Category Archives: Student Life

The Christmas Spirits of NLA

At North Lakes Academy, we are made of many families and every family has it’s own holiday traditions.

Every year Madolyn Burgess (12) and her family go to her grandmothers for Christmas. They celebrate with a quality meal and good company. Like most families they pass around gifts, ripping through tissue paper and squealing with unexpected delight. But there is one quirk, every Christmas the cat gets pulled into the celebration. It is only fair that the cat gets to dress for the occasion as well.

Ever since Isabel Horn’s (12) little sister, Sadie, was born, the Horn Family started to travel to Oklahoma for the holidays. Horn loves staying home, but loves her grandparents just as much. The only problem is handling her overly excitable little sister. They open presents, enjoy eggnog, and try to find time away from family, out of love of course. Then the Horn Family returns home, welcomed by the frigid cold of Minnesota.

A nice stay at home Christmas can be found at the home of Ryan Teich (11) each and every year.  Teich’s family stays home with his older brothers, who come to visit them during that time. They play games, open presents, watch Charlie Brown, and rough house in the snow. Ryan plays 21 with his older brothers and of course snowball fights ensue during the occasions.

The family of Amanda White (11) enjoys a simple Christmas. It involves a day full of presents at home, then follows with a visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s to enjoy even more gifts. The TV is stuck on the fireplace channel. One Christmas stands out amongst the rest. “We took a family photo where it looked like I was floating and kicking my brother on the groin whilst he licked my ear and our cousins acted like they didn’t know who we were” White said. Of course every holiday is unique for students of NLA.

In the past, Adriana Perkins (12) has spent Christmas with her grandparents and her little sister. She enjoyed quiet mornings full of excitement and impatience. In the evening they enjoyed clam chowder together. Every Christmas had something special. One year, Perkins and her sister were going to give their grandmother a fragile glass snowflake, but when they set it down, it shattered. Horrified, they collected the pieces together and dashed downstairs to their grandfathers workshop, where they worked hard to put each piece back together. They glued it back to perfection and gave it to their grandmother. When Perkins was twelve, she opened her gift only to be filled with terror when her eyes landed upon a Cabbage Patch Kid. “Those things are creepy,” she said. The Perkins have a running gag in the family; their grandmothers hates skulls, so every year, they get her different kinds. For example, one year, they bought little glass skulls and decorated a little glass tree with them and gave that to her. Perkins remembers many other fun Christmases with her grandparents and little sister, treasuring those memories.

My family, the Leonards, has a lot of traditions that we hold dear. For example every year when I return home on Christmas Eve there are always a pair of new pajamas waiting for my brother and I. I am the last to leave the house and the first to come back, but there are always pajamas. We also always go to my aunt’s house, on my Papa’s side, and that’s where the official Leonard Christmas begins. Sometime in January the Hickman Family, my Mama’s side, celebrates. Every Christmas morning, my big brother, Calvin, and I run downstairs and get everything we need for breakfast, then we wait for our mother and father. Papa always comes down first and makes breakfast. Then, when Mama comes downstairs, finally, we eat. After breakfast we find out, one present at a time, whether our family actually remembered what we wanted. We then open our stockings and take out the fillers like chapstick, toothbrushes, chocolate and other various stocking stuffers. Every Christmas we watch Fred Clause and A Christmas Carol. We always have fun and enjoy each other’s company; we have a happy Christmas, and I hope you do too.


Written by Madelyn Leonard


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.

Why the Hoedown Didn’t Go Down

Every year at North Lakes Academy students gather to celebrate Halloween in costumes and dress ups for an annual Halloween dance. Although the dance has become a traditional event in NLA’s History, this year was different. The dance never happened.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in NLA’s history of school dances before, ” said Madelyn Lennard (12). “This year the Halloween Committee consisted of ten to twenty members ranging from freshmen to seniors. We only met twice as a whole group. But what was different this year was that we had a mixed dance where we had half harvest/Thanksgiving and half Halloween theme. We were planning on having a DJ and games but we needed to sell at least forty tickets to pay for the DJ alone and to sell at least twenty tickets to pay for decor. Personally I think the reason we only sold twelve tickets was due to the fact of a western sounding title and bad advertising.” Explained Madelyn Lennard (12) a Halloween Committee member.

Overall most students agreed with Lennard’s hypothesis for the lack of ticket sales. The dance wasn’t well advertised and students weren’t driven to buy tickets. In the end the dance had to be canceled due to the lack of income the party planning committee was making. NLA’s art teacher is also on a leave of absence due to recent newborn child. Typically these dance events are planned out by our administration and art teachers alongside students, but with her absence a sense of leadership and direction was gone. Although the dance never occurred, students took great leadership and initiative towards creating their own Halloween dance


by Angela Adams

Parking Clots at NLA

Will North Lakes Academy run out of parking spots this year? This is a very common question for students here at NLA. At the beginning of year, the parking lot was redone with added spots for more student parking. Although the new parking lot opened up more opportunity for student drivers there are some complications.

“There are fifty spots for students in the north wing; right now, fifty six students have a parking pass,” said Cheri Jensen, NLA’s office manager.

The question now is will future students be able to hold a spot, and will our current students begin to lose theirs? The number of permits given is greater than the number of spaces for a few reasons.  Not all students drive every day. Some students have PSEO; therefore, they only fill a parking spot for half the day and are allowed to park out front for easy accessibility

“I only drive fridays, It’s better than nothing!” said Naomi Scott (11).

There are only four spots left for students who want a full-time parking permit. For those students who would like to only drive occasionally, the issue then becomes debatable. However, if the parking lot fills, there’s always the local businesses. Some students are already doing this to save themselves ten dollars. While NLA won’t tow you, there’s still a risk of getting your vehicle impounded.

“If Walmart or Target found out you were parking over there you could get towed,” Jensen said.

So if you want a parking permit, buying one now could save you some pain. Considering that permits our low, and spots are beginning to fill quickly, this could soon be a massive school issue.


Written by Chelsie Rosa


Twitter Fights

At North Lakes Academy, Twitter is the most popular social network for students to use. Many use Twitter to  express their feelings, talk to their friends and post pictures. Sometimes fights are started over Twitter and many students find the drama annoying. But there are a select few that seem to find themselves right in the mix of many Twitter fights. When asked, some of the students that are involved in Twitter fights the most had a lot to say.

“I fight on Twitter because people offend me, my morals and values or because I’m sticking up for someone or something. Some Twitter fights are bogus and usually nothing gets resolved.” Ashley Millerbernd (10).

Another student that has a reputation for initiating the vast majority of Twitter battles is Travis Fish (10). Fish had very little to say on Twitter fights. When asked all he had to say was, “Twitter fights are amazing!”

These are just two of many students at North Lakes that like to get involved with Twitter fights. Without fights, Twitter would never be the same.


Spring Break (Gone Wrong)

 Spring Break has already come and gone at NLA,  and lasted only one short week due to Minnesota’s harsh cold winter this year. During this year’s spring break, many of North Lakes Academy students traveled on vacations, hung out with friends, or stayed home making up for lost time on their various game consoles.

Some students stayed in the state and hung out with friends, usually having parties, staying up to, as some say, “ungodly hours” playing entropic card games from three to five in the morning. Before more of this event is disclosed, some background information is in order.  On Saturday, March 16, Spencer Hammerstein (11) decided to host his 16th birthday party.  Every year he hosts this event at his house and invites most of his closest friends to his party. Here they either eat pizza, chips, or this years theme, chinese until they’re on the verge of raising the cholesterol levels to the point of cardiac arrest. They also fulfill the role of the consistently overlooked techno hermit by playing murderous, violent, first person shooter games,  which may have something to do with the problems in our society. Jacob Grinstead (10) admitted to being one of these techno hermits by announcing that he proudly played Modern Warfare 3 during break and didn’t leave his house accept to shop.

This year, however, Logan Haller (10) was invited to this year’s party and he decided to take the liberty of shaking a few things up. He and a few other people were introduced to a card game dubbed O’Joe ba No Joe by Andrew Warren (9) in Math class. Warren’s lead up to describing the game was this, “You will literally cry after playing this… it may from laughter, pain, or both.”

This game consists of reactions, cards, and chaos. The goal of the game is to obtain as many cards as possible laid out on a pile on the table. In order to win a card, one has to complete the correct action corresponding to the card. For example, at the start of every game, there is only one card with one rule. That card is the Ace. When that card comes up on the pile, one has to say O’Joe ba No Joe first, so they win the card and whatever is underneath it. At the end of each round, the person with the most cards wins. The winner then gets to make up a new rule on top of the old one until there are no more cards left to attach rules to. This is where the chaos aspect of it comes into play. Because the game moves very fast, people are having to react on impulse from what they remember about the rules. Because we are human, we all interpret things differently and therefore have varied reactions, usually resulting in hilarity.

At Hammerstein party, this game was introduced at the “ungodly hours” of 3 to 5 in the morning, when everyone was obviously at their peak in cognitive abilities.  At first everyone adapted quickly to the game, but then things became very interesting. The cards and rules were, Aces= O’Joe ba No Joe, 7= touch your nose,  Kings= roll over on your back and do three bicycle kicks, and finally the most complicated and dangerous of all Jack= stand up, rotate your shirt 180 degrees, and sit back down, crosslegged.

So after about an hour of playing this game, all of these rules were in play. There had already been ample time for the development of hilarity and intensity up until this point; therefore, at the start of the next round, as the cards were flipping, Hammerstein said, “I am literally ready to smack myself in the face.”

As soon as he said this, a seven displayed on the top of the deck and Hammerstein let out a very effeminate yelp as proceeded to smack his face and fall over in agony. This isn’t the only thing that happened, however. Evan Klein(11) rolled over to do bicycle kicks, Tyler Patten(10)  stood up to turn his shirt around, and Branden yelled “O’Joe ba No Joe,” and Patrick, Hammerstein’s cousin, quietly and slowly touched his nose, winning the card.

The game had everyone suffering from tears in hysteria at around five in the morning. However there was much chatter through the rest of the night, and persistent abuse of Branden Van Fleet’s (10) ego. Klein would say any name of an ancient empire and Van Fleet couldn’t help but go off on a 10 minute rant on the subject before realizing again how late it was.

For example, Klein would say, “Greeks,” and Van Fleet would sit up and go off on a rant about how they screwed up by overtaxing. Everyone around him would feed Van Fleet their own conflicting opinions, like Hammerstein, who said, “…but Braden, taxes are what we need to let the government control every aspect of our lives.”

After that night everyone decided it was a good idea to get up at eight to eat breakfast, pack up, and leave Hammerstein with his yearly mess to clean up after another chaotic, exhausting, and hilarious party.


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.

Flappy Bird Takes NLA by Storm


This week a new app has taken the world by storm. Flappy Bird. Flappy bird is a game in the app store with simple graphics. The objective of the game is very simple. All you have to do is keep your bird in the air by tapping the screen and navigate the bird in between tubes. This app is just a basic game with a very simple goal. Well at least it sounds simple.

Many students at NLA are obsessed with the addictive app and can’t stop playing it. Travis Fish (10) is one of these addicts, and when asked why he likes Flappy Bird so much, he said while playing the game, “I don’t know… After this game.”.  He seems to enjoy the game, but most students are just flat out frustrated with the game.

“I downloaded Flappy Bird on a snow day and it took a whole day to get past two. It makes me want to kill myself. I also get competitive with other students like Dylan Klein (11) and Evan Nei (9) and they’re good and they make me sad because I can’t get over 30 and they have like 50.” Kaylee Krogstad (12)

“Flappy Bird makes me want to shoot babies! I’m kidding! But it has taken over my life and I think I’m an addict.” Haley Hutchinson (11)

“I hate this game! Oh my God I get so frustrated.” Ashley Millerbernd (10)

As you can see, many students at NLA put all of their emotions into Flappy Bird. Whether it’s excitement because they broke their record, being focused on weaving through the tubes or frustration because of their low score, everyone at NLA has something to say about Flappy Bird.


Seniors Getting Accepted Left and Right!

After working hard, keeping up with homework, and enduring their ACTs and SATs, the hard work has paid off: NLA’s seniors are beginning to receive their college acceptance letters and are announcing the news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Two of the fortunate students that received acceptance letters are Abigale Millerbernd (12) and Kaylee Krogstad (12).

Millerbernd has been accepted to the College of Saint Scholastica and Saint Cloud State University; she applied at the University of Minnesota, but hasn’t heard anything. Millerbernd, who wants to study occupational therapy, chose Saint Scholastica over Saint Cloud.

“[It] gave me a $12,000 scholarship and it’s safer; plus its enrollment is smaller than most colleges,” Millerbernd said.

Krogstad has been accepted to University of Minnesota – Duluth, Hamline University, and St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s). She chose to go to UMD because she loves the campus and its location. Also it’s the best choice in terms of cost. Krogstad is unsure of what she plans for her future career, but knows exactly what direction she wants to take.

“My planned major is Biology, maybe with some Criminology & Anthropology minors. So something along those lines, like forensic anthropology,” Krogstad said.

Marshall Beyer (12) hasn’t been accepted to any colleges yet but mainly wants to go to Anoka Technical College for its highly rated machine program.

 “I want to be a machinist and eventually own my own engine building shop,” he said.

The seniors have a life changing decision to make. Some have chosen the college they dreamt of; some are still trying to pick. These students have a bright, challenging future ahead of them.

NLA Debate Team to Host Mock Debate

The North Lakes Academy Debate team is hosting a Mock Debate today, January 22nd, in the room of English teacher and debate coach Tom Lutes.  The topic will be technology and whether it is good for our school.

When people think of debate, they think of an argument. This is not exactly wrong; debate is an argument with rules. The process is as follows:

  • Research.  Debate teams across the state are given the same topic.  This month’s topic was “Resolved: The benefits of domestic surveillance by the NSA outweigh the harms.” Teams must research the topic, which changes every month.

  • Compose Constructives.  Constructives are papers that give a debater’s affirmative (“Pro”) and negative (“Con”) arguments.  A “constructive” usually has two to three “contentions”, which are the argument’s main points.  There are also sub points for each contention. Claims made in the constructives are supported by research. 

  • Share. Debaters at NLA share their constructives in a shared folder on Google Drive®.

  • Feedback and Revision. Next they get comments from Lutes through Google Drive® and make changes as instructed.

  • Compete. The team car pools to tournaments on the weekends. A typical debate has the following steps: teams hear the topic and take positions (pro and con); teams discuss topics and come up with statements; teams deliver the statements and give main points; competitors discuss the opposing argument and formulate rebuttals and deliver them; closing statements are made.  Each section of the debate is timed.

For a clearer picture of how it works, come to the Mock Debate today after school.