News & Notes

SPPS music department to host several concerts in December
Kurt Hildebrandt

There are several music concerts coming up in December involving Saint Peter Public School students.

Here is a rundown of those concerts that will take place. All of these events will take place at the Saint Peter High School Performing Arts Center.

  • Monday, Dec. 3  -- Grades 5 & 6 Bands at 7 p.m.

  • Monday, Dec. 10 -- Saint Peter High School Choir Concert (grades 9-12) at 7:30 p.m.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 11 -- North Elementary Winter Concert - 2nd grade at 6:20 p.m., 3rd grade at 6:50 p.m., grade 4 at 7:20 p.m.

  • Thursday, Dec. 13 -- Middle School Music Concert - 5th/6th grade singers at 6:30 p.m., 7th/8th grade choir at 7:30 p.m.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 18 -- Grades 7 & 8 Bands at 7 p.m.

Admission is free to all of these events and they are open to the public!

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

School board officially accepts $42,000 gift to be used for French immersion experiences

A gift from the estate of the late Jeffrey Rosoff, a former math professor at Gustavus Adolphus College, will help ensure students from Saint Peter Public Schools will continue to benefit, from experiences at the Lac Du Bois French immersion camps at Concordia Language Villages, long into the future.

  This group of SPHS & SPMS students were the most
  recent to visit the Lac Du Bois French immersion
  camp in early November.

The Saint Peter School Board officially accepted the gift of $41,957.80 from Rosoff’s estate at their November 19 meeting, and, according to Saint Peter High School French teacher Mary Behrends, this gift will pay $100 for each French camp weekend participant moving forward. Additional support is planned for students interested in CLV’s summer Lac du Bois programs.  Rosoff, who was a professor at Gustavus since 1981, passed away on May 16, 2018. During all these years, the Rosoff and Behrends families maintained a close friendship.

Rosoff, whose son David was a 2004 SPHS graduate and very active in the school’s French program, was a strong supporter of Behrends’ program during his son’s time as a student at Saint Peter Public Schools. David Rosoff died in the summer of 2004 from injuries sustained in a car accident, and his father continued to honor his memory by continuing to support the SPHS French program financially as well as endowing the David C. Rosoff Memorial Scholarship given annually to an SPHS graduating senior.

This school year alone, more than 60 students have already benefited from his legacy grants by attending weekend French camps at Lac Du Bois.

“Jeff was a mathematician and a bit of a renaissance man who loved speaking French, and it was a big part of his life,” Behrends said “He loved music as well as woodworking, and was an amazing conversationalist.

“David was a very smart student who was very active with our (SPHS) French department, and Jeff got very involved as well and remained that way long after David passed away and this gift will continue that support probably long past I’m retired.”

Colleen Jacks, who was Jeff’s long-time partner and is currently a biology professor at Gustavus, saw first-hand how much of a supporter he was of the SPHS French program.

 “Jeff was a strong supporter of language study and believed that the earlier it was started, the stronger the outcomes were for students,” Jacks said. “Jeff studied several languages himself (German, a little Italian and Spanish), but was always drawn to French, a language he continued to study and speak as an adult - he was a true Francophile.

“He appreciated the cultural and language immersion experience that Lac du Bois of the Concordia Language Villages provided students, including his son David. Jeff appreciated all that Mary Behrends did/does to encourage French study at all levels, including taking groups of students from North, the middle school and high school for weekend immersion camps at Lac du Bois during the school year.  

“He was very aware that the cost of this experience was beyond the reach of many families, and he didn't want financial constraints to rob St. Peter students of an experience that he believed would expand their worlds.  For a number of years he made an annual donation to the school district to assist students with the tuition for the weekend experiences. His high regard for Mary and her willingness to make these opportunities available to so many students led him to include this bequest to help continue funding students at Lac du Bois in his estate plan.”

Middle school logo
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


SPHS to bring “West Side Story” to local stage Nov. 15-18
Kurt Hildebrandt

                                                                                 (Photo courtesy of Lauren Mayer & Breeley Ruble)

New online ticketing system in place for admission to this year’s fall play

Saint Peter High School’s theater department will be presenting the “West Side Story” on November 15-18 on the Performing Arts Center stage with shows at 7:30 p.m. that Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a special 2:30 p.m. matinee showing that Sunday.

Reserved tickets can be purchased online at or by clicking on the “Quick Links” tab in the upper right hand corner of the Saint Peter Public Schools’ website (

“West Side Story,” which ran on Broadway in the late 1950s for 732 performances and was later made into a movie that won the Academy Award for best picture in 1962, is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid 1950s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood. According to Broadway. Com,“Billed as a modern-day Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story follows two gangs who battle to control their turf on New York's Upper West Side. The situation gets complicated when one gang member falls for a rival's sister.”

The cast of 49 and a crew of 15 for this year’s fall play have been busy rehearsing and working for their opening performance, according to co-director Scott Hermanson.

“They have been spending hours polishing the music and learning their choreography,” Hermanson said. “This show is a challenging endeavor for the students.”

Hermanson is co-directing with Karen Steinhoff, with Robbie Deering directing choreography. The technical directors are Mike Reeser and Deering.

“West Side Story made its debut on stage over 60 years ago, and the story is still as powerful and relevant as it was then,” Hermanson said. “It forces us to confront issues of race, immigration, intolerance and discrimination. As we continue to see an increase of hate and intolerance in our country and in our world, we must confront the reality of our reactions and their consequences.”


Riff – Kaiden Burmeister
Tony – Will Tauer
Action – Liam Dixon
A-Rab – Kyle Fogal
Baby John – John Borgmeier
Snow Boy – Josh Ellerbeck
Big Deal – Matthew Springer
Diesel – Isaac Peterson
Gee-Tar – Jaden Neubauer
Mouthpiece – Nils Berglund
Tiger – Sean Sneer
Graziella – Gloria Toupence
Velma – Breeley Ruble
Minnie – Marina Sawyer
Clarice – Michaela Hahn
Pauline – Megan Beran
Anybodys – Claire Dimock
DeeDee – Aurora Severson
Pearl – Sky Gassman
Lulu – Allie Pettis
Jet Girls – Julia Marlow, Kia Maas, and Breanna Hagen

Bernardo – Isaac Sawyer
Maria – Amelia Wernsing
Anita – Lauren Mayer
Chino – Noah Faulstich
Pepe – Chandra O’Brien
Luis – Gabe Wilson
Indio – Obie Alcantara Alvarez
Anxious – Jason Creel
Nibbles – Momo Abdi
Juano – David Doherty–Bohn
Toro – Calvin Alderman
Moose – Gavin Fuller
Rosalia – Isabel Panciera
Consuelo – Eva Kracht
Teresita – Katie Engeldinger
Francisca – Madi Abels
Estella – Rosie Hernandez
Margarita – Penelope Panciera
Shark Boy – Matthew Witty Frank
Shark Girls – Izzy Lind, Bryanna Harroun, and Jadzia Lahn

Doc – Dan Clark
Schrank – Drew Dixon
Krupke – Mike Reeser
Glad Hand – Tamara Mayer

Stage manager: Ethan Niemeyer
Stage right assistant stage manager: Hannah Wohlers
Stage left assistant stage manager/rigging: Brad Doherty-Bohn
Light Board Operation: Haydon Grams and Jack Leonard
Sound Board Operation: Bennett Combs, Jonathan Haas, and Mikinley Prafke
Props Manager: Hannah Wohlers
Shift Crew: Milena Lund, Ben Moberg, Garrison Rushing, and Madi Winsell
Spotlights: Amelia Dickie, Audrey Kennedy, and Kaylee Moreau

SPHS fall play tickets available for purchase online starting Nov. 1
Kurt Hildebrandt

New system to allow theater goers to choose their seats ahead of time

SPHS fall play tickets are now sold online

  SPHS fall play assistant director Robbie Deering (left) assists cast
  member Chandra O'Brien with online purchase of fall play tickets.

The opening of the new Saint Peter High School in the fall of 2017 created a lot of excitement and nowhere was that more indicative than last year’s SPHS fall play production of "Footloose" in the school’s new state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center (PAC).

The cast and crew of that show performed in front of sellout crowds for each of the three evening performances, and some people even had to be turned away from some of the performances. On top of that, the large turnout also created congestion in the area outside the PAC prior to the show.

A new online ticketing system, being implemented for the first time for this year’s SPHS fall play production of West Side Story, should help alleviate many of the problems that arose last year. Showtimes for this year’s fall play are 7:30 p.m. for Thursday, Nov. 15; Friday, Nov. 16; and Saturday, Nov. 17; and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18.

All tickets for this year’s fall play moving forward will be sold online as reserved tickets, and those wanting to attend one of the four performances are now being encouraged to use the new online ticketing system to buy tickets through the new website -- starting on Thursday, Nov. 1. The system is been operated through Saint Peter Community and Family Education.

The new system will require those purchasing seats to choose their seat locations as well, based upon ticket availability. No general admission tickets will be sold for the fall play. The cost for the fall play tickets is $12 per person and $2 for Saint Peter Public School students and staff. SPHS activities passes are not accepted for admission to the play. 

“After hearing about last year’s situation, we did some research into different software packages that are available for online ticketing systems,” Tami Skinner, Saint Peter Community and Family Education director, said. “We did a lot of comparisons of different systems, and found out the one that worked best was from Affinety Solutions, which is also the same company that has handled our Community Education online registration program for the last 15 years or so. This software is an added feature for the program we have been using, so it is nice to have that continuity.”

The new system allows users to either set up an account, which will save information for future purchases, or register as a guest. According to Skinner, with either option users will need to provide an email address.

Once the purchase is complete, the tickets will be emailed to the person who made the purchase and they can either print off copies of the tickets with the barcode or they can bring up the barcode on their smartphone. Event staff with handheld scanners will scan each ticket as playgoers enter the PAC.

“What’s nice about this new system is if somehow a person loses their ticket, we can still look them up online at the box office and print them out a new one,” Skinner said.

Other options to purchase tickets are to call the Community Education office at 507-934-3048, ext. 1, or by stopping by the Community Education office in room 207 at the St. Peter Community Center (600 South Fifth Street) and they will be emailed to the buyers. Tickets, if available, can be purchased at the PAC box office on the evening of the show, but Skinner encourages people to buy ahead of time.

“We are anticipating that this will be a popular show, so there are no guarantees that there will be seats available at the box office.  It’s best if they buy ahead of time starting on November 1,” she said. “The cost is the same online as it would be at the box office."

Anyone needing more information or having further questions about fall play tickets should contact the Saint Peter Community Education office at 507-934-3048.