Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

News from Como Park High School

Posted on 10 July 2017 by Calvin

By ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher

• Four cadets from the Marine Corps JROTC at Como traveled to Washington D.C. with Senior Marine Instructor Major John Foley to compete in the National Level Junior Leadership Academic Bowl. Out of 240 other MCJROTC schools in the nation, the Como team qualified during the school year to be one of the eight finalists. At the nationals in late June, Como’s Joseph Newman, Jacob Kingson, William Farley and Anderson Xiong placed 2nd in the Marine Division.

Photo right: Como Marine Corps JROTC cadets Joseph Newman, Jacob Kingson, William Farley and Anderson Xiong (from L to R), earned 2nd place in the Marine Division of the National Academic Bowl in Washington D.C. in late June. (Photo provided)

The cadets produced a historic mission by being the first team in 22 years of existence at Como to qualify for the national finals. Their well-deserved trip included seven days in the capital. So beyond the competition, the cadets also saw monuments and memorials in D.C., visited and studied at Georgetown University, and had a midnight tour of the Pentagon with Defense Department officials.

Sergeant Major James Kirkland stressed that these academic team members are role models for the program in more ways than just their knowledge. “These four cadets have truly embodied what it means to develop leaders with integrity and courage to overcome adversity and transform their lives to serve their family, community, and nation,” Kirkland said.

• Como’s Academy of Finance (AOF) has established community partners and local businesses that consistently provide paid internships and opportunities for students. This summer, the BrandLab has awarded marketing internships to ten deserving Como students that have studied in the Academy of Finance: Robert Adams, Bee Lee, Tzong Lor, Tu Lor Eh Paw, Innocent Murwanshyaka, Leia Pullen, Daniel Vargas, Nujeng Xiong, Tou Meng Yang and Jason Jett.

The internships span eight weeks and allow students to work alongside marketing and advertising industry professionals. Participants will receive coaching, mentoring, advanced training and college preparation while getting paid! The Como students will be among 65 Rising Stars that BrandLab selected from 13 high schools in the Twin Cities area.

Como’s incoming senior class has 60 students that have completed three years of study in the Academy of Finance. Over 90% of those students are placed in jobs or internships this summer. Other business partners with internships include Travelers, Genesys Works, 3M, and even St. Paul Public Schools where three students will intern in the finance department.

The success of the program continues to gain attention, and funding for the AOF was the subject of a Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) interview with teacher Kris Somerville and student William Toney. The interview was played on the air June 9 and is linked on the MPR website.

• Although the school year for teachers officially ended on June 12, dozens of Como teachers were back in classrooms leading instruction at St. Paul summer school sites by June 19. Several teachers also completed professional development programs in June.

Jill Bachmann, a special education teacher, attended AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination) training at the annual AVID conference. She collaborated with other educators on High School Implementation Strategies to support students in challenging coursework across the curriculum. Roy Magnuson attended the AP (Advanced Placement) Summer Institute on the campus of Carleton College in Northfield, MN to prepare content for the AP Human Geography course at Como. Academy of Finance (AOF) teacher Steve Powers took the Economics course at Carleton to incorporate the material into AOF Social Studies classes.

Eric Erickson was granted a scholarship to study and present at the Foreign Policy Association Teaching Institute in New York City. 30 teachers from North America participated in policy discussions led by representatives from the United Nations, ambassadors, government officials and professors. Information, insight, and resources exchanged at the Institute will continue to supplement international relations and current events discussion while supporting Como’s participation in the Academic WorldQuest competition sponsored by Global Minnesota.

• Como Cougars’ soccer players have been busy training and developing their skills in June through voluntary workouts with their coaches. But the players and coaches are also donating their time and energy to the youngest players in the community in collaboration with St. Paul Parks and Recreation. “Soccer Stars” is a program for players ages 4-8 at the McMurray Fields on Tuesday nights for fun introductory soccer activities.

Photo right:Young “Soccer Stars” are having fun playing the game and connecting with Como Park High School soccer players on Tuesday nights at McMurray Fields this summer. (Photo provided)

Coordinated by Como boys’ coach Jonah Fields, and assisted by Como girls’ coach Kyle Johnson, the boys and girls from the school teams lead the sessions and pair up with the young participants, to provide a personal and positive experience for all. “Watching the high school players and the young kids connect through the game of soccer shows we’ve got something special in the Como Park community,” Fields said.

• The Gibson Foundation is directed by Como educator and junior varsity basketball coach Donnell Gibson. The foundation is leading two basketball camps in the community this summer. The Hope Heals Summer Basketball Camp is a co-ed program for 9-13-year-olds. There are 60 enthusiastic participants. Como players Trey Clark, Malique McCoy, and Jason Jett are coaching with Gibson at Hope Heals.

For high school players, Gibson is running the Summer Basketball Institute. The institute’s focus is to better prepare young men to play at the high school, college and potentially professional levels. Workshop sessions include strength, fitness and nutrition, the game on and off the court, character versus talent, and building your brand. Instructors include Minnesota High School Hall of Fame coach Larry McKenzie, Timberwolves player personnel manager Kaayla Chime, and trainers from the Mayo Clinic. The institute is intentionally small with a limit of 20 participants to maximize the classroom aspect of the program.

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