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New Boys Soccer Varsity Coach and Program Head Named

The Providence Academy Athletics Department is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Paul O'Connor to Head Coach of the Boys Varsity Soccer team and Soccer Program Head. Paul's background includes a wealth of coaching, training, and administrative opportunities that will help him oversee not only the boys varsity team, but also PA's entire Boys Soccer Program, grades 5 through 12.

Paul is a product of Easington Comprehensive School located in the village of Easington, County Durham, England. There, he played varsity school soccer and also participated in State Soccer with East Durham. He played Regional soccer with Northumberland, as well as playing a stint in the Hetton Youth League.

O'Connor also spent more than ten years on the professional circuit with the likes of Leicester City F.C., the Blyth Spartans, Hartlepool United F.C., and the Bedlington Terriers. While playing for these professional teams O'Connor enjoyed success as; League Winners, Northumberland Senior Cup winners, League Cup Winners, Carlsberg F.A. Cup participant, and he even played in Wembley Stadium as a finalist for the F.A. Vase.

During his time as a professional Paul was also lauded with many individual honors, including: Away Player of the Year, Journalists Player of the Year, Managers Player of the Year, Players Player of the Year, Supporters Player of the Year, and Press Player of the Year.

After an injury forced his retirement from 1st Division play, O'Connor turned his attention to coaching. He has coached at every level Minnesota offers, including assistant positions at: Edina, Hopkins, Bloomington Jefferson and Benilde St. Margaret's High Schools. O'Connor has also served as Goalie Coach for Hamline University and Macalester College, as well as two Minnesota Professional teams: the Minnesota Thunder and Minnesota United.

In 2016 Coach O'Connor became the Technical Director and Director of Goalkeeping for nearby Maplebrook Soccer Association, located in Maple Grove, MN.

O'Connor also has an impressive list of soccer related licenses that include a National Y License which is devoted to the physical, psychological and social characteristics displayed by children of specific ages, National C License which focuses on the core concepts of coaching, and a National B License which focuses on the principles of long-term player development and developing a team. All three are awarded by the United States Soccer Federation. He also has achieved his Goalkeeper National Diploma (Distinguished Pass) and Goalkeeper Advanced National Certificate through the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

When asked, why Providence Academy? Paul answered, "I had heard about Providence Academy because it is well known for its academics, art, and faith life, yet I knew little about the Athletics program until I did a little digging. What I found is that the boys soccer program has tremendous potential. My thought is to help build the program so that it is on par with schools Academics, Arts, and Faith."

Athletics Director Rick Johns states, "I know that Paul O'Connor is a great fit for Providence Academy. "He has a deep coaching résumé, the ability to develop meaningful relationships with our students and understands that coaching soccer is more than just teaching the game."

Of his appointment Coach O'Connor reflects, "I know a few of the players from previous coaching experiences so I am excited to meet more of the boys. My goal is to help them grow their game and grow as young men. In the end, we want to nurture good people, have some fun and build on the strong foundation set by previous teams."

Please welcome Coach Paul O'Connor to our community.


Blake School's Golf Team Wins Third Consecutive State Title


The boys' golf team successfully defended its 2015 and 2016 Class AA titles with another victory at this year's state tournament.

At the end of day one, the Bears had a slight lead over Holy Family and Detroit Lakes. Muggy air, gusting winds and hot temps made play challenging for all the teams. The Bears fought off the challengers and the elements to walk away with the state title after a strong showing on day two. All six players scored under 80. Derek Hitchner '18 led the Blake individuals, shooting a 73 and a 70 over the two days and placing fifth overall.

Minnehaha Student Wins Business Essay Contest

Sophie Olson, Minnehaha class of 2017, received first place in Minnesota, and sixth place nationally for her essay on the topic of values based investing. Congratulations, Sophie!

The essay was written as part of the Upper School's Introduction to Business Course. Minnehaha business students studied the topic of values based investing in their investment and business ethics unit.

Sophie's essay took a closer look at the environmental efforts of Tesla and The Body Shop, and why these two companies would be attractive to investors interested in using their money to make the world a better place. She explains socially responsible investing (SRI) and environmental, social, and governance investing (ESG) in the essay as:

"SRI and ESG investing are not solely a numbers game; while it is important that an investor's money go towards a company that has potential future success, it is equally important that the investor believes in what the company is promoting. This is what separates SRI and ESG investing from regular investing. It is investing with a cause and a purpose. There are many different world issues that need tackling, and every person has the ability to help in growing our community, with hopes of providing a brighter future for the world around us."

There were more than 4,600 essays submitted nationally at the high school level. The contest was held by InvestWrite, a nationwide essay competition for students in grades four through twelve.

Sophie Olson graduated with high honors from Minnehaha Academy this spring. During her time at Minnehaha, Sophie took a number of AP science and humanities courses. She also was captain of the varsity soccer team and volunteers as a youth soccer coach. Sophie will continue her studies at Gustavus Adolphus in the fall.

Congratulations, Sophie!

Topics: Upper School

Sophie Olson, Minnehaha class of 2017, received first place in Minnesota, and sixth place nationally for her essay on the topic of values based investing. Congratulations, Sophie!

The essay was written as part of the Upper School's Introduction to Business Course. Minnehaha business students studied the topic of values based investing in their investment and business ethics unit.

Sophie's essay took a closer look at the environmental efforts of Tesla and The Body Shop, and why these two companies would be attractive to investors interested in using their money to make the world a better place. She explains socially responsible investing (SRI) and environmental, social, and governance investing (ESG) in the essay as:

"SRI and ESG investing are not solely a numbers game; while it is important that an investor's money go towards a company that has potential future success, it is equally important that the investor believes in what the company is promoting. This is what separates SRI and ESG investing from regular investing. It is investing with a cause and a purpose. There are many different world issues that need tackling, and every person has the ability to help in growing our community, with hopes of providing a brighter future for the world around us."

There were more than 4,600 essays submitted nationally at the high school level. The contest was held by InvestWrite, a nationwide essay competition for students in grades four through twelve.

Sophie Olson graduated with high honors from Minnehaha Academy this spring. During her time at Minnehaha, Sophie took a number of AP science and humanities courses. She also was captain of the varsity soccer team and volunteers as a youth soccer coach. Sophie will continue her studies at Gustavus Adolphus in the fall.

Congratulations, Sophie!

Vis Yearbook wins National Award

Yearbook Award

When Josten's Journalism Educator Sherri Loney arrived on campus for the Upper School Awards Program, the students and teachers thought she was delivering the highly anticipated yearbooks. But Loney had coordinated with Director of Upper School Renee Genereux for a surprise announcement: "Congratulations to the Visitation yearbook program on being named to Jostens' 2017 National Yearbook Program of Excellence."

The prestigious honor recognizes engaging yearbooks that reflect a broad representation of the student body while helping students develop 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, information and communication technologies literacy. The award was presented to the Visitation yearbook program for achieving the defined criteria in each of three following categories: creating an inclusive yearbook, generating school engagement and successfully managing the yearbook creation process.

Visitation's award winning yearbook program is led by student editors Riley Wilson, Anna Strub, Annette Okafor and Sam Plante under the direction of science and mathematics instructors Dr. John Lewin and Rachel King.


Standing Up for Something We "Bee"lieve In

On Wednesday, May 17 at 1pm the students of the Environmental Action Club (EAC) and the Student Committee Affirming Quaker Values (SCAQV) went to the state Capitol to urge legislators to support legislation that contains important language to protect Minnesota's pollinators from neonicotinoid pesticides. They met with Representative Hamilton, a chair of the Agriculture Finance Committee.

The Meeting
They met with State Representative Hamilton and expressed their concerns about the use of neonicotinoids. They talked about how bees are essential to agriculture and that at least one-third of the food on our plates is there because of bees. They gave facts about the economic impact of losing bee colonies at the rate we are losing them. Representative Hamilton asked questions and engaged in a thoughtful discussion with the students. At the end of the meeting, he said to them, "Thank you. I have learned some things today."

After the Meeting
They returned to school thinking about what other short-term and long-term actions they could take to advocate for pollinators. In the short term, they asked their friends and family to call or email Representative Hamilton to express their support for the amendments.

The children, their work, and their passion were very inspiring. We can't wait to see what they do next.

This winter Marshall School in Duluth added a two week iTerm to their curriculum allowing the school to emphasize authentic learning and to provide time to invite community experts into the classrooms. Working alongside doctors, engineers, linguists, and architects, the students were able to connect concepts to careers and to see the importance of the lessons they learned in school. Two examples of iTerm classes are "Bioengineering Prosthetics" and "Medical Careers.

In the Bioengineering class sixteen students united to build a robotic arm with flexible fingers controlled by a motor. They then designed code and a claw that received instructions to open and close from electrodes placed on muscles.

When the finished hand is assembled it will be sent to a child in need.







Meanwhile, in the Medical Careers Class students learned about the myriad of opportunities that exist in the medical field. Healthcare professionals from the community visited this class of fourteen and spoke about their specialty. They also shared interactive elements from their everyday lives on the job so students could experience this facet of medicine for themselves.


Breakfast at Blake (Thursday, May 18, 7:30-8:30am, Bovey Chapel, Hopkins campus): Dr. Marcia McNutt '70 is an esteemed geophysicist and president of the National Academy of Science. Through her leadership at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), she has led responses to catastrophic earthquakes around the globe, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and spearheaded development of biological and chemical sensors for remote ocean deployment. This complimentary event includes a hot breakfast. Register here by Monday, May 15.


PA Rocketing to New Heights

This weekend, Providence Academy is rocketing to new heights! Mr. Michael Plucinski and a group of PA Upper School students are teaming up with Tripoli Rocketry Association–an amateur high power rocketry club–to launch a Providence Academy rocket on Saturday, May 13.

This isn't going to be your typical high school rocket launch. PA's high-powered rocket is predicted to reach an apogee of 4,000 feet!

The students have been building the high-powered rocket for the past several weeks and will join the Minnesota Tripoli chapter as they, and hundreds of other rocket enthusiasts, launch rockets of all sizes in North Branch.