PA Upper School is Pumped for Pumpkins

For more than ten years, the Providence Academy Upper School students have competed against each other in their Houses every fall to decorate the best-looking pumpkin! It is not only a fun fall activity, but it is also a great way for students to bond with their Housemates. This year, each House was challenged to create and decorate a scarecrow that looked like their House advisor in addition to decorating a pumpkin.

In the Upper School, students are grouped together into Houses, and will remain in that House throughout their high school years. There are separate Houses for both boys and girls, consisting of mixed grades. They meet every day for ten minutes before first period, and also every Wednesday during white period for bonding and group activities. House is a great way to meet students from different grade levels, and its ultimate goal is to build a strong community at Providence. 

Mrs. Jendro, Upper School religion teacher, house advisor, and student spiritual director, echoed this, saying, “House gives opportunities you don’t normally have to build friendships across grades.”

The pumpkin decorating contest has been a tradition for a long time at PA, and it is a greatly anticipated event by students. This year, the student House leaders decided on a Sci-Fi theme for the competition, so each House was challenged to come up with futuristic ideas revolving around space or aliens for their pumpkin. 

Brandon Sattler, ’24, Nicholas Damberg, ’23, and Bennett Hilberg, ’24, members of Mu House, skillfully carve their pumpkin. PAW Photo Credit: Julia Holton and Gabby Rampetsreiter

Upper School Administrative Assistant Mrs. Gregg, Upper School Director Mr. Jaeger, and Upper School Dean Mr. McElroy judged the pumpkins based on imagination, creativity, and adherence to the sci-fi theme. The scarecrows were judged based on creativity and resemblance to each House’s advisor. 

ETA house wins the pumpkin decorating contest with their creation of ET Phone Home. PAW Photo Credit: Julia Holton and Gabby Rampetsreiter.

Mrs. Gregg loves judging every year, and this year was no exception. “I am so amazed every year by the creativity and artistic abilities of the students,” she commented.

Students consistently come up with creative ideas for the competition, but the best of this year included Eta House’s E.T. themed pumpkin and Beta House’s scarecrow, which was decorated to resemble Middle and Upper School English teacher Mrs. Teresa Claypool. With her face pasted to the top of the scarecrow’s frame and a perfect cardigan to match, the scarecrow was bound to win first place in its category.

Eta House member Clare Kistler was a major contributor to her House’s pumpkin, as she applied her artistic abilities to lead her House to victory. “I have taken art classes my whole life and have always enjoyed drawing and painting. It’s how I spend the majority of my free time. I’m currently in Studio Art 3 and really enjoy learning more. Mr. Santer is a wonderful teacher,” she remarked.

Members of Gamma house, Fiona Foster, ’25, Lily Regensburger, ’24, Elsbeth O’Connor, ’25, and Ellie Gagerman, ’25, work hard to carve their pumpkin. PAW Photo Credit: Julia Holton and Gabby Rampetsreiter

Beta House leader Kira Cmiel, ‘23, was eager to win this year’s contest. “Pumpkin decorating is a very fun activity that brings all of the House members together each fall. We looked forward to it this year,” she added.

House points were awarded to the House which decorated the best pumpkin and the best scarecrow. Throughout the school year, there will be many other opportunities for Houses to earn points, and at the end of the year, the House with the most points will win a prize.

No matter who wins each year, the pumpkin and scarecrow decorating contest will always be a great way for House leaders and members to have fun, get to know each other better, and demonstrate their creativity.

PA Hosts First “Super Soccer Saturday”

On Saturday, September 10th, Providence Academy and the Lions’ Soccer Booster Club hosted its first ever “Super Soccer Saturday” to celebrate the sport and Youth Soccer Day. 

The day was packed with fun, running from 9:00am to 12:00pm, with Lions games afterwards. 

The first activity on Super Soccer Saturday was an intramural soccer clinic for the “Cubs” (students in grades 3-5), and both boys and girls varsity team members volunteered to help the coaches run the program. It was a great experience for the aspiring PA soccer players to learn from the upper schoolers, who shared their love of soccer with them. 

Girls varsity soccer player Tatum Janezich, ‘25, said she volunteered not only to receive service hours, but also because, “I enjoy working with kids! It’s cool to help share the experience of being a soccer player with the younger ones.” 

Towards the end of the clinic, all of the younger soccer players broke into two teams—a girls’ team and a boys’ team—and played a very lively, but shortened game of soccer. Both teams even came up with their own chants to cheer each other on. The Middle School mini-scrimmages began shortly after the Cubs’ clinic, with both the girls’ and boys’ teams each playing an exciting match. 

The “Cubs” wrap up their clinic with a scrimmage. PAW Photo Credit: Maddyn Greenway

The players were not the only ones able to participate in the Super Soccer Saturday experience. Parents were able to watch their children play soccer while also enjoying the “Minnesota Carnivorium” food truck stationed at the fields and also the concessions. Even the varsity and JV girls’ teams gathered in community for a brunch that morning, to bond and fuel up before their own games against Wayzata High School and Heritage Christian Academy.

The girls’ junior varsity team played an exciting game against Wayzata High School, but unfortunately didn’t pull off a win. The boys’ varsity team faced off against Heritage Christian Academy, winning their matchup 2-1. And finally, the girls’ varsity team, who also took on Heritage Christian Academy, came out ahead with an 8-1 win.

Varsity boys’ goalkeeper Ben Martin, ’23, makes an impressive save. Photo credit: Jodi Lewis.

After the varsity game, to celebrate Youth Soccer Day, all youth players who wore a club or school soccer jersey received a free treat from the concession stand, which they could enjoy while they watched the Lions’ games. Many of the lower schoolers remained at Providence after their own soccer concluded to participate in this celebration and to cheer on the Lions.

The varsity Lady Lions in action on Mithun Field. PAW Photo Credit: Maddyn Greenway.

Fifth grader Annie Lee, who attended the Cubs’ Clinic, said that her favorite part of the day was, “The girls’ varsity game because my sister is on the team and I love watching the high schoolers play!” 

Overall, the PA Soccer Booster Club’s first Super Soccer Saturday was a success and a great experience for all players—lower, middle, and upper schoolers.

There is a possibility that this event will continue in future years, as Girls’ Varsity Head Coach Paul Cronin noted, “We would absolutely do it again. This is the first time we’ve done an event like this. It was very inspiring to see the older players serve as such good role models for all of the aspiring young players.” 

Perhaps the lower school students will someday be teaching young players how to play the sport they love, as varsity team members.