Browsing The Northern Cross

School Briefs - February 2015

The Northern Cross
School News in Brief

St. John students win essay contest

Joy Miller, the program manager for Essentia Health, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Duluth, announced that two students from St. John the Evangelist School in Duluth were the winners of the “Light of Love” essay contest in November. Chosen from a field of 107 students, fourth-graders Kendra Mobillia and Aiden Spenningsby wrote about two of their favorite teachers, John Becker, a long-term substitute teacher at St. John’s School, and Donald Goenner, the fourth-grade teacher. As winners, they received a plaque and were invited to participate in reading their essays at St. Mary’s Medical Center “Tree of Lights” Lighting Ceremony Dec. 7. When informed about the selection, Father Richard Kunst, pastor of St. John, told them they’d made St. John proud. Principal Peggy Fredrickson seconded those sentiments. St. John School’s family shares in congratulating Mobillia and Spenningsby for their fine essays.


Mr. Donald Goenner

By Aiden Spenningsby

I love Mr. Goenner because he is always there for us. He is an everlasting friend. When I am down he always reminds me about Saint Francis who always thinks positive. He makes his day dedicated to teaching me and my classmates. He’s one flickering candle out of a thousand that makes a difference to me.

He’s like my best friend. But a teacher. He is an amazing teacher that’s always confident. He really touches my heart. He’s an amazing person!

Mr. John Becker

By Kendra Mobillia

When I was in kindergarten I had a teacher named Mr. Becker. I remember the stories he would tell us about his love of gardening and the bike trips he would take with his friends. Most importantly I remember him always making me feel special. He spent time with me and I feel that had a big impact on my love of reading. I recently heard he has ALS. I often pray for his recovery and I hope he knows how important he will always be to me.

Hands-on STEM learning ignites with help of grants

Minnesota Independent School Forum member schools are off to a great start with their STEM Innovation Grants this year. From pumpkin catapults at Assumption School in Hibbing to LEGO robots at Cotter Schools in Winona and from aquatic studies at St. James School in Duluth to renewable energy at Lourdes High School in Rochester, students in grades K-12 are engaged in hands-on STEM learning. Michelle Ponsolle, MISF director of development and programs, and Margo Berg, consultant and MISF STEM program manager, recently visited these four schools to talk with the teachers and students about the projects they are implementing with the help of the MISF STEM Grant award they received. They look forward to visiting the remaining 2014-15 STEM Grant schools throughout the upcoming year. The Diocese of Duluth schools’ projects are:

Punkin Chunkin — From kindergartners’ TinkerToy catapults to the older student’s more advanced designs, everyone was engaged in a two-month-long unit of the catapult design project at Assumption School in Hibbing. Students learned the basics of force and motion and the engineering design process while they studied the history, design and construction of catapults. They also used construction materials and tools with the assistance of more than 30 engineers and construction professionals from the community. One of the highlights of this STEM Grant project is the strong connection that has been established between Assumption School and the local engineering community’s Engineering is Cool outreach initiative.

What’s in my water? — Seventh- and eighth-graders at St. James School in Duluth are studying various factors in the Duluth area to answer the question, “What’s in my water?” They will examine their local watershed, identify aquatic life and classify organisms, and explore how the local economy uses water. Students have many local resources to tap: the Duluth Aquarium, the local fish hatchery, the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District water processing plant, shipping yards and local lakes, ponds and streams. They will learn how to fish, how to make lures and, after speaking with local spear fishermen from Fond du Lac Reservation, they will engineer decoys that are essential to ice fishing for local Native American culture. Teachers Emily Larsen and Sean Weiland are eager, grateful and just a little bit apprehensive to have the help of several parents who will be teaching both students and teachers to ice fish.

Registration open at Catholic schools

Contact the local Catholic school in your area to learn more about registering your children at a Catholic school. Many Catholic schools are currently in the process of registering students for the 2015-16 school year.

*Brainerd: St. Francis of the Lakes School, 817 Juniper St.; (218) 829-2344,
*Cloquet: Queen of Peace School, 102 Fourth St.; (218) 879-8516,
*Duluth: Holy Rosary School, 2802 E. Fourth St.; (218) 724-8565,
*Duluth: St. James School, 715 N. 57th Ave. W.; (218) 624-1511,
*Duluth: St. John the Evangelist School, 1 W. Chisholm St.; (218) 724-9392,
*Duluth: St. Michael’s Lakeside School, 4628 Pitt St.; (218) 525-1931,
*Grand Rapids: St. Joseph’s School, 315 S.W. 21st St.; (218) 326-6232,
*Hibbing: Assumption School, 2310 Seventh Ave. E.; (218) 263-3054,
*International Falls: St. Thomas Aquinas School, 810 Fifth St.; (218) 283-3430,
*Pine City: St. Mary’s School, 815 Sixth Ave. S.W.; (320) 629-3953,
*Virginia: Marquette School, 311 S. Third St.; (218) 741-6811,