The Bubble

At Providence Academy, especially, there has been another phrase I have been uncomfortable with: the ‘Providence Academy bubble.’ Some find this cute, others find this unsettling, but the consensus is, this bubble exists. I have always interpreted this incubator in different ways. It could mean that the education system in unparalleled, teachers and students alike foster such an intellectually stimulating environment that places us above other schools, a floating bubble (I am sure admissions agrees with me). Others could say that this bubble is actually symbolizing the tight-knit community at Providence Academy, and our love and devotion is so deep that this separates us from other schools. This makes us, ‘A school like no other,’ and this is a definition that I actually do quite like. However, it is my senior year, a year of cynicism and criticism, and so came my third definition to attempt to properly describe the meaning of this ‘Providence Academy bubble.’

In my time at Providence Academy, although to be fair, it is only four years, I have not gone out to serve the local community. We did not spend time talking about the ails of women in the workforce, to help educate the women at PA. Nor have I read more than five books, whose authors are people of color or women. The change will only come when there is a demand for it, and as students, we honestly don’t care. To read Of Mice and Men, is the same as reading Their Eyes Were Watching God. When a PA student makes tie blankets for poor children in Minneapolis, or collects change to raise funds in Africa it is considered no different than serving at a soup kitchen in a rough area of city or providing healing via conversation with children in a homeless shelter.

This is not the fault of Providence Academy alone; it is vibrant among many schools, it is instilled in the hearts of our generation. When I created MSTC, I was doing it to rewrite that code. MSTC (Minnesota Students Taking Charge), is a public organization that I, with the help of Mary Olson, created. In order to really educate our generation, we sit down and have open discussions about these social issues like classism, racism, sexism and etcetera. And afterwards, we go out into the community and practice what we preach. It is open to high school students, no matter what your background, and joining is as easy as emailing me. The issue is not inherent in any institution or a single person; it starts with the children, with the teenagers, who perpetuate falsehoods because they haven’t had a desire to be taught anything different. I encourage students to join MSTC by emailing me, or simply telling others about it. It starts with us.

A Word from the Wise: The 2016 Presidential Race

PAW journalists share a few comments about this year’s presidential race…

Helena Peppin

The result of the election was unexpected, especially since the polls predicted Clinton would win. This could be because the media seemed to be largely pro-Clinton.  I did not expect Trump to beat Clinton. Although they both have faults, I think Trump winning the presidency does have its pros. Trump is better suited for presidency. I think this because he does many controversial things but the majority of his beliefs are in tune with the basic rights of the human person: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, some of his opinions I do not agree with.  Overall, I am happy Trump won, and I think he will surprise many during his presidency.




Riley Nechanicky

I knew it would be a really close race, and it definitely was! I am happy Trump won the election! I know that Trump could come off as arrogant, but he was not the night he won. After Hillary called Trump to concede, he made a public announcement. In his speech he was very thankful to the nation for electing him. I also think that it was impolite of Hillary to not give any speech or public announcement. Before the election the polls showed Hillary as the winning president. I think that this shows that elections can have surprising outcomes. There was a great upset, and many protests. For example, even in our own city of Minneapolis, thousands of people gathered to march down I-94, protesting against Trump, and the interstate was actually shut down for about 2 hours on Thursday night after the election. Many of these people marching were holding signs that read “Not my president,” but he is, he was voted president of the United States. I think that these protests are unneeded considering Trump won, and there is nothing that they can do about it now. I think Trump will make a great president and surprise many.  


Caroline Mahowald

If I had to sum up this election in one word, it would be crazy. This election feels different from the rest. It started off with Donald Trump deciding to run. On Twitter, many people thought that it was a joke and thought that he wouldn’t even get close to being president. But, as we saw, Trump rose in the polls and is now our president. There are very passionate people on both sides, and the protests spreading across the country prove this point. Protesters have been saying things like “Not my president”, or “We reject the president-elect”. I think that if the nation comes together, rather than being divided, Trump can accomplish great things.



Clara McMillan

Over the course of this election, I’ve heard dozens of passionate opinions circulating through the PA halls. What I haven’t heard enough of, however, is genuine respect for people who hold different or opposing views. Accusations and insults have often replaced our understanding and sincere respect, which are critical in disagreements. Though it may be difficult, all voters would benefit from a calm, polite discussion of views and opinions. This is the only way for us to grow and progress as a united community.





Joey Fafinski

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, a day no one in the entire Country will ever forget.  It was an election that Trumps all others.  It is the story of a man with no political background, an underdog the entire way through the race.  That is of course until the very end when he pulled off one of the biggest upsets ever seen in this Country. He was against very formidable competitors from Ted Cruz, to Marco Rubio and eventually, Hillary Clinton.  She was all that stood in the way of Trump and the presidency.  She was favored from the get-go especially because of her background in politics and because she was well-liked by President Obama.  Trump, however, did not care about doing things the old-fashioned way and he did some very non-conventional things while running.  In the end it turned out well for him because he won the Presidency.  Two weeks later the words still ring as loud as ever in every American’s’ ears, President Trump’s promise “make America great again.”



Blake Rothberg

The 2016 Presidential election was definitely one of the more interesting ones, for obvious reasons. Even though I wanted Huckabee to ultimately win, I am still excited about the results. Donald Trump may be a little bad at speaking, but at least he is not anything like Hillary Clinton. She is a traitor and a liar. Her involvement with the Americans killed in Benghazi is horrific, and her email scandal is bad too. So, overall, I’m pretty excited to make America great again.





Anjali Moothedan

The presidential election can be described as no other election in history. This year two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, went head to head for our 2016 President. Personally, I am glad Donald Trump won. Although there are rumors about him, I think he is the most mature out of both of them. For example, when Donald Trump won, Hillary didn’t even come out to say a speech. She just called Donald Trump to tell him she lost. She did not have the sportsmanship to congratulate him. Most people when they think of Donald Trump, they think he is unfit for the position and he thinks everything is a joke. But his speech after he won proved to many that he was not who everyone thought he was. Hillary did not even have the courage to admit her defeat; she instead hid from it. Donald Trump, I think, will be a good president.


Leah Barron

During this year’s presidential race, America was divided. Two unlikely candidates fought in an election like no other. Regardless of political views, everyone should be glad to be part of history and proud to be an American. There was no reported violence at the polling centers and no major fraud reports. Obama even invited Trump to the White House and Clinton conceded with dignity. In no other country would power be transferred so calmly. In this election Americans respected democracy and embodied what America stands for. Everyone should be proud to be an American.

The Effect of the Hurricane in Haiti

 “Haiti had been hit so hard by Hurricane Matthew, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, that people considered themselves lucky to be alive,” says Carlos Rawlins.
On Tuesday October 7th, one of biggest storms in a decade hit the Caribbean. Some lost their homes, loved ones, personal possessions, and are now left with nothing.

A citizen of Haiti walking through the streets with water up to his knees

Even though this storm was considered one of the worst to hit since 2010, it did not get enough recognition as it should have. Haiti is considered one of the poorest countries and, therefore, does not have as much protection from storms like hurricane Matthew. The US is supplied with protection. Its residents have secure, safe homes and insurance, so if there is damage to property, repairs can be made quickly.
Haiti does not have that opportunity. Some people live in straw homes they made because they have little to no money. And it is not just them that live there. Families crowd into a small space. The ground is dirty and muddy and they have no privacy. It’s horrible that they have to sleep on the ground, but

Haiti after the hurricane hit

imagine what it is like now after the hurricane. Their homes are flooded with water and are now left with nowhere to sleep.
Americans don’t tend to think about this devastation because they are so sheltered from it. They could never experience it because they have the privilege of being blessed with things that Haitians do not. Americans don’t sympathize as much as they should because they never take the time to fully understand how badly people were affected.
Americans shouldn’t be sheltered from this devastation.  Just because Americans don’t experience it doesn’t mean others don’t. Haitians are nice, smart people and deserve better than just sympathy. Americans can become more aware by listening and fully understanding the devastation that actually occurred. Americans have to see more than just a hurricane and see more of the effect it left.
If you want to donate to raise money for Haiti you can go to to help.


The “Senior Slide” Myth

The senior slide: the magical part of your senior year of school when the last three years of effort culminates into a complete and utter disregard of schoolwork and deadlines.
We’ve all heard about that one senior. The senior who took all the easiest classes his or her senior year, got a solid C average, still got into college, and had a great senior year. Despite how much any member of the senior class would deny it, we all want to be that kid. We all want to be taking two introductory language courses and a senior study hall for our core classes, but that just will not happen.
You see, Providence kids are a weird breed. We love to get A’s even when they mean nothing for our intelligence or our future. It is almost like we have a quasi-moral reverence for getting “good” grades and taking hard classes, causing senior year to be a slide in grade not for lack of effort, but for taking Biology, Chemistry, Calculus II, adding on a few leadership positions, staying just as involved in everything else, working for minimum wage (have you seen the price of college these days?), occasionally studying for and taking the ACT/SAT or SAT Subject tests, and completing college applications and supplemental essays like a fifth job. So, instead of taking it easy senior year and letting ourselves enjoy these fleeting moments of dependence and childhood, Providence seniors are commonly heard saying “end my suffering”, “the existential dread is setting in”, or even more regularly, “I got four hours of sleep last night! That’s the most I’ve gotten all week!”
So, why do seniors feel tremendous pressure to maintain that spotless GPA through senior year? Is it just personal drive? Or is it because we’ve been drilled for our entire education that grade is proportional to worth? If it is the latter, that could point to more serious underlying issues, like what we value about ourselves: that an A is more important than health; a degree from Harvard is more meaningful than a happy life, etc. If it’s the former, great! We may be try-hards, but we are motivated try-hards!
In the end, the senior slide seems to be nearly impossible for many Providence students because it so abandons everything we have been told at this institution since we started here: our grades matter, colleges care even after you get admitted, et cetera. While these are true, our time at Providence is almost up. We can never come back and repeat this time in our lives, and it is a waste to spend all of our time looking into the future when the present era is almost over. Maybe Providence should encourage seniors to take a bit of a break and enjoy the last seven months of high school. After all, I could really use some sleep.

[Author Mary Olson is one of the PAW’s “free-lance” writers. To learn how you can become a “free-lance” writer for the PAW, email Mrs. Simonson at [email protected]]

Editor-in-Chief reflects back on his time at the PAW


Incoming freshmen at Providence Academy are each tasked with the job of deciding what elective classes they want to take for their first year as a high schooler.

I came to PA my freshmen year only knowing a handful of people here and had no clue what I wanted to take. When I received the list of electives that were offered, one class caught my eye, journalism.

I have been writing for the PAW since my freshmen year, and I am very glad that I did. Writing for the PAW has been a major part of my high school career and I am very grateful for everyone who has helped me grow as a writer and as a journalist.

The PAW offers students many great opportunities to grow as writers as well as work on skills that they wouldn’t otherwise have worked on. Having to interview students and faculty members at PA helped me hone my people skills and helped me transition better into a new school. The first interview I ever did with Dr. Kevin Ferdinandt, when I was a freshman, was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life nonetheless I was able to get through it and learned a lot from those five minutes of asking Dr. Ferdinandt questions about the football field.

Writing for the PAW has been one of the most enjoyable things I have done at PA. Learning things about the inner workings of PA and getting the first look at some of PA’s plans for the future have definitely been highlights. The people I have worked with have all been great and amazing to learn from and write with. I have been lucky to have three great teachers help me become a better writer and editor.

I would highly recommend anyone who enjoys writing or is interested in journalism to sign up and write for the PAW. I am very grateful for my time writing for the PAW and for all of the help I have received from others. I would like to thank Mrs. Karen Burkhartzmeyer, Mr. Jack Sheehan, and Mr. Matthew Davis for helping develop my skills as a writer and as an editor. I am very grateful my the students that edited my articles and helped me figure out how to write well. I have very greatly enjoyed writing for the PAW and would like to thank PA for offering a class like the journalism class that lets students who love to write, write.

I will always remember writing for the PAW and how much it helped me. I strongly hope that more students will come to appreciate the PAW as much as I have and that it will grow. I am very grateful for everything that the PAW and PA has offered me, and with that I would like to say one last goodbye and thank you to the PAW.    

Charles Kral is the Editor-in-Chief of the PAW