Bagpipes, Haggis in PA Senior’s Future

by Gabrielle Benacka, PAW Writer

After watching an episode of The Simpsons and falling in love with the lovely redheaded Groundskeeper Willie, Senior Noah Schmidt knew that college meant time for a change up. “Groundskeeper Willie is my spirit animal, so I knew I had to go back to his roots–all the way to Scotland.” With that, Schmidt applied to St. Andrews in Scotland and got accepted.

Besides wanting to go to Scotland for some haggis, Schmidt loved the location–on an ocean and an hour from the Scottish Highlands–and wanted to study abroad. “After digging around, I found that St. Andrews has an awesome reputation being that it’s ranked third in the U.K.”. Being into rowing, it was huge that he would still be able to continue rowing at St. Andrews. “I would like to keep my physique as long as possible,” Schmidt said shyly.

Embracing his inner “ginger”, Schmidt is going to try to learn as much as possible about the culture. “I’m excited to meet kids from around the world who have backgrounds completely different from mine, and then learn to play the bagpipes.”  Of course, Schmidt will miss his family and being able to send unlimited texts, but other than that he is not too worried. “Groundskeeper Willie hasn’t steered me wrong yet, so hopefully this little move to Scotland pays off. Or else, I’m in for a long ride.” Willie said it best himself, “Willie hears ya, Willie don’t care.”


The Dryer’s Orphan Socks Get A New Purpose in Life

By Gabrielle Benacka, PAW Writer

Somewhere, perhaps an alternate universe or lost in the space-time continuum, are all those socks that went into the dryer and never came out.  Orphaned socks were once destined for the trash, but not any more.  These days, they adorn the feet of fashionistas in mismatched glory.

Teens everywhere are into the craze. Mismatched socks started became trend not too long ago. A quick Google turns up a sock drawer full of online stores offering unpaired hose at premium prices.  LittleMissMismatched, SockLady, AbsoluteSocks, and many others are standing by for your credit card number. Is the fad continuing to spread in order to make laundry easier for the lazy person, or is it really on purpose?



Providence Academy Junior Rae Spears is against the trend because she needs to keep her style lookin’ classy. “If I’m going golfing, I can’t wear a black sock and a navy sock. That’s just not okay,” Spears said disgustedly.

Some, on the other hand, wear mismatched socks to stand out. “I never follow the crowd,” Freshman Iz Benacka commented. Katie Stinchfield, Junior, has no problem whipping off her shoes and letting everyone stare in awe at the two different spunky socks on her feet. “I never not wear mismatched socks–except for school. So, therefore, I started the trend,” Stinchfield exclaimed.

Instead of you struggling to mix up your own socks at home, many new businesses selling mismatched socks have come to the market. In 2003, LittleMissMatched was brought up in the San Fran to encourage youngsters to be creative in their style. The company “goes to the extreme to cross match different packs.”

Another company, VS. Stuff, plans to launch a new line of children’s socks in the fall that will have unions of cats and dogs, and ladybugs and caterpillars. Think of any combination and VS. Stuff has really got the stuff.

Providence Academy teacher Mr. Ian Skemp offered his insight into this craziness. “People see it (mismatched socks) and LOVE it. It is a bold statement of rebellion against conformity.”

So, remember that how you dress your feet up may, or may not, express who you are. And don’t you wish you kept all those orphaned socks?

Does “American Sniper” Glorify Sin?


He released the trigger. There was no going back. Citizens surrounding the young man who was shot. What is it, however, that makes this killing just in war time? You may be wondering, what, in the first place, makes a just war?

From the Catholic perspective, war is used to promote peace. According to Matthew 26:52, “All that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” This means that all wars are unlawful. St Thomas makes a point in his Article 1: Whether it is always sinful to wage war by saying since war is contrary to peace, war is always a sin. However, St Thomas declares that a just war must have three components. First, a just, elected official must be the one to declare war. Second, a just cause is required to go to or declare war. Third, a good reason and a good goal are called for a war to be just. The advancement of good and avoidance of evil are essential goals.

In the recent movie, “The American Sniper”, a question arises of whether or not it portrays war, specifically the killing involved, as glamorous. “I disagree with the statement that it made killing seem glamorous, of course some people will find it amusing because it’s made to format into a movie. I saw it as a more eye opening experience because it is based on a true story. The story is not meant to be glamorous. I could call it patriotic or dramatic, but not glamorous,” Providence Academy junior Alex Witkowski commented.

Katie Stinchfield, another junior, offered her opinion; “I don’t think it showed killing or war to be glamorous. I think it showed the responsibility that was put on him. He had to decide whether or not someone was a threat and whether or not to kill the person to protect his fellow troops. We knew he was good and he felt like he had responsibility to be there doing what he was doing.”

As Chris Kyle says in the movie, “I was just protecting my guys, they were trying to kill our soldiers and I. I am willing to meet my Creator and answer for every shot that I took.” With that being said, in the 21st century sometimes we choose to see the glamour instead of the non-glistening reality. War is a serious matter and for it to be taken lightly is not the case. A just war is a war. The cruelties still follow, leaving glamour nowhere in sight.

A Teacher’s Dilemma: What to Do With Those Five Free Minutes?

By Gabrielle Benacka, PAW Writer

From brewing ciders to snow-shoeing to running outside (as long as it’s above zero), Providence Academy teachers have some interesting creative outlets. Students sometimes forget that teachers have lives outside the classroom.  What student hasn’t been startled by seeing one of their teachers in the grocery store?  When they finally pack their briefcases and head out the door, PA teachers do a lot more than veg out on the sofa.

Ian Skemp, one of the history teachers in the Upper School, is a man of many talents. One of these talents is brewing cider and beer. “I don’t have much time for hobbies. I like to brew cider, though. It only takes 15 minutes of prep time followed by two weeks of waiting for it to ferment. It’s science!” Skemp’s free time is usually consumed by his family, but from time to time he likes to ponder over hot drinks. “You should try it sometime,” Mr. Skemp suggests.

David Harman, the Upper School Dean, is an avid runner. Sun or snow, he is out on the running paths. “I ran a few times last year when it was around -5. Wasn’t fun,” Harman said. He likes to run as much as he can, but he says, “My general rule is to avoid the treadmill at all costs, so I try to get out as long as it’s above zero.” When Mr. Harman isn’t running, he is enjoying time with his wife and kids, and enjoys backpacking and cooking outdoors as well.

When Nicole Schafer, a Spanish teacher in the Upper School, has free time, one of the many things she likes to participate in is baking and watching Cake Boss with her daughter. However, when the weather permits her, she loves to go sledding and wants to try something new this winter. “I’m thinking about getting into snow-shoeing. I might as well embrace the weather, right?”, Schafer said. What a fun winter activity to try!

This goes to show teachers are busy outside of school. Not surprisingly, the number-one priority is their families, then sports, lounging around and so on. Many students forget their teachers have lives outside the classroom, and some don’t appreciate the time they take out of their chaotic lives to help students. All of us use our time differently, students and teachers. As Mr. Skemp puts it, “I have quite a bit of ‘free time,’ but it isn’t ‘me time’.”


Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance at PA

Providence preparing students for the ACT, most importantly, its Juniors.

By Gabrielle Benacka, PAW Writer

​              As the school year picks up, more responsibility falls upon the Juniors,  specifically the ACT/SAT tests. At Providence Academy there are certain expectations for the college entrance exams that you can feel looming in the halls. Can PA Juniors live up to these standards? Mr. Brian Estrada, one of the college counselors at Providence, seems to think so. “We want students to recognize that they do have lots of testing experience already and their PA coursework has indeed prepared them well, but it is important to put some effort into reflecting on the format of the exams, how the questions are written, and, most importantly, to put in some practice.  The College Center has lots of test prep books and other free resources – sometimes they are little used,” says Mr. Estrada.

​            While the ACT and other college entrance exams are important, they are not the only thing that matters to a college. “Test results can, alongside high school GPA, help colleges statistically predict first-year college performance.  That said, every college representative will always emphasize that grades earned in challenging high school courses matter much more than college entrance test results,” Mr. Estrada continued.

​            This goes to show that as Juniors are gearing up for the ACT, they should keep in mind that Providence’s coursework has not only prepared them to succeed on the ACT, but in college as well. Colleges are looking more closely at how rigorous a student’s classes in high school are, as that can help predict their chances of performing well at their institution. Because of Providence’s challenging courses, Juniors taking the ACT perform higher than others in Minnesota and even those nationwide. “The 25th to 75th percentile range on the ACT composite score for recent PA graduating classes is 25 to 30.  The Minnesota state average is 22.9.  The PA average score is close to the 90th percentile for all ACT results nationwide,” says Estrada. These results show how efficient PA really is with its college prep classes.

​            As a Junior myself and having already taken the ACT, PA’s classes have prepared me for each topic—English, Math, Science, Reading and Writing—in some way. Yes, the responsibility and the stress of doing well on the ACT still stands, but with PA’s challenging classes behind me, everything turned out well. It is encouraged, as Mr. Estrada mentioned before, to take advantage of the resources our College Center has. Whether that’s taking the practice ACT at Providence on November 1 or grabbing a test prep book, PA makes a point of helping their students out. Certainly classes taken at Providence will have helped prepare its Juniors, and all of its students to come, for the ACT.