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For most of last Wednesday, the two Hastings High School economics rooms of Bryan Schmitz and Mary Jo Myers were contest sites. The event was the annual Titan competition of Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest. The school winners will go to a state competition next spring. The students were having a great time as they ran their simulated businesses and scored points in different categories through seven to eight rounds. Hastings Junior Achievement coordinator Jim Minder was cheering them on. "What the students are doing is 'running' a business, successfully, we hope," said Minder.
They are different, innovative and creative. These are some of the words to describe the work of the Hastings Public Schools Foundation, founded by the community to provide funds for new, unique learning opportunities not available through current public funding. It is operated independently of the school district. Applications for the next round of "What If' grants are being submitted through the month of November.
The Hastings community's support for its schools continues. Several days after last week's overwhelming voter approval of renewing the Hastings School District operating levy, Superintendent Tim Collins expressed his appreciation to the voters of the district. "I am relieved and thrilled about the renewal of the operating levy of 2003," he said.
Photographs of every member of the United Way of Hastings Board of Directors is featured on this year's "Give to the Max" website. The multi-colored pages ask for donations to support the programs and services of the United Way of Hastings. The United Way of Hastings is one of the featured nonprofit organizations for the third annual "Give to the Max" day Wednesday, Nov. 16. The United Way of Hastings works with area dental offices every February during Give Kids a Smile Day to provide free dental care for children.
Stories from and about Hastings residents will be shared with others when Black Dirt Theater presents "Tis a Gift: Stories of Gratitude from Hastings," an original 90-minute play filled with music, art and theatrical vignettes. The play will be presented four times Nov. 18 to Nov. 20, in the Hastings Middle School auditorium. Black Dirt Theater has spent the past few months gathering stories from the people of Hastings based on the theme of gratitude. Black Dirt Theater chose this project with the hope of inspiring creativity and encouraging reflection in our town.
The Hastings High School Alumni Association is about keeping alive the memories from the high school years for Hastings grads. One way to accomplish this has been to help preserve and restore some of the historical class photographs. Cindy Thury Smith, curator for the City of Hastings Pioneer Room, has become an integral part of that effort. As photographs have been donated to the Pioneer Room, Smith has been able to restore, reframe, and re-mat many of them. Most of the time, she does so with donated funds.
It's been ongoing for years - how can teens better communicate with their parents and, likewise, how can parents better communicate with their teens? Parents want peace of mind when interacting with their children. For the kids, it is about the need for freedom and space. Want to learn more about how to achieve both? The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School Parents Advisory Committee is hosting a parenting session, "Top 20 Training," from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the school, 600 Tyler St. The program is free and open to the community.
Halloween placemats and table decorations filled part of Jaci Cobian's third-grade classroom at Kennedy Elementary School last week. The wonderfully-creative artwork of the students was more than just a class assignment. The orange and black placemats and decorations, between 75 and 80 of them, and about 15 bags of packaged candy (brought from home by the students) were delivered to area nursing homes early this week. The activity was about reaching beyond the classroom to others in the community and the students were learning about the idea of community service.
Hastings High School students are making the mark. Recent scores from standardized tests show the high school student are doing better than the state average, according to recently released information. The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) tests have a Graduation-Requirement Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) part that students must pass in order to graduate. Hastings students score above the state average. For grade 9 GRAD writing, Hastings students scored 92.2 percent.
In the end, he was the hit of the day for the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School students: Rainbow, a cute little pig, was the special guest at the conclusion of Friday's marathon for the school. Many of the students pet Rainbow, but Principal Jill Moes had the "honor" of kissing him. She had agreed to do it in recognition of the students exceeding their goal of $43,000 for their annual marathon. She was reluctant - she brought out a stuffed pig and kissed it, then asked the students if that fulfilled the requirement.