School Talk, Summer 2024

Page 1

School Talk


Engineering Empathy

Also inside: Commencement 2024 Student honors


noun 'em-p ә-thē

the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation

Whenis it age-appropriate for students to learn in school the concept of empathy and actively apply the word to experiences in daily situations?

In Mounds View Public Schools, it starts in kindergarten.

“For five-year-olds, it’s challenging to talk about empathy,” says Ryan Lang, principal of the kindergarten center at Snail Lake Education Center. “It takes a lot of repeated experiences for the concept to sink in. But it really is developmentally age-appropriate. It’s hard work, but it’s the right work.”

At Snail Lake, empathy is centrally embedded into the kindergarten’s Snail Lake Promise, “Self-control, Empathy, Cooperation,” the three pillars of expected student behavior. Students recite the promise daily during morning announcements and at assemblies. And empathy, like the other two components of the promise, touches every aspect of the building.

School Talk is published by Mounds View Public Schools, Independent School District 621.

On the cover:

Mounds View High

School seniors Izzy Goldenstein and Pretti Thao engineered the construction of a wood ramp and platform for junior Ian Fallgatter.

Send correspondence to School Talk editor, 4570 Victoria St. N., Shoreview, MN 55126 or email

What does it look like when empathy is applied across the school?

In the hallway: Share the hallway.

In the cafeteria: Respect others’ food choices.

Para asistencia en traducciones ó ayuda como intérprete, por favor llama 651-724-2854.


Megan McKeen Colin Sokolowski


Susan Abbott


J.J. Killins

Jolesch Enterprises Lifetouch


Chris Lennox

2024 School Board

Shauna Bock

Alissa Daire-Nelson

Heidi Danielson

Jim DeMay

Diane Glasheen

Yolanda Magee

Jonathan Weinhagen

Megan McKeen

Yog xa tau kev pab thiab hais ua lus Hmoob thov hu rau 651-724-0396.

Haddi aad ubaahantahay faahfaahin dheerad ah ama turjumaad, fadlan kala 651-262-4577.

On the playground: Include others. Use kind words and actions.

In the classroom: Treat learning spaces with care.

In the bathrooms: Respect privacy.

Assemblies: Listen to others.

On the bus: Be ready for your stop.

“It’s all about viewing things from another person’s perspective,” says Lang.

In Snail Lake’s “Student Experience” goals, teachers identified three main components they strive to achieve:

1. Students are happy at school.

2. Students are proud of their work.

3. Students are making friends.

“Empathy is seen in all three of those goals,” says Lang.

At Snail Lake Education Center, posters around the building remind students that empathy is centrally embedded into the kindergarten’s promise, “Self-control, Empathy, Cooperation.”
Visit us: Connect with us:

Empathy in the curriculum

In Mounds View, formal empathy education extends beyond kindergarten.

For years, elementary schools have used core curriculum to help students build skills like nurturing positive relationships, managing emotions and meeting goals so they can thrive in school and in life. Within the unit of “Empathy & Kindness,” students receive lessons ranging from “The Power of Kind Acts” and “Having Empathy” to “The Same, But Different” and “A Different Point of View.”

The same curriculum debuted this year in the middle schools. Units include “Bullying and Harassment,” where students learn what it means to be an upstander (someone who stands up for a person being bullied) and “Managing Relationships & Social Conflict” where students learn to honor and understand differences based on varied personal, familial and cultural backgrounds.

Students wasted no time in turning lessons into action. At Highview Middle School, one example is their version of hospitality called Hawkspitality. A group of students interviews and trains to be a welcoming and friendly host on a new student’s first day. From a tour to the school, inviting them to sit with them at lunch, introducing them to their friends and teachers and helping them get home at the end of the day, these leaders are showing empathy to the newest Highview Hawks.

Examples of empathy in action across the District are countless. Here’s just one story that attracted the attention of award-winning KARE 11 reporter Boyd Huppert who shares the stories of unique individuals from Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Engineering empathy

Born with spina bifida, Mounds View High School junior Ian Fallgatter uses a wheelchair. Although his classrooms are ADA compliant, he had difficulty reaching shop machines and precision manufacturing equipment in his “How to Make Almost Anything” hands-on, Engineering and Technology class.

That’s when Dr. Tim Berndt approached seniors Izzy Goldenstein and Pretti Thao from his “Introduction to Engineering Design II” class.

“We were like, okay, we’ll do this for sure,” says Pretti.

Tasked with blending empathy and problem solving into a real-world project while using the engineering “design process” the students researched, brainstormed and oversaw the construction of a wood ramp and platform using the school’s 3-D computer design software and various machines.

Throughout the process, Ian made recommendations for the design while Izzy and Pretti 3-D printed a miniature prototype to assess the feasibility. Ian also eagerly assisted in building some components of the ramp. When completed, he tested out the ramp and provided feedback for improvements.

As a result of engineering and empathy, Ian worked on various projects like designing and building a marble maze with a laser engraver and making cedar signs with a CNC router.

“They’re really great people,” Ian says of Izzy and Pretti. “They’re smart girls.”

KARE 11’s Boyd Huppert and a videographer look at the engraved cedar plaque Ian Fallgatter designed in Dr. Tim Berndt’s “How to Make Almost Anything” class at Mounds View High School. Scan the QR code below to watch Boyd Huppert’s Land of 10,000 Stories feature that aired in May. Boyd Huppert’s Land of 10,000 Stories
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 3
Highview Middle School’s Hawkspitality team.

A CLOSER LOOK Playground for everyone

In summer 2014, the Turtle Lake Elementary School Playground Committee completed the “Playground for Everyone” project. What began as a vision to improve an aging play structure extended into a three-year undertaking encompassing research, planning, fundraising and building of a playground by the community for the community. The success of the project ensured all kids at Turtle Lake could engage in play regardless of mobility, social or cognitive challenges.

With 10 years of time to reflect on the ambitious undertaking, former Turtle Lake principal and current executive director of school management Darin Johnson offered his thoughts. “It is hard to believe that 10 years have passed since the playground project at Turtle Lake was completed. What I can say with deep satisfaction is the kids and staff are still benefiting from the hard work and generosity of the ‘Playground for Everyone’ effort.”

Many stakeholders worked together to make the “Playground for Everyone” a success. The project began by working with Parkitecture (Little Tikes commercial) to design the playground,

engaging the community about the value of inclusive play and procuring investments for the project. Finally, and quite remarkably, parents and community members constructed the playground through a “community build.” The entire process was nothing short of transformational for those involved.

Countless organizations and individuals were fundamental in the success of the project.

The project itself was inspired by Daria Fallgatter and her family. The Fallgatter family was instrumental in helping to provide context and, most importantly, the impetus to undertake an aspirational project. Secondly, the unwavering support received from Darin Johnson and Mounds View School District leadership provided both the confidence and momentum needed to take the proverbial leap of faith. In addition, all those who volunteered their time to help

with the planning and execution of the project served to demonstrate the power of individuals coming together to improve the lives of others. Finally, the in-kind and financial contributions received were crucial as securing more than $200,000 in resources was an extraordinary endeavor for an elementary school community. Along with more than 200 generous contributors, the following donors made this project possible with financial or in-kind donations of $5,000 or more:

• Mattamy Homes

• McGough Construction

• The Meloch Family

• Paul Adelman Children with Disabilities Fund

• City of Shoreview

• Edina RealtyNorth Suburban Office

• Shoreview Community Foundation

A decade later, the generosity and passion of more than 200 individuals and organizations helped fund a project that continues to make a difference in the community.

4 School Talk SUMMER 2024

Summer operations projects

Summer is the season for annual District-wide operations projects that typically include interior painting, concrete repair and replacement, flooring projects and replacing and repairing doors and windows. This summer, major projects include the following:

Snail Lake Education Center

• Roof replacement

Pinewood Elementary School

• Gymnasium remodel

Valentine Hills Elementary School

• Playground replacement thanks to cooperation between the District, the Valentine Hills PTO and many generous donors. A community build will happen on July 13.

Irondale High School

• Installation of seven geothermal wells

– The wells will tap the warm temperature of the earth to heat water inside the wells. This energy will then be transferred to the school to supplement its existing heating and cooling systems.

• Mechanical, electrical, lighting and flooring upgrades throughout the building, including the multi-purpose space and art and science rooms.

Geothermal well points will reach the bottom of wells installed at Irondale High School. They contain heat exchangers that transfer energy between the building’s heating and cooling system with the ground water. Current Valentine Hills playground Rendering of new playground
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 5
Snail Lake Education Center


Operational Plan

Each year, the School Board approves a series of goals and related activities on which the Superintendent and Cabinet will focus their work. This is known as the District Operational Plan (DOP). Priority goals for 2024-25 include:

• Implement an outreach plan that promotes Early Childhood and kindergarten programming.

Once families start with the District, they tend to stay for their career. The recommendation from a recent enrollment study was to set a goal of 800 students for incoming kindergarten classes which would provide slow, steady growth into the future. Year two of this goal focuses on implementing an outreach plan that puts a priority on making connections with families and promoting educational programs for the youngest learners.

2024 School Board

• Implement the recommendations of the comprehensive technology audit.

A Comprehensive Information Technology audit has offered best practice recommendations related to student and staff devices, infrastructure, applications, data use and management, policies, procedures and operational practices. Year two of this goal will focus on developing the framework needed to standardize practices aligned to our strengths as well as address the opportunities that have been identified to improve our practice for teachers, administrators and students.

• Implement the READ Act.

Beginning July 1, the state legislature has set requirements for all school districts to implement specific strategies related to reading instruction. This is known as the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act.This shift includes specific expectations related to training for instructional staff on evidence-based reading instruction that has been approved by the Minnesota Department of Education. In addition, MDE has identified specific materials and assessments that districts must adopt and use for reading instruction.

Budget approved

In June, the Board approved the 2024-25 District budget. Complete details can be found on the Budgets and Finance page at The adopted budget will maintain stable class sizes and current programming, and it will allow

the District to continue its commitment to the Pre K–14 plan for all students.

2025-26 school calendar

The Board approved the 2025-26 school year calendar. The calendar reflects non-school days for the following observances:

• September 24 ........... Rosh Hashanah

• October 13 .............. Indigenous Peoples’ Day

• October 20 Diwali

• December 25 ........... Christmas

• March 20 ................. EID

Calendars are available at

Watch a brief video illustrating the role of the School Board in Mounds View Public Schools. Visit
6 School Talk SUMMER 2024
Jonathan Weinhagen, Diane Glasheen, Alissa Daire Nelson, Heidi Danielson, Shauna Bock, Yolanda Magee and Jim DeMay.


The Mounds View Schools Education Foundation works in collaboration with Mounds View Schools District leadership to identify programs that require funding to advance opportunities for students throughout the Mounds View District. For more information on the Foundation visit

Alumna Stacy Fields Janicki keynotes Partnering for Education

In April, the Mounds View Schools Education Foundation’s annual Partnering for Education luncheon took place at the North Metro Event Center in Shoreview, featuring keynote speaker Stacy Fields Janicki, a Mounds View High School 1991 graduate. More than 150 attendees heard from Janicki as she spoke about the most impactful moments as a Mounds View Public Schools student. Many of those moments revolved around her time as a student athlete and how the triumphs and failures on the basketball court strengthened her resilience in her post-secondary pursuits at the University of Notre Dame. Janicki, who is a member of Carmichael Lynch’s senior leadership team, spoke about how she uses those lessons to foster creativity and determination when presenting marketing pitches and how she experiences the inevitable on-set mishaps. Janicki captivated the room with humor and perspective while she called on memories of classroom experiences that shaped her into the person she is today. Prior to Janicki speaking, attendees heard from Superintendent Chris Lennox and various District staff about the impact that the

Foundation grant has on District students from the insider perspective.

The event was made possible in part by sponsors: Land O’ Lakes, Northeast Bank, The Diffley Team, Daley Electric and the RBC Conlin Wealth Management Group.

Missed this year’s lunch? Get added to our email list by contacting Interested in sponsoring? Contact

Mounds View Schools Education Foundation events are made possible by sponsors, and we have been busy planning for Rock the School House 2024!

Gold Level: Land O' Lakes, Old National Bank and Total Mechanical

Silver Level: Northeast Bank, RBC Wealth Management – The Great Northern Team, Twin Cities Orthopedics, Country Financial, Kohli Real Estate Group, GrandTours and F&M Bank

Copper Level: Kraus Anderson, Centennial Flooring and Innovation Water Solutions

Bronze Level: Mounds View Education Association, Vibrant Dental, Silver Lake Dental, Daley Association, Mix Pharmacy and Edina Realty – Cameron Voss

In Kind Donors: The Diffley Team and the Bale Family

You can also help support current and future students by donating at

SUMMER 2024 School Talk 7
Mounds View Education Foundation outgoing Board Chair Erik Rasmussen, keynote speaker Kelsey Fields Janicki, MVSEF Director Amanda Duffy and Superintendent Chris Lennox.


Spring Performances


Mounds View Theater performed Cinderella: Enchanted Edition this spring. Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program awarded the production Honorable Mention for both technical production and performance. The student orchestra, under the direction of band teacher Bill Sucha, received Outstanding Honors. Sophomore Maris Ward received an individual Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role for her role as Joy. Senior Eva Manrodt received an Honorable Mention in a Leading Role for her role as Cinderella.

Photo courtesy of Dan Norman Photography.

‘Play That Goes Wrong’

In April, Irondale Drama presented The Play That Goes Wrong: High School Edition. The chaotic comedy follows the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society members as they attempt to stage a 1920s murder mystery titled “The Murder at Haversham Manor.” As the accident-prone thespians struggle to reach their final curtain call, the audience is treated to a delightful spectacle of mishaps and mayhem.

courtesy of Megan Grommes.

Black History Month Showcase

Irondale High School hosted a Black history month showcase in February. The Black Students Union showcased the diverse cultures and talents of Irondale’s Black students, and featured songs, dances, a fashion show, spoken words and other performances.

8 School Talk SUMMER 2024

Sixth annual PowWow

Mounds View Public Schools hosted its sixth annual Student Honoring PowWow this spring. Nate Schmit, an American Indian senior at Mounds View, was on hand to take photos of the event.

Teacher Fellowship in Armenia

Mounds View High School social studies teacher

Kristin Heinz has been named a GenEd Teacher Fellow and has a unique opportunity this summer to travel to Armenia to study the Armenian Genocide. She’ll put this powerful experience to immediate use as she crafts the curriculum for a Holocaust and genocide social studies elective that the two high schools are offering during the upcoming school year.

Museum visit

National School Breakfast Week

The Minnesota Department of Education visited Turtle Lake Elementary School and Bel Air Elementary School during National School Breakfast Week. To celebrate, the schools each prepared a smoothie recipe in line with the “Surf’s Up” theme. Each school had special menu items during the week, ranging from overnight oats to taco breakfast bowls.

Through a unique partnership between the District and the Cafesjian Art Trust (CAT), students from the Area Learning Center experienced a private tour of the museum in February. They toured the exhibits and learned about the distinctive glass art featured in the museum.

District nutrition services staff Sue Thompson, Randi Lutz and Shannon Pieronek celebrate National School Breakfast Week.
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 9


KARE 11 visit

KARE 11 sports director Reggie Wilson visited the Mounds View High School sports marketing class to talk about his professional path, the importance of meeting deadlines and shared many other engaging and insightful stories about his career.

Career & Technical Education advocacy

Mounds View High School associate principal Ben Chiri and assistant director of community partnerships Mindy Handberg traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, as well as Representative Betty McCollum to discuss the importance of career and technical education.

Polar Plunge

In April, Edgewood Middle School hosted a Polar Plunge in partnership with Irondale High School. Dozens of students and staff participated in the event, which raised more than $7,000 for Special Olympics Minnesota and Edgewood's Unified Club.

Band festival

Band students from Island Lake, Pinewood, and Turtle Lake elementary schools were invited to attend a special Beginning Band Festival at Zimmerman High School in May. The participants spent the day rehearsing with a guest conductor and concluded the event with a concert for family and friends. The students were chosen after having demonstrated remarkable talent and musicianship as first-year band students.

10 School Talk SUMMER 2024
Mounds View High School associate principal Ben Chiri met with Senator Tina Smith to discuss the importance of career and technical education.

Endangered animal adoption

After first-grade science students at Island Lake Elementary learned about endangered animals in class, they decided to raise funds to adopt an animal at critical risk of extinction. As a group, they raised $150 and had enough funds to adopt two endangered species – a capuchin monkey and sumatran rhino – and make an additional donation for wildlife preservation through the World Wildlife Fund.

Teacher performs with Minnesota Orchestra

Fun Run Field Day

In May, Irondale High School hosted an inclusive Fun Run field day for students who receive developmental adapted physical education (DAPE) services at Irondale, Mounds View High School, Chippewa Middle School and Highview Middle School. Students were paired with peers at the secondary level and completed a Fun Run course by running, walking, biking or wheeling. They finished the event by running through the Knights Football inflatable helmet on the football field.

Irondale High School orchestra teacher

Rosa Glade-Arnold was selected to participate in the Minnesota Orchestra Educator side-by-side concert event. Each educator was paired with a professional Minnesota Orchestra musician, and the group rehearsed and performed two concerts in May, playing “Jupiter” by composer Gustav Holst.

SUMMER 2024 School Talk 11


Mayor for a Day

Chippewa Middle School sixth-grader Zahra Kaderbhai acted as honorary mayor of Shoreview for a day after winning an essay contest in February. Zahra was selected as one of the top four winners of the League of Minnesota Cities’ Mayor for a Day essay contest of more than 500 submissions. The contest invited students to share their ideas on improving city services if they were mayor for a day. Zahra’s essay included a plan for the creation of a tree replacement program for trees removed from public places like parks and other open areas due to disease or pests like the emerald ash borer.

Staff appreciation

Thank you to the families, students and staff who made Staff Appreciation Week in May a success! In addition to recognition efforts at our schools, more than 3,500 personalized Thank You e-cards were sent to staff members across the District. Pictured are a few examples of the kind messages staff received.

Ojibwe pony visit

The Humble Horse Project paid a visit to Chippewa Middle School seventh-graders in May. The organization is dedicated to the preservation, education and reconnection of the Ojibwe Pony. Students were able to see these beautiful creatures up close and learned about their unique traits and history with the Anishinaabe people.

12 School Talk SUMMER 2024


Top 10 high school

U.S. News and World Report has ranked Mounds View High School as the eighth best high school in Minnesota on their annual list of best high schools. Additionally, Mounds View ranked in the top 5% of schools nationwide.

Best Communities for Music

For the 12th consecutive year, Mounds View Public Schools has won the Best Communities for Music Education Award, presented by the NAMM Foundation. Mounds View was one of only nine Minnesota school districts to receive the designation for 2024. This year, more than 3,300 students in grades 4-12 chose to participate in band, choir and orchestra.


Coca Cola

Irondale High School senior Reesa Venterea was selected as a Coca-Cola Scholarship recipient. More than 104,000 students apply for the scholarship each year and only 150 are chosen for the $20,000 award. Students must show they have excellent leadership skills, service experience and academics in and outside of school. The scholarship includes funding towards college, leadership development training and other support resources.

One Act competition

Irondale High School’s drama department took first place in the Minnesota State High School League One Act Competition for their piece, The Bald Soprano. They went on to represent the region at the state competition, where they were awarded a star rating by the judges, a distinction given to only six groups out of the more than 130 participating schools.

Wallin Foundation

Six Irondale High School students and two Mounds View

High School students were awarded Wallin Scholarships. The Wallin Foundation offers scholarships of up to $16,000 over four years to assist high potential students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Scholarships also include advising and access to internships and other resources.

Benni Belina, Mounds View

Hinda Duale, Irondale

Linnea Fordyce, Mounds View

Afnaan Jama, Irondale

Garrett Mahlum, Irondale

Sarah Rahmoune, Irondale

Michael Santiago, Irondale

Cole Yang, Irondale

SUMMER 2024 School Talk 13



Mounds View alumnus inducted into MN Aviation Hall of Fame

Paul Dye, a 1977 graduate of Mounds View High School, was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in April. He spent a long career as a flight director at NASA, retiring in 2013 as the longestserving flight director in U.S. history. He earned his degree in Aeronautical Engineering with a specialization in aircraft design and flight testing from the University of Minnesota in 1982. He worked in increasingly responsible roles within the U.S. Manned Space Program, both as a technical expert in spacecraft systems and eventually as the overall lead of many missions to space. Dye was named a Mounds View Distinguished Alumnus in 1995.

Teacher of the Year

Turtle Lake Elementary fourthgrade teacher Michelle MorseWendt was named a finalist for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. She was selected as one of 11 finalists from an initial group of 159 candidates. The program named its winner, Tracy Byrd of Minneapolis, during a banquet in St. Paul in May.

Assistant Principal of the Year

Mounds View High School associate principal Gretchen Zahn was named the 2024 High School Assistant Principal of the Year (Capitol Division) by the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals. She was honored at their annual conference in June.

National hockey champion

Mounds View High School alumna Sydney Brodt (class of 2016) earned a national hockey title in the Professional Women’s Hockey League championship in May. After defeating Boston in game five of the series, Minnesota won the first-ever Walter Cup in the league’s inaugural year. Brodt plays forward for the team, and has also played for the Minnesota Whitecaps and the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Courage to Teach award

Dan Perucco, language arts teacher at Edgewood Middle School, was selected as the recipient of the 2024 Leo Weiss Courage To Teach award, presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council. The award recognizes one educator who goes beyond the requirements of curriculum to teach young people about the lessons of the Holocaust.

Eagle Scout of the Year

Mounds View High School senior Matt Higley was named one of three Eagle Scouts of the Year for the state of Minnesota. He will receive a $3,000 scholarship, which he plans to use at the University of St. Thomas while studying pre-med and biology. His Eagle Scout project was constructing a greenhouse and two garden boxes in North St. Paul.

14 School Talk SUMMER 2024

School meal photo contest

Sunnyside Elementary School nutrition services staff won honorable mention in the Say Yes to School Meals Photo Contest, presented by the Minnesota Department of Education. They submitted a strawberry fruit and yogurt parfait with granola, which allows students to customize their meal by choosing their yogurt flavor, fruit and granola.

Sunnyside Elementary School nutrition services staff Heather Hart and Antonia Nelson present their award from the Minnesota Department of Education.

Caring Youth Award

Mounds View High School senior Ellen Guo received the City of Shoreview’s Caring Youth Award. Her passion for computer science led her to establish a coding club for high school students and a coding camp for middle schoolers.

Aspirations in Computing award

Two Mounds View High School students were honored during the 12th annual Aspirations in Computing award ceremony. The award honors students at the high school level who identify as women, genderqueer or non- binary for their computing-related achievements and interests.

Zoke Sackih, National Honorable Mention

Thanishka Shetty, State Honorable Mention

National Spanish Exam

The following students from Irondale and Mounds View high schools earned national recognition on the National Spanish Exam. Overall, more than 80 District students scored in the top 50% nationally.

Congressional Art Competition

Irondale High School

senior Abby McNeil earned third place in the 43rd annual Congressional Art Competition. Her painting will hang in Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s office for the next year.

Top 5% (Premio de Oro)

Katherine Anderson, Mounds View

Zoe Belling, Mounds View

Hailey Englund, Irondale

Keegan Johnstone, Mounds View

Katerina Kostal, Mounds View

Elizabeth Nelson, Mounds View

Zoe Belling received a gold medal (Premio de Oro) for scoring in the top 5% on the National Spanish Exam, pictured alongside Señora Womack.

Zoke Sackih Thanishka Shetty Shoreview mayor Sue Denkinger awards Ellen Guo.
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 15

Music Honors

Irondale All-State musicians

Row 1: Emmanuel Ramirez (choir), Joseph Young (orchestra), Marlena Dufault (band)

Row 2: Alejandro Ortiz (orchestra), Yan Manchik (orchestra), Hannah Kao (orchestra), Elayna Woodward (choir)

Row 3: Jace Gryniewski (band), Carter Thistle (band), Landon Blanck (choir), Brin Kordatzky (choir)

Row 4: Ian Rodgers (band), Jaidyn Meaux (band), Henry Botten (choir), Sam Johnson (choir)

Mounds View all-state musicians

Honors Choir: Bjorn Anderson

Brooklyn Both

Trinity De Boise

Hridi Ghosh

Sarah Kolasa

Emma Lamatsch

Gavihn Lee

Charlie McKinnon

Ben O’Neill

Joe Steffes

2023-24 All-State:

Thomas Baker-Trinity

Gabby Haake

Ruby Heilman

Anja Horsman

2024-25 All-State:

Gabby Haake

Emmett Heilman

Ben O’Neill

Irondale Honors Choir

Irondale High School honors choir students performed in February at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Pictured are Brennan Cogswell, Layla Traufler, Izzy Wilson and Landon Blanck.

Graduation rate surpasses state once again

Mounds View Public Schools’ graduation rate consistently surpasses the state rate by an average of eight percentage points. For the class of 2023, District students graduated at a rate of 91.2% compared to the state rate of 83.3%.

16 School Talk SUMMER 2024

Math Team

The Mounds View High School Math Team finished a successful season in February, winning both their section and division, and ranking seventh overall in the state. The team took eighth place at the state tournament. Freshman Austin Wang ranked seventh at the state level for the regular season.

National Personal Finance Challenge

Mounds View High School students Victoria Farmer (junior), Maya Gjelhaug (senior), Katie Schneider (senior) and Allison Yu (senior) competed at the National Personal Finance Challenge in Cleveland, Ohio, ultimately winning second place nationally. The competition consisted of 35 teams that had each won the Personal Finance Challenge at the state level.

Highest ACT score

Three Mounds View High School students received a composite score of 36 during recent ACT administrations, the highest score that can be achieved on the exam. About one-quarter of 1% of all test-takers earn the top score. Additional students who received the top ACT score were recognized in the fall 2023 issue of School Talk.

Indigenous art competition

Three Indigenous students won awards in the Young Artists Young Writers Competition sponsored by the Detroit Lakes American Indian Education department.

• Johanna Cortes-Osby, third place, photography

• Unikke Vanwert, second place, painting

• Shania Isais, first place, poetry

Unikke Vanwert and Shania Isais accepted their awards during the ceremony at the M State Detroit Lakes campus. Samuel Wallin Isabel Li
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 17
Zidan Elias


Track State Championship

Senior Juriad Hughes, Jr. capped off his impressive high school career by taking first place in the Class 3A 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the long jump at the state track and field meet in June.

Photo courtesy of Craig Lassig, Pioneer Press.

AAA Award

The “Triple A” award, presented by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), honors students who excel in academics, athletics and the arts.

Irondale Knights on X @GoIrondale

For the most up-to-date news, visit the Activities and Athletics website at IrondaleHighSchool

Get your tickets online

Ticket sales for all home athletic contests are now online. Purchases can be made on a smartphone, tablet or computer. Learn more and purchase tickets online or download the Hometown Ticket app here:

Athena Award

The Athena Award honors outstanding female high school senior student athletes. This year’s recipient, Siri Stolen, participated in Nordic skiing, soccer, track, cross country, swimming/diving and Ultimate Frisbee. She also participated in National Honor Society, Earth Club and French Club. She volunteers with the Loppet Foundation, Ski Spark and as a peer tutor. She plans to study civil or environmental engineering at college.


Cody Glasheen (junior) and Brady Donnelly (junior) earned All-Conference honors.

activities on your mobile devices. Search MOUNDS VIEW PUBLIC SCHOOLS in the app store.
Calvin Brinkman
18 School Talk SUMMER 2024
Reesa Venterea

Athletes of the Year


Senior center fielder Talia Jorgenson (pictured) was named All-Conference this spring. Audrey Smith (junior), Maria Walsh (eighth-grade) and Annalise Foley (sophomore) were named All-Conference Honorable Mention.

Alpine Skier of the Year

Senior Anthony Petkov was named the Star Tribune’s Metro Boys Alpine Skier of the Year. He won the state tournament with a time of one minute, 15.69 seconds, nearly a full second faster than the skier in second place. He plans to attend Northern Michigan University in the fall and hopes to join Bulgaria’s national team after college.

Photo courtesy of Craig Lassig, Pioneer Press.

Ultimate Frisbee

The Ultimate Frisbee team went undefeated at the state tournament in June and after winning the final round, became the Open Division III Champions out of 16 teams.

College commitments

This spring, the following student athletes signed letters of intent to continue their athletic and academic achievements at the college level.

Emerson Mandell Siri Stolen Anthony Petkov, alpine ski, Northern Michigan University Juriad Hughes, Jr., track, University of Arkansas
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 19


Boys basketball

The Mounds View boys basketball team was named Section 5AAAA academic champions for the 2023-24 season. The Mustangs also experienced success on the court finishing with a record of 19-9.

Wrestler of the Year

Senior Quin Morgan was named the Star Tribune’s Metro Wrestler of the Year. With the team coming in second at the state championship, Morgan had a 50-0 individual season and took the Class 3A individual championship.

Photo courtesy of Alex Kormann, Star Tribune.

Find the Mounds View Mustangs on X @GoMVMustangs

Follow us on Facebook at

For the most up-to-date news, visit the Activities and Athletics website at

Athena Award

The Athena Award honors outstanding female high school senior student athletes. This year’s recipient, Audrey Kocon, participated in volleyball. She also participated in National Honor Society, Mustang Mentors and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She volunteers with Feed My Starving Children and for a hospice organization. She plans to play volleyball at Providence College in Rhode Island in the fall.

Hockey All Star

Senior Gabrielle Bullert was invited to play in the 2024 Senior All Stars Classic in March, representing Mounds View-Irondale Girls Hockey and Section 5A. Gabi will continue her hockey career at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2024.

National champion

Weeks after winning the state championship in Nordic skiing, freshman Linnea Ousdigian took first place in the under-16 mass start classic event at the 2024 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Cross Country Junior Nationals in New York. Linnea won first place by more than 12 seconds with a time of 14:42.2 on the five-kilometer course. Linnea was also named the Star Tribune’s Metro Girls Nordic Skier of the Year.

Get your tickets online

Ticket sales for all home athletic contests are now online. Purchases can be made on a smartphone, tablet or computer. Learn more and purchase tickets online or download the Hometown Ticket app here:

Track co-curricular activities on your mobile devices. Search MOUNDS VIEW PUBLIC SCHOOLS in the app store.

20 School Talk SUMMER 2024

Boys track and field

The boys track and field team won the state title in the True Team championship in May. This is Coach Ross Fleming’s ninth True Team title, and the school’s first since 2007.

Boys tennis

The boys tennis team was named conference champions this season, which is their 38th title in school history. They went on to win second place in the section championship.

Individual section results:

• Soren Swenson – third place, singles

• Parker Bryntesen and Nolan Jones –second place, doubles

• Maxwell Daigle and Sidharth Sharma –third place, doubles

COACHING HONORS Cross Country Coach of the Year

The Minnesota High School Cross Country Coaches Association named Mounds View girls cross country coach Jimmy McArthur the Class 3AAA Coach of the Year for the 2023 season.

Nordic Skiing Coach of the Year

Nordic ski head coach Ian O'Neill was named the Section 4AAAA Head Coach of the Year.

Wrestling Coaches of the Year

Wrestling coach Dan Engebretson and assistant coach Marty Morgan were named Coach and Assistant Coach of the year, respectively, by the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association.

AAA Award

The “Triple A” award, presented by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), honors students who excel in academics, arts and athletics.

Athletes of the Year

Sonali Bhaskar Levi Hammerbeck Andrew Hermes Ella Westerman Colin Elliott Lauren Ballinger Tennis players Sidharth Sharma, Maxwell Daigle, Nolan Jones and Parker Bryntesen took individual titles in the section tournament. Brett Swenson (junior), Coach Dan Engebretson and Quin Morgan (senior).
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 21


Mounds View Public Schools

has a goal of preparing all students for opportunities of their choice after high school. The Equity Promise aims to disrupt systemic patterns associated with race, socioeconomic status, gender and disabilities to provide equal opportunities for success for every Mounds View Public Schools student.

This spring, seniors from Irondale High School, Mounds View High School and the Area Learning Center received Equity Promise scholarships acknowledging their achievements during high school and supporting their educational goals after graduation. Funded in part by the

Mounds View Education Foundation (MVSEF), this unique award recognizes a broad range of students who have demonstrated success in their high school journey through a variety of ways.

Mounds View Public Schools and MVSEF would like to thank the donors whose contributions reinforce the Equity Promise and give deserving students a chance to pursue post-secondary education. Because of their generosity, $152,394 was awarded to 131 students this year.

Memorial and honorarium scholarships are an excellent way to honor and remember those interested in supporting students in their future endeavors. If you would like to set up a scholarship, please contact the Mounds View Schools Education Foundation at

Equity Promise Scholarship recipients

916 Education Foundation

Kayden Her

Anderson Family Scholarship

Erin Muenzner

Gavin Nordstrom

Bailiff Scholarship

Tokala DeCory

Hinda Duale

Elijah Englund

Elias Hamimoune

Yoseph Hassan

Kayden Her

Sarah Rahmoune

Beisswenger Scholarship Fund

Hannah Young

Carol Carlson

Memorial Scholarship

Sabri Abdusalam

Chalkboard Capers

Abigail Cramblit

Anneka Dahlberg

Elijah Englund

Debora Gebrehiwot

Moneera Phuly

Leilani Shelburne

Shaun Young

Cortney Carlson

Memorial Scholarship

Dayton Bonner

David C. Nelson

Memorial Scholarship Kayden Her

Eggert Family Dentistry Scholarship

Isse Ibrahim

Ellie Kahut’s Best of Us Scholarship

Liliana Triviski

Joy Vang

Fridley American Legion


Erin Jensen

Fridley American Legion Post 303

Afnaan Jama

Hoverman Family Scholarship

Maymuna Abdi

Irondale Girls Volleyball

Booster Club

Bridget Robertson

Sadie Rodgers

Anne Supina

Emma Supina

Irondale High School

Class of 1979 Scholarship

Callen Meier

Jonathan Hogan

Memorial Scholarship

Roza Ahimed

Chayse Bakke

Lyndsey Barnhart

Kenneth Crotty

Hinda Duale

Wyatt Erwin

Yoseph Hassan

Austin Manthei

Kerry Olson

Memorial Scholarship

Reesa Venterea

Kopp Family Foundation

Gavin Bourassa

Emily Laizans

Marie Greenwald

Memorial Scholarship

Ava Bagwill

Michael Holmgren

Education Scholarship

Pela Zafinandro

Mounds View Lions Vo Tech

Adaline Workman

Mounds View Lions

Waste Witte

Tristin Smith

Leonardo Villarruel Spreigl

Mounds View Schools

Education Foundation

Zayd Khandwalla

MVCT Fine Arts Scholarship

Lillian Grommes

New Brighton Eagles Aerie 3718

Sarah Wang

New Brighton Eagles


Brianna Paige

New Brighton Lions

Isak Bernard

Jacob Brutskiy

Addyson Herlofsky

Rebecca Loper

Maria Miller

Cole Yang

Dillon Yang

Service Above Self

Gabriel Hart

Shardlow Family Trade School Scholarship

Tokala DeCory

Jonathan Mendoza

San Jose

Sylvia Carlson

Memorial Scholarship

Hana Weegman

Tallman Math/Science Scholarship

Anna Presseller

Garrett Mahlum

Thomas Kraft Keimel

Memorial Scholarship

Khalil Mire

Thomas Narigon

Memorial Scholarship

Zofia Isabella

22 School Talk SUMMER 2024

Senior department and activities awards


Anne Supina

Business Education

Aiydan Bakke

Family and Consumer


No Award this year

Language Arts

Elliot Mevissen


Austin Tranowski


Ilham Alshabakji

Music – Band

Jimena Sichiqui

Music – Choir

Edwin Becerra

Music – Orchestra

Reesa Venterea

Physical Education and Health

Elijah Larsen


Hannah Young

Social Studies

Mia Nordberg

Spirit of Learning

Ericka Simon

Technology Education

Ayden Sturgis

World Language – ASL

Tommy Talarico and Mourya Yandra

World Language – Chinese

Blake Johnson

World Language – French

Sam Brandt

Abby Weber

World Language – Spanish

Zayd Khandwalla


Nick Anderson

Abby McNeil


Lillian Grommes

Math Team

Anna Presseller

Mock Trial

Sabri Abdusalam

National Honor Society

Max Nelson

Quiz Bowl

Mary Jane Ejiofor


Lexi Birken


Natalie Jansen

Reesa Venterea

Student Council

Anna Presseller

Zoey Tenenbaum


Aven John

Virtual ceremonies

In addition to in-person ceremonies, all commencements were also live-streamed for viewing at home. Watch the ceremonies at

View more photos at irondalegraduation

Austin Tranowski, Kelly Tekautz, Johanna Thomson, Hannah Young, Zofia Gutierrez, Anna Presseller and Tristin Smith smile for the camera outside Mariucci Arena on June 5, 2024. Abdinasir Gawido hugs principal Vichai Saefong after accepting his diploma.
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 23
Zoey Killian and Tarrell McCoy.


Equity Promise Scholarship recipients

916 Education Foundation

Kaja Just

Arden Hills Foundation

Sreya Subramanian

Ashbach Family Fund

North Suburban Community Foundation

Bhuvi Jain

Caleb Saari

Ella Stuewer

Bailiff Scholarship

Yewande Lawal

Daniel Lee

Caitlyn Nelson


Scholarship Fund

Sophia Ohmann

Bruce and Marjorie

Perry Memorial

Daniel Lee

Carey Crimmins

Memorial Scholarship

Colin Elliott

Chalkboard Capers

Noor Balshe

Noelle Buckley

Louis Cook

Lauren Kath

August McDonald

Katherine Schneider

Natalie Simms

Don Segner Memorial

Aubrie Jarvi

Frank Wang Football Scholarship

Wesley Dolton

Evan Hatton

Sara Sroga

Fridley American Legion


Brian Kim

Alton Luke Supena

Fridley American Legion Post 303

Gabrielle Nead

Hannah Hoiland

Memorial Scholarship

Aarush Singh

Hoverman Family Scholarship

Benjamin Hoiland

John Risdall Honorary Scholarship

Samuel Hagen

Joseph Kunze Memorial

Graham Hanson

Josh Lavalle Memorial Fund

Kyra Chervany

Cormac McSherry

Kopp Family Foundation

Joseph Bryntesen

Max Huberty

Marit Swenson Memorial Scholarship

Sabrina Duden

Mounds View Schools Education Foundation

Maeve Edgar

MVCT Fine Arts Scholarship

Yunru Chen

MVHS Volleyball Booster Club Scholarship

Audrey Kocon

Abigail Petty

Ava Tensen

New Brighton Eagles

Aerie 3718

Magnolia Taylor

New Brighton Eagles


Sierra Swallen

New Brighton Lions

Tayja Abdullah

Kyra Marshall

William Overbo

Elizabeth Simons

Pratham Snehi

Rory Warden

Ella Westerman

Echo Zhai

Riggs DeMay Family Scholarship

Annabelle Huang

Susan C. Carlson

Memorial Scholarship

Keara Galeno Orea

The Gulli Family Scholarship

Kylie Yu

Thomas Narigon

Memorial Scholarship

Anna Deane

Vadnais Heights Lions & Vadnais Heights Area Community Foundation

Bradley Miller

Members of the class of 2024 celebrate outside of Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis on June 3, 2024.
24 School Talk SUMMER 2024
Mathias McGinnis addresses his fellow classmates.

Activities department awards

3x4 recipients participate in three sports each year of their four high school years.

August Arnold

Kyra Chervany

Levi Hammerbeck

Maya Surve

Daniel Koch

Green & White award

Green and white medals are presented to a select group of students who exemplify the Mounds View High School mission of building an inclusive community of responsible, respectful and resourceful citizens who value learning. These students not only maintain high academic standards, but they have also made valuable contributions to the Mounds View High School community through volunteering and/or participation in co-curricular activities.

Neena Bunkholt

Tim (TingChung) Chang

Erin DePhillips

Brynn Entner

Samuel Handelsman

Kayla Horsch

Ryan Litecky

Emily Mehta

Mounds View senior awards


Audrey Gladke


Elizabeth Simons

Business & Marketing

Caitlyn Nelson


Bryce Breen


Brooklyn Both

English Language Arts

Siri Wilkes

Family & Consumer


Ruby Heilman

Fine Arts Student of the Year

Sebastian Hartzell


Lale Baylar


Sebastian Hartzell


Mathias McGinnis

Multilingual Learning

Medjine Alexis


Molly Strike

Phy Ed & Health

Marissa Ryman


Kylie Yu

Sign Language

Alice Jerome

Social Studies

Megan Kusterman


Ella Westerman

Trade & Industry

Christian Maresh

Jamie Nick

Nash Purcell

Nathan Schmit

Annika Schramm

Spencer Sweeney

Pache Thao

Thievang (T Vang) Thao

Kenzie Van Laningham

View more photos at moundsviewgraduation

Virtual ceremonies

In addition to inperson ceremonies, all commencements were also live-streamed for viewing at home. Watch the ceremonies at ninenorth. org/schools/mounds-view.

Finley Moseti accepts his diploma.
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 25
Christine Yim accepts her diploma.


Area Learning Center

The Area Learning Center’s graduation ceremony recognized 75 graduating students on May 30 at Bethel University’s Great Hall.

Equity Promise scholarship recipients

Bailiff Scholarship

Lakyha Hudson

Mia Sykora

Marjorie and Ray Cox Memorial


Lakyha Hudson

Kristel Pacheco

Oakland Parsons

Mia Sykora

New Brighton Lions

Anthony Penafiel

Thomas Kraft Keimel Memorial Scholarship

Julia Brown

Adult Education

Adult Education students who earned their GED and Adult Diploma in the last year were invited to participate in the graduation ceremony hosted by Mounds View Adult Education on June 6. This event was held at the Mounds View Community Center and recognized eight high school diploma students, 75 GED students and 73 Career Pathway students. Pathway students include: paraeducator, certified nursing assistant and information technology students.

Malesia Valdez and Olivia Stickney-Jafvert Sebastian Gallegos, Anthony Penafiel and Yahir Luna Penafiel
26 School Talk SUMMER 2024

The ceremony was also live streamed for those viewing from home. Watch the ceremony at

View more photos at ALCgraduation

Left: Aiden Mau and Connor Schwientek Kristel Pacheco Above: Jaron Hernandez & Cameron Bays
SUMMER 2024 School Talk 27
Learn more at Fall Registration Opens August 20 at 9 a.m. #MVCELearningTogether Before
Evening & Weekend
Adult Day
Non-School Day Field
Youth, Adult & Family Programs Something for Everyone! NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID TWIN CITIES MN PERMIT NO 4112 Mounds View P UBLI C SCHOOLS
& After School Programs
Independent School District 621 4570 Victoria St. N Shoreview, MN 55126
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.