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Members of Fridley High School’s (FHS) African American Student Union (AASU) represented the Fridley district at the 5th annual Cities United Black History Month Event held February 7, 2020 at North Hennepin Community College. This year, the Fridley delegation was the sole student group chosen to conduct its own breakout session.
FHS AASU leaders Bryant Howard, Colee Nolen, Meadow Gillispie, Eugenea Hawkins and Jet Thammavongsa presented Connecting Cultures Through Diversity in two separate sessions. The students talked about ways that Fridley’s group is promoting cultural awareness and engaging with the student body to learn about each other’s cultures. They also led a discussion on how to cultivate a youth leadership culture by posing the question ‘If you could do anything without fear of failure, what would it be?’
Nolen shared how she is a student representative on the Fridley School Board, and the platform it provides. “I want to make sure everyone’s voice is heard,” she said. “I want to make sure everyone is included within my school.”
All Fridley students are welcome to join AASU, regardless of ethnicity or cultural background.
“As a club, we all come together from different backgrounds and contribute, so this is not a one person does it all club,” said Gillispie. It’s valuable to have different viewpoints so when you collaborate, we can share ideas, compare perspectives, and learn from each other.”
District Equity and Inclusion Specialist and AASU advisor Aloda Sims was proud of the amount of positive feedback the team received from its peers. “One of the main goals for the group is to provide opportunities for our students to use their voices and grow as leaders,” Sims said. “When things arise in their communities that they are passionate about, they are equipped with the tools to speak up, celebrate who they are, as well as collaborate.”
The Brooklyn Park Cities United program connects students and leaders from throughout the Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD) member districts: Anoka-Hennepin, Brooklyn Center, Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose, Elk River-Otsego-Rogers-Zimmerman, Osseo, Rockford, and Fridley. The annual event is sponsored by several organizations, including the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, the City of Brooklyn Park, Hennepin County and the NWSISD.
Congratulations to the 18 Fridley High School (FHS) students who were selected to participate in the Tri-Metro Conference Fine Arts Festival on January 27, 2020, hosted at Fridley High School.
This fine arts festival is held to honor high achieving student artists. Students participating in the festival joined fellow top musicians from Tri-Metro schools at a day-long clinic with high caliber music conductors.
The other schools in the Tri-Metro Conference are; Academy of Holy Angels, Brooklyn Center, Columbia Heights, Concordia Academy, DeLaSalle, Visitation School, St. Agnes, St. Anthony Village, and St. Croix Lutheran Academy. By working alongside their peers from the other schools, Fridley student musicians were able to enjoy a day of learning from each other and camaraderie.
“This is a great opportunity for our students to advance their skills and techniques, as they are learning more challenging types of music,” said FHS band director Becca Shuman. “Students also get to work with some of the best band conductors in the state, who give them a new perspective on music and hold them to very high standards.”
The event culminated with an evening concert in the Fridley district auditorium. Congratulations to our students who participated!
o Grace Brant, grade 11, flute
o Elliot Carlson, grade 12, French horn
o Ellen Delp, grade 11, flute
o Tyler Herder, grade 11, clarinet
o Adam Johnson, grade 12, tenor saxophone
o Liz LeTourneau, grade 11, flute
o Anna Meisner, grade 10, piano
o Andy Ramirez, grade 10, percussion
o Michael Ude, grade 11, flute and piccolo
o Cameron Willcox, grade 11, baritone
o Cassady Callahan, grade 11, soprano
o Camryn Fagan, grade 12, soprano
o Cassidy Rettke, grade 11, alto
o Ashley Zamora, grade 12, alto
o Ryken Farr, grade 10, tenor
o Josh Hoy, grade 11, tenor
o Soren Prose, grade 11, bass
o Andy Stevenson, grade 10, bass
The Fridley Schools Foundation hosted its third annual Black & Gold Gala on January 30, 2020 at Jax Café in Minneapolis. For over 20 years, the Foundation has been enriching educational opportunities for Fridley Public School students and supporting their higher academic aspirations as they build their individual roads to success. More than 150 community and staff members attended the fundraising event, participating in silent and live auctions and donating to support the mission of the foundation.
As the Foundation’s largest fundraising event of the year, the gala plays an essential role in raising money to support educator grants and student scholarships for graduating seniors. This year, over $30,000 was raised to enhance opportunities for district students.
“This year’s Black & Gold Gala exceeded our expectations,” said Foundation President Renee VanGorp. “We are so grateful to have raised a record-breaking amount at the event, which was evident with all the energy and Tiger Pride that filled the room throughout the evening.”
VanGorp added that she appreciates all Fridley alumni, current and retired staff, community members and sponsors who attended the event.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the partnerships with community organizations, as well as the individuals who are passionate in helping support our mission,” she said. “It’s amazing to see how connected everyone is to Fridley Public Schools. They are the key to our success and we are so thankful for their support.”
Bob Barnette honored with Golden Apple Award
This year, retired longtime Fridley Public Schools staff member and Fridley council member Bob Barnette was recognized at the gala with the Golden Apple Award. The award is given to a member of the Fridley Public Schools community who has made a significant impact for the Foundation.
Bob Barnette served as a teacher and counselor in the Fridley school district from 1958 until his retirement in 1996. Notably, Barnette is credited for creating the district’s scholarship program, FridFans. The formation of the Fridley Schools Foundation became a vehicle to host the funds raised. Barnette served as the chair of the Foundation, and has been a board member since its inception in 1999.
In addition to his work in the school district and Foundation, Barnette served on the Fridley City Council for 32 years, retiring in 2019. He continues to serve the district, assisting the Activities and Athletics department with many athletic events.
“We are proud to award Bob Barnette with the Golden Apple this year,” said VanGorp. “He is an inspiring icon, mentor and friend in the Fridley community and we congratulate him on his lifetime of service.”
Click to view the event photo album
The Fridley Schools Foundation would like to thank event sponsors ATS&R, architecture and engineering firm, as well as the Fridley Lions Club, a local organization that also supports Fridley Public Schools through scholarships, district events, and more.
About the Fridley Schools Foundation
The Fridley Schools Foundation is an independent nonprofit that supports the mission of Fridley Public Schools by providing enriching educational opportunities throughout the school district. Please visit www.fridleyschoolsfoundation.org to learn more.
Fridley Middle School 8th grade students were excited to explore Fridley High School on February 6, 2020 through a mentorship opportunity hosted by the high school’s fantastic Link Crew Leaders!
The Link Crew is a mentorship program made up of juniors and seniors who facilitate group activities and discussions for 9th grade students throughout the entire school year. They also host Orientation Day for freshmen when students return to school in the fall. As a tight-knit school community, Link Crew Leaders are mentors and friends to underclassmen. They help ease the middle-school-to-high-school transition by connecting students to clubs, organizations, and sports; introducing them to staff members or elective opportunities; offering words of advice; and being a familiar friend that students can connect with during their first year in high school.
Following the presentation, a question and answer session, and tour of the high school, all students enjoyed a dance party on the district auditorium stage!