March 24, 2014 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  WCA adding trap shooting to list of extracurriculars  

West Central Area High School will be adding trap shooting to the list of extracurricular activities students can participate in next year.

At last Monday’s School Board meeting, WCA Activities Director Pat Anderson brought the proposal up.

“I am getting a lot of requests this year from kids of all ages, and both boys and girls,” he said, “The Minnesota State Clay Target Shooting League is gaining in popularity throughout the state and is the fastest growing sport in the Minnesota High School League.”

The Minnesota High School League reports that more than 8,000 Minnesota student athletes are expected to participate in clay target shooting this year.

Clay Target Shooting is a nine week spring activity with two practice weeks, a reserve week for make ups because of weather, then five weeks of competition and a week of playoffs.

“Lots of high schools pick Saturdays or Sundays for shooting days,” Anderson said. “Students must have successfully completed a gun safety class to participate, and the team would use the Grant County Shooters gun range north of Elbow Lake for its practice sessions.”

Anderson said WCA teachers and coaches Jon Moore, Brandon Gruchow, and Eric Schoenbauer have already indicated they are interested in coaching, but parent volunteers will also be needed. He said transportation and other expenses will be the responsibility of the students and suggested a student activity fee of $30 for students 7-9 and $40 for students 10-12. There will also be a registration fee for the state of $30 per student.

Anderson said he has at least 30 students that would sign up for the team next year. The board passed a motion to add a Clay Target Shooting team to the school’s activities for next year.

Playground at Secondary School
WCA Phy Ed/Health teacher Chelle Dewey brought a proposal to the board for adding playground equipment to the Secondary School campus. She said WCA 5th and 6th graders have nothing to do during play periods outdoors except run around.

“It will be a lot of work but the kids deserve it,” Dewey said, adding that the playground would help with developing upper body strength and sensory development. She said that playing outside helps with the immune system, ADHD, mental muscles, boosts attention span, stimulates the imagination, and adds vitamin D.

She did some research and suggested adding a rope spider web climber, two basketball hoops on a concrete pad, and an eight seat swing set. Dewey said the playground would cost around $30,000 for the equipment and site work. Because the area proposed, north of the building, is sometimes wet, she suggested chips of some sort for a base and a curb on the access road to the back of the school.

Dewey said she was looking into grants to help fund the project, as well as fundraising possibilities, and suggested this would be phase one of a larger project for WCA 5th and 6th graders.

“We would not be able to get the playground ready by this next fall but hopefully the fall of 2016.”

The school board approved Dewey’s request to coordinate fundraising for the playground.

Administrative Reports
Community Education Director Harold Nelson reported that over 40 WCA students participated in the Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre production of Peter Pan, and over 220 tickets were sold to the two performances. He added that Cenex Harvest States Prairie Lakes held a chili supper fundraiser during the play to help support North County Food Bank and Hoffman Food Shelf.

Nelson said the spring/summer community education brochure is being finalized. It will have information on all summer ball programs, swimming lessons at Fairhaven and Elk Lake Beaches, summer camps, and summer classes.

He said there will be classes for juniors on how to take the ACT Test, in two sessions, April 20 and 22. Each session will last around two hours from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. at the Secondary School Media Center.

Activities Director Pat Anderson reported that with winter sports wrapped up, baseball, softball, and track have already gotten started indoors, and golf will be getting started soon. He said currently there are 38 students, 7-12 out for track with Kyle Owings as head coach. There are 37 girls in grades 7-12 out for softball with Addie Stark as head coach, and 22 boys out for baseball in grades 9-12 with Chris Shea as head coach. Kraig Hunter will be the boys golf head coach and Kari Kreft the girls golf head coach.

Elementary Principal Sarah Suchy reported that parent/teacher conferences had close to 100 percent participation. She said the 4th graders are starting with the DARE program with instructors from the Grant County and Douglas County Sheriff’s Departments. Suchy told the board that Short Course Day will be held at WCA North on April 2 and at WCA South on April 10, and Kindergarten Roundup will be April 7 at South and April 9 at North. Preschool registration will be April 14 at the Secondary School in Barrett, and spring music and track and field days are coming up for both elementary schools.

Secondary Principal Nels Onstad, who is also an assistant wrestling coach, commented on how wonderful the season was with the team going to the State Tournament.

“It was great to see the community and school support, and there was a lot of alumni support for all the sports programs this winter.”

He added, “It is great to win, and we learned a lot, even when we lost.”

Onstad reminded seniors and parents to start wrapping things up in preparation for graduation. He said students and parents should make sure all fines and fees are paid, and that seniors have the credits they need to graduate.

The board accepted a school calendar for next year that has school starting on September 8, later than normal because of a late Labor Day.

“If the legislature allows us to start earlier, we will come back to the board with another calender to consider,” said Superintendent Pat Westby.

The board hired part time special education teacher Amy Lennes as a full time special education teacher because of the need.

They also agreed to contract with Bruce Miles, from Big River Consulting, to help the board develop a long range strategic plan for the district’s facilities. Miles will help gather input from the communities through survey work and community involvement.

Board accepts letters of retirement
The board accepted letters of retirement from Elementary Media Specialist/English Language Learner Instructor Dede Kirkpatrick, and Elementary Dean of Students/Community Education Director Harold Nelson.

Superintendent Pat Westby praised Kirkpatrick for her dedication to WCA and said Nelson has worn many hats for our district and made them all his own.

Westby also recognized Renae Edwards, who has recently retired from the 4-H Coordinator position through the Extension Service.

“Congratulations on her 14 years of working with Grant County 4-H, for providing opportunities for kids. She is going to be hard to replace.”
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