Category Archives: Local News

Old Man Winter

Old man winter has come rolling in with frigid temperatures along with the complaints of the cold from students here at North Lakes Academy. For many of the inexperienced drivers of North Lakes Academy, skeltering along the treacherous, poorly plowed roads of Forest Lake has been hell on Earth. That is if hell froze over, because it has been a cold winter for Minnesotans.

Although some people find it detestable, others find the weather delightful. Student Brandon Rowe (11) favors the snow over summer vacation.

“I am an avid snowmobiler; I don’t mind the weather as long as I can fire up the ol’ snowmobile,” said Brandon Rowe (11).  “Without snow, I wouldn’t be where I would be today!”

As students strive to survive the unbearably blistering weather, they brave it as best as they can.

The Taco Bell Diaries

Some of the daily food choices students make at Taco Bell

Some of the daily food choices students make at Taco Bell

Taco Bell has a gravitational pull on the students of North Lakes Academy. It could be the various taco treats that the menu provides, the unique flavor of beef and processed meats, or the atmosphere and familiarity of Taco Bell’s employees that grabs the attention of students. Regardless of these facts, Taco Bell has become a hotspot for students who need something to eat, or simply a place to stay.

The root of my taco addictions began with a group of Juniors in the year of 2012. I first came to NLA my freshman year of High School that same year, not knowing what to expect since I had previously been homeschooled my entire life. During my time at NLA I was introduced to a group of Juniors through a basketball program. These young men guided me through the majority of my lower classmen years, and were a continuous light of guidance during their time here. They shaped my character, as well as the emphatic addiction I developed for crunch wraps and gordita crunches. Before every basketball practice, every day, these Juniors would leave school to satisfy their taco fix at the Bell. Eventually, after a series of events, I and countless others were hooked on Taco Bell’s unique flavor. We visited Taco Bell every day before practice alongside our upperclassmen to indulge our taste buds in the heavenly, beefy goodness that only Taco Bell could provide. I credit the introduction of my Taco Bell addiction to alumni Cody Warren, who I know is proud that we continue to carry the torch in continuing his legacy.  Throughout High School many of my peers have joined our graduated upperclassmen in carrying this legacy. These are their stories, these are the Taco Bell Diaries.

Travis enjoying his Cinnabon's for the first time, enjoying the flavor and texure fo the creamy ball

Travis enjoying his Cinnabon’s for the first time, enjoying the flavor and texture of the creamy ball

Travis Fish is a Junior at NLA, and has been attending this school since his fifth grade year. Before coming to NLA’s upper campus his freshman year he had never developed a true appreciation for the wonders of Taco Bell. Once he became a part of the culture here at NLA he fell into the trap quickly. “Started going to Taco Bell every day before practice, kind of stuck.” Fish stated, explaining the beginning of his fixation for the Bell. Travis regularly goes to Taco Bell to settle his appetite after school. It’s become a common habit for students across the board at NLA. “When the new Cinnabon Delights came out for the first time… I was like, holy crap these things are amazing. I ended up getting like three orders of them.” Fish explained, emphasizing the taste of the white cream filling that every Cinnabon Delight posses. Travis has been attending Taco Bell regularly now and credits his dedication to the four alumnus Cody Warren, Dylan Beatty, Derek Beatty and Marshall Beyer, who created the legacy that now he has a part in carrying out.

Aaron Herr and Brandon Rowe are both Juniors at NLA who share the same love for Taco Bell. Both of these students developed their cravings around their freshman year, Aaron was influenced by the alumnus and Brandon by his friends. Aaron and Brandon have had countless adventures that always end with Taco Bell, just like the rest of us. “Noah broke this sauce packet once all over the window, and Sunitha (an employee at Taco Bell) made him clean it up… that was the first day after the new remodel” Aaron said with a slight smile on his face, “We’ve had a lot of good times”. Brandon and one of his close friends visit Taco Bell every morning on Fridays for the unique breakfast they provide, “It’s a fun tradition that makes me look forward to the end of the week”. These two have had their fair share of crunchwraps, breakfast burritos and quesadillas, but they still continue to devote their dollars to the Bell. Not only is the food affordably delicious, but the memories are priceless.

William Tiedeman is also a Junior at NLA who has been attending the school since his fifth grade year. He’s seen the school evolve in many ways, including the Taco Bell takeover which occurred over his freshman year. He visits the Bell regularly thanks to the influential power of his peers, “I never really liked it (Taco Bell)  when I was younger, but during high school I began to finally enjoy it as soon as my friends started going regularly”. Along with the famed food that Taco Bell prides themselves in, it has become a place of memories for William. “There was one time we were throwing snowballs in Brandon Flasch’s (an alumnus of NLA) car, it was really funny, he just got his BMW, it was like January, and he left his moon roof open or something. So we threw snowballs all over his leather seats.” Will claimed barely keeping himself together, holding in laughter as he spoke.

Although Taco Bell has been labeled an addiction throughout this article, it’s a lot more than that. It’s not just a physical or psychological habit. It’s a way of life for students at NLA. Students and graduates of all sorts have ventured the quarter mile walk, or driven daily, during their high school years to the Bell. Students go before practices, rehearsals or straight after school with nothing to do but enjoy the aroma and taste of Taco Bell. It’s become a place of safety for students at NLA.

We want to thank the staff of the Forest Lake Taco Bell of Minnesota. We thank you for the home you have provided for us, the five star beefy goodness, as well as the friendly service we’ve been offered over the years. It is because of these employees that our students remain devoted towards this restaurant. On behalf of NLA’s student body, this article is dedicated to their service, we thank you.


Editorial by Noah Nei


Life Can’t Possibly Top Prom

Nope. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

After attending this year’s senior prom, a local girl reported that it was in fact “the best night of [her] life.” Although she did have some doubts that a high school dance could be the highlight of her entire life, those doubts quickly faded.  From coordinating her dress with her date’s bow tie to riding down Highway 61 in that rented limo, prom proved to be “the most amazing and rewarding experience [she would] ever experience in [her] life.”

“We took pictures by that oversized chair at Big Apple Bagels, which was really meaningful for me, because I practically grew up on that chair,” she said, wistfully looking at the eight acrylic nails that remained of her prom manicure.

“The dancing was rad, and then we all sat around drinking that punch with those little berries in it, just soaking up each other’s awesomeness. It’s true what they say, high school really is the best years of your life!”

In short, it could be summed up in three capitalized words separated by periods: BEST. NIGHT. EVER.

Billboard Concerning Fate Stirs Response

A billboard was recently erected across from the North Lakes Academy high school. Normally, this isn’t news. But this particular billboard has raised many unanswered questions. It features, on the top, a question stating “If you die tonight:” and beneath it are two options. “Heaven,” shown in a beautiful blue light, or “Hell,” shown red with the flames of eternal damnation. This billboard refuses to mince words and has stirred many responses among the student body, who can indeed see it from inside the classroom. In classrooms on the other side, students may see another billboard concerning abortion which has been there for as long as most can remember. Due to its extended presence, many shrug it off in time. The same can be assumed if the religious billboard stays.
“That’s sort of weird placement, don’t you think? How to make kids sit and question their fate while they’re learning in class,” says Kari Achenbach, a mother.
Some students have attempted to call the phone number featured at the bottom and have discovered it is by a local religious group. One student retells her phone experience.
“I was automatically redirected to some sort of pastor. He asked what he could do for me today and I asked ‘How can I get into Heaven?’ so he’s like ‘Well, if you have been reborn and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior’ and he went on for like a minute and I could not keep up with what he was saying so I finally said ‘I’m a Leviathan Satanist,’ and hung up.”
While the response has ranged from outrage to friendly acceptance to mocking humor and everything in-between, the billboard looks to be here to stay through thick and thin as it has been up for around two-and-a-half weeks. Perhaps the students in high school currently will be able to graduate with the lovingly dubbed ‘Hell billboard’ still standing strong across from the public school. Many question its presence but as an individual, I hope it remains so I may look upon it and point it out to friends because did they not consider placement at all? 

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

teacher-appreciation-weekSince this week is Teacher Appreciation Week, I thought I’d find out just what NLA students appreciate about our teachers:

Kassie Helke (10) “A lot of them want you figure things out on your own. I appreciate that. So thank you for not force-feeding me!”

Cody Warren (11)  – “I like how the teachers (generally speaking) are very relaxed. They provide you with everything you need to be successful, but don’t force education down your throat. If you want to blow a class off they let you, it’s your choice and they don’t force you. Special shout out to Mr. Saunders, Mr. Nelson, and Mrs. Thielen, for giving education a genuine appeal.”

Sammie Ostlund (10) – “They’re really open to helping you. And they know everyone on a personal level.”

Branden Flasch (11) – “The teachers here teach you to set your standards high and not let yourself fall short, just by living by example.”

Miss Abigale Millerbernd (11) – “I really like how involved the teachers get with the students. It’s not even intentionally, the students just allow them into their lives.”

Science teacher orders dead stuff, students excited

A few days ago I was walking down to the science lab, pondering Mrs. Thielen’s  fervent desire for this article. (“Did you know you can get a giant squid for $50!?”) I found Mr. Saunders going over some psychology with a student, just one of the many science courses he teaches. When I told him why I was there he laughed maniacally, strode across the room, and opened the fridge.

Inside was a jar of Dijon horseradish mustard, an avocado turkey club, 1% milk, and right beside the Minute Maid juice, a dead pig. “I was kind of sick of people putting their lunches in my fridge, so I thought a dead pig might keep ’em out,” he said.

Mr. Saunders with his fetal pig, Bob.

Mr. Saunders with his fetal pig, Bob.

Yep, for Mr. Saunders, NLA zoology teacher, it’s that time of year again. Time to open the catalog of deceased animals and order a few dead pigs, some unplucked pigeons, and maybe a shark or two. “I consult the Carolina Biological Supply,  my catalog of dead animals.”

All-in-all he enjoys teaching zoology, although he does have to replace the tools sporadically. “Yeah I have to replace the scalpels every now and then. They tend to break when you’re trying to pry open shark cartilage or pig skulls.”

Abbey  Millerbernd (11) is one student who is excited for the class, which runs every other year. “When we dissected frogs and cow eyes in elementary school it was interesting and I’ve always wanted to do more with dissecting. I like looking at the insides of animals. Sorry to all the vegetarians out there!”

Mr. Saunders agreed. “When you get into it, and kind of get past the stigma of what you’re doing, it’s really interesting. Like when you get to see how the lungs expand and the tendons work, it’s cool.”

Editor’s note: You can totally get a squid for under $50. 

St. Paul Horse Expo – something for everyone

The Horse Expo is the largest equine trade show and breed exhibition in Minnesota. It was held April 26, 27, 28 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, Minnesota. The expo featured different presenters like Ken Mcnabb,a horse trainer, and Dale Myler, a bit expert. They have presenters who specialize in dressage training, roping, and equine message therapy. The event is very diverse within the equine field.

For those wanting a little more entertainment, the expo had several features.  Ma’ceo, a mix of trick riding and acrobatics, was brand new this year. It was held in a tent a little ways away from the Coliseum. Ma’ceo is made and owned by an Italian family. It has been passed down from generation to generation. They have taken many different cultural riding styles and then given them their own, unique twist. All of the performances are done with lively gypsy music. Also present was the Minnesota Mounted Shooter Association was there as well. Mounted shooting involves riding a horse and shooting at differently positioned targets.

The Parade of Breeds was held each day at noon in the Coliseum.  This display of different horse breeds showed Akhal-Teke, Buckskins, Fell ponys, Hungarians, Gypsys, Nokotas, and Norwegian Fjords, to name a few. Each horse was by an individual. Some brought in more then one breed for the parade.

Habemus Papem

Habemus Papem, (We have a Pope) was the announcement given in Latin on March 13th, at the election of Pope Francis, the first Latin American, Jesuit, and non-European pope in more than a millennium.

In these early weeks, Pope Francis has proven to be unique, shunning papal perks and embracing humility. Some of these actions include refusing to wear the luxurious papal garments or ride in the bulletproof Pope-mobile, preferring to make face-to-face public appearances.

The latest news story has been about the not-so-traditional traditional foot-washing. Every Easter the sitting pontiff washes the feet of 12 men, but this year, Pope Francis chose to go to the Casa del Marmo juvenile delinquent center, washing and kissing the fleet of twelve inmates, including Muslims and women.


Pope Francis washes the feet of juvenile delinquents.

While some disapproved of this deviance from tradition, most applauded the act of humility and kindness. According to a recent poll, 76% of Catholics say Pope Francis makes them feel more optimistic regarding the future of the Catholic Church.

History teacher Mr. Stewart offered a more historical perspective.

“I think the Church has made a selection reflective of Catholics across the world. Catholicism is growing in third world countries, so choosing a Pope from South America is a practical choice…I think the fact that he’s a Jesuit is cool, too.”

Jesuit (The Society of Jesus) theology focuses on outreach to the poor and the improvement of society through improvement of the individual. In the words of Ghandi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Only time will tell what changes will come from this unique pope at the head of an institution many believe is in need of leadership and reform.

Former British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher Passes Away

UnknownFormer Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died on Monday, at the age of 87 of a stroke. At the time of her death, she was staying at the Ritz Hotel in London.

Thatcher was the first and only woman to ever be elected Prime Minister. She was an incredibly influential woman, and was given the nickname “The Iron Lady” because she stood firmly in what she believed, and wasn’t shaken.

When students at North Lakes Academy were asked if they knew who Thatcher was, only 14% actually knew more than just her name. Several of the 50 students interviewed said that they thought she was an actress of some kind.

On the flip side of the survey, students were asked if they knew who Adolf Hitler was, and shockingly 100% of the 50 students asked knew much more than his name, but several of his life accomplishments. They knew him as the German leader during WWII, and that he was responsible for the Holocaust.

It is really sad that if you want to be remembered by the public in today’s society you have to do something terrible or gruesome. It seems less likely to be remembered if you are one of the good guys, no matter how much good you do.

Britain mourns the death of the Iron Lady, as does much of the world. Rest in peace, Margaret Thatcher.

Winter Break Part II?

It’s already April and there’s still snow on the ground! As everyone knows, the snow is getting a little old. On the bright side, the weather is finally starting to heat up.

What does this mean? For starters, the baseball and softball kids are becoming extremely anxious to get out of that tiny, smelly gym. On the downside, of all this snow melting so late in the season leads to messy fields and mud everywhere. Unfortunately, since the fields will be so messy, games may be postponed until later dates. The first game of the season is set for April 8th.

This time last year the average temperature was 68 degrees and we were all wearing shorts! This has by far been the toughest year for Minnesota, regarding the spring season.