Author Archives: Zoe Deal

First Meet for the Track Team

The upper school track team competed in their first meet on the 22nd of April this year, the 9th annual Leo Bond Meet in Fairbault, MN. Overall, the girls came in 5th of 7 teams and the boys came in 7th of 8 teams.

Alexandra Munkelwitz (11), a year-round athlete at NLA, came in first for the varsity 100 meter dash with Laura Stolz (12) coming in .19 seconds behind, taking second.

Munkelwitz also tied for second in the high jump and placed fourth in the triple jump. An event similar to the long jump where one skips rather than jumping with two feet into the pit.

“She did really well,” said Will Tiedeman (10) enthusiastically praising his teammate.

The girls relay team placed 2nd, with Isabel Thompson (9), Stolz, Munkelwitz and Katie Danielzuk (7).

Mrs. Thielen, the track coach, commended Danielzuk’s performance saying it was “remarkable” because she was put into the relay last minute in place of an absent teammate.

Tiedeman put in a notable performance, setting a personal record of 28 feet 11 inches in shot put.

“It’s not that great, but I was surprised,” said Tiedeman humbly about his performance.

The Track Team performed well and represented North Lakes Academy in a very competitive, honorable way.

Mr. Darwin Retiring teaching at NLA

Mr. Darwin has been teaching social studies and geography at North Lakes Academy since August 1999, one year after the school’s opening in 1998. A teacher for exactly 40 years (started in 1974), Mr. Darwin feels it is “time to move to another phase of [his] life.”

Mr. Darwin has been at NLA since the beginning. He has seen all of NLA’s growth and change and has watched countless groups of students come and go.

“I told the seniors 4 years ago, ‘I’m leaving when you’re leaving’”, said Mr. Darwin. He kept to that agreement deciding that 2014 would be his last year at North Lakes Academy.

Fellow teachers have many memories with Mr.Darwin.

“Some of my favorite memories of him include his whistling/humming in the hallways, his wonderful beard (some years) and his genuine personality,” said Dan Mendenhall, the lower campus science teacher who has known Mr. Darwin for 8 years.

Andrea Yaeger, a 5th and 6th grade teacher, has known Mr. Darwin for 6 years and fondly remembers the yearbook pictures of him with crazy masks on.

“I will miss his gentle spirit and love for our students,” said Mrs. Yaeger.

Other staff at NLA have known Darwin for even longer.

“I have known and been friends with Mr. Darwin for 15 years,” said Ms. Cheri, NLA’s administrative person, “I have always had a special place in my heart for Terry and always will.”

Though Mr. Darwin has created many memories with teachers, he has created even more with his students. Darwin is known throughout NLA for the genuine relationships and care he shares for the students.

“I will miss the students the most, and the fun of learning from each other,” said Mr Darwin.

“He was very talkative,” started Claire Radatz (9), who had him as a teacher last year, “He really cared about you and wanted to know about your life.”

“My favorite memory would have to be may term making birdhouses,” said Raeanna Munkelwitz (9), “He always found a way to make us laugh.”

He has impacted many of his student’s lives and will surely continue to do that even after his retirement.

There will be a party to celebrate Mr. Darwins time at NLA on May 9th at 7 pm. As Mr. Darwin takes a new journey into life with his retirement and family we will join together and celebrate the 15 years that he has spent with us. Throughout the years here at NLA, Mr. Darwin has touched every one of our lives. Join us for coffee, punch, and treats. There will be special speakers, stories, memories, laughter, and a whole lot of fun! The party will be at the North Lakes Middle School. Anyone is welcome.

Lesbe Honest about NLA’s Lunches

“You’re not going to hurt our feelings,” said Mary, the owner of Done Right Foods, to Mr. Stewart’s advisory.

The current catering company at North Lakes Academy, Done Right Foods Catering, was looking to students for opinions and suggestions regarding the meals they serve students. During advisory last Monday, three representatives of the company came in to talk to students about their menu.

In Ms.Goulet’s advisory, Mary introduced her company’s goal, “We do healthy food. We do not serve junk food, it would go against my philosophy.”

Trying to get student input, she asked questions like ‘What don’t you like?’ and ‘What is your favorite item on the menu?’

Unfortunately, other than a few statements, students in both Mr.Stewart and Ms.Goulets advisories stayed quiet.

“We didn’t really talk much in the meeting because I feel like everyone was just shy. They didn’t really want to speak their feelings, I guess,” said Liv Dufour (10), who is part of Ms. Goulet’s advisory.

Other students in Ms.Goulet’s advisory of sophomores (and one junior) agreed. But why did one of the most opinionated group of students at NLA not speak up?

“I kinda feel like we didn’t say much because we didn’t want to insult them,” said Keeley Gray (10) also from Ms. Goulet’s, “Lesbe honest.”

The conversation was quite one sided in the room, apart from a few suggestions including having more chicken in menu items with chicken, and different fruits like strawberries. Mary responded with an analysis of the price of lunches and said how adding those items would raise it.

After some conversations with students in the meetings, the conclusion is that a written anonymous survey would be the best way for Done Right Food to get the answers they are seeking.

9th grade emotions project

For the second year in a row, NLA’s 9th grade english teacher, Tom Lutes, is incorporating an emotion project into his curriculum.

“[The purpose] is to use the topics as a vehicle to teach students research skills and how to identify credibility of sources,” said Mr. Lutes.

According to Mr. Lutes, the emotion project satisfies many requirements of the State of Minnesota, completing many requirements at once. These requirements include computer competency, identifying credible resources, and writing 5-paragraph essays.

A struggle for students in this assignments is speaking in front of the class. The project requires a presentation with either a powerpoint or prezi as visual aid.

Said Mr. Lutes, “I know that many students hate speaking in front of their peers. But since every one of the projects in my class require public speaking, I have seen students growing and learning to cope with it”

As is the case for most projects, Mr. Lutes was impressed and disappointed with the student’s work.

“My impressions and disappointments ran the gamut this year, as is usual in the life of a teacher. I always hope that every student will turn in a project but, as they say, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.’”

“The emotion project also prompts students to examine human experiences and seek for an understanding that may or may not have been there before,” added Mr. Lutes, “So that means that students are increasing their capacity for compassion and empathy. “

The Upper School Gets a Library!

The North Lakes Upper School, after 4 years at it’s current location, finally has a library.

The creation of the library can be credited to Harrison Marchio, Isabel Thompson, Andrew Hunt, and Braedon Stem who thought of the idea in Civics class for an assignment. The assignment was to obtain support on a change they wanted to happen at North Lakes through a petition.

According to Marchio, the group wanted to make the library more known, because many students did not know about the small library located in one of NLAs english teacher’s, Chelsie Thielen’s, room.

The perfect opportunity for a space for the library came with the room switches to fill in NLA’s newly acquired areas. The library was placed in Mrs. Waterworth’s old room, which is located in the new upstairs commons. A small room for a class, but too big for a closet, the room was perfect for a library.

Mrs. Thielen has been collecting donations from parents for the new library. She’s received $300 worth of books for the library, and filled the bookshelves quickly. She has also been able to receive money and books from Donors Choose, a website where teachers can post what they need and receive donations from people who support the cause. In addition, Mrs. Thielen has also been collecting books over her years of teaching at NLA, and the majority of those collected books went into the library.

As for the supervision of the library, that is Mrs. Thielen’s task.

According to Mrs. Thielen, if the library door is open and there is a TA or teacher in the room, students can look around the library and check out books.

Robotics at NLA

After completing their allotted 6 weeks of creating their robot, all the robotics team has to do is wait. About two weeks to be exact, until March 6th through the 8th. The competition is in Duluth, MN, and will challenge their robot in several two minute thirty second rounds based on points acquired.

This year, the robot has to be able to push, catch, and throw a ball.

“I feel this year it’s a lot more simple.” Hannah Quarnstrom said about the competition.

In last year’s competition the robot was required to catch and throw a frisbee.

Until the competition, the robotics team is not allowed to touch the robot. The robot, nicknamed “Mr.Bad”, will compete in March against 59 other robots.

Last year the robotics team competed alongside Forest Lake High School. This year however, they will be representing North Lakes Academy.

The team is being sponsored by Snap-on and NASA this year. NASA sponsors 500 rookie teams each year and this year NLA is one of them. NASA donated enough money to pay for the entrance fees and the robot building kit. Snap-on donated all the tools needed to put the robot together.

Spirit Days at NLA

Frozen Five Week has ended and the spirit days were as follows: ‘Merica Monday, Blackout Tuesday, Get Up & Go Wednesday, Ugly Sweater Thursday and Husky Pride Friday.

The Homecoming Week spirit days were not popular among students, so student council incorporated student ideas into this year’s Frozen Five Week. With the Winter Olympics this year, student council planned lunch event competitions and ways to earn medals. Students seemed to enjoy spirit week and the new competition aspect created by the Olympic Lunch Events.

“They got me excited for school,” said Neil Lau (9).

Vinny Ranallo-Thies (11) enjoyed the lunch events.
“I like how they did the Olympics this year.”

“I really enjoyed spirit week. I liked the olympics because they were super entertaining and creative.” said Laura Stolz (12).

For anyone with ideas for spirit days and future events, student council is very open to ideas. In fact, new ideas are already pouring in.

“[We] should do Throwback Thursday, where we all dress up like we’re in the 80’s,” Noah Nei (10) suggested.

“Frozen 5 Summer Day!” Abbey Millerbernd (12) said enthusiastically.

Chelsea Halverson (11) suggested Hawaiian day for the next spirit week.

At the end of the week, the seniors won the games with the seven medals. Freshmen and juniors closely following with six. Unfortunately, sophomores came in last with only four medals.

Middle School Book Club

After facing some setback from weather problems, NLA’s middle school book club will start up again this week.

On Wednesday, students will be starting the book Hoot by Carl Hiaason. Students will answer questions and will be writing summaries regarding each chapter. After finishing the book, the club will watch a movie to compare and contrast.

Andrea Yaeger, a sixth grade teacher at NLA, started the book club last year. The purpose of the club, she said, is to have a club for students to go to during the winter months and to share her love of books with her students.
“I think the more you read, the more you learn and grow in your knowledge of our world,” said Mrs. Yaeger

Currently, there are five students in grades 5-7 signed up for the club, and it is very open to new students. Students are free to bring snacks to share.
For more information email Andrea Yaeger at

Construction Workers MIA at NLA

Production seems to have mysteriously stopped on the Upper School Activity Center. The center, which had been progressing rapidly up until mid-December, is to be finished by next year. NLA had become used to the sound of cement mixers and excavators working outside every day. Workers had even worked through the snow, starting “hobo” fires in metal buckets around the site. But one day the workers went missing, and just arrived back to finish the construction on Friday the 17th. Where did they go?

Theory 1: It’s too cold to work outside.

Most students accept this theory.  School has been cancelled due to cold weather this month and things have been slippery.

“It’s covered in like 10 inches of snow,” said Rayna Yaeger (10).

Katie Alamo (10) speculated that the construction workers don’t work in the winter.

“They probably don’t have to,” Alamo said.

Theory 2: It’s a conspiracy

Other students speculate that construction has stopped because plans have changed and there will not be a gym.

“It’s just like this thing to put it in our minds. They’re telling us that it’s going to happen… but it’s not,” said Josie Schlosser (10).

Schlosser didn’t speculate as to why administration would want to create such a conspiracy.

Other Theories:
“They went union.” -Logan Haller (10)

“I feel like aliens abducted them.” [I laugh] “I’m dead serious. There’s definitely been some weird stuff going on. Have you seen Travis [Fish] (10)? There’s something inside him” -Noah Nei (10)

“They had to go get building permits.” – Branden Flasch (12)

“Watching Cody Warren and Derek Beatty fight over fantasy football became too boring.” – Chelsie Thielen, English teacher

North Dakota?!

Though all of these are good guesses, the truth lies in North Dakota.

“Our understanding is they went back to North Dakota for winter break,” said Cam Stottler, NLA’s Dean of Students.

It took them a bit longer than expected to get back and the school really can’t do anything about it.

“This piece of the construction is handled by our building landlord. NLA has nothing to do with the timing, who does the construction, and the timeline for it,” Stottler said.


The NLA Girls Basketball varsity and JV teams headed to Ogilvie, Minnesota on the 20th for a tournament. The team was excited for the event.

“I personally was excited for Ogilvie it gives us good practice to play against better teams because it shows us just how hard we can push ourselves even if we never win. It also is a good team bonding opportunity,” said Katie Alamo (10).

Because the team left a little later, upon arrival they went straight to a school for the JV game against Ogilvie. The game ended in a loss for the JV Huskies, but there were more games to play.

For their first game, the varsity girls also faced up against Ogilvie. This game was a struggle for the Huskies, who lost by 54 points at a final score of 11-75.

”[It] was a fun game for me. We lost by a ton, but I don’t believe we ever gave up,” Ogilvie said.

The girls did okay considering the team was in pretty rough shape, with five or six girls out ill. Luckily, all except one of the sick players were still able to go to the tournament, including Alex Munkelwitz. Munkelwitz had the stomach flu, but came into school 4th block, enabling her to go to Ogilvie.

Starting point guard Liv Dufour (10) was unfortunately unable to come after coming down with strep.

“I really wish i could have gone and been with the team,” said Dufour.

The second game, which was against Red River, was tough for the girls. The match ended with a big loss for the Huskies at a score of 7-72. Isabel Thompson (9) mentioned that the opponents “played very aggressively” and added that they were very “pushy”.

“I thought we did well; we definitely could have done better,” Alamo said, “but not having our starting point guard and having the majority of the team sick I believe we did okay. We never expected to win, we expect the team to lose actually, but it gives us a drive to go against girls who are far better.”

The team, even after having two great players graduate, came into the tournament better than the year before.

“The team has improved a lot since last year with our passing skills, our defensive skills, and our offense,” said Abbey Millerbernd (12) one of the captains. “The game is a lot better with our defensive skills and being able to move quickly as the opposite team passes the ball.”

Though the Huskies didn’t win any of their games, they worked hard, gained experience, and got closer as a team. Each year the players come back with good attitudes and stronger friendships with each other than before.

“There’s always room for improvement,” Emma Sosa (9) said. “The Ogilvie tournament was a great example of that. But we did work hard. It was a good team bonding experience, for the most part.”

“I think that Haley Hutchinson (11) did a great job of being tough on defense, and putting some shots up,” Sosa added. “She’s a hard worker and doesn’t give up.”

“I was happy to leave because I was still sick and tired,” said Munkelwitz (11) with a laugh.