We’re Building It, And They Will Come

by Sam Geelan, PAW Writer

As you look out Providence Academy’s west windows, you can finally see a turf field!  The weather has been better than last spring and there is hope for PA’s football team to have the opportunity to play their home games with new stands and a new turf field.

I stopped in to speak with the Director of Advancement, Michael Scholl, who is a part of the PA team in charge of the Athletic Sports Complex Project.  Mr. Scholl was very excited on the progress and gave me his insights for the project going forward.  “When the PA students return to school in September, the new turf field will be ready to go.”   To all football players, ”Get fired up, you will be the first team to play on our new awesome football field.”  Also, the stadium will have both home and visitor’s stands, and the track completed.  The tennis courts will not be ready when school begins, however hopefully before the Girls’ Tennis schedule is completed (keep your finger crossed ladies).  Hopefully, the boys and girls soccer teams will be able to play their games on the turf and when the snow flies, the dome will be inflated so other student athletes will be able to train for their sport.

Next, update on the completion of the Field House.  This large structure will be located on the south side of the field, it will provide concessions, restrooms and additional storage. However the completion time line is early 2016.  One of the reasons for the delay is PA officials had to go back to the city of Plymouth for a height variance.  They received a unanimous approval from city officials.  Mr. Scholl gave me a sneak preview regarding PA’s Homecoming plans for next fall. “We are very excited for Homecoming and Grandparents day for the Upper and Middle schools because both are on the same day, Friday October 9th, 2015.  The administration is planning for the Grandparents and special persons to spend time with their grandchildren and special friends throughout the school day. When classes conclude for the day, PA will host a fancy reception for the entire PA community until it’s time to walk over and cheer for a Lion victory.  Our opponent is a co-op team that includes the Blake Bears, Minnehaha Red hawks, and St. Paul Academy Spartans on the new turf field!”  In addition, Mr. Scholl said that there will be a “Big Event” at halftime, so make sure your phones are charged up to record.

Finally, on the 50-yard line, the turf will have the PA shield representing Faith, Knowledge, and Virtue.  After the football games, be sure to take pictures with your friends and family next to the PA shield.  For completion of a project like this our PA community has persevered like never before, which is a testimony to these virtues.  One final note about the completion of the new turf field inspired by Calvin Coolidge is “Press On- Nothing in the world cam take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan Press On has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

What Makes PA Spring Sports So Great!

by Sam Geelan, PAW Sports Writer

The snow is gone, the turf is turning green, and the providence Academy athletes are on the field.  Time for the 2015 spring sports preview.

Boys Golf:

Congratulations to the boys 2014 team for winning the Class AA Title.  This is the first State Championship for boys sports in Providence Academy history.  Sophomore Paul Stankey gave his thoughts on the 2015 season and last year’s State title: “We have a lot of young talent and I’m excited to see everyone get some varsity experience. We will keep working hard and getting better all year and throughout the off-season.  Of course winning the state title is the ultimate goal of any team in high school athletics. But as of right now, we need to prepare and play every match with intensity and focus to perform well in conference and section play. That is the best way to put us in a position to achieve our ultimate goal of a state title.”

Stankey says the teamwork that went into this historic victory is its own special reward. “It gives you a buzz you can’t get by just playing for yourself. We all did our part, and with 5 seniors and a coach who were all playing their last year as a Lion, it made winning feel that much better.”

Girls Golf:

 The 2014 Conference Champions are ready for a successful season.  Captain Sam Ahl’s thoughts on the season: “With our new head coach this season we are looking to build off of our great season last year. We have some younger girls playing up this year, so it will be exciting to see how they do in some varsity matches. We are hoping to make it to the State tournament as a team or to have some individuals qualify to compete this season.”

Senior Christina Stankey offered her perspective: “Providence has built a really strong golf program over the past several years. Many girls on the team play tournaments and practice hard in the offseason, and that really pays off during the season in terms of experience and consistency in matches. This year, the team is looking to be strong with a core group of players who have played varsity for the last several years. In terms of goals, we are hoping to follow up the last two years of conference wins with a strong showing in our new conference. Breck is our biggest competition, and as they are in IMAC   and in our section, we will be playing them several times this season.”


Ice-Out on Lake Minnetonka this year happened three weeks earlier than last year. This is great news for the PA Sailing club to hop back into their C420 sailboats to prepare for the upcoming regattas.  Junior Grace Cummins enjoys meeting people from other schools such as BSM, Wayzata, Orono and Chanhassen. This year Providence was invited to a National regatta.  “Our goal is to keep improving and recruiting new students to join the sailing club. The PA team has only been around for four years,” Cummins said.

Clay Targets:

This is the first season for PA students. Sophomore Colton Murphy helped get this new sport approved. I asked for his thoughts: “I am excited that we had 79 students signed up to shoot clay targets. So far we have had only shot practice rounds, however I believe we will have a winning team this season.  Our team is young with tons of potential.  All in all, I am fired up to see what this new sport brings to Providence this season.”


Boy’s baseball is in full swing with a 4-1 record start to this season.  Last year’s winning record was 12-4.  With nine returning seniors, there are high expectations for this season.  Senior Will Wade, gave me his thoughts: “ We have a good group of guys this year and plenty of leadership on the team. We also have a good core of young guys who will contribute to the team. Our goal is to play well and go into sections at our peak so we can make a solid run in the post season this spring.”

Senior Joe Baird weighed in on the team’s prospects: “The 2015 Baseball team is looking to build off last year’s success.  We were seeded number one in our section playoffs.  The team is looking to even go further this year and make it to the State tournament. One game at a time is what the team is focused on.”

Boys Tennis:

 Due to construction, the boy’s tennis home courts for this season will be played at Golden Valley Country Club. Captain Alex “Bus” Witkowski looked into his crystal ball and made his predictions: “The Boys tennis team is really fun this year; we have mostly upper classmen except two young guns who are in 7th and 9th grade. We like to play the infamous “Go Lob” and bump to some jams whether its Bob Marley or Kaya, but this team has worked hard early in the season and they truly have a thirst for winning. We have a tough schedule with Breck, Blake, and SPA this year but we are a scrappy athletic team who is not afraid to compete.  When it comes to expectations its as simple as winning as many matches we can while still enjoying the game of tennis. And we hope to have plenty of fans at home!”

Boys Lacrosse:

 Boy’s lacrosse team is off to a 1-1 start to this season.  They finished 2014 with a 5-8 record.  Growth in skills and participation are improving every season on the LAX field. “If you like hockey, come out and watch Lacrosse!” says Senior David Ritz.“We have a young team this year. We are getting into good habits and have been successful so far this year. Our goal is always improvement; perfecting what we work so hard on in practice in game situations.”


Girl’s softball team has 1-2 start for 2015 and finished 8-6 in 2014.  Center fielder Annika White is busting with pride: “As a senior captain I have never been more proud of any team. Each player dedicates themselves 110%. This year we have added morning practices in addition to our afternoon practices, this will give us the needed edge over our   opponents. Our team has a saying, “If what you did yesterday is still great then you didn’t do enough today.”

Track: Girls and Boys:

This season both teams will practice at Blake school due to construction delays. Trent Wiebusch, Trey Wiebusch, and Reed Trende shared their thoughts on this season.

“The track team has a lot of potential this season, “Trent said. “We are focusing on building the team atmosphere. Despite not having a track, the team is working hard and overcoming the obstacle of bus rides down to Blake. The talent is growing and developing and we are glad to have a nice number of middle schoolers to set a strong foundation for the future. We have many athletes looking for high achievements this season. Eyes are on school records and strong section performances, but the true goal of the team is to help each other grow to become the best versions of ourselves, giving our best efforts and valuing the journey and its lessons more than the results.”

Trey Wiebusch echoed his brother’s optimism: “The team is looking awesome this year.  Many of the records on the board will        be up for grabs, and energy is high, but our goals consist of more than just records and results.  It’s about the process, and we hope to continually build a program         that, despite not actually having a track, forms student-athletes and prioritizes hard work, teamwork, and commitment.”

“The track kids really are all around just a great group of kids,” Trende said. They are exceptionally fun, polite, and dedicated, and these attitudes show in our practices.            As for expectations, I can’t speak much on the sprinters side, but for distance, we        have a really solid group of guys this year. We have a couple guys who are doing really well and maybe have a shot at state as individuals, and the rest of the guys             are all very solid and consistently perform well. Same goes for the distance girls.          I’m looking forward to see how much everyone is able to improve this season!”

Girls Captain Becca Schoenfelder sees lots of promise in the athletes she leads.

“I am really excited for the girls’ track team. The sprinters, jumpers, throwers, and distance athletes all are performing very well this year,” Schoenfelder said. “Our best distance runner graduated last year, but I am confident that we will have just as successful of a season this year. I have been pleasantly surprised at the talent on our team, as well as the effort the girls put in during practices. Our goals are to send as many people to state as we can, and to just have fun while bettering ourselves. Any event in track could make it to state. The boys 4×100 runners are always pretty good, as well as the jumpers. Hopefully we’ll get some throwers or distance runners to the state meet this year! My teammates truly are family to me, and I am so blessed to be a part of the team. As the only senior distance runner, it is so much fun to watch all my younger teammates improve in their races and grow in character as well. My teammates are my best friends, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the track season goes. I know we are going to have an exciting season for the entire track team!”

What makes PA spring sports so great is the heart of every athlete, coach, bus driver, and team manager.  The Lion’s Pride is definitely alive in all these players in spring sports this season. They are a part of something bigger, and more powerful than ever! Today is your day, your season, go out and show us how great you are, best of luck to all the spring teams- GO LIONS!!!  Senior Joe Baird shared the baseball team’s Motto, which pretty much sums up the attitude of all PA athletes: “Tradition Never Graduates.”

PA Boys Basketball Team Wins First Section Games In School’s History

by Samuel Geelen, PAW Sports Writer

The Providence Academy boys’ varsity basketball team won their first sections games in the school’s history by defeating Howard Lake –Waverly- Winsted 57-47 and Watertown-Mayer 67-66 in double overtime.  ESPN  play-by-play announcers, Seniors Joe Baird and Matt Ferreira hosted “Thursday Night Showcase” in PA style firing up the fans for the first victory.


Saturday Primetime quarterfinals section victory with double OT was one of the most exciting games Joe and Matt had ever watched in their high school career.  The Lions had a tough loss on “Super Tuesday” in Section 5AA semifinals to Breck 62-64, closing out the season.


I reached out to Coach Lamar Detert to hear his insights regarding the fan support during the first section game hosted at Providence Academy.


“ The fan support especially during the sections has been great.  You have to love it when ESPN comes to the house and the parents and friends are great but the student section during Saturday’s double overtime win was off the charts.  Their enthusiasm helped raise our level of excitement when we needed it most.  All the “coach speak” in the world can’t replace what the crowd gave to the boys.  That is what high school sports is all about and I hope that great example continues and that everyone learns to support each and every sport in the school with the same great enthusiastic and fun time we had the privilege to be part of the last couple of games.  We have an opportunity to be different as a school and I hope we can, it would be a true victory for all of us.”

I asked Coach Detert to share his thoughts about the winning regular season.

“Much of the season saw us play well but not for all 36 minutes of a game.  Whether it was mental or physical we thought we were missing out on 5 minutes in each game and against the stepped up competition we had this year you just can’t give away possessions or miss easy opportunities.  Add that to a number of injuries and illnesses we felt we underperformed on some nights even though we had a winning record. To the credit and character of the team we figured it out and started playing great team basketball at the end of the season going in to tournament play.   Basketball is the longest season in high school sports so what you do in December and January is rarely remembered come tournament time.  We aren’t as flashy as some teams and we don’t have one guy you have to stop but we have become a team that values the ball, understands shot selection and one that will work its tail off and battle you from start to finish.”

Our seniors have stepped it up and their leadership role on the practice and game floor at the end of the season has been a big plus for us.”

“We don’t focus on any one player and our team shares the ball as well as any high school team out there.  Our defense has been seldom noticed but we are keeping teams on the average under 50 points a game, which is outstanding.”

“We’ve had a variety of starting lineups, leading scorers and with the injuries and illnesses the “next man up” approach and our players being able to perform when called on is a tribute to their commitment to the team.”

“Whether somebody plays the whole game, just a few minutes or just contributes in practice the number one goal of this team has been to be successful by being there for each other.  The few weeks have been very enjoyable not because we have won games but because of the hard work and the mental focus the young men have displayed day after day.  I am very proud of all of them for their dedication and sacrifice as well growing as young men on and off the floor.  We have said since day one of taking the program over if we do things the right way on and off the floor…winning will take care of itself.  What no one sees are the things away from the court.  Saturday’s post-game locker room will be one to remember.  Our seniors deserve a lot of credit for stepping up and setting the tone not only now, but also for the future.  As we said in the summer….tradition starts here.”

Congratulations to all the players of Boys basketball on your two consecutive winning seasons and the first section wins!

The Historical St. Valentine

To the Church and Christians, Saint Valentine was a courageous priest who died for love and lived to share it.  Born in Terni, Italy over 1800 years ago, Bishop Valentine became known as the “Protector of Lovers.”  In secrecy, Bishop Valentine married young people even though it was against the law.  He was a defender of women’s rights and believed women had a better survival rate if they were married, because there was no protection for them.  Also, it was said Bishop Valentine cured the disabled, so people began to believe in him and this inspired many to convert to Christianity.  However, Claudius II, the Roman Emperor, believed that men should be soldiers, not in love and promised to marriage.  Claudius II did not like St. Valentine or people converting to Christianity.  St. Valentine was imprisoned and later beheaded.  Before his murder on February 14th, he wrote a note from his prison cell, sent back by a dove, signed “From your Valentine.”  Maybe this is the reason why we send Valentine cards, candy and flowers to our loved ones?


I reached out to a few PA students to hear their plans for Valentines Day.  Senior Ryan Richelsen, was planning to drive to see his girlfriend two hours away and spend the day together.  Ryan replied “We are planning to go hiking on the bluffs, going to dinner, and then skating.”  Senior “Seabass” Brown and Megan White had dinner at Wayzata Country club and then hung out afterwards at Megan’s house.  Juniors Ryan “Hoogs” Hoogenakker, Samantha Russell, Mary Benites and myself all met at a nice restaurant for good food and conversation.  Junior Alex “Bus” Witkowski made plans with a friend from tennis, Anna Harlan. They went to Bacico for dinner and then back to Alex’s place to watch TV and talk.  Valentines day is celebrated many different ways, however let’s remember who and what St. Valentine did for others.

Balancing School Work and After-School Jobs

by Samuel Geelan, PAW Writer


During our High School years, some Providence Academy students are searching for independence, their own money to spend on what ever they want, and after-school jobs give them the opportunity to achieve their desires, but at what cost?  Although it can be time consuming, a few extra bucks in your pocket could pay for gas, taking a date to a movie, or buying Madden NFL 15.  However, working some weeknights and weekends can lead to insufficient time for homework, meetings at Lund’s to prepare for group presentations, essay deadlines, and exams.  Trying to manage parity between thirty-five hours in class per week and a part-time job is a balancing act.

I recently interviewed three PA students who currently have after-school jobs.  The first, “entrepreneur” junior Noah Binstock developed his own businesses as a chauffer, designing workout and nutrition plans, and worked as a ski instructor.  “Binny” wants to be independent, and to pay for his fun he needed a job.  He enjoys his responsibilities picking up his neighbor kids from school and bringing them home.  On the weekends, he teaches kids how to ski.  Binny says,  “having a job has taught me time management and the value of money.”  His biggest challenge is not enough time to complete his homework or studying on occasion, however he always puts his sleep first.

Austin Duncan, a junior who works at Starbucks shared his thoughts; “I got the job to earn money for a down payment on a car lease.”  He said that trying to balance a heavy school workload along with working 15-20 hours a week has been very challenging.  His job can get annoying when he has lots of homework, or it conflicts with social plans.  Overall, Austin has learned a lot about time management, and heavy workloads from multiple sources.

Finally, Senior Joe Baird, who is employed as a host at the Lafayette Club on Lake Minnetonka.  Joe also wanted to have his own spending money, because he did not want to ask his parents for cash.  When it comes to school, Joe’s challenge is trying to manage a work shift the night before a test. However the seasoned veteran with two years of work experience does not complain. Instead, he plans ahead and studies days in advance of his exam.  He also works with college dropouts, and has come to realize a college degree is very important because he does not want to end back at the Lafayette Club as a host forever.  Joe believes his job has taught him life lessons in time management, and the value of money because he is more careful with his spending.

To answer the question, if working fifteen hours a week after-school lowers grades you have to ask yourself if students really would spend that time studying.  Data from the Institute for Social Research, “indicated students working more than 15 hours a week begin to see adverse academic effects.”  As a result, overworked students tend to sleep more and have less family time.

From a positive perspective, PA students who work earn more than a paycheck.  These talented neophytes in the work place have learned; how to manage their time, a sense of responsibility, what it means to earn a dollar, and greater efficiency at multi-tasking.  Overall, after-school jobs offer priceless lessons that seem to outweigh the consequences of their sacrifices.  Enjoy your independence and hard earned cash, however make sure that your schoolwork gets done!