Review on the Year: Mr. Soderberg

Soderberg Sets the Standard

By Hannah Kempen

Mr. Kurt Soderberg made an assurance to the SCC community: we will not move forward with standards based grading until everyone is comfortable.

In the next couple of years, there should not be any big changes, Soderberg revealed. Some ideas are less classes per day, which offers block classes or trimesters, or standards based grading, which will not be rushed. Soderberg assures that the school will not be moving forward with it until everybody is ready. Also, they will keep GPA, letter grades, transcripts, and academic honors.

Besides reflecting on the hot topic of standards based grading, Soderberg, principal of two years, reflected on the 2017-2018 school year and looks ahead to the oncoming years. He believes that this “was definitely a successful year.” St. Croix Central offered the students more voice, created a balance of fun and hard work, and began to move in the direction that was envisioned.

With the great success of our school, there is much to be proud of. Specifically, Soderberg was proud of the staff for bringing up new concepts, of the students for their behavior and for being accepting of others and treating them with kindness, and of everyone’s commitment in and out of the classroom.

There were many highlights also. Some great successes were: Oliver, the musical, Student Senate, which was able to offer a voice to the students, art murals, PITCrew and mental health awareness, music department, athletics, and clubs.

With all of the successes, there were some challenges, too. One big challenge was the weather. There were missed days, due to snow days, and it has been hard for everyone to keep focus with the beautiful weather outside. Also, the Sunday before school started, a pipe burst in the science and math hall. Soderberg has handled these challenges by setting a plan, communicating, and working around the issue.

SCC works hard to stay connected with the community. Soderberg has started sending out a monthly newsletter to the community. Also, extracurricular activities, such as sports and clubs, have connected to the community. However, there is definitely room for improvement.

Next year, Soderberg has many goals to achieve. Some include: growing opportunities for students, giving students a more consistent voice in what’s going on, dreaming big, and asking, “why not?”

Finally, the community should know that Soderberg and the school appreciates their support, and that they are interested in the community’s feedback to improve the school as much as possible.

New AD/Dean of Students: Mr. Koele

By Emma Knospe

New Position

As many of the SCC student population knows, Jason Koele, former band director and current athletic director and Dean of Students, has made quite the impression on the school year. Although this year may seem like his grand appearance, Koele has been involved in quite the historic timeline at SCC High School. As of last year, Koele has been widely known as the high school band director and students seem to have an interesting view towards the recent switch.

Student Perspectives

“As a student, I think that our current Dean of Students is doing a pretty swell job, especially considering that this is his first year with the position.” -Anonymous Student

Students showed their love for Koele by voting the Dean to “Kiss A Cow” during FFA week earlier this May, with seemingly positive reviews. Although I was told not to put this in the article, I firmly believe it is my duty to inform the student body that kissing the cow in Koele’s own words was his highlight of the school year. So believe what you want students, but the school’s intention of torturing Mr. Koele has yet again failed to reach the objective.

For a much larger impact in the arts than what has been shown in previous years, the SCC Music Department also has shown appreciation towards Koele.

“It was really nice to see the transition of theater and music from last year to this year. I feel like with Koele, a previous band director as the Dean of Students, has made a large impact on what has happened over the course of this year. Not only have we been able to do so much more, but we also receive more credibility than we have ever had before, which means a lot,” says an anonymous student.

The student media has also shown interesting responses towards Koele for positive, negative, but mostly comedic purposes, these being one of the most popular responses:

A Teacher Perspective

Although we have heard from some students about their perspective on Koele, most aren't aware of the what the staff has to say about the new Dean of Students.

“I really did enjoy having Jason in this position this year. He really does have a lot to offer for our school. I believe his young, energetic personality really brings out something really special to our student body as well.”says High School Guidance Counselor, Jeff Fern. “It’s really nice to see such a new perspective throughout the school. He’s always coming up with new ideas, which is great to have in the district.”

Reviews seemed to be overwhelmingly positive for Koele from his fellow colleagues, including the boss himself.

“He really transitioned well into this position. This is really a big change for him, but this year has been great with him. His ambition is very healthy for the student environment, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store,” says Principal Kurt Soderberg.

Looking Forward

The 2017-2018 school year has been without a doubt a very exciting, and possibly stressful year for Koele, but all and all, his transition remained seemingly uplifting.

“This year has definitely been a great one, but there are some things that I would like to focus more on next year. Creating a positive environment here is very important to me, and I’m hoping to achieve that throughout the course of the year,” says Koele. “I strive to really engage more with the students and in the classroom because they are what matter to me the most. I truly believe -know- that this school holds the best students in the world. I really do.”

Clearly, change has had a positive effect on the SCC population, making this transition a clean one for Koele. All there is to ask now is, what next? I guess all there is to do now is wait to see what the future has in store for Koele and the St Croix Central High School population.

Panther Perk Coffee Shop

Coffee Shop Blossoms in Library

By Grace Hanson

The Panther Perk Coffee Shop, ran by the Special Ed Department at SCC, opened its doors for the first time earlier this year. They have supplied the students and staff of SCC with proper caffeination for the greater part of 2017-2018 school year. They began sales on February 19th, selling both hot chocolate and coffee, complete with a sugar and cream station. Opening at 9am on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, the coffee shop sells their beverages for $1.

Panther Pizza & Catering

Panther Catering

By Sydney Carlson and Jenna Wehausen

A new addition to St. Croix Central High School, thanks to Courtney Hawkins, has been Panther Catering. Panther Catering is a catering business offered through the consumer ed department. This program offers students the opportunity to make and serve food for a large group of people, while following safety standards and getting experience in the culinary field.

This program is run by Courtney Hawkins this year, but will be run by a student next year. The lead student will be the event manager who will be in charge of making sure the event runs smoothly. Hawkins will still be the in charge of the event manager, but the lead student will be in charge of leading the rest of the crew.

The people that help out with Panther Catering are students that have completed the advanced foods class, or the students that are currently going through the advanced foods class. If they run short of people, she may take students from Foods 2 because they have more experience than the Foods 1 kids.

Courtney Hawkins’s goal in creating this program is to provide affordable catering for this district. She hopes to provide high quality meals for student groups or events while providing a learning experience for students.

Hawkins’s goal for next year is to provide for the district and any groups that need them. They will be setting up guidelines so that they can properly schedule events. They would also like to advertise the Panther Catering on a website or even on a social media page.

They have participated in many catering events. Their biggest one is the FBLA Regionals competition. They could serve up to 600 people at that event. Other events that they serve at is The New Drivers Celebration, Veterans Day Program, Middle Border Athletic Banquet, FFA Banquet, All District Staff Recognition and Retirement Banquet. Some smaller events that they cater at include; the hiring fair, which they had made breakfast for, Mad City Monday, which they will serve breakfast at. They may also cater on the weekends like they did for the FBLA regional judges.

The community should know, “That we are not a business that’s a business to make money, we are a business that’s functioning within a school program to teach students higher level standards and skills that will not only help them in the future if they would like to open up their own catering business, but will help them with their own life skills as well,” Courtney Hawkins said.

Panther Pizza

By Erik Collins

The family and consumer science room is about to become a very busy facility, come the end of this year. Ms. Hawkins and Mr. Wenzel have recently begun plans for a brick fire pizza oven that will be baking and selling pizzas for the students and surrounding community. We went to Ms. Hawkins to get her take on the new restaurant.

What inspired you to create this brick fire pizza oven?

Hawkins: Mr. Wenzel and I wanted to create a restaurant that was family friendly and would create opportunities for our students to learn the process of starting a restaurant from the ground up.

What was the process like to make Panther Pizza happen?

First, we met with the Health Department to see what we had to do to safely and properly run a food business. Then, we searched for grants that we could use to help fund the construction of the pizza business. Mr. Wenzel met with various vendors to discuss the overall process and find out what supplies were needed for a brick fire oven.

Who is the main target group that you want to buy this food?

Families that are attending SCC events.

Who will be making the food?

Students taking Ms. Hawkins advanced foods classes.

What kind of Pizzas will you make, and will you make anything else?

We will have your standard toppings like cheese, pepperoni, sausage, supreme, and also specialty pizzas created by students.

2017-2018 Valedictorians

Future is Bright for 4 Co-Valedictorians

By Kaitlyn Holmgren and Gabriel Siler

This years Saint Croix Central High School graduating class of 2018 has 4 co-valedictorians. These 4 incredibly dedicated individuals include Abigail Edelman, Collin Nelson, McKenna Johnson, and Tyler Miller. All 4 of these students focus on more than just their studies, and are very active in extracurricular activities and the community as well.

Collin Nelson

Nelson is a 3 year letter winner in both basketball and football, and a 4 year letter winner in track. As for football, he was named a captain his senior year. He helped lead the team to back to back state championship games winning as a junior, and as senior receiving runner-up. He has received multiple awards for football including 2x Academic All-State, All-Conference Quarterback and Defensive Back, and he also received the Burlsworth Character and Sportsmanship award. On the basketball team he was voted a team captain, and received many awards for including Academic All-State, and All-Conference. He has also participated in several clubs including, Band, Pathfinders, a group of upperclassmen that help freshman adapt to the high school, Students Offering Support (SOS) in which he was the president his senior year, and National Honors Society (NHS) in which he was the Vice President his senior year.

As for his favorite teacher Nelson said, “I would probably say Mr. DiSalvo, because I had a LOT of fun in that class, although I don’t remember what I learned.” Collin’s favorite high school memories are the two state championship football games he played at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. “Hard Work”, was the phrase Collin used to describe what it takes to become a valedictorian. His advice for underclassmen and future high schoolers is, “Enjoy high school to its fullest because it doesn’t last long.”

His future plans include attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison to major in engineering. Finally, the last comment Collin had was, “Thank you to the SCC Community for all of the support.”


Abigail Edelman

Edelman is a part of the varsity girls golf, softball and basketball teams at Saint Croix Central and participates in Students Offering Support, the National Honor Society and band. This past year Edelman’s golf team won the Team Academic All State award with the highest team grade point average. Abby and McKenna’s basketball team also took home the conference champion title, ending the season with one of the best records in Panther history.

Abby’s favorite teacher is Mr. Kimberly who teaches in the math department. When asked about her favorite high school memories, Edelman easily decided on Friday night football games. Abby’s advice for underclassmen and future high schoolers is “to work hard, make school a priority and to not stress out too much.” Abby said that the most important traits one must have to become a valedictorian is “strong work ethic, perseverance, and good study skills.”

Edelman is attending the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse to major in exercise and sports science with the hopes of working as a physical therapist, mainly with children.


McKenna Johnson

Johnson is a 3 year letter winner in girls basketball, and a 4 year letter winner in track. She played a role alongside Edelman in helping the SCC girls basketball team win the Middle Border Conference title. Other extracurriculars Johnson took part in include, Future Business Leaders of America, Students Offering Support, Pathfinders, and National Honors Society.

As for McKenna’s most influential teacher she said, Mr. Kimberly. Johnson’s favorite high school experience was homecoming powderpuff football. When asked about her advice for underclassmen and future high schoolers McKenna replied, “Just stay focused on your work but also get involved in activities.” McKenna believes the most important traits for becoming valedictorian is “perseverance and working hard.”

McKenna’s future plans include attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and studying business.


Tyler Miller

Tyler is very active in the FBLA community and is the Wisconsin Region 1 Vice President. Last year he attended Nationals in Anaheim California and is returning to nationals this year in Baltimore. Miller has lettered in Band and performed with the SCC Jazz band, marching band, pep band and competed in Solo and Ensemble. Tyler also took part in Students Offering Support, National Honor Society, and the Pathfinders.

When asked who his favorite teacher was Miller said it would probably be Mr. Kimberly. Tyler’s favorite high school memories are the student sections, especially the ones at state football. Miller’s advice for underclassmen and future high schoolers is, “Don’t take things too seriously. Study hard, but have fun also.” Miller believes the most important traits for becoming valedictorian are “Hard work, humility- don’t brag, and always be respectful.”

Tyler’s plans for the future include attending the University of Minnesota to major in Biology and then attending Medical school to become a medical examiner.

Edelman, Nelson, Miller and Johnson will graduate alongside their class of 106 students. The graduation ceremony will take place on Friday, May 25th at 7:30 in the high school gym. The ceremony is open to all friends and family wishing to attend.

New Teachers

Sean Conway: Band Director

Q. What made you decide to become a band teacher? Is there someone that inspired you to do so?

A. Becoming a teacher came from looking back at my family tree. Many had teaching jobs such as professors and elementary-middle school teachers. I was really involved in things like pep band and the pit orchestra, which drove my love for music. My choir teacher was also a great influence. I had him as a teacher for only for a year but he opened my eyes to a lot of good opportunities.

Q. When did you start doing Madison Scouts?

A. I started doing Madison Scouts in November of my senior year of high school and the summer of 2009-2012. I also did Drum Corps where you can march until you turn 21. After I turned 21, I began teaching there instead of marching. It is my 6th year teaching there.

Q. Where did you attend college?

A. UW-Eau Claire.

Q. Where did you work before becoming a teacher?

A. I taught at Waukesha North High School and Butler Middle School for 2 years. During high school I worked at a Chipotle and eventually a Target in Eau Claire.

Q. Where did you attend grade school / what town did you live in?

A. I went to school and lived in Rosemount, MN. I was born in Iowa, though.

Q. Why did you decide to teach high school band and not middle school?

A. I like getting the opportunity to create relationships with the students. High schoolers tend to also be more mature (sometimes) and the more challenging music is more fun to play because there is more of a variety of things we can do in class and with things like marching band.

Q. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

A. Again, I enjoy creating the relationships and connections with students. Getting to know them all individually and sharing things with them is definitely the best part of my job.

Q. What do you enjoy doing outside of the classroom?

A. Napping is nice. I still do Drum Corps and enjoy, running, reading, listening to music, seeing plays/movies, watching Game of Thrones.

Q. What are you excited for next school year?

A. I’m excited to get to know some new people and starting to get an idea of what we can achieve.

Amanda Arnold: Choir Director

Q. What made you decide to become a choir teacher? Is there someone that inspired you to do so?

A. For me, my heroes were really my teachers so I really just always knew that I wanted to become a teacher. What made me decide to become a choir teacher specifically was when a new choir teacher came and really inspired me pursue a career in music.

Q. Where did you attend college?

A. UW River Falls.

Q.Where did you work before becoming a teacher?

A. Well, for my entire life I have worked on a calf-raising farm, which also happens to be the largest calf raising farm in North America. This is my first year not working on the farm so it’s kind of weird.

Q.Where did you attend grade school / what town did you live in?

A. I grew up and went to school in Barron, WI. We actually competed against Saint Croix Central all of the time.

Q. Why did you decide to teach high school choir and not middle school or elementary?

A. Well, elementary scares me. I sincerely love and respect elementary teachers, but I just knew it wasn’t for me. I just know that my skills just really lie in things like theater and you just can’t get that as much in elementary in middle school. It has always been my dream to teach at the high school level so I decided to just pursue that.

Q. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

A. My students. They drive me nuts some days but the relationships that I get to form with them are just really special to me.

Q. What do you enjoy doing outside of the classroom?

A. I really love spending time with my dog Wally, hiking, kayaking, cooking, and being around my family.

Hali Tasler: Math Teacher


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Vicki Dresang-Talapa: Nurse & High School Secretary

Q. What made you decide to become a school nurse?

A. I worked in a clinic as a health assistant before coming here. It was located on the East Side of St. Paul. At this clinic I worked with teens who were pregnant. I enjoy working with young people and building relationships with them; so it was nice to work with the same population of young adults.

Q.Where did you attend college?

A. University of Minnesota.

Q. Where did you work before becoming a nurse?

A. Face to Face Health and Counseling, which is located on the East Side of St. Paul.

Q. Where did you attend grade school / what town did you live in?

A. Green Bay.

Q. Why did you decide to work at the high school and not middle school or elementary?

A. I enjoy working with high school kids because for them it is a transition into finding who you are and different paths in life. There are many opportunities in which adults can guide students. Like working with high school kids because its a transition with who you are and different paths in life, lots of opportunities in which adults can guide you

Q. What is your favorite thing about working as a nurse?

A. My favorite thing about being a nurse is building relationships with young people.

Q. What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

A. I really love to garden.

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