News & Notes

New Saints Supplies program at SPHS to help students in need
Kurt Hildebrandt

Buying personal hygiene products can be a difficult expense for some families and many students can't afford to purchase them. Every week, we have students come in needing something basic like shampoo, deodorant, or tampons. Believe me, a high schooler who is without deodorant stands out in a crowd, and not in a good way. We have programs that provide free lunches and backpacks with food for the weekend, but nothing that helps our students have access to the most basic personal hygiene products.

These kids are not lazy or unprepared. They care about their appearance. They notice when other kids don't want to sit near them at lunch. They don't want to worry about having enough tampons to get through the weekend. They're in need and they can't help it. Yes, it's true that many St. Peter families can afford these supplies. Out of 700 kids in the High School, perhaps 70-80 are in need. But if we're honest, isn't that 70-80 too many?

To respond to this need, we are creating a program called "Saints Supplies," housed in a closet in the high school where kids can have access to needed personal hygiene products.

"Thanks to Maple River for the idea to have a supply closet in their school, allowing us the opportunity to build off of the same idea for our school," Angie Fogal, one of the organizers for Saints Supplies, said.

THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN HELP. Please consider donating new, unopened, full-sized products on the list below. You (or your student) can drop them off at the high school School office or with Angie Fogal. Together, we can show these students that their dignity matters to us.

Body wash
Face soap
Tampons & pads
Lip balm

For more information, please feel free to contact Kelly Jensen ( or Angie Fogal (

SPHS Blue Academic Decathlon team places second at state
Kurt Hildebrandt

Congrats to the SPHS Academic Decathlon teams on their strong showing at the Minnesota Academic Decathlon State Competition at Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center in Chaska earlier this week.

Members of the SPHS Academic Decathlon teams, shown in picture on the right, includes: front row (l to r), Elijah VanGrootheest (Blue Team), Kayley Ronnkvist (Blue Team), Rose Prins (Blue Team), Bennett Combs (Blue Team), Katie Hamman (Blue Team), Becca Johnson (Alternate), Marlen Ramirez (White Team), Mary Behrends (Coach) and Matthew Springer (Alternate). Back row: Katrina Creel (White Team), Josiah Johnson (Blue Team), Aidan Bistrup (Blue Team), Charles Redmond (Blue Team), Noah Gassman (White Team), Nils Berglund (White Team).

The Saint Peter Blue team finished second overall behind Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial while third place went to Avalon School with a score of 33,022.6. LCWM advances to the national competition in Frisco, Texas, on April 19-21.

The SPHS Blue team won the Super Quiz, a separate team event.

Four students were overall finalists in their categories:  Charles Redmond was second overall in Varsity, Aidan Bistrup was second overall in Scholastic, Bennett Combs was first overall in Scholastic and Rose Prins was third overall in Honors.  The students earned a total of 35 additional medals in various categories.  Everyone is proud of their fine performance.

Academic Decathlon is a national scholastic competition designed to stimulate intellectual growth and encourage greater respect for knowledge. The format includes students with A, B and C grade-point averages competing in ten curricular areas. Competitions range from local scrimmages to national contests.

The theme for the 2017–2018 Academic Decathlon competition was Africa.


SPHS teacher pens book on welding
Kurt Hildebrandt

Michael Reeser, who teaches CTE (Career Technical Education) at SPHS, recently had a book on welding published by Cool Spring Press that, according to him, is a “how-to” book on the subject. The title of the book is “Welding Complete (2nd Edition): Techniques, Project Plans & Instructions.”

Saint Peter High School students taking technical education courses, and more specifically welding classes, can take comfort in knowing they are learning from a published expert on the subject.

Michael Reeser, who teaches CTE (Career Technical Education) at SPHS, recently had a book on welding published by Cool Spring Press that, according to him, is a “how-to” book on the subject. The title of the book is “Welding Complete (2nd Edition): Techniques, Project Plans & Instructions.”

The book, which is available through most online outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is geared towards anyone who has an interest in welding including high school students and  adult learners. It was made available to the public right before the 2017 Christmas season, according to Reeser.

According to the Cool Springs Press website’s description of Reeser’s book, “Welding is a fun and surprisingly affordable activity, with complete welding kits available at home-improvement stores for just a few hundred dollars. This book shows you everything you need to know to become a competent and safe welder of a wide variety of metal projects. Featured projects include a coffee table, magazine rack, wine rack, truck rack, firepit, and gate.”

“I was first approached by my publisher in the fall of 2016 about doing a book about welding, while I was teaching the subject at Dunwoody Institute,” Reeser said. “In all, the process from start to me approving the final copy took about eight months to complete.

“Since I already had a full-time job, it took up a lot of my free time. I had to work a lot of nights and weekends to make sure the book got done on time.”

In addition to all the text needed to complete the 200-plus page book, Reeser helped oversee the photography aspect of the book in which 80 photos were used throughout the pages.

“I’m in some of the photos and some of my students at Dunwoody were nice enough to help out as well,” he said. “The photography alone took the better part of 10 evenings and a couple weekends to complete.

“This was the first book I’ve written and, while the whole process was very time consuming, it was a lot of fun of which to be a part and also very challenging. It was well worth the time and it’s very cool to see the book once it came out in print.”

To check out Reeser’s book you can check out the Cool Springs Press’s link at

About the author

Michael Reeser, a native of Alabama, has had a long career teaching agriculture/FFA and career technical education courses here in Minnesota. He began his teaching career in 1996 at Brainerd High School and worked there until 2008 when he entered the private sector selling welding equipment as well as servicing that equipment and educating customers on how to use it.

He returned to teaching technical education classes in 2010 at Central Lakes College in Brainerd and remained there until 2014, when he took a job teaching welding at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis.

He began his teaching career at Saint Peter High School this school year, while his wife, Denise, teaches in the farm business management program at South Central College, North Mankato. The Reesers have three school-aged children, Shelby, MaryEmma, and Brooke, who attend New Prague Public Schools. 

SPHS announces 2018 ExCEL Award winners
Kurt Hildebrandt

Two members of the Saint Peter High School junior class, Signe Alger and Isaac Peterson, were recently announced as the winners of the school’s 2017-18 ExCEL Award.

Two members of the Saint Peter High School junior class, Signe Alger and Isaac Peterson, were recently announced as the winners of the school’s 2017-18 ExCEL Award.

The ExCEL (Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership) Award program recognizes Minnesota high school juniors who are active in school activities, who show leadership qualities, and who work voluntarily in their community. The award is sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League and Wells Fargo.

“Signe and Isaac are outstanding students to have been chosen as Saint Peter High School's ExCEL Award winners,” Saint Peter High School Principal Annette Engeldinger said. “ Both are dedicated, hard-working students who take their academics seriously and represent us well in their co-curricular activities. I have watched Signe battle her way back from injury to be able to compete at incredibly high levels. And I love that I can watch Isaac perform in the musical, play in the band, play piano, and compete on the fields and the court as a three-season athlete.”

Here are brief profiles of the two SPHS ExCEL winners:

Signe Alger

Alger, the daughter of Chelsea and Steve Alger, has balanced her schedule at SPHS with a wide range of academic, fine arts and athletic activities.

“Winning the Excel award was a big accomplishment for me,” Alger said. “Being in sports, keeping grades up, and being active in other school activities isn’t easy. It gets to be really busy, and stressful. But with a little hard work, it will pay off.

“To me, this award means that all the hard work I put in is worth it. I am very thankful for the great teachers and coaches that helped me achieve this award.”

A member of the National Honor Society since her sophomore year, Alger has also been involved with Project For Teens, served as an SPHS Ambassador, as well as serving an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Leadership Team.

Alger has also been very active in the arts earning multiple letters and awards for her participation in Concert Band, Jazz Band, Pep Band playing the saxophone, as well as in ensembles, where she has earned superior awards.

The junior standout has lettered five times in swimming, where she surpassed the 1,000-career point mark this past fall, as well as earning varsity letters in track and basketball.

Among her volunteer activities include serving as an usher, acolyte, reader, and communion server at her church as well as participating with elderly visits, food drive, blood drive and assisting with moving church members. Her other volunteer activities include working at youth basketball events.

Her future plans include attending college after her days at SPHS are complete and majoring in physical therapy. She also has an interest in swimming at the collegiate level.

Isaac Peterson

Peterson, the son of Kari and Paul Peterson, has kept busy during his time at SPHS with a variety of academic, athletic and arts activities as well as maintaining a strong sense of giving back to his community.

“Winning the ExCEL award means a lot to me,” Peterson said. “I know that it is a step to becoming a great leader and a better person overall. I hope I can represent SPHS well.”

Academically, Peterson has also been a member of the National Honor Society since his sophomore year and has been involved with the SPHS Student Council for three years. He also has been a participant in the SPHS Project For Teens and served as a Saints Ambassador.

The versatile junior has taken part in a wide variety of fine arts activities at SPHS including speech, playing percussion in the band (Concert Band, Marching Band and Pep Band), choir (Concert Choir, Men’s Choir, and Chamber Singers), fall musical (Footloose), and playing the piano throughout the years including earning state honors recital honors three straight years. He was a State Speech Tournament participant this past season and has also earned solo and ensemble superior ratings in choir.

Athletically, Peterson is a three-sport athlete who has earned two varsity letters in football and was on the Saints varsity baseball playoff roster this past spring. He also is on the varsity basketball team this winter.

His volunteer activities outside of school include serving with the city of St. Peter’s Volunteer in the Park (VIP) program, fundraising activities with the Autism Society of Minnesota’s Steps for Hope, playing with the community theatre pit orchestra and working with his church youth group and the youth mission trip.

Peterson plans on going to a four-year college after graduation from SPHS, but he is undecided on which school to attend at this time and he is undecided on a major.