Friday, May 9, 2014

Day 150 - Prideful/Favorite Memories of ICDC

Today's post is from the 2014 ICDC DECA Competitors

Twenty-three MWHS DECA students traveled to Atlanta Georgia last week to compete in the International Career Development Conference.  These students placed in the top three in their respective categories at MN State DECA in March.  They then competed against the top three from each state, Canada, Mexico and Germany at ICDC.  

14 of our 23 students OR 6 out of 10 teams advanced to the finals which put them all in the top 20 in the nation.  Abe Thaler & Kelsea Kern and Zach Altman & Mark Randklev placed in the top 20.  Tori Anderson, Chazz Edington & Derek Fuhrmann; Aaron Leschisin, Alex Lafortune & Sam LaTour and Alex Riffle & Courtney Simonson placed in the top 10 in the nation in their events. Finally, Nick Battis and Brock Locker placed 2nd in their role play!

DECA is over for the year...but the blog is not!  We decided today that we would get a small quote from as many of the students as we could.  Here are their favorite memory or prideful moment from the trip!

Junior Charlie Sir - ICDC was a week of fun and competition that I will never forget!
Junior Nick Battis - Just watching the amount of dedication and comradery this week was extraordinary. Couldn't be more proud to represent Mound Westonka DECA!  
Senior Derek Fuhrmann - Favorite ICDC moment - being stuck in the elevator with the rest of our chapter. Great bonding time.
Sophomore Sydney Wagner - My proudest moment was watching each and every one of us cheer, scream, and congratulate one another no matter how well our own group did.
Senior Tori Anderson - I became closer with and bonded with some people I probably wouldn't have if it weren't for DECA.  There is no better feeling than standing in front of 17,000 people applauding you for your success -- hard work pays off!
Sophomore Sammi LaTour - Proudest moment was making the stage twice in my sophomore year and ending up top 10 in the nation!
Junior Brock Locker - Favorite moment of ICDC was being announced for second place and getting up on that podium!
Junior Mitch Wanous - Favorite ICDC moment was going all out for the country concert!
Senior Zach Altman - Walking to the Georgia World Congress Center with Mark Randklev to receive our International Finalist Shirts!
Sophomore Alex LaFortune - My favorite moment was going on stage and then getting stuck in an elevator.
Junior Zach Niederer - Dressing up in cut off flannels and short shorts to get rowdy for the Brett Eldridge/Easton Corbin concert.
Junior Kelsea Kern - My proudest moment was going back from the awards ceremony early and NOT getting stuck in an elevator with the rest of my unintelligent chapter! :)
Junior Abe Thaler - When our team could even make a COUNTRY concert one of the funniest and best experiences ever!
Senior Trevor Omann - The awesome 30 minute team bonding experience in the elevator!
Sophomore Madi Nading - My favorite moment was the first night when we were all together and taking the pictures by the fountain because it was the first time in my life that I felt like I was truly a part of something. I looked around and saw everyone genuinely happy and sporting their DECA gear.
Senior Chazz Edington - My proudest moment was getting up on the stage with Derek and Tori even if we didn't take home the trophy.  
Senior Willie Maahs - My favorite part of ICDC is our chapter's ability to enjoy every moment.  We know how to get serious, prepare and perform to the best of our ability, but at the end of the day our chapter has the most fun out of anyone.  There is never a dull moment with this group and I will miss every minute of it!
Senior Courtney Simonson - I had an amazing time in Atlanta and placing TOP TEN in the nation was a great way to end my DECA career.  One of my favorite parts of the trip was Willie's "exclusive" tour of Atlanta.
Senior Alex Riffle - My favorite memory of ICDC was ending my senior year in DECA as a top 10 international winner with my amazing partner Courtney! Also, nothing beats a country concert in Georgia... Or getting stuck in an elevator in Georgia heat. I will miss my amazing advisors and teammates so much next year. Crazy to think a program that has shaped who I am in so many ways is over, but I will never forget the endless amount of things learned and unforgettable experiences.

23 MWHS DECA International Competitors

Here is a video created by Brock for the Wake Up Westonka announcements. 

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Day 149 - Coming Back to Teach Kindergarten

Today's post is from Shirley Hills Kindergarten Teacher Aaron Thorpe
Going to school in the Westonka district was an amazing experience and one that heavily influenced my decision to become a teacher. Throughout my schooling career, teachers always challenged me, wanted the very best for me, and got me excited about various topics and learning in general. Many of my teachers, from elementary school all the way to high school, were excellent mentors and role models and made me want to become a teacher.

I feel so lucky to be a teacher in this innovative district! To be able to come to work everyday and be part of a community that truly takes such good care of each other and works together to ensure students get the most out of their schooling experience is pretty incredible. I used to think that my teachers seemed to really love what they did and had such a strong sense of pride in regard to their district. This was so cool to me and I always knew that I wanted to be part of something similar. Now here I am, teaching in the best district in the world, feeling a strong sense of White Hawk pride every time I walk into my school! I never thought I would be teaching in the Westonka district and now that I am, I hope to always be part of the great things that happen at Westonka everyday.

Aaron and his class of Kindergartners

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day 148 - MWHS Pride Then & Now…

Today's post is from science intervention education paraprofessional Amanda Bruckner

Not only was I born and raised in Mound and graduated from MWHS, I now have the distinct privilege of working at the same high school that I attended. I also live in the district and raise my own family here as well. If the fact that I grew up here and still have not left does not show the massive amount of pride I have in my town and schools let me share a few more pride filled reasons with you.

Growing up and going to school here is a memory I have come to treasure. I have a profound respect for the way in which I was able to grow up. I had the pleasure of being surrounded by a community of businesses, students, teachers and people in general that really take care of one another. The great care MWHS takes in surrounding their students with a quality education not just based on content, but based on culture, current events, practicality, and overall care and well-being of the person themselves was evident to me when I was a student and is evermore increasingly evident as a staff member. I believe this sense of pride and caring overflows into the community and that is why so many of us have chosen to continue to live here and grow our own families amongst such an involved community and school.

When they say it takes a village to raise a child I am proud to say my “village” was and is Mound. As most students know you can’t go anywhere in this town without recognizing or knowing someone. This community has always stayed small enough so you know the grocery store clerk at Jubilee foods because you went to school with her daugher. Or you know the local jewelry store owner and workers at V & S because your grandfather bought all your grandmother’s (and granddaughter’s) jewelry there, and my husband and I picked out our wedding rings at that very same store. That is pride surrounded in tradition and a foundation of love.

Anyone who has lived here long enough knows the term “Moundite”. Simply put, it means you grew up here, you still live here and now your family goes here. And if you’re lucky enough to be a “Moundite” through and through, you will even go to school with your cousins. Yes, my children now have the thrill of going through school with their cousins by their side!

I love my town, I love our schools, I love the community pride, I love the people that will help to shape my children into the adults they will one day become.

Amanda and her family

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day 147 - Coaching and Subbing at MWHS

Today's post is from 2009 grad Casey Simonson

My name is Casey Simonson and I am nothing less than proud of MWHS and the community in which I reside.

I moved to Mound at the beginning of my 7th grade year, and felt very welcome in the community from day one. I graduated from Mound-Westonka High School in the spring of 2009 and attended Ripon College in Ripon, WI the next fall. While I knew at the time that science was my intended field of study, be it medicine or research, I was swept up in the vastness of the field and unsure of my true calling.

While I attended Ripon, I took as many science courses as I could to satisfy the requirements of my Chemistry-Biology major. At the same time, I was active in the Ripon Wind Ensemble and performed in the occasional theatre & musical production. I even trained for and completed my first half marathon there. I believe it was my time at MWHS that made it feel natural for me to participate in so many extracurricular activities.

During my junior and senior years, I was fortunate to work as a lab assistant for one of my favorite courses, Vertebrate Zoology. I found myself investing nearly as much time towards my job as a lab assistant as I did in some of the classes I was taking. I often went out of my way to access the lab(s) after normal lecture hours, offer additional study sessions, and provide my own insight and knowledge about the lab material. I helped students with detailed dissections of specimens had they asked, and I even wrote a few practice exams to help them prepare for the real thing.

I didn’t care that I sacrificed my own studies (which I still did well in, don’t worry); I learned that I truly wanted to see students succeed & learn in their classes, and I wanted the students themselves to know the material as well as I did. There was a true sense of community that reminded me of my days at MHWS.

Fast forward to post-graduation, and I’m still somewhat in the dark about my future. Having moved back to the area in 2013, I decided to look into working for the Westonka School District. I first coached the JV Boys Soccer team last fall. Next, I got my fingerprints into the system and was ready to work as a short-call substitute teacher. It has easily been one of the best jobs I’ve had, and it couldn’t be more obvious that one big reason is the incredible faculty and staff that have welcomed me (back) with open arms!

I never imagined that be working alongside some of the most admirable teachers I’ve ever had, much less engage in casual conversation with them over lunch! It’s been a joy getting reacquainted with these great mentors and role models. The classroom environment is a setting that I’ve grown to admire and I’ve realized that I belong back in it again.

While I realize I still have a ways to go along this journey, I have MWHS to thank for guiding me and supporting me along the way. Thanks so much for everything you’ve done for me as a former student and a current employee.

Middle School Tennis Team and their Coach Casey

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Day 146 - Returning to Westonka to Teach

Today's post is from Grandview 6th Grade Teacher Jessica Rashleger

This week the blog will focus on people that have been a student in the Westonka Community and have returned to work in the district.

My name is Jessica Rashleger and I am a teacher in the Westonka School District. I am also a “Moundite” meaning that I was born and raised here. I went to Hilltop School for K-5, Grandview for 6-8 and the high school for 9-12 grades. I was a Mound Mohawk (one of the last classes). I truly enjoyed growing up in Mound and attending all of its schools. I received a great education and made lots of life-long friends. One thing I remember most about my childhood experiences here in Mound is going to Wolf Ridge, or Camp Isabella, as it used to be called. I still remember feeling so proud after going through the Ropes Course, feeling slightly queasy after eating a fried dandelion and feeling accomplished after paddling a canoe.

After I graduated college, teaching jobs were scarce. I was fortunate to be hired at Shirley Hills Primary School. I came to know the schools in a whole new light-now as a teaching professional instead of as a student. I have now taught in each school, except the high school, and am so proud of our schools, our staff, our families and our district as a whole. We offer so many opportunities for students. One of my favorite things about Westonka is that every teacher knows every child by name. Our schools are full of staff members who truly care about your child’s education and about them as a person. That is why I am a teacher and a parent here in our great district. I want my own children to be a part of all the great things happening at Westonka.

The Rashleger Family

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