Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 57 - New teacher proud to call himself a White Hawk!

Today's post is from math teacher and NHS Advisor Matt Lenz

This school year marks my second full year as a teacher, and I have had the wonderful opportunity to start my career here at Mound Westonka High School. To be honest, when I first saw the job post for MWHS I had to look up where exactly the high school was. I grew up in the Southern Twin Cities area and knew my way from there to either of the downtown’s, but was largely unfamiliar with the West Metro area. Heck, it took me 22 years to figure out that 494 not only ran East/West, but eventually changed to North/South #mindblown. Anyway, I am getting away from my point here...I feel so fortunate to begin my career in a workplace with such wonderful staff and students.

When I first started Matt Sobiech was considered my official “mentor”. I could go to him for any questions or advice I needed. I quickly learned that Matt wasn’t my only mentor, but the entire staff was more than willing to help with anything I needed. The first few years for a teacher can be particularly busy and stressful (over 50% of teachers change their profession in the first 5 years), but the staff here at MWHS made my transition from college student to professional adult a lot easier than I previously thought. I really believe that I could not have found a better location for me to start my career, and am extremely proud to call myself a White Hawk for that.

Along with the staff, the students have been another reason I am proud to be a White Hawk. At the beginning of last year, I became an advisor for the MWHS Chapter of the National Honor Society with Crystal Gravelle. This gave me the opportunity to work with some of the most brightest, selfless, and nicest students that the community has to offer. I continue to be amazed by the way these students are already making a difference in the world as a junior or senior in high school! We have had many, many service opportunities where students have gone above and beyond to make someone elses day just a little bit better. Last year we spent countless hours raising money and volunteering at the Feed My Starving Children Mobile Cart event held at the high school. This year the students have done more than ever was expected to help support Crystal in her battle with cancer. I consider myself extremely lucky to work with such wonderful students, NHS or not, on a daily basis and am proud of these students every day.

I would like to thank the Mound Westonka community for supporting me as a new teacher and everything that goes with it. It makes me extremely proud to be a part of a great community and to call myself a White Hawk.

Matt and Crystal

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 56 - Youth Leader Expresses his Pride!

Today's post is from Sam Grosso, Youth Pastor at River Valley Church

First off, I am so honored to have the opportunity of adding my thoughts and experiences to this incredible blog, and I am so proud of Alex Riffle and all those involved in this unique and inspiring project. For those of you without any idea as to who I am or why I am writing on the BlogSpot of a high scool I never had the opportunity of attending; let me give you a quick background.

I was able to join this amazing community here on the lake through a crazy series of events that landed me a job offer at a local church in the area, River Valley Church ( So, in the summer of 2012, I came on as a brand new youth pastor to a community that was entirely foreign to me.

But, from the moment I began working (and living) in the area; the community has been a complete blessing to my life and a joy to be a part of. I have continually been amazed by the countless people I have met and the insatiable spirit of the Mound/Minnetrista area. Including the astounding relationships I now have with so many phenomenal high school students who regularly attend our weekly youth services at River Valley Church. I have seen it specifically lived out in those that attend or work at Mound Westonka High School. Without fail, I have repeatedly been welcomed into many different facets of this unique High School. Examples include attending the hyperactive school lunches, the spirited sporting events, the emotional see you at the pole gatherings, the enthusiastic and creative plays/concerts, the heartfelt graduation ceremonies, and the inspirational student-led bible studies. And through all of these sensational experiences I have received my own personal understanding of what MWHS pride is all about; to not simply develop students through quality academics, but to raise up young people to be individuals who will are leaders in their homes, churches, marketplace, and in their personal lives.

So in closing, I can't express enough what an honor it has been to partner with so many faculty and students, and to receive my own dose of the insane spirit that accompanies MWHS! I truly believe that the best is yet to come for the faculty, students, and leaders of this great High School.

Sam and MWHS Students

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 55 - Proud to teach MWHS students on the stage

Today's post is from Math Teacher and Assistant Theatre Director Meagan Anderson

When I entered my first day of Kindergarten many years ago, my first assignment was to draw a picture of what I wanted to be when I grew up. The drawings were submitted to the local newspaper, and I remember being overjoyed when the picture I drew of myself as a dance teacher appeared on the front page. From that day on teaching has been the only profession I have envisioned for myself, and after five years at MWHS I can honestly say there is nowhere else I would rather teach!

I have had the opportunity to work with so many different types of students throughout my years as a White Hawk, and I am thankful for every last one of them. The group of students that I get to spend the most time with outside of the school day, however, are the theatre students that perform in the fall musical and spring play every year.

Serving as the assistant director and choreographer for the past nine MWHS shows has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career and one of the aspects of my job that I love the most. Yes, I love that it allows me to continue to explore my passion for dancing and theatre. Yes, I love that I get to work and collaborate with other faculty and staff members who share that same passion, but producing and performing shows takes a tremendous amount of energy, dedication and hard work. The hours are long and at times feel neverending, but I wouldn’t change a minute of it.

I love working on shows at MWHS most because of the pride that I feel for every single student who performs a piece of my choreography, plays a note in the orchestra or moves a set piece on the stage. The amount of pride I feel watching a senior perform for the very last time after watching him or her grow and mature both on and off the stage is unparalleled. I am so thankful that I will once again get to watch the cast of the fall musical perform on the “Broadway” stage at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis this spring because of their Outstanding Performance of a Musical. I could not be more proud of a group of MWHS White Hawks!

Ms. Anderson & the Copacabana Cast