St. John’s Prep places third in state Envirothon
by Cori Hilsgen
The St. John’s Prep team placed third in the state Envirothon competition held this spring at St. John’s University.
The team included seniors Ashley Lench, daughter of David and Renata Lench of St. Cloud; Gwen Saliares, daughter of Randy and Jan Saliares of St. Cloud; and Stacey Spadafore, daughter of Joseph and Linda Spadafore of Melrose; sophomores Lily Liang, daughter of Yiwu Liang and Mingzhong He of China; and Xiao Tan, daughter of Zhenyu Tan and Ye Chen of China.
The team was coached by environmental science and biology instructor Mary Ellenbecker Johnson.
“We are very proud of our Envirothon team,” Ellenbecker Johnson said. “They put in lots of extra hours, demonstrated great team work and represented Prep admirably.”
The Envirothon is one of the state’s largest environmental education competitions for students in grades 9-12.
During the competition, teams of five visit six learning stations, which test their knowledge in areas of soil and land use, wildlife, forestry, aquatics and a current topic that changes each year. This year the topic was sustainable agriculture.
At each station, students take a 25-point exam related to that station’s topic. At a sixth station, students give an eight- to nine-minute oral presentation about the current year’s topic. Test questions for the stations are prepared by natural resource professionals from Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service and other organizations.
Twenty schools competed at the competition. Stillwater High School placed first; Hopkins High School placed second. As the first-place team, Stillwater will advance to competition Aug. 3-8, where 10 teams will compete at Loyola University Chicago in Woodstock, Ill.
The St. John’s Prep team coached by Mary Ellenbecker Johnson took third place in the state Envirothon competition recently held at St. John’s University. Team members (left to right) are Gwen Saliares, Ashley Lench, Xiao Tan, Lily Liang and Stacey Spadafore.
Two St. Joseph students recently graduated from Central Lakes College, Brainerd and Staples. They and their majors are as follows: Kelsey Bremer, associate’s degree in nursing, honors; and Melissa Koenig, diploma of occupational proficiency, practical nursing.
Thomas Lemke, son of Mary and Lyle Lemke of St. Joseph, recently earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Bethel University of St. Paul.
Alex Generous of St. Joseph recently earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts and Sciences from Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.
Anna Bernstetter, daughter of Chris and Joe Bernstetter of St. Joseph, was recently named to the spring dean’s list at Bethel University, St. Paul. She is a senior. Students must achieve a grade-point average of 3.6 or greater.