- Member for
- 9 months 5 days
Taylor Wickberg always dreamed of teaching overseas. Now, as a member of the Peace Corps, the Hastings native is doing just that. Wickberg left for Gambia in early June to teach literacy and assist teachers in the African country. It's the third time she's done some form of work overseas, she said. "I'm just really excited to go over there and do my job," Wickberg said. "I'm only 23, I'm making a huge jump. I'm super ready."
In the 1980s, Zena Stefani started working as a clerk for Hastings Community Education at 17 years old. It ended up being the only place she would work — she never left. Stefani has worked for the district for 38 years and throughout that tenure she has seen the organization grow into its current building and update its class offerings to reflect the times. It's a career that let her indulge in learning and utilize one of her favorite skills — office work.
On Saturday, First District Judge Jerome Abrams sat in a Washington Technology Magnet School classroom in St. Paul. On his left and his right were typical courtroom employees, clerks and a courtroom reporter. For the day, Abrams split time with fellow judge Jamie Cork away from their typical Dakota County courtrooms. The two were spending their time at a warrant resolution event meant to help people with misdemeanors find a resolution — which could range from paying fines to rescheduling a court date or other ways to move forward.
Hastings High School senior Trevor Zeyen was in the midst of his graduation speech. "Thank you class of 2019 for being here, otherwise this speech would be quite strange in front of a crowd of empty chairs," he said and waved his hand in front of him. "Let's give it up for us."
As Dakota County's population increased at an estimated 7.5% from 2010-2018, Hastings grew just 4.35%, according to Metropolitan Council population data released earlier this month. Data from the regional planning organization shows most of the county's growth came from its western side. While eastern county communities like Hastings and Inver Grove Heights grew slower. "I think we'd like to see our growth a little bit higher here," said John Hinzman, Hastings community development director. "We've got the ability with adjacent land to the city for growth."
Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Tim Collins announced plans for early retirement, with hopes to continue in his current role, at the district's school board meeting on Wednesday. Collins said he planned to retire in June through the "rule of 90," a policy that allows a public education employee to retire when their years of experience plus their age reach 90. "I'm 56 years old, and the bottom line is that I believe that's too young to retire," Collins said. "I still enjoy what I do and I still want to be a superintendent and I'm hoping its at Hastings."
St. John the Baptist Catholic School's new Principal, Dawn Biren, said she is excited to step into the small school and help build its sense of community. Biren was announced as new principal last week and starts full time in June. The school had been searching for a full-time principal since February, with Rita Humbert working as the school's interim principal. "I knew I was ready to take the next step in Catholic education," Biren said. "I was looking to stay within a smaller Cathlic setting, that is something I feel comfortable in."
For Hastings High School senior Alexis Edmundson, every week is a balancing act between her high level classes, her rigorous training schedule and other activities she is a part of. The top academic ranking student and high-level figure skater has taken almost exclusively advanced placement courses or college courses for the last two years of her education, and regularly practices skating. It makes for a busy schedule. Edmunson, though, says she wouldn't have it any other way.
Beyoncé Tompkins moved to Hastings a couple years ago from Minneapolis with her family. Since then, she hasn't felt very connected to the community. But this school year Tompkins started meeting regularly with Amy Schaffer, who works at the United Way of Hastings, alongside fellow student Amelia Miller for regularly lunches and to talk as part of district's Lunch Bunch program. "This is my first time getting to know people in my community," Tompkins said. "It's just nice to meet people ... who make an impact."
Hastings Middle School students raised $6,523 for Hastings Family Service in its annual tug-of-war fundraiser on Friday. The organization uses the earnings to fund the majority of its school supplies program, Amy Sutton, Hastings Family Service's associate director, said in an email. "This support form the Middle School is so important because the students prove year after year that you can make a difference in your community no matter your age," Sutton wrote.