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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Longtime Woodbury High School parking lot security guard Calvin Woody, or "Woody" as he was affectionately called, died on Feb. 17 after battling colon cancer for several years. Woody, 60, had been a part of the WHS family for nearly 10 years. Woody retired from the school this past fall. A memorial service will be held on Friday, February 26th at 11:00AM at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in St. Paul with internment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
After a somewhat frustrating meeting on Feb. 16, the Afton City Council and developer Len Pratt came together for a work session Tuesday, Feb. 23, to discuss several of the concerns facing the council. The council was scheduled to vote on the final plat, but postponed the decision in order to address further questions and concerns. Prior to the work session, Pratt has sent an e-mail to the council outlining, and addressing, many of the concerns he felt the council had expressed. The initial development was approved in 2006.
After roughly a year of discussions, the proposed Cedar Bluff development still hasn't gotten the green light from the Afton City Council. The council was scheduled to vote on the project's proposed final plat during its Feb. 16 meeting, but the council chose to postpone the decision yet again. "I would have to say that I still have some questions that I don't know if have been addressed," Mayor Pat Snyder said.
Hundreds of little girls found their Prince Charming - in their fathers - Thursday Feb. 18 at the annual Cinderella Swing daddy-daughter dance, at Woodbury Middle School, sponsored by District 833 Community Education. During the event daddies and their little girls were treated to a night out with food, activities, dancing and the Dweebs. For more on the daddy-daughter dance, see the Feb. 24 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin.
Students at Red Rock and Royal Oaks elementaries got a little taste of Chinese culture Thursday, Feb. 12 as the schools celebrated Chinese New Year. "The Chinese New Year is an important holiday as it is a time for family reunions, and for visiting friends and relatives," said Peggy Leung, who teaches Mandarin Chinese at Red Rock Elementary. "We congratulate each other on having passed through another year, a time to finish out the old, and to welcome in the New Year." Sunday, Feb. 14 2010 marked the first day of the "Year of the Tiger," according to the Chinese calendar.
Just like most Minnesotans, Ryan Daniel was disappointed when the Minnesota Vikings lost to the New Orleans Saints last month. But the loss was a blessing in disguise for the Woodbury resident. Daniel, who is a Christian hip-hop musician, has generated nearly 200,000 hits for his YouTube tribute to the Saints.
Three years ago Kiersten Holine was a college freshman enduring the rigors of student life: early morning lectures and late-night study sessions. But between all the school-day rigors, Holine also found time to share her musical talent on YouTube. As a result, the Woodbury resident was included in Rolling Stone's annual Hot List issue as part of the "Hot Trend: The YouTube Folk Revival." Not bad for a first-year college student. Holine has been posting YouTube videos of her folksy, acoustic music since 2005 when she was a junior at Woodbury High School.
A group of Woodbury High School students are scheduled to spend time in court this month. Again. The school's Mock Trial team is currently 3-0 in its ongoing regional competition. They will compete in the regional finals on Feb. 18 and Feb. 24 at the Hennepin County Courthouse. "As you go forward in competition, the teams get more and more competitive," said Gwender Sterling, the Mock Trial coach, whose son Ian Taylor is one of about a dozen team members.
Come this August, a number of high school students will be trading in the beach for the classroom earlier than usual when the newly-developed "August Academy" takes shape at Woodbury High School. The August Academy, which will run from Aug. 2-13, will offer students a variety of classes that they may not be able to take during the school year. Some of the classes include "Preparing for the Advanced Placement Experience," "Preparation for High School and Beyond," "Robotics," "Survival: Survive and Return" and "Marching Band." The decision to offer the classes was announced in January.
Woodbury High School recently began offering live video feeds of its morning announcements in its classrooms. And in case you missed it, you can watch them on the World Wide Web. Previously, the school's morning announcements were delivered over loud speaker. Now they are being broadcast to the classroom via video and on YouTube a short while later. The first video school announcements aired live and later on YouTube last month. "What I've heard from staff members is that for the first time they are actually paying attention to announcements," WHS media specialist Brian Peters said.