Track and Field prepares for sections

Providence Academy 2013 Track team wraps up another eventful and succesful season. This Thursday May 30th and this Saturday June 1st the team will particpate in sections, hoping to continue their season.   After a delayed and shortened season due to the unpredictable weather, the team still came out with a strong noteworthy season.

Trent Wiebusch ‘15  said “The track season was cut short because of the weather, but everyone has had a great season and the team is looking forward to the section meet this Saturday, June 1st.

This years track team will have to say goodbye to the loyal seniors who have been a part of track for many years. The team says goodbye to seniors Michael Warren, Michael Paulus, Jack Claseman, Maddie Murphy, and Nathalie Ratliff as they move on to bigger and better things.

The team is looking forward to another successful year in the tri-metro conference for the 2014 track season.

The sailing club braves the waves

The sailing team continues their season during the extremities of Minnesota winter. - Tone Deinema
The sailing team continues their season during the extremities of Minnesota winter. – Tone Deinema

Fresh air; warm sun; breezy wind; cool waters.  These are some words that may come to mind when thinking of sailing.

But mother nature had other ideas for Minnesota sailing teams this past season.

Fresh air? More like frostbite.

Warm sun? Nonexistent.

Breezy wind? A high school student at Benilde went into hypothermic shock.

Cool waters? Frozen lakes, to be exact.

So with Minnesota snow and ice all the way up through May, what happened to sailing?

According to Charlie Christianson, ’13, “The season started off rough with a late ice out. Eventually we did get out on the lake, dodging ice for the first few weeks. Once the ice cleared, we started practicing like we normally would.”

Though the weather was not ideal in the least, the sailing team embraced the merciless weather, and faced the waters with a determined attitude.  After practicing in semi-normal conditions for a while, the sailing team headed to multiple regattas, which are boat races, and ended their season at co-ed state.

“All in all,” Christianson concluded, “It was a short but good season.”

There you have it. Hopefully next year the lakes will not be frozen in the middle of spring, but if they are, the sailing team has a year of experience under their belt.

Steve Forbes Visits PA

Mr. Steve Forbes spoke to PA students earlier this month. - Submitted photo
Mr. Steve Forbes spoke to PA students earlier this month. – Submitted photo

“I hope you’re missing a class you wanted to miss.”

This was the opening statement of Steve Forbes’s May 1 speech at Providence Academy.

PA students, teachers and parents queued to meet the editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine (and two-time Presidential candidate) after he spoke that morning on matters economic, social and entrepreneurial, with what the audience regarded as candidness.

“I thought he did a great job connecting with the students,” said Mr. Michael Maglich, Member of the Board of Directors. “I thought it was great how he mentioned he wasn’t a good student.”

Forbes reinforced that no one has a perfect life.

“No matter how good you are, you’re gonna get hit by curveballs as you go through life,” Forbes said. “You’re gonna get hit by things for which there is not a playbook.”

Alex Dobos ’14 said that she felt comforted by Forbes’ reassurance that no one is “master or mistress of the universe.”

“It makes you feel good if you’re not a genius,” she said.

Among various other topics, Forbes gave opinions and anecdotes about his famous family, entrepreneurship, and the benefits of a free market–including morality.

“Free markets are based on a moral foundation,” said Forbes during his speech, “because you succeed only by meeting the needs of other people…it’s not greed, it’s exchange.”

After a majority of students had wandered back to class, Forbes gave the PAW an interview, commenting on several issues relevant to students at PA and beyond.

One such topic was college.

With the “bloat in tuition,” Forbes predicted a fundamental change in the American college education.

“I think you’re gonna see a radical change in how all of that is done in the next generation,” he said.

He mentioned a rise in online degree programs, even at places like MIT, and suggested cutting the time for a Bachelor’s degree: “Why not do it in 3 years?”

Regarding the generation itself now coming of age, Forbes is decidedly optimistic.

“I look to you guys for a slew of new inventions and innovations.”

Additionally, Forbes speculated about a generational “change in what you might call social philosophy”, that the “nonsense we’ve gone through in recent years” will inspire a return to Constitutional principles.

One thing that will never revert to its origins in print, he says, is his own field: journalism.

“What you might call a model for the media world is…shattered,” he said.

Forbes publishes about the number of articles online every day that it once did per biweekly magazine.

Because of the protean nature of modern journalism, Forbes said that income for news sources like Forbes has decreased, at least in traditionally lucrative areas.

“Advertising revenue is very hard to come by,” said Forbes.

In another vein, Forbes said that private education like PA has capacities public school doesn’t.

“I think there’s a much sharper focus on purpose,” he said. “In terms of inculcating values, public schools are very restrictive in what they can do.”

Uniforms, according to Forbes, allow students to focus on learning.

Forbes commented on what he called “fiefdoms” during his speech, a reference to isolated feudalism. He said that uncommunicative, entirely separate departments have emerged in places like the Department of Agriculture and Sony, which negatively affect the organizations.

“You see it in academia all the time: ‘English will not mix with science,'” he explained.

With regard to schools, he said, this might be fixed in two ways: leadership within, and “course offerings that will go across barriers.”

Just because of academic divisions, he said, “it doesn’t mean it’s a self-contained world.”

Cum laude replaces valedictorian at Senior Awards Banquet

The verdict is in.

As of Monday, May 20, the decision on whether the awards of Valedictorian and Salutatorian were to remain for the Providence Academy graduating class of 2013 were made. In a private meeting the Friday before, Upper School Director Dr. Kevin Ferdinandt gave the power of the decision over to the six senior students who held the highest academic GPAs.

They were presented with a unique opportunity: either they could keep the awards of Valedictorian and Salutatorian, or they could opt to relinquish the awards, simultaneously losing the opportunity to gain them themselves.

Dr. Ferdinandt asked them to consider the proposition, discuss the situation with their parents, and then reply by email with their vote by Monday. A two-thirds majority was needed for the prolongation or abolition of the awards, and four out of the six students voted to dissolve the awards of Valedictorian and Salutatorian.

There will be no Valedictorian or Salutatorian at this year’s graduation.

Providence Academy, along with the abolition of Valedictorian and Salutatorian, is implementing a new awards program immediately this year. The awards of cum laudemagna cum laude, and summa cum laude will be awarded to students whose academic successes have earned them recognition. They are based on meeting certain class and GPA specifications.

At this year’s senior awards banquet on May 29, 19 students graduated “with honors.”

Cum laude were Alex O’Neill, Charles Christianson, Nick Bohlke, Eric Richelson, Susanna Trombley, Mackenzie Braun, Kasia Paprocki, Laura Clark, and Rosie Simonse.

Magna cum laude 
were Greg Morey, Charles Warner, Maxwell Baird, Margaret Clipperton, Joe Heck, and Ashlen Hagelberg.

Summa cum laude 
were Nicholas Heise, Julia Hengel, Clare Burns, and Patrick Gage.

According to Dean of Students, Mr. Michael Tiffany, the implementation of these three brackets of awards would be to “reward them for trying their hardest the entire time”.

The criteria that accompanies the cum laude award is that one has to have a high GPA, or if the student is not a math or science student so they are barred from honors courses, then they must have strong grades in the humanities as well as a high GPA.

A student must have taken at least six honors classes to be awarded the magna cum laude and eight honors classes to be awarded the summa cum laude. All along with impressive cumulative GPAs.

According to Headmaster Dr. Todd Flanders, the introduction of the new awards will be beneficial to Providence Academy, rather than the “zero sum game” he spoke of in The PAW’s last meeting with him on the issue.

“We don’t want anybody here to graduate with hard feelings,” said Dr. Flanders.

The other reason behind the change was a perversion of student vision. That is that students would work in Upper School primarily for the award, perhaps missing out on other extra-curricular opportunities and advancements.

The approach PA has taken is more democratic, appealing to the students, and even though the Valedictorian and Salutatorian positions would surely have been abolished for the graduating class of 2014, it would immediately affect the Seniors of 2013.

“We think we need a clear majority to say we’d like to suspend those,” Dr. Flanders said. And a clear majority was what he had- four out of six of the top academic students voted to abolish the awards. However, other students present at the meeting, such as Clare Burns ’13, feel disappointed with the results.

“I understand why they’re doing it, and I guess I would support it next year, but I don’t think it’s fair that they dropped it on us this year,” Burns said.

The six seniors were given this proposition a week before school ended, making the possibility of a substantial change quite sudden.

Several other award winners were recognized at this week’s awards banquet. Kasia Paprocki and Max Baird received the Fine Arts awards; Ryan Tapani and Nathalie Ratliff, the Athletics awards; and Patrick Gage and Ashlen Hagelberg, the highest awards of Faith Knowledge and Virtue.

Upper School Student Council Constitution

As of now, the upper school student council plans to construct a constitution. - Tone Deinema
As of now, the upper school student council plans to construct a constitution. – Tone Deinema

With a new year underway, and a new set of Student Council members soon to assume their positions, it was time for a constitution to fully establish the organization’s rules.

“Student Council has worked for the last two years composing a constitution,” said Mr. Edward Hester, one of the council’s advisors. “The constitution was approved two weeks ago and sent to the Deans’ Council for the final approval process. It will codify and formalize the workings of the council and more clearly define how the council would represent the student body.”

Mary Whiting ’15 has been involved in student council for three years.

Whiting said, “The constitution really only pertains to the council, with the basic information about member qualification, meeting protocol, the structure of the council and some of the duties and responsibilities we have.”

Meghan Onserio ’15 has participated in student council for four years.

“There has been a lot of work, time, and effort put into into it in the past few years, and I’m hoping that it will get ratified very soon,” said Onserio.

Katharine Crockett ’16 said, “The constitution gives current and future student council members a set of guidelines to refer to if any issue arises. It’s important to have in a student government.”

Overall, the constitution will help confirm the duties of the council so it can continue to represent the student body.