Friday, May 12, 2017

2017 MWHS Prom -- A Class Act!

Today's post is from MWHS Assistant Principal Marty Fischer

This past Saturday, MWHS Student Senate put on another incredible prom. The festivities started with the Grand March in the MWHS Gymnasium with dinner and dance at Lafayette Club immediately following. In my 20+ years of supervising prom, I have not been more proud of our students than I was on this particular Saturday.

Why? Simply put: Our students are always so respectful of the people and property around them. It was so refreshing to hear one of the Lafayette Club staff members say to another, “I can’t believe how many students are saying thank you!” What is so nice about that is they get to see what I see all the time in and out of school. Our students shine in some of the most respectful ways.

But what made the 2017 Prom even more special was the desire of our seniors to include two students with special needs on the Prom Court. I had the chance to talk to Nate Ogreen and Sienna Hackbarth after they were announced for Court. They were ecstatic! And so humble. Nate wanted to make sure everyone around him knew how grateful he was that his own classmates voted him to be on Prom Court. They both accepted this honor with grace and humility.

What they didn’t know was that the juniors and seniors were then planning to vote them in as King and Queen! They would have never predicted something like that. They were so honored to simply be named a Court member. I will never forget the moment. The ladies opened their reveal cards first and Sienna had won! All of the ladies surrounded her and gave the most emotional group hug that I have ever seen at a Grand March. The gentlemen opened their cards next to reveal Nate had also won! The look on Nate’s face was one of sheer disbelief combined with utter joy. Priceless.

WCCO heard of this possible story and came out to catch the moment on film. And I am so glad they did. The close-up of Nate’s face, followed by his and Sienna’s comments to the reporter were moments that would cause any eye to be filled with emotion. As a parent of a special needs child myself, I felt the emotion of two students, their parents, and the staff who work with them personally. And then my attention quickly turned to the students who saw their abilities, and not their disabilities, as they rallied to have them be THEIR King and Queen.

When I list my “most proud” moments as an Assistant Principal, the 2017 Prom will be right there at the top with the best of them! Way to go, students. You got it right!

Sienna & Nate
(If you want to see the WCCO story, please check it out here.)

WCCO coverage
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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Living the DECA Dream

Today's post is from senior Tiffany Nguyen

DECA... where do I even begin to talk about this club that has brought so much joy, creativity, and confidence in myself. DECA is a business club that teaches students to be professional and prepares them for the business world through role playing and written projects.

Let’s rewind back to ninth grade... I was a shy, and awkward person who was afraid to raise her hand in class. I joined DECA because I kept hearing about how much fun it was. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I stayed after school a lot and asked the advisors for help. I’m pretty sure they were sick of me by the second week of DECA. I made it to state my first year and I thought it was beyond cool how thousands of kids came together to compete in events that they were passionate in. I remember distinctly having so much pride whenever Westonka DECA was called on stage. After my first year, I was hooked.

Moving on to tenth grade... I was gaining more confidence in my speaking abilities and decided to take a risk. Because what is life without a risk? I ran to be an officer for DECA and was elected. After my speech, my brother and his friends stood on chairs and gave me standing ovations. I felt on top of the world. Being an officer was an amazing experience for me. I got to work behind the scenes and help fellow students with their projects as well as offer my own insight on creative aspects. That year, I worked on my first chapter project. In DECA, a chapter project is a yearlong endeavor that involves the entire chapter in promoting an idea or event. I did a creative marketing project on Westonka Tech Interns (WTI). With partners Taran Besant and Sheridan Nygard, we earn third place at state! I have had successes in the past, but this one mattered the most in my life so far because it showed me how far my hard work and dedication could get me.

In my junior year of DECA I felt so confident going into that year. My partners and I decided to do a project on The Truth, which aimed to end smoking in teens. This project hit close to home for me because my dad used to smoke. At state I was very shocked when a project that that I put so much time and energy in didn’t make it. It just reminded me that sometimes really great projects don’t make it. However, I still worked really hard on a Fashion Merchandising Promotional Plan on a company called Great Lakes Clothing Co.. I fell in love with the brand and its values. I was able to make it to internationals for the second time

Senior year definitely stands above the rest in terms of my memorable experiences. I was selected the president of the chapter. I greatly enjoyed helping younger students with their projects, because they reminded me of myself. This year, I did a project on Because I Said I Would, which aims to make sure that people keep their promises. Sheridan Nygard, Zach Riffle, and I worked all year to explain Alex Sheen (the founder’s) vision of the movement. Since we consistently reached out to him on social media, we were able to actually bring him to our school which was a dream come true. This project will always hold a special place in my heart because we spent so much time creating opportunities for students and staff to become involved. But having Alex actually come to explain his movement impacted the school in a such positive way and will be a day that I will never forget.

I can’t thank all of the advisor and fellow community members enough for the support I have received throughout the years. Joining DECA was the best decision of my high school career. It gave me a place to call home. Thank you for letting me be your president, it has been an honor of a lifetime.

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