Category Archives: Academics

Mens’ Ensemble

At North Lakes Academy Upper School there has always been a Women’s Ensemble to help spread holiday cheer and add to the choir performances. This year, something new is being added to the mix: a Men’s Ensemble.

Leading the group is a double effort by Evan Klein(12) and Dan Johnson(12). Group members include Logan Haller(11), Dan Johnson(12), Evan Klein(12), Andrew Warren(10), and Josh LeClair(10).

When Haller was asked why make a men’s ensemble this late in the year, he responded with, “Well, why not, we’re guys that want to sing, so let us.”

The Men’s Ensemble practices on B days in the choir room at eleven o’clock. The song they’re working on right now is called “Pompeii” by Bastille, but they have many more songs they’d like to perform. They say that they won’t be completely prepared for February’s concert, but will be ready to perform for the Spring concert. They’re open to new members as long as you love to sing and are willing to give up some of your own time to be part of the ensemble. They’ve only just begun but the school thinks they’ll go a long way!

NHD Weekly Meetings

Attention 10th and 11th graders: the social studies department will hold weekly National History Day help sessions Tuesdays after school until 4:00 pm. Originally, these sessions were only planned for last Tuesday and next Tuesday. Social studies teachers Eric Nelson and Christopher Stewart have found it to be exceptionally helpful for students participating in NHD, so it will continue.

The sessions allow students to have in-depth talks about their topics with teachers and to get help with any questions. Students showed excitement for this opportunity and took advantage of the program Stewart and Nelson started.

There was only a small glitch in communication: when Stewart said to meet in his room, Nelson said to meet in his.  This error was corrected quickly.

Stewart is also under the impression that this will be the year that NLA sends a student to Nationals.

“This year’s 10th and 11th grade group has the best potential to produce a national competitor than any other back to back class in a while,” Stewart said.

Will you be the NLA’s History Day champion this year? Get some extra help from Stewart and Nelson and maybe you will be visiting Washington for Nationals this year.


Written by Hannah Quarnstrom

New Gym Requirements for Upperclassmen

North Lakes Academy upperclassmen are upset because they have to take more gym classes. The State of Minnesota recently decided to consider making gym a yearlong course. Although this new regulation hasn’t gone into effect yet, it is looking as though NLA will be following through with the new gym requirements regardless of the State’s decision.

The state claims students are sitting too much and not getting enough exercise in a day. Many students here at NLA disagree.

“I think that as long as [juniors and seniors] are in sports, or are doing some form of physical movement that gym shouldn’t be required. We have our futures to worry about,” said Naomi Scott (11).

Another fear is that the course shouldn’t be required for current juniors in their senior year, as it interferes with the classes they have right now.

“It would take away from most students’ PSEO classes and then we would be paying about an extra $2000 in college for one class we could have gotten for free,” Scott said.

There are a few students that have no problem with the possibility of more gym. Some say it’s fun and a break from school, that gym allows students to relax and let out built up energy.  The opposing viewpoint does not see it that way.

“…I didn’t think we were still in first grade. We don’t need a ‘play time’ because we don’t get nap time anymore, so why should we have to have gym?” said Monica Dorsher (12).


Written by Chelsie Rosa

NLA’s 2013-14 Yearbooks are Now Completed

Both campuses of North Lakes Academy have been working very hard on creating a unique yearbook for students to enjoy. As of last Friday the yearbook was completed, including the final touches that Mrs. Luschsinger needed at add.

Editors Kaylee Krogstad, Rachel Lou, Abbey Millerbernd and Autumn Percy held the class to high expectations and put countless hours into editing the book before it was print ready. Along with the editors, the students also worked hard all year taking pictures and getting quotes from fellow students for the yearbook. They used their creativity to layout and design each individual page in very unique ways.

Throughout the year there was some struggle for the yearbook team, but in the end they pulled through. For spring sports at NLA, the weather had a huge factor on the late start for sports. The bad weather didn’t just affect athletes at NLA, but also the yearbook team. It was difficult for students who were creating the yearbook to get quality pictures with the late start to spring sports. However, the yearbook team didn’t let the weather affect the quality of the pages and refused to take no for an answer.

The yearbook team tried to get each student in the yearbook at least three times, which at times was a struggle. Naomi Scott, who was part of the yearbook team, explained that

“We [the yearbook team] even got the new students in the yearbook at least twice and their picture in their grade even if they came to North Lakes the week before deadline.”

The yearbook staff put countless hours of work into this years yearbook, and the students have had plenty of positive feedback on the final outcome. If you ordered a yearbook they should be here before school gets out June 5th.

Sophomores Testing Out of F.S.T.

This year’s sophomore class, and even some of the more advanced freshmen, have shown exemplary skill in the mathematics course Algebra 2. As a result of this, Mr. Stottler sent out letters addressed to all students who showed they have what it takes to test out of F.S.T. and proceed straight to Calculus. According to what Stottler has said, the students who take this opportunity will take a may term class that will give them the basics of F.S.T.

“This won’t be as hard as you think. Most of what you will go over will either be an expansion of or the same as what you went over in Algebra 2… There will only be two sections that you haven’t seen… and we believe you can do well with these concepts as soon as you see them,” said Stottler regarding the jump from F.S.T. to Calculus.

The students who were selected for this opportunity were chosen based on recommendations from their math instructor and GPA averages for that class. Each of these students were sent home with a letter that they were required to turn back in for registration for the class.  There is, however, an important bit of information regarding the letters.  Some students received letters late, right around the time the forms were actually due. Mr. Stottler told students not to worry, he is still accepting any form of parent approval until may term begins.  This could be in the form of a phone call, email, signing the letter, etc.

However, the sooner you communicate your interest in the class, the sooner you can guarantee that you will have a spot to test out of F.S.T.


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. “


This is the first year that the National History Day Nelson awards have been awarded to NHD participants for their hard work and dedication to their respective projects. The NHD awards are decided on by fellow classmates which make the awards even more special for the recipient. There were seven awards up for grabs this year. There was awards for the best website, the best documentary, the best exhibit board, the most creative project, the biggest procrastinator, most knowledgeable and the most likely to go to nationals. After students voted on who they thought deserved to win these awards, the votes were tallied and the winners were determined. The best website went to Ryan Olsen (10), the best documentary went to Noah Nei (10) and the best exhibit board went to Brandon Rowe (10). The most creative project went to Keeley Gray (10), the most knowledgeable on their topic went to Kallee Buske (10) and the biggest procrastinator went to Vinny Thies (11). The highest award given was the most likely to go to nationals award and that was awarded to Spencer Hammersten (11) for his performance.

When Noah Nei (10) was asked how he felt about winning the Nelson for the best documentary he said,

“It was quite a rewarding feeling, although I felt like I did not deserve it, it was exciting to win it.”

Also when he was asked how he felt about the fact that his fellow students gave him this award he said,

“It was really nice to feel the support from my friends, but I wish the awards were given by actual judges that weren’t my friends for more accuracy  and thats partly why I don’t feel like I deserved the award.”

Overall, the Nelson Awards were a huge success among students, creating an even more exciting atmosphere around National History Day.

Exercise science with Biemert

What is Exercise Science?

Exercise Science is a class taught by Jeff Biemert, our school’s Physical Educator and Athletic Director. It is an elective class where you can receive a Physical Education credit.

Students aren’t always sure if he even knows what he is talking about, but they are currently “learning” about anatomy. Later students will be learning about physiology. Since it is only the first few weeks of class, they are not as in depth and involved as they may be later on.

As all students know, Beimert is easily distracted. Also, he is very easy to get off task, which makes his class very fun for students. Biemert is very hands on, which helps students learn more effectively. He uses students for demonstrations, and the entire class is very open discussion.

There isn’t much to say based off the first week of class. Exercise Science students are learning about the human body. They will continue to the next few class periods.


Speech: Coming Soon to NLA

After adding the Debate team last fall, North Lakes Academy is going to add a Speech team in February.  This diverse activity improves public speaking skills and looks great on college applications.

There is more to competitive speaking than giving an informational speech.  Competition has several different categories:

  • Dramatic Interpretation (“Dramatic Interp,” “Drama” or “DI”) is where five to seven performers each perform part of a published play, novel, or short story. Some are monologues, others require speakers to adopt the roles of many different characters by changing their tone, manner, and the position of their body to indicate a change in character.
  • Duo Interpretation (“Duo Interp” or “Duo”) involves a pair of performers acting out a short literary piece or program under certain restraints, such as not making eye contact or without props. This event can either be dramatic or humorous.
  • Humorous Interpretation (“Humorous Interp”, “HI”, “Humor”) consists of a piece from any published work, edited to fit within a 10-minute span with a 30-second grace period (it does not have a minimum and cannot be above 10:30). It is judged based upon how the person portrays his or her characters and whether the piece is humorous.
  • International Extemporaneous Speaking/Foreign International Extemporaneous Speaking (“International Extemp”, “Foreign Extemp”, “FX”, “FEX”, or “IX”) involves speaking about world affairs.
  • Original Oratory (“OO“) is where competitors deliver an original speech on a subject of their choosing, though the speech must be factual.
  • Extemporaneous Speaking (“Extemp”), is where speakers are offered three questions to answer based on current affairs. Topic areas generally include international and domestic policy, economic policy, and social or scientific issues.

Fantasy Geopolitics Classes Available to NLA

Fantasy Geopolitics has reached success founder and teacher Eric Nelson had never expected. Through his perspective on life and work ethics, this “Top 20” teacher has taken a simple idea and expanded on it creating success. Fantasy Geopolitics is getting more popular by the day, and constantly students are becoming intrigued with the idea of the game. Now to take this product to a whole new level, Nelson is teaching it as a second semester class to students at NLA.

This is the first time North Lakes Academy has used this Fantasy Geopolitics idea and based it around an entire class. Fantasy Geopolitics has been used briefly in Civics and some History courses, but this upcoming semester it will be based around a class. Fantasy Geopolitics will be up for grabs as an elective, and it’s already taking priority as an elective choice for a lot of students.

“It’ll be like a learn about the world, learn about business, and help me help you class. We’re going to try to do all those things and have some fun,” Nelson said regarding the class.

The purpose of this class, and Fantasy Geopolitics as a whole, is to get students interested in the world they live in. Nelson believes Fantasy Geopolitics is not just successful at teaching students about the world, but it makes them interested in learning.

“It’s a time where we can use, about getting curious about the world we live in, and once you get curious it usually takes a little more time to learn, and I think Fantasy Geopolitics does this in a more efficient way.” Fantasy Geopolitics gets students interested in the world they live in according to Nelson. “They’ll [students] will be learning because they want to, not because I’m teaching them in a Fantasy Geopolitics class.”

Because of this class’s effectiveness in reaching out to students and creating this curiosity in them, Mrs. Saunders has allowed this class to become a semester class. Fantasy Geopolitics will be used throughout time, here at NLA,  to help students become more successful. The  more successful Fantasy Geopolitics for students, the more accessible and easier it will be available to the students.

Make sure to submit for Fantasy Geopolitics as a class for next semester if you are interested. If you’re not sure about the class, get information and check out the FaceBook page.