PA Boys Golf Team Flourishes

It is May, and golf season is in full swing.  Despite the many rainy (and snowy) days in April, the golf courses are finally ready for players to emerge from winter doldrums and tee off.  Stocked with talent, positive attitudes, and many new, young players, Providence Academy’s boys golf team is thriving.

Sophomore Elliot Tomaschko ’21 tees off at Baker National Golf Course.

This year, PA’s golf team has basically doubled in number, from around 16 players last year to nearly 30 in 2019 season.  This means that there are now three PA golf teams: Varsity, Junior Varsity, and new this year, Developmental.  The Developmental team is for those who have not golfed very much before, and need more instruction. Most of the new golfers fall into this category, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.  Captain Joseph Luedke said, “70% of the team is freshmen or younger, so we have a bright future in 5 or so years.”

Freshman Jack Reller ’22 tees off at Baker National Golf Course during Tuesday’s victory over Mounds Park Academy.

However, this larger team has its downsides.  It is harder to get to play in a match as well as to get out on the course during practice.  More players means more time on the range or the putting green. Additionally, coaches have less time for one-on-one instruction.  They are trying to teach more players in the same amount of time. Even with the sudden influx of players, the three coaches don’t feel like they are having to work too much harder, just balance time differently.  Coach Chris Miller said, “This coaching staff has a lot of experience in the game, so we don’t really have a harder time despite the larger number of players.”  

Both Luedke and Coach Miller believe that the number of students flocking to golf probably has to do with the longevity of the game.  Golf is a sport that they can play for the rest of their lives, unlike other spring sports such as baseball or track.  The boys team tees off again this afternoon versus Minnehaha Academy, and again on Tuesday May 14 at Somerset Country Club.

Senior Slide

We’ve seen it before:  A senior starts caring less and less about his or her grades.  It escalates, and their GPA starts sliding downwards. Soon their inbox starts to fill up as the “M” emails come in.  This is senior slide, a phenomenon affecting mainly seniors who have had a average to low GPA before senior year and are now struggling to find momentum to finish strong.

A chilling thought for a sliding senior.

Senior slide mainly happens when a student decides that hey, it’s my senior year, I’m pretty much done with high school, so who cares if I slack off a little in my classes?  This reasoning is used to justify more and more slacking off, sometimes to the point where the student is failing one or more classes.  

Joey Lambert ’19, has felt the effects of the slide creep into his semester.  Though not in danger of failing, it takes extra effort to sustain momentum at this stage in the game.  He says, “I love my teachers, I love my classes, it’s the work that’s not always so lovable.”

Dylan Drean ’19, on the other hand, is successfully fighting the gravity of this fourth year phenomenon, trying hard to stay on top of his work.  Drean is worried he might not get into the college he wants if he doesn’t get a high GPA.  “I don’t

Sliding may sound like a good way to kick back and coast, but gravity will get the best of you if you’re not careful.

want to lose my scholarship,” he reflects, which he sees as a real possibility, though he has maintained his eligibility so far this year.

Though some sliding seniors are not stressed, if one slides too far they can incur several penalties.  We all know that parents can penalize a senior as well if they slide and get too low of a grade.  They can become ineligible for participation in extra-curriculars.  If they fail a class, they have to take it over the summer, and they lose a lot of points on the scale that determines graduation with honors (cum laude, etc.).  It may seem at first like sliding can make a senior year less stressful (the stress of senior speeches and college applications is still there), its cons far outweigh its pros: you may not land feet first.

Climbing to the Top: MS Robotics Team Makes School History

As the rest of the world started Christmas shopping, began preparing for finals, and finished college applications, the Providence Academy Middle School robotics team geared up for their competition, one they’d been preparing for since the beginning of the school year.

STEM enthusiasts from 6th to 8th grade filled the University of Minnesota Auditorium in early September awaiting a short video which would dictate their after-school activities for the next two months. Among those gathered were several PA students, members of the FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST Robotics’ middle school program.  The short video told teams the rules of this year’s game and what tasks their robots had to accomplish in order to win. With help from high school robotics students and the guidance of adult mentors, PA team members spent two to three months designing and building a robot for the competition, held earlier this month.

The robot may have only had two short arms, but it still played the game well.

The first thing Providence’s team did when they returned to PA was brainstorm.  They imagined what they wanted the robot to do and several ways to accomplish each task.  Over the course of the next week, the list was gradually whittled down to a feasible length.  The next step was to design the robot using CAD software. High schoolers Dylan Drean ’19 and Shane Flanigan ’20 provided assistance with this step.  Meanwhile, Bennett Hilberg ’24 wrote the code that made the robot run. A model of the lander was assembled by the rest of the team: Maggie Ludlow ’23, Anthony Longman ’23, and Ryan Kim ’23. 

The robot slowly took shape. First the frame, then the drive train, and finally the mechanisms were built. In keeping with the rules of the game, the robot’s arm was built to only handle two game pieces at a time.  On the top of the robot, a second arm served to attach the robot to the lander and lift it up at the end of the game. This maneuver would earn the team a hefty sum of points.

At the competition on December 1, the first few games did not go as planned for the PA team.  The autonomous program didn’t work correctly and they were still getting used to driving the robot.  However, by the last round, the team got the hang of things. The autonomous program worked perfectly, the driving was superb, and to the surprise of the team, they were chosen to be part of an alliance in the semifinals, making PA history. Despite their youth and limited numbers, the PA team built a working robot, competed with it, and placed better than any robotics team in school history.

Honoring Our Veterans

On November 11, 1918, at 11:00 am, World War I was ended by the Armistice.  This historic event, once known as Armistice Day, became Veterans Day in the United States in 1954 under President Eisenhower.  It is now a celebration of all who serve or have served in our country’s military, not just World War I.  Who could imagine the freedoms we enjoy without the sacrifice of these brave men and women?  Here at Providence Academy, on the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, we showed our appreciation by putting on a Veterans Day concert in our dazzling Performing Arts Center (PAC).

The Symphonic Band’s director, Thomas Jones

This long-standing tradition of PA started in the early days of Providence, before the time of the Symphonic Band’s current director, Thomas Jones.  At the time, the Great Room served as our concert hall, as the PAC hadn’t been built. Regardless of the venue, this concert remains one of Providence Academy’s most important events.

The Veterans Day Concert is very meaningful no matter who you ask.  For Jones, the concert is a reminder that all we have, all the opportunities, came at a great cost: the cost of the lives of those who defended our country.  It’s easy to take the things we have for granted, but this day is an occasion to remember, as Jones put it, “When these men and women decided to defend our country, they wrote a blank check to the United States for an amount up to and sometimes including their lives.”

For the students in the band, this concert is a chance to show their appreciation to these service men and women. For those with family members who are current or former members of the military, it is especially meaningful; it gives them, and all the PA community, the opportunity to thank them in a very public way.  

Every year, people thank Mr. Jones for putting on such a beautiful concert and ask him to “never, ever stop”offering gratitude to our veterans.  The modern political climate has people strongly divided over many issues, this concert is an opportunity to invite others in to the patriotism and gratitude that is part of PA.  This is why the Patriotic Concert is so important: it brings us together as a country and helps us appreciate how blessed we are to live here.

A New Look

On October 15, the Providence Academy Upper School revealed a new addition to the uniform: a pants option for girls.  This option will be available from November 1 to April 1. Many students consider this a great victory for the girls. They finally get to wear pants if they so choose!  However, not all girls think the pants are a great thing.

The pants do have several benefits, not the least of them keeping the legs warm during the winter.  This is part of the reason

The specific pant style required is the Khaki Women’s Perfect Fit Blend Plain Front Chino Pants.

girls now have this option. Additionally, girls report the pants are more comfortable, cheaper, and provide some much needed variety to the uniform.

However great the pants may seem, they do have their downsides.  Most girls believe that the specific pant style required is unfashionable.  Also, because the pants may only be worn during the winter months, girls must also have enough skirts to wear during the remainder of the year.  This means that ultimately the pants are not cheaper than skirts.

This new uniform addition has been in the works for quite a while.  The original idea was proposed nearly two and a half years ago by Gabriella Munger ‘19 and Joseph Luedke ‘19.  Since then, it has made its way through numerous levels of administration, getting approved by Mr. Blonski, Mrs. Harrington, and Dr. Flanders.  Though it took a long time, this new uniform option opens the doors for more changes or additions to the, well, uniformity of the uniform.

The next logical step along this path of uniform variety would be to add a kilt option for boys.  However, the biggest question about this is if any guys would actually wear the kilts.