Friday, April 25, 2014

Day 140 - Life Changing Counsel….From a Former Westonka Administrative Assistant

Today's post is from Administrative Assistant of Food & Nutrition Services Deb Bailey

Like many of our community members, both my husband and I graduated from Mound Westonka along with our children, siblings, my parents and my grandfather Cappy Jones was a teacher/coach at Westonka. Mound is where I met and married my husband, Sean Bailey (Beanie) and when we were blessed with children we started thinking of which school they would attend. For myself, I wanted a larger school district experience for our daughters. I thought that a larger district may have more opportunities. For my husband, there was only one choice, he wanted to live and raise our children in Mound and his choice of school was Westonka.

It was Community Education’s former Administrative Assistant Heidi Petty that counseled me to try Westonka for our then preschoolers. She took the time to literally sit me down and share her respect for the district, coworkers and children she helped each day. I witnessed the love and care she shared with each small person. Heidi’s dedication and attention to every detail helped me to understand the level of professionals working at Westonka, and I wanted my children to learn and grow here. So, we enrolled our twin daughters in Westonka’s Community Education Preschool program and once we were here, we never left!

In 2012 our daughters graduated from Mound Westonka High School. Both daughters experienced an incredible list of accomplishments due to the many outstanding opportunities available which helped them to become well-rounded, responsible young adults. While Westonka offers many opportunities for students, which is exactly what I was looking for when my children were preschoolers, I have learned that what is more important to my family are the connections made each day with students. I am continually amazed at the lengths Westonka employees will go to in order to help students. Administrators are approachable to parents, students and community members. Teachers truly enjoy sharing their skills, knowledge and strive to make personal connections with students and parents. Paraprofessionals, nursing professionals, facilities and food service all take pride in their work because they care about the students and families here at Westonka.

Looking back, I am so grateful that Heidi took the time to personally sit down with me and make such a heartfelt connection. She truly wanted only the best for our daughters……and we got that!

I am so appreciative & proud of our wonderful community and school district. Thank you!

Evan and McKae Bailey

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 139 - The Westonka Community...Always a Part of your Life

Today's post is from Guidance Office Administrative Assistant Lynne Laube

One definition of pride states, “a satisfied sense of attachment toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging”.

My pride comes from growing up and living in this beautiful community all my life, enjoying the outdoors and all the people I’ve met, and relationships made. My family roots here go back to the late 1800’s to my great grandparents living here. My grandmother was in the class of 1936. My parents were in the class of 1956, I graduated in 1978, and my boys were 5th generation graduates from MWHS. This resulted in many stories within our family, that started with “when I went to school or when I was young…”.

Growing up I enjoyed swimming, fishing, camping, bon fires, fish fries, boating, night games, slumber parties, biking, four wheeling, cheering our sports teams on, Friday night football games, water and downhill skiing, singing to records, cards, and board games. Did you know there used to be a place called Ski-Tonka just a couple of miles away from the high school?

I went to school during the 60’s and 70’s. I attended Shirley Hills, when it was kindergarten through 6th grade. Girls were required to wear dresses until I was in the 3rd grade, (I guess the dress code is one of many changes since then). There were two junior highs: Mound JH and Grandview JH which were grades 7th -9th.

MWHS was the new “high school” and grades 10-12 attended here. The class sizes were close to 300, so there are about the same amount of students in the building now as there was back then. We had pep fests, homecoming, (queens only), homecoming bon fires (at least 10 times larger than now), dances, buses running to state competitions, and celebrations. I still have many classmates that live in the area, and Facebook has allowed us to reconnect with those that aren’t.

Because my family had been here so many years, I had many connections to the community already in place. I made my own circle of friends through neighbors, my siblings, girl scouts, church, playing volleyball, working, and of course school. Then my generation got married and had children, the circle of friends and relationships just kept growing.

As an adult I was able to re-connect at MWHS when I started working in the Guidance office 10 years ago. I was seeing “Moundites” with their children attending here, students I taught in Sunday school when they were pre-schoolers were graduating, and former teachers working as subs. Of course it made me feel old, but also humbled.

I am also glad to be working with all the wonderful people here. I was awed by their energy, compassion, intelligence, commitment, and connections with students. It felt very different from when I was here as a student. My perspective from a long ago student to current staff member was “wow”.

I had worked for a company for 20 years and the people were great, but the goal was always how to make more money. Here it isn’t about profit; it is about investing in our children.

These kids are becoming adults and all these educators and staff are dedicated as a team to take pride in this school and recognize and involve all of the kids. They compromise, teach, accommodate, lead, counsel, support, challenge, and encourage our kids. Our kids are learning teamwork, leadership, respect, integrity, excellence, and responsibility.

Our community comes together whether it’s a tragedy or celebration. I cherish all my relationships I have whether it’s just a hello, “how is your day?”, a hug, a dinner, a good cry, a team meeting, a deep conversation, or a fist bump from the assistant principal. Whether you continue to be a part of the Westonka community or move on, it will always be a part of your life: the relationships, and memories. Hang onto the good ones!

That’s why I have Westonka pride…I have a fulfilled feeling of belonging.

MWHS Staff Picture

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 138 - Why I'm Proud of ISD # 277

Today's post is from MWHS Administrative Assistant Brenda Berent

I have worked for the Westonka District for 28 years and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I was raised in Mound and attended Our Lady of the Lake School for Grades 1-8 and then went on to Grandview School for 9th grade and Mound Westonka High School for grades 10-12. I graduated in 1971. YES, I am that YOUNG !!

I have 4 children and all of them attended the Mound Schools and have gone on to lead successful lives. One is a Social Studies Teacher in Pillager, MN., another is a Welder in Waverly, MN., another works for the City of Mound and the last one is a Nurse for South Lake Pediatrics Clinic.

One of my kids remained in the area and now has a child attending Hilltop.

Mound is a GREAT place to raise a family and I'm very PROUD of our Community and our School District !!

Brenda and Tom Berent and all their grandchildren!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 137 - Breathe in the Fresh Air!

Today's post is from Administrative Assistant Lori Gyllen

Wednesday, April 23rd is Administrative Assistant Day. We will highlight and honor those administrative assistants and others this week that make our building a prideful place to be!

April Showers bring much more than May flowers to MWHS.

Amidst the fresh spring air and the new blooms this season offers, my desk is blossoming with graduation planning notes, department budget purchase orders, and workshop schedules, just to name a few.

The best part of my job is supporting a great Principal and teaching staff with whatever task, large or small, with the hope of making someone’s workday a little brighter.

I’m noticing a spring in everyone’s step. Let’s be mindful to step in the right direction, being careful not to step on toes or the new flowers ready to bloom.

Spring fever is upon us. Take this opportunity to help each other stay focused but not forget to breathe in that fresh spring air.

Keith & Lori

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 136 - A Close Knit Community

Wednesday, April 23rd is Administrative Assistant Day.  We will highlight and honor those administrative assistants and others this week that make our building a prideful place to be!

Today's post is from MWHS and District Nurse Lois VanDyke

Caring, kindness, and concern contribute to the pride at MWHS. I am the school nurse at MWHS. I am not in the classroom to see the student success in understanding a difficult math concept, or acing a vocab test, or finishing an art project. What I see is caring, kindness, and a genuine concern for anyone who is hurting either emotionally or physically.

In the health office, I see students who stop in to check on a friend's well-being. Students rally around each other when one or many are hurting or facing a difficult time. Teachers call or stop in the health office because they are concerned about a student's illness or injury. Food service staff come in very early to prepare and serve nutritious breakfasts and lunches for all of us. Custodians work hard to ensure that MWHS has everything it needs so everyone can participate in all classroom activities and after school activities. It takes everyone doing their jobs quietly and without a lot of fanfare that contributes to the positive atmosphere at MWHS.

When you look closely, you will see these acts of caring, kindness, and concern that makes MWHS a close knit community. That is why it is with great pride I can say, "It is a great day to be a White Hawk."

Cami, Gary and Lois

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