School board hears chance to host student conventions

Dave DeMarsFeatured News, News, Sartell – St. Stephen0 Comments

by Dave DeMars

The highlight of the Feb. 26 school board meeting was the presentation of members of the Sartell High School Student Council requesting that the board permit them to host the 2020 Minnesota Association of Student Councils -Minnesota Association of Honor Societies (MASC-MAHS) State Convention.

The convention would be sometime in April and the Sartell chapter of the MASC-MAHS would play host for four days to 300 – 400 students from around the state in the new high school.

Gopi Ramanathan kicked off the presentation pointing out that the convention is focused on developing leadership capabilities and opportunities and exchanging ideas to work toward improving their individual schools. The event is capped off with an election for the state MASC-MAHS executive board.

Senior Colin Nord explained in a bit more detail how last year’s MASC-MAHS convention had benefited him.

“Last year I ran for secretary of the exec. board,” Nord said. “Don’t ask me how it turned out. I gave it my best shot, and even though I didn’t win, it was like honestly one of the best experiences I have ever had. It taught me so much about planning, responsibility, reaching out to people. It was an awesome experience.”

Several students who attended past conventions said it provided them with opportunities to network with students from Rochester, the Twin Cities and other areas that they would not have had the chance to meet.

Cost for hosting the convention would run about $15 – $20,000, but that cost would be borne by the MASC-MAHS statewide organization that sponsors the convention. Students attending the convention would be housed primarily with host families in the area or, in some cases, stay at local hotels.

Sartell has been chosen to host the convention, but what is needed is the permission of the board to use the facilities in order to make it a truly exciting experience. It was pointed out that this would be an excellent chance to showcase the new high school, the community and the area.

Other business

The board heard a short presentation on progress on building the new high school. Despite snow and inclement weather, the building is still on schedule Project Manager Lee Gruen said. Heat has been introduced into some areas of the building to facilitate internal work. The project is on budget.

The board also received a report on the MN Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS).

SLEDS is a statewide computer study that focuses on examining the most efficient ways to achieve successful outcomes in education and work. The chief idea is to follow the progress of students as they move out of the Sartell school system and onto further education or into the world of work. The study tries to answer the question of how well are students prepared to accept the challenges of higher education, or the world of work.

Sartell has been doing an excellent job of preparation in comparison to other communities involved in the study.

Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert reported on a meeting with the city of Sartell Economic Development Committee to discuss what is happening at school. It was a very positive meeting Schwiebert reported.

“The thing that I thought was really important was that they came right in and said, ‘you are what has built this city. Our growth right now is taking place because of the things that are happening at the school and what is going on with the school.’”

One of the items briefly discussed was how to attract people to come to the community , Schwiebert said. The fact that there is very little in the way of medium-level housing works against community growth.

“A lot of our people who work in custodial, clerical, and bus driving positions – they are not living in the community because they can’t find homes in the community,” Schwiebert said.

photo by Dave DeMars
Senior Colin Nord told of his experience in attending last year’s MASC-MAHS State convention. Nord ran for an office on the MASC-MAHS executive board but did not win. Despite that, he numbers the experience among the most rewarding of his time at school.

Author: Dave DeMars

Born and raised in Wisconsin – a “Happy Days” high school experience. Attended UW-River Falls and followed their motto – “Where the free spirit prevails.” Four years in the Army Security Agency (Spies), 31 years teaching English and directing plays. Other jobs – gandy dancer, counselor at mental institution, snowmaker, apple picker, concrete finishing, janitor, furniture mover, appliance sales, insurance sales, media sales, real estate, and writer. I am skeptical to a fault and like all human being I am more oxymoron than I am anything else. I blog at

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