Under the Stars, on Top of the World

Providence Academy juniors and seniors donned their most elegant attire Saturday evening for a night Under the Stars but above the city, dancing the night away in the IDS center in downtown Minneapolis.

Aaron Davis ’19 and his date were one many who enjoyed the beautiful view of the city from the top floor of the IDS center.

Located on top floor of the IDS center–the state’s tallest building–the venue for this year’s event went hand and hand with the theme “Under the Stars.”  The windows allowed a bird’s eye view of the city at sunset and a closer look at the stars in the evening sky.

There were a number of activities to keep students and their guests entertained for the entirety of the night. To start off the event, everyone gathered around the piano and sang a rendition of “Piano Man” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” played by Cort Dingman ‘20 and Owen Carter ‘20. Students also enjoyed a photobooth, and a filling dinner of steak, salad, pasta, and salmon before heading to the dance floor.  For the first time in PA prom history, the cost of prom tickets included dinner, saving students the stress and additional planning of making reservations.

A lot of people would agree that this year’s prom was a step up from 2018. Dylan Servias ‘19 noted, “the venue this year was so much better than last year.” Jacob Halek ‘20 agreed, adding, “it was perfect because it was able to hold all the students without it being too big or too small”.

Sam Ferreira ’19, Eleanor Christianson ’19 and William Reschenberg ’19 take a break from the traditional prom pictures to show off their unconventional footwear.

Olivia Klassen ‘20, member of the Prom Planning committee, shared some of the behind the scenes work that helped make the festivities go smoothly, “Mrs. Gregg recommended the building, so we made a site visit and decided to give it a go; we’re so glad we did!”  As far as decorations, Klassen commented, “we wanted to keep it simple and classy, to stick with our theme. The view really did most of the work for us, but we could certainly have had better communication in the planning process.”

Nonetheless, it is fair to say that Prom 2019 was a hit. Upper school literature teacher Ms. Uppgaard noted, “It was a very fun night!  I never went to prom as as high schooler and it was awesome to see all my students having fun, being themselves outside the PA walls”.

From Disney’s Moana, Abba’s “Mamma Mia,” Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls”, to the songs destined to get everyone moving, like Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA,”  the neon lights flashed over students’ new and old dance moves and even a conga line. The dancing and singing left bodies bruised and voices sore the next day, but all agree it was well worth the ache.

Buddies, Books, and Bonding

Let’s travel back in time to when school mainly consisted of eating Play-Doh, pouring tubes of glitter into your hair, and complaining about the two pages of coloring for homework. Now fast forward to high school when a normal school day consists of long lectures, trying your best to not fall asleep in morning classes, and breaking a new personal record for the time it takes to come up with the most educated-sounding response for a question you do not know the answer to.

Siena Adducci ‘19 spends time with her two Pre-K buddies Maggie and Emily as they play pretend house.

Some lucky upper school students have the opportunity to bring these two worlds together. Ms. Crouse’s journalism class has teamed up one on one with Mrs. Kennedy’s Pre-K students, enjoying a much needed break from the regular school week to read, draw, and play with their “buddies.”

Students from both classes love buddy time. For the high schoolers, it allows them to get out of the classroom and do something fun during the grueling school day, while the pre-K students have the opportunity to build relationships with upperclassmen they look to in awe. Olivia Klassen ‘20 says, “my favorite thing is a toss up between trying to follow the conversations my buddies have and getting to do arts and crafts I haven’t done in over a decade”.

Mrs. Kennedy has noticed a significant change in her young students since they started spending time with their buddies. She states, “At first the Pre- K students were nervous and curious. Now, they are confident and feel loved by their buddies. We have also noticed significant improvements their social and communication skills!”

Joey Fafinski ‘19 and his Pre-K buddy George spend time together while playing with blocks.

The students from both classes look forward to buddy days and are always excited to engage in a variety of activities together, from painting, beading, building, collaging, doll house, even card games. The warmer weather might even afford buddies a chance to get outside and allow the high schoolers reminisce about those days when they had recess.

The high schoolers always make it a priority to stop and say hi to their buddies when they see them in the lunchroom and hallways to extend the relationships even beyond buddy time.  It turns out, even after you outgrow pre-K tables and chairs, books and blocks can still forge friendships!

Hello Over There…the Awkward Hallway

Seven classes a day, for five days a week, students are confined to the same classrooms. By extension, students also use the same hallways for all 38 weeks during the academic school year. We walk these hallways on the daily, and they are all very much the same:  goldenrod yellow with randomly-placed posters, interrupted by familiar classroom doors with rectangular windows. Cream colored floors form a continuous diamond pattern and the uniformity of the white ceiling tiles occasionally broken by sprinklers, speakers and security cameras.

These characteristics are evident in every hallway in the school, except for one: The Awkward Hallway.  Located in the Upper School wing, it connects the Freshman and Sophomore hallways. Perhaps to visitors to our school, it only stands apart because has no windows, no classrooms and is decorated on one side by the painted stone arches. However, the major difference looms: it is significantly longer than any other hallway.

The bridge made by Mr. Santer that the seniors decorate is displayed on one side of this Awkward Hallway.

Consequently, this hallway has a reputation  in the Upper School as being very awkward and uncomfortable to walk through. Christina Albee ‘20, explains that what  makes it so awkward is “seeing someone at the other end and waving to them too early so that when I end up passing them there is an awkward silence because it would be weird to wave again”.

These unsettling walks are experienced by  all PA students. Another factor that makes this hallway so unique is the display of an arched bridge along one wall. Studio Art teacher Mr. Santer’s creation gives students a slight reprieve from the windowless walk.  Every year, the seniors in his art class get to decorate their own square on this bridge with their initials and graduating year. Finding signatures left by the tradition provides a welcome distraction from potential eye contact.

This infamous hallway is very well known to all of PA upper school students. Its adds an interesting element of awkward social encounters to everyone’s school day. The distance makes greetings and long-subsequent passing almost worth taking the long way around, given that you can walk quickly enough to avoid a tardy.  

Love is in the Air

Valentine’s Day is an international holiday celebrated on February 14 of every year. At Providence Academy, the entire school celebrates this day with many activities and traditions that all the students look forward to. It’s most commonly celebrated by expressing the love you have for friends, family and other important people in your life.

The entire school gets excited for this holiday and its shown by the numerous decorations made by the lowerschoolers that are displayed in both the classrooms and hallways throughout the school.  In the upper school, the student council orchestrates Valentine-grams as something fun for the students to do as well to help get everyone into the spirit of the holiday. The student council sells red roses, chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, and crush cans for the students to anonymously send to other students at PA. During lunch on Valentine’s Day, these gifts are then handed out to the students by the student council.

JohnPaul Hughes ’22 poses with his crush can that he received on Valentine’s day as a part of our Valentine-gram activity.

This year marks the second year that PA has had Valentine-grams. It is a growing tradition that is loved by the students because it allows them to have some fun in the midst of the constant chaos that is high school. Kelsey Fiesz 20’ says “it is really fun to see everyone receive roses and crush cans and not know who they are from”.

Whether you are receiving these gifts from a secret admirer, significant other, or a friend, it is still very exciting to give and receive something on this special day. Celia Raney, Junior student council President, says “seeing who the students buy gifts for is always exciting, as is watching the reactions of the students when they receive them makes grams my favorite part of being a part of the student council team”.

PA intends to continue these exciting activities and maybe make new additions.  For years to come, the Student Council is working on offering singing grams as another option for our Valentine-grams.  Let your student council representative know of more ways you’d like to share the love on Valentine’s day!


Powerpuff Volleyball Game

Lady lions calling the lines, teachers calling the game, while junior and senior boys flail across the court playing volleyball in uniforms that are only recognizable as such by being equally ridiculous.  A favorite event of catholic Catholic Schools Week–and a recent sight for those of us who attended last week’s Powerpuff game–this battle between junior and senior boys is perhaps most competitive because the players are equally inexperienced.  That lack of experience, made up for by effort, enthusiasm, and absurd ensembles is what makes the game so fun.

However, the boys didn’t go into the game completely clueless. Junior and senior girls volleyball players coach their corresponding grade. Kate Neill 20’ said her experience as a coach was “very entertaining but also very frustrating and difficult because they have no idea what they are doing. In the end, it was so much fun and I’m already really excited for next year’s game”.

The game was much anticipated by the entire high school, especially the players. Sam Ferreira 19’ said “I was super excited to play with my friends and be able to participate in a sport that I don’t normally play. Obviously, all the hard work paid off because in the end we beat the juniors”.

Set 2 of the volleyball game. The seniors are up 11-4 and the Juniors are substituting new players onto the court.

Similarly, George Wehmann 20’, mentioned, “It was exciting for me because I’m tall and love competing against the seniors.” He then continued to say, “I am disappointed that we lost but it was still very fun”.

Some suspect foul play, that an unspoken rule at PA guarantees seniors a win in both the girls’ powerpuff football game in the fall and the boys’ volleyball game. Juniors, logically, are opposed to the idea, but others say it makes sense and should remain a rule. Eli Santelmen 22’, an underclassmen who watched the game, commented, “I think it’s a little fair for the game to be rigged, it makes it more fun for the seniors since it’s their last year, but at the same time the juniors should have a chance”.

At the end of the day, the seniors took the win and marked another fun event for PA’s [extended] Catholic Schools Week. With the creative and obnoxious outfits, chants from the crowd, lots of yelling and cheering from each team, the powerpuff game will continue to be an event that the high school students and faculty at PA love.