Category Archives: Features

American or Import? Explaining the Debate.

Ever since the 60s there has been competition between all car owners. The competition is there a replacement for displacement? Basically, what matters more, a big engine or a suped-up engine?

Back in the 60s and 70s muscle cars were the fad. With a large V-8 engine they were the fastest cars of their time. They had more than enough power and a body heavy enough to support it. Their transmissions were geared extremely low which allowed the cars to be quick of the line. Because of this feature, it left the car with a low top speed that was around 90mph. Although they were quick, they were not fast enough for the kids of the 90s who were craving a car with more speed.

During the start of the 90s more and more cars were imported and made by foreign countries. These cars were made cheap. With small engines and light bodies, they were not known for speed. It didn’t take long for people to demand more speed in their cars. Aftermarket companies were quick to help out. Selling a wide range of parts, these companies allowed these light weight, small engine cars to become lightweight, suped-up cars. With parts like turbos cars still didn’t have the power to leave the line like a V-8 but rather go up to speeds around 160mph.

This is were the argument starts, what matters more. The quick-to-get-going of the V-8s or the high top speed of foreign cars. In the end its all personal opinion, but the argument still stands between many. While many middleagers enjoy the powerful cars they grew up with, modern generations are quickly leaning towards the high speeds and design of imports.

New Teacher Profile: Meet Ms. Luchsinger

Why did you pick NLA?

I taught in public schooling for eight years and I was attracted to the charter division.

What college did you attend?

I went to the University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of Wisconsin Superior.

 Do you have any hobbies or interests?

I like photography, playing with my dogs (Henry and Elsa), cooking, and being outdoors in the summer (not the winter!)

Why did you choose art?

I was going to be an English teacher but my English teacher said that I was not a good enough reader to be one, so I cried to my art teacher and she said that you do not have to be the best, but you do have to love art to teach it.

Anything else you might want your students and fellow faculty members to know?

I love Rainbows, Glitter, Unicorns, and Cheese!

What are other staff members’ first impressions of Ms. Luchsinger?

Nelson: “She seems to be cool, creative, and innovative!”

Thielen: “I haven’t had time to properly meet her but she seems nice and she has a cool tattoo on her shoulder.”

Good: “Although I have not met her I think that anyone at North Lakes Academy is an awesome person!”

New Teacher Profile: Meet Ms. Thies

Where did you go to college?

I went to Bemidji State University.

What were your previous jobs?

I used to work at a preschool, I was a care attendant and I teach private piano and voice lessons. I also worked at a nursing home.

What’s your favorite color?

I hate this question. Green, I guess.

Do you have any pets?

No, but I would have a cat.

What’s your favorite food?

Anything Indian.

Do you have a nick-name?


What days will you be at the school?

“A days only.”

Italian Dinner spooning up entertainment

North Lakes Academy’s annual Italian dinner is coming up on April 11th from 4:30-7:30. It is the school’s largest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds go toward the school’s general fund. There will be an Italian dinner prepared by Done Right Food that will be served buffet style by parent volunteers.

Dinner will be accompanied by live student performances, which often reveal previously unknown talents.

“I always look forward to discovering students’ hidden talents,” said Kenzie Hale (11).

In addition, there will also be a silent auction containing items donated by organizations all over the community.  Among the donations are a prom preparation basket from LaGrands and a bucket full of car washing supplies from O’Reilly. Families and students often donate more individual items such as movie baskets and art pieces.

The teachers also often participate in events that students are able to bid for. In previous years, for example, Twins and Timberwolves games, Valleyfair, canoeing trips, and golfing are some of the activities to which teachers have donated their time.

“One of m[y favorites] was video games with Mr.Mendenhall,” said NLA Athletics Director Mr. Beimert, referring to a time when Mendenhall played video games after school with winning bidders on his classroom projector. Mendenhall also provided lots of snacks.

One item offered this year by Upper School English teacher Mr. Lutes is a “Doctor Who”-themed basket, which includes a viewing party of some episodes, complete with fish fingers and custard, for the winning student Whovians.

An annual tradition is the “Teachers vs. Students” laser tag game at Brunswick Zone in Blaine.  Winning student bidders go up against NLA teachers in a few friendly rounds of laser tag. The last two years have ended in a tie.

“It’s a great time,” said Mrs. Thielen, who teaches English 10. “Although last year, a younger student cornered me and kept shooting me.” The laser tag event is advertised on Thielen’s classroom white board with the caption “Frustrated with my class? Bid on the chance to shoot me.”

For great food, entertainment, and the chance to win more fun experiences, come to the middle school tomorrow night for the annual Italian Dinner.

Teachers in High School, Part 3


Once again the hidden high school personalities of our beloved teachers are being exposed! After reading this article you will never be able to look at your teachers (or your children’s teachers) in the same way. Many have come leaps and bounds from where they were in high school; others have stayed completely the same. It is up to you to determine which ones are which.

Cheri (also known as Mrs. Cheri or Mrs. Jensen), while not actually a teacher here at NLA, has a huge influence on everyone here. Running the front desk and coaching cheerleading, Cheri has impacted everyone in a positive way. Currently Cheri attends church every Sunday and is a strong believer in God. Now one would guess that Cheri grew up as a model student, straight A’s and all that jazz. But that is where you are wrong my friend. Contrary to popular belief Cheri wasn’t the best kid ever, in her own words she was, “A horrible child, I made my mom earn every single grey hair she has.” Cheri admits that she was suspended from school more than she was actually in it and when she was there she was the smartest alic you ever did know.  She was great at spots and loved them too, only trying out for the boy’s teams, and often making it too, only to quit or be kicked off later on. It is inevitable for someone so “horrible” (Cheri’s words) to have some great stories! So next time you pass by the front desk be sure to ask her to tell you some! And lastly, when asked to compare herself to a current student at NLA Cheri claims that, “No one here compares, I was waaaay worse than them all!”

On the other end of the spectrum we have Mrs. Thielen, who admits she was very much a “wallflower.” Mrs. Thielen described herself as being very quiet and very much an introvert. She loved to read and could often be found in the back of the classroom reading the day away. She also had a love of conspiracy theories; if you have a conspiracy she is the one to go to! Mrs. Thielen didn’t describe herself as athletic and she didn’t play very many sports during her high school career. As many of us now know Mrs. Thielen is a successful teacher at North Lakes Academy high school, who went from introvert to extrovert in 10 years or less! When asked to compare her high school self to a current student at North Lakes Academy Mrs. Thielen said she was very much like the quiet introverted side of Breanna Knutson. She also said she had a bit of Cody Miller in her, but only because they share a common love of conspiracy theories.

Mrs. Jenson had a social life much lake that of Mr. Beimert or Mr. Stottler, both of which she went to high school with; they were covered in previous articles. She was not “cliquey” and didn’t have a designated group that she “belonged” to. Mrs. Jenson says she was “pretty outgoing and I would say I was the kind of person who was friends with everybody.” Being a part of the National Honors Society, Mrs. Jenson received great grades and was very studious. Aside from being a smart social butterfly, Mrs. Jenson was also athletic, playing soccer all year round because she was crazy about it! Although her team was not very good and winning was a rarity, Mrs. Jenson made some great friends through her love of the sport.  During her senior year Mrs. Jenson was voted class clown so if you need some cheering up she is the place to go! When asked to compare herself to a current student at NLA Mrs. Jenson said she was a goofball much like Nick Carey and she had the athletic, studious side of Abbey Millerbernd.

Mrs. O’Keefe is the NLA upper-school art teacher who has carried her love of art with her all the way from high school. In high school Mrs. O’Keefe was a part of many clubs, sports, and groups, some of her favorites were theater,  basketball, track, and cross-country. Mrs. O’Keefe was also very extroverted, like Mrs. Jenson, and was friends with a lot of people. Although she loved sports and other activities, Mrs. O’Keefe didn’t care much about her grades and as a result had mostly B’s and C’s. Since high school Mrs. O’Keefe has had a drastic change in style, the only way to describe her high school attire is with one word: punk.  That’s right, the seemingly sweet, innocent Mrs. O’Keefe that we know now used to be punk. When asked to compare herself to a current student at NLA Mrs. O’Keefe said she had the wackiness and the non-caring attitude of Kaylee Krogstad and the wit and humor of Allan Whitney, with a little bit of Hailey Mason mixed in there.

There you have it, the high school versions of our very own teachers. Of course that wasn’t all of them, check out my other articles for more of the inside scoop on our teachers’ pasts.

NLA teachers as high school students: part 2

Teachers are odd beings, even here at NLA where students and teachers are so close us students still don’t know much about them. Of course we gather bits and pieces here and there, but the general personality of the teacher remains hidden. To gather insight on a person it is always wise to look at their past, and that is exactly what we have done. Here is a full article on, and only on, what the teachers of North Lakes Academy were like in high school.

In high school, Mr. Stottler (Math) wasn’t part of a single clique – he was a part of them all. Every day he “roamed” around the halls of his high school talking to anyone and everyone. This isn’t to say he didn’t have close friends, he did, but he still socialized with all his classmates. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Stottler was popular. Despite being popular Mr. Stottler did not describe himself the same way popular TV shows portray the popular kids. He did play sports, but beyond that the resemblance is unseen. School was easy, he was drama free, and he was a HUGE prankster. (Next time you see him ask him to tell you some stories – they are hilarious!) Compared to students at NLA, Mr. Stottler said that he had the, “academic success of Noah Branum, the social aspect of John Bauer, the wit of Tim Skalsky, and the fashion of Mike Sletten.”

Mrs. Duncan (Math) was much like Mr. Stottler in the sense that she too was a social butterfly talking to anyone and everyone. She also was very academically successful and described herself as “a good kid”. Mrs. Duncan was part of almost every group, club, or sport there was including band, softball, and planning her senior prom, to name a few. Although on the outside she may have seemed sweet, Mrs. Duncan gave her teachers sass like no other. When comparing herself to current students at NLA, she claimed to have had the athletics and brains of Kirsten Thiele, and the sassiness of Ira.

Mr. Saunders (Science) was much more of an introvert than our math teachers had been. He described himself as “the quiet kid in the back of the room” who didn’t like a lot of public attention.  Mr. Saunders had a few friends whom he was close to and did not describe himself as a roamer or a floater. He loved sports and was good at them too. Mr. Saunders admits that although he got good grades he really only did what he had to do to get an A. When asked to compare himself to a current student at NLA he said he took on the brains and quietness of Ashley Loomis, and the intense sportiness of Miranda McGlade.

Mr. Good, the other mad scientist in the building, was much like Mr. Saunders. He was an introvert and kept to himself most of the time. He spent much more of his time doing things with his church than he did with his high school, so the sooner he could get out of there the better. Mr. Good was a fan of sports, playing hockey and participating in cross country. Being very academically successful Mr. Good did PSEO during his junior and senior years and actually spent little to no time at his high school his senior year. When asked to compare himself to a current student, or students, at NLA, he said he had the quietness of Evan Svenkenson (11), and the studiousness of Braden VanVleet (9).

More teachers will be featured next week, so keep your eyes peeled and minds on the ready!

NLA teachers as high school students: Part 1

A new frontier, a strange new land, one that is exciting and enticing to all, a mystery waiting to be solved. What is this surprising discovery, this new subject matter that all want to know which could single handedly be the strangest thing you will hear (well, read) in your whole life?! You will know, but before you do you must do one quick thing, brace yourself, cause this is about to rock your world, but not in a creepy way! This article will bring to you the one thing that none of us have ever known…. What the teachers of North Lakes Academy were like in high school!

If you were standing I am sincerely sorry if you bumped your head after you fainted, but after all you were told to brace yourself. Now sit down with an ice pack and read on!

Mr. Nelson (Social studies) just so happened to be a lot like he is now when he was in high school. Having been a straight A student while taking college classes in high school, it is no surprise that Mr. Nelson became a history teacher. He wasn’t necessarily a jock, but he liked sports, and played them too. However, often when the team had cuts, he was one of the first to go. This minor setback didn’t hold him back from being voted Athlete of the Year in his school’s yearbook.  Mr. Nelson also described himself as a very social person who got along with everyone. Some of his best friends were the craziest people and they often made Jack$&% videos of themselves. (If you get lucky, and I mean very, very lucky, he might share a few with you! If he still has them that is…) Besides making crazy videos with his friends Mr. Nelson was also Prom King his senior year and also won the Principal’s Leadership Award. He was actually a bit of an award hog, as he was also voted Teachers Pet AND Best Dressed. When asked to compare himself to a current student at NLA he choose a few, saying he had the athletics of Shylo Stevens, the wacky side of Cody Miller, and the studious side of both Kenzie Hale and Laura Stolz.

Mr. Stewart (Social Studies) hasn’t lost a bit of his high school sociability. He was often referred to as the class clown and was much like Mr. Nelson springing from group to group talking to just about everybody! Mr. Stewart had a competitive part of him that came out when he played football and golf, both of which he was the captain of. He also showed off his skills by participating in competitive drumming! (Ask him to show his sweet skills sometime!) Mr. Stewart wasn’t only into sports and drumming though, says he was a huge Lord of The Rings and Star Wars fan also! According to him he “wore his nerd badge proudly, very proudly!” Mr. Stewart was a pastor’s kid and he felt the pressure of everyone’s expectations all the time. Whether he was trying to or not, he lived up to these with his good grades and great athletic abilities.  When asked to compare himself to a current student at NLA Mr. Stewart said he was a mix of the studious, smart side of Erin Daly with a little bit of her love for “nerdy” things, and the athletic and outgoing side of Shylo Stevens.

Mr. Beimert (Athletics) was athletic in the same way that Mr. Nelson was athletic: he loved sports and was good at them, but he wasn’t the classic jock.  He had plenty of friends to suit his needs, but he was by no means clique-y. Like many of the beloved teachers here at NLA got along with just about everyone while still having a great, close group of friends. Mr. Beimert has kept his social, outgoing self into the present and has brought his bubbly personality with him everywhere he goes. As a teacher he gets along great with his students and he is close friends with many of his coworkers. When asked to compare himself to a current student at North Lakes Academy, Mr. Beimert said he had the smarts of both Noah Branum and Ty Nosser along with Noah’s love for sports, and the sociability of Ty Nosser and Noah Branum.

As this article comes to a close the hope is that all who have read it discovered something new about a dear teacher of theirs. No, not every teacher was covered, however that doesn’t mean they won’t be. Feel free to check out next week’s article on Mr. Saunders, Mrs. Duncan, Mr. Good, and Mr. Stottler. Also, look out for next week’s article which will feature several more of the fabulous teachers of NLA!

Where are they now? The Alumni of NLA – Courtney Finch

Tried and true, all the way through! North Lakes Academy Husky Press is bringing to you an article about another one of our alumni Courtney Finch. Having graduated only last year, Courtney Finch is the freshest alumni of NLA yet!

After Courtney graduated from high school, she decided to take a much deserved get-away before divulging straight into college, so she spent this summer traveling around the U.S. with her family. They started their daring adventure right here in Minnesota and continued on to North Carolina, and then back again. After that, Courtney still hadn’t filled her vacation-sweet- tooth and decided to embark on another journey with her boyfriend and his dad to Montana. All-in-all Courtney spent over a month traveling around the country this summer and she refers to this time as, “the best memories of my life so far.”

After traveling, Courtney buckled down on her school work and joined Century College in hopes of obtaining her Associate of Arts degree. From there she plans on moving onto another college to earn her 4-year degree.  “After Mr. Saunders’ psychology class, I was really inspired to pursue that as a career, so in the future, that is what I see myself doing.” Currently Courtney is working as a Mad Scientist. Yes, you read that right, she is a Mad Scientist! She is not as crazy as some of her successors were, such as Albert Einstein, however, her job is brilliant. Courtney describes her job like this: “In a nutshell, I go out to elementary schools around the metro area and teach kids K-6 about science and why it’s fun and I just generally get them excited about it. I couldn’t imagine a better job for myself, and not only that, but my job lets me have crazy hair. Right now, my hair is bright pink.”

Courtney says working and college are different from NLA because she feels more self-sufficient in her current position. “I feel like NLA was a good stepping stone in my life, but now is the time to make my own path in the world.”

In preparing Courtney for her new path she says that NLA helped her realize what type of person she is and what her life goals should be. North Lakes also did an excellent job in helping Courtney overcome many obstacles and has helped greatly in preparing her for the “real world”. “I would like to thank many of the staff at North Lakes because they have been so helpful in teaching me everything I needed to know, and not only that, but they cared about what they were teaching me, and that really meant the world.”

North Lakes was no cup of tea though, once Courtney entered the “real world” she felt as if she had stumbled upon it and had a hard time adjusting, almost like when Alice stumbled upon Wonderland. Things that are “no-brainers” to the adults around us were hopelessly confusing to Courtney. Applying for jobs, colleges, and financial aid all threw her though a loop. Courtney was able to find her way through the whole mess just fine, however she wishes NLA would have done more in preparing her for these things so that the jump after high school wasn’t so great. “I think NLA should just have a class that teaches you all about practical things like that, where you learn what you need to do to apply for different colleges and things like that.”

Courtney is currently loving-up-life and describes the way she lives as, “My life is really fun. Every day is a new adventure and I never ever know what’s going to happen, so I live my life day to day, excited to see what’s going to happen next!”

Courtney is no longer our equal. She is something more; therefore, we should deeply digest her advice. She offers this food for thought: “Don’t spend the money you get from graduation all in one place. Save it for college books and stuff. Prepare yourself now for college because it’s gonna be a long haul. Pick a career that you’ll love and not a job that you only do for the money. Life is always better when you’ve got a few good friends. And always be yourself.”

The Meaning of Christmas

Christmas is coming right up, just right around the corner. People are scrambling around gathering gifts and wrapping them for their loved ones, decorating the perfect Christmas tree, and hanging the mistletoe hoping for the moment to come when they can use it. People get crazy over Christmas, and the insane behaviors brought about by Black Friday exemplify this. The nation seems to have forgotten the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Christmas is not about who receives the best gift or whose house is decorated the best. Long gone is the day when nativity scenes where put up in every yard and attending Church on Christmas was the main event of the day. Instead, Americans now purchase Santa and his elves to place throughout their yard and some churches don’t even hold service on Christmas because they have such a low turnout.

Christmas is a Christian holiday, just as Hanukkah is Jewish. Generally only Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, so why do so many people who are not Christian celebrate Christmas? Somewhere along the line, it seems that Christmas became a commercial holiday that most people celebrate just for the heck of it. Christmas is so much more than that, Christmas is meant to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the savior of all of mankind. The birth and death of Christ ensures that everyone has the opportunity to spend their eternity in Heaven. Americans have gotten too caught up in commercialism to realize this, and Christmas seems to have become an excuse to blow money, and an unfortunate reason to get together with family.

Several NLA students were asked if they celebrate Christmas, all of them said yes. They were then further asked why; most students responded that it was just a family tradition and nothing more than that. Others said it was something their grandparents celebrate, and they just join in the fun. One student seemed to have the right idea, when asked why they celebrate Christmas they responded, “Because of church…” Wanting more I prompted her further, “What do you mean by Church?” “Well you know, like religion.” Again, I wanted more, “What about your religion?” She responded a bit uncertainly, “Well you know… the birth… of… ummmm… you know…  Dang! What’s his name….JESUS!”  Certainly someone celebrating Christmas should at least know the name the man who brought about this holiday!

Society has been drifting further and further from knowing the reason for celebrating Christmas. Rather than celebrating the birth of the one who has saved us all from eternal damnation, Americans instead are turning this sacred holiday into a meaningless gathering. So this Christmas season as you are scrambling to buy gifts for you family, and frantically making plans to visit every relative you have, stop and think of the one who brought about this holiday. Are you honoring him in your celebrations? Or are you simply buying into consumerism?

Where Are They Now? The Alumni of NLA- Peter Shumacher

The Husky Press continues on our journey to bring you the stories of the Alumni of North Lakes Academy. Where have our brilliant graduates gone? Who still lives at home? Who is the next Steve Jobs? Together we will figure these things out one week at a time during our tenacious task to track down our alumni and figure them out. This week we are honored to have Peter Schumacher as our next featured Alumni.

Peter Schumacher graduated from North Lakes Academy in the spring of 2011, part of the first Graduating class of NLA! From North Lakes, Peter went on to the University of Iowa in Iowa. Peter decided to give college a try so that he could experience being totally independent from his parents and other guiding figures in his life. Peter also hopes to receive his degree in English with a high emphasis on creative writing.

Peter enjoys being in college because there is “[A] Lot of freedom and chances for exploration.” However, this freedom comes with a price, Peter also feels that it can be difficult to juggle everything in college, “There’s a funny diagram that sums it up pretty well: It shows a triangle. At one point it says “Good Grades,” another says “Enough Sleep,” and the third says “Social Life.” In the center it says “Choose two.” That’s probably the best way to describe it.” Peter comments on how hard it can be staying on top of things and figuring it all out, “There are so many events and gatherings and presentations happening every day that it can get a little overwhelming. You want to try out all sorts of things but don’t know where to start.”Although college may be tricky at times, Peter still finds time to be in several event-planning groups, and is doing well in handling the stress of it all.

North Lakes prides themselves in being a college preparatory charter school. Peter believes they did a lot to help prepare him for college however that doesn’t mean they couldn’t improve in some areas. “NLA’s atmosphere of a close-knit family helped to make me feel more open and comfortable with myself, which is honestly really valuable in college. Especially in a big place like the U of Iowa, people don’t really care where you came from–it’s all about who you are, and how comfortable you are with yourself. I think NLA could have pushed the idea of going to college a little more. College has been an incredible experience for me, but I owe the fact that I came here more to my parents than to NLA. I think if NLA tried to encourage it more, maybe even have a program or two dedicated toward helping people get into college; that would definitely be helpful to future students.”

                How does a tiny high school like NLA compare to a huge university such as the one Peter is attending? “Well, for starters [The U of Iowa] is exponentially larger. I‘ve had classes that have more people in them than NLA’s entire student body. THAT took some getting used to. Aside from that, they’re kind of hard to compare. College and high school are such different things, that trying to narrow down just HOW different they are would take quite a bit of time.”

Today Peter is still attending the University of Iowa. He admits, just as our past alumni had, that he is in debt and hopes to pay it off a quickly as possible. Peter wants all high school students to know this- “I highly recommend going to college, but also make sure you go to the one that is right for you. Don’t be afraid to follow your gut–sometimes it knows what’s best for you. Aside from that, be sure to explore as much as possible. The best time of your life is coming up, and you don’t want to miss out!”