Catholic Schools Week: PA Celebrates Catholic Identity

Catholic Schools Week is an exciting time that many students and faculty look forward to. This year, it was held during the week of January 30th to February 3rd. 

Catholic Schools Week was filled with themed out-of-uniform days, an Upper School service day, and new this year, a CSW Party that ended the week. Although the festivities are wonderful, there is more to this week than just the fun dress up days and a break from the homework load. The main reason we celebrate Catholic Schools Week at PA is to celebrate our faith and appreciate our Catholic education. 

Libby Bruce, ‘24, reflected, “I like Catholic Schools week because it reminds me why we are at this school, and reminds us of our priorities in life.”

Upper School religion teacher, Mrs. Angela Jendro noted, “To me Catholic Schools Week means pausing to appreciate what a gift Catholic education is. We can get so busy with the work of school that we forget how blessed we are to learn, especially the things that matter the most.”

Rien Rose Lee, ’25, Bernadette von Dohlen, ’25, Keira Marshall, ’25, Delaney Flanigan, ’25, and Abbey Koch, ’25, enjoy their service day at Way Cool Cooking School.

On Wednesday, February 1st, Upper School students spent the morning participating in service activities before getting to enjoy a fun afternoon off campus. Students tied blankets, made sandwiches for those in need, and made Valentine cards for children in the hospital. The Lecture Hall and Atrium were filled with students enjoying time talking with their classmates and completing their service projects. Additionally, some students packed meals at Feed My Starving Children.

In the afternoon, students had the option of either going rock climbing, attending cooking school, bowling, Whirly Ball, or seeing the musical “Footloose” at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. At the end of the day, Upper School students returned to PA to watch the annual Junior boys vs Senior boys volleyball game. The result was an impressive win by the Seniors.

Chase Millerbernd, ’24, leads the Senior and Junior boys in prayer after the big Volleyball Powerpuff game.

Lily Regensburger ‘24 reflected, “Catholic Schools Week is a great source of community and I love the energy throughout the week.”

To conclude Catholic Schools Week, on Friday night, Providence Academy hosted the first ever CSW Party for the Upper School students. The night was filled with fun casino-style games, bingo, and prizes. It was a lively night, full of entertainment and laughter. 

Catholic Schools Week 2023 was a fantastic time and was a great reminder of how blessed we are to attend Providence Academy and receive a Catholic education. 

Father McClellan said, “Catholic School Week is a time for us to celebrate and have gratitude for the things that make Providence Academy what it is.” He added, “The goal of Catholic education is to pass on the best that we as a culture have to offer and draw out the best from each student. In both cases, that’s Jesus Christ. We are able to really do this at a Catholic school, and I’m grateful for that.”

PA Upper School One Act Team Takes Second in Sections

This January, the Upper School One Act team won Second Place with their show, “Rosie the Riveter ” at both the MSHSL One Act Sub-Sections and One Act Sections. Providence is in Section 4a, and competed against 28 other schools, including Heritage Christian Academy, North Lakes Academy, Parnassus Academy, Avail Academy, and Maranatha Academy. Section 4a is divided into four subsections, with one subsection competition hosted at Providence. At the subsection competition, each team performed their act anonymously in front of judges, who then scored each show. 

Putting together the One Act was tedious and required great effort from the cast and crew, but it paid off. Not only did the team place well, but they were able to advance to the Section contest on Saturday, February 4th, at Saint Paul Academy and Summit Schools. The Section contest consisted of the top two rated teams in each of the four subsections. There, the team took home Second Place.

The cast of “Rosie the Riveter”, written by Trey Clarkson, perform at their final dress rehearsal before the subsections competition.

The show was an exciting success and was well received by the audience. Aly Marshall, ‘23, enjoyed her main role as Rosie. She remarked, “I loved the entire cast in general, and my favorite part of the show is definitely the ending scene. Everyone really gets emotional during it and everyone feels that moment so fully as a cast. It’s just really special.”

Maria Dailey, ‘24, was also a member of the cast. She added, “My favorite part of the process as a whole was definitely performing at subsections and especially sections because we had such an enthusiastic audience. Within the show itself, my favorite part was the very last scene with Marjorie (Violet Van Gyzen) convincing Rosie (Aly Marshall) to keep going.”

Although the One Act team is sad to see the production come to an end, they are now working towards the next Providence Academy theatrical production, which will be the Spring musical, “The Music Man!”

Dr. Wilfred Reilly Visits for “Pancakes at Providence”

On Thursday, February 9, Dr. Wilfred Reilly, an author and professor of political science at Kentucky State University, visited Providence Academy for the return of the beloved “Pancakes at Providence” event. 

Dr. Wilfred Reilly speaks to students, faculty, parents, alumni, and other guests. PAW Photo Credit: Vivian Miller, ’23.

Headmaster, Dr. Todd Flanders explained, “Mrs. [Sarah] Hogan and I found Dr. Reilly through our affiliation with the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism.” Hogan and Flanders ultimately chose him to speak at Providence because of his interesting and engaging style. Additionally, Flanders hoped that students would learn to listen to different perspectives, and form opinions based on facts rather than emotion.

Dr. Reilly meets with journalism students, Anika Austvold, ’24, and Shannon Healy, ’26. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley

Reilly started the day meeting guests over pancakes in the Great Room. He then spoke to Upper School students and faculty, as well as parents, grandparents, and alumni about topics such as racism and COVID, and media exaggerations surrounding these topics.

His speech explained how people should use data rather than emotions when discussing these issues in our society, using empirical tests to support this.

“The way our media functions encourages false narratives,” Reilly explained, “…we need to speak the truth because the numbers impact how we treat these issues.”

To end his Providence visit, Reilly sat down for a pizza lunch with Upper School students, giving them the opportunity to further discuss the topics in his speech. “I am very glad that students had the opportunity to continue the conversation,” reflected Upper School Religion teacher, Mrs. Angela Jendro, who hosted the lunch. “I was really impressed with the students; they asked really terrific and thoughtful questions.”

Dr. Reilly has lunch with Upper School students in Mrs. Jendro’s room to further discuss the topics from his speech. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley

Reilly’s visit was a very thought-provoking revival to “Pancakes at Providence.” He hopes that PA students use the information from his speech to not, “be credulous…especially in the age of social media. If you hear something that sounds crazy, ask if it’s true and use your resources.”

PAW Feature: Chef Morris Whips Up Magic

One of the best aspects of Providence Academy is the lunches. From Greek Salad to Italian Dunkers, and even a soft-serve ice cream machine, every dish has its own appeal, and none of these would be possible without Chef Marshall Morris. 

This is Chef Morris’s 22nd year at Providence, but his dreams of being a chef extends farther back than that. 

“I have always loved food. Food brings people together,” he reflected. 

Before Providence, Chef Morris worked at Applebee’s as an assistant general manager. There, he worked with others to create the recipe for the fan-favorite Oriental Chicken Salad. He was there for nine years, then Morris worked for Radisson Blu. 

Students line up for one of Chef Morris’s creative, healthy and delicious lunches.

Chef Morris’s hard work in the kitchen does not go unnoticed. His meals make an impact on everyone who tries them. Delaney Flanigan, ‘25, says, “Morris’s lunches have brightened my days since kindergarten. I feel so lucky to come to school everyday and know that lunch will be delicious and healthy.” 

French Teacher Madame Anne Heitzmann added, “I have the utmost respect for Marshall. I’m always amazed at all the options he is able to put together.” 

Chef Morris is in charge of both the main line and the grill line, and he makes an array of different dishes. Some of the most popular include the Santa Fe Rice bowl, Crispy Orange Chicken, Buffalo Chicken basket, and Chicken Mini Tacos. 

Morris says, “My favorite food to make is the bowls. The bowls are very convenient for the staff and easy to serve. I love how everyone adores the bowls and it is fun to see how excited the students get.” 

Chef Morris’s work extends past just cooking the food for each day. He arrives at Providence at 5:45 am, and begins the day’s work. He starts by baking cookies and making the soups. He then makes the meals for the day and begins to supervise the other employees. Finally, after all the students have been fed, he goes back to his office, works on bills, and cleans up. 

Additionally, Chef Morris also creates the main line menu for the month. Many aspects go into the planning, like shopping for the groceries and scheduling the staff for the day. 

When planning the grill item, he tries to pair it with a mainline entrée to even out the wait times for students.

Explaining the most gratifying part of his job, he said, “The best thing as a chef is seeing empty plates. That’s how you know you’ve done your job.”

Students Gather Together in Thanks

It’s the holiday season once again, and as a result, Providence Academy Upper Schoolers put on their annual House Thanksgiving Feast. PA likes to focus on traditions that go back to our roots, and Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s celebrated by our ancestors. Even though most celebrate at home, the tradition is carried on at school as well, and coming together with different groups of people provides a way for students to bond.  

The House Thanksgiving Feast, a tradition put on by junior and senior House leaders, creates the perfect opportunity to socialize with new friends and to add something special to the week before students celebrate with their own families. During the House feast, each House is given the time to bond with members of their brother or sister house, and indulge in a variety of food. Some students bring pie, some bring candy, and there may even be a turkey! 

“The Thanksgiving Feast is all about getting together with our sister houses. This year we had some great food and great conversations,” reflected house leader Louis Wehmann, ‘24.  

Penbrooke Wiederholt, ’26, Fiona Foster, ’25, Ellie Gagerman, ’25, Mary Smyth, ’24, Lucy Fesenmaier, ’25, and Hope Counts, ’25, enjoy snacks at the House Feast.

Opening the door to a new group lets students chat with people whom they may not have met before. The mix of boys’ and girls’ houses added buzz to the hour. 

“This is my first Feast here and I’m a big fan, because there’s good food and good entertainment,” expressed Elizabeth Hughes, ‘26. 

This tradition is always a hit with the students and teachers. The teachers love to see the students interact and work together to provide a variety of foods. 

“When we do activities with the boys’ houses it’s so much fun for the kids because many of them are friends with each other. It’s nice to see how easily everyone gets along.”

“It was so fun that everyone wanted to hang out with everyone. A bunch of kids brought stuff, so we had a lot of options,” mentioned house leader Bree Ongoro, ‘23.

The House Thanksgiving Feast is a fan favorite among students and faculty alike. Everyone loves an excuse to eat food and have fun with new people!