Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

News from Como Park High School

Posted on 05 June 2017 by Calvin

Technovation Challenge winners, ceremonies and honors close out year

Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher

• A mobile app development team from Como Park was one of two high school teams to win the Minnesota Technovation Challenge at the Minneapolis Convention Center last month. Technovation annually invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology. The winning team of (photo right provided, shown l to r) Aye Win, Moo Christ Paw, Umu Farah, Leilo Jama, and Naw Sei created a literacy app for new immigrants and refugees that helps young children maintain a connection to their home language and culture while they are learning English. Como teacher Liz Riggs, who mentored the girls, said one of the app’s main features is a dictionary the students made with translations in six languages. “The girls drew from their experiences as new immigrants and refugees to make an app that will support the next generation of English language learners,” Riggs said.

The winning team, who anointed themselves the “Spice Angels” for the competition, advanced to the international finals, which includes just 100 teams from around the globe. In mid-June, a committee of judges will evaluate the finalists and select six teams to present their app later this summer in Silicon Valley, California.

Also representing Como at the Technovation Challenge were Nimo Mohamud and Kowsar Ahmed, who developed an app that provides wrap-around services for homeless people in their communities. Their app also received high scores and was favorably received by the judges. The girls practiced for the Technovation Challenge by presenting their apps to Kristin Meister’s Public Speaking class the week before the event, allowing them to get feedback on their delivery from other students, while developing confidence.

• The long awaited turf field for Como Park High School is now being installed directly west of the building inside the track. A groundbreaking ceremony (photo above provided) was held after school on Fri., May 17. School board members, government officials, community supporters, staff, and students gathered to celebrate, dig in, and officially kick off Como’s facilities improvement project.

Speakers shared remarks that revealed excitement and gratitude for the investment, and then shovels and hardhats were donned to break ground. The new turf field will serve physical education classes, soccer practices and games, football practices and games, and be able to host school and community events while withstanding the multi-purpose use.

Community partners such as St. Paul Parks and Rec, the St. Paul Blackhawks, and North Area Football were also present at the ceremony and contributed support to the project that includes an NFL Grant and cooperation from the Minnesota Vikings. The field is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 18. Building remodeling and construction are scheduled to occur in stages over the next two years.

• Honors Night was held on May 15 in the Como Auditorium. Students were recognized for outstanding academic performances, service awards, community, and athletic recognition. Hundreds of Como students crossed the stage after being introduced along with their accomplishments.

Additionally, college scholarships earned by members of the senior class were announced, and several scholarships that were unexpected by the recipients and their families were made public, totaling over ten thousand dollars. Those included the Wallin Scholarships, Kopp Family Foundation Scholarships, and Como Park Schultz Scholarship, among others.

• The Como Gala Instrumental Concert on May 23 featured the Jazz Band, Intermediate Band, Chamber Orchestra, and Concert Band under the direction of Dr. Philip Fried. A large crowd enjoyed the variety of selections, including Como choir singers performing in one of the pieces.

The Como Marching Band took their show on the road May 16 for the annual St. Paul School Patrol Parade. They proceeded along the parade route through downtown from Rice Park to CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints, and played in the stadium while the patrol units from all the schools entered. The Como Band then played the national anthem for the crowd to officially start the event honoring the service of the patrols.

• Como’s Young Authors Project celebrated the release of their book on May 22 in the Como Auditorium. The authors, mentors from the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute, Como staff, family, and friends gathered to hear a message from Kao Kalia Yang, the award-winning author of the “Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir” and the book, “The Song Poet.” She is a graduate of Carleton College and the Columbia University.

Yang met with the 9th-grade student authors in January at Como to inspire them, and she wrote the forward to the student collection of poems and essays that were written by Risa Cohen’s reading class. Professional artists designed the cover and illustrations that accompany each selection in consultation with the authors.

The highlight of the publication event was the impressive student performances. Reading from the book, the authors brought their stories to life and received enthusiastic applause. After the program, the authors signed copies of the book for the audience.

• The 2017 Como Prom, “A Night on the Town,” was held on May 20 at the U.S. Bank Stadium, on the suite level of the Vikings’ new stadium. The venue received rave reviews from the Como juniors, seniors, guests and staff as everyone enjoyed the dance and atmosphere.

The annual senior barbecue was held on June 2 at school, the last day of classes for the 2017 graduates. The barbecue is hosted by the Como staff and community, with assistance from local businesses and boosters. The Graduation ceremony was June 6 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium downtown in the RiverCentre. Student speakers included Eli Freberg, Divine Uchegbu and Angela Aryiku.

Graduation concluded with the 35th annual all-night party at school, which was transformed by the volunteers of the Como Booster Club. Activities included arcade games, dancing, basketball, swimming, catered food from local restaurants, caricaturists, air brush tattoo artists, henna artists, and more all in a safe, fun environment to celebrate with friends and make a final Como Park High School memory.