• ThuNov26 NO SCHOOL - Tiger Club closed Thanksgiving Holiday
    • FriNov27 NO SCHOOL - Tiger Club closed Thanksgiving Holiday
    • ThuDec03 Hayes Math Night 6:00 PM to 7:30 PMHayes Elementary School
    • FriDec04 Early Childhood Screening Fridley Community Center


Fridley Middle School held its 30th annual Veterans Day Program on November 11, 2015. The program was created to celebrate and commemorate the men and women past and present who serve in the military.

This year’s guest speakers were former Fridley resident and veteran Stan Kowalski, an 89-year old WWII veteran who in his speech said that “caring will be the only future the human race has, and kids are living messages we sent to a future we will never see … America is free because we helped do what was needed to make that happen.”

Army Capt. Michael Griffis, the other guest speaker stated about his current service “through my time in the military, I have internalized the importance of discipline, honor and integrity. I live a life committed to helping others and selfless service.”

Student speakers included 8th graders Chloe Cantlon, who honored her great-grandfather, Sgt. Ernest Carlsrud; Ruby Richard, who introduced her grandpa, Vietnam veteran Navy Seaman Mike Richard (in attendance); and McKenzie Swartz-Porath, who talked about her neighbor, Sgt. Matthew Birr. Birr was a fifth grade student at Fridley Middle School when the September 11, 2001 terror attacks occurred.

Prior to 9/11, not many schools commemorated Veterans Day beyond a mere mention, according to Principal and 12-year military veteran Matthew Boucher.  “The events of 9/11 really brought to light the value of service.  Up until then, people recognized a person had served in the military, but it wasn’t truly viewed as ‘service.’”

The program concluded by the retiring of the colors performed by VFW Post 363 Color Guard Bob Dykof (Desert Storm veteran), George Arnold (Korean War veteran), Randy Byrne (Auxiliary) and Jesse Rundle (Auxiliary). Veterans present and their families and guests were treated to a light reception afterwards.


(Left photo: The Gilreath family proudly witnesses Suzanne signing her letter of intent which commits her to play basketball for the UW Madison Badgers. (Standing l-r:) dad David Gilreath Sr., brother David Gilreath Jr. who is a member of the Seattle Seahawks football team, Suzette Gilreath, Suzanne’s twin sister, older sister Davenna Gilreath, and mom Susie Gilreath.)

(Right photo: Gilreath (seated), l-r: Jolene Blood, assistant coach; Erick Redepenning, head girls basketball coach; and Jim Miller, assistant coach.)

Surrounded by her parents, David Gilreath Sr. and Susie Gilreath, and siblings, David Gilreath Jr., Davenna Gilreath and Suzette Gilreath, Fridley High School senior Suzanne Gilreath singed a letter of intent committing to University of Wisconsin Madison. Gilreath, a star basketball player for the Fridley Lady Tigers team, will join the Badgers team in the fall of 2016.

Gilreath has been a 4-year starter and Fridley High School’s all-time leading scorer. She set the Minnesota State High School record for 3 pointers made in a season.

Fridley Athletics Director Dan Roff congratulated her and her parents on her accomplishments, noting that Suzanne’s hard work was not just limited to the basketball court but in academics where she has also excelled. “Suzanne is a great role model for kids,” said Roff.

Gilreath was the Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minnesota Sports Radio Network Athlete of the Week in 2014. Her back-to-back 30-point games led the Lady Tigers to a two season opener victory in 2014.

“I have no doubt that Suzanne will continue to have success both at the University of Wisconsin and throughout her life. She is a hard and an outstanding young adult,” said Fridley girls basketball coach Erick Redepenning.



Fridley High School Principal Renee Van Gorp announced that Parker Brady (above left) and Erin Larson (above right) have been named Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.  A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented by the principal to these scholastically talented seniors.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.  Although they will not continue in the 2016 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2016 competition by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” a spokesperson for NMSC said.  “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.  We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”


October was College Knowledge Month, and Fridley High School Dean of the Class of 2016 Carrie Wrona made sure every senior knew about it.

“Around 90% of our seniors filled out applications. At the beginning of the month, I went into their English classes and talked about different ways of exploring for colleges, how to start that process and then letting them know I was going to come back and help them do their actual applications. It started with giving them websites they could look at and do their research and then, finally, three weeks later, apply,” she said.

The benefit of taking part in College Application Week is the application fee being waived for MnSCU schools, most private schools (Macalester, Hamline, Gustavus, St. John’s), and all community colleges.

Most students thus far are planning on staying in Minnesota, though about 10% indicated to Wrona they wanted to attend school elsewhere, including as close as North Dakota and as far as California.

Does Wrona see any trends between four-year universities and technical schools? “I still see four year. Some students are realistic and some are not at this point. The majority are still signing up for four-year colleges. I did have a good amount apply to Anoka Ramsey, MCTC, and Hennepin Tech.”

When asked how much of an issue financial aid is to making a decision, Wrona said, “It’s huge. They are really concerned. ‘What is the cost? Can I afford this? Will I be able to get scholarships?’ Some of the students have already looked into how many merit scholarships are out there. ‘I don’t want to have too many loans. I’m not taking out loans.’”

Senior Luca Patrick Vescio Schreiner, who applied at St. Cloud Tech for its automotive services program, agreed. “Definitely. The cost is important, and the location.”

Wrona added that “A lot of scholarships are out there if they’re looking. Our kids, a lot of them economically are disadvantaged. So scholarships would help their college tuition if they can get those or grants from the state. The students might as well apply and see what financial package they can get from the college and then make a good decision. Just looking at the sticker isn’t always right.”

Senior Annika Paulson had additional criteria for her decision, including size of the campus. “I’d like it to be more medium – not too big. One of my problems with the U of M is that it’s so big. But my top criterion is the major programs they have. I want to go into psychology, so if they have a good psychology major, that’s a good thing. And also a good music program, because I want to double major in music.”

Degree programs were also a consideration for Aaron Neumeister. “My top school right now is North Park University in Chicago. My second is Hamline. They both offer non-profit management, and also they have political science, which I want to minor in.”

Next year, according to Wrona, Jim Cummings, the Dean for the Class of 2017, will be meeting with those students to start the same process. As for what students can do in the meantime? “We’d like the kids to be more present with where their GPAs are, how many credits they have and who can you reference so that’s it’s easier to build that application when they go through and have those questions answered.”

Vescio Shreiner feels College Application Week is valuable. “It’s definitely helped spread awareness. I would’ve definitely applied, but it would’ve been later on. I would’ve had to pay; I wouldn’t be here for the free application that they had.”

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