Saturday, February 25, 2017

White Hawk Girl Hockey Pride

Today's post is from MWHS girls senior hockey captain Liz Schepers

I don’t exactly know where to begin when trying to explain what this team, this game, this community means to me, but here we go. The game I’m referring to is, of course, hockey. It seems that if there is one thing anyone knows about me it’s that I am a hockey player. I don’t mind, though, there is no better group I would want to be associated with.

They always say how fast your senior year goes by, but you never really know until you’re at the end of the road. Through my five seasons of varsity hockey there was never a time I was not proud to wear the White Hawks sweater. Even as a senior, I got goosebumps before every game, and celebrated each win as though I might never get that feeling again. The joy this team brought to the rink was infectious, and it was an honor to be their leader. It is difficult to put into words the pride I felt wearing the “C” on my chest for two seasons. It was so easy to lead a group of such driven, dedicated, and fun individuals. My teammates helped build me into the leader, person, and player I am today, and I owe them everything. They have a piece of any and every individual recognition I receive, and even though our season didn’t end the way we wanted, I hope they know how proud I am to call them my family and best friends.

Our success did not come easy, but the adversity we faced at the beginning of the season made our conference and section championships so much sweeter and brought our team closer together. People doubted us from the beginning, but we knew in in the locker room that this was the team we wanted to go to battle with. Our success also did not come without the incredible support of our families, and community members. I have never seen Thaler Arena as full as it was the night of our section semifinal win against Orono. As seniors, we cannot thank everyone enough for making our final home game better than any of us could have ever hoped for. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, our crowd at the section final game blew us away. Again, we are so grateful for your unwavering support, and I hope we made you proud. Even though come next year I will trade my red and black for scarlet and grey, I will always be proud to be a White Hawk! 

2017 MWHS Girls Hockey Conference Champs

Student Fan Section!

Captains Emma, Abbie, Liz and Ellie raising the Section Champs trophy!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Community Pride

Today's post is from WeCAN Executive Director Christie Larson

WeCAN is proud to partner with the Westonka Schools in many ways. We are thankful each year for the hundreds of personal care items, toys and other items cheerfully and generously donated by the district’s staff members and families.

We are proud to share our space with the district’s GED and ELL classes each week. The students in those classes are thankful for the opportunity to learn and have inspiring messages to share with each of us.

We were proud to accept hand-tied blankets from students in the Student Senate and DECA’s “Because I said I would” project a few weeks ago. Even though the students planned another service project for Martin Luther King Day, they gathered to make the blankets on the weekend, “because they said they would.”

We appreciate the students’ pride in their community and their commitment to making their community a better place to live, a sentiment that echoes our own.

Thank you, Westonka students and staff, for everything you do for our community. You make us proud!
Hand-tied Blankets
Grandview and Hilltop Food Drives
MWHS Senate Drive
If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hawkette Dance Team Pride

Today's post is from senior Kali Anderson

As a 5th year member and a captain of the the Hawkettes Dance Team, I have never been apart of such a hardworking team. Our season started out a bit shaky. We had strong dances, but something just wasn't connecting with the judges. So our team did something that we have never done before. Over winter break, we changed over 75% of our kick dance including the song. Our team worked so hard over the break and even after. If you have never talked to a dancer, you would never know how hard it is to learn basically a brand new dance in 2 weeks, and then compete that dance a week later. Our team pushed themselves to a new level in order to increase our scores and improve as a team. Not only did we change most of our kick dance, we made huge improvements to our jazz dance. With these changes we were able to become the Wright County Conference jazz champions. Even though we were not overall conference champions like we have been the past 4 years, we kept our heads high and pushed ourselves harder for sections.

Our team's drive after conference, is why I am so proud to be apart of such a great team. We did not look at our 2nd place conference finish as a failure. We saw this as motivation to become better. We wanted to become better, not only as a team, but as individuals. In order to become better, we need to come together as a team more than we ever have before. Teamwork is what sets our team apart from other sports. We all have to be able to execute each move in the exact same way as one another. This is why dance team is so unique because we all have be at the same level as one another. Also, in dance, you only get one chance to show the judges and everyone what you got. We do not have multiple tries to impress the judges. We are looking forward to see how we place at state this year. State is held at the Target Center. Jazz is on February 17th at 3 pm and kick is on February 18th at 2 pm. Come show your support for the Hawkettes Dance Team!

2016-17 Hawkette Dance Team
Hawkette Captains -- Kali, Ariel, & Lauren
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Friday, February 3, 2017

MWHS Senior Mural Pride

Today's post is from seniors Ava Wagner and Quinn Tice

The 2017 senior mural is finally complete!

This piece focuses on the growth that each student undergoes in high school. We decided to show the transformation that takes place in these formative years. A unifying factor in all of our lives is Lake Minnetonka. 

We placed a map of it in the background as it has been a part of so many memories with our classmates. The physical progression that a high school student encounters is demonstrated in the figures in the foreground as they are growing up. 

From left to right, the figures go from eighth to twelfth grade. For the eighth grader, we put an extremely heavy backpack on them to show the stress and shock of high school that we remember experiencing. In remembrance of our classmate Joe Goldenstein who passed away in our freshman year, we painted a blue shirt on the figure, as it was his favorite color. 

Additionally, we added his football number to the backpack. Sophomore year we added car keys to symbolize the newfound freedoms that come with having a driver's license. Come junior year, the backpack came off and a chromebook was added to illustrate how digital all of our course work has become. For senior year we chose the most iconic moment in high school that we all look forward to, graduation day.

Be sure to check out the mural in the senior hallway, outside of the media center.

The Mural Team:  Quinn, Ava, Evan, Mrs. Hensley, Tiffany, Emma & Brianna 

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Thriving in Westonka!

Today's post is from parent and Secondary Technology Integrationist Kristin Wallace

I began my career in Westonka over 20 years ago as a member of the MWHS English Department. During the past two decades, the school has been my second home and both of us have experienced tremendous change and growth since the late 90s. So if you had asked me last year if there was anything I didn’t know about the school or the staff, I would have confidently chuckled feeling I have done and seen it all. Until this fall happened!

In September, I entered into a new and unfamiliar role at MWHS, one of parent to an incoming 8th grader. This past semester, I gained new insight and appreciation for the students and the staff at the high school. And I noticed one theme has woven through this experience. Mound Westonka doesn’t just want its 8th graders to survive the transition to the high school; it wants them to thrive.

This commitment to student success was evident in August when my baby and 200 other new students were welcomed to the high school by their Link Crew leaders. These students compassion, enthusiasm and school pride were contagious and set the stage for our year. In September, I attended Curriculum Night and beamed with pride as I watched the passion ooze from the faculty while they discussed both their content and their approach to students and learning. I walked away with tips and ideas about how to help my own student blossom.

In October, I watched my daughter continue to grow through strategic mentorship as a member of the pep band and the Swim Team. Both programs strategically positioning older students as mentors to help incoming students feel welcomed and be successful. I also watched my daughter have the opportunity to develop independence as a learner using the flexible learning spaces in Global Studies, Advisory and English.

November meant conference time and my turn to be on the other side of the table. There were no academic surprises at conferences since teacher use technology to post grades and course materials, but again I was impressed at how each seemed to have some insight into my student, her strengths and her areas for improvements.

In December, I helped plan the student celebration assembly which focused on the heroes among us at MWHS. This was the first time 8th graders were recognized for their academic improvement and success. I was struck by the young students beaming with pride when recognized for their perfect attendance, honor roll and contributions to the heartbeat of the classroom. I am confident this is laying the groundwork for future success.

In it is now the end of January and my 8th grader is confidently diving into semester two bolstered by the support of her teachers, the staff at MWHS and a bevy of student mentors. Over lunch last weekend, she discussed with anticipation the classes she wants to take next year and the activities she may want to try as a Freshman.

Being able to experience MWHS through the eyes of a parent and through my own daughter’s experiences has given me a new appreciation and pride for the students, staff and programs at MWHS. I cannot wait to see what discoveries I have yet to make about MWHS over the next four years and to watch the ways it continues to help my child thrive rather than just survive.

New 8th grader!

The Wallace Family
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Pride in coaching in the Westonka District!

Today's post is from MWHS social studies teacher and Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Alan Hiebert

I’ve been asked to contribute my thoughts to the Westonka Pride Blog in regards to athletics and, more specifically, Girls Basketball, which I have the privilege to coach. What makes me proud of athletics here at MWHS? A lot of pride has to do with the amount of change that has occurred here over the last decade. Almost all of it happened when I wasn’t in coaching. I coached football and girls basketball here from 1999-2008 and have gotten “back in the game” again this season after eight seasons away. The second go-around for me has been eye-opening in several positive ways when compared to my previous experience.

First, coaching has continually improved at MWHS. The experience across the coaching staffs in almost all sports has matured. Coaches like coach Todd Munsterteiger, Butch Humbert, Molly Carlson, Sara Schwartz, Nick David, Doug Runke just to name a few, have been in their positions for multiple seasons and they, and their assistants, have dedicated themselves to making our athletes better and developed programs at the varsity level that represent our school extremely well.

Second, the athletes have invested themselves in their teams. I know that my girls on the basketball team are dedicated to each other as teammates and friends. I’ve coached a lot of teams over the years and I can honestly say that this group is as good a group as I have been around. They’re focused on getting better at “Xs and Os” but also as teammates and people. They’ve gotten “in the wheelbarrow” of our program and are doing their best to make basketball a positive experience for everyone.

Third, I’m proud of my senior captains. Claire White and Ryann Beyer have been through a lot during their careers. I’m coach number 5 in 5 years! But their level of commitment to the team has been impressive. They’ve been asked to buy in to different philosophies and schemes continually throughout their careers and they’ve continually delivered. As a coach it’s hard to find better examples of leadership for future athletes to follow than what Claire and Ryann have demonstrated.

The pride of Westonka athletics is growing. It’s growing for several reasons and will continue to grow in the future. Go White Hawks!

2016-17 Girls Varsity Basketball Team

Ryann & Claire

If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Regatta Pride!

Today's post is from community member and industrial engineer John Hensley.  John is also the husband of art teacher Laura Hensley.

Competing in the 3rd annual Regatta this year was an adventure! Bob Chilson and I love to utilize the engineering fundamentals where we are challenged to develop a boat design, produce a prototype and test it in action. This is our second year competing in the Regatta. After a win last year we decided to modify our boat to see if we could improve propulsion and lower our time across the pool. This year’s boat ended up having a couple flaws but we were still able to just finish the race. 

The students’ designs were creative and used a number of different engineering principles to create boats that had varying results. We were impressed by the craftsmanship and range of designs. We both hope that the students were able to learn from the process and from each other. The best part of the experience is witnessing the passion and drive that the students of MWHS possess.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and we are already looking forward to our big comeback next year. Go White Hawks!

Andrew and Victor for the win!

John Hensley & Bob Chilson
If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Pride in being a parent and teacher in the Westonka District

Today's post is from Shirley Hills 4th Grade Teacher Deb Loomis

My introduction to Westonka schools began in the 1998-1999 school year when we moved to Mound and enrolled our children in the Westonka School District. As a stay at home mom, I jumped right in volunteering and joining PTA. It was then that I realized our children were blessed by incredible educators. The high quality of the district and the care our children received was clearly evident.

Next, at the prompting of one of our child’s teachers, I began to substitute teach in this District. I was then exposed to the educators in all four schools. I fell in love with the vision and the commitment to excellence. In 2002, I joined the District as a full time employee and have been here since. I continue to love the push for distinction and educational greatness.

These last six years, I have spent teaching fourth grade at Shirley Hills Primary. Recently personalization has been an improvement implemented to increase student engagement in learning. It has been exciting to see students partner in the ownership of their learning. I have been blessed to be involved in a District that garners great respect. I have been equally blessed to have a job that I truly love!

Math Personalization


If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!