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School briefs: Concert Choir earns overall 'excellent' rating in Hastings

The Park High School Concert Choir, under the direction of Christopher Russel, earned an overall "Excellent" rating at the Minnesota State High School League large group contest held March 11 at Hastings High School.

Members of the choir include Timothy Akhalu, Ashley Backer, Daryl Bondeson, Katie Bowman, Gina Capecchi, Fatima Gardenas-Rodriguez, Nina Climaco, Taryn Colemen, Justin Cooke, Melanie Currey, Kristina Dudley, Dominique Edwards, Brianna Erzar, Emily Forthun, Matthew Fretwell, Kathleen Fuenffinger, Patricia Gardner, Megan Gaynor, Gaoly Her, Bethany Hoppe, Ashley Jagush, Marielle Jilk,Clinton Jorissen, Jessica Kadlec, Nicole Kath, Holly Kleschold, Fuechee Kong, Hannah Kropp, Jessica Kuehl, Kayla Lawrence, Colin Lindstedt, Thomas Lovelace, Krystal McGovern, Karley Metzger, Breanna Nelson, Jennifr O'Kane, Whitney Olson, Holly Peper, Roseline Pierre, Jenny Schuhwerck, Patricia Scott, Kayleigh Spears, Billy Thao, Mandy Thomsen, Ashley Thurber, Melissa Ulrich, Veronica Van Pelt, Tegan Vorpagel, Benjamin Winlker, Hlee Xlong and Heather Zins.

The choir's next concert is Masterworks, at 7 p.m. Monday, March 24, at Park High School.

"Masterworks is a collaborative effort with Woodbury High School and the Community Orchestra Players, including our own Brian Vo," Russell said. "Masterworks is 19 years old this year, and is one of the highlights of our year, and one of the rare situations where Park and Woodbury high schools work together to produce something great.

"We look forward to using a student orchestra in the future, as well as the addition of a third high school music program to the event in coming years."

Park High School

Hagen is Park Athlete for Week of March 7

Senior Jordan Hagen was selected Park Athlete of the Week for March 7. He is a member of the school's swim team coached by Charlie Cauthorn.

Coach Cauthorn said, "Jordan continued to improve all season culminating in a Section 4AA diving championship and a 27th place finish at the Minnesota state meet.

"Jordan's leadership is exemplified by how strong the younger divers finished the season," Cauthorn said.

Hagen likes the challenge of swimming and diving. "Doing different dives, you have to be good at what you do," he said.

Hagen, who is motivated by wanting to be the best and get first at dual meets, tells younger athletes to "work hard at practice." He plans to study business administration at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Cottage Grove Rec

Offers two events

for spring break

During District 833 spring break, March 31 through April 4, the Cottage Grove Rec Department is offering a weeklong camp and one afternoon event for students.

The week-long program for students, kindergarten and older, will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 31 through Friday, April 4, at Highlands Park, Inwood Avenue and 70th Street.

The cost is $80 and includes indoor and outdoor games, arts and crafts projects and foosball. On Tuesday, students will have pizza and pop for lunch and on Thursday, everyone takes a trip to the Woodbury Movie Theater for a movie.

The second program is "Mulan's Magical World" from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 25 at Peter Thompson Park, off 65th Street on Highland Hills Blvd., Cottage Grove. Admission is $10. Children, ages 3 to 6, will meet Mulan characters, make a dragon craft and see an Asian fan dance. Parents are encouraged to bring a camera.

For details, call Cottage Grove Rec at (651) 458-3400.

Century College

Seeks nominations

The Century College Alumni Association is accepting nominations for its annual Outstanding Alum of the Year award, which will be presented at graduation, Friday, May 16.

For an application, go to the school's Web site at

For more details, call Nick Maras, executive director of the Century College Foundation at (651) 779-3338 or e-mail

Park High School marketing students

Four place near top at DECA competition

Four Park High School students were named in the top 12 in three categories at the recent statewide DECA competition held at the Minneapolis Hyatt Hotel in early March.

DECA is the international association of marketing students formerly called Distributive Education Clubs of America.

Winning students include: Brent Murray, named in the top eight in restaurant and food service management; Kevin Walker and Stephanie Melson, in the top 12 for Internet marketing plan; and Melson and Brett Weiss, in the top eight in service marketing plan.

DECA coach Linda Pederson said more than 1,700 students competed at the event including Park Principal Efe Agbamu's son, who is a member of a team from North St. Paul that took first place.

Early Childhood

Combined kid's

garage sale

District 833's Early Childhood Family Education and the School Readiness Advisory Council will host their 12th annual children's garage sale from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19, at Cottage Grove Junior High School, 9775 Indian Blvd., Cottage Grove.

Sale items will include children's clothing, sizes 0-14; maternity wear; books; baby and children's furniture; toys; and baby equipment. Admission is $1; no strollers will be allowed.

To participate in the sale, call (651) 768-5330 to purchase garage sale tags. The fee is $10 and tags can be picked up at any district ECFE office. The sale is a fundraiser for ECFE and School Readiness. These programs will receive 25 percent of total participant sales for the event.

Hope Christian Academy

Offers summer school

Hope Christian Academy, St. Paul Park, will offer summer school this year for both public and private school students.

The program -- for students in grades one through 12 -- is designed for those who need to make up credit, earn extra credit or want to participate in enrichment classes.

Two sessions will be offered: June 9 to July 3 and July 28 to Aug. 22. A $100 fee will be charged for registration and diagnostic testing. Each session costs $395. A session is based on 40 hours of study. All curriculum and teaching assumes a Biblical worldview. Each day runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Hope Christian Academy is located at 920 Holley Ave., Suite 2, St. Paul Park. For details, call (651) 459-6438.

Top school in kids' benefit

Cottage Grove Junior High School was named the top school participating in KS95's "Change for Kids" fundraiser for Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare and Children's Cancer Research Fund this year. CGJH students presented a check for $7,283 to the campaign during a 60-hour radiothon and live broadcast March 6 to 8, at Southdale Center. To celebrate the "top school" status, M&I Bank is hosting a pizza party for students from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the bank, 9935 Hudson Place, across from Sam's Club in Woodbury. Bank representatives plan to set up a money machine. All the cash a student can grab while in the machine will be donated to the school. The school will also receive the first place traveling trophy from KS95 and Gillette Children's Hospital.

Park High School speech team

3 qualify for semifinal

On Friday, March 14, Sarah Clark, Hannah Kropp, Justin Cooke, Tori Ruckle, and Beth Graves, all members of the Park High School speech team, traveled to Eastview High School to compete in the Central Minnesota Section National Forensics League qualifying meet.

Clark, an extemporaneous speaker, and dramatic duo Cooke and Ruckle all qualified for the semi-final round, held at Eagan High School on Saturday, said co-head coach Liesl Werner. Remaining members of the team competed at South St. Paul's annual Hilke Memorial Meet.

"Competition was high, with more than 25 schools competing, 65 contestants in the discussion category alone," Werner said. Results of the South St. Paul meet include:

n Third place -- Beth Graves, dramatic interpretation;

n Fourth place -- Michelle and Stephanie Davis, duo interpretation; and Megan Aubin, great speeches;

n Fifth place -- Team sweepstakes;

n Seventh place -- Tasha Lee, storytelling, and Tyler Jones, discussion;

n Eighth place -- Navita Lakhram, storytelling; and

n Honorable mention -- Molly Lease, storytelling, and Shane Penn, extemporaneous reading.

Cottage Grove Area

Chamber of Commerce

Three scholarships

available for seniors

The Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce will award three $500 scholarships to students who live in Cottage Grove, Newport or St. Paul Park or attend Park High School.

Applications are available in the school counselor's office, or online at Mail forms by April 18, to the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, Education Committee, P.O. Box 16, Cottage Grove, MN 55016. For details, call education committee chair Barb Brown, at (651) 458-6209.

Spring break at YMCA

On days when children are out of school, the Southeast Area YMCA in Woodbury offers a full-day program with indoor and outdoor activities, swimming, arts and crafts, games and snack.

School release days are open to kindergartners through fifth-grade students, Monday through Thursday, March 31 through Tuesday, April 4. Preregistration is required. School release days are open to the community. YMCA membership is not required. The fee is $35 per child per day. For details, call the YMCA at (651) 731-9507.

District 833

Screening for new kindergarteners

Children that will attend public kindergarten in School District 833 must complete an Early Childhood Screening, starting at age 3.

Letters have been mailed to families inviting them to sign up their children.

Families can sign up on the Internet. Go to

For those without Internet access, call Sheri Lindblom at (651) 458-6658 to schedule a time. Screening dates are April 7-8.

Century College

Expands global

studies opportunities

Century College, White Bear Lake, is expanding its global studies opportunities to include a new "learning abroad" trip to Nicaragua this summer, four new international courses set to start next fall and a student exchange program in Nicaragua planned for next winter.

The summer Nicaragua trip -- the first international trip organized by Century -- will include a three-credit course and service learning opportunity at an orphanage and school in Leon. The two-week trip is scheduled for May 19 to June 1, and will be led by two Century instructors, Kelly Wray and Carol Randall. The student cost, including tuition, airfare, hotel, ground transportation and some food, is about $2,200.

"Our goal is to prepare students to live and work in a global society," said Tracey Wyman, director of global studies and service learning at Century, and a Mahtomedi resident. "The expansion of learning abroad opportunities for Century students has been about three years in the making."

Spanish Prof. Kelly Wray said Nicaragua was chosen for Century's first service-learning abroad opportunity because it is one of the safest countries in Latin America, the people's need for assistance is great and Wray has contacts in the country who helped set up the program.

"Studying abroad is the type of education that changes your life," said Wray. "You learn so many things you never could learn without leaving the United States."

The four new courses that have been added to the 29 existing courses in the global studies curriculum are: Introduction to Humanities: A World View, An Introduction to African Literature, Middle Eastern Literature, and Introduction to Eastern Philosophy.

The learning-abroad trip planned for December 2008 to January 2009 over winter break will enable about 20 Century students to study Spanish in Nicaragua at a private language academy for three weeks. The Century students will be paired with Nicaraguan students and stay with them in their homes. In January, the Nicaraguan students will fly back with the Century students and stay in their homes while they study English at Century.

Century will hold a passport drive for students and the community from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, on the Main Commons, West Campus. For details, e-mail Wyman at Century College is located at 3300 Century Ave. N., White Bear Lake.

Elementary art exhibit

District 833 schools will celebrate "Youth Fine Arts Month" with an elementary art exhibit during March at the District Service Center, 7362 East Point Douglas Road, Cottage Grove.