Category Archives: Student Life

Remembering NLA 2013

2013 has been a fantastic year for North Lakes Academy. For students, teachers, and staff, it has been an incredibly enjoyable year.

The school has acquired permission to build an activity center, which will come in handy for the school in many ways. This decision has brought NLA a lot of attention, which has boosted the school’s popularity. NLA is finally beginning to become known throughout the city of Forest Lake, and beyond.

The Halloween dance was a huge hit this year with new art teacher Melissa Luchsinger in charge. Many people thought it was much better, and more enjoyable, than the previous year. It is still talked about and many students are looking forward to next year.

Everywhere you go, from hall to hall, classroom to classroom, students are happy. The year of 2013 was good for many students, and all only look brighter into the future in 2014!

The Debate Process.

The North Lakes Academy (NLA) debate team is off to a strong start.  It has gone to two tournaments so far in its inaugural season.

As of the November 16th meet at Robbinsdale, their speaker points are as follows: Logan Haller (10): 131 points; Adriana Perkins (11): 134 points; Braden Van Vleet (10): 132 points; Ashley Millerbernd (10): 131 points; Claire Radatz (9): 129 points; and Alex Wagner (10): 127 points.

The Debate Process goes like this:

  • First  you must research the Topic, for example this month’s topic was,  “Resolved: The benefits of domestic surveillance by the NSA outweigh the harms.” In layman’s terms, it means that we research both the benefits and harms of domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA).

  • Then you write two papers called the  “constructives”.  These are the Pro (arguing in the affirmative) and the Con (against) papers. And you use your research to back up your statements. A “constructive” usually has two to three “contentions”, which are the main points of your argument. Then there can be subpoints to refine a contestant’s contentions  there are three Sub points A, B, and C.

  • At NLA the Debaters all have a shared folder on  Google Drive®, Individually debaters research their “contentions” and they save it in the Google Drive® folder.

  • Next they get comments from their coach, Tom Lutes, on Google Drive® documents. After they change all the mistakes that their coach told them about they are ready for the tournament.

  • The week before the tournament the team has to make arrangements for car pools because we don’t have a bus. Lutes isn’t aloud to arrange them.

  • On the day of the tournament (which is saturdays) the team meets at a table in the cafeteria.
  • After a while the  ballots are posted. At that time you get told if your pro or con, who you’re against, and what room you’re in.
  • The next step is to find the room that the partners are in.
  • Pro’s first speaker goes first  and reads their constructive. Then it’s Con’s first speaker’s turn. After Con’s first speaker reads their constructive, there is the Cross Fire, where both first speakers ask questions about the other’s case to try and diminish it.
  • A tournament usually is five rounds, ending with awards.

After all the work that you do you get to go to practice and work for the next tournment.

First Friday Freshmen Forum

Over the last Friday and Tuesday the freshmen were invited to the Freshmen Forum with Mrs. Saunders. This event is where Mrs. Saunders picks out classical movies for the freshmen to watch and discuss over. Mrs. Saunders said

“I love it when students start to see all the layers in a classic film for themselves.”

Eddie and the Cruisers was the first movie on the list. During which there was also popcorn available for 75 cents, all thanks to the seniors who were in charge of the booth.

There has been one problem that has occurred throughout the past years, scheduling. Last year freshmen forum was on a Friday, in that case you would’ve taken two periods out of your day to watch the movie. This year is different, the staff have decided that they will be taking one hour on Fridays and one hour on Tuesdays to watch the movies. Hoping not to jeopardize important class hours.

Mrs. Saunders started this event because since the ninth graders were coming from the middle school, she felt that they needed to know who she was. Since Saunders was becoming to be someone very important in their high school experience, she wanted to get to know them more. Mrs. Saunders also heard about how kids were watching junk T.V. and there was research about “visual literacy”. These two ideals formed together created the freshmen forum, which Doc Ford loves to attend. The first forum this year has been a great success with responses like “It was great” and “really fun”.

Below is a list of movie the freshmen will be watching throughout the year:


On The Waterfront

Rebel Without a Cause

The Buddy Holly Story

In The Heat Of The Night

Eddie and The Cruisers

Scorpion King (clips)

Viva Las Vegas (clips)

The Graduate (probably clips)

To Sir With Love

Rocky (Rocky 1 and clips)

Miracle On Ice (clips)

A walk in someone else’s (high-heeled) shoes

Haller in heels

Logan Haller (10) spent a day walking in someone else’s (high-heeled) shoes.

“Oh my God,” said Joe Wright (12).

That was Wright’s  initial reaction to seeing Logan Haller (10) stroll by in high heeled shoes on November 19th. Haller had a very specific reason for walking in someone else’s shoes.

“I want to be well rounded,” he stated.

The definition of well-rounded that best fits this situation is someone who is very versatile or capable of many things or feats.

Haller ended up in heels because of a discussion at the debate tournament between Haller and Adriana Perkins (11) 3 days before.  Perkins loaned Haller the shoes under the condition that he would wear them to school.

Some students seemed to consider the stunt as less “well-rounded” and more, well, odd.

“What is wrong with him?” Skye Hampton (9) asked.

In true NLA fashion, most of the student body seemed to embrace the situation.

” You totally made my day,” said Julia Schmidt (10). “I can’t believe that you made him do that.”

Sammeh McNeely (11) only observed that he “walked like a woman.”

For the record, there was no bet.  There was no dare.  Haller just opened his mouth.

Movember: Beyond the Beard

November is known for many things. From the start of deer hunting season to the first snow falls of the year, November has become known as the time of the year when facial hair is at its most functional from a warmth standpoint. But many men are growing their facial hair out for another, newer November tradition: No Shave November (Movember). This is a tradition that’s been around for years and years, but recently it has gained a noble cause. is the site behind the madness. Here people can pledge and donate to help spread awareness of testicular and prostate cancers. Pink ribbons symbolize breast cancer awareness; a masculine beard is a perfect symbol for awareness about prostate cancer.

So has all this hair growing really made a difference? Not sure. Do you consider over $440 million a difference? That’s right. The sum of beards being grown for thirty consecutive days around the world equals a total of $446 million. That’s $446 millions reasons to grow a beard to stop prostate and testicular cancer. Will you contribute?

The Bucket List Club

A new student group, the Bucket List Club (BLC), was recently added at NLA. The group was named from the idea of a bucket list – a list of things one would like to do before “kicking the bucket”. The BLC is centered around planning unique experiences.

“We wanted a club that would have a lot of fun while experiencing new things,” said Hannah Quarnstrom (10), the club’s vice-president.

The BLC has many events planned. On its agenda: a melting crayon art project, zip lining, food tasting, and shopping – with a twist (last week the club went to Walmart on a scavenger hunt). More events will be happening as the club members think of new things they want to try.

Most of the events planned are free, but when there is money involved, it comes from donations and fundraisers. Most recently, the club held a bake sale on Halloween to cover the cost of zip lining.

The fearless leader of the club is NLA Upper School art teacher Melissa Luchsinger, who was very excited to try some of the events.

The BLC meets on Tuesday’s after school, in the art room until 3:30. Everyone is welcome to come and have a great time.

ChromeBooks at NLA: Upgrade or Unimpressed?

At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year the administration of North Lakes Academy decided to invest in new technology for student use. NLA purchased a classroom set of Samsung ChromeBooks. Would these new additions of technology live up to there high ratings and expectations or prove to just be another useless technology fad?

NLA previously used iMacs, iPads and Kindle Fires as student-accessible devices for classroom work. These devices allowed the school to install apps designated for classroom work. They also allowed students to roam the internet, read books, and access documents from their teachers. Knowing this and seeing how useful all the technology we already have is, what is the point in the purchase of these new ChromeBooks?

The answer is simple, there isn’t much difference compared to the previous technology purchases. The ChromeBook’s user interface is the Chrome Web Browser and thats about it. The ChromeBook’s “apps” are simply links to websites and do not offer any offline or internal apps. The Samsung ChromeBook only offers a few GBs of internal storage, which is a fraction of the iPad’s storage capacity. These “laptops” are no more than a portable internet browser. Many NLA student’s have this opinion regarding the ChromeBooks and belive that there are better devices the school could have invested in.

Stuffed Horse “Captain Montag” frequents toilet, English classes

Forest Lake, Minn –


Horse sits in on an American Literature class.

A large stuffed horse has been found unattended in different rooms around the Upper School over the past few weeks. The horse, which allegedly originated from Dance Tech, has been around since NLA came to the building.  It formerly occupied the space next to Mrs. Saunders’ old office.  Now, it is finally rising to fame.

The horse sightings started a week ago when someone opened the bathroom door to find the stuffed horse sitting on the toilet.

“That’s gross,” said Sophie Cloutier (11).  “So many people go to the bathroom in there.”

The horse was then hidden in the ceiling outside the bathroom with the assistance of English teacher Tom Lutes.

A horse cannot stay in the air forever, so it eventually made its way into the room of

English teacher Chelsie Thielen.

“I don’t know who put it there, but it was the most attentive student in the class,” Thielen said.  “Also, I’m deeply saddened that my request to have the horse’s photo taken on Picture Day was declined. Having a picture of a stuffed horse on the “Staff” page of the yearbook would be hilarious.”

These teachers have obviously both been active in the transportation of the horse and agree that it is humorous.

“I have been highly entertained by the pictures I have taken of the horse,” said Lutes, who has taken to referring to the stuffed animal as “Captain Montag” due to the Fahrenheit 451 helmet (an addition courtesy of Thielen’s American Literature students) which the horse was wearing when he found it in his room late last week.

Other teachers and students do not have the same opinion. To them, the horse is odd and unsanitary.

“It’s icky. I found it in the bathroom trying to drink out of the toilet,” said Mr. Sundeen.

The fact that it was in the bathroom has not grossed out only Sundeen, but most of the student body as well. Julia Schmidt, when asked about the horse, felt it was “creepy.”

Despite misgivings, Lutes would like to see more horse sightings.

“It would be pretty awesome if it became a trend to place the horse around the school and take pictures,” Lutes said.

Some students disagree.

“That’s a bad idea,” Kyle Spillman (10) said. ”It’s just a horse.”

Rayna Yaeger (10) has an idea that might make more sense, given our school mascot.

”We should get a big husky; the horse has nothing to do with our school,” she said.

Where’s the [new] beef?

NLA’s food provider, DoneRightFoods, offered a change in student lunches. Last spring, a select group of students were given some test foods to try.  They were told to rate the foods and tell whether they preferred the test foods over current lunches.

So where’s this new food? It’s a mystery. The first three weeks of school have displayed the same lunches students were given last year. DoneRightFoods claimed their new lunches will be a healthier option. No body knows when this new “healthier” food will arrive.

Rise and Shine Talent Show: NLA students definitely show some talent!

Last Monday the Student Council hosted the “NLA Rise and Shine Talent Show”, (A.K.A. the NLA Café) in the middle school gym at 7pm. Drinks and baked goods were served, and a few NLA students and their families came to watch.

There were a number of contenders who definitely showed some talent! There a quite a few musicians and even a few comedians.  It’s nice to know that NLA has both musical artists and class clowns! The performers were  Caitlyn LaScala, Mark Magnusen, Sydney Welsch and Maddi Flom, Sophie Crowell and Hannah Quarnstrom, Spencer Stanley, Ryan Gay, Logan Haller, Noah Branum, Tinica Gay, and Allan Whitney .

Sophie Crowell (9), who performed at Rise and Shine, said “It was kinda crazy at first, but it was a lot of fun!”

Student councilwoman Zoe Deal said that “the performances went very well, but not many people showed up.. .The performers still did great, though.”

It was a great performance by everyone; I know I had a great time and I’m sure everyone else did as well.