Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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Woodbury High School senior Ian Wesley Taylor has won the Minnesota Poetry Out Loud competition. Taylor competed in the state Poetry Out Loud competition Monday at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation competition where students perform poems aloud and are judged on a variety of criteria -- including dramatization, understanding of the poem, physical presence, voice and articulation, level of difficulty, accuracy and overall performance.
Where does your family come from? What culture is your family? Oftentimes the answers to those questions can be lost or forgotten. However, Woodbury Elementary is embracing the different cultures of its students. Woodbury Elementary held its Family Heritage Festival Friday at the school. "We want to celebrate the different cultures that are represented here," Woodbury Elementary first grade teacher John Flavin said.
Woodbury resident Samantha Monson will be reaching for the stars over spring break this month. "I just love the whole idea of space," said Monson, an eighth grader at Gethsemane Lutheran School in Maplewood. "The discoveries, and the things they go up and find and bring back -- it opens up a whole other world of possibilities." Monson will head to Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. She leaves March 13 and returns March 18. Monson is able to attend Space Camp thanks to a grant that Gethsemane science teacher Scott Revoir received.
Back in 1993, Woodbury natives Claire McClanahan and Bryan Stendahl were just two high school seniors appearing in Karen Seashore's annual school plays. "They were very talented students with a lot of energy and creativity," Seashore said. "They were very creative thinkers." Now, almost 20 years later, McClanahan and Stendahl have put their creative thinking to work out in New York. The duo is currently in the process of launching its own Web series, "Simpatico," which premiers May 4. "We're making our dreams of becoming filmmakers happen," McClanahan said.
They may be young. The comparisons to Justin Bieber may be in abundance. But the local band Blatant Youth is anything but Bieber. "When we first walk in, I think we're a little underestimated because everyone usually connects us to Justin Bieber right away," said bassist Zach Sutton, one of the four band members whose hairstyles bear a striking resemblance to Bieber's trademark mop-top. "They don't expect us to do well, but when we start playing, they are almost dumbfounded." "It's exciting to be able to prove everyone wrong," guitarist and lead singer Jake Luppen said.
Court. It's a place that most people hope they never have to see the inside of. However, for a group of Woodbury and East Ridge high school students, it's exactly where they want to be. On Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, the Woodbury and East Ridge high school Mock Trial team will competing in the state championship at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth. A total of 12 teams throughout Minnesota will face off in the courtroom.
Some Woodbury students have proven they are masters of knowledge. The fifth-grade Gateway students, at Bailey Elementary, placed first in the state in the Knowledge Master Open competition. The team placed third out of 206 teams in the nation. The Knowledge Master Open is a computer-based semiannual worldwide academic competition in which teams of students from many schools earn points by answering 100 multiple-choice questions quickly and accurately. The questions tap 15 subject areas ranging from American history to biology.
The Afton city staff has grown by one. Afton City Council approved a contract with former Interim City Administrator Ron Moorse to serve as a government affairs consultant for a trial three-month period. The vote passed 3-2, with Mayor Pat Snyder and Council Member Peg Nolz dissenting. Moorse will work 20 hours per week, as an independent contractor, at a salary of $58 per hour. Moorse started in the new position on Monday. "I'm excited about keeping Ron," Council Member Randy Nelson said.
Could Afton City Hall be going green? Yes, if Afton residents Clint and Bobbi Elston have their say. The Elstons, who own the Equaris Corporation, made a presentation to Afton City Council during its Feb. 15 meeting. The Elstons proposed to install their Equaris water-recycling technology in City Hall. The couple has retrofitted their own house into a self -contained wastewater system and self-sufficient water system.
We wear the mask that grins and lies. It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes -- this debt we pay to human guile. With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, and mouth with myriad subtleties." Those are just a few of the words Woodbury High School senior Ian Wesley Taylor will be reciting when he recites "We Wear the Mask," by Paul Lawrence Dunbar at the state Poetry Out Loud competition on March 7 at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.