Annie Choreographer: The Brains Behind the Dancing

Courtesy of Katy Stromberg
Courtesy of Katy Stromberg

When a flash mob surprised parents and alumni at PA’s annual Gala a few weeks ago, and the Department of Fine arts presented Annie a week ago, both performances had a surprising common denominator – ‘choreographer extraordinaire’ Katy Stromberg.

Backed by a lifetime of dance, theatre at the collegiate level, and 11 years of choreographing, Stromberg has found herself at Providence by a series of fortunate events.

“I’ve been very lucky that I haven’t had to seek jobs,” said Stromberg.

Stromberg recollects growing up in a family of dancers. “I’ve been dancing since I was five years old. It’s just something that I’ve always liked.”

In the eighth grade she began teaching dance classes but did not enter the world of Musical Theatre until her days at University of Minnesota-Duluth.

“My dance instructor had a Musical Theatre program… I accidentally got cast as a character in the show Hello, Dolly! and decided that I liked it,” she said.

After asking if she aspired to make dance her profession, Strmberg revealed, “I never saw dance as my main source of income, I was a Psychology major… I did it [dance] for the enjoyment.”

Today she works an office job at the Breck School during the day and choreographs for Chaska Valley Family Theatre and Providence Academy in the evenings. Blessed also with a baby boy, Stromberg’s life remains as busy as ever. Still, she repeatedly assures, “I have been very lucky.”



Club to Varsity Sport: The Lacrosse Trend

PA lacrosse players celebrate a victory. Courtesy of Matthew Murphy ’14

Two years ago, a small group of dedicated Providence Academy lacrosse players began playing together as a club. This year, boys lacrosse became a varsity sport with 20 more participants than when the club began.

“Lacrosse has definitely affected the athletic program at Providence positively,” said captain Nicholas White ’14. “Every boy who has tried lacrosse in the program for the first time has stayed with it; the retention rate is incredible.”

Player John Ogren ’14 serves as a prime example.

“I played tennis for a long time and got kind of sick of it. I wanted to play a more physical sport, my friends had started it, and the only other sports were baseball and golf,” said Ogren.

Much of the team has a story quite like Ogren’s – joining lacrosse as a secondary sport and continuing with it.

However, not all spring sports captains have the same optimism.

Track and field captain Allie Wooden ’14 said that “the [track and field] commitment level went down. When [lacrosse] first started, it took a couple guys from the team, and there were many guys trying to do both.”

Sailing captain Frances Christianson ’14 echoes Wooden’s sentiment.

“We haven’t known our team without the lacrosse team, but I know that there were a lot of guys interested in lacrosse,” Christianson said. “We only have two guys whereas other teams are mostly guys – it sometimes hurts us in competition.”

When asked if baseball rosters have been affected, captain Jesse Barron ’13 said that he didn’t think so.

Regardless of “lax’s” unintended consequences, it is hard to ignore the statistics: this season marks a 62.5% increase in participation from the inaugural season. The 52 players are divided into three teams – Varsity, Junior Varsity, and U15 – making it one of the largest sports at Providence. And most remarkably, the program has maintained a 100% retention rate.

“Lacrosse is a new sport to not only Providence but Minnesota… Not only are there an exorbitant amount of kids in the program, but Providence is now attracting students to enroll because of the lacrosse team,” said White.

Opinion: Raising Minimum Wage a Balancing Act

Courtesy of Franklin Friday via Creative Commons.
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This week, Minnesota lawmakers approved raising the state’s minimum wage. The law will be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton who has already agreed to sign it.

Key aspects include raising the minimum wage by 2016 to $9.50 for large businesses and $7.75 for small businesses and increasing wages annually thereafter. Currently sitting at $6.15, minimum wage in Minnesota is among the lowest in the nation – the increase would propel Minnesota into the top five.

On the Federal level, President Obama hopes to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and even cited Minnesota’s Punch Pizza in his State of the Union Address as a forerunner in what should be a positive change. As a student that has worked much of high school, and even at Punch Pizza, I’m not so sure.

As a Sophomore, I worked at Punch’s Wayzata location and I worked at the Original Pancake House in Maple Grove my Junior year. As a suburban high schooler, I can’t really speak to the full-time employees who are expected to survive on a mere $15,080  a year, but I can say this: $7.25 is not a lot.

At first, I did not mind it, but then my parents slowly began expecting me to spend more of my money and less of theirs in order to further “appreciate” what I have. As annoying as it was, it actually worked. Lessons aside, I also learned what $7 can’t get you.

How about we try a simulation? Consider a day in the life. Coffee and a donut? $8. Captain America and Noodles? $20. Your gym shoes? $70. Now, try harder. Food? Maybe $20/day. A car? Upwards of $20,000. A house? Even more. This is the reality for many Americans every day, and I have to say, it just doesn’t seem right.

As with any issue, however, there is another reality we have to consider. This is a different one, that of the employer. How about we make this a small business? Easier math. I have $1,000 to spend on service. If I pay each $50, I can employ 20 people. If their wage rises to $75, something has to give; Either I choose to maintain my budget and cut 7 of my employees or experience a depression in revenue. Once again, we are faced with a solution that is not ideal.

As a future Economics major, I am compelled to look at the macro-effects of the increase. One of the provisions of the bill is to increase wages annually. As a country trying to increase the value of its currency, this hardly seems a prudent move. Though the increase would be capped at 2.5% the proposal would still fuel inflation. In the long term, it would serve our economy better to fight inflation, not fuel it.

While I do think that an increase of minimum wage will be beneficial, I do not think that the provision for inflation is in any way necessary. As a worker and citizen I hope no federal action will be taken and that my lawmakers will work towards a revision of the bill. As the results begin to roll in, rest assured that I will be watching.





The Advent of freedom – getting your license

photo 3With their sixteenth birthdays upon them, many sophomores find themselves excited for a perceived advent of freedom – getting your license. Alex Spichke ’16 is one of the hopefuls, stating, “I just want to go to Caribou.”

Spichke has already turned sixteen and feels behind. She may not be missing out on much, though. When asked how her life has changed because of  her driving capabilities, Frances Christianson ’14 said, “I got a job.”

Both Allie Wooden ’14 and Brenna Smith ’14 nodded in agreement.

But rewind about two years. How did these upperclassmen first approach the wheel? Let’s take a look.

The day I got my license…

“I was excited… I always wanted to go to the store and buy stuff.” – Maria Vogel ’15

“I felt happy.” -Vince Sellner ’14.

“I was so excited. I had to miss the day we went to Afton but it was worth it.” – Allie Wooden ’14

“I had to miss ‘bio’ so I was happy about that too.” – Christa Peterson ’14

What changed when I got by licence…

“I have to drive my siblings everywhere, I volunteer a lot more… I coach volleyball, I can work more, I can hang out with my friends more.” – Maria Vogel ’14

“Insurance rates go up and you have to run errands. I drive myself to school.” – Vince Sellner ’14

“You have to run errands.” – Brenna Smith ’14

“Everyone wants to see your car if you have an embarrassing car like me.” – Christa Peterson ’14


“You’re not all that… If you dance or sing in the car you will get caught. People will notice.” – Christa Peterson ’14

“Don’t speed – go really, really slow in the snow.” – Frances Christianson ’14

“Use your blinker.” – Brenna Smith ’14

It’s hard to imagine anything that could dissuade a soon-to-be sixteen year old from driving, but these more seasoned drivers advise carefulness: in this weather especially. Maria Vogel reminds drivers, “You could die… You have a lot more responsibility.”

Movie Review: “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”


Looking for something to see during Christmas break? Check out The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

A few years ago Suzanne Collins’ seriesThe HungeGames caught the attention of director Gary Ross. “I read it and was as taken with it as everyone else…I shut the book and instantly knew that I wanted to do the movie,” said Ross. Ross’s film premiered in March of 2012. There are three books in the series though The Hunger Games will be made into four movies.

Francis Lawrence directed the second movie, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Movie-goers this past weekend took place in the biggest November opening of all time and the fourth biggest debut behind The Avengers ($207.4 million), Iron Man ($174.1 million), and the final Harry Potter movie ($169.2 million).

The movie calls itself Action/Adventure and achieves just that.  Unlike the first movie, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is not dominated by the necessary fighting of the games. As a result, the movie is just over 2 hours (133 minutes) yet never feels long.

Though his name may not ring a bell, director Francis Lawrence is respected in the field. Lawrence has extensive experience in the music video industry even earning a Grammy for his work on Lady Gaga’s  music video “Bad Romance.” He directed the movie Water for Elephants and the Fox television series Touch. Lawrence has already been asked to direct The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

Collins’ enrapturing story was made possible by the above average cinematography that Jo Willems employed. The blue-grey set and costumes worked together to place the viewer Everdeen’s home,  Pan Am. However, with cliche victory tunes and disengaging instrumentation, James Newton Howard’s music score was disappointing.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire boasts a star-studded cast including Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, and Jennifer Lawrence as protagonist Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence’s impressive resume includes an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award. After seeing Catching Fire, it’s not hard to see why; Lawrence’s performance is effortless and poignant, she is as shocked at Pan Am’s atrocities as the viewer is and her painful goodbye isn’t hard to relate to. Though the movie may not be up for any awards in the upcoming season, Lawrence’s performance alone certainly garners respect.

Backed by an intriguing tale, solid technical elements, and an accomplished cash, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire beckons you this holiday week. May the odds be ever in your favor.