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Congratulations to the Fridley High School One Act team, whose competitive production of Radium Girls was selected to advance to the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) 4AA Section Tournament! Students performed at the Subsection Competition at Stillwater High School on January 23, 2020.
A performance lasting no longer than 35 minutes, One Act plays are critiqued by a panel of judges. Categories critiqued include physical characterizations, vocal characterizations, technical elements, educational value and overall effectiveness of ensemble.
“Our Fridley One Act Team worked very hard and presented a great performance against a very competitive section,” said Auditorium and Events Coordinator Dan Wold. “We are looking forward to another fine performance on Thursday.”
The team will compete against five high schools at the regional 4AA Section Tournament on Thursday, January 30 at Hill-Murray School in Maplewood. One winner from the tournament will advance to the State Competition to be held on February 7 at St. Catherine University’s O’Shaughnessy auditorium.
Congratulations to our students! One Act team members include: Mykell Engel, Emily Hill, Ruby Richard, Lulu Schirmacher, Liz LeTourneau, Savanna Ayers, Aidan Salo, Ryken Farr, Cassady Callahan, Kaylee Sharpe, Andy Stevenson, Amalia Gonzalez, Nick Richard, Andrew Hill, Ashlee Sharpe, Kennedy Massicotte, Cohen Kappernman, and Gavin Bardenpratt.
(Photos taken by Tim Leistikow)
At Fridley Middle School (FMS), students are participating in an opportunity to foster an inclusive and positive environment for all. Since the 2018-19 school year, FMS became a Unified Champion School, an initiative created by the Special Olympics. The program promotes social inclusion through intentionally-planned and implemented activities, such as unified classes, school-wide engagement opportunities, and youth leadership opportunities.
Many middle school students are embracing this initiative by participating in Unified WIN class. WIN, which stands for “What I Need,” is a dedicated, self-directed enrichment time for 7th and 8th grade students who make a weekly choice of activity they wish to participate in. The Unified class features a 1:1 ratio of students with and without a disability.
“Unified WIN creates an environment where everyone is an equal, rather than a mentorship opportunity,” said FMS Special Education teacher Jessica Mularie. “In Unified WIN, we have our students pick their own weekly activities so they have ownership of what they are doing.”
According to Mularie, the main purpose of this is to encourage community and relationship building. During the class, students play a variety of games, participate in guided conversations, and enjoy activities that allow them to build meaningful friendships with one another.
“I love how this class brings everyone together,” said 8th grader Brooklyn Dahms. “We do a lot of cooking, coloring, and other activities to get our brains working - and we do all of it together as a community. It’s a great opportunity to work with others, embrace our differences, and build a positive mindset.”
According to 8th grader Sam Gemlo, the best part is having the opportunity to spend time with his younger brother. “I get to hang out with him at school and meet all his friends,” said Gemlo. “I get to see what a typical day looks like for him, and it means a lot to me. I like working with everyone and being with so many great people in one place.”
As a Unified Champion School, it was important to the FMS team to implement a meaningful and intentional unified program.
“When we started the discussion in our school district last year, we talked a lot about our ‘why,’” said Mularie. “In general, middle school is a time when kids are starting to hang out with friends outside of a school environment more often.”
Although, Mularie added, it can be difficult for some students if they lack valuable opportunities to form relationships.
“Unified WIN is a structured time where our students can build the foundations for those meaningful relationships,” she said. “For some of our students, this is one of the few times they are with their same-aged peers without an adult next to them. It means a lot to our students to have the opportunity to form these connections and true friendships.”
In November, students had the opportunity to participate in Unified Night Out (UNO), which was hosted by Special Olympics Minnesota at Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. Several FMS students attended the optional field trip, which was held on a Sunday evening.
“Our students showed up for each other and really supported each other the entire night,” said Mularie. “It was like a huge birthday party with unified clubs throughout Minnesota. Our students had an absolute blast.”
Eighth grader Nadya Pugachova had recently joined the unified group, and said that she really enjoyed the entire experience. “It was so much fun because we were all close like a family,” said Pugachova. “We were all together like we’ve known each other for our whole lives. Being part of Unified WIN is definitely the highlight of my day.”
At the end of February, students will have another opportunity to attend the “Cool Schools Polar Plunge,” a Special Olympics Minnesota fundraiser, held at Lake Bde Mka Ska in Minneapolis.
Congratulations to Fridley Public Schools January 2020 Employee of the Month, Laura Hengen, a receptionist at Stevenson Elementary School. Laura, who retired in December 2019, served as the receptionist at Stevenson for ten years. The position was added in 2009, and she was the first to take the role, which she molded it into what it is today. Prior to her receptionist role, Laura served as a paraprofessional for a year and a half in kindergarten and in the lunchroom at Stevenson Elementary.
According to Stevenson Principal Daryl Vossler, Laura has been an amazing gatekeeper for the school.
“She has created strong relationships with families, and parents ask for her by name when they call the office,” said Vossler. “Laura consistently went above and beyond by giving courtesy reminders for multiple programs and worked tirelessly with transportation to make sure all our students would get home safe each night.”
Vossler said Laura’s experience gave her a unique ability to be proactive in problem-solving. “Her caring attitude and ‘what’s best for kids’ mindset made her such a valuable employee at Stevenson. We greatly valued her presence and we congratulate her on her next journey into retirement.”
Congratulations, Laura, on earning the honor of Employee of the Month, and on your retirement. Best wishes and thank you for your years of service!
Pictured above: Stevenson Principal Daryl Vossler and Laura Hengen
The Fridley High School Minnesota Honor Society (MHS) is hosting a Shoe Drive, collecting donations of gently worn, used and new shoes from January 16 to February 28.
“We are raising funds for our MHS organization by collecting shoes, but one of the reasons we wanted to host this shoe drive was to help global communities,” said MHS member Baobai Xiong.
The MHS students have partnered with micro-enterprise vendor organization Funds2Org. Shoes collected during the drive will be used to start and maintain micro-enterprises in developing nations. Funds2Orgs helps individuals to create, maintain and grow small businesses in developing countries where economic opportunity and jobs are limited. Proceeds from the sales of the shoes collected in shoe drive fundraisers are used to feed, clothe and house their families.
“One of the entrepreneurs in Haiti earned enough money to send her son to law school,” said Baobai. “We are inspired by that story and hope that we can help other families and make a global impact.”
The students’ fundraiser aims to collect a total of 2,500 pairs of shoes. Shoes can be donated in the Fridley High School main office or placed in the blue bin in the high school cafeteria.