Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 9 - 20 years teaching at MWHS

Today's post is from Marc Doepner-Hove, teacher and parent in the Westonka District

This is my 20th year in education.  It is not lost on me that I have been

teaching at Mound Westonka High School longer than the students of MWHS
have been alive.  While students might say that I am old, I prefer to think
of myself as wiser through experience.  Yes, that sounds much better.
Worse than that, I am now reaching my mid-life years, not too much spin
you can put on that.

I don't just work in Westonka, I live here.  It would seem that from the

healthy supply of toilet paper left in my yard each September that many of
the students know that as well.  I also serve as a community coach, am a
member of the Northwest Tonka Lions, and am on the Board of Directors for
my church.  Many of my nights are filled with meetings of one sort or
activities of another.  I would not have it any other way.

The time, energy and passion you put into things says everything about who

you really are.  We can say all the nice things we want about ourselves and
our community, but what really matters are the resources (time, talent,
treasure) we put into something.  I don't just want to just exist in
Westonka, I it to be the best it can be.  Which means I want to do whatever
I can to help the community. I want my school to have the best test scores,
the best activities, the best community, and the best of anything else you
can come up with. And that means I have to commit myself to the task.  If
you have pride in what you do and how you do it, you find that it begins to
show in other parts of your life and your community.

That is what most people lose sight of when talking about things like

Westonka Pride.  Don't have pride in Westonka for the sake of Westonka.
Have pride in your school, because you have pride in yourself.  And if we
are all intentional and active about the pride we have in ourselves and
those around us, that will create greater pride for the community.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 8 - Team Bonding Alive and Well at Westonka!

Today's post is by Bill LaTour, Westonka parent and community

On the eve of the home opening volleyball match vs. Holy Family (Thursday 9/12/13), the MWHS Volleyball team got together for an old-fashion pasta feed! Amongst the carbo-loading was tons of laughter, school spirit, and coming together as a team off the court. This is just one of the many great aspects of attending a school with "Small school advantages, Big school opportunities!"

Will this camaraderie and team building translate into a home opening win...only time will tell...but one thing is for sure, the memories will last a lifetime!

Team captains Brooke Berger and Kayla Anderson encourage all students and community members to attend the home opener! We will not guarantee a win but we can guarantee we will play our hearts out for our school, our coaches, our teammates, and our community!

Go White Hawks!!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 7 -- 8th Grade Orientation

Today's post is from Jen Bormes, School Connections Coordinator 

The day was Wednesday, August 28th, the last week of summer vacation, and Link Leaders had to be at school at WHAT??…6:45 a.m.  That’s right, it was a big day - 8th grade Welcome Orientation.  It was the official welcome to the incoming group of 8th graders to MWHS, the Class of 2018.  On that day 100 junior and senior Link Crew leaders arrived at 6:45 a.m., with their caribou coffee and water bottles in hand, energized and excited for what the day holds.  The leaders were ready to accompany, mentor, reassure and entertain the 8th grade class starting with the Welcome Orientation.  Not to forget that the day included a hot gym and maneuvering the hallways due to the summer construction being completed at the high school.  By 8:00 a.m. the new 8th grade class had arrived and so it began. 

So what is Welcome Orientation?  It is a pep rally, it is a motivational seminar and it is a lesson in observation.  Sounds like a training experience you might find in the corporate world, but the major difference is this was students’ helping other students’ to succeed.  The time begins and ends in the gym, but in between is where the connections really happen. 

8th grade students were introduced to their Link Leaders and have time in a classroom for some small group activities with 6-8 other students from their class.  Together they get to know each other, take on challenges and work together to accomplish a goal.  The fun doesn't end in the classrooms, but rather it’s taken to the hallways during a school tour.  Crews dress up as if they are part of a birthday party, a sports team or headed out for fun at the beach.

The day was all about making memories and creating connections.  Eighth Grade Welcome Orientation is only the beginning, who knows what the rest of 2013-14 has in its future?  Stay tuned to find out!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 6 - Mound Westonka Nice

Today's post is from Lee Schmalz, a 10th grader new to MWHS

I am proud to be a White Hawk because of the kindness amongst my classmates, sports teams, and community.  I have felt very welcomed to this school and town because of many generous people.  I just moved here from Becker, Minnesota and the first thing I noticed is how nice everybody is.

In the first four days of school I haven't met one person that wasn't nice to me.  It is a big difference from my old school where everybody kind of has their group of friends and they don't really talk to or get to know anyone else.  Here, almost everybody is friends with everybody and are welcoming to new students.

I don't notice this only in school.  I notice that all of the people of the Mound Westonka community are kind to each other.  Right as we moved here a few weeks ago almost all of our neighbors came to meet us and let us know that if we ever need anything they would be happy to help.  I lived in my old house for around 10 years and I never met some of my neighbors.

Another thing is that when the White Hawk wrestling community heard that my brothers and I were joining their team, they organized a day at the beach with dinner supplied by one of our friends that owns the Minnetonka Drive-In Restaurant.  It was a fun night to get to know a lot of nice people.

I am proud to be a White Hawk because of the warm welcome I received from everybody.

Lee Schmalz with 5 new MWHS friends 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 5 - Welcome from our Superintendent!

Today's post is from the  Superintendent of the Westonka Public Schools, Kevin Borg

Dear MWHS Students,

Welcome to a brand new year at Mound Westonka High School! I can’t think of a better way to start off the school year than to talk about how proud I am of each and every Westonka student, teacher and staff member.

As superintendent of this exceptional school district, I am constantly bursting with pride. The list of reasons to be proud of Westonka students and staff members goes on and on:
  • Our district ranks among the top in the state on MCA tests. In 2013, students in grades 4, 5, 7 and 9 ranked #1 in Minnesota!
  • U.S. News & World Report once again recognized MWHS as one of the top high schools in the country, awarding a Best High Schools Silver Award for 2013.
  • Westonka was one of only 11 Minnesota districts named to the College Board’s 2012 AP® District Honor Roll. Westonka was recognized for increasing access to AP Exams while also increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher (usually the minimum to earn college credit).
  • Google Certified Teacher Sue Simonson will be sharing what she learned at this summer’s Google Teacher Academy with Westonka TILT, helping incorporate cutting-edge technology into Westonka classrooms.
  • In May, MWHS’ own Alan Hiebert received the Best High School Teacher recognition from Lake Minnetonka Magazine.
You give us so many reasons to celebrate, and we want each of you to take pride in your individual successes this year—whether that means improving your schoolwork, competing in White Hawks sports and activities or trying something for the first time.

My challenge to you this year is to not only celebrate your own success but to also help your peers take pride in their achievements.

Have a wonderful year!

Kevin Borg