Students in Minnehaha Academy’s Applied Research in Engineering program were especially disappointed to watch the SpaceX’s unmanned rocket explode just after takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On board was their biology experiment destined for the International Space Station (ISS).
The students had worked for eight months designing, testing, building, and sterilizing the experiment to measure the effects of microgravity on bacteria growth and using artificial shark skin to inhibit that growth. This experiment is important because bacteria have been shown to be more virulent in space travel. The students hoped the results of their experiment would help protect astronauts from infectious diseases and improve space flight conditions.
Student team members Hazen Mayo and Andrew Johnson were at Cape Canaveral to witness the launch. “It really was an incredible disappointment seeing a years worth of collaboration and research and time and energy come to an abrupt and untimely end,” Mayo told KARE 11. “As soon as I saw it, I knew something had gone terribly wrong.” Despite the turn of events, Mayo and her fellow teammates have remained positive.
“I don’t want to see it as a failure,” Mayo told WCCO News. “Although I would have really loved to see the fruition of my team’s experiment and work this year, I’m definitely grateful for this opportunity that I have had and have shared with my teammates. I’m proud of this work that we’ve accomplished together. I’m taking comfort in the knowledge that I’ve had the chance to experience, at such a young age, the full nature of scientific research.”
“This is a great teachable moment for our students,” said Minnehaha Academy’s ISS science teacher Sam Terfa. “Space exploration is tough work, dangerous and disappointing at times. Science and engineering require people to prepare for the worst case scenario and be as thorough as possible.”
While the rocket explosion is certainly disappointing to the ISS team and the whole school community, we concur with the statement from NASA, “this is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge, but we learn from each success and each setback. Today’s launch attempt will not deter us from our ambitious human spaceflight program.” And it will not deter our students; they are planning to design two experiments to launch to the ISS in the 2015-2016 school year.
“Studying the effects of microgravity is frontier science,” Terfa said. “Our students have the ability to discover new things that were never known before in science. So many times science classes only cover what has already been discovered. It’s rare that students can learn something brand new about the universe. While it’s a tough road to develop these experiments, and at times the results never come in the way they thought they would, it’s completely worth it to learn new skills and pave the way for future students to learn even more.
Minnehaha Academy is the only school in the Midwest to offer this program, and ISS students were mentored by seven professional engineers, geneticists, and computer programmers as well as two Minnehaha Academy science teachers. Students were invited to conduct parts of their research in the laboratories of their mentors at the University of Minnesota.
A state-of-the-art STEM facility is under construction at Minnehaha Academy for the 2015-2016 school year. This new facility will help students be positioned to excel in the science fields. Classes such as physics, chemistry and the International Space Station project will take advantage of all this new space will offer. New courses are also under development. “As we look forward to new and renovated science facilities, it is exciting to not just envision buildings and equipment, but to focus on the rich harvest for students that the investment in facilities will produce,” said Dr. Donna Harris, President of Minnehaha Academy. “To know Minnehaha Academy is planting seeds of discovery and exploration, and igniting passion for high quality science is absolutely thrilling.”
June 16, 2015 – Minnehaha Academy Boys’ Baseball team finishes the season 26-2 and in 2nd Place in Class AA. Congratulations on a great season!
Monday, June 15 –
For the first time in School History, the Minnehaha Academy Baseball team will play for a State Title. Come out to Target Field in support of our boys and wear RED! First pitch is at 3:00 PM Today! Go Redhawks!
Abbi Slininger, 7th grade student at Minnehaha Academy, was honored with a 2015 BestPrep Volunteer Service Award for her outstanding volunteer efforts with BestPrep over the past 10 years.
During the past year, more than 4,200 volunteers have participated with BestPrep’s programs. Each year, the top 1% of these volunteers is honored for their exemplary efforts. Abbi is among those who have gone above and beyond to fulfill BestPrep’s mission.
By far the youngest volunteer to have ever received BestPrep’s Service Award, Abbi has been helping with the organization’s fundraising events since she was about 2 years old, joining her mother Kim Christianson, who was on BestPrep’s Board of Directors. Abbi’s first job was laying pencils next to all the silent auction bid sheets. As both technology and Abbi’s age have progressed, her role at the event has grown. She now helps the staff organize silent auction items prior to the event and packages the gift baskets for the auction.
Abbi received her Volunteer Service Award at BestPrep’s 39th Annual Luncheon, held May 19. Congratulations Abbi!
Abbi is pictured with her parents, Kim Christianson and Paul Slininger, and BestPrep Board Chair Deb Schoneman
Mosaic’s Games Around the World was another great event to wrap up the school year. Families came together to celebrate our community and the beauty of our diverse world! The evening included games, speakers, music, dancing and perfect weather for our Minnehaha community to have fun together. The contest theme was “Overcoming Barriers” and it was amazing to see what our Middle School students created for this contest; they are wise beyond their years! Congratulations to Silas Zulkosky Larson, the winner of this Middle School photo contest.
Middle School BLAST Day: Bodies, Brains, & Buddies Learning About Startling Topics was recently held all around town. Research has long told us that Middle School is a critical time for students to explore new things and it’s also critical for them to have significant, positive relationships with both peers and adults. BLAST Day is a strategy that meets both objectives. Students had a great time experiencing things like fishing on the banks of the river, trying curling or rowing or parkour, visiting the Swedish Institute, and much more.
On March 4, Upper School Latin students joined more than 153,000 students from around the world in taking the National Latin Exam. The following students have earned awards for their outstanding performances. Well done!
Silver Medal: Tony Yan
Magna Cum Laude Certificate: Christen Majors, Lillian Kline
Cum Laude Certificate: Nils Andreasen (not pictured)
Gold Medal: Daniel Stein* (Perfect Score), Catherine Vitt, MiKayla Williams, Aaron Bae
Silver Medal: Seth Retzlaff, Grace Steinhagen, Tristan Tew, Eleanor Schrantz,
Laura Shea, Jonah O’Bert, Lucas DiBlasi
Magna Cum Laude Certificate: Ella Ferguson, Grace Kirkpatrick, Terra Rhoades, Caroline Bejarano, Brett Allen, Ava Perez Erickson
Cum Laude Certificate: Anna Wintz, Alison MacLeod
Gold Medal: Elliot Dorow Hovland, Tyler Radtke
Silver Medal: Eli Aronson, Elizabeth Cripe
Magna Cum Laude Certificate: Samuel Myers, Lilleana Thomey, Gabriel Satoskar,
Ashley Mullen, Eliana Laddusaw, Madeleine Debele, Matthew Humason
Cum Laude Certificate: Kate Ali
Gold Medal: Alexandra Wilson**
Silver Medal: Caroline Paulsen, Zildjian Meyer
Magna Cum Laude Certificate: Bennett Pope
Cum Laude Certificate: Edison DiBlasi
Gold Medal: Madeleine Binning**
Silver Medal: Gabriel Hartmark, Davis Ryan
*Daniel Stein has been awarded a special certificate by the Junior Classical League for his perfect score. This is the third consecutive year that Daniel has earned this honor.
**Madeleine Binning and Alexandra Wilson both received special recognition for earning their fourth gold medals. The Junior Classical League has presented them each with a copy of the Oxford Classical Dictionary.
Selected MA French students participated in the 2015 National French Contest, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. Over 90,000 French students across the country participated. MA students had excellent results at both the state and national levels.
Bernardo Creamer, 6th Place in Minnesota, 9th Place in the United States
Elizabeth Dovolis, 8th Place in Minnesota, 10th Place in the United States
Greta Hallberg, 10th Place in Minnesota, 13th Place in the United States
Sarah Kaminski, 10th Place in Minnesota, 13th Place in the United States
Emma Melling, 10th Place in Minnesota, 13th Place in the United States
Terra Rhoades, 14th Place in Minnesota, 17th Place in the United States
Emma Gerrity, 20th Place in Minnesota, 23th Place in the United States
Anna Northenscold, 20th Place in Minnesota, 23th Place in the United States
Abby Mundschenk, 23rd Place in Minnesota, 26th Place in the United States
Lily Bjorlin, 19th Place in Minnesota, 23rd Place in the United States
Miriam Scheel, 5th Place in Minnesota, 8th Place in the United States
Olivia Barr, 12th Place in Minnesota, 18th Place in the United States
Congratulations to our faculty Julie Winn, Rick Stawarz and Anissa Martin, grant recipients of the MISF STEM Innovation Grant Award. Their project, designed for students in grades Pre-K through grade 5, involves designing, implementing and evaluating a STEM program that emphasizes four core strands: (1) Digital Citizenship, (2) Robots and Robotics, (3) Coding/Programming, and (4) STEM-based Problem Solving.
The current computer lab at South Campus will be redesigned as a collaborative learning space, able to facilitate imaginative learning experiences. There will be desktop and iPad workstations, collaborative seating, whole-group learning areas and flexible workspace. Students will also engage in an Hour of Code, which involves one week where, for one hour a day, students spend time engaged in coding activities. Community partners will also help provide access to local company resources helping to link classroom and lab learning to real-life STEM applications.
We are blessed to have such gifted educators at MA who bring so many rich learning experiences to our students!
Congratulations to Sam Terfa, Minnehaha Academy Upper School Science Teacher and ISS Program Co-coordinator, on being selected as a FOX 9 Super Science Teacher Award Winner! The award honors teachers who use science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) within the classroom to inspire area students. Hundreds of teachers were nominated, and a total of nine were selected as winners.