Hope Heals camps
Como staff members Mr. Donnell Gibson and Ms. Kristy Pierce have successfully expanded a thriving summer program to serve St. Paul students and alumni. The Gibson Foundation is going strong in its fourth summer, running the Hope Heals basketball camps and hosting an inaugural tournament at the St. Bernard’s gym.
Over 60 boys and girls, ages 6-13, attend camp sessions at Arlington Hills Rec Center. They meet twice a week for the course of six weeks. One hundred-forty high school students and St. Paul college-age alumni meet at Washington Technology Magnet for free play, socializing, and check-ins with Gibson Foundation leaders and community supporters. The multi-age grouping lends itself to mentoring as high school students learn what it takes to study and play at the next level.
Other program leaders include Ronnie Smith (new Como girls assistant coach), Shawn Phillips (Como boys j.v. coach), and Olanda England (Como staff and girls j.v. coach). Como alum Louis Carter is the lead coach for the young age group, and current Como student Ronnie Porter also mentors the youngsters.
Culinary arts institute
Como teacher Ms. Courtney Gbolo traveled to Paris, France to take classes at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute from July 20-Aug, 5. Gbolo earned a grant through the St. Paul Fund for Teachers that sponsored her travel and study.
Gbolo’s classes at Le Cordon Bleu included The Art of Cooking Like A Chef, The Secrets of Choux Pastry, Tart Making, Bread Making, Sauces, and Pastry Art. Gbolo says she’s been energized by the hands-on curriculum and is extremely grateful for the opportunity that was made possible by the St. Paul Foundation.
Looking ahead to the school year, Gbolo is eager to incorporate ideas and recipes from her summer learning and share her passion with Como students in her Culinary Arts classes and Culinary Club.
Students from Como Park’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) helped with the “Farmer for the Day” exhibit at the Ramsey County Fair in July. The students taught young children about agricultural products made in Minnesota.
Swimmers on MPR
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) produced a well-received feature story about competitive swimming, wrapped into historical patterns of participation. The subjects of the feature were Como teacher Justin Mann, and Como student Aaron Ramsey.
Mann teaches social studies and is the assistant boys’ swim coach. Ramsey will be a junior and is a varsity swimmer. They are two examples of leaders who are “broadening the circle” and raising awareness that swimming is a skill and activity available for all.
Both were interviewed for radio and digital print features, and filmed for the social media links and videos that MPR produced. Ramsey said that swimming used to cause him some fear and anxiety, but he’s gained confidence through competitive swimming. “I feel at home in the water. I’m always itching to get back in the water. And I’ve decided to become a lifeguard and help people,” Ramsey said.
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