Young Hype: Youth achieving success and blazing trails

Ivan Sand Community High School senior Jonathan (Jon) Ellis is one of six state officers serving on the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs (MAAP) STARS board.  He is the second Ivan Sand student in three years to be selected to the prestigious student board.

Jon Ellis at an Elk River Area School Board meeting where he serves as a representative of his school. He’s also been selected to serve on the MAAP STARS board, which is equivalent to DECA for students in alternative high schools. Photo by Casey Mahon

As an officer, Ellis is assuming leadership responsibilities, including speaking at various functions and coordinating initiatives with other MAAP STARS officers.  The student-led board’s purpose is to benefit alternative learning center students in Minnesota.  Ellis is also his school’s representative on the Elk River Area School Board.

“Jon is a multi-talented young man who demonstrates excellent academic, theater, writing, music and dance skills,” says Principal Val Bakken.  “We are confident that given Jon’s many skills he will do a fabulous job.”

MAAP STARS is a broad-based vocational organization for students in secondary alternative programs.  In Minnesota there are more than 250 alternative programs. Its mission is to meet the needs of students, parents, teachers, administrators and the general citizenry through a professional organization dedicated to the improvement of alternative education.

Hannah Gibson, also an Ivan Sand Community High School senior, was a MAAP STARS student board director in 2010.

Ivan Sand Community High School is located in Elk River, but serves students from throughout the school district.

Scout will restore pond for Eagle project
An eighth grader at VandenBerge Middle School in Elk River will restore a city retention pond for his Eagle Scout project.

The pond is located at Joplin Street and Orono Road.

With the help of volunteers, Andrew Elmquist plans to remove trees, brush, vines, weeds and other vegetation as well as garbage and debris. He also will clean the storm gutter grates, construct rock berms to slow the flow of water from the drain pipes and seed the area with native plants.

All the work and materials will be donated.

The project is scheduled to begin this spring and be completed in one or two weekends.
He outlined the project in a Jan. 17 presentation to the Elk River City Council. The City Council unanimously approved the project.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America.

Awards keep rolling for Madelyne Sorenson

Madelyne Sorenson with teachers Terry Beaudry and Sara Klingelhofer after being recognized at a recent Elk River Area School Board meeting.

Madelyne Sorenson opened the 2008 Minnesota Legislative session at the State Capitol by singing “Shines for All to See,” and the awards have continued to flow since then.

She has been chosen for the Minnesota Band Directors Honors Band in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and she was selected for the Minnesota Youth Jazz Honors Band in 2011.

She has also been chosen for the American Choral Directors Association Honors Choir in 2010 and 2011.

The song she sang at the Capitol was composed by her father, Dean Sorenson, as a commissioned work for the state of Minnesota’s Sesquicentennial celebration.

On top of all of her musical accomplishments, this eighth grade student at VandenBerge Middle School is in her school’s National Junior Honor Society and has been on the “A” honor roll her entire tenure at VandenBerge.

“This is one young lady that we will be hearing of in the future and I will consider myself the lucky one to be able to say I knew her when …,” VandenBerge Principal Marcia Welch said.

Art featured nationally for Rogers students

Paige Welle

Paige Welle has been recognized for being published in a national magazine for the second time.
Welled was first recognized this past October. Her published work was part of a first-grade Cow’s Jumping Over the Moon weaving project in School Arts, a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

This time around she was recognized with one of her peers, Kalvin

Kalvin Larson

Larson. They were published in a full article in the January 2012 School Arts Magazine.

“This is empowerment,” art teacher Nichole Hahn said. “These young students know that they do not have to be a ‘grown-up’ to be recognized as an artist. They know their art is valuable and in turn so are they.”



Her artwork will go to more than 50,000
More than 50,000 households in the Northwest Suburban Integration School District

Madison Odegaard

(NWSISD) will receive a postcard including the artwork of Salk sixth-grader Madison Odegaard. Sixth-grade students in Tim LeMoine’s and Kristin Faul’s industrial technology classes each completed a postcard design. Five designs were selected from each hour to present to NWSISD for approval, from which Odegaard’s was selected by NWSISD staff as the winning design.


Gordon making a name for  himself
One of the Land of Lakes Choirboys is making a name for himself at Rogers Middle School.

Jacob Gordon recently performed in the 2011 seventh- and eighth-grade Boys’ Honor Choir at the American Choral Directors Association annual state conference held at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Jacob Gordon

He was one of hundreds of boys who auditioned for the choir in September and was one of the 100 boys accepted into this select group.

As part of this, Gordon worked outside of the school day independently to learn and memorize six challenging musical pieces of music prior to the concert.

On the day of the concert, he spent the entire morning and afternoon in rehearsal with the choir and guest conductor, Dr. Eugene Rogers of Michigan State University. The event culminated in a performance of the top middle school singers in the state and premiering for the world a composer’s musical piece who they also had the opportunity to meet.

“The performers received a standing ovation for their hard work and extraordinary performance,” said Sarah Cohen, Gordon’s RMS choir director.

As a member of the choirboys, Gordon has performed in 34 concerts between September and December between the Honor Choir, Land of Lakes and Rogers Middle School.

He also performs in the seventh-grade band at RMS. Teachers have described him as friendly, intelligent, caring, hardworking, disciplined, humble and a student of high character.

Kaleidoscope names students of the month
Allyssa Webskowski, Megan Buhl, Matt Sultany, Isaac Kogut, Katie Buhl, Cole Elrod, Riley Lamberger, Ericka Kizer and Makayla Morrell have been named students of the month at Kaleidoscope Charter School (KCS).

They range from fifth grade to eighth grade and are recognized for going above and beyond what they are expected to do as students.

Winners from the previous month were Bella Acitelli, Nathan Monhardt, Jinnea Koop, Carter Allard, William Nguyen, David Okematti, Camden Goepferd, Noah Hansen, Hailey Castonguay, Teresa O’Sullivan, Danyan Blazek and Sophie Brenna.

“KCS wants kids to push the boundaries that make them a balanced student,” said Ben Young, a music teacher at the school. “We not only want students to be balanced in academic excellence, but we want to foster an understanding of civil responsibility.  These are some of the main criteria we use when nominating students for this distinction.”

KCS is a K–eight public school located in Otsego.

District’s top musicians gather
Twenty-four middle- and high-school musicians with the Elk River Area School District performed with the Central Minnesota Regional Honor Band this past Saturday at Elk River High School’s Zabee Theater.

The 24, representing each of the district’s middle schools and Elk River High School, auditioned with nearly 400 other student musicians from approximately 40 regional schools.

A total of 100 students were selected for the sixth- through eighth-grade and ninth- through 10th-grade bands. This is the fifth year district middle school musicians have performed with the honor bands.

Members of the sixth- to eighth-grade Honor Band included flutists: Ann Jerry of Salk Middle School, Anya Larson of Rogers Middle School and Carina Schneider of Zimmerman Middle School.

The clarinet section included: Christina Jacobson, ZMS; Emma Leither, SMS; and Madelyne Sorenson, VMS.
Bass clarinet: Hannah Otto, RMS; and Brandon Tran, SMS.
Tenor saxophone: Cameron Bruce, ZMS; and John McClay, SMS.
Baritone saxophone: Sean Bois, RMS.
French horn: Madeleine Griffin, SMS
Trumpet: Annika Johnson, VMS
Trombone: Jacob Jensen, RMS; and Elliot Russell, RMS.
Contrabass clarinet: Andi Pomeroy, VMS
Tuba: Yan Golovatyy, RMS
Percussion: Abbey Sharp, VMS
9th to 10th-grade Honor Band
Flute: Emily Sederstrom, Elk River High School
Oboe: Jaclyn Studniski, ERHS
Tenor saxophone: Emily Meyer, ERHS
Baritone saxophone: Rosemary Hampton, ERHS
Trumpet: Carter Schunk, ERHS
Tuba: Matt Brisbin, ERHS

Five Rogers artists recognized
Five Rogers High School students earned honors in the Minnesota Scholastic Art

An award-winning work of art by Blake Shermer, a Gold Key winner who advances to nationals now.

Awards, including students who earned three prestigious Gold Key awards, one Silver Key award and one honorable mention.

Gold Key
Gold Key winners, whose work will go on to the national competition in New York, include:
•Audrey Erdahl (jewelry)
•Blake Shermer (painting)
•LeeAnn Scharber (painting)

Silver Key
Silver Key winner:
•Brianna McGovern (drawing).
Merit Award
Merit Award:
•Ian Dorosh (jewelry)

Submitted artworkBrianna McGovern clawed her way to an award with this painting. This Rogers student came home with silver honors.



About the awards
This year, there were 1,376 individual artwork entries. The jury awarded 133 Gold Keys and 167 Silver Keys for individual artwork entries. Additionally, the jury awarded 150 individual entry Merit Awards.   Students who received Gold and Silver Key awards will have their works of art on display at MCAD in Minneapolis from Jan. 30 – Feb. 26.





Patriotic youth recognized for work
Area youth who placed in local Patriotism and Americanism competitions are as follows:

Voice of Democracy
(Ninth–12th grades)
Topic: “Is there Pride in Serving in Our Military?” Entries Received: 71 from ERHS

First place: Anessa DeMers, 11th grade, ERHS ($100 check award) Teacher: Denise Eidem

Second place: Cara Fromm, 11th grade, ERHS ($75 check award) Teacher: Denise Eidem

Third place: Will Strei, 11th grade, ERHS ($50 check award) Teacher: Denise Eidem

Honorable Mention
Emma Hohlen, 11th grade, ERHS Teacher: Denise Eidem
Fanaka Ndege, 11th grade, ERHS Teacher: Denise Eidem
Anessa placed first in district and has been sent on to the state competition.
Cara has placed second in the district competition.

Patriots Pen
(Sixth–eighth grade)
Topic: “Are You Proud of Your Country?”

Entries Received: 12 from St. John Lutheran School

First place: Madyson Waknitz, sixth grade, St. John ($75 check award) Teacher: Rae Brisbin

Second place: Klarissa Banaszak, sixth grade, St. John ($50 check award) Teacher: Rae Brisbin

Third place: Taylor Duell, seventh grade, St. John ($35 check award) Teacher: Rae Brisbin

(Fifth–sixth grade)
Topic: “My Hero”

Entries Received: 46 from St. Andrew’s and Otsego Elementary

Awards: Small cash award and certificate

First place: Janine Bury, fifth grade, St. Andrew’s Teacher: Mrs. Aberle

Second place: Olivia Kanzler, fifth grade, Otsego, Teacher: Ms. Jacobson-Boyce

Third Place: Grant Goodrich, fifth grade, Otsego, Teacher: Ms. Jacobson-Boyce

Janine has also been sent on to district.

(Third–fourth grade)
Topic: “Heros”

Entries Received: 86 entries from Otsego Elementary and St. Andrew’s

First place: Cole Hevey, fourth grade, St. Andrew’s, Teacher: Mrs. Bjorkedal

Second place: John Gannon, fourth grade, St. Andrew’s, Teacher: Ms. Anderson

Third place: Beckett Olson, fourth grade, Otsego, Teacher: Ms. Z. Olson

Honorable Mention
Andro Rydberg, fourth grade, St. Andrew’s, Teacher: Ms Anderson
Zach James, third grade, St. Andrew’s, Teacher: Mrs. Mrugala
Cole has also been sent on to district.

(K–second grade)
Topic: “Lady Liberty Dot-to-Dot”

Entries Received: 66 entries from St. Andrew’s

Awards: Small cash award and certificate

First place: Sophia Bernard, second grade, St. Andrew’s, Teacher: Ms. Kinzer

Second place: Isabelle Johnshoy, second grade, St. Andrew’s, Teacher: Ms. Hannigan

Third place: Grace Landberg, first grade, St. Andrew’s, Teacher: Mrs. Cross

Sophia has also been sent on to district.

These competitions take place every fall and are announced through the schools and local newspapers.

For more information on upcoming contests or to be placed on a contact list for next fall’s contests, interested students, parents and Teacher should contact Melody Shryock, the youth activities chairman at VFW Post No. 5518, by phone at 763-712-1873 or write to the post at P.O. Box 66, Elk River, Minn. 55330 for more information.