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!

Fall Coffee House Showcases Student Talent

Coffee House in the Providence Upper School gives students a nice chance to unwind and also express their talents. This fall, 11 acts performed for the fall Coffee House, from a rock and jazz band, to pianists, to singers, and even violinists. 

The performances were undoubtedly the highlight of the evening, however the performers’ sources of inspiration and the significance of their talents also made an impact on those in attendance. 

Tabitha Roles, ‘26, explained, “Music is fun for me, and it makes me proud to sing a song and share my gift with others at the Coffee House. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to.”  

Ruby Marcotte, ’26, and Elizabeth Maiser, ’26 perform on the piano and cello.

With many veteran performers off to bigger stages, fresh new talent from PA’s Freshman class had the opportunity to join the lineup. Axewell Nyabere, a rookie performer, gave a unique piano solo performance titled “Strangers’ Echoes.” 

Axewell reflected on preparing for his performance, “I was nervous, but also excited because I had a clear end goal in mind.” 

Others like Maria Dailey, were no stranger to the Great Room stage. Dailey, who participated in Coffee House last year,  sang “Shrike.”  “I really love to sing and I hope to spread the joy I feel when I perform with the people in the audience,” she expressed.

For many students, the Coffee House provided a great way for the community to come together and make them feel supported. Aidan Flynn, ‘24,  sang “Lean On Me.” 

Jacob Olson, ’25, impresses the crowd with his guitar playing and singing talents.

“Outside of playing in the jazz band, this was my first time performing at Coffee House. I enjoy the support from the PA community that comes with performing, and the experience has helped me by giving me an opportunity to show friends and family something that I’m passionate about,” he noted.  

Nathan Ward, ‘24,  performed a piano solo entitled “Praise The Lord.” 

Ward said,  “I enjoyed the opportunity to perform for the Providence Academy community, and to have the opportunity to see and hear the talents of my peers.  There are so many talented people within our school, and Coffee House really provides a great way for us as a community to come together through music, as well as for us as students to support each other.”

PA Celebrates its Annual Fall Fun Fair

From the Cake Walk to raffle prizes, Providence Academy hosted its annual Fall Fun Fair, for the 15th year in a row, on November 12. The fair spreads across three gyms and the Great Room, with quick-playing games and opportunities for Lower Schoolers to win toys, candy, and other treats. Even though the fair was created with the Lower School students in mind, it truly brings the entire PA community together. 

Memphis Senenfelder, ’31, William Le, ’31, and Osiris Goldberg, ’32, racking up prizes at the Fall Fun Fair.

Lower Schoolers, especially, enjoy everything about this popular school event. AJ Daniels, ‘32, expressed, “I really like the grab bags because I get to win candy, tickets, and stuffed animals.”  

Victoria McGregor, ‘30, added, “I love the cakewalk because I get to win cakes for my dad.” 

There is truly something for everyone in the community, as the middle school and upper school students get the chance to volunteer and interact with younger students. 

John Cummins, ‘22, noted, “The Fall Fun Fair allows me to be involved with the lower school students and it’s also a great way to get service hours.” 

Katherine Stephenson, ’28, helps Lower Schoolers play a racing game, and hands out prizes.

PA parents also love the fair.  Lower School parent of two, Laura Lowe, commented, “The fair brings the kids and the parents together, with opportunities to meet other parents and get to know one another.” 

While lower school students ran from station to station, arms full of prizes and deciding where to go next, parents took an opportunity to stay in one place and volunteer at specific stations. 

Parents and students gather in the Great Room for concessions and conversation.

With involvement from all grade levels, this beloved event is something the whole community looks forward to each and every year. Savannah Wesman, ‘30, exclaimed, “The Fall Fun Fair is so fun because I get to be with all my friends and win prizes.” 

Girls’ Soccer Makes School History, Goes to State

Going to State is something every athlete dreams of in their high school career.  Coming into the 2022 season, the Providence Academy girls soccer team set out to beat last year’s record of 1-14-1. However, following a 6-0 win against Rockford in the first game of the season, they knew that they could make it all the way to State. 

The team breezed through the regular season with a record of 13-3-0, becoming the number 1 seed for the Section 6A tournament. 

When asked how they felt going into sections, Maddyn Greenway, ‘26, said, “I feel that we came in confident and that we played how a number 1 seed team should play.” 

The Lady Lions first beat Rockford 9-0 in the Quarterfinal, then came out over Watertown-Mayer 5-3 in the semifinals, and finally defeated Southwest Christian 3-0 in the Section Final with goals from Avery Lampe, ‘24, Lydia Grajczyk, ‘26, and Greenway. 

Section 6A win against Southwest Christian, 3-0. PAW Photo Credit: Alan Lampe

On Wednesday, October 26, the team traveled to Monticello High School, a neutral site, to play against St. Cloud Cathedral in the State Quarterfinal. They defeated St. Cloud 6-1, with three goals coming from Lampe and the other three coming from Greenway, all scored in the first half. 

Then on Wednesday, November 2, the team had the opportunity to go to U.S. Bank Stadium where they played St. Anthony in the State Semifinals. After two goals from Greenway and a late goal from Elizabeth Hughes, ‘26, the team sadly  was not able to bring the game back, and lost 3-4. 

Greenway noted, “The nerves got to us, but we eventually settled in and dominated the field, even with the unfortunate result.”   

On Thursday, November 3rd, the team traveled to West St. Paul where they played Breck for third place. The score was 0-0 in the first half, however Kira Cmiel, ‘23, put Providence in the lead after scoring in the second half. At 78 minutes, Breck scored a goal, tying up the game.  

The team ended the game with a 1-1 tie against Breck, giving them a shared 3rd Place finish in State. Their 17-4-1 record for the season has become the best in the program’s 19 year history.  Along with this, the team experienced many firsts; becoming the first team in school history to be the number 1 seed in sections, going to the Section Final, winning Sections, going to State, and placing third. 

Shannon Healy, ‘26, Bridget Healy, ‘23, Kira Cmiel, ‘23, Avery Lampe, ‘24, Gabby Hankel, ‘24, Ceci Carron, ’26, Ella Vincent, ‘25, Ava Schroepfer, ‘25, huddle against the cold in football sherpas at the section quarter final against Rockford High School. PAW Photo Credit: Rien Rose Lee

In addition, Tatum Janezich, ’25, and Greenway broke records in Minnesota history. Janezich made 31 assists this season, as opposed to the previous record of 27 assists. And Greenway’s 58 goals this season made her the second main scorer in state history. 

Even though the season didn’t finish the way they wanted it to, the team still accomplished much more than they set out to. As noted by captain Rylie Schoenfelder, ‘23, “The season went very well and we made a lot of improvements. We also had a lot of success on and off the field.”