Providence’s striking website redesign

The new design and color bring a more pleasing aesthetic and practical layout to the website.
The new design and color bring a more pleasing aesthetic and practical layout to the website.

“Out with the old, in with the new” as the saying goes.

This saying proves especially true this month, as Providence Academy’s website redesign just recently launched.  

As a part of the redesign process, most all of the school’s administrators played a significant role in designing the website. Mr. Cole Mathisen worked as the project manager of the redesign.

Everything present in the old site also carried to the new site. New aspects of the website include a new calendar, video channels and improved search engine. One of the most notable new features proves to be the new menu, which makes login to various PA sites easier and more accessible.

Sophomore Isabella Benson ‘18 particularly enjoys this new “mega-menu” feature. She states, “It’s probably my favorite feature of the whole redesign. Everything is so much more straightforward.”

Navigation in general remains an important aspect of the new website.

This is the picture that was present on the original website in 2000; it is interesting to see how much the website has changed.
This is the picture that was present on the original website in 2000; it is interesting to see how much the website has changed.

As Mr. Mathisen explained, “one of the overall goals of the update was to make navigation easier and reduce the number of clicks.”

However, another primary reason for the redesign was the previous website was not mobile friendly. Due to the sheer number of the website users accessing it from a phone or tablet, the need for a change became apparent.

Though the redesign undoubtedly surprised many, as the previous website had been the same since 2011, most agree on it as an overall good decision.

PA teacher Mr. Edward Hester likes the clarity, as well as the message given by the website.

“I like how you can see everything right away; it’s all very accessible,” Mr. Hester said. “I also like the opening image of Mary. I think it gives a clear indication of our Catholic faith here at Providence.”


Practice makes perfect: the choir receives superior ratings at competition

Providence Academy Chamber Choiredit (1)
The Providence Academy Chamber Choir. (Submitted Photo)

Choir constantly remains an influential part of everyday life here at Providence Academy.

The choir participates at Masses, concerts and holidays. It seems fair to say most everyone knows they sing well. But just how well?

This past February, the Academy Chorale and the Chamber choir participated in a sectional competition, both choirs receiving glowing reviews.

For the main choir competition, hosted by the Minnesota State High School League, the choir spent a lot of time preparing and practicing for it. This year, the choir competed in the MSHSL Large Ensemble Competition on Feb. 18.

In this competition, the choir sang two or three songs for a group of judges, who grade the choir on a 40 point scale. If the choir receives 35 points or higher, they receive a Superior Rating. PA’s Chamber Choir, Academy Chorale, Academy Men, and Academy Women all have competed and received Superior in the last few years.

During the competition, the choirs are recorded, and then have the recordings sent to the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA). Over the summer, a group of judges blindly review the submitted tapes and select the top choirs in the state. Though the MSHSL does not name official state winners, those selected technically “won” state.

The judges then notify the winning choirs following their decision in August. The MMEA invite the winners to prepare a 30-minute concert to perform in front of choir directors at the MMEA Midwinter Convention. This year, the convention took place in early February, and PA’s chamber choir was one of only five choirs invited.

Mr. Richard Carrillo, the upper school choir director, stated, “for me, my favorite part is working on the same program for most of the year and the bonding that happens when an ensemble is working together for such an intense and worthwhile goal. I am so incredibly proud of all their work and for being selected as an MMEA State Honor Choir.”

Groundhog Day

Traditionally celebrated on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day may seem like an odd holiday.

Regardless, watching a groundhog emerge from its burrow draws in a considerable number of people every year. Whether cute or strange, the unique holiday brings an interesting twist to the month of February.

In short, if the groundhog emerges and does not see its shadow, the spring will come early. If sunny, it will see its shadow, and the winter continues for six more weeks. Festivals held for Groundhog Day take place all over the country. Hundreds of towns host celebrations and fairs, each with their own groundhog.

Today, Punxsutawney, Pa. holds the biggest celebration of Groundhog Day. It includes the holiday’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. This tradition has gone for over 100 years, and draws lots of people every year.

Everyone has varying opinions on this tradition. Providence Academy teacher Mr. Kevin Keiser states he remains fairly neutral towards the holiday, but has driven past Punxsutawney.

PA student Grace Van Dellen ‘18 said, “I like Groundhog day, however it’s hard to have your hopes up for summer, and then have them crushed by a furry 12 pound critter who is given the task of predicting the next six weeks of weather patterns. I think it’s kinda weird we have a tradition of watching a small vermin pop out of the ground, but I can tell you I’d love to meet the person who came up with the idea.”

Others have more practical issues, such as sophomore Alexis Gerulis who asked, “why not a hedgehog? Why does it have to be a groundhog?”

Lucia Orlandi ‘18 said, “this is what happens when a country has too much time.”

Even though the attitudes towards Groundhog Day vary, nearly all agree winter will continue for six more weeks – this is Minnesota after all.

What’s on the grill: the daydreams of a PA student


Providence Academy morning announcements include birthdays, sports, clubs, colleges, and just as important, today’s lunch.

Following the first announcements, the classroom’s morning commotion quickly dies down to hear the lunches for the day. Although the announcements always include the main lunch, they usually omit the grill menu. Students start the day off with only half of an idea of what to get for lunch.

Mrs. Gregg, who sends the announcements out, explains the inconsistency, “because the grill menu is only up one week prior, if I want the lunches for the week I have to go down and get them. Sometimes I just don’t have the time.”

PA’s November lunch menu for the main line.
PA’s November lunch menu for the main line.

All lower school families receive the main line menu and the PA website also provides a copy accessible to everyone. Nevertheless, only the lunchroom posts the grill line and gives meals a mere week in advance.

Why do the two menus vary in so many ways?

Marshall Morris, the head chef at PA, does most of the planning and managing for both the grill and main line. He describes the differences of the menus as a result of the kitchen’s inventory. Because of the limited space, storage cannot hold a month’s worth of food for both the grill and the main line.

Mr. Morris orders the food for the main line two weeks before the lunch, whereas he can order food for the grill the day of.

The grill focuses on middle and upper schoolers, as well as faculty, and features more elaborate cuisine.

The main line offers more standard meals, particularly catering to lower schooler students.

Having a short menu for the grill allows for flexibility and changes in the menu if needed. Both lower school parents and students find it much easier to plan out meals ahead of time, so a monthly menu accompanies the main line.

Mr. Morris explains, “it’s meant to be simpler. If the kids are planning on having French toast on Thursday, we don’t want to change that on them.”

While students like Juliet While ‘18, have no objections to not knowing what the grill serves until their arrival at lunch, other students actually enjoy it.

Grace Van Dellen ‘18, likes the uncertainty of the grill line.

“I really like the mystery surrounding the grill line, although I guess this can turn out negative. On the other hand, it can really pick your day up when Santa Fe Rice Bowl is on the grill,” Van Dellen said.

The new NET team

The 2015-2016 PA NET team. Back row: ​Wyatt Overton, Jackie Minton, Noah Gilchrist, Katelynn McKeen Front row: Alexia Bustios, Liam Riley, Michele Volk, Dominic Schaefer (Photo courtesy of Net Ministries)
The 2015-2016 PA NET team. Back row: ​Wyatt Overton, Jackie Minton, Noah Gilchrist, Katelynn McKeen
Front row: Alexia Bustios, Liam Riley, Michele Volk, Dominic Schaefer
(Photo courtesy of Net Ministries)

As the summer season draws to a close, student life at Providence Academy picks up speed.

The month of October brings colder days, colored leaves and lots of school festivities.

Adding to the autumn excitement, PA’s 2015 NET team arrived in late September, bringing an important faith component to the busy season of fall. In short, NET Ministries is an organization dedicated to spreading the Gospel to young people as well as encouraging them to live for Christ.

NET was established here, in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, in 1981. PA is a unique component of NET as it is one of only a few schools to host a permanent team for the year.

PA’s 2015-2016 NET team is comprised of eight individuals all the way from Nevada to the United Kingdom. The NET Team arrived on Sept. 21, and was welcomed into the school with a decorated NET Room and an introduction in the gym.

Mr. Richard Carrillo, the NET supervisor here at PA said, “I love their Friday morning praise and worship with adoration. That is honestly one of my favorite things the NET team does every year.”

During the autumn season alone, NET hosts over 20 activities for the school including adoration, retreats, Lifeline, rosary and small group. However, everyone is encouraged to participate in NET activities year round.

“NET activities are a fun break from academics events,” Netter Dominic Schaefer said. “We’re really looking forward to getting to know everyone and becoming a part of the community.”

This year’s NET team is: Michele Volk (Team Leader)from Havertown Pennsylvania, Alexia Bustios from Las Vegas Nevada, Katelynn McKeen from Little Lake Michigan, Jacquelyn Minton from Arlington Texas, Liam Riley (Team Leader) from Dewsbury in the United Kingdom, Noah Gilchrist from Reynoldsburg Ohio, Wyatt Overton from Ault Colorado, and Dominic Schaefer from Victoria Texas.