PA Upper School Gets Involved

On Wednesday, September 21, Providence Academy Upper School students hosted the annual Club Fair, which allows students to either generate their own clubs or become a part of an existing one. Some clubs let students learn about different careers, foods, and cultures, while others allow students to perform acts of service or collect donations.

PA Upper Schoolers gather in the Atrium to learn about and sign up for clubs that interest them. PAW Photo Credit: Delaney Flanigan

Small groups of students created and formed clubs based on their interests and passions. Gracie Griep, ‘24, and Katelyn Clements, ‘24, lead a club they created called, FOAM, which stands for “Future of American Medicine.” They partnered with the Medical Club, saying, “You can learn about experience in Medical Club, but in FOAM, you learn through more of a hands-on approach to medicine.” Many clubs have connected with other clubs that have the same focus. By collaborating with other clubs, the students can form even bigger associations. 

Tim Horinek, ‘24, head of the Robotics Club, appreciates “the diversity of the clubs and how anyone and everyone can join what they want.” With the wide variety of clubs ranging from Letters of Love to Ski and Snowboard Club, almost every student finds something they want to take part in.

Sandra Alb, ’24, encourages students to sign up for the French Club. PAW Photo Credit: Delaney Flanigan

PA Activities Coordinator, Ms. Morgan Emmans, loves putting together all of the clubs and coming up with great ideas with the students. “My favorite part of the school year is putting together clubs and letting students sign up for things they are interested in,” Emmans reflected. The extra effort Emmans puts into helping students form and manage clubs takes extracurricular activities to the next level.

The clubs Providence offers are a great way to meet new people, express yourself, and explore interests. Forming clubs or even simply signing up for one that peaks one’s interest is an exciting way to collaborate with both peers and teachers. With the variety of activities, the Upper School helps students find ways to get involved in their community. 

Hope for Uganda…and Ice Cream

Everyone loves ice cream, especially Monsignor Matthew Odong, affectionately known as the “Ice Cream Priest,” who visits Providence Academy’s Lower and Middle School Students once a year. September 20th marked the first time since 2019 that Monsignor Odong, along with  Father Rom Paul, visited PA to involve our community in fundraising for the organization Hope for Uganda.

Monsignor Odong and Father Paul at Upper School Mass. Photo Credit: Katarina Greenwood

Hope for Uganda was started in Minnesota by Monsignor Odong and the Vaughan family, with the mission of bringing hope to the people of Northern Uganda through “faith, education, health and sustainability.” Odong co-founded Hope for Uganda due to his “love for humanity and restoring hope.” The people of his country had suffered through a twenty year war, and more than ever they needed something to bring them optimism.

In line with part of its mission, the organization provides both boys and girls the ability to attend school. Hope for Uganda felt that children in the country’s Pader District should be given equal opportunity to get a faith filled education, and so Archbishop Flynn Secondary School, which is in the top 3% of schools in the country of Uganda, opened their doors and their arms.

In addition to Hope for Uganda, Odong is affiliated with Sacred Heart Seminary in Uganda. Almost 200 young men attend, each one with the dream of becoming a priest and bringing their own “hope” to the nation of Uganda through prayer and doing the Lord’s work. 

Mrs. Marcia Farniok, a second grade teacher at Providence, was involved with the organization while teaching in Uganda in 2006. Farniok has so many great memories with the loving community she experienced. One of her favorites was, “The way their culture celebrated Mass, with hours of dancing and singing.”

Second grade students in Mrs. Farniok’s class ask Monsignor Odong questions. Photo credit: Katarina Greenwood

Odong would love for Providence families to get involved with his organization. “God would like America to be a mission country,” he reflected. 

There are many ways for the PA community to offer support. The simplest option is to pray for the leaders of the organization and the people it aims to reach, and monetary donations are also appreciated. 

As Monsignor Mathew Odong said, “Don’t stop at counting your blessings, also share your blessings.” 

For more information, visit: https://www.hopeforuganda.org/donate 

PA Hosts First “Super Soccer Saturday”

On Saturday, September 10th, Providence Academy and the Lions’ Soccer Booster Club hosted its first ever “Super Soccer Saturday” to celebrate the sport and Youth Soccer Day. 

The day was packed with fun, running from 9:00am to 12:00pm, with Lions games afterwards. 

The first activity on Super Soccer Saturday was an intramural soccer clinic for the “Cubs” (students in grades 3-5), and both boys and girls varsity team members volunteered to help the coaches run the program. It was a great experience for the aspiring PA soccer players to learn from the upper schoolers, who shared their love of soccer with them. 

Girls varsity soccer player Tatum Janezich, ‘25, said she volunteered not only to receive service hours, but also because, “I enjoy working with kids! It’s cool to help share the experience of being a soccer player with the younger ones.” 

Towards the end of the clinic, all of the younger soccer players broke into two teams—a girls’ team and a boys’ team—and played a very lively, but shortened game of soccer. Both teams even came up with their own chants to cheer each other on. The Middle School mini-scrimmages began shortly after the Cubs’ clinic, with both the girls’ and boys’ teams each playing an exciting match. 

The “Cubs” wrap up their clinic with a scrimmage. PAW Photo Credit: Maddyn Greenway

The players were not the only ones able to participate in the Super Soccer Saturday experience. Parents were able to watch their children play soccer while also enjoying the “Minnesota Carnivorium” food truck stationed at the fields and also the concessions. Even the varsity and JV girls’ teams gathered in community for a brunch that morning, to bond and fuel up before their own games against Wayzata High School and Heritage Christian Academy.

The girls’ junior varsity team played an exciting game against Wayzata High School, but unfortunately didn’t pull off a win. The boys’ varsity team faced off against Heritage Christian Academy, winning their matchup 2-1. And finally, the girls’ varsity team, who also took on Heritage Christian Academy, came out ahead with an 8-1 win.

Varsity boys’ goalkeeper Ben Martin, ’23, makes an impressive save. Photo credit: Jodi Lewis.

After the varsity game, to celebrate Youth Soccer Day, all youth players who wore a club or school soccer jersey received a free treat from the concession stand, which they could enjoy while they watched the Lions’ games. Many of the lower schoolers remained at Providence after their own soccer concluded to participate in this celebration and to cheer on the Lions.

The varsity Lady Lions in action on Mithun Field. PAW Photo Credit: Maddyn Greenway.

Fifth grader Annie Lee, who attended the Cubs’ Clinic, said that her favorite part of the day was, “The girls’ varsity game because my sister is on the team and I love watching the high schoolers play!” 

Overall, the PA Soccer Booster Club’s first Super Soccer Saturday was a success and a great experience for all players—lower, middle, and upper schoolers.

There is a possibility that this event will continue in future years, as Girls’ Varsity Head Coach Paul Cronin noted, “We would absolutely do it again. This is the first time we’ve done an event like this. It was very inspiring to see the older players serve as such good role models for all of the aspiring young players.” 

Perhaps the lower school students will someday be teaching young players how to play the sport they love, as varsity team members.

Lions Football Wins Home Opener

Blue, gold, and pink! The Providence Academy football team came out with an exciting win Friday September 9th, on their home turf, with cheering fans dressed in pink to support the Tackle Cancer mission of raising money for cancer research.

The Lions get ready for kick off against Spectrum High School. PAW photo credit: Gabby Hankel.

The PA Lions’ football team took on the Spectrum Sting on Mithun Field for a thrilling second game of the 2022 season. The players were anxious to get on the field for their first home game of the season, striving for a win to make their record 1-1. The team delivered, to the delight of their fans, with a 20-0 score. 

“We took the loss hard last week and all we did was prepare, prepare, prepare,” wide receiver Joseph Bergault, ‘25, remarked on the win. 

Spectrum’s defense caused a Lions touchdown to remain elusive throughout the first quarter, with the score remaining 0-0, but  Captain Stormy Knight, ‘23, pulled off the first touchdown of the game in the second quarter. 

From then, touchdowns were scored by Captain Eddie Dossantos, ‘23, and Colin Capouch, ‘25. 

“The game got off to a slow start,” mentioned quarterback Eddie Dossantos, “but things picked up as we went on. Boys played well and hard and we came out with a W.”

The team’s supporters were decked out in pink to support the Tackle Cancer mission. Providence annually fundraises at one home game to help further cancer research. Along with raising money, it is also tradition to wear pink clothes and accessories to support the cause. 

Student fans, decked out in pink to support “Tackle Cancer,” wave “goodbye” to Spectrum High School, as the Lions wind down their win, 20-0.

The players were not the only ones ecstatic for the home opener. The fans, including those from the team’s co-op schools–Heritage Christian Academy, Maranatha Christian Academy, and West Lutheran High School–packed the stands and were extremely active in cheering on the Lions throughout the game. 

“I think we have really great team spirit,” exclaimed PA student Katelyn Clements, ‘24. She continued, “Everyone is joining in the cheers and is really rowdy.” 

The Providence community shined on the field, along with the players and coaches. Providence’s dance team performed during halftime, which energized the fans for the second half. It was also the annual Youth Night, where youth athletes were able to accompany Providence players onto the field during the announcement of the starting lineup. 

The Lions’ participate in their traditional “thank you” to the fans for their support during the game. PAW photo credit: Gabby Hankel.

The home opener built anticipation for the upcoming season, and the energy on Mithun Field and in the stands proved that the Lions have immense support behind them. With the Homecoming game on September 31 and the excitement surrounding upcoming theme games, the Lions’ season will surely be one to remember.

Building a Community and Remembering Lives Lost: Providence Academy Commemorates 9/11

John 15:13 is not only a verse often quoted by Providence Academy Headmaster Dr. Todd Flanders, but also one that calls to mind the events of September 11, 2001. 

The verse reads, “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his own life for his friends.”

Flanders explained, “It reminds us that we are called to show honor to those who sacrifice their lives,” which is exactly what PA students did on September 12, 2022 during the annual 9/11 commemoration. 

American flags lined the campus, representing each life lost in the attacks, a tradition that began in the early 2010’s with the help of the Lions for Life group. 

“There are 2,977 flags, and each one set up by students represents one life lost that day,” explained Lions for Life president Rylie Schoenfelder, ‘23, who has been involved in setting up the memorial for the past four years.

Lower and Middle school students respectfully watch the Plymouth Fire Department enter the Providence campus during the September 11th Commemoration. PAW Photo Credit: Amelia Madden

In front of the flags stood every PA student and faculty and staff member watching Plymouth’s own first responders drive through.

“When you turn the corner and see everyone standing out there in remembrance, it’s very humbling,” stated Plymouth traffic control officer Anthony Elia, who first came to the PA memorial six years ago. “It’s huge to see everyone’s respect for the profession, which boosts all of our morale as officers.”

Despite this part of the ceremony being the most anticipated by the officers as well as the community, both inside the yellow walls and throughout Plymouth, it was actually the result of an impromptu idea in 2015. 

“Initially, the fire department called and asked if they could go through the campus to look at the flags because they’re quite iconic. So, I had the faculty bring everybody out to surprise and honor them while they drove through,” Flanders revealed. 

Liam O’Connor, ’24, Jonathan Munene, ’24, and David Bakke, ’24, watch the Plymouth Fire Department drive onto campus. PAW Photo Credit: Amelia Madden

Although it is important to focus on first responders during this time, 9/11 was significant for veterans as well. 

11th grade US history teacher and former Army Armor Officer, Mike Guardia, expressed this saying, “I felt the Global War on Terror would be a war unlike any other. Following 9/11, we were no longer training to fight a conventional enemy.”

For Guardia and other veterans who have risked their lives protecting us, the PA memorial proves itself to be powerful. 

“Veterans will drive up and around the campus this weekend, and they weep to see our students honor all of the lives lost,” described Flanders. 

Even though tragedy can often tear apart communities, 9/11 did the opposite.

Dr. Flanders felt it was important to gather students in an effort to show them, “their lives are about more than just themselves. We decided to call the middle and upper school to the chapel that day, to inform them what was going on, and to lead them in prayer.” 

In a similar way, PA’s commemoration continues to bring the community together each year.

“Everyone came together after 9/11, and that’s kind of the feeling that you get when you come out to Providence for the memorial,” noted Elia. 

As 9/11 shaped the country, it also shaped Providence Academy after its occurrence on the sixth day of the school being open. 

On that day, Flanders released a note to families saying, “As the aftermath of this tragedy unfolds, faculty and staff will be available to help students to think about the events, and to try to understand matters that are, admittedly, very hard to understand.”

PA security officer Dale Duerksen, his wife Vicki, and granddaughters Emma and Everley patiently wait for the officers to turn into school. PAW Photo Credit: Amelia Madden

President of the Board and PA parent, Mr. Bob Cummins, emphasized the importance of keeping this tradition saying, “It’s especially significant for young people to remember and to understand what went on.”

No matter how many years pass, Providence Academy students will never forget what happened on September 11, 2001, because as stated by Flanders, “There is something true, good, and noble about doing this.”