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Image of five of the Saint Thomas Academy Rifle Team Members

Shooting their highest score of the season Saint Thomas Academy upset Zion Benton NJROTC 1095 to 1088 last week in the National Air Rifle League. Saint Thomas Academy was able to win despite averaging 41 points lower than Zion Benton NJROTC coming into this game. 

With the win, Saint Thomas Academy is in third place overall and first place within their 'Junior Rifle Club' conference.  They currently have a 1 - 1 record. Saint Thomas Academy was led by, Michael Driscoll who shot a 279. The remaining contributing members were Joe Brennen, Daniel Staelgraeve, and Eric Zauha. Saint Thomas Academy is from Mendota Heights, MN, and is coached by Paul Preblich.

Image of four of the Saint Thomas Academy Rifle Team Members at Practice

Zion Benton NJROTC currently has a 1 - 1 record. After the loss they are in first place overall and first place within their 'Navy Jrotc' conference. Zion Benton NJROTC was led by, Giovanni Salgado who shot a 280. The remaining contributing members were Alexia Resendiz, Kimberly Rico, and Jeremiah Vonzell. Zion Benton NJROTC is from Zion, IL, and is coached by Dan Hackstein. 

This coming week Saint Thomas Academy has a bye week. While Zion Benton NJROTC will compete against Cross Creek NJROTC from Augusta, GA. Cross Creek NJROTC currently has a 2 - 0 record. 

Box Score: http://www.orionresults.com/team/GamePage.aspx?MatchID=1.1.914330082.1

Saint Thomas Academy team page: http://www.orionresults.com/team/LeagueTeam.aspx?TeamID=1193

Zion Benton NJROTC team page: http://www.orionresults.com/team/LeagueTeam.aspx?TeamID=1200

Image of five Saint Thomas Academy Hall of Fame Recipients

Saint Thomas Academy inducted five alumni into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame during homecoming festivities last week. The inductees are (L-R):

Mikael Dahlstrom '01 - A rare three-sport captain, Dahlstrom was captain of the 2000 Cadet football team, which finished as state runner up. Individually, he was All-Conference and All-State honorable mention in football and represented the Academy at the MN All-Star Football Game. In basketball, he was a member of the 2000 and 2001 state runner-up basketball teams. As an individual, he was All-Conference and All-Metro in 2001. In track, Dahlstrom was the Team MVP in 2000 and 2001, conference MVP in 2001, a three-year letter winner, and a three-year All-Conference athlete.

Jim Boland '76 - Boland lettered three times in baseball while at the Academy and helped lead the Cadets to a 1974 regional championship and a 1975 conference championship. In football, he was the leading rusher on the 1975 State Championship team and was voted all-conference that same year.

Peter Assad '75 – Assad lettered twice in football and was a star running back for the 1973 and 1974 conference champion football teams. Individually, he was the captain of the 1974 team, All-Conference and All-State his senior year and played in the 1974 MN All-Star Football Game.

Greg Vannelli '72 – An accomplished three-sport athlete while a student at the Academy, Vannelli recently stepped down as co-head coach of Cadet Hockey, a program he helped lead to five state titles in 16 years.

Jim Bard '74 – A four-time letter winner during his time at the Academy, Bard was captain of the 1974 wrestling team, which won the conference championship. Individually, he won two consecutive individual state wrestling championships.

Image of Saint Thomas Academy student Hayden Ousley

Saint Thomas Academy Senior Hayden Ousley of Burnsville has been named a Semifinalist in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. He is among the approximately 16,000 academically talented high school seniors who have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.  

Steps in the 2020 Competition

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. 

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2020. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2020 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

ABOUT NMSC

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.  Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

 

Image of four Saint Thomas Academy cadets who were named National Merit Scholarship Semi Finalists

Four Saint Thomas Academy seniors have been named Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are:

  • Stephen Betts of Minneapolis (Fulton)
  • Blake Prall of Cottage Grove
  • Charles Torinus of Mendota Heights
  • Yong Jae Lee of Mendota Heights

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.6 million students who entered the competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). These students are eligible for special scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

Last week, Saint Thomas Academy announced that senior Hayden Ousley of Burnsville had been named a Semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program. He is among the approximately 16,000 academically talented high school seniors who have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

image of the US Army Drill Team

The “Soloist” U.S. Army Drill Team will perform at Saint Thomas Academy on Wednesday, Oct. 2, following the Cadet Pass and Review at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, parking is limited.

The U.S. Army Drill Team “soloist” performance involves four of the Drill Team’s senior Soldiers and either the Platoon Leader or the Platoon Sergeant.  The smaller performances are usually between five and seven minutes. Through its daring and complex performances, the U.S. Army Drill Team acts as “good-will ambassadors” for the Army, supporting community relations and recruiting efforts on behalf of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army.

The performance will take place during Saint Thomas Academy’s Grandparents Day with an anticipated attendance of 2,000. Saint Thomas Academy is an independent military leadership academy.

Location: Saint Thomas Academy, 949 Mendota Heights Rd., Mendota Heights.

The VISTA Band at the UW Madison Band Day

On Saturday, Sept. 14, 60 students from Saint Thomas Academy and Visitation School who participate in the VISTA Marching Band performed for a full house at Camp Randall Stadium for the University of Wisconsin’s High School Band Day. All told, 40 high school bands from Minnesota and Wisconsin, totaling 2,000 students, participated in the invitation-only annual event. UW Madison Band Day 2019 big screen.jpeg

The highlight of the day for the high school bands was performing three songs together during halftime of the UW-Madison vs. Central Michigan University football game. The high school bands practiced the three songs prior to traveling to Madison, and rehearsed together the morning of the event. Following rehearsal, the UW Marching Band performed for the high schoolers. 

During the halftime performance, the collective high school band was led from the front by members of the UW Marching Band staff and the high schools’ drum majors in the stands. The UW Marching Band then performed its halftime show. 

A high school band is only invited if one of its alumni are in the UW Marching Band. Visitation alumnae Katie Bina ’16 has been a member of the UW Marching Band for the past three years. VISTA Marching Band Director John Bina is also a UW-Madison alumnus

Image of John Berdusco '23 playing the piano in Russia

Thousands of miles away from home in the grand setting of the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg, a pianist sits at the keys giving a performance to an international audience filled with musicians, teachers and family.

The set up would be enough to make many nervous, but 14-year old John Michael Berdusco said he doesn’t really feel any pressure when he prepares to compete.

“It’s just do it so you don’t have to do it later,” he said.

“Guess who’s nervous?” said his father. John Berdusco.

Berdusco and his father traveled to Russia this summer for an international competition, where Berdusco took third place in piano with orchestra in a field with competitors from all over the world.

A total of 72 contestants competed in different instrument categories. They ranged in age from 11 to 29 and came from several countries including Brazil, Honduras, Japan, China, Germany, Spain and Russia. About 10 competitors including Berdusco came from the United States.

“They all got along great and supported one another,” John Berdusco said.

The piano category had two competitions, piano solo and solo with orchestra. Berdusco competed in both.

All of the prepared pieces must be played from memory.

The seven-day festival included time to sit with four teachers from different countries, including Russia and Japan. Their competitions took place in the St. Petersburg House of Composers as well as the Marble palace.

While in St. Petersburg, Berdusco did have some time to see the sights, including the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and Hermitage Museum.

“The city was really nice,” he said.

This is the third time Berdusco has competed in such company. He previously went to Italy and Spain, where he won second place at the age of 11. International competitions like this are held every one or two years.

The preparation for the competition was surprisingly less than one might think, Berudsco said.

“Just practice your songs and pack your bags,” he said.

He started practicing three or four months before the trip, every day.

The opportunity for Berdusco to compete in these international competitions comes from his teacher, Reid Smith. He is friends with the organizers of the competitions, and he invites some of the students who play with him to the events. It is a great opportunity, Berdusco said.

“Not a lot of people get this, so it’s nice to have taken advantage of the opportunity,” he said.

John Berdusco hopes the experience will help his son as he builds a resume. Berdusco is interested in the medical field, potentially invasive cardiology, and would like to attend Brown University or John Hopkins University.

Berdusco enjoys piano because it’s a form of expression

“It’s just enjoyable hearing the songs you play,” he said.

Beyond his competitions and performances, he plays music that he wants to play. His favorite piece is Marcus Veltri’s "Sorrow."

Berdusco practices each night after dinner. His father said he needs no prompting now to do so.

“Now I’m cleaning up and I hear the piano,” John Berudsco said. He’s proud of his son. He gives up much of his summer for opportunities like this, he said. “So I give him a lot of credit."

Berdusco still has other time for other interests including playing violin in the St. Thomas Academy orchestra and participating in trap shooting and soccer.

His next international performance will be in Italy, where his grandparents are from. He visited their hometown during his trip to Italy, and was invited to do a tribute to his grandfather next summer.

Saint Thomas Academy Names Retired Coast Guard Rear Admiral Interim Headmaster

Saint Thomas Academy has named Rear Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr., ’71, U.S. Coast Guard (ret.), as interim headmaster, effective August 1, 2019. Crowley brings extensive leadership, communication, problem-solving and diplomacy experience to the college-preparatory, Catholic, military leadership academy serving boys in grades 6-12.

“Admiral Crowley’s leadership credentials, academic and human resources experience, collaboration skills and independence make him exceptionally qualified to lead Saint Thomas Academy in an interim capacity,” said Daniel E. Kubes ’87, chairman, Saint Thomas Academy Board of Trustees. “Throughout his military career, Admiral Crowley was guided by the Coast Guard’s values of honor, respect and devotion to duty, and led his assignments and personnel with the utmost respect. In doing so, he earned the trust of the highest-ranking military officers, policymakers and elected officials, resulting in many special appointments to lead difficult assignments.” These assignments included helping establish the Department of Homeland Security following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and serving as academic director of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard legal training schoolhouse, where he led the overhaul of the training methodology.

Crowley served three years as the Coast Guard’s judge advocate general. In this role, he was the chief legal adviser to the commandant, head of the military justice system and leader of interdisciplinary teams worldwide. He personally conducted military trials and supported Department of Justice admiralty trials. Crowley served two years as the commander of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Great Lakes region. Collaborating with federal, state and Canadian officials, he led 6,900 personnel to protect U.S. borders and coastal territories. Previously, he served on five cutters, two of which he was in command, conducting multinational operations from the Great Lakes, to the Caribbean, to the European theater.

After retiring from the Coast Guard in 2008, Crowley served as senior vice president and general counsel of APM Terminals, NA, Inc., and executive director of two national maritime trade associations.

Crowley graduated from Saint Thomas Academy in 1971 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a J.D. from American University. Crowley previously served one term on the Saint Thomas Academy Board of Trustees.

Photo of Dan O'Brien

Saint Thomas Academy has named Dan O’Brien to the position of interim athletics and activities director, and Brian Kallman as head of the soccer program and head varsity soccer coach. O’Brien, currently head of Cadets football, previously served in athletics administration for the University of Minnesota, Hamline University and Concordia University-St. Paul. Kallman brings 14 years as a youth soccer coach and 9 years of professional playing experience, most recently as a defender for the Minnesota United FC, to his new position.

“Since being hired as head of the football program, head football coach and director of community partnerships and outreach in April 2018, Dan has had an immeasurably positive impact on both Cadet athletics and the broader Saint Thomas Academy community,” said Daniel E. Kubes ’87, chairman, Saint Thomas Academy Board of Trustees. “Dan brings to his increased role an exceptional depth in athletics administration, which the Board is confident will lead our co-curricular programs to even greater levels of excellence for many years to come.”

In his first year with Saint Thomas Academy, O’Brien led the Cadet Football team to the state championship title game, forged relationships with business and community partners on behalf of the Academy and established several successful and profitable community-building events.

O’Brien previously served as athletic director for both Concordia University-St. Paul and Hamline University, before working for the University of Minnesota as assistant athletic director for football operations and later senior associate athletic director, overseeing football, wrestling, and men’s and women’s golf.

While at the University of Minnesota, O’Brien served on the TCF Bank design team, several hiring committees, the athletic director’s planning committee and executive council, and multiple Bowl planning teams. He was the primary individual responsible for many improvements and renovations to athletic facilities at both Hamline and Concordia, including securing gifts to fund these improvements. Under O’Brien’s leadership, both universities experienced increased participation in athletics.

O’Brien will remain head of the football program and head varsity football coach.

KALLMAN NAMED HEAD OF SOCCER PROGRAM/HEAD COACH

Kallman is currently the high-performance girls’ director for Salvo Soccer Club Woodbury. In this position, he manages individual soccer plans, provides player feedback, manages team competitiveness, prepares for training and games, and makes player selections based on current and potential ability. He also founded and runs Fútebol Form and Fitness, which provides players of all ages with individualized training and coaching.

“With his experience playing at the professional and collegiate levels, and coaching and training through youth sports programs and Fútebol Form and Fitness, I’m confident Brian will continue the success of our soccer program,” said Dan O’Brien, interim athletics and activities director for Saint Thomas Academy. “In addition to his great coaching and playing skills, Brian has tremendous passion for the game, which inspires teams and players to peak performance.”

As a professional player, Kallman played in 153 games, including league games and the U.S. Open Cup. He first signed with the Minnesota Thunder in 2006 and went on to play over 50 games during four years with the Thunder. In 2010, he signed with the Minnesota Stars, where he played for three years, making 74 appearances. In 2011, Kallman earned the starting defender role and helped the team make the playoffs and win the club's first North American Soccer League Soccer Bowl Championship. In 2012, Kallman was a key part of the Minnesota defense during its second straight trip to the NASL Soccer Bowl. He played nearly 2,600 minutes for Minnesota in 32 starts. In 2013, the Thunder became the Minnesota United FC. Kallman played for Minnesota United in 2013, 2014, and 2015, appearing in 29 games.

A Woodbury native, Brian played three years of college soccer at Jacksonville University, serving as team captain in his third year. He transferred to Creighton University for his senior season, where he helped anchor the Bluejay defense and contribute to the team’s 0.80 goals-against average, 10 shutouts and 15-5-3 record. The team placed 23rd in the NCAA and advanced to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals that year. While at Creighton, Brian was named to the Diadora Challenge All-Tournament Team and Portland Invitational All-Tournament Team.

Brian's brother Brent is currently a defender for the Minnesota United FC. His sister, Kassey, plays professionally as well, and represented the U.S. national team at the youth level.

Three Saint Thomas Academy students working on the NASA Wear Project design

A team from Saint Thomas Academy has been invited to NASA Langley Research Center in August to share student-designed, wearable, radiation countermeasures with NASA engineers and scientists. The team was one of just five high school teams in the country invited to NASA Langley, where they will share their designs, learn about the engineering process, participate in STEM engagement activities, and tour NASA Langley Research Center. NASA is funding all the teams' travel (housing, transportation, and food) costs.

Through a competitive process, teams of students and educators submitted design proposals for wearable anti-radiation garments via video for evaluation by NASA scientists and engineers who design these technologies in their work. Developing radiation countermeasures are an important step as the United States returns astronauts to the moon by 2024 and continue onto Mars.

This engineering challenge has taught the team about deep space exploration while designing wearable gear to help astronauts their decrease radiation exposure and increase flight time. The students also received direct insight from NASA through webinars and online information sessions with NASA subject matter experts on deep space travel, radiation and the design process.

The team includes:

  • Wil Applebaum ’21 of Mendota Heights
  • Will Hoppe ’21 of Saint Paul (Mac-Groveland)
  • Daniel Staelgraeve ’21 of Saint Paul (Merriam Park East)
  • Jenna Westlake ’20 of Lakeville

Faculty advisers:

  • Mark Westlake, director of the Saint Thomas Academy Innovation Center
  • Caroline Little, science teacher at Visitation School

Follow the Saint Thomas Academy NASA WEAR team at https://www.facebook.com/STA.NASA.WEAR/ or #NASA_WEAR.

Get more information about WEAR at http://go.nasa.gov/nasa_wear and NASA’s STEM engagement opportunities at: http://www.nasa.gov/stem.













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: www.synergyexchange.org.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., May 6, 2019 – Anne McQuillan, assistant to the middle school director at Saint Thomas Academy, was recently honored with the Behind the Scenes Award from the Minnesota Independent School Forum (MISF). McQuillan, who also serves as assistant to the facilities director, liaison to both the mothers’ club and the fathers’ club, and assistant coach for track, Nordic ski and cross-country, was honored at an awards ceremony on Sunday, April 28 with other recipients in MISF’s Private and Independent Education Awards.mcQuillan award2.jpeg

According to MISF, “The Behind the Scenes Award recognizes the quiet and essential work of an individual who supports the school outside the classroom. These individuals go out of their way to make the school environment welcoming, friendly, and caring. School staff, coaches, volunteers and other behind the scenes workers may be nominated for this award.”

Middle School Director Jamie Jurkovich said, “Anne fills many roles and uses many skills in her day-to-day responsibilities, all of which she executes with grace and excellence. She is unfailingly kind, resourceful and helpful. She is extremely valuable to our school as she positively intersects with so many different groups in our community.”

McQuillan has been with Saint Thomas Academy since 2008. The mother of two Academy alumni, McQuillan has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and nutrition from the University of St. Catherine. She resides in Saint Paul (Summit-Hill).

"Anne creates a warm, safe, and positive environment for both the students and faculty,” said one parent. “That is beyond her job title. She is like another parent to the boys. The parents really value Anne. She reassures them and counsels them."

A video on McQuillan is available here. Additional photos are available from MISF at info@misf.org.

Team beat all but two university teams before falling in a tiebreaker to European Space Consortium for high school students

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., April 17, 2019 – This past weekend, the Saint Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team placed second overall, and first in the U.S., in the high school division of the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge (NASA news release). The team tied for first with a European Space Consortium for high school students from around the world but then lost the tiebreaker.

In addition to its performance completing the course and mission tasks (video), the team earned:
-    Rookie of the Year Award
-    Technology Challenge Award (beating all universities and high schools) for the student-designed and built carbon fiber wheels
-    Featherweight Award for the lightest high-school rover (117 pounds)
-    STEM Engagement Award for its outreach work with Girl Scouts and elementary students

Student Director Joe McMahon ’19 (Lynnhurst) said, "As a rookie team, we needed to quickly figure out the best way to earn the maximum amount of points and still stay under the time limit. We had prepared for every possible obstacle and task, but there was a definite disadvantage seeing it for the first time. We already have a long list of changes for next year!"

The competition saw nearly 100 teams from around the world competing in high school and college divisions. Saint Thomas Academy beat all but two university teams, including Auburn University, Drexel University, Purdue University, University of Houston, University of Memphis, University of Miami and Ohio State University. Team members also had the honor of being interviewed by NASA Astronaut Sunita (Suni) Williams.

About the Competition
The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge is an engineering design competition in which teams design and assemble a vehicle capable of traversing the simulated surface of another world and facilitating mission-objective tasks such as gathering environmental samples of the extraterrestrial terrain. This is the team’s first time competing in the annual challenge, which is held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

"Entering a new competition every few years is always exciting,” Team Adviser Caroline Little said. “The students get to experience the engineering design process from beginning to end. Watching their project grow from scratch work on paper to a NASA rover being raced at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is very rewarding for a teacher."

The multi-faceted competition awards points based on the team’s ability to assemble its rover in the allotted time; designing a rover that is lightweight; successfully completing course obstacles; performing tasks throughout the mission; and meeting pre- and post-challenge requirements. The challenge’s weight and time requirements encourage compactness, light weight, high performance and efficiency.

As part of the competition—before their first time on the course—rover entries are tested to fit into a lander equipment bay, a maximum 5 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet in volume.

Teams then navigate their rovers around the .5-mile course with only a virtual six-minute supply of oxygen and a one-minute reserve. They gain points as they progress through all stages of the competition. They earn additional points by returning the results of their mission tasks and finishing without using their oxygen reserve. The course includes a simulated field of asteroid debris—boulders from 5 to 15 inches across; an ancient stream bed with pebbles approximately 6 inches deep; and erosion ruts and crevasses of varying widths and depths.

About Saint Thomas Academy’s Rover
For the competition, EVT designed a rover with a 4-wheel suspension system and a parallelogram design to give more ground clearance. Independent front and rear transmission systems allow the two drivers to decide which of the 8-speed, internally geared hub works best individually at each bend of the course. The house-made, carbon-fiber seats and wheels provide light-weight durability. The 4130 chromoly steel frame has varying diameters and wall thickness to maximize strength and minimize weight. The rover weighs 107 pounds.

The students designed and engineered two lithium-powered task tools for gathering liquid and solid samples from the course. There’s also a mechanical filter that gathers spectrographic analysis of the area being explored. Perceiving the mission-objective tasks as equally important as the rover itself, the students spent as much time designing, prototyping, and testing the task tools as they did the rover.

The team faced many learning opportunities throughout the design and testing process, the most challenging being the fabrication of tread for the carbon-fiber wheels that had to be strong enough to withstand the different surfaces on the rover course. After testing multiple samples, the team chose a two-part urethane rubber with a durometer of 60. Attaching the urethane to the carbon proved to be an even larger problem as nothing adhered to the cured urethane. Applying ingenuity, the students used a foam intermediate pierced with tiny holes and placed it into the urethane before curing. Using an aerospace epoxy, the foam had great adhesion to the carbon.

Through the design process, the team learned to design in Fusion 360, V-Carve Pro, CoralDraw and TinkerCAD, and used the laser cutter to make templates and parts, 3D printers for rapid prototyping, a 3-axis mill for making molds, a plasma cutter for metal parts, and a TIG welder to assemble the 4130 Chromoly steel tubing for the rover’s frame.

The Team
From September 2018 through March 1, 2019, the 15-student team clocked more than 1,400 hours on the NASA Rover – all outside of class time. Student Director McMahon alone has worked on the project more than 140 hours since September.

Team members include:
Wil Applebaum ’21– Task Manager
Sam Cunniff ’19 – Wheel Design
Joe D’Agostino ’20 – Public Relations
Michael Hankee ’20 - Frame
Peter Holmes ’19 – CAD
Will Hoppe ’21 – Task Manager
Nicholas Kettler ’20 – Fabrication
Luke Kolar ’19 – Male Rover Pilot (MRP)
Yong Jae Lee ’20 – Fabrication
Murphy Lynch ’20 – Fabrication
Joe McMahon ’19 – Student Director
Lucas Montpetit ’19 – Mechanical Director
Daniel Staelgraeve ’21 – Task Manager
Jenna Westlake ’20 – Female Rover Pilot (FRP)
Robbie Wolfe ’19 – Wheel Design

Faculty Advisers:
Caroline Little
Mark Westlake

Team sponsors include: Power Systems Research, Saint Thomas Academy and Express Composites.

 

About the Experimental Vehicle Team
The Experimental Vehicle Team is a co-curricular program that teaches budding engineers real-life problem-solving skills. Founded in 1997 as the Supermileage Team, past Experimental Vehicle Teams have built multiple solar vehicles, a safer electric motorcycle for urban commuting, a one-person car that got more than 1,300 mpg and an electric car that traveled 50 miles on two car batteries. The team has won 15 national championships, one international championship and set numerous national records in its history.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., April 10, 2019 – In the final match of the season, the Saint Thomas Academy “New Shooter” Rifle Team lost to Pacific MCJROTC, of Pacific, Mo., 1,058 to 1,037 in the National Air Rifle “New Shooter” League (box score). The team finished the season in 5th place overall with a 5-3 record (team page).

Saint Thomas Academy was led by Joe Brennen ’21 who shot a 264. The remaining contributing members were Bennet Kotok ’23, Joey Farrington ’21 and Jack Martin ’21. Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, U.S. Army (ret.)

These two teams are competing in the National Air Rifle “New Shooter” League. Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the league is a national team league exclusive to athletes in their first year of competition. Teams are from high schools and junior rifle clubs throughout the United States. Over 10 weeks each team competes in 8 games. Each week, each team is paired with another team with a near equal win-loss record.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team.

Team devoted 1,400+ hours to designing and building vehicle down to tread on tires

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., April 10, 2019 – The Saint Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team will compete April 12 and 13 in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, an engineering design competition requiring the design and assembly of a vehicle capable of traversing the simulated gnarly surface of another world and facilitating mission-objective tasks such as gathering environmental samples of the extraterrestrial terrain. This is the team’s first time competing in the annual challenge, which draws nearly 100 teams from around the world. It is held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Saint Thomas Academy is scheduled to race Friday between 2-3 p.m. CDT and again on Saturday between 1-2 p.m. CDT. The competition can be watched live at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc

While this is the team’s first NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, Saint Thomas Academy has been part of Johnson Space Center’s Microgravity University for Educators (MgUE), the NASA Student Opportunities in Airborne Research (SOAR) program and the NASA HUNCH Program (High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware). Team Adviser Mark Westlake, director of Saint Thomas Academy's Innovation Center, was the 2017-2018 National Space Educator of the Year.  

Amassing points to win
The multi-faceted competition awards points based on the team’s ability to assemble its rover in the allotted time; designing a rover that is lightweight; successfully completing course obstacles; performing tasks throughout the mission; and meeting pre- and post-challenge requirements. The challenge’s weight and time requirements encourage compactness, light weight, high performance and efficiency.

As part of the competition—before their first time on the course—rover entries are tested to fit into a lander equipment bay, a maximum 5 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet in volume.

Teams then navigate their rovers around the .5-mile course with only a virtual six-minute supply of oxygen and a one-minute reserve. They gain points as they progress through all stages of the competition. They earn additional points by returning the results of their mission tasks and finishing without using their oxygen reserve. The course includes a simulated field of asteroid debris—boulders from 5 to 15 inches across; an ancient stream bed with pebbles approximately 6 inches deep; and erosion ruts and crevasses of varying widths and depths.

About the EVT’s Rover
For the competition, the EVT designed a rover with a 4-wheel suspension system and a parallelogram design to give more ground clearance. Independent front and rear transmission systems allow the two drivers to decide which of the 8-speed, internally geared hub works best individually at each bend of the course. The house-made, carbon-fiber seats and wheels provide light-weight durability. The 4130 chromoly steel frame has varying diameters and wall thickness to maximize strength and minimize weight. The rover weighs 107 pounds.

The students designed and engineered two lithium-powered task tools for gathering liquid and solid samples from the course. There’s also a mechanical filter that gathers spectrographic analysis of the area being explored. Perceiving the mission-objective tasks as equally important as the rover itself, the students spent as much time designing, prototyping, and testing the task tools as they did the rover.

The team faced many learning opportunities throughout the design and testing process, the most challenging being the fabrication of tread for the carbon-fiber wheels that had to be strong enough to withstand the different surfaces on the rover course. After testing multiple samples, the team chose a two-part urethane rubber with a durometer of 60. Attaching the urethane to the carbon proved to be an even larger problem as nothing adhered to the cured urethane. Applying ingenuity, the students used a foam intermediate pierced with tiny holes and placed it into the urethane before curing. Using an aerospace epoxy, the foam had great adhesion to the carbon.

Through the design process, the team learned to design in Fusion 360, V-Carve Pro, CoralDraw and TinkerCAD, and used the laser cutter to make templates and parts, 3D printers for rapid prototyping, a 3-axis mill for making molds, a plasma cutter for metal parts, and a TIG welder to assemble the 4130 chromoly steel tubing for the rover’s frame.


The Team
From September 2018 through March 1, 2019, the 15-student team clocked more than 1,400 hours on the NASA rover – all outside of class time. Student Director Joe McMahon ’19 alone has worked on the project more than 140 hours since September.

Team members include:
Wil Applebaum ’21 – Task Manager
Sam Cunniff ’19 – Wheel Design
Joe D’Agostino ’20 – Public Relations
Michael Hankee ’20 –  Frame
Peter Holmes ’19 – CAD
Will Hoppe ’21 – Task Manager
Nicholas Kettler ’20 – Fabrication
Luke Kolar ’19 – Male Rover Pilot (MRP)
Yong Jae Lee ’20 – Fabrication
Murphy Lynch ’20 – Fabrication
Joe McMahon ’19 – Student Director
Lucas Montpetit ’19 – Mechanical Director
Daniel Staelgraeve ’21 – Task Manager
Jenna Westlake ’20 – Female Rover Pilot (FRP)
Robbie Wolfe ’19 – Wheel Design

Faculty Advisers:
Caroline Little
Mark Westlake

Team sponsors include: Power Systems Research, Saint Thomas Academy and Express Composites.

About the Experimental Vehicle Team
The Experimental Vehicle Team is a co-curricular program that teaches budding engineers real-life problem-solving skills. Founded in 1997 as the Supermileage Team, past Experimental Vehicle Teams have built multiple solar vehicles, a safer electric motorcycle for urban commuting, a one-person car that got more than 1,300 mpg and an electric car that traveled 50 miles on two car batteries. The team has won 15 national championships, one international championship and set numerous national records in its history.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., April 5, 2019 – Spotlight Education, an educational initiative of the Hennepin Theatre Trust, has recognized VISTA Productions – the combined fine arts program of Visitation School and Saint Thomas Academy – with several “outstanding” and “honorable mention” nods for the production of Little Women. The musical performed in the fall of 2018 was recognized as “outstanding” for Overall Production and Technical Crew. The cast and crew received honorable mention in the following categories:
•    Achievement in Musical Theater
•    Overall Performance
•    Ensemble Performance
•    Costume Crew
•    Overall Technical Team
•    Light & Sound Board Operators

Individual Honors
In individual categories, the following students were recognized:

•    Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role: Laura Breyen ’21 as Jo March
•    Honorable Mention for Performance in a Leading Role: Xuan Nguyen ‘20 as Amy March
•    Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role: Nicholas Horst ’21 as Laurie Lawrence
•    Honorable Mention for Performance in a Supporting Role: George Budzius ‘19  as Professor Bhaer
•    Outstanding in Technical Leadership: Edie Weinstein ’21 as board operator and Janae Lorick ‘19 as stage manager
•    Honorable Mention in Technical Leadership: Luke Englin ’19 as deck captain and Lizzie Nelson ’21as board operator

Any individual student receiving an Honorable Mention or Outstanding Honor is invited to perform in the Spotlight Showcase, a professionally produced, two-night event taking place at the Historic State Theatre in June. The event highlights the hard work and talent of the students, teachers, families and community members that are part of the vibrant high school musical theatre community in Minnesota. Over 1,600 students participated on and offstage at our 2018 showcase.

About Visitation
Visitation School, founded in 1873, provides an excellent education within a Catholic environment, combining a challenging academic program with the formation of students in faith and moral responsibility. Visitation is coed from preschool through grade five and all-girls in grades 6-12. Visitation is a member of the Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS), the National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS). To learn more about Visitation, go to www.visitation.net.

About Saint Thomas Academy
Founded in 1885, Saint Thomas Academy is an all-male, college preparatory, Catholic, military/leadership school committed to preparing young men in grades 6-12 to succeed in college and in life. The Academy challenges its students to excel academically, spiritually, morally and physically in and out of the classroom. It is fully accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS); and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), and the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMCSUS). For more information, please visit www.cadets.com.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., April 2, 2019 – The Saint Thomas Academy “New Shooter” Rifle Team upset Norview NJROTC of Norfolk, Va., 1,047 to 1,032 in the National Air Rifle “New Shooter” League (box score) recently. Saint Thomas Academy was able to win despite averaging 6 points lower than Norview NJROTC coming into this game. With the win, Saint Thomas Academy is in fourth place overall with a 5-2 record (team page).

Saint Thomas Academy was led by Joe Brennen ’21, who shot a 268. The remaining contributing members were Erick Zauha ’23, Joey Farrington ’21, and Jack Martin ’21. Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, U.S. Army (ret.)

Next up Saint Thomas Academy will compete against the 6 and 1 Pacific MCJROTC from Pacific, Mo.

These two teams are competing in the National Air Rifle “New Shooter” League. Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the league is a national team league exclusive to athletes in their first year of competition. Teams are from high schools and junior rifle clubs throughout the United States. Over 10 weeks each team competes in 8 games. Each week, each team is paired with another team with a near equal win-loss record.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., March 19, 2019 – The Saint Thomas Academy “New Shooter” Rifle Team narrowly lost to Ozark AJROTC (Ozark, Mo.) 1,046 to 1,037 in the National Air Rifle “New Shooter” League (box score) recently. Saint Thomas Academy is currently in fourth place with a 4-2 record (team page).

Saint Thomas Academy was led by Bennett Kotok ’23, who shot a 262. The remaining contributing members were Joey Farrington ’21, Jack Martin ’21 and Joe Brennen ’21. Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, U.S. Army (ret.)

These two teams are competing in the National Air Rifle “New Shooter” League. Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the league is a national team league exclusive to athletes in their first year of competition. Teams are from high schools and junior rifle clubs throughout the United States. Over 10 weeks each team competes in 8 games. Each week, each team is paired with another team with a near equal win-loss record.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., March 13, 2019 – The Saint Thomas Academy “New Shooter” Rifle Team recently defeated the David Crockett NJROTC (Jonesborough, Tenn.) 1,050 to 1,007 in the National Air Rifle “New Shooter” League (box score). With the win, Saint Thomas Academy is in fourth place overall with a 4-1 record (team page).

Saint Thomas Academy was led by Joe Brennen ’21 who shot a 267. The remaining contributing members were Joey Farrington ’21, Jack Martin ’21, and Bennett Kotok '23. Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, U.S. Army (ret.)

Next up, Saint Thomas Academy will compete against Ozark AJROTC from Ozark, Mo. Ozark AJROTC currently has a 5-0 record.

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team.

The “New Shooter” League is one of the largest air rifle leagues in the world with nearly 50 teams competing. The “New Shooter” league is just for athletes in their first year of competition. Teams complete virtually on their home ranges.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Feb. 26, 2019 – The Saint Thomas Academy “New Shooter” Rifle Team recently defeated Selma MCJROTC 1,024 to 973 in the National Air Rifle “New Shooter” League (box score). With the win, Saint Thomas Academy is in fourth place overall with a 3-0 record (team page).

The cadets were led by Joey Farrington ’21, who shot a 264. The remaining contributing members were Joe Brennen ’21, Jack Martin ’21 and Jack Fyten ’22. Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, U.S. Army (ret.).

Next up Saint Thomas Academy will compete against West Broward AJROTC from Pembroke Pines, Fla. West Broward AJROTC currently has a 3-1 record.

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team.

The “New Shooter” League is one of the largest air rifle leagues in the world with nearly 50 teams competing. The “New Shooter” league is just for athletes in their first year of competition. Teams complete virtually on their home ranges.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Feb. 20, 2019 – Shooting its highest score of the season, the Saint Thomas Academy “New Shooter” Rifle Team upset Lebanon AJROTC 1,036 to 1,017 in the National Air Rifle “New Shooter” League (box score). Saint Thomas Academy was able to win despite averaging 32 points less than Lebanon AJROTC coming into the match-up. With the win, Saint Thomas Academy is in fourth place overall with a 2-0 record (team page).

The cadets were led by Joe Brennen ’21, who shot a 268. The remaining contributing members were Joey Farrington ’21, Jack Martin ’21, and Steve Holmquist ’21. Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, U.S. Army (ret.).

Next up, Saint Thomas Academy will compete against Selma MCJROTC from Selma, Calif. Selma MCJROTC currently has a 2-0 record.

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team.

The “New Shooter” League is one of the largest air rifle leagues in the world with nearly 50 teams competing. The “New Shooter” league is just for athletes in their first year of competition. Teams complete virtually on their home ranges.

Saint Thomas Academy Teacher Wins 2019 NCEA Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award recognizing educational leadership and excellence

Seidel to Be Honored at NCEA 2019 Convention & Expo in Chicago

Mendota Heights, Minn., Feb. 11, 2019 — Joseph William Seidel, a teacher at Saint Thomas Academy in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, will receive a 2019 Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) for dedication and commitment to excellence in Catholic education.

Seidel is one of 27 winners nationally who were chosen from more than 150,000 teachers and administrators, as well as diocesan leaders and organizations dedicated to the nation's Catholic schools. He will be recognized during the annual NCEA 2019 Convention & Expo that will take place April 23-25 in Chicago. The annual award honors those whose ministry is Catholic school education and who have demonstrated a strong Catholic educational philosophy as well as exceptional efforts, dedication and achievements.

“The LLP award is a celebration of all that is good in Catholic schools. Our awardees are those individuals whose dedication, commitment, enthusiasm and care help to build dynamic communities where students are challenged and inspired to explore, to enjoy and to reach their potential as young people of faith and endless possibilities,” said Dr. Barbara McGraw Edmondson, NCEA chief leadership and program officer.

“Joe has been a strong Catholic role model and spiritual mentor for thousands of boys who have graduated from Saint Thomas Academy, and a confidant and trusted friend to the Academy’s faculty, staff and volunteers,” said Headmaster Matthew C. Mohs ’90. “To him, faith isn’t just going to mass and saying the right things – it’s following Jesus’ example and living out the Gospel. He teaches our students the principles of the Catholic faith in theory and practice, influencing them to become upstanding, moral young men.”

About Seidel
Since 1987, Seidel has been a part of the Saint Thomas Academy community. He works in various roles as a theology instructor, crime and justice instructor, CHOOSE coordinator and senior service project coordinator. In the absence of a full-time chaplain during the 2017-18 school year, Seidel led the Academy’s sacristan and liturgy committee, sustaining the community’s faith life through ongoing mass, reconciliation, confession and eucharist adoration. He also leads the Academy’s hallmark senior service program, which requires seniors to volunteer 50 hours in a year and a concentrated 40 hours in the last two weeks of school. This requires him to work with more than 30 nonprofit and social service agencies to evaluate the organizations’ volunteer opportunities and the types of skills and dispositions needed to be able to effectively pair seniors with appropriate volunteer opportunities to ensure a positive experience for both the students and the organizations. He monitors the boys’ work and hours served and evaluates their required reflective writing on their experiences.

Outside of work, Seidel devotes himself to improving others’ lives through extensive volunteer work in his parish, St. Thomas More Catholic Community in St. Paul, and the community. He has been a part-time water patrol deputy for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department for 12 years. For more than 40 years, he has been a volunteer youth baseball commissioner for the Linwood Recreation Center in St. Paul, giving kids who may not be naturally gifted athletes the opportunity to experience the game and learn team-building skills. He also helps coordinate the annual Joe Finnegan Memorial Golf Tournament, which for 15 years has raised money for students attending Saint Thomas Academy, Visitation School and Cretin-Derham Hall who have lost a parent.

In the spirit of St. Joseph, Seidel serves as the guardian and surrogate father to 16-year-old Isabella.

NCEA’s Convention & Expo is the largest private-education association gathering in the world. The annual convention draws thousands of members and participants from Catholic school communities, including elementary and secondary school teachers and principals, religious education programs as well as diocesan offices, church pastors, superintendents and school board members. The convention is a forum to exchange ideas, hear about current research and data related to Catholic education and learn about new technology and resources.  

This year, the NCEA 2019 Convention & Expo will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Chicago, April 23-25 at McCormick Place West. 

MINNEAPOLIS/HASTINGS, Minn., FEB 5, 2019 – In March of 2018, the inaugural J Robinson Wrestling Classic, hosted by Saint Thomas Academy, attracted nearly 500 youth wrestlers and more than 1,000 parents, coaches, and fans from across the Midwest. All athlete registrations, gate receipts as well as the STA student and teacher led “out of uniform” day fundraising effort generated more than $12,000 in proceeds, all of which was donated to Hastings, Minnesota-based United Heroes League, a charity that makes it financially possible for children in military families to stay healthy and active in sports through free equipment, camps, grants, and tickets.

United Heroes League recently announced wrestling icon J Robinson will serve as their first Wrestling Ambassador.  Ambassadors of UHL donate their time and talents to support the mission of United Heroes League.  Robinson has pledged a camp scholarship for his legendary wrestling camps to assist wrestlers of active military parents to attend his wrestling camp.

For Robinson, a Vietnam veteran and Army Ranger, the opportunity to be around so many young wrestlers for a good cause was an incredible experience. “One of the best things is to be around young wrestlers because their enthusiasm and emotions are so genuine. To have 500 kids compete the first year of the tournament was outstanding,” said Robinson.  “And anytime you can help raise money that will impact veterans’ lives is a small way of saying thank you for what they sacrifice for us.”

For United Heroes League founder Shane Hudella, a retired Army First Sergeant, the connection is a natural fit. “We are so excited to have J Robinson as our first wrestling ambassador. I grew up wrestling, and followed J’s career closely. We are proud of our mission that supports all military children remaining healthy and active through the sports they love, and now we have a wrestling icon to help motivate them.” Hudella added, “The support of wrestling camp slots and financial support will go a long way to helping military families!”

Click here to view the full photo album from the inaugural J Robinson Wrestling Classic.

About JROB Intensive Wrestling Camps

For over 40 years, JROB Intensive Wrestling Camps has trained more than 45,000 wrestlers with a training philosophy that focuses on developing technical skill, physical preparation, building mental toughness, and life skills. Founded in 1978 by legendary wrestling coach J Robinson, JROB now operates 12 summer wrestling camps in locations across the country. For more information, please call 612.349.6585 or visit jrobinsoncamps.com.

About United Heroes League

United Heroes League is a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit based in Hastings, Minn. The charity assists families of all branches of the military by providing free sports equipment, free camps, financial grants to pay for registration fees, and pro sports tickets so the entire family can enjoy a night out at the game. For more information, visit unitedheroesleague.org.

About Saint Thomas Academy

Founded in 1885, Saint Thomas Academy is an all-male, college preparatory, Catholic, military leadership school committed to preparing young men to succeed in college and in life. The Academy challenges its students in grades 6-12 to excel academically, spiritually, morally and physically in and out of the classroom. It is fully accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS); a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), and the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMCSUS). For more information, please visit www.cadets.com

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Feb. 5, 2019 – The Saint Thomas Academy “New Shooter” Rifle Team defeated Lafayette Gun Club of Grafton, Va., 978 to 894 in the National Air Rifle New Shooter League (box score).

Saint Thomas Academy (team page) was led by Joey Farrington ’21, who shot a 262. The remaining contributing members were Jack Martin ’21, Joe Brennen ’21 and Jack Fyten ’22. Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich.

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team. For more information on the league, including complete standings, visit http://www.orionscoringsystem.com/AirRifleLeague

West Saint Paul 7th grader wins first place

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Jan. 16, 2019 – Saint Thomas Academy Middle School held the first round of the National Geographic GeoBee on Monday, Jan. 14. Of the 147 students in grades 6-8 who participated in the school-level competition, 7th grader Max MapelLentz took first place, followed by Patrik Kilen, an 8th grader.

The school-level competition is the first round in the annual National Geographic GeoBee, a geography competition designed to inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world. Questions cover geography as well as cultures, physical features, history and earth science. The National Geographic Society developed the GeoBee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. Over more than three decades, 120 million students have learned about the world through participation in the GeoBee.

School champions, including MapelLentz, will take an online qualifying test prior to Friday, Feb. 1; up to 100 of the top test scorers in Minnesota then become eligible to compete in at the State GeoBee on Friday, March 29 at the University of Minnesota. Saint Thomas Academy students have consistently advanced to the state-level competition.

The winners of the State GeoBees receive an all-expenses-paid trip to National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., next May to participate in the GeoBee national championship, competing for cash prizes, scholarships and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll. In addition to the GeoBee, National Geographic also offers classroom resources, student experiences and professional development opportunities for educators.

About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. Through its grants and programs, it aspires to create a community of change, advancing key insights about the planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of the time while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Its goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.org.

Michael Driscoll '21 places first in the state

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Jan. 15, 2019 – The Saint Thomas Academy rifle team consisting of Michael Driscoll ’21, Daniel Staelgraeve ’21, Jack Martin ’21 and Kaleb Rutgers ’19 won its second state championship of the year, when they won the state championship in the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) (box score). With the win, the team advances to the CMP regional championship to be held this spring at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Individually, Driscoll finished 1st overall, Rutgers 3rd, Staelgraeve 4th and Martin 10th.

Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, U.S. Army (ret.).

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Jan. 10, 2019 – Saint Thomas Academy announced today that Greg ‘72 and Tom Vannelli will step down as co-head coaches of the varsity hockey team following the 2018-2019 season. While Tom will no longer be involved, Greg will contribute to key aspects of the program to ensure a smooth transition to a new head coach. Greg will also continue teaching health and phy ed at the Academy and coaching the varsity golf team.

Since 2003, when the Vannellis became co-head coaches, the Cadets have won 5 state hockey championships, 10 section championships and 4 conference championships. Through last season, the teams tallied 343 wins, 87 losses and 16 ties. The Cadets had the honor of playing on an outdoor rink at Holman Field for Hockey Day Minnesota in 2015 and annually share a top-ranked position with the best AA teams in the state. Since 2003, 30 Cadet hockey players have collectively received approximately $6 million in college hockey scholarships.

“Tom and Greg instituted new training methods that have been a winning formula and have had a profound impact on all of our athletic teams,” said Bob Slater ’77, athletics and activities director. “They understand the science behind athletic performance and have used that science with the single-minded purpose of raising the bar for Cadets hockey. Individualized off-season training has helped our athletes reshape their bodies and increase their cardiovascular endurance. Applying sound nutritional science has shortened recovery times. And in-game technology has helped maximize the use of players and adjust game strategy.”

The Vannelli family is well-known in Minnesota hockey. Tom and Greg’s father was a referee for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Both Tom and his son, Mike, were captains for the University of Minnesota Gopher hockey team. Greg was a two-time, All-American at the University of St. Thomas. Tom's younger son Rob '08, who was integral to the Cadets’ state championships in 2006 and 2008, played juniors for a year before going on to the University of St. Thomas. Rob and Mike, as well as Greg Monohan ’82, are now assistant coaches for the Cadets.

The Academy will post for the head coaching position soon, with candidates screened following the season. The Academy hopes to name a new head coach by the end of the school year.

Saint Thomas Academy finishes the season as conference champions

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Dec. 3, 2018 – In one of the closest matches in the history of the National Air Rifle League, the Saint Thomas Academy Rifle Team narrowly lost to Lebanon AJROTC in the first-round of the championship tournament. Both teams scored 2,183 points (box score). By rule, the tie was settled by highest number of "inner tens." Lebanon AJROTC won the tie 70 to 68. (The closest match in league history was decided by just one inner ten.) Saint Thomas Academy (team page) finished the season as Junior Rifle Club conference champions with a 5-3 record overall record.

In the match, Saint Thomas Academy was led by Michael Driscoll ’21, who shot a 550. The remaining contributing members were Daniel Staelgraeve ’21, Kaleb Rutgers ’19 and John Copeland ’19. Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, U.S. Army (ret.).

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. The league has two parts: an 8-week round-robin regular season, where teams compete for their division's title, followed by the post-season, comprised of two single elimination tournaments. Only the top 16 teams across all divisions advance to the post-season to compete for the league title.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team. For more information on the league, including complete standings, visit http://www.orionscoringsystem.com/AirRifleLeague

Six Additional Seniors Promoted to Cadet Lieutenant Colonel

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Nov. 26, 2018 – As an independent military leadership Academy, Saint Thomas Academy today named Luke Kolar ’19 the 111th Cadet Colonel. Kolar assumed the highest-ranking role in the Corps of Cadets following Wednesday’s annual suspense-filled promotion ceremony, when Headmaster Matthew Mohs ‘90 presented him with the Fleming Saber.

While attending Saint Thomas Academy the past four years, Kolar has risen to a level of leadership and excellence in nearly every capacity. His resume includes:

Co-curriculars:

  • Cross country: 4 years; senior captain. Four-time All-Conference and three-time "Most Valuable Runner."
  • Track and field: 4 years; junior and senior captain. Recipient of the Coaches' Award and the Jack Zahr Leadership Award. Selected All-Conference in his junior year.
  • Experimental Vehicle Team (EVT): 4 years; student driver as a junior.
  • Peer Mentoring: 2 years; senior captain.
  • Citation school newspaper: 4 years; 3 years as Editor, currently Front-Page Editor. Recipient of the Annual Editor Academic Award for his work.
  • Model UN team member for three years; senior captain. EMUNC Best Delegate Honorable Mention.
  • Cadence (literary magazine): 3 years; Editor-in-Chief as a senior.
  • Frequent contributing writer for Saber, the Saint Thomas Academy alumni publication.

Academics:

  • Three-time Eagle Academic Award recipient for annual GPA of 3.90 or better
  • National Merit Scholar semi-finalist
  • Faculty Award recipient
  • Recipient of 3 military awards in 2017-2018
  • Dartmouth Book Award recipient
  • University of Rochester Bausch & Lomb Award
  • Elected leader of winning field trip project, 2018

Kolar also volunteers in a Living Well Disability Services’ group home and is co-founder and leader of "Churros for Charity" at Saint Thomas Academy. He hopes to attend college on the East Coast following graduation. Kolar attended Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Edina through 8th grade. He is the son of Mike ’87 and Amy.

“Luke brings a great deal of maturity and respect of his peers to the role of Cadet Colonel,” said Commandant of Cadets Col. Neil Hetherington (ret.), U.S. Army. “Those are important factors for a Cadet Colonel to be successful. I look forward to working closely with him throughout the year to further develop his leadership abilities as well as those of every Cadet at the Academy.”

Kolar was chosen from among 16 senior class officers by a board including the Headmaster, Commandant of Cadets, Deputy Commandant of Cadets, Upper School Director, the Dean of Students, Director of Academic Life, a faculty representative and a student representative. The board considers academic performance, co-curricular involvement, merits and demerits, military performance and leadership abilities.

“As a senior today, I’m still in awe of the immense impact this school has had on me since my first days as a freshman,” Kolar said. “Saint Thomas Academy teaches skills that can be applied to any career or role in life; ambitious competition, countless hands-on leadership scenarios, and lessons in diligence that characterize a Cadet’s high school years perfectly complement the values of compassion, community, and courage that the Academy instills in young men. Saint Thomas Academy is a place like no other, and I’m forever grateful for the amazing experience of maturing here.”

As Cadet Colonel, Kolar will work closely with the Academy’s administrators and military leaders to implement a wide variety of events at the Academy, including brigade formal inspection and the Archbishop’s Review in the spring. The Cadet Colonel also acts as liaison between the Cadets and the faculty and administration, often influencing or handling disciplinary matters.

Six additional seniors were promoted from Cadet Captain to Cadet Lieutenant Colonel. They are:

  • Callan Happe, named Deputy Brigade Commander. Happe hopes to study business or economics at Boston College, Villanova University or the University of Notre Dame following graduation.
  • Thomas Mayleben, named Chief of Staff. Mayleben, the younger brother of 2015-2016 Cadet Colonel William Mayleben, hopes to attend the University of Notre Dame or Duke University next year.
  • Hayes Reding, Battalion Commander, will attend and play lacrosse at College of the Holy Cross.
  • Brendan McFadden, Battalion Commander, is hoping to attend either Boston College and Santa Clara University.
  • Maxwell McFarland, Battalion Commander, is hoping to attend Gonzaga University or University of Portland following graduation.
  • Joseph Motzel was named Brigade Operations Officer (S3). Motzel hopes to attend the United States Naval Academy or Boston College next year.
     

(L-R): Hayes Reding, Joseph Motzel, Callan Happe, Luke Kolar, Thomas Mayleben, Brendan McFadden, Maxwell McFarland 

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Nov. 19, 2018 – Shooting its highest score of the season, the Saint Thomas Academy rifle team defeated the Selma MCJROTC 1,102 to 1,090 (box score) in its final regular season match in the Junior Rifle Club Champions Division of the Orion National Air Rifle League. Saint Thomas Academy finished the season first place in its division and 6th place in the league with a 5-2 record.

In its second match of the season against Selma MCJROTC, Saint Thomas Academy was led by Michael Driscoll ’21 who shot a 284. The remaining contributing members were Daniel Staelgraeve ’21, John Copeland ’19, and Kaleb Rutgers ’19. The team is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich US Army (ret.).

Selma MCJROTC is from Lemoore, Calif., and is coached by Mike Romero.

Saint Thomas Academy now advances to the post-season championship tournament as the 6th seed. In the quarterfinals, the team will take on Lebanon AJROTC, which has a 7-0 record.

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. The league has two parts: an 8-week round-robin regular season, where teams compete for their division's title, followed by the post-season, comprised of two single elimination tournaments. Only the top 16 teams across all divisions advance to the post-season to compete for the league title.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team. For more information on the league, including complete standings, visit http://www.orionscoringsystem.com/AirRifleLeague.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Nov. 13, 2018 – The Saint Thomas Academy rifle team fell to the league-leading Zion Benton NJROTC 1,098 to 1,076 (box score) in the Orion National Air Rifle League. Following the loss to the team from Zion, Ill., Saint Thomas Academy has a 4-2 record (team page) and is currently in 8th place overall in the national league and first place within its 'Junior Rifle Club' conference. Both of the team's losses have come at the hand of the Zion Benton NJROTC team, which is 6-0 and is in first place in both the national league and its NJROTC conference.  

For the third time this year, Saint Thomas Academy was led by Michael Driscoll ’21, who shot a 280. The remaining contributing members were Kaleb Rutgers ’19, Daniel Staelgraeve ’21, and John Copeland ’19. The team is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, US Army (ret.).

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. The league has two parts: an 8-week round-robin regular season, where teams compete for their division's title, followed by the post-season, comprised of two single elimination tournaments. Only the top 16 teams across all divisions advance to the post-season to compete for the league title.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team. For more information on the league, including complete standings, visit http://www.orionscoringsystem.com/AirRifleLeague

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Nov. 8, 2018 – The redesigned Saint Thomas Academy website at Cadets.com has earned a silver award in the W3 Awards, which celebrate worldwide digital excellence in websites, web marketing, video, mobile sites/apps and social content. The W³ is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of professionals from media, interactive, advertising and marketing firms.

“When we embarked on the redesign of Cadets.com, we envisioned a site that visually engaged prospective students and their families and helped them more fully understand the Cadet experience and the benefits of an Academy education,” said Deborah Edwards, director of admissions and marketing. “This award is validation that we succeeded in the eyes of the creative community and it’s an honor to be recognized among the best new websites.”

Edwards led an internal team that worked with education marketing specialists at Finalsite to create the site, which launched in the summer of 2018.

The W³ Awards competition is open to all organizations and individuals involved in creating, designing, maintaining or promoting websites, mobile sites and apps, online marketing, social content and original video content created for the web.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Oct. 30, 2018 – The Saint Thomas Academy rifle team defeated the Selma MCJROTC 1,089 to 1,064 (box score) in the Junior Rifle Club Champions Division, the most challenging division in the Orion National Air Rifle League. With a 4-1 record, Saint Thomas Academy (team page) is currently in seventh place overall in the national league and first place within the 'Junior Rifle Club' conference.

In its match against Selma MCJROTC, Saint Thomas Academy was led by Michael Driscoll ’21 of Chaska who shot a 277. The remaining contributing members were Daniel Staelgraeve ’21 of Saint Paul (Merriam Park East), John Copeland ’19 of Edina, and Kaleb Rutgers ’19 of Mendota Heights. The team is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich U.S. Army (ret.).

Selma MCJROTC currently has a 2-3 record. After the loss, the team is in ninth place overall and second place within the 'Marine Corps JROTC' conference. Selma MCJROTC is from Lemoore, Calif., and is coached by Mike Romero.

Next up, Saint Thomas Academy will compete against Zion Benton NJROTC from Zion, Ill. Zion Benton NJROTC currently has a 4-0 record.

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. The league has two parts: an 8-week round-robin regular season, where teams compete for their division's title, followed by the post-season, comprised of two single elimination tournaments. Only the top 16 teams across all divisions advance to the post-season to compete for the league title.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team. For more information on the league, including complete standings, visit http://www.orionscoringsystem.com/AirRifleLeague

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Oct. 29, 2018 – Saint Thomas Academy has promoted assistant baseball coach Matthew Kelly to the position of head baseball coach and baseball program head, effective immediately. Kelly will oversee the Academy’s baseball program for grades 6-12, including leading the varsity baseball team and coaching staff. Kelly has been the assistant varsity coach and JV head coach for the past two years and was the freshmen head coach in 2016.

“I want to bring Cadet baseball to the highest level of success in Minnesota Class 3A baseball,” Kelly said, “as well as to develop our student-athletes into successful young men, both on and off the field.”

In addition to his coaching experience with Saint Thomas Academy, Kelly was the head coach of Take the Field Elite Baseball, Minnesota Blizzard Elite and Roseville Area Traveling Baseball 13U. He has also been an instructor for the Minnesota Baseball Academy and PHD Baseball. He played for the University of St. Thomas for three years, including the year the team placed third in the College World Series. In high school, he played varsity baseball for North St. Paul. In his senior year, he was captain of the team and was named All-Conference. He also played legion ball for North St. Paul in 2012-2013 and was team captain in 2013.

Bob Slater, director of athletics and activities said, “Matt’s ability to relate to, teach, and engage with middle and high school players, combined with his extensive baseball knowledge and familiarity with our program, set him up well for success. He has a track record of hard work, passion for baseball, and an ability to relate to players on an individual level to motivate them to contribute to the overall success of the program.”

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Oct. 23, 2018 – The Saint Thomas Academy rifle team defeated the Warrenton Rifles of Warrenton, Va., 1,073 to 964 (box score) in the Junior Rifle Club Champions Division, the most challenging division in the Orion National Air Rifle League. Saint Thomas Academy (team page) is currently in 7th place overall in the national league and first place within the 'Junior Rifle Club' conference. The Academy currently has a 3-1 record. 

Saint Thomas Academy was led by Daniel Staelgraeve ’21, who shot a 278. The remaining contributing members were Michael Driscoll ’21, Kaleb Rutgers ’19, and John Copeland ’19. Saint Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, US Army (ret.)

Saint Thomas Academy will compete next against Selma MCJROTC from Lemoore, Calif. Selma MCJROTC currently has a 2-1 record.

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. The league has two parts: an 8-week round-robin regular season, where teams compete for their division's title, followed by the post-season, comprised of two single elimination tournaments. Only the top 16 teams across all divisions advance to the post-season to compete for the league title.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team. For more information on the league, including complete standings, visit http://www.orionscoringsystem.com/AirRifleLeague

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Oct. 9, 2018 -- Shooting its highest score of the season, Saint Thomas Academy Rifle Team defeated Warrenton Rifles 1,053 to 987 last week in the National Air Rifle League (Box Score). With the win, Saint Thomas Academy is in 13th place overall and first place within the Junior Rifle Club conference. The team currently has a 1-1 record. Saint Thomas Academy was led by Michael Driscoll, who shot a 266. The remaining contributing members were Daniel Staelgraeve, Kaleb Rutgers and John Copeland. The team is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Paul Preblich, US Army (ret).

Warrenton Rifles currently has a 0-2 record. After the loss, Warrenton is in 23rd place overall and second place within the Junior Rifle Club conference. Warrenton Rifles was led by Seth Carver who shot a 262. The remaining contributing members were Jacob Schoonenberg, Ryan Roeber, and Hunter Brown. Warrenton Rifles is from Warrenton, Va., and is coached by Claude Davenport.

Saint Thomas Academy will compete next against Ramona NJROTC from Ramona, Calif. Ramona NJROTC currently has a 0-2 record.

These two teams are competing in the Champions Division of the Orion National Air Rifle League. Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the league is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. The Champions Divisions is the most difficult division in the league. The league has two parts. An 8-week regular season, in which teams compete for their conference's title, followed by the post-season, comprised of two single-elimination tournaments. Only the top 16 teams across all conferences advance to the post-season, to compete for the league title.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match, which is modeled after Olympic Rifle competitions but adapted to high school age athletes. Each athlete  shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions: prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete's total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team.

Saint Thomas Academy offers an educational experience unlike any other school in Minnesota. The college-prep, military leadership, Catholic school for boys in 6-12 grades will host an Admissions Showcase for prospective students and their parents on Monday, Oct. 29 that will include:

  • An academics, athletics and activities fair highlighting the spectrum of co-curricular offerings. Coaches and team members will be available to talk with guests.
  • Campus tours led by current students.
  • A short program providing an overview of the Academy and the cadet experience, and the admissions process

Guests will have an opportunity to talk with faculty, admissions and financial aid staff, current students and parents.

WHEN:  Monday, Oct. 29, 6 p.m. 

WHERE:  Vincent J. Flynn Hall at Saint Thomas Academy

949 Mendota Heights Road
Mendota Heights, Minn.
651-454-4570
(map)

RSVP:  https://www.cadets.com/admissions/schedule-a-visit (under “Admissions Showcase”)

Follow-up opportunity
Families unable to attend the Admissions Showcase are invited to attend one of the Academy’s “Tuesday Tours,” held on the first Tuesday of every month from 9:30-11 a.m. The first Tuesday Tour will be Tuesday, Nov. 6, 9:30-11 a.m. The parent/guardian morning visit featuring an information session, parent-led tours and class visits. RSVP under “Tuesday Tours” at: https://www.cadets.com/admissions/schedule-a-visit

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Sept. 26, 2018 – Saint Thomas Academy has named Francie Reding to the position of associate director of admissions, responsible for introducing prospective families and students to the all-boys, college-prep, Catholic, military leadership school. Reding will apply her previous human-resources management and recruiting experience to help support the Academy’s enrollment growth.

“Francie’s unique perspective as a former corporate HR manager will bring creative thinking to our outreach to prospective families,” said Deborah Edwards, director of marketing and admissions for the Academy. “As a parent of two current students, Francie appreciates how Saint Thomas Academy develops boys into young men of character, and knows first-hand the factors families take into consideration when evaluating schools for their sons.”

Reding was previously the people development manager at Rustica Bakery, where she was tasked with overall human resources and operational support, overseeing recruiting, onboarding and HR infrastructure. Other previous positions included market manager, followed by national recruiting manager, for Caribou Coffee Company. For three years, she was the majority managing partner of Francicorp, a joint venture with Caribou Coffee Company that operated two retail coffee houses in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where she supervised all operations and helped develop it into a $2.4 million venture with 23 percent profitability.

"I am thrilled to be working with the current and future students and their families of Saint Thomas Academy,” Reding said. “The values of faith, academic rigor, leadership, and men of character are reinforced daily by the faculty and administration, propelling students to reach their full potential as leaders, spouses and fathers in our communities."

In between her corporate management and HR positions, Reding devoted four years to supporting cancer research and treatment as the race director for the Komen for the Cure Lowcountry Affiliate Race for the Cure, and as the affiliate’s board member for fund development. Reding received her bachelor’s degree from Marquette University.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Sept. 12, 2018 – Saint Thomas Academy announced today that seniors Luke Kolar and Peter Holmes, were named semifinalists in the 64thannual National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists named today by officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). The semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. 

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 410 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC's goals of honoring the nation's scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Steps in the 2019 Competition 
Over 1.6 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-­scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. 

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record through­out high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test. 

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected based on their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference. 

National Merit Scholarships 
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2019. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored merit scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet specified criteria, such as children of the grantor's employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored merit scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution. National Merit Scholarship winners of 2019 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join some 338,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Sept. 11, 2018 – Saint Thomas Academy French Teacher and Co-moderator of the Experimental Vehicle Team Caroline Little recently completed her requirements to become a National Geographic Certified Educator. The free professional development program from the National Geographic Society recognizes pre-K through 12 educators teaching kids about the world and how it works, empowering them to be informed decision-makers equipped to solve meaningful challenges to make the world a better place. The program builds educators’ skills in generating classroom activities that are interdisciplinary and centered around real-world problems of local, regional and global scale.

As a National Geographic Certified Educator, Little is eligible to:

  • advise on National Geographic on content and programming
  • lead National Geographic trainings
  • serve as a mentor to other educators
  • receive early access to new National Geographic programs
  • apply for the annual Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship

She will also be a guest blogger for the National Geographic Educator Blog.  

To earn the certification, Little completed the program’s three phases:

  1. A workshop to gain an understanding of and skills in furthering National Geographic’s educational mission.
  2. Development and implementation of two activities applying the skills gained in Phase 1 while incorporating a National Geographic resource.
  3. A capstone project that demonstrated her professional growth and student learning.

For her capstone project in the certification program, Little had her French 2 students (grades 8-10) work together in small groups, imagining they were astronauts charged with establishing a habitat on Mars. The students departed earth from one of three space ports: Guiana Space Port, Baikonur Cosmodrome or the Kennedy Space Center, using the Map Maker Interactive tool and a Map Maker Kit world map, adding various layers as they worked.

Little has been teaching for 17 years. She works to integrate STEM disciplines into her French language classroom, where vocabulary and conversation are often related to soldering or electrical wiring, the International Space Station and the newest advances in engineering. In 2016-17, she completed 50 hours of training in NASA’s Microgravity University for Educators. She is currently pursuing her master’s certificate in engineering education at the University of St. Thomas.

Little has received many honors in her career, including:

  • Regional Honoree - WEM Foundation Outstanding Educator Award 2017-18
  • Air Force Association National STEM Teacher of the Year First Runner Up 2016-17
  • Air Force Association Minnesota STEM Teacher of the Year 2015-16
  • 2015 Prezi Educators Society
  • American Association of French Teachers’ Dorothy S. Ludwig Excellence in Teaching Award - Secondary Level 2015
  • Minnesota French Teacher of the Year 2010-2011

Old Dutch Quality Team of the Week

Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018

Team = Saint Thomas Academy Football

The Cadets opened the season under a new head coach with a 50-7 victory at North St. Paul. The coach is Dan O’Brien, a former assistant coach at the University of Minnesota under Jerry Kill and Tracy Claeys.

After spending the 2017 season as an assistant coach at St. Agnes High School in St. Paul, O’Brien joined the Cadets last spring. His last stint as a high school head coach was at Bemijdi from 1993 to 1995. St. Thomas Academy will play at Apple Valley this Friday.

Congratulations to Saint Thomas Academy football for being this week’s Old Dutch Quality Team of the Week.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Aug. 14, 2018 – For his commitment to leading boys to become men of character and faith, and years of selfless service to the community, Saint Thomas Academy theology teacher Joe Seidel is a 2018 Leading with Faith Award recipient. The annual awards program from The Catholic Spirit, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, honors men and women business and community leaders who integrate their Catholic faith in their workplaces. Seidel received the award from Archbishop Bernard Hebda at a ceremony on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018.

“Joe has been a strong Catholic role model and spiritual mentor for thousands of boys who have graduated from Saint Thomas Academy, and a confidant and trusted friend to the Academy’s faculty, staff and volunteers,” said Headmaster Matthew C. Mohs ’90. “He leads from the front, middle and behind. To him, faith isn’t just going to mass and saying the right things – it’s following Jesus’ example and living out the Gospel.”

Since 1987, Seidel has been a part of the Saint Thomas Academy community. He works in various roles: a theology instructor, crime and justice instructor, CHOOSE coordinator and senior service project coordinator. In the absence of a full-time chaplain during the 2017-18 school year, Seidel led the Academy’s sacristan and liturgy committee, sustaining the community’s faith life through ongoing mass, reconciliation, confession and Eucharist adoration. He also leads the Academy’s hallmark senior service program, which requires seniors to volunteer 50 hours in a year and a concentrated 40 hours in the last two weeks of school. This requires him to work with more than 30 nonprofit and social service agencies to evaluate the organizations’ volunteer opportunities and the types of skills and dispositions needed to be able to effectively pair seniors with appropriate volunteer opportunities to ensure a positive experience for both the students and the organizations. He monitors the boys’ work and hours served and evaluates their required reflective writing on their experiences.

Outside of work, Seidel devotes himself to improving others’ lives through extensive volunteer work in his parish, St. Thomas More Catholic Community in St. Paul, and the community. He has been a part-time water patrol deputy for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department for 12 years. For more than 40 years, he has been a volunteer youth baseball commissioner for the Linwood Recreation Center in St. Paul, giving kids who may not be naturally gifted athletes the opportunity to experience the game and learn team-building skills. He also helps coordinate the annual Joe Finnegan Memorial Golf Tournament, which for 15 years has raised money for students attending Saint Thomas Academy, Visitation School and Cretin Derham Hall who have lost a parent.

In the spirit of St. Joseph, Seidel serves as the guardian and surrogate father to 16-year-old Isabella.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., July 11, 2018 – The Saint Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team (EVT) culminated another successful year on Sunday, July 8, as it finished fifth in the world in the 2018 Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship. Unlike the 2017 grand finale cut short by rain, the 2018 race took place on a sweltering, sun-drenched day at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. 

The Saint Thomas Academy team earned its third-consecutive trip to the global stage by placing first in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas Drivers’ World Championship, held in Sonoma, California, in April. The EVT beat out teams, including several university teams, from North and South America that raced hydrogen, battery-electric and internal-combustion powered UrbanConcept cars. The top three teams from the Shell Eco-marathon Americas, Asia and Europe comprised the nine-car field for the international finale.

Unlike a typical race, this real-world engineering competition recognizes teams for both finish position and using the least amount of energy. Drivers and their pit crews are in constant communication as they consider their laps to go and their cars’ remaining energy levels, which are provided by onboard telemetry systems. Teams carefully strategize when to expend more energy to move up in the field. This year’s serpentine course provided limited opportunity for drivers to overtake others during the 10-lap race.

The EVT started in the seventh position and had a further set back when its telemetry system malfunctioned. Driver Joe Zirnhelt ’18 of Eagan maneuvered the team’s battery-electric car to a fifth-place finish. After some confusion, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember of Indonesia was named the champion, followed by Saskatchewan Polytechnic of Canada.

The Shell Eco-marathon encourages interest and skill development in engineering disciplines among high school and college students as they design, build and race the most energy-efficient concept cars. Alumni of the Shell Eco-marathon have gone on to work at Telsa, Toyota and other major automakers. Four class of 2018 EVT team members have secured spots in the freshmen class at the highly selective School of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, which receives 14,000 applications for 1,100 spots. 

The Academy team members in London included:

  • Driver: Joe Zirnhelt ’18 
  • Devin McGill ’18
  • Nicholas Kern ’18 
  • Alex Moeller ’18 
  • Zachary Keller ’18 
  • Joe McMahon ’19 
  • Peter Holmes ’19 

Vehicle specifications

  • Developed using CAD software
  • Single-person vehicle
  • Weight: approx. 114 kilograms
  • Top speed: 35 mph
  • Street-legal lighting
  • 4-wheel independent suspension
  • 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • Full roll cage, seat belt and 5-point safety harness to protect the driver in the event of a crash

 

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., July 2, 2018 – Saint Thomas Academy Swim and Dive Coach John Barnes has been named the National High School Athletic Coaches Association's (NHSACA) National Swimming and Diving Coach of the Year. He beat out seven other finalists from across the nation. He received his award at the National Coach of the Year Awards Banquet on June 27, 2018.

Barnes was nominated for this national honor by Minnesota’s high school coaches’ association. This selection was based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years and winning percentage. The nominees and finalists are evaluated by experts in the field of coaching using sport-specific rubrics to assign points in each category.

With 15 state titles, Barnes has won more state swimming titles than any other coach in Minnesota history. His dual meet record, 144-3-1, is one of the highest high school dual meet winning percentages. In his career, he has coached:

  • 8 Olympic-Trial Qualifiers
  • 15 National Qualifiers
  • 36 Junior National Qualifiers
  • 26 High School All-Americans
  • 2 World University Game Gold Medalists
  • 15 State Championship Teams - 14 at Saint Thomas Academy, 1 at Minnetonka High School
  • 2 National Age Group record relays (13-14-year-old boys)

He was named Minnesota High School Coach of the Year in 1996, 2014 and 2015.

The National High School Athletic Coaches Association is the oldest coaches’ association in the nation formed by coaches, for coaches, and has been recognizing national coaches of the year since 1978.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., May 29, 2018 – The Most Reverend Bernard Hebda, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, has appointed Father Mark Pavlak to be chaplain of Saint Thomas Academy, effective June 13, 2018. In addition to working with faculty and staff to fulfill the Academy’s mission of developing boys into young men of character, Pavlak will lead the school’s sacristan committee, eucharist adorations, sacraments of reconciliation and all masses.

“As one of the four pillars of Saint Thomas Academy, our Catholic identity is central to daily life at the Academy,” said Matthew C. Mohs ’90, Headmaster. “Our chaplain plays an important role in the way we live out that Catholic identity every day, the faith formation and character development of our boys, and the overall spiritual life of our community.”

Pavlak currently serves as parochial vicar at both the Church of Saint John Neumann in Eagan, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in West St. Paul. In 2017-2018, he was appointed to serve as chaplain to Visitation School. Pavlak received his master’s degree from Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, and his bachelor’s degree in Catholic studies and economics from the University of St. Thomas.

“It is a real joy for me to be the chaplain of Saint Thomas Academy, and I am very grateful to Archbishop Hebda for this assignment,” Pavlak said. “There is a deep tradition here of forming young men to be disciples of Jesus Christ and men of Christian virtue. I look forward to carrying on that tradition.”

 

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., May 23, 2018 -- Caroline Little, French teacher at Saint Thomas Academy, has been named a regional honoree in the WEM Foundation’s 2018 Outstanding Educator Awards program. 

Little is being honored by the WEM Foundation and Synergy & Leadership Exchange for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to student learning. She is one of two regional 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 17 years and currently teaches high school French at Saint Thomas Academy. 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 at Saint Thomas Academy. “She has a warm style that results in being uniformly loved by students, parents and faculty.”

In addition to the Teacher Achievement Award, other Minnesota 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.

Six educators received statewide honors, and six educators were named as regional honorees for the 2018 WEM Foundation Outstanding Educator Awards. Synergy & Leadership Exchange is a nonprofit 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: www.synergyexchange.org.