One-act play takes first place

Published 8:55 am Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The cast and crew of “The Miser,” Albert Lea High School’s one-act play, took first place in a competition with Austin, Owatonna and Winona at Albert Lea High School last Thursday.

The play now advances to the section final this Thursday at Lakeville South High School.

Southwest holds career fair

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Southwest Middle School held a career fair for all eighth-grade students on Jan. 21. Approximately 220 students attended a panel session that included one speaker various career pathways who shared their passion and expertise of their professional area, as well as overall advice to youths. The panel members included representatives from: engineering manufacturing and industrial technology; arts and communication; business management and marketing; health sciences; human services; and natural resources and ag-science. New to the panel this year were representatives from the military, Riverland Community College and Albert Lea Thunder Hockey Team.

Following the panel session, students attended two career break-out sessions they had chosen. During these sessions, students learned about the skills required, education needed and potential careers/jobs in that career They also asked questions of the speakers. Both students and the speakers said the day was “excellent.”

The career fair provides career interest opportunities to help students understand that “careers come by choice, not by chance.” Lynn Keenan, counselor at Southwest, organized the career fair with help from Riverland Community College and the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce.

Southwest offers after-school help with math

With the start of third quarter Southwest Middle School will be offering after-school help in math. On Tuesday and Thursdays, from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m., students will be working on a variety of skills that will help them work towards successfully passing the state’s math portion of the MCA tests. Students have been contacted to participate.

Early childhood screenings planned

Albert Lea Schools will be conducting free early childhood screenings on Friday, Feb. 20, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Brookside Education Center. The state requires a check of vision, hearing, and developmental growth for all 3- to 4-year-olds. Call Julie at 379-4843 or e-mail to schedule your child’s 60-75 minute appointment.

Grant to help implement engineering courses

Industrial technology teachers Casey McIntrye and Mike Sundblad recently received news that they had received a Kern Family Foundation Grant for implementing the new Project Lead The Way engineering courses at Southwest Middle School and Albert Lea High School.

They will receive a total of $55,000 over three years for the high school and middle school PLTW programs, mostly for additional teacher training to implement the series of courses in this engineering program and for some equipment for the PLTW program.

Project Lead the Way is a non-profit organization focused on introducing and preparing middle and high school students for engineering and technical careers of the future. PLTW courses are accessible to college-bound engineering students as well as students who may not have thought of college and a career in a technical field. The Kern Family Foundation in Waukesha, Wis., is one source of funding for PLTW pilot sites in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. Established by entrepreneurial engineer and businessman Robert Kern, and his wife, Patricia, the Kern Family Foundation serves as a catalyst for change with a focus on productive citizenship.

Hockey team, AmeriCorps team up

The Albert Lea Thunder Junior Hockey team and the AmeriCorps/District 241 Mentoring Program are partnering to provide 16 students with caring adults. The Albert Lea Thunder volunteers have each committed to spend one hour a week, through the season, working with a young person at Southwest Middle School or the Area Learning Center. During their time together they will work on building a positive mentoring relationship, goal setting, organization, prioritizing, homework, and planning for success.

The AmeriCorps Program is in its fifth year partnering with Albert Lea Area Schools and Community to achieve academic success with Middle School and Area Learning Center students. To find out how you can help students in our community, contact Stephanie Pirsig at the AmeriCorps office, 379-5314.

National Honor Society to hold annual banquet

On Monday, this year’s group of Albert Lea High School National Honor Society inductees will hold their annual banquet. Each year students from the junior class are eligible to join National Honor Society if they meet certain requirements. They must have a grade point average of 3.7 or above, complete an application, and obtain five recommendations from teachers or advisers. Once accepted they must perform at least five hours of community service. This year’s banquet will be held at the high school and 41 juniors will be inducted into the National Honor Society. A group community service project is being planned for this spring.

New health textbooks at Southwest

Southwest Middle School received new seventh- and eighth-grade health textbooks this year. After a semester’s use, the students have many positive comments about them.

“The new books are very organized.”

“The new textbook is laid out very well.”

“They are easy to read and find information in.”

“The new textbook helps us learn the most up-to-date health lessons.”

“The new health textbook is very informative.”

“The books are easy to understand and if we have questions we can easily look it up.”

“The text has many tips on how to stay healthy.”

“I like the fact that the text has updated health information and practices in it.”

“I like the many graphs and charts to help us understand the many health concepts.”

“I like the up to date pictures and information.”

“The books are new and clean. Our old books were faded and torn with the bindings were falling off.”

Southwest students begin play practice

Students at Southwest Middle School began play practice for their spring production, “North Woods Nonsense” by Andrew Ross. The play is set at a lodge in northern Maine where there is recent news of a Bigfoot sighting. The cast is comprised of 23 seventh- and eighth-graders. These students worked to learn their stage placement during different scenes, along with making entrances and exits. The community performance is at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 13, at Southwest.