SPOTLIGHT

    • TueDec11 ECFE, Creative Play First Session Classes end Fridley Community Center
    • TueDec11 FMS Holiday Band Concert 7:00 PMHigh school auditorium
    • WedDec12 ECFE, Creative Play First Session Classes end Fridley Community Center
    • ThuDec13 ECFE, Creative Play First Session Classes end Fridley Community Center
    • ThuDec13 FHS Holiday Concert 7:00 PMHigh school auditorium

  

  

Hayes and Stevenson Elementary students got their Christmas shopping done on December 4, 2018 with some new friends, members of the Fridley Police Department (FPD) at the FPD’s annual ‘Shop with a Cop’ event.

Fifteen students were partnered with an officer or FPD Police Explorer - a young adult or student who is working hands-on with officers to explore a career in law enforcement. The students shopped with officers in the Fridley Walmart store, thoughtfully selecting gifts for family members and themselves with $75 gift cards donated by the store.

After the shopping was complete, the officers, Police Explorers, volunteers from Hayes and Stevenson, and volunteers from local business D & B Plating, helped to wrap presents while students labeled the gifts for their family members. The students and officers were then able to enjoy a sandwich together, courtesy of the Subway restaurant located within the store.

For over 20 years, the FPD and Fridley Public Schools have partnered for ‘Shop with a Cop.’ This year, 20 officers participated, including Fridley Police Chief Brian Weierke. Additionally, nine Police Explorers, one Police Reserve and nine community members assisted with the event.

According to  Fridley Police Technician Nicole Nelsen, who organized the event, the program allows students to have positive interactions with police, which builds trusting relationships.

“Students always have a fun experience selecting gifts for their families,” said Nelsen. “The Fridley Police Department is committed to making personal connections with our youth to build relationships based on engagement and trust.”

Fridley School Resource Officer Mark Mickelson said he enjoys this annual event because it is an excellent opportunity to give back to the community he serves.

“It’s always fun and enjoyable,” Mickelson said. “And it’s a chance for us to engage with students in a different way. Students also learn how to budget when picking out their gifts. Overall, it’s a great event.”

The FPD also partners with Spring Lake Park school district (Woodcrest Elementary Spanish Immersion) and Columbia Heights school district (North Park Elementary) for the annual ‘Shop with a Cop’ event.

  

Students in Fridley High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) Level 5 Spanish Class aren’t just creating waves; they’re protecting them.

As part of the class’ study of how to protect the environment, the students posed the question ‘What can Fridley do to protect our environment?’  The class decided to further educate fellow students and staff on how to cut down waste and the overuse of natural resources, particularly in the area of disposable food and drink containers.

The students’ information campaign included a display in the high school cafeteria during lunch on December 3, 2018, that showed where items from everyday use end up, including the Pacific Ocean.

They also gathered more than 60 signatures from those pledging to join the cause and increase their individual effort to reuse and recycle.  Those who took the pledge received a stamp on their hand that said “buen trabajo,” which in English means “good job.”

 

Left photo: Fridley High School student Simone Almberg stamps the back of schoolmate Hodan Yusuf’s hand as acknowledgement of Hodan’s pledge to increase recycling of materials. Right photo: Fridley High School student Valentae Morehead adds his name to the list of students pledging to increase their recycling as Fridley High School Spanish teacher Emily Latzka looks on.

  

  

The holiday season is a time to celebrate and also a time to give back. That sentiment was echoed by Fridley Middle School 6th grade volunteers on November 20, 2018 as they worked on making no-sew scarves for those in need. This is the second year that Fridley Middle School has participated in this community service project.

As the weather gets colder, the students know that everyone in the community needs to stay warm. By volunteering their time and talents, 25 students created 35 scarves which were given to St. Philip’s Church Clothing and Food Shelf in Fridley. The scarves will be distributed to those in need throughout the winter.

“I feel really happy to be helping other people,” said 6th grade student Amina Negash. “It’s really nice to help people and to know that they are going to be warm like me.”

Jordan Akkerman, 6th grader, shared that this project is special to him. Through his actions, he can make something that will mean a lot to someone else. 

“It means a lot because they get to have something from someone else,” Jordan said. “They don’t know who it is, but they just know that someone cares about them.”

Joel Weingart, 6th grade math teacher who helps to organize the project, said the students learn a lot from participating in this project.

“I think they surprise themselves,” said Weingart. “When they hear scarves and scarf-making, they are a little surprised that they are able to do it, but it also teaches them how to give back. This is very tangible and it’s something that they know is going to a place and person in need.”

Service as action is an integral part of the International Baccalaureate Programme (IB.) Students are taught and encouraged to develop a civic responsibility through kind acts and volunteering.


  

  

Fridley Middle School (FMS) held its 32nd annual Veterans Day Program on November 12, 2018. The program honors and pays tribute to United States military veterans and also serves as an opportunity to teach students about the dedication and sacrifice of military service members. 

Veterans from the community, including members of the Fridley American Legion and Fridley Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 363, were present and received recognition during the ceremony. The Minnesota Honor Guard led the presentation of the colors to begin the ceremony. Students in the FMS Select Choir and 7th grade choir sang traditional military songs, and the 8th grade band played “The Legacy of Heroes.”

The program’s keynote speaker was Sergeant Ramon Gurrola, an eight-year United States Marine Corps Veteran. Gurrola served two tours - one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Currently, he is a firefighter for the Vadnais Heights Fire Department and is studying Criminal Justice at Century College.

Gurrola, who is second generation Mexican-American, told students to always value their education. With education, hard work and determination, anyone can achieve their goals, Gurrola said.

Three 8th grade students shared stories about the veterans in their lives. Kat Ribordy spoke about her grandfather, Richard Bergen, who served in the Vietnam war. Through the hardships of war, Kat’s grandfather found comfort in the friendships that he made with his fellow soldiers.

Eighth grade student Ismar Kalesic shared a story about relative Mustafa Kalesic, who served in the Yugoslav National Army (JNA). Kalesic served as a logistic officer of the Bosnian Army in the Bosnian War. Ismar said that the lesson learned by Kalesic is that physical conflict should never be a way to settle differences between two opposing sides.

Eighth grade student Abigail Schmidt spoke about her brother, Robert J. Schmidt, who served in the United States Air Force and was deployed to Afghanistan. Robert loaded and unloaded cargo and personnel on and off the base. When he returned, Abigail said he readjusted well back to civilian life, but recognized that it is not so simple for others. She shared her respect and honor for those who choose to be veterans and sacrifice their lives for the country.

Following the ceremony, community members and veterans enjoyed snacks and punch in the FMS cafeteria, which was decorated by the FMS Student Council. The students designed “Thank You” cards to present to veterans and also gifted a red, white, or blue rose to each veteran who attended.


  

  

Top left: Kat Ribordy who spoke about her veteran grandfather Richard Bergen, who served in the Vietnam war. Top right: Ismar Kalesic who shared a story about relative Mustafa Kalesic, who served in the Yugoslav National Army. Bottom left: Abigail Schmidt who spoke about her brother Robert J. Schmidt who served in the United States Airforce and was deployed to Afghanistan. Bottom right: The Fridley Middle School Student Council decorated the cafeteria for the program's reception. The students designed “Thank You” cards and also gifted a red, white, or blue rose to each veteran who attended.


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