School Matters

Published 8:03 am Sunday, November 20, 2011

Students donate to UNICEF

The students from Hawthorne Elementary School just completed their trick-or-treat for UNICEF campaign.

Hawthorne’s Citizenship Committee helped with the UNICEF campaign. -- Submitted photos

The Citizenship Committee consisting of Aidan Moffitt, Solia Birch, Brooke Talamantes and Ian Ball were instrumental in promoting and running the program. After counting what seemed like endless change, the students proudly sent a check for $444.42 to UNICEF!


Southwest Middle School holds first “Popcorn and a Book” night

Southwest Middle School is trying something new to encourage students to read. The library staff invited students and their families to the first family reading night “Popcorn and a Book.” From 6 to 7 p.m. Nov. 15 the library was opened and the popcorn was popping. Middle-schoolers, 25 in all, brought 66 family members with them for an hour of reading and free popcorn. Along with parents and siblings, extended family members also took part. Families were encouraged to choose reading materials from the library or to bring something of their own to read.

“Families that take time to read together will demonstrate the importance of reading to their child” said Neil Chalmers, the Southwest Middle School librarian. “Nights like this also have the added benefit of being really fun.”

Kalli Citurs and Dana Edwards enjoy Southwest Middle School’s “Popcorn and a Book” family reading night.

Students also received help finding a variety of books and were able to check out materials. Southwest is planning on holding other family reading nights throughout the school year. A special thanks to Starr Kloskin and the reading and English teachers who helped make this event a great success.


Students attend Festival of Bands

On Nov. 12, three members of the Albert Lea High School Concert Band attended the Festival of Bands at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The students were senior Matt Buhr, trumpet, senior Kelsey Lenhart, clarinet, and junior Maria Silva, flute.

The 2011 St. Olaf Festival of Bands brought together 150 high school students and 35 band educators from 60 Minnesota schools for a day of music that culminated in performances by the St. Olaf Band conducted by Timothy Mahr, Norseman Band conducted by Paul Niemisto, and the Festival Band conducted by Niemisto and guest conductor Maj. Manfred Heidler. The performances were streamed live on the St. Olaf website, and are now archived there.

Heidler is an active conductor and brass player in the German armed forces who has published numerous articles on German military and wind music. He is an internationally recognized authority on German band repertoire, with a special interest in contemporary composers. Much of the music performed at the festival was brought over from Germany by Heidler.

This was Heidler’s first guest conducting appearance in the United States.