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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Plenty to celebrate at the closing of the Como High School year

Posted on 11 June 2018 by Calvin

By ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher

• Nearly 300 Advanced Placement (AP) students at Como Park High School completed their rigorous coursework by taking national AP Exams in May. In total, over 600 tests were taken in 20 different AP courses ranging from U.S. History to Calculus, English Literature to Biology and several other academic disciplines.

Student exams are a comprehensive assessment of college-level curriculum including multiple-choice and written formats, which are evaluated by college professors and highly-trained AP teachers from across the nation. Colleges and universities grant credit based on student scores that meet the school’s standards, which has meant hundreds of college credits for Como students on an annual basis. Como’s College Board certified AP teachers are confident this year will produce similar results and were impressed by the work ethic of their students.

Photo right: Academy of Finance (AOF) students who earned 16 credits each from St. Paul College through their advanced studies at Como are pictured with their certificates at a recognition ceremony in the auditorium. They are joined by Andrew Kubas, Dean of Liberal and Fine Arts at St. Paul College, Theresa Neal, Como Principal, and Dan Mesick from the College and Career Readiness Office. (Photo provided)

• 16 Academy of Finance (AOF) students at Como were participants in another college credit program in partnership with St. Paul College. By taking business courses within the AOF at a collegiate level, students can earn credits from St. Paul College that are transferable to any university or college they attend. The students in the cohort each earned 16 college credits and have been accepted into institutions of higher education for next fall.

• VocalEssence, a 50-year-old professional choral organization based in the Twin Cities, invited Como Park High School choirs to participate for the third time in ¡Cantare! program as part of their education service. Bernardo Feldman is a Mexican composer who directed the Como singers.

Feldman currently lives in Los Angeles but came to Como in September to get to know the Chamber Singers and Concert Choir. He returned home to write music specifically for those Como singers. In March, he flew back to St. Paul and started to help the musicians, including the Como Orchestra, learn the new piece.

Choir Director Carole Whitney and Orchestra Director Dr. Philip Fried continued to guide their musicians with the challenging material through April and May while continuing other pieces and concert events. The ¡Cantare! concert came together splendidly on the evening of May 22 after Feldman spent the prior week preparing the performers for the show at the Ordway Theater in downtown. Students, families, teachers and the honored guest were all pleased with the spectacular performance in St. Paul’s premier concert hall.

• Honors Night for Como students and families was held at the school on the evening of May 29. Students were recognized for outstanding academic performances, service awards, and athletic recognition.

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. Those included the Wallin Scholarships, Como Park Schultz Scholarships, the Hiway Federal Credit Union Scholarship, and the Fred Kaiser Awards for outstanding student athletes which included scholarships for the first time courtesy of the Rice St. Athletic Club.

• The creative literature and arts of Como students were published in the Cougar Journal. A variety of skilled and budding writers that are part of the Cougar Journal Club voluntarily contributed their stories, poems, artwork and creative expression in the journal that was released in May at an after-school event. The Journal allows students to have a place where they can be heard without judgment as well as an audience who will benefit from seeing their work.

• For the second consecutive season, the Como badminton team took third place (out of 25 teams) in the state tournament, which was held at Burnsville High School May 14-15. After finishing fourth in the St. Paul City Conference, the Cougars peaked and earned the third place team trophy at state with improved skills and gritty effort.

Photo right: The Como Cougars badminton team proudly displayed their third place medals from the 2018 Minnesota State Badminton Tournament. (Photo provided)

In the individual competition on May 16-17, Cougars’ senior captain Tu Lor Eh Paw earned third in the state. In doubles, two Como teams advanced through the brackets and ended up playing each other for third place in the state. In the end, sophomore Shar Too and senior Maria Aye Meh took third when they defeated senior teammates Yia Yang and Zoua Xiong who finished fourth. The experience of playing each other was nothing new since they play each other in practices throughout the season. But to meet deep in the state tournament was a special accomplishment for the players and the program.

• Como senior Florance Uwajeneza qualified for the state track and field meet by finishing 2nd in the 3200 meters in a section meet on June 1. In that meet at Stillwater, Uwajeneza ran a personal best of 11:35 and edged out her competition in a photo finish to earn the final qualifying position from Section 4AA. State was held at Hamline University on June 8 after the Monitor went to press.

• Ultimate Frisbee at Como was quite successful this spring at Como with both boys’ and girls’ teams making deep runs in their divisions at state on June 2 and 3. The Aurora Ultimate girls from Como played in the D2 tournament and advanced to the semi-finals (out of 16 teams) before falling in two extremely competitive one-point games to finish fourth.

The boys’ Como Area Ultimate team (CAU) had strong senior leadership and good depth which they rode to success in the state D2 tournament as well. (There are four divisions for boys with 16 teams in each one.) After advancing to the semi-finals and defeating Cretin, they took on Robbinsdale Cooper in the championship game. The boys of Como came out ahead, clinching an 8-7 victory to claim the D2 state championship trophy. The spirit of the team was outstanding and the accomplishment was appreciated and enjoyed by all the players, families and supporters.

• The 2018 Como Park High School Prom was held May 19 at the J.J. Hill Library in downtown St. Paul. The unique location provided a memorable setting for the Como juniors, seniors, guests and staff that enjoyed dressing up and celebrating with a festive dance.
The annual senior barbeque was held on June 1 at school, the last day of classes for the 2018 graduates. The barbeque is hosted by the Como

Booster Club and assisted by Como staff and community sponsors. The Graduation ceremony was on June 6 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium downtown in the RiverCentre.

Graduation concluded with the annual all-night party at school, which was transformed by the volunteers of the Como Booster Club. A wide range of activities and free food in a safe, fun environment with friends was a wonderful way to celebrate the end of a journey and make a final Como Park High School memory.

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