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MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., June 13, 2019 – At its commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 6, Saint Thomas Academy recognized many students with honors and awards for the 2018-2019 school year.
Valedictorian Luke Kolar, who spoke at the ceremony, received multiple awards, including:
  • The James Keane English Award
  • The Marvin Bassett Social Studies Award
  • The Headmaster/Trustees’ Award, recognizing the senior with the highest GPA for the current year

Samuel Cunniff also received multiple awards:

  • The Fred Gatto Science Award
  • The F. John Campbell Mathematics Award

Additional award recipients were as follows (except where noted, all recipients are class of 2019):

  • The Jack Zahr Award, for distinguished contribution to school activities: Peter Holmes
  • The LeRoy J. McMahon Award, to a senior letter winner who has maintained a high degree of scholastic achievement: Carter Henry
  • The Solfrid Aslanian Ladstein Award, for the senior speech chosen by the faculty for its rhetorical excellence and depth of meaning: Colby Wong
  • The George Schnell Foreign Language Award: Thomas Thurlow 
  • The Lt. Col. Philip Andrews Military Leadership Award, to the senior cadet (non-commissioned officer or junior officer) who embodies the Academy's values of faith, integrity, respect and excellence in his service to the corps of cadets: Benjamin Mansur
  • The Walter G. Kurtz Award, awarded to a senior who has promoted the image of Saint Thomas Academy in the community through an exemplary level of service: Thomas Nardi
  • The Rev. Thomas Kolar Award, to the student displaying the greatest interest and accomplishment in one or more art media: Casey Larson 
  • The Robert E. Byrne Christian Service Award, for exemplary commitment and dedication in the areas of campus ministry and community service: Will Vansteenburg 
  • The Sylvester G. Turbes Four Pillars Award, to the senior who most embodies the mission of Saint Thomas Academy through excellence in scholarship, courage in leadership, humility and kindness in service to others and the school, commitment to his faith, and promotion of the greater good: Charles Berg

The Faculty Awards, to the students chosen by the faculty for displaying the greatest degree of citizenship, diligence, courtesy, reliability and leadership:

  • Senior: Brady Arnett
  • Junior: Jack Kelly
  • Sophomore: Joseph Middleton
  • Freshman: Brennan Crow

The Middle School Director’s Awards, to the students who have contributed to overall school life with consistent enthusiasm and cooperation, and have successfully striven to achieve excellence:

  • Eighth grade: Carson Cooper and Jack Juncker
  • Seventh grade: Maxwell MapelLentz
  • Sixth grade: Benjamin Macedo

The Middle School Faculty Awards, to the students who have made the most significant improvements in citizenship and academics over the course of the year:

  • Eighth grade: James Brennan
  • Seventh grade: Andrew Casserly
  • Sixth grade: William Bonfe

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., May 29, 2019 – Six Saint Thomas Academy cadets have been chosen to attend the Minnesota American Legion 2019 Boys State, a week-long experiential learning opportunity about Minnesota government at the local, county and state levels. The cadets who will be among the approximately 370 incoming seniors to attend the program June 9-15 at St. John’s University include:

Sullivan Bluhm
Joe D'Agostino
Nick Kettler
Mitch MacDonald
Jake Miller
Nick Tucci

While registration is open to all boys who are interested, every participant must officially be sponsored by an American Legion Post.

About Boys State
Boys State is a week of intensive study and involvement during which the participants organize and participate in the various levels and branches of government as well as athletics, music, writing for the newspaper or holding leadership positions in the program. Highlights of the week include political speakers, mock trials, campaigning, elections and announcement of the Boys State Governor and State Constitutional Officers. Unlike a summer or recreational camp, Minnesota Boys State is a week of studying and learning by involvement.

Founded over 60 years ago on the University of Minnesota campus, Boys State is currently offered in 49 states. Boys State is a common college application activity at highly competitive schools. Participation in the program demonstrates good citizenship, leadership and a sense of responsibility to our country.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., May 7, 2019 – Saint Thomas Academy has selected Trent Eigner as the next head coach of its hockey program, effective immediately. Eigner is currently head coach of Lakeville North hockey, where he has led the Panthers to 1 state championship, 1 second place finish and 2 additional state tournament appearances; 7 consecutive Section I championship games; and 3 conference championships since taking over the program in 2011-2012.

“Through a robust search process, we evaluated many candidates with outstanding hockey credentials and successful coaching records,” said Headmaster Matt Mohs ’90. “Ultimately, Trent was chosen because he understands that Saint Thomas Academy places a high value on both character development and the pursuit of athletic excellence. He is the man I want coaching our Cadets.”

Eigner, a father of 6, prides himself on mentoring his players to become both outstanding hockey players and upstanding young men. “The opportunity to coach cadet hockey was one I couldn’t pass up,” Eigner said. “Saint Thomas Academy is an institution I have admired for some time. The administration’s and broader community’s commitment to excellence on and off the ice, the boys’ passion for hockey and the resources available to extend the Academy’s tradition of success made it a very attractive program to lead. I look forward to furthering Saint Thomas Academy as one of the premier high school hockey programs in the country and developing young men that reflect the school’s core values of faith, excellence, integrity and respect.”

As head coach of the Panthers, Eigner had a career record of 133-68-1. In the 2014-2015 season, his Panthers went 31-0 on the way to winning the state championship. The team was voted one of the top 5 teams of all time. The year prior, the Panthers went 26-5 and placed second in the state tournament.

“I strive to create mutual respect between the players and coach, and an environment in which players feel confident they can compete within the team concept,” Eigner said. “I believe strongly that individual and team success are directly related to attitude, effort and personal accountability.”

Eigner developed Lakeville’s players to compete beyond high school, including one player currently in the NHL, 3 NHL draft picks, 14 Division I players, 1 National Development Training Program player and 3 Mr. Hockey candidates. He has been recognized as both South Suburban Conference Coach of the Year and Section I Coach of the Year. He has served 6 years as liaison to the Lakeville Hockey Association.

“I attribute much of my success as a player and a person to Coach Eigner,” said Ryan Poehling of the Montreal Canadiens. “He taught me many lessons throughout my three years having him as my head coach. I felt the most important ones were what I learned off the ice. These lessons have continued to help me throughout my career and are staples for what it takes to succeed at any level in hockey. I was blessed to have a coach with such great character for three years.”

Eigner was previously a head coach in the Western Professional Hockey League for two years, leading his team to the playoff semi-final round in his second year. In 2001, he was honored with the Rick Kozuback Award for exemplifying the qualities of perseverance, determination and commitment to the game, sport and business of hockey.

Eigner’s professional playing career includes 4 years in the Western Professional Hockey League, where he was a team captain and contributed to 2 President’s Cup Championships and 2 years in the East Coast Hockey League. He played Division I hockey for Miami of Ohio from 1990 to 1994, helping the Red Hawks win a CCHA championship and NCAA tournament berth in 1993. He served as alternate captain in the 1992-93 season, and team captain in 1993-1994. Prior to college hockey, he played juniors for the USHL Madison Capitals and high school hockey for Rosemount.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., May 6, 2019 – This past Wednesday, Caroline Little, a teacher at Saint Thomas Academy, an all-boys, Catholic, college prep, military leadership school, was surprised with the news that she is a recipient of a 2019 WEM Outstanding Educator Award for Teacher Achievement, an honor that is accompanied by a $15,000 award.

Little is one of six educators being honored by the WEM Foundation and Synergy & Leadership Exchange for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to student learning. She is one of two recipients of the Teacher Achievement Award, which recognizes exemplary teachers who support, inspire and assist students to attain greater learning as evidenced by student achievement.

Little has been teaching for 18 years and currently teaches French and is co-moderator of the Experimental Vehicle Team. She takes great pride in bringing STEM into her French language classroom. Translating commands involves not so much about telling someone to wash their hands or brush their teeth, but more of where to put the solder or how short to cut the wires. Little finds these and other unique ways to marry STEM into the world of language. Her French students hear about the International Space Station and the newest advances in engineering.

“Madame Little combines hands-on, active learning with listening skills as well as written text to create a unique learning environment that my child benefits from,” said a parent. “One of my child’s favorite activities in class was the opportunity to build a robot. All directions and interactions with other students and Madame were done in French. Students in her class learn and enjoy learning.”

Most recently, Little completed more than 50 hours of professional development at NASA's Microgravity University for Educators. She worked with her advisory students to develop and build a Satellite Launching Experimental Device that was tested on the Precision Air Bearing Floor at Johnson Space Center. Little connected with her students during a virtual meeting and showed them how well their SLED design worked. Always thinking of ways to engage others, Little has created a series on Twitter, tweeting out new and original pieces of artwork to connect with people around the world and build excitement for space travel.

“Little’s success is due to her acute ability to understand adolescent and adult learning styles, ability levels and technology comfort levels, as illustrated in her daily interaction with students and faculty at various grade levels,” shared Michelle Mechtel, director of academic life. “She has a warm style that results in being uniformly loved by students, parents and faculty.”

In addition to the Teacher Achievement Award, other educators are being honored with the Academic Challenge Coach Award (teachers who are exemplary coaches of student teams that participate and compete in academic challenges), Ethics in Education Award (exemplary educators who embody ethical behavior and promote ethical development for students through classroom or school activities, policies or curriculum) and Athletic Coach Award (teachers who are exemplary coaches of athletic teams).

Educators are first nominated for the WEM Outstanding Educator Awards Program by students, parents, colleagues or community members. Those who accept the nomination provide additional information for consideration by Synergy & Leadership Exchange and a blue ribbon selection panel, which reviews and ranks the nominees. In addition to the six statewide honorees, additional educators have been selected as regional honorees for 2019. These honorees will be announced in May. Synergy & Leadership Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering collaboration to advance the development of ethical citizens, providing educational resources, and celebrating achievement and best practices in Minnesota schools, businesses and communities. For more information on the WEM Outstanding Educator Awards Program and Synergy & Leadership Exchange, visit: