Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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When East Ridge High School senior Junggu Lee started his senior year, his class ranking wasn't quite where he wanted it to be. Lee, of Cottage Grove, was ranked about 20. So Lee put his mind to it and eventually he was able to climb all the way up to be ranked the school's second highest student. His GPA is 4.28. "I was pretty pleased with my final ranking," Lee said. "I started pretty low, so I worked hard to move up.
It's been four years in the making but East Ridge High School senior, and top ranked student, Anushua Bhatteacharya will be taking the final walk of her high school career on June 3. "It's going to be a big change," she said. "But I'm looking forward to meeting new people." Bhatteacharya, of Woodbury, will graduate with a GPA of 4.42. Bhatteacharya said she watched her class ranking very closely since early on in high school she set a goal of being the best. "I made that goal to do as best as you can and reach for something high," she said.
Walking into the re-opened Selma's Ice Cream Parlour is like walking back in time. Becky and Paul Nickerson, of Houlton, Wis., opened Selma's on Friday after three years of the ice cream shop sitting vacant, but the restaurant has hardly aged a day. "We wanted it to look like the oldest ice cream parlor in Minnesota," Becky said.
High School proms have been an annual tradition for students for many decades. However, over the years prom has changed as societies have changed -- in fashion, in traditions and in location. Here, local high school teachers reflect on proms past. More memorable Back in 1974, prom was the social event of the year, said East Ridge High School science teacher Nancy Berg. She grew up in the small town of Platteville, Wis., and prom had a very different look and feel to what it is today.
To the surprise of many, including two council members, the Afton City Council this week voted to discontinue its contract with City Administrator Sara Irvine, effective immediately. During Tuesdsay's meeting, the Afton Personnel Committee, made up of council members Peg Nolz, Joe Richter and Mayor Pat Snyder, presented an agreement outlining the end Irvine's employment. The agreement passed with a 3-2 vote, with council members Bill Palmquist and Randy Nelson dissenting. Irvine did not comment during the meeting. The agreement, which was agreed upon by both Irvine and the Personnel Commit
District 833 students headed back to class Tuesday, facing the 2011-12 school year with new school leaders, programs and goals. "We're settling in," District 833 Superintendent Mark Porter said, "but we are still continuing to grow." District 833 will see an assortment of new faces at the district level and at the school level.
The Merrill Community Arts Center has undergone some major revisions. Rather than being entirely housed in an addition at East Ridge High School, the center will be divided between East Ridge and a space on Rivertown Drive. The initial vision, by Arts Connection, was to a build a $4.1 million community arts center, to be attached to East Ridge High School's Loft Stage.
East Ridge High School held its first-ever graduation Saturday in the school's gymnasium. The East Ridge senior class included 345 students. United States Sen. Amy Klobuchar served as a special guest speaker during the graduation ceremony. "You leave here with everything you need to have an extraordinary life," Klobuchar said during her speech. "They have put the world in the palm of your hand." Another special guest during Saturday's graduation ceremony was a red tailed hawk, a physical representation of the school's mascot, from the University of Minnesota Raptor Center.
At the start of his high school career, East Ridge High School senior Thomas Bearrood made a goal for himself to do his best. Bearrood's hard work has paid off. His 4.28 GPA has earned him the title of East Ridge High School's 2011 salutatorian, the second-ranked student. "I just wanted to get as good of grades as I possibly could," he said. "I guess it worked out. I didn't ever feel like I'm competing because I just wanted to do the very best I could." Bearrood will next attend St. Olaf College to study chemistry. "It's exciting to be able to start a new chapter in my life," he said.
All year long, East Ridge High School senior Lisa Fan knew she was at the top of her class. Each grade report included her rank. So when Fan, who has a GPA of 4.377, was officially named the 2011 East Ridge High School Valedictorian - making her the school's top student - it wasn't much of a surprise, she said. But it was still exciting. "It's pretty awesome to be the first valedictorian," she said. Fan will be attending the University of Chicago next year to study economics.