Wellstone students take on roles as president, vice president for the day
Fifth-graders Amirah Strong and Pablo Salazar López became school leaders earlier this month at Wellstone Elementary when they took on roles as president and vice president as part of National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID).

“Building our dreams - building our future” was the theme of the day. Students wrote a short essay/paragraph on why education is important, and specifically why education is important for children of color. A NAAPID committee selected Amirah as president and Pablo as vice president for the day.

The program, which was a first at the school, was an extension of a year-round Wellstone Student Ambassadors program for fifth- and fourth-graders to develop leadership skills, community building and strong relationships among students. 

During the assembly, Amirah and Pablo greeted students and families in English and Spanish, participated in peer mediation, shared ideas, introduced their message during the NAAPID assembly and participated in other leadership opportunities. These are the messages they gave:

Amirah said “Education is the key for children of color to open many doors. It is a way to escape poverty, homelessness and other issues. Without education there is negative domino effect from generation to generation.

“To better teach children of color include their history, show them statistics, both good and bad. Provide materials related to their culture. Invite parents to the school more. Have parents share their testimonies, positive and negative. Invite role models of color to speak to encourage and bring hope. Our generation can do a lot more than the last generation.”

Pablo said: “Quiero pedirles que sigan apoyando e involucrándose en la educación de sus hijos. Porque la educación es muy importante para tener éxito en la vida.” (I want to ask you to continue to support and be involved in the education of your children ... because education is very important in order to have a successful life.)

Como student named 2015 National Merit Finalist
Ellen Purdy, a senior at Como Park Senior High School, has been named a 2015 National Merit Finalist by the National Merit Scholarship Program.

High school students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program, which is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships, by taking the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements. In February, some 15,000 semifinalists were named finalists.

All winners of Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from the finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. Starting in March and continuing to mid-June, the program selects approximately 7,600 finalists to receive a Merit Scholarship award.

Last school year, Purdy earned a top score of 36 on the ACT Test. She participated in a Q&A on SPPS.org after receiving the score.

Family Service Night at Horace Mann garners hundreds of donations
More than 200 people on Feb. 13 attended the Horace Mann School for Family Service Night 2015. The event showed students they could make a difference. Families and friends learned, worked and cared together to complete several service projects:

  • 100 bags of fun, comfort items for children in homeless shelters and crisis nurseries
  • 200 breakfast bags for families staying at a local Ronald McDonald House
  • Real rice donations earned by students at the freerice.com, a non-profit website that is owned by and supports the United Nations World Food Programme
  • Placemats, as well as Valentine’s decorations and cards, for residents of the Highland Chateau Health Care Center in Saint Paul
  • 130 dog toys, 50 cat toys and 25 fleece blankets for Safe Hands Animal Rescue, Secondhand Hounds, Good Karma Animal Rescue of Minnesota and People United with Pooches

Family Service Night would not have been possible without donations from local businesses and the tremendous volunteer support of the families and teachers who contributed their time, energy and enthusiasm to making the night a success.

Central's Symphonic Band and Orchestra perform for Minnesota Music Educators
Central High School’s Symphonic Band and Orchestra performed Feb. 12 at the 2015 Minnesota Music Educators Midwinter Clinic State Convention. Selection to the clinic is a competitive audition process and determined by a jury of music educators.

The Symphonic Band and Orchestra delivered a wonderful performance at the Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom for an audience of music educators and family and friends.

Hundreds help at Capitol Hill's 'Doing Good Together Event'
Students, parents and staff at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet School joined Feb. 12 to give back to the community during the school's annual "Doing Good Together" event.

Volunteers made sandwiches for the Dorothy Day Center. They scooped up rice and beans for a local food bank. They also made towel packages and toiletry kits for people in need.
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, participants made valentines for a local nursing home.

Hundreds of Capitol Hill students and parents took part in the effort to help many area organizations.