Clean Up Time

by Tone Deinema, PAW Writer

As the refreshing spring breeze fills the air and the familiar furry animals return from their hiding places, it seems safe to say that the long Minnesota winter is over at last.  Many people take advantage of this new weather to clean and reorganize their houses, often dubbed “spring cleaning.”  Although spring cleaning is typically done only for your own benefit, consider helping others by donating the things you don’t need, such as the fuzzy slippers Aunt Sally gave you for Christmas that you never wore.

When going through all of your things, remember to keep the question, “Do I really need this?” on your mind.  There are so many people who lack the basic things that we take for granted, such as clothing, shoes, blankets, and personal care products.  By giving away the things you don’t need any more to a charity, you can truly make a difference.

There are a plethora of charities in Minnesota, among them Goodwill, ARC, and the Salvation Army.  According to Goodwill, “When you donate to Goodwill, you’ve taken the opportunity to become a job creator and make a significant difference in the lives of individuals living in your community.  After you drop off your shirts, shoes, blankets, electronics and other items, we sell them in one of our 3,000 Goodwill stores or on our online auction site,  When someone buys your item, we use that money to fund job training and other services.”

So, keep the many people in need close to your heart as you start your spring cleaning this year.  And remember, “For it is in giving that we receive,” (St. Francis of Assisi).

Zero Shades of Green

by Tone Deinema, PAW Writer

Have you ever found it odd that the very neat and professional Mr. David Harman, Dean of Students at Providence Academy, will every so often wear neon colored mismatched socks to school?  Despite it being obvious to everyone with normal color vision, Mr. Harman doesn’t notice his mismatching socks.  This is due to a genetic disorder called color blindness.

According to Biology teacher, Dr. Yvonne Boldt, “Color blindness is a sex-linked genetic disorder that results in defective color vision.  In males, inheriting a defective color vision gene leads to colorblindness.  Females have to inherit two defective copies of a color vision gene to be colorblind.”

Because men only have to inherit one defective color vision gene to get this disorder, color blindness is more common among males than females.  Approximately one in twelve men and one in two hundred women in the world are affected by color blindness.








This image demonstrates how a person with color blindness perceives color)

Mr. Harman does not think of himself as color blind, but more “color challenged.”

“I’ve known for 7 years,” says Mr. Harman on his defective color vision.  “My first PA sophomore class delighted in pointing it out to me.”

Although color blindness may sound like it’s a life changing disorder, it really is more of a nuisance that those affected don’t think much about.  Mr. Harman explains that sometimes he’ll pair mismatching socks and pants (something his wife gets a kick out of), but it’s not a very big deal for him unless he’s at the mall.

“I have a hard time with colors in the gray-blue-green spectrum — now, instead of assuming I am purchasing, say, a gray article of clothing, I ask my wife or someone in the store, just to be sure,” reflects Mr. Harman.  “Sometimes a sales person will give me an awkward look when I ask ‘is this gray or green–or blue’; on the whole, though, I’ve enjoyed having an answer to the question: ‘can I help you.’”

So, the next time you see Mr. Harman walking through the yellow hallways at Providence Academy wearing a vibrant pair of socks, you could be a Good Samaritan and politely let him know… or not.

PA Thespians Perform the Crucible at Sections

by Tone Deinema, PAW Editor

“I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!” (The Crucible)

Would you expect your peers at Providence Academy to perform a play about girls going out of their minds and pretending to be witches?  Probably not.  However, this year PA thespians really outdo themselves by taking on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and wowing the audiences and judges with their incredible performance.

“The story is a historical look at the Salem Witch Trials during the 1690’s,” says Mrs. Melissa Simmons, drama teacher at Providence.  “Much of the dialogue is taken word for word from court documents and record. However Miller wrote it as an allegory to McCarthyism.  It’s dark, wordy, and incredibly complex in it’s entirety. For contest we are limited to 35 minutes, so we only performed a cutting (part) of the show.”

Although their time was limited for such a powerful play, the PA thespians put in all they had.  Since this is a true story and all of the roles were actually real people, each cast member researched and really got to know their own character.

“This year’s cast and crew went above and beyond that of previous PA productions in their preparations” says Mrs. Simmons.

And their hard work paid off.  The PA students finished second place at sub-sections, beating their nemesis SPA, and earning a spot at sections.  At sections, they earned fourth place, and beat the school that took first place at subsections.

“The subjective nature of contest is probably the hardest part,” says Mrs. Simmons.  “It’s not like a sport where the scoreboard makes sense (a free throw is one point, a lay up is two and a three pointer is… well, you get the idea).  Instead, imagine taking three strangers, pulling 5-8 random book or movie titles out of a hat, and asking those three strangers to rank those book or movie titles by preference.  One who likes comedy is going to put the funny movie at the top, and someone else might see it as ‘stupid humor’ and put it at the bottom of their list.”

Since the judging is subjective, no one knows what the judges will like each time around.  Therefore, all anyone can do is their best.

“This group was the hardest working group I’ve ever worked with in PA theatre,” says Michael Villafana ‘15, crew member of The Crucible.  “I was glad I got to work with every single cast and crew member.”

No College for You?

Study hard, get good grades, get into a prestigious university, get an impressive degree, and get your dream job!  Does this general “plan” sound familiar?

However, have you ever thought about not going to college, or simply going to community college?

I know, I know – I might have well just said that pigs could fly.  According to Mrs. Mary Sue Walker, Assistant College Counselor at Providence Academy, “Over the last three years there have been one or two students who have not enrolled directly in a four year college. As far as vocational schools I am not sure we have had a student pursue that path. There are a variety of reasons student pursue other options but for the most part our student body is one that plans to pursue a bachelors degree.”

However, what if I told you that by not going to a university, you might make more money than if you never even went in the first place?  According to the United States Department of Labor, “Of the nearly 3 million youth age 16 to 24 who graduated from high school between

January and October 2013, about 2.0 million (65.9%) were enrolled in college

in October.”  Of those young adults, about 6 out of 10 attended a 4 year university.  That means that only about 40 percent of recent high school graduates have gone to a 4 year university.  Clearly, going to college is not for everybody.  And not being among the 40% who choose to take on four more years of higher education does not mean that your success is limited.  Take Justin Friend, for example.

Coming from a background of intellectuals, Justin Friend’s parents both have doctoral degrees and have worked as university lecturers and researchers.  Although expected to attend a university, Justin decided to take another path: he attended Texas State Technical College in Waco, and received a two-year degree in welding.  Stupid, right?  Wrong.

During his first year as a welder, Justin made $130,000.  The next year, his income rose to a whopping $140,000.  With this comfortable salary, Justin has bought a $53,000 Ford F-250 pickup truck, and has been able to trifle in his hobbies, such as making jet engines.  Plus, he saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in college debt!  Your career path does not have to be all about money, but even if you do not attend a four year university, you can still have financial security along with a job you are passionate about.

If going to community college (or never going to college at all) is somehow against everything you believe in, there are still other options for you to take a small break from school after graduation.  Have you ever considered taking a gap year?

According to, a gap year is, “the year after secondary education in which the graduate takes time off for travel, work or public service before making a decision whether to go on to higher education.”  Taking a gap year is a beneficial way to gain life experiences living away from your family and taking on responsibilities before you commence into a university.

There are many routes to take from high school graduation into your early adulthood, and there’s no need for everyone to rush off to college.  Going in a different direction is a viable option that is worthwhile for everyone to consider.