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Beloved counselor, mentor to retire after nearly three decades at MHS

posted Feb 24, 2019, 1:43 PM by Andrew Tichy

By: Isaac Leiseth

If you have gone to Moorhead High within the last 29 years, chances are that you’ve heard the name Toni Bach at least once. Toni is a school counselor at MHS and has worked here for 29 years, along with another four years of school counseling experience elsewhere and another seven years of teaching experience. She will be retiring at the end of this year, 2019, and spending some well deserved time to herself. In honor of her retirement I interviewed Toni to hear about what teaching at MHS has been like for her, and what she has learned from it. One of the first things I asked her was what inspired her to be a school counselor, and she stated that it was “something that I didn’t really have when I was a student,” and that she also did it because of a desire to do more than just teach. I asked her about favorite memories and what she’ll miss when she leaves Moorhead. She said that a lot of her favorite memories involve her therapy dog, Rosco, who she had with her for ten years, and that a lot of her funny memories involved technology not working. She told about a point when all the teachers had a master key, and there was essentially a laser tripwire that you had to step over to deactivate the alarm system, or it would set off the alarm and call the police. Long story short, a number of times someone would step in just the wrong spot or wear a long jacket and set it off by accident. I asked her what she thought the greatest value of education is, and her response was very simple; “Education, and knowledge, is power. [it’s] power to adapt to change.”

As our interview continued, Toni continued to show her wisdom and love for MHS and its students and teachers, which inspired me to ask a series of final questions, all of which involved advice. First I asked her what she thought was most important for MHS moving forward, to which she replied “I see a need to be more understanding of other cultures,” along with security and decreasing the student-teacher and student-counselor ratios. According to the American Counselor Association, schools should aim for a ratio of 250 students for every counselor, while MHS sits at around 400:1. It is worth noting that this is better than the national average, which is 491:1. In addition, Toni stated that it’s hard to learn when you have “30 kids in one class.” The second piece of advice that I asked for was for current middle schoolers who will be moving to MHS next year, or years after that. Toni stated that coming to the high school is a big step up, and it requires a positive attitude. In addition, she stated “With great power comes great responsibility, but you’ll also have great opportunities.” This seems to be the common advice for future freshmen, which I once heard summed up by a fellow student as “My best advice for being a successful freshman at the high school is don’t be a freshman.” I then asked for advice for current students like myself, to which she stated, find what makes you “feel alive” and pursue it. Finally, I asked her if she had any advice for teachers. Her response was to keep a positive attitude and to focus on relationships. She stated that everyone has different strengths, and you can’t know these strengths without forming a relationship with the students.

Toni Bach has been a staple of the MHS education system for so long, and she’ll be sorely missed when she is gone. We at MHS wish Toni the best of luck moving forward.

Sophomore speaker finding voice on Speech team

posted Jan 29, 2019, 9:05 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Patrick Wirries 

Speech has been a popular extracurricular activities for MHS for many years. The members varying in talent, determination, and personal stories. Any student may tryout for speech, but most turn away for fear of public speaking. The story of Greta Cole, a sophmore and a repeating member of the team proves there is no reason to be afraid of participating.

Cole was first introduced to the speech team by her father. His talents and skills motivated her to join the team in 2018. Since then, she has been improving her abilities to speak boldly and to work under pressure. Currently, Cole is in two categories, storytelling and informative speaking. Over the weekend from January 24th through the 26th, she’ll be at her first tournament of the season at Marshall Minnesota, participating in info. She has been looking forward to this event for quite some time, and has high expectations for her performance.

Before joining the team, Cole was not a fan of speaking in front of a large audience. However, now that she understands the components of speech, she has no regrets on choosing to join the team. Cole strongly believes people who have a slight interest should tryout. “Novices, all you need to do is speak confidently,” said Cole. “Just make sure to be yourself and have fun. The team encourages you to put in 110%, but that’s a fun part of the experience.”

Are the skies blue in Brazil?

posted Jan 18, 2019, 11:09 AM by Andrew Tichy

Photo: Ian Creech | The Spud

By: Ian Creech

Nicolas Padula Pinho (Padula and Pinho both being last names), aged 16, is an exchange student here at Moorhead High. He comes from Brazil; more specifically São Paulo, which is located in the southeastern part of the country. Nicolas (though he prefers to be called Nico) has a very interesting view of America and our school, and it was very enjoyable listening to his thoughts on this weird country.

Naturally, the first question that needed to be asked was “Why are you here?” His response is impressive, especially for a kid that’s only 16 years old. Nico said that “I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, to try new things, to experience a new culture, and to improve my English.” This is a pretty big task for a young man, but he’s handling it phenomenally. His English is very good, and there are little miscommunications when talking to him. Speaking of handling a new culture, Nico has a few takes from and outsider’s view that are intriguing.

When Nico was asked what the weirdest part about America was, his answer was surprising. He stated that the weirdest thing in America was how toilet paper was used. In Brazil, people have designated trash cans near their toilets in order to throw their toilet paper in after it was being used. The fact that Americans just chuck it in the toilet surprised Nico. He recalled after arriving to America, he was stuck in an airport bathroom for around 10 minutes trying to figure out where he was supposed to put the toilet paper. It’s an interesting difference between these two countries, one that seems miniscule, but still impactful enough to be noticeable among its citizens. Nico also commented on the weird fascination with Fortnite.

Unfortunately, Nico is not staying in Moorhead for very long. “I’m only staying here till July 13th, so you have me for the whole school year.” This may not seem like a long enough time, but it is a long enough time for people to be stupid. Nico said that “A friend of mine genuinely asked me if the skies were blue in Brazil. I thought he was joking, but he was dead serious.” This is amusing, and a nice reminder that the skies are blue no matter where you are. Nicolas Padula Pinho was a blast to interview, and he is definitely a pleasant person to spend time with.

Teacher Feature: Dr. Jean Sando

posted Dec 8, 2018, 6:41 PM by Andrew Tichy

Dr. Sando in her classroom
Photo: Ian Creech | The Spud

By: Ian Creech

Dr. Jean Sando had a very interesting path towards being a teacher. Despite going to college to become a teacher, she didn’t start teaching until she was 41 years old. She enjoys teaching immensely, but she also recalls that she used to hate it. “I got to student teaching, and I had a terrible experience and hated it.  Looking back, I was very young and lacked confidence.” said Sando.

Student teaching was so terrible of an experience for her that she decided to give up on it.  I decided not to continue in teaching and enrolled in a Master's degree program at Indiana State University.  I eventually got my Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, but I was really studying educational assessment.” said Sando. For those that don’t know, educational assessment is analyzing different teaching methods, and trying to find what works the best. “I started my career in assessment and worked as a development director, director of Student Support Services, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs,” said Sando. She likely would’ve held this position for a very long time if it weren’t for a sudden change in leadership. “Our new President decided that she wanted a clean slate and sent our whole department back to other positions,” said Sando.

This ended up being a stroke of luck for students here at Moorhead High School; Sando was moved to a teaching position. “I found myself teaching writing, and I LOVED it.  I had been away from teaching for so long, I was very nervous, but I simply loved interacting with students. I decided to get my teaching license back and continue teaching at the high school level.” said Sando. After teaching there for a bit, she came to Moorhead High in 2011, and she obtained a second license in reading.

Dr. Sando is very content with the chain of events that led to her teaching again. “I am so exceptionally happy teaching at the high school.  At 21, I was not ready to teach. At 41, I found teaching a delight. I've been teaching for 8 years now, and I really love it. I love interacting with young people and having conversations with them about big concepts like mythology and the nature of our understanding of the mysterious.  I also love teaching grammar and the concrete as well as creative elements of writing, and I'm very proud of the effective reading acceleration program we have here.said Sando.

Sando teaching at Moorhead High was lightning in a bottle. So many chances lined up perfectly in order for her to teach here. Her terrible experience with student teaching leading her to pursue a different job. Working that new job for over 15 years before a new boss took over. The new boss deciding to switch up the departments. Dr. Sando getting a teaching job, and finding herself enjoying it. If only one of these things had gone differently, she likely wouldn’t be teaching here today, and this article wouldn’t exist. Thank you so much, Dr. Sando, for impacting this learning environment in such a positive way.

Sando with a Plan(do)

posted Dec 8, 2018, 6:30 PM by Andrew Tichy

Photo: Gabe Haney | Special to The Spud

By: Garrett Grommesh

Katie Sando is a senior at Moorhead High School who has big plans for life after graduation. “I’m excited but very nervous,” said Sando about college. Sando has not decided on which college she wants to attend, but has narrowed it down either UND or Bemidji State University. Sando also said she wants to become a psychologist. “Specifically, I want to study autism because it has been a fairly big part of my life,” said Sando when asked about why she wants to work in psychology. When asked about what she’s nervous for when going off to college, said Sando, “Just basically being away from family.” Sando is a brilliant young woman who will achieve great things in whatever career she chooses.

Transitioning experience

posted Nov 4, 2018, 1:55 PM by Andrew Tichy

By: Garrett Grommesh

Oli Perkins is a 2018 graduate of Moorhead High who now goes to college in Bemidji. He likes the Broadway musical Hamilton, loves his cat, Bamo, and anyone who knows him will agree he is a wonderful young man. Perkins is also an FTM (female to male) transgender man. His experiences of being a minority at Moorhead High can help educate people on the struggles of being a student and a member of the trans community. Perkins always knew he wasn’t a girl, but didn’t have a word to express it so he didn’t tell anyone until he was 14. “It was springtime 2014 when I came out to my mom and it was fall 2014 when I first cut my hair and started binding most of the time,” said Perkins of his transition. For those unfamiliar with the different terms for trans topics, binding is when you use something to compress the breast tissue to give the appearance of a flat chest. Many people make the mistake of using ace bandages instead of purchasing a chest binder designed for trans people, due to financial or other issues preventing them from purchasing one. Using ace bandages to bind is extremely dangerous, as it can damage your ribs or even organs. Perkins’ family had mixed reactions, his parents at first said it was a phase that he’d grow out of, while his brothers were very accepting and adjusted right away. Thankfully, Perkins’ dad is now pretty accepting and has been using his name for a while and is finally starting to use the right pronouns. Perkins’ experience at Moorhead High was made easier by the people he spent time with.

“Thankfully I had a good group of friends that were super supportive of me so I didn’t face many problems from peers and what not,” said Perkins. “Overall, I felt pretty welcome at school.” Perkins’ experience at Moorhead High unfortunately isn’t the usual case for a lot of trans kids and teens, especially in more conservative places, such as the Bible belt. Too often, trans youth are discriminated against at school. Obama-era protections for trans youth helped reduce the amount of trans students being hindered in their education; however, unfortunately, the Trump administration has proposed rollbacks of these protections, not only related to education, but every key federal agency. “That news was hard and infuriating to hear but I’m honestly not surprised anymore,” Perkins said of the news of these proposals. Perkins now attends college at Bemidji State University, and his major is undecided.

How One Beloved Teacher’s Life Led Him to AP European History

posted May 27, 2018, 7:20 AM by Andrew Tichy   [ updated May 27, 2018, 7:22 AM ]

Photo: Laura Jensen | The Spud
By: Laura Jensen

John Dobmeier is good at routine. As Moorhead High’s only AP European History teacher, he is known for many things: his coffee, his signature moustache, and his catchphrases.

“A lot of those phrases come from my father,” Dobmeier joked. Although he is a man of routine, there is nothing routine about him.

Mr. Dobmeier’s career didn’t start in a classroom. It actually started on a boat. He spent his first four years out of high school in the U.S. Navy as a medic just after the Vietnam War. “My father told me ‘John, you need someone to cut your hair and kick your butt’ and my hair was pretty long back then,” he said. “I had never thought about it, but I went down to the Navy recruiter. At that time, they really needed soldiers. Too many were let go after the war, so they were in need of new people.” Dobmeier went to sea school and basic training and was later deployed to Vietnam where he would stitch wounds and deliver babies.

When he was discharged at age twenty-two, he was still unsure of what he wanted to do. Before Dobmeier joined the Navy, he wanted to be a musician. He already played guitar (which his students get a taste of), mandolin, and banjo, and even thought about going to Nashville to start a career. But a good friend of his father’s and card-carrying member of the Musicians Union discouraged the idea, saying it was a hard life, especially if he wanted to start a family. So he gave up on the idea.

Growing up, Dobmeier was always fascinated with science and biology, and with his father running a funeral home, he got a little extra homework. “When a person died, especially in the home, he would have to get the body. So he would wake me up to help him, starting when I was fourteen or fifteen. I started to stay up with him and watch him work, until one day, he asked if I wanted to learn how to embalm since I would be there anyway.” Even though he found mortuary science interesting, he never really wanted to do it. “I didn’t like the schedule and having to get up in the middle of the night.” But in his last year as a medic, he worked in the Marines where the doctors would push the medics to go to medical school. So when he got out of the military, in his first semester of school he was going to be pre-med. “I didn’t get the grades I wanted, so I realized it wasn’t really my cup of tea. And it was at this time when my parents sat me down and told me to consider being a mortician and take over the family business, so halfway through my freshman year I switched to pre-mort.”

Mr. Dobmeier worked as a mortician for twenty-two years. In that time, he had gotten to know the mayor and fire chief of Barnesville. One day, they came into the funeral home and asked if he wanted to be a volunteer fireman. They needed someone who lives in Barnesville, so he said sure. In 2014, he left the force after twenty-five years.

Though Dobmeier loved working as a mortician, he wanted a bit of a change. The business was changing, prices were higher, and he was looking to expand to Moorhead, but decided it would be best not to. In 2000, he went back to college to begin a degree in Social Studies Education. He eventually sold his business in 2011 and subbed here at the high school until they offered him a job. “And the rest is history, no pun intended.”

But going into to Social Studies was not necessarily a natural decision. At first, he thought about being a choir director, with his musical background, and later thought about science. “I could have taught biology, but I realized that everything I had read in the past twenty years had some sort of historical theme. And I really do enjoy history, especially European history.” Mr. Dobmeier believes that learning history not only keeps us from repeating it, but gives us a sense of identity, which he believes is pretty urgent.

Mr. Dobmeier has loved every career he has had, but says teaching is his favorite, especially if he’s teaching the Renaissance. He will continue to teach and inspire in the next three years before he finally retires. At that point he will have been teaching for ten years and expects to move to Wisconsin. Until then, there will be more catchphrases, more coffee, and more study guides. But most of all, count on many smiles, many laughs, and some pretty enthusiastic history. Just make sure to put the Mr. before Dobmeier.

Mr. Peterson to retire after 32 years in Moorhead

posted May 27, 2018, 7:16 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Lexie Stall

We all know that one teacher we had as kids that we all loved, right? Well that’s where Scott Peterson comes in to play. Peterson is a middle school phy-ed teacher at Horizon in Moorhead. He has spent 32 years here in Moorhead and will be retiring after this school year. “For my teaching it has been all about relating to kids and connecting to them,” said Peterson. He has always enjoyed being a part of the students lives, helping them through any challenge, big or small. When starting his teaching career he knew he had a lot of support from past teachers and coaches.

“They all have been huge role models in my life, I wanted to make an impact to students just like they did to me,” said Peterson.

Peterson was not only a teacher but someone you could look up to, he was a hero for students. He treats every student like they are his own child. Peterson has struggled to come to the decision that it was time to retire because all of the students he has taught throughout his career.

“It will be difficult to retire because I love my job, and it is a passion of mine,” said Peterson.

Peterson has come to the conclusion to start a new beginning in his life and move on to something different. He will never forget the times spent with all the students he has taught in the past, but will still continue living up to the hopes and dreams of students. As Peterson moves on to a new chapter in his life, he will never drift away from helping kids in need. He will always be one to look up to, the students role model.

International Day comes to MHS

posted May 1, 2018, 5:59 PM by Andrew Tichy

By: Sydney Reierson

Every year, Moorhead High School holds an international day which showcases all of the different cultures that can be found in our school. There are so many cultures at our school, but not everyone recognizes them. Sometimes, the idea of diversity within our school is present, but not explored or learned more about. Because of international day, this can be changed.

On Thursday, international day was held in the gym during all three lunches. When I went, I spoke to an MHS student from Ecuador. “I like international day because I like the sharing. It's fun to show everyone my culture and share my traditions with them,” she said. I also asked her what she thought was the most important thing about having international day. “I think that is it really important to teach kids about other cultures so that they can see the diversity there is in our school. I think that kind of thing goes unnoticed too much.”

International day is important and educational. It’s really important to educate kids on the different cultures and ethnicities that can be found in our school. They’re all different and unique in their own ways and there is so much to learn about them. Sometimes we become a little oblivious to all of the different people there are in the world, and even just in our school. There is so much for us to lean, and international day is a great way to do that. You can try all the different food from different countries, you can learn their dances, see pictures of their home countries and even meet some families.

Our school is so diverse in so many ways, but we will never be able to learn that if we don’t find ways to do so, and international day is an amazing way to do so. You can meet new people and learn about cultures and countries you didn’t  know about. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge about different cultures. International day happens once a year, so if you haven’t yet gone, definitely do it next year.. It is so worth your time!

Future Cobber a leader in her class

posted Apr 14, 2018, 5:08 PM by Andrew Tichy

Photo special to The Spud
By: Lonna Barwary

MHS is a school filled with optimistic students, searching for a path in which they can accomplish their dreams. Avyan Mejdeen a MHS senior born in Northern Kurdistan located in the Middle East. She traveled to the U.S. at a young age growing to be a well educated individual. Mejdeen coming from a large family with five siblings strongly believed that with just a little motivation her siblings as well can prosper a bright future. Mejdeen with strong self determination to get work done, illustrates a bright image of the potential MHS students carry.

         Being a student of such excellence, Mejdeen will be attending classes and Concordia college, majoring in pre-law and pre-med. Soon after transferring to Princeton University to finalize her major. Mejdeen with a full plate on her hands, takes part of Key Club, Student Council, Science Olympiad, Knowledge Bowl, Philanthropy and Youth. Mejdeen states that she joined the clubs specifically to “help the community thrive, alongside MHS, helping out in any way I can.” Many students believe they could never take on so much at a time, but for Mejdeen it’s “easy work.” After all, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Not only being a well contributed student in many different clubs and activities, Mejdeen has also been announced as the sub-valedictorian to the graduating class of 2018. Motivated by her teachers and parents, Mejdeen believes she can prosper anything if she sets her mind to it meaning establishing a better future for herself. “I want to make sure I can achieve my goals in life, speaking my parents never got to achieve theirs” states Mejdeen. Growing up with a supporting family Mejdeen is determined.

With the involvement of many club and activities, maintaining a 4.00 GPA and still having time to have fun and explore Mejdeen has set her future plans with hope.

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