Prom Dresses Wanted: PA Helps Make “Prom Possible” For Low-Income Students in Twin Cities

Prom Possible
College Possible students “shop” for Prom dresses donated through Prom Possible. Photo contributed by Sarah Martin.

At Providence Academy, prom is a fun way to dress up and make memories with friends before the end of the school year. But for College Possible students, prom means a lot more.

College Possible makes college possible for 10,000 low-income students in the Twin Cities. Guides coach high schoolers on their path to and through college, something that never seemed attainable for them before. Founded in 2000, College Possible wanted to ensure that every person has a chance to go to college. The program has expanded to 20 partner high schools, and an additional 20 high schools are on a waiting list.

College Possible recognizes that after working hard on college applications, essays, and scholarships, their students have earned the chance to have fun.

“Applying to college is expensive, so we want our students to save their hard earned money for college expenses,” Sarah Martin, Development Officer at College Possible Twin Cities, says. “Prom Possible is a way to save their money.”

And that is where Providence comes in.

It may be impossible for College Possible students to attend prom due to limited financial resources, so the organization accepts donations such as gently used prom-appropriate dresses, shoes, and purses. Middle school counselor Mrs. Emily Semsch has been collecting donated dresses in her office.

Martin says that they are are looking for any kind of dress, such as what you’ve worn to a wedding or a homecoming, short or long. 

On Saturday, April 5, Prom Possible will take place at College Possible Twin Cities, and students will be able to pick their dresses from a room while enjoying snacks and movies.

“We try to collect enough dresses to make it like a shopping experience,” Martin says. “It’s more special because they get to choose.”

Be a part of Prom Possible and bring in your gently used dress to Mrs. Semsch’s office by April 4. Your donation could make a difference in a Twin Cities student’s life.

“My senior prom will be perfect because of your generous donation,” College Possible student Chee V. says. “Thank you so much!”

For Marcus Beddor ’15, Jiu-Jitsu has given him a new perspective

Marcus Beddor '15 winning a match. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor
Marcus Beddor ’15 (right) winning a Jiu-Jitzu match. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor

Marcus Beddor ’15 started scoring boxing matches with his brother when he was in middle school.

Instead of boxing, though, the high school junior Jiu-Jitsu student training at M-Theory Martial Arts uses chokeholds and joint locks to defend against his assailants.

Training at his St. Louis Park based gym for three hours every evening, Beddor has dedicated the past three years of his life to a sport that he says has changed his life.

If you follow Beddor on any form of social media, you can see his sport requires him to travel the United States for various tournaments. Destinations have included Florida, Nevada, Wisconsin, California, and Illinois. He has won awards at almost every event.

Beddor is a dedicated Jiu-Jitsu student who is a three time gold medalist, five time silver medalist, and one time bronze medalist. The 135 pound Beddor says he once even took down a 256 pound assailant, which has given him a new sense of confidence.

Beddor says he enjoys using arm bars against his opponents.

“I hit them from different angles,” said the outgoing Beddor. “I slate their arm and hyperextend it slowly. You use your hips.”

Beddor recently switched gyms in order to train more heavily and compete at a higher level. He says that he has taken to his new teammates quickly and loves to learn from them.

“I’m on the bottom of the barrel,” Beddor said regarding his skill level compared to his teammates.

Although he makes sure to be careful when he competes, he has had one considerable injury while taking on an assailant. He fell on his thumb and he said he immediately knew it was torn.

“I finished my match, though,” Beddor said. “It was agony.”

He ended up tearing everything in his thumb, some in his hand, and some in his forearm. He took his cast off too early and it hasn’t healed properly, something he says that he just has to deal with.

Jiu-Jitsu is known for changing people’s lives, and it has done just that for Beddor.  He says that through experience and the art itself, he has learned to be humble as well as confident.

“You have to flow with the go, not go with the flow,” Beddor said. “Whatever life throws at you, take it, and then bend it to what you want it to be.”

Beddor posing with his trophy. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor
Beddor (right) posing with his trophy. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor

Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor
Beddor (middle) with teammates. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor
Beddor coming in third place. Photo contributed by Marcus Beddor
Beddor (left) coming in third place. Photo contributed by Marcus Beddor


Features: As MN Lawmakers Debate Tanning Ban for Minors, PA Students Weigh In on Tanning Myths

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Today, lawmakers in Minnesota are discussing a new bill that could limit who can use tanning beds. Also known as the “Tan Free Teens” Act, it proposes that you must be 18 years old or older to use a tanning bed. It may also require tanning companies to post warnings on each tanning bed that would say “Danger: Ultraviolet Radiation” and warn about overexposure. Five states have already banned anyone under 18 from using tanning beds: California, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Vermont.

Why are lawmakers proposing such a bill? Debunking the myths behind tanning may help you to understand why it may be limited for those under 18.

Myth #1: Tanning beds are safer than outdoor tanningThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that you can still get a burn from tanning indoors, and even a simple tan of any kind indicates damage to your skin.

“The one and only time I went tanning, I went in for seven minutes on a low setting, and to sum things up, I almost used a whole bottle of aloe afterwards,” Alexis Brown ’15 said. “My skin tone was the same as Elmo’s and it was excruciatingly painful.”

Dermatology Daily also suggests that tanning indoors may be more associated with melanoma than sunburns.

Colleen Irwin ’14 says that the issue hits home for her because her mother had her skin cancer removed recently that she got from too much exposure to UV rays.

Multiple studies have showed a relationship between UV exposure and a risk of skin cancer, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Myth #2: If you get a base tan before vacation then you are completely free from skin damage: You’re probably less likely to get burnt, but your skin is at the same risk.

Anna Clipperton ’14 thought that if she didn’t wear sunscreen on her first day in the British Virgin Islands, she would have a nice base tan for the rest of her trip. She found out how wrong she was the hard way.

“I had second degree burns and blisters on one side of my face and my back,” she said.

The World Health Organization says an indoor tan offers minimal protection against sunburn. In fact, you’re pretty much getting a head-start on your DNA damage before you go on vacation.

Myth #3: You can’t get sunburn on an overcast or cold day: Even on the cloudiest day, you should still apply sunscreen. Clouds only filter 20% of UV rays, which means 80% are still penetrating your skin. It is always best to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun, no matter what the weatherman says.

When Hanna Jennings ’15 was in Florida last Spring Break, she figured she would’t need to wear sunscreen because it was raining outside. She was painfully wrong.

“I ended up getting second degree burns all across both legs, my chest, face, and back,” she said. “I had to stay in bed two whole days, and my mom ended up having to soak towels in ice and wrap me in them to get the burn and fever to go down.”

Myth #4: Tanning is healthy because it protects the body from sunburn: Having a tan is like having SPF 4 sunscreen on. Keep in mind that SPF 15 is the recommended usage.

Katie Nickoloff ’14 is an experienced sunscreen applier.

“Anyone who is a daywalker like me just has to accept that they won’t get a tan unless it’s fake, and sunscreen is an absolute must,” Nickoloff said.

Whether you are indoors or outdoors, UV exposure over time causes wrinkles and a leathery look. Using a tanning bed induces a DNA skin mutation known to be linked with photo aging, according to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Eva Sullivan ’14 watched a dermatological surgeon remove a basal skin cancer spot from a woman’s forehead.

“That convinced me never to go in a tanning bed again and to be more adamant about using sunscreen,” she said. “I also realized I don’t want wrinkles when I’m thirty!”

In Aging Cell, they reported that UV radiation exposure from the sun sped up the accumulation of DNA skin mutations associated with premature aging.

Myth #5: Tanning is a great way to get vitamin D: The best way to get Vitamin D is through diet and supplements, not tanning. Exposing your skin to the sun for a maximum of 10 minutes a day without sunscreen is recommended by some experts as a way to produce enough Vitamin D, but others don’t agree that’s best. Even with sunscreen on, you can still produce some Vitamin D.

Anna Clipperton said that she thinks teenagers need to look to see how things like tanning can affect their future instead how things can benefit their present state.

“Know the difference between getting a healthy amount of natural sunlight and Vitamin D and getting fake, damaging UV rays,” she said.

Vitamin D replacement can be obtained by taking a supplement without risk to your skin. Dietary sources include milk, cereal, yogurt, and orange juice that are full of Vitamin D as well as salmon, mackerel, and tuna.

Next time you go to the beach for vacation, wear a floppy summer hat or stay in the shade, like Paige McAuliffe ’14 had to do when she got burnt so bad that her friend and she had to stay inside and ice their backs while they were in Italy.

Even better, embrace your natural complexion! If you insist on tanning, wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15 and avoid sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Be sure to also apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun and every two hours after while you are exposed.

Kate Pulles ’14 summed up the great tanning debate when she said, “I don’t think it’s worth sitting in a bed of radiation to look tan.”

Hanna Jennings '15 sunburned legs. Photo contributed by Hanna Jennings '15.
Hanna Jennings ’15 sunburned legs. Photo contributed by Hanna Jennings ’15.

Anna Clipperton '14 after her second degree burn. Photo contributed by Anna Clipperton '14.
Anna Clipperton ’14 after her second degree burn. Photo contributed by Anna Clipperton ’14.


UW Madison Bound: Choosing a Public University

Sporting UW Madison apparel, 1998. Photo contributed by Jeanie Geurink.

I started my college application process with one goal in mind: I was going to Boston College, no matter what. I had a great ACT score, a great GPA, I attended every admissions information session I could, I had a letter written on my behalf by a prestigious alumnus, I had visited twice, I applied early action, and I had coffee with an admissions representative. I wanted to become a BC Eagle desperately.

I sent in my enrollment deposit to the University of Wisconsin Madison on January 26.

Wait, what?

At first, when I was deferred into the regular pool of applicants at BC, tears were shed. I folded up my BC apparel and shoved it in the back of my drawers. The five other college acceptance letters hanging on my wall meant nothing to me. I basically took my deferral as a rejection. I was a Providence Academy student, surrounded by others my age applying to and getting accepted into highly ranked private universities, and I couldn’t compare.

Then, I realized something. I had previously thought that the prestige that comes with the name of a university automatically elevated my worth as a student at Providence. I had to look beyond the name and examine if the school really fit my needs. And, once I did that, I realized that University of Wisconsin Madison was where I would be happiest.

For McKenna Happke ’14, choosing the public North Dakota State University over the private Loyola University Chicago was an easy decision.

She said that she chose to attend a public school because she wanted to make choices herself regarding classes. Specifically, she didn’t want to be forced to take a religion class.

“I like the environment at public schools better than at private schools. People have more open views, and it’ll be cool to meet more people with wider views,” she said. “I’ll be able to defend my views like I have been taught to do at Providence.”

I do not mean to portray Ivey Leagues or private universities in a bad light. I know that they offer a stellar education, and the majority of people attending are very happy. I just know that personally, I belong at a public university.

UW Madison is where I have grown up because my grandparents live twenty minutes away and have immersed me in the Badger lifestyle since I was born. I’ve slept in the dorms, eaten in the cafeterias, sat in the classrooms, and cheered in the fan section at the football games. My father and my aunt attended, as well as my grandmother who also happened to teach classes there. There are 4,000 courses offered, honors programs, research opportunities, service projects, study abroad programs, 800 student organizations, Greek Life, and it’s all for an affordable price. I am so excited because I know that I will be able to explore boundless opportunities at a place not too far from home.

I know it’s cheesy to say, but I was born to go to Madison. Trying to force Boston College upon myself was only bringing unnecessary stress upon my life, and I now see that getting that deferral letter was a complete blessing. My happiness and excitement to go to college in the fall has skyrocketed since making my decision.

Abbey's first Badger game, 1996. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.
First Badger game, 1996. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.
Abbey and her mom at the WI Governor's Mansion, 1998. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.
With her mom at the WI Governor’s Mansion, 1998. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.
Abbey wearing WI Rose Bowl apparel, 1998. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.
Wearing WI Rose Bowl apparel, 1998. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.
Abbey cheerleading at Camp Randall Stadium, 2000. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.
Cheerleading at Camp Randall Stadium, 2000. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.
Abbey at Camp Randall Stadium with Lauren Perinovic '14, 2013. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.
With Lauren Perinovic ’14, 2013. Photo contributed by Abbey Geurink.

Arctic vortex extends Christmas Break, but not school year

Despite last week’s double school closure, there will likely be no extra days added on to the end of the school year.

“We don’t have a preexisting policy of when days off are going to require school year extension,” said Dr. Todd Flanders, headmaster. According to him, there are no plans in the works to extend the school year after two unplanned days off.

The decision to close school on Monday was due in part to Governor Mark Dayton’s pronouncement on Friday that all public schools would be cancelled. Dr. Flanders agreed that it was unsafe to have school with the cold weather.

After talking with Mr. Eric England, Coordinator of Transportation, and discussing the fact that many Providence families rely on Wayzata busing to get to and from school, Dr. Flanders decided to call off school.

“We found it entirely prudent to close on Monday,” Dr. Flanders said. “It was our own judgement.”

However, Flanders said he was skeptical when it came to canceling another consecutive day of school on Tuesday. Early on Monday, schools such as Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Minnehaha, Mounds Park, and Blake closed.

Flanders said that the decision was an uncomfortable one to make, but he ultimately decided to cancel a second day. He said he is not sure he would make the same decision again.

“Do you want to stand alone or do you want to agree with people?” he said on the issue of Tuesday’s closure.

He also said that with the low temperatures on Tuesday, the scheduled Open House for that day would have been poorly attended. It was in the school’s best interests to close for the second day in a row and reschedule the Open House.

Another difficult decision due to the closure dealt with the test schedule and forced teachers to either reschedule or cancel tests altogether. Because the two days off of school fell so close to first semester finals, the closing had a significant impact on classes.

“There’s no doubt that it’s an inconvenience,” said Dr. Flanders. “It’s a pain.”

Normally, teachers are not allowed to give assessments in the three class periods before finals, but due to the inclement weather Mr. Michael Tiffany, Academic Dean, decided to allow teachers to give tests through Friday of this week. With this exception in place, many teachers canceled or removed tests, lessened the number of review days they had previously planned for finals, or made other adjustments to their class schedules.

“I canceled two tests,” said Ms. Diane Hagner, an Upper School math teacher. “Instead, since the tests were already photocopied, I let the students take them home Wednesday night and practice the problems on their own.”

However, while tests and review days may have been affected, Upper School finals will not be impacted by the school’s closing.

“Finals are fairly fixed,” said Dr. Flanders.

Even with the inconvenience of the closure and the stress of rescheduling tests, students generally reacted well to the two-day extension of Christmas break. However, some voiced drawbacks to the days off.

“It made me not want to come back to school even more,” said Allie Wooden ‘14.

Nick Pruden ‘14, like Dr. Flanders, was skeptical that a second day off was necessary.

“Monday was a needed day off,” he said. “Tuesday, we could have had school.”

Dr. Flanders said that the student reaction had been generally favorable, while the parent reaction was “decidedly mixed.”

“But because the decision was so widespread, I have not really had any negative feedback,” he said.