Middle Schoolers Head North

by Michael Villafana, PAW Writer

Three hours and forty-five minutes north. That is where some Providence Academy middle schoolers will be headed during the weekend of May 8th-10th. Those 6th, 7th and 8th graders will be participating in Providence’s annual Wolf Ridge trip.

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center is located in Finland, MN and specializes in environmental and outdoor learning programs for children of all ages. According to their website, their mission is “to develop a citizenry that has the knowledge, skills, motivation and commitment to work together for a quality environment”. Wolf Ridge is located right on a ridge overlooking Lake Superior. Their campus includes 2,000 acres of land, along with several lakes and streams. In addition, their location provides 18 miles of trails to hike, that features many of the wildlife that live around the area.

Middle School science teacher Mrs. Elise Sheehan is the annual leader of the middle school trip. Many middle school students take advantage of this overnight nature adventure. “We currently have 58 kids signed up” said Mrs. Sheehan. Along with the 58 students, Mrs. Sheehan will be accompanied by Mr. Jack Sheehan, Mr. Kevin Donahue and a couple parent volunteers.

The excitement for Wolf Ridge is buzzing around the middle school hallways this year. With many different activities to do, there is a lot of fun to look forward to. Seventh grader Peter Flanders already has one year of Wolf Ridge under his belt. “I like the bus ride and the lakes”, he said. Justin Kim, also in 7th grade, is getting ready for the physical activities. “I am looking forward to canoeing, hiking and going through the ropes course”, he said. The ropes course is one of Wolf Ridge’s main attractions for students. Andrew McGurl, who attended as a Sixth grader agrees with that statement. “I really like the ropes course and the hiking”, Andrew stated.

With the warmer spring, Providence students hope to be able to participate in everything Wolf Ridge has to offer. The past couple springs has been rough with late snowfalls. This year, however, all signs are leading to an incredible weekend for those middle schoolers attending.

NCAA – Show Us The Money

by Michael Villafana, PAW Writer

Will you be one of the 10.7 million people to watch March Madness this spring? That is how many viewers watched the NCAA college basketball playoff last year, also known as March Madness. This year, CBS and the Turner Networks, who own TNT, TBS, and TruTV, expect to top that number by possibly a million.

So will the Providence Academy student body be contributing to their viewer ratings? Senior Jesse Barron will definitely be watching. “I’ll probably watch 30 [games] or so. The only reason I don’t watch all of them is because I don’t get all the games on my TV”, Jesse said. Though he won’t watch as many as Jesse, Sophomore William Walcher will still find time to watch a couple games. “I might watch a few, but I am not a huge fan of basketball. It can be fun to watch though” William said.  However, not all PA students will be watching the games. Junior Rachel Mohrman classified herself in that category. “I don’t plan on watching any of the games” she stated.

March Madness has been a money making machine for the NCAA. In just television contracts alone, the NCAA makes roughly $770 Million per year according to Marc Edelman, a writer for Forbes Magazine. That number doesn’t even include ticket sales, merchandise or concessions. Commercial prices are also sky high. A 30 second commercial for the championship game were going for $1.42 million, according to viamediatv.com. At the end of March Madness, advertiser will have spent more on commercials for the college basketball tournament than they will have during the Super Bowl. Last year, 90 advertisers spent $1.152 billion in ads, just during the tournament itself.

In addition to televised games, live streaming the games via the internet has been on the rise as well. Viamediatv.com reported that 3.4 million people watched the games through their computer or tablet devices last year. This was up from 1.6 million the year before.

The NCAA is always finding new ways to increase their revenue. Just in the past couple of years, they have started televising every single game, added four play-in games, and increased the overall quality of the at home viewing experience. Just to make sure they cover all their bases, the NCAA also nationally televises its selection show this upcoming Sunday. So if you plan on having your eyes glued to a screen the next two weeks, you might want to watch the selection show to see where your favorite team is playing.

Science Olympiad Team Confident Going into State Tournament

by Michael Villafana, PAW Writer

You may be looking at them through your own eyes. They may become the next world-renowned scientist, or researcher, or engineer. Those are just a couple of occupations that Science Olympiad alumni have gone on to be. Science Olympiad is offered as a Providence Academy middle school after-school club, and is having a lot of success at its local tournaments.

Gopher Invitational 2015 stair pic

Science Olympiad consists of 6th through 8th graders who compete against other schools in written and hands-on tests. According to the website www.minnesotaso.org, Science Olympiad is “a non-profit organization that has a mission to promote STEM education for students in Minnesota K-12 schools by engaging communities in the thrill, excitement and challenge of science, technology, engineering and math competition”. Their website goes on to say “Events range from hands-on labs to student built machines, from outdoor events ranging from earth science through physics”.

Providence’s Science Olympiad team consists of over 35 middle school students. So far this year, they have competed at two local tournaments and one in Wisconsin. Most recently, they competed at the regional tournament at Mounds View High School where the team finished 10th out of 18 schools. Considering Providence is one of the smallest schools in their region, 10th place is a quality finish. Some of the highlight performance included Nick Seiter and Dido Palomarez, who earned a 4th place medal in “Write it-Do it” for their technical writing and building skills, 6th place finish in anatomy for Ava Raffel and Sara Festin, and a 7th place finish in Air Trajectory for Adam Huser and Peyton Albertini as well as a 7th place finish in Bridge Building for Tommy Villafana and Justin Kim. These are just a couple on top-10 finishes for the Providence team.

Being an after-school club, Science Olympiad allows students to explore science outside of the classroom. “I like Science Olympiad because it lets me do things that I normally don’t do”, said 7th grader Justin Kim. Science Olympiad attracts a lot of students because of its hand-on building competitions. “I can build things that I wouldn’t be able to build myself without help”, said Andrew McGurl, also a 7th grader.

PA’s Science Olympiad team will be competing in the state tournament on March 14tht at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Good luck to them!

Quiz Bowl is Headed to the Windy City

History was made for Providence Academy’s quiz bowl team earlier this month. On January 15th, the Providence A quiz bowl team clinched a spot at Nationals in Chicago, Illinois later this year.

“I’m so excited that we qualified for Nationals. It was our goal this year, and Team A pulled it off quite gracefully,” said Quiz Bowl Coach Kevin Keiser. The path to Chicago was not so easy however. Providence competed against twelve different teams, ranging from all different sized high schools. Their toughest competition was against the huge high schools, such as Wayzata and Edina, where they battle both of their A-Teams was hand-to-hand. Although they lost to those two teams, the PA team ended up going 8-4 with wins over Breck B, Wayzata F, Edina B, Wayzata D, Edina C, Robbinsdale Armstrong A, Wayzata E, and Breck A. With those wins, and only loses against top-ranked teams, Providence A clinched a Nationals berth.

Each quiz bowl team consists of six players. Providence A featured three seniors, a junior, and two Sophomores. Seniors, AJ Adducci, Morgan Flottmeier, and Jack Schneider lead the Providence A team. Junior, Reed Trende and sophomores, Marty Partoll and Ryan Heaney round out the National bound team. Senior Jack Schneider was very happy to see results after a good season. “I’m very excited [about nationals]. It’s nice to see all of your hard work pay off”, said Jack. Coach Keiser applauded the veteran leadership on Providence A. “For one, the players have experience and they have honed their team strategy… all the little tricks that only experience can teach and that are hard to notice, but have become part of each player’s skill. The players who have been in it a while have all learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses, too, allowing us to create some teams that work very smoothly,” he said.

This year, Coach Keiser has noticed a huge difference in the quiz bowl program. Ultimately, he thinks this difference is what helped them reach nationals this year. “The biggest thing is the enthusiasm.  I coached Quiz Bowl for a year at another school, and there were a few students whose enthusiasm was comparable, but fewer students shared that enthusiasm, and in general, that enthusiasm didn’t translate into as much hard work as I have seen transpire among the Providence players.” Coach Keiser also notices the work that his players put in outside the classroom. “I am especially gratified when I hear that our players were playing ProtoBowl to practice, on their own initiative”, he said.

Lastly, Coach Keiser credits a lot of the success of the quiz bowl program to its leaders: AJ Adducci, Morgan Flottmeier, and Jack Schneider. “Our club leaders certainly deserve most of the credit. They drummed up a lot of enthusiasm, I’m guessing by word of mouth”, he remarked. “We have had so many people that I added another team to our division league tournament when another school dropped out and opened a spot, and even then I could probably have used another spot” he continued. Coach Keiser appreciated the time and effort that those three seniors put in, and believes they will leave the program in good hands.


Fleeing the Frost for Warmer Climes

by Michael Villafana, PAW Writer

The Minnesota winter has not been as brutal as last year’s, at least not yet.  Still, many Providence Academy students will be traveling out of the state, and even out of the country this holiday season  in search of  warmer places.

“Many families choose to travel to Florida or Arizona during the winter months,” said Nora Blum, the certified travel specialist and marketing manager of Travel Leaders in Apple Valley, MN. “Some of the most popular winter destinations are Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean.”

Senior Maria Vogel, will be headed to one of those locations this Christmas. “Me and my family will be going to Cancun, Mexico” Maria said. “We are going because my extended family is getting together down there”. With Cancun’s average temperature in December being 75 degrees, Maria looks forward to flying down south. “I’m super excited for the warm weather and the sandy beaches”.

However, not every student is heading where there is salt water and palm trees. Junior Anna Rastetter, will be driving 13 hours to Ohio to have Christmas with her extended family. “Most of my family relatives live in Ohio so its fun getting to catch up with them,” Anna said. “Christmas is always more fun when you’re with family”.

Many students also have chosen just to stay home for the holidays. “My family will be staying in town for a comfortable Christmas at home”, said Senior Kailey McIntyre.

Both basketball teams and the boy’s hockey team will be representing PA in tournaments over the break. Boy’s basketball will be participating in a tournament in St. Cloud. Girl’s basketball will be playing at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Lastly, the boy’s hockey team will be competing in St. Cloud as well.

Travel Leaders offered some valuable tips if you are traveling this winter via plane. If you are traveling internationally, “make sure you are prepared with the proper documentation for all travel outside of the USA.  Passports are required for international travel and they need to be processed about 4-6 weeks prior to travel”, said Nora. Also, Travel Leaders of Apple Valley advises what not to pack in your carry-on when flying. Liquids over 3.4 ounces, sharp objects, fruits, tools and flammable items are just a few on the do not bring list. Avoid putting these objects in your bag, so you can get through security quicker.

Traveling during the holidays can be a stressful process, however if you are prepared, your trip can become worry free.