Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher
• 18 seniors currently studying AP Government and AP Macroeconomics spent a week of March in Washington D.C. The participating students were part of the national Close Up program, which promotes education in democracy and uses the capital as a living classroom. Como student highlights included visiting the national monuments, memorials, the new African American History Smithsonian Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, U.S. Capitol, and prominent Washington neighborhoods.
Photo right: Como students participating in the national Close Up program in Washington D.C. met with three U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill to discuss public policy. The Como group is pictured here with Senator Amy Klobuchar. (Photo provided)
The students had policy meetings with Senator Al Franken and Senator Amy Klobuchar on Capitol Hill, and also had an impromptu twenty-minute meeting with Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. Senator Booker introduced the Como group to the new Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who Booker was meeting in advance of confirmation hearings.
Throughout the week, Como students were also in policy discussions and simulations with peers from across the nation. The Close Up closing banquet of 120 students featured six student speakers selected by their respective workshop groups, and two of them were from Como; Josie Schermerhorn and William Toney.
• A team of four MJROTC Cadets will fly out to Washington D.C. in late June to participate in the National Leadership and Academic Bowl. It’s the first time in the 21-year history of the MJROTC program at Como that a team of cadets has advanced to the prestigious event. Junior Jacob Kingson, sophomores William Farley and Joseph Newman, and freshman Anderson Xiong earned their trip to nationals after competing against more than 3,600 high school programs across the country.
Preliminary rounds tested students on their knowledge of JROTC curriculum, English, math, and science. The cadets devoted considerable time, energy and focus to gain a diverse body of knowledge that also included the U.S. Constitution, founding documents of U.S. history, physics, leadership theory, and core knowledge associated with the ACT and SAT, said Como’s Senior Marine Instructor Maj. John Foley, USMC (Retired).
“I am most proud of their intense desire to go beyond mastery of facts to an integrated and comprehensive understanding of history, ethics, and leadership,” Foley said. Como Park is one of eight teams to advance to the finals and the only JROTC team from Minnesota that qualified for the national competition.
• Como Park students participated in History Day as part of their study and research in U.S. History classes. History Day involves in-depth research on a topic students choose within the annual theme. The 2017 theme was “Taking a Stand.” Students analyzed primary and secondary sources before choosing a category to present their findings. Categories included website design, exhibit board, documentary, performance, and research paper.
Judges from the Minnesota Historical Society visited Como to evaluate projects and select participants for the St. Paul regional competition. Como winners at the St. Paul Regional included Abdullahi Salim, Jahara Ortiz, Felix Lukens and Juan Morales for their documentary film on the Stonewall Riots. They will represent Como at the State History Day at the U of M on Apr. 29. Peyton Thomas, Than Dah Aye, and Noel Krum wrote research papers that also advanced to state. Anna Caballero and Yeeva Lor received Honorable Mention at the regional competition for their exhibit on the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case.
• Economics students from Como won the Urban Regional Econ Challenge at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on Mar. 14. The event was administered by the Minnesota Council on Economic Education (MCEE) and sponsored by “The Fed.” Teams of students participate in two competitive divisions. The Adam Smith Division is for AP/IB/college level Econ coursework, and the David Ricardo Division is tailored to high school core standards.
The team of Mira Kammueller, Nathan Stover, Divine Uchegbu, and Ben Schafer earned 1st place in the Adam Smith Division and advanced to the State Econ Challenge. The team of Lay Lay Zan, Psaw Paw Kasuh, Tyler Johnson, and John Barton took 1st prize in the David Ricardo Division, also advancing to state.
The format included rounds of individual testing in microeconomics and macroeconomics, followed by a team test on international finance and trade. The teams with the top two overall, combined scores in each division faced off against each other in the final Quiz Bowl round. Como’s victories at that level clinched the Urban Regional titles and qualified the teams for the state meet. In addition to the competition, the students enjoyed breakfast and lunch at the Fed and toured the facility, including the cash vault, with Federal Reserve staff.
• The St. Paul Public School Culinary Competition took place in March. It was an opportunity for talented and motivated students in Family and Consumer Science classes throughout the district to prepare and present a meal to a panel of judges. The Como Park Culinary teams took 1st place and 3rd place in the district.
The 3rd place team of Jillian Brenner, Eloise Rein, Trenton Phillippi and Curtis Persson prepared a tomato mozzarella salad for a starter, beef ravioli (pasta made from scratch) with fresh tomato cream sauce for an entrée, and white chocolate mousse topped with a raspberry sauce for dessert.
The 1st place team of Dina Thoresen, Trinh Nguyen, Ong Vang and Isaac Vue presented a menu of Thai Glass Noodle Salad for a starter, Vegetarian Pho with a side dish of stock boiled vegetables for the entrée, and coconut rice pudding with lemongrass curd for dessert. The creative and talented young chefs of Como enjoyed the experience of cooking alongside other students in St. Paul. All participants took their culinary arts to new levels, impressing the panel of experts in the process.
• Como Girls’ Soccer players spent Saturday morning, Mar. 25, communicating with the Tibetan Women’s Soccer team via a Skype call. The team from Tibet received news coverage from several media outlets after being denied travel visas to the U.S. for a tournament in Dallas they had been invited to attend. Como JV girls’ coach Jen Larrick established contact with the Tibetan coach and scheduled the Skype call. The resulting hour-long cross-cultural exchange was enlightening, informative and fun for both teams.
Como Soccer players from the girls’ and boys’ teams will be leading sessions of soccer fun for children in the community again this summer. The “Soccer Stars” will meet on Tuesday nights at McMurray Field beginning June 20. Ages 4-6 will play from 6-6:45pm, and ages 7-11 from 7-8pm. Registration is open and can be made by calling 651-298-5813.