.

The winner of the Education Support Professional of the Year award is selected by a five-member selection committee that includes three leaders of Education Minnesota, the winner in the previous year and a representative of an external organization, which was United Educators Credit Union this year.

About Education Minnesota

Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO. More information about Education Minnesota is available