News & Notes

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Kurt Hildebrandt

SPHS speakers second at Loyola's Crusader Classic

Saint Peter High School's speech team took home team runner-up honors at the Mankato Loyola Crusader Classic on February 9.

Fairmont won the team title with 124 points, while St. Peter was close behind with 114 team points. No other team out of the 16 competing scored more than 49 points.

Josh Ellerbeck (Humor) and Mckenzie McCann (Storytelling) took home individual titles for the Saints while Megan Beran and Breeley Ruble (Duo), Sky Gassman (Poetry), and Vanessa Krueger (Original Oratory) placed second.

The Saints speech team returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Mankato West.

Crusader Class results
Team standings
(top 5 of 16) - 1. Fairmont 124; 2. ST. PETER 114; 3. Mankato East 49; 4. Mankato West 42; 5. Mankato Loyola 41.
Saints individual results
Creative: 4. Mikinley Prafke
Discussion: 6. Hannah Wohlers
Duo: 2. Megan Beran and Breeley Ruble; 4. Sophia Lee and Isaac Peterson. Molly Leonard and Emma Smith placed third in novice
Extemporaneous Reading: 7. Madelyn Tollefson
Extemporaneous Speaking: 3. Nils Berglund; 5. Konrad Wernsing.
Humor: 1. Josh Ellerbeck; 5. Obet Alcantara.
Informative: 6. Autumn Pauly
Original Oratory: 2. Vanessa Krueger; 4. Eva Kracht
Poetry: 2. Sky Gassman; 3. Aubry Landsom
Prose: 3. Shelby Beaudoin; 7. Lauren Mayer.
Storytelling: 1. Mckenzie McCann; 5. Liliana Hughes.

Saints jr. high squad third at New Prague

The Saints' junior high team (gr. 7-9) turned in an impressive performance at New Prague on February 14 with Bry Harroun (Creative) and Sky Gassman (Poetry) winning individual titles. 

"Our junior high team was small but mighty," Saints speech coach Erika Gustafson said. "We had only nine entries and achieved third place as a team!"

New Prague meet results
Creative: 1. Bry Harroun
Drama: 5. Anna Boomgaarden 
Duo: 2. Emma Smith and Molly Leonard
Discussion : 2. Hannah Wohlers
Humor: 3. Eleanor Kennedy
Original Oratory: 4. Eva Kracht
Poetry: 1. Sky Gassman 
Storytelling: 2. Madi Winsell; 3. Alex Matarrese

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
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

SPHS's speech team got its 2019 season off to a rousing start as an abbreviated version of the team traveled to Worthington this past Saturday and placed third overall.

  SPHS speech award winners at Worthington.

Placewinners for the Saints at Worthington included:

Creative: Torin Harbo blue ribbon
Duo: Julia and David Marlow 3rd place
Ex Reading: Paige Meyer 6th place
Humor: Josh Ellerbeck 1st place
Original Oratory : Vanessa Krueger 2nd place and Eva Kracht 1st place
Poetry: Sky Gassman 6th place and Aubry Landsom 3rd place
Storytelling: Mckenzie McCann 3rd place and Liliana Hughes red ribbon.

The Saints were without several key team members for this meet as they were participating in the Section 2A One Act Play Contest. Luverne won the team sweepstakes with 82 points while Murray County Central 72, St. Peter 62, Windom Area 58, and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 57 rounded out the top five.

"Our team was small but mighty at Worthington," SPHS coach Ericka Gustafson said. "I'm excited to see how we do with our full team this coming weekend (at Mankato Loyola)."

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saints are one of eight teams vying for a berth at Class A state tournament

A state tournament berth will be on the line tomorrow (Saturday) as Saint Peter High School hosts the Section 2A One Act Play Contest at the Performing Arts Center starting with the morning session at 10 a.m. There will be a lunch break from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m. and the afternoon session will begin at 2 p.m., with St. Peter performing at 2:50 p.m.

  The SPHS One Act production of 'The Girl in the Mirror' 
  took home top honors at the Sub-Section 7 meet on 
  Jan. 26 and will compete at the Section 2A meet here
  at SPHS on Saturday, Feb. 2, in the afternoon session.

Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students. Just a reminder that SPHS activities passes are NOT accepted for admission.

The first place winner of the Section 2A contest advances to the Minnesota State Class A One Act Play Festival on Thursday, Feb. 7, at The O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

St. Peter will be one of the eight schools competing at the Section 2A contest along with Belle Plaine, Mankato Loyola, Maple River, Martin County West, Mountain Lake, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, and Tri-City United.

St. Peter’s production of “The Girl in the Mirror” took top honors at the Sub-Section 7 contest on Jan. 26 at Madelia.

“The Girl in the Mirror” was written by Bruce Jacoby and produced by Dramatic Publishing, Inc. It is co-directed by Amanda Pogatschnik and Jason Toupence and includes a cast of 17 students (grades 9-12) along with two crew members.

Cast & Crew
Susan Connors - Aurora Severson
Mother - Katie Engeldinger
Doctor - Kyle Fogal
Speaker - Lauren Mayer
Father - Isaac Peterson
Mrs. Douglas - Gloria Toupence
Scotty - Bry Harroun
Extra - Claire Dimock
Extra - Rosie Hernandez
Extra - Marina Sawyer
Extra - Noah Faulstich
Extra - David Doherty-Bohn
Extra - Chandra O’Brien
Bryan - Kaiden Burmeister
Samantha - Sophia Lee
Dr. Allen - Matthew Springer
Dr. Richards - Isaac Sawyer
Crew - Ethan Niemeyer, Jack Leonard

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.