Lourdes welcomes Maddie Van Vreede as new fifth grade teacher

By Riley Studinski - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - Maddie Van Vreede has joined the Lourdes Academy family as a new fifth grade teacher.

Van Vreede said that she used to be a first grade teacher at Lourdes Academy-Seton before moving up to teach fifth grade at the middle school. According to Van Vreede, she also worked at St. Anthony´s in Milwaukee as a first grade and a kindergarten teacher. Van Vreede also said that she was a substitute teacher at Xavier High School in Appleton before coming to Lourdes.

Kylie Rietz, a student in Van Vreede´s fifth grade class said that she enjoys Van Vreede´s class because she gets the students excited about learning, and she is great at energizing the classroom.

Van Vreede said that one of her goals as a teacher is to turn her students into good people and to expand their knowledge. Van Vreede said that she wants her students to gain a sense of camaraderie and to be able to work together as a team to achieve a common goal.

Van Vreede said the reason she wanted to work at Lourdes is because she wanted to stay a part of the Catholic school system and because of how connected many of the parents are to Lourdes.

Van Vreede said the part of teaching she enjoys the most is the relationships she is able to make between herself and her students.

In preparing for her teaching career, Van Vreede said that she attended college at UW Green Bay where she also played soccer.

As for her time outside of Lourdes, Van Vreede said that she got married two years ago to her husband Adam, and they enjoy spending time with their dog.

Eighth graders attend career day

By James Gross - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - On Oct. 23, the eighth grade students traveled to Oshkosh West High School to learn about future careers.

Samantha Van Zeeland, the middle school counselor, organized and chaperoned the field trip.

“The kids went to the high school and asked questions at the different stations to learn more about the careers,” Van Zeeland said.

According to Van Zeeland, the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce puts on the event every year and brings eighth graders from all across the city to the career fair. The purpose of the fair is for the eighth graders to start thinking about and understanding possible future careers, Van Zeeland said.

According to Van Zeeland, the career fair was organized with a main group of jobs, and then within the job groups, there were many more different branches. Van Zeeland said the students really enjoyed talking to the police and firemen who were there, and some students had the opportunity to put on the uniforms the first responders wear.

Other popular stations for the eighth graders included a welding simulator, and the Fox Valley Technical College had a culinary representative who engaged the eighth graders in making crepes and tacos.

Van Zeeland said she prepared the students with two lessons leading up to career day explaining there would be 16 career clusters. The career clusters, she told the students, are the main jobs with different jobs branching off, Van Zeeland said.

The best part for the eighth graders was that they were involved in many hands-on activities, and they actually had to do some of the work responsibilities at the job stations. “They didn't have to just ask questions,¨ Van Zeeland said.

¨The eighth graders had fun and got to learn about new things. There is a career related field trip in the spring which the eighth graders might attend. They get to go to different places and shadow individuals in specific fields,¨ Van Zeeland said.

Battle of the Books begins!

By Ellie MacKenzie - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - Lourdes Academy middle school students are once again participating in the annual extra-curricular activity called Battle of the Books.

According to Nancy Ralofsky, parent coach and coordinator of Battle of the Books, BOB has been offered at Lourdes for almost 10 years, and it is hoped to be continued in the years to come.

BOB is an extra-curricular reading program for middle schoolers where students are put into teams, read books from a list given to them, and compete in “battles” to test their knowledge on the books read, Ralofsky said.

The list of books given to the students varies each year, so students are able to read a variety of books if they participate in all three years of the club. The season lasts about seven weeks, and the students read 30 books collectively, Ralofsky said,

Examples of the books read during BOB include A Long Walk to Water, Hatchet, Dicey’s Song, and Mockingbird.

About 75 middle school students at Lourdes are currently participating in BOB, which is an increase from the typical invovlement of about 60 students, Ralofsky said.

“The excitement is more evident during the final week of battles when they (the students) have to work together in teams,” Ralofsky said. Battles began the week of Nov. 12 at lunchtime, and the final battle occurred on Nov. 19.

Check back in December to read the results of the final battle!

Eighth graders explore the new Project Lead The Way curriculum through MIT App Inventor

By Noah Ralofsky - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - The eighth graders are blessed to have the opportunity to participate in Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum which most feel makes learning more fun.

Lead by Ryan Stiemsma, the seventh and eighth grade social studies teacher, the students are able to learn about computer science using the PLTW program which is an engineer-based program founded by Richard Blais in 1997.

Along with computer science, Stiemsma says his students learn how to code and are introduced to a new way of thinking and problem solving. Students also have the ability, with the MIT App Inventor program, to create and test apps of their own creations. The PLTW class is built into the eighth grader’s schedule as the PLTW App Creators class.

Stiemsma said teaching PLTW is a bit different from teaching other classes. He said that his main role is to serve as a moderator and to provide the students with the program and the tablets they use for the projects. In addition, Stiemsma said he intervenes with help only after students explore every other possible solution including using their class partner and other groups around them for help.

“The students take the lead in the class,” Stiemsma said. He said it’s different from a regular class where the teacher gives the information to the students; with PLTW, the students find their solutions through problem solving. “It’s fun and challenging all at the same time,” he said.

Maggie Kriege, an eighth grader in the PLTW class, said that this class is different from her regular classes because it’s more hands on and she is able to interact more with her fellow classmates. She also said that her favorite part of the class is that all of their work is done online.

“The most challenging part is that we all have to work in groups, and we all have to be on the same page,” Kriege said.

Little Free Library installed at Knight’s Field

By Maria Foss - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - If you love free books or love sharing books, you will enjoy the new Little Free Library that has recently been installed at Lourdes!

Little Free Libraries are a global phenomenon. The small, outside libraries number more than 75,000 around the world and are located in 85 countries from Pakistan to Iceland. Now, a new Little Free Library at Lourdes Academy will join the movement to share books, bring people together, and create communities of readers.

The Lourdes Little Free Library was installed earlier this fall. It was officially declared open during a ceremony on Nov. 7 and is located near Knight’s Field.

“The idea of purchasing and installing a Little Free Library at Lourdes evolved last year when a few of the girls in the Literary Club asked if we could raise money for one,” English teacher and Literary Club adviser Jennifer Pollack said. “I thought the girls had a great idea, so we raised the money for the library through two jeans days.”

Pollack said that she hopes visitors, students, and their families who come to games at Lourdes will take advantage of the Little Free Library by either taking a free book or adding a book to the collection. Book donations for all reading levels are welcome, Pollack said.

Junior Literary Club member Joely Hurkman said that she is excited that the Little Free Library has been installed. She explained that this new library will be advantageous particularly to young students who love reading.

On Nov. 15, members of the Literary Club held a grand opening for the Little Free Library. Staff and students gathered near Knight’s Field to put their first books into the library and celebrate joining the worldwide movement of Little Free Libraries. Junior Literary Club member Annie Schraa declared the official opening of the Little Free Library at Knight’s Field at the end of the ceremony. Afterward, a brief reception was held in Pollack’s room.

The Lourdes Literary Club is a high school club which meets once a month in Pollack’s classroom. The members of the club read a book chosen at a previous meeting. Then, they meet to discuss the book and pick a new book to read the following month.

Pollack said the purpose of the club is to keep reading “alive” within the high school students. Encouraging students to find value and fun in reading books, Literary Club promotes the joy of reading and the importance of literacy.

According to Pollack, the Literary Club tries to promote literacy in the community every year through some sort of event or activity. In the past, the Literary Club members have traveled to Lourdes Academy Elementary School to read books to the young students there. A few years ago, the Literary Club received a grant allowing them to buy books and supplies for the Winnebago County Literacy Council’s adult learners and for their mother and preschool group. This year, the members are happy to promote a love of reading through the installation and opening of the Little Free Library at Knight’s Field.

Remember to visit the Little Free Library often, and take a book or add a book!