Mr. Tiffany and the Unicycle

The daily commute to and from either work or school for most people can be utterly drab and can feel like time lost.  However, Michael Tiffany, the Director of Academics and Curriculum and a Latin teacher at PA, has found a way to make his daily commute far more interesting.  He rides a unicycle.

Every day Mr. Tiffany rides his unicycle about four miles total to get to and from PA.  He began this routine when he moved closer to the school, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t riding before he moved.  He used to ride four to six miles everyday to exercise.  Because of this, he has formed his own style of riding where he holds weights while he rides in order to maintain his balance on slanted paths.  If he begins to lean to one side, he simply has to throw his arms in the other direction.

Mr. Tiffany’s experience on the unicycle goes back to when he learned how to ride at age twelve.  He continued to learn until in college he joined the unicycle and juggling club.  However, there were far more jugglers than unicycle riders, so he left the club.

This lack of riders in the club mirrors the lack of community for unicycle riders in Minnesota.  Mr. Tiffany only knows one other person in the Twin Cities area who rides a unicycle.  This doesn’t stop his unicycle from becoming a part of conversations, though.

Mr. Tiffany says many people stop to talk to him during his daily commute.  While sometimes these are nice friendly conversations there are many unwanted encounters Mr. Tiffany has with others during his daily commute.  For example he says that the two most common responses to his odd choice of transportation are driving really close to him and suddenly honking or jokingly asking him where the rest of his bike is.

Mr. Tiffany has also been seriously injured while riding a unicycle.  One day on his daily ride he fell and completely tore his ACL.  It was the middle of winter and he didn’t have his phone, so he tried to walk.  When he discovered it hurt too much to walk, he decided to ride his unicycle for the rest of his commute.

Despite his injuries Mr. Tiffany still enjoys his daily unicycle ride and will hopefully continue to enjoy it for many years to come.


College Fair Fun

On Wednesday, April 25th, the upper school students at Providence Academy attended the college fair, an annual event used to teach students about college and introduce them to many different colleges.  Every year guest speakers come in to help students learn more about colleges and help them to plan for their eventual applications to colleges.

Sophomores and Juniors chose a panel to hear from based on the topic of the panel while the Freshmen listened to their own panel directed to Freshmen specifically.  Then the three grades met in the gym to take part in the college fair.

Junior Evan Marsh meets with one of the many college representatives.

The Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors all hear from college representatives about important topics such as picking careers, leaving the country for college, and ROTC programs.  Each student was able to pick a topic that he/she would like to learn about.  This helps students get answers for particular questions which can often come with a college search.

Freshmen are usually less interested in the fair.  For example one Freshman expressed his lack of interest by saying that he didn’t really feel like anything he learned was of immediate importance because he hadn’t yet started his search for a dream college.

However, a different freshman, Will Landwehr said, “It was very important for us to learn and get our first insight into a college search.”

Mr. Brian Estrada, one of the college councilors at PA, said, “We look at 9th graders as experiencing that sort of thing for the first time.”  He also expressed the importance of Freshmen getting more experience before they are thrust into a college search.

Generally Sophomores said that they knew more about what they wanted to do this year then they did last year, so they were able to be more focused on finding information that they needed.

Sophomore Peyton Pietrini said that this year was a good experience for her because she knew what she wanted to get out of the college fair.   Mr. Estrada even said that for some students the Sophomore college fair is their most important college fair because for many students it is the beginning of a very serious college search that lasts until their applications are submitted.

Mr. Brian Estrada and Mrs. Sarah Hogan, PA’s college councilors, work especially hard to give the upper school students a rewarding college day experience.

Some Sophomores, however, don’t start their search as early as others.  Whichever pace is taken, Sophomores still usually get much out of college day.

For the most part Juniors at the college fair already have most of the information they need and are really just looking to learn whatever they’ve missed in the past.  The fair also serves to help Juniors explore colleges which they may have ignored in the past or maybe just never heard of.  Because of this and how close Juniors are to needing to think about their college choices and their applications to these colleges, the fair is still indubitably beneficial.

While the other three grades heard about college searches and looked at different schools, the Seniors heard from a few different speakers about topics such as credit, debt, and life on campus.  Seniors have always been left out of the college fair because they have finished their search, but last year the college counselors decided to give more focused talks to the seniors to ease their transition from high school to college.

Medical Club

On Monday the twelfth of March, P.A.’s medical club met at 7:30 a.m. to hear a guest speaker from The Robbinsdale Women’s Center and to see a live ultrasound done by a sonographer with more than 40 years of experience.

The whole meeting was informative and also very eye opening.  Those attending saw a human baby moving around and even hiccuping in his/her mother’s womb.  The Robbinsdale Women’s Center knows that it is important to show people that an abortion means an innocent life is lost, and they work hard to help women avoid abortions.

Guest sonographer, Mark Hutchinson even said, “The most important thing is to show that this is a living person.”

In fact the Robbinsdale Women’s Center is located just across the street from the busiest abortion doctor in the state in order to try to get people who are thinking about having an abortion through their doors. They also do many presentations like the one they gave at P.A. on Monday in order to show students an unborn baby.

The Medical Club, which hosted this experience, has many more meetings like this one every year.  Each has its own guest speaker, medical field, and topic.  When they aren’t going to the more hands-on meetings, The Medical Club meets twice a week every week to learn about medicine.

The Medical Club was created last year to help students decide whether or not they want to go into medicine, and if they do, to help students narrow the particular fields of medicine they want to go into.

One of the founders, Senior Caroline Heine said, “Medicine is something you need to decide in high school.”

There are so many fields of medicine that one might like or dislike, and the Medical Club helps offer important information that can greatly aid those who wish to study medicine.  The club is also interesting even if the student attending isn’t interested in medicine.

It’s because of the interest that students might have in medicine that Junior Eleanor Christianson and Seniors Caroline Heine and Kylie Walgrave set the club up last year.

Mrs. Sheehan, the teacher who oversees Medical Club and a science teacher at PA, helps to identify and bring in fitting speakers.  She also sets up field trips for the club such as trips to the Memorial Blood Center and the Starkey Hearing Center.  Mrs. Sheehan herself was in the field of medicine and has many contacts.

In the near future, the Medical Club is very interested in participating in dissections.

The student leaders and Mrs. Sheehan work hard to provide this experience and hope to draw in more students who either know they would like to go into medicine or who are just interested in a unique, educational experience.



Providence Academy hosts Band and Orchestra competition

Every year the Providence Academy Symphonic Band and Orchestra compete in what can only be described as a battle for recognition from the other musical groups in their division.  Mrs. Wolfe the orchestra’s director said, “The bands and orchestras from region four, come together for one day to play in front of judges.”  These bands and orchestras work for months for this competition with hopes of achieving a superior grade.

The judges for the competition grade each group out of 40.  If a group scores from 35 and 40, they are awarded with a superior rating.  Scores from 28 to 34 will earn a group an excellent rating.  If a group scores from 22 to 27, they will receive a good rating.  Any group that scores below these three ratings is given a fair rating.

During a group’s performance other groups are encouraged to watch the product of what could be months of hard work for the performers.  Musicians can learn from watching other groups perform.  This can either be through a group’s strengths and weaknesses or through a judge’s comments.  After every group’s performance a judge will walk up to the stage and give constructive criticism to the group.  This advice can often help a group see an audience’s perspective and use it to improve for their future performances.

The judges also give a sheet to each group with their rating and more comments on the performance.  These comments range from the incredibly helpful to the infuriatingly nit picky.  For example the band has a running joke about one judge who instructed the director Mr. Thomas Jones to stand with his legs closer together while conducting.  Little things like this don’t affect a group’s sound but still could affect their scores.

This year both the band and orchestra at PA received superior ratings at the competition.  Mrs. Wolfe said,We worked really hard on a piece that was really hard and I was happy with how the students did.”  Both the band and orchestra worked hard to earn their ratings and are proud of what their hard work accomplished.  Both groups generally perform incredibly well for a  group still in high school and have earned superior ratings many times in years past.

This years competition holds a special importance for the PA community.  This is because it was our first time ever to host this competition.  We invited all the schools in our division into our new performing arts center for this year’s competition, and we did a wonderful job as hosts.  Students from both band and orchestra hosted groups, gave directions, greeted, ushered, etc.  They made sure that everything could happen on time and without mix-ups.  This tremendous effort from the students made this year’s competition a good time to listen to and play music.

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The Providence Academy Performing Arts Center




Catholic Schools Week Service Days

Every Catholic School’s week PA gives its students many opportunities to serve the wider community.  These events range from a cereal drive to a trip to Feed My Starving Children.

This year the Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors went to Feed My Starving Children while the Freshmen stayed at PA to attend a respect retreat.  Seamus Healy, a Freshman said, “It would have been a lot more fun to go to Feed My Starving Children.”  This sentiment seems to surround many Freshmen as a few have expressed their feelings of exclusion from a field day.

Those attending the upper school service day seem to have had a fun time and say that it is a great organization and an amazing experience.  While at Feed My Starving Children students put together and pack meals to be shipped to people in need all over the world.  Groups work in short periods of time but accomplish a lot, providing meals for thousands of people.

The middle school and lower school also did service projects.  The middle school collected boxes of cereal for the Simpson House and the lower school brought in donations for Sharing and Caring Hands.

Mrs. Galgano, the lower school director said, “If a lower school student brings in an item for donation they get to wear their favorite team’s jersey.”  The third graders deliver the donations to Sharing and Caring Hands.

Middle School promotion for Simpson House Cereal Drive.