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Keith Jacobus Viewpoint: Many impressive student accomplishments worth notice

As we contemplate spring and dream of warm summer days, we have been working through a number of difficult issues that impact our budget and future programming within the district. While our focus has been on these important decisions, we continue to see wonderful successes in our schools and with our students.

Our schools have worked to create welcoming learning environments. In every building that I visit, I am impressed with the care shown for our students. I am also impressed by the level of sophisticated thinking that our kids demonstrate in class on a regular basis. If you have not had a chance to visit a classroom recently, I would invite you to come and see our impressive students and what they do daily in our schools.

Sometimes in the middle of focusing on management issues, what is taking place in our classrooms can go unnoticed. As we begin wrapping up what has been a positive year for our students and staff, I want to take this opportunity to share some of the many impressive accomplishments that our students have achieved:

n Park High's One-Act Play, Antigone, won first place in the 3AA Section Finals and advanced to the State One Act Play Festival.

n East Ridge High senior Elizabeth Koprucki won the state title for Girl's Individual Alpine Skier at the 2013 State Alpine Ski Meet.

n East Ridge High's One-Act Play, The Big Meal, will represent Minnesota at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Neb., in June. Junior Katherine Spicuzza received a superior rating in the National Individual Events Showcase and earned an invitation to Lincoln for her solo musical performance.

nThe Park High Gymnastics Team took fourth place in the state tournament. Individual state honors went to Kasondra Tulloch and Sarah Shank.

n The Woodbury High Wrestling Team won the Section 4AAA Championship to advance to the state tournament. The team is the first from the school to advance to State. Wrestlers Justin Herold-Plakut and Ben Donnelly placed third and fourth respectively in the individual tournament.

n Crestview Elementary fifth-grader Samantha Field's script was featured on a children's television show that selects writing and illustrations by students and brings them to life using story theatre and puppetry.

n Woodbury Middle's Peter Blanchfield was named the Regional History Bee Champion and will compete in Atlanta this June.

n The Woodbury High Marching Band visited New York City over spring break to perform in the St. Patrick's Day parade.

n Lake Middle School student Amith Bhat placed third in the individual MathCounts State Competition and will be representing Minnesota at the National Competition in Washington, D.C. this May. The Lake MathCounts team also placed seventh in the team competition.

n Park High senior Michael Harrison was chosen as a finalist in the AVID National Speaker Contest. He will be a student speaker for the AVID Summer Institute this July in Indianapolis.

n Woodbury High senior Yemi Ajagbe was named the state champion in the Poetry Out Loud State Finals for the second consecutive year. She will compete in national competition in Washington, D.C., this spring.

n East Ridge High students Molly Hamer, Katie Thoreson and Joanna Przbyl, and Park High seniors Sarah Thayer and Andy Quast were selected for the Les Farrington Best 100 Juried Art Exhibition.

n The East Ridge High robotics team placed third out of 60 teams in the Northstar Regional Competition. In addition, the team received the Excellence in Engineering Award and will participate at the state competition in May.

This list could go on and on. As we continue to move further into the 21st century, the concerns facing us as a nation regarding how well our students will be prepared for the demands of this century may be answered right here in District 833. Many of our students are intensely focused on making a difference in the world.

My conversations with students have led me to believe that we have great thinkers within our system. We can be proud as our students graduate and go on to other pursuits, that they are well prepared for the problems they face as our future leaders. Thank you for your support at home and in the community for our students.