William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009.
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Kyle Zins was not only last in line at last Thursday's graduation at Valley Crossing Community School, he was also the final sixth-grader of the final sixth-grade class to graduate. Dressed in a purple "Class of 2016" T-shirt, Zins, 12, stood at the end of the line of some 90 graduates, waiting his turn to mount the steps to the stage and shake hands with Principal Lela Olson. Changes are in store for the school, whose unique approach to learning includes multi-age instruction and use of an "open classroom" model.
Honks, hugs, cheers and tears mingled last Thursday as students and teachers said goodbye to Middleton Elementary School for the summer. Blake Vo, 6, apparently couldn't wait to start his summer, as he was one of the first students to board his bus. While most District 833 schools ran the final bell last Friday, students at Middleton, Grey Cloud and Bailey elementary schools go out a day early so that District 833 staff could prep the buildings for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) replacement later this summer.
The school year ended last Thursday for students at Bailey Elementary School. While most District 833 schools ran the final bell last Friday, at Bailey, Grey Cloud and Middleton elementary schools got out a day early so that District 833 staff could prep the buildings for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) replacement later this summer.
Luke Macke knows how to return a favor. The 9-year-old had a wish — that money collected by his fourth-grade class at Liberty Ridge Elementary be donated to Make-A-Wish, the nonprofit that helps seriously ill children live out a favorite fantasy. "It brings hope to kids," Luke said. "My brother got a wish."
Darlah Krug has ended her short tenure as executive director at Woodbury Leadership Academy, the charter school she helped found in 2012. In an end of year update sent to families earlier this week, the board of directors at the charter school said that Krug had resigned, along with manager of operations Becky Kullman and office manager Dekontee Lombel.
The threat posed by prowling thunderstorms last Friday night did not stop hundreds of walkers, volunteers, spectators and supporters from turning up at East Ridge High School track for the annual Relay For Life. The dusk-to-dawn walk raised more than $155,000 for the American Cancer Society. Perhaps more importantly, it allows survivors to tell their stories and to encourage others still fighting the disease. Survivor Bridget Olson, 20, the daughter of co-chairman Dave Olson, lit the torch to begin the event. Olson's wife and mother-in-law also beat cancer, he said.
Sequels can be dicey propositions, but not when it's Cottage Grove's very own film festival. The Cottage Grove Arts Commission is accepting submissions for the second annual Films in 5 Festival, which returns Oct. 1 to the Park High School auditorium. The competition is open to the public, who are invited to enter original films, videos or cartoons five minutes or less in length. All genres and formats are welcome, so long as they observe the bounds of good taste. Entry fee is $5.
Raucous Raptors rocked the rafters at the conclusion of Sunday’s commencement at East Ridge High School. Nearly 450 giddy grads tossed their hats in the air at the conclusion of the ceremony in the school’s gymnasium, as Principal Jim Smokrovich introduced the class of 2016 to the world. In her remarks to her classmates, class president Haley Webb recalled her anxiety during her first year at East Ridge. She wondered if kids from Cottage Grove would mix with kids from Woodbury.
Gary Johnston didn't choose the flamingos. They chose him. He's the man who tends the ever-shifting flock of kitschy lawn ornaments that greet motorists along the east side of Highway 61 between 80th Street and Summit Avenue in Cottage Grove. Johnston, whose property abuts the highway, recently rearranged the colony of flamingoes — also known collectively as a flamboyance — to reflect the biological imperatives of the season.
East Ridge High School launched the local 2016 prom season with a dance Saturday evening at A'bulae in St. Paul, following the grand march in the afternoon in the high school gym. (Staff photos by William Loeffler)