Friday, January 30, 2015

Southwest 1,000 Point Basketball Player Samantha Ward

Samantha Ward's shot for 999 points as Southwest Laker Girls Basketball player at the Friday night game at South High School
Samantha Ward getting ready for her second free throw after being fouled in the first 8 seconds of the Girls Basketball game at South.  She is preparing to shot for her 1,000th  point as a Southwest Laker.  She shots and it is GOOD!  1,000 points.

And it is her Birthday!

And the team WON!

A great night for the team and a wonderful athlete, student and person - Samantha Ward.

I apologize for the quality of the photos.  I shot them with my phone and do not claim to be a photographer.  I wanted to be able to share the moment with all her fans and the entire Laker education community.-- Bill Smith

Southwest Class of 1965 Reunion July 24-25, 2015 -- 50th Reuion

Southwest High School 
CLASS of 1965 
July 24-26, 2015   

Dear Rose,

By now you should have received your invitation in the mail for the reunion weekend. 

If you have already perused the invite, you can easily see that we have a terrific weekend planned for you! If you have not yet given the invitation a look, please do so. You will find the entertainment and activities to be a great way for YOU to enjoy a time of celebration with old friends and make new ones.

We will be sending monthly emails with reunion information and stories of our past. Here is a bit from me:

You know...misty water-colored memories of the way we were...Like me being kicked out of physical education class and made to see our principal, Mr. Classen, for kicking a volley ball AFTER Mr. Ford blew the whistle...shameful of me, I know. Funny and strange now, right? But hey, remember...back then, girls could not even wear slacks if it wasn't below a certain temperature outside! Yep, we had a LOT of rules!

This reunion is really about YOU. Reunions are fun, especially when we have now reached a time to reflect and smile about those things we remember with joy. So, perhaps you have a memory of a grade-school buddy/friend, a great teacher, a funny day in junior high or high school, or perhaps at a game, or a dance, or Queen Anne Kiddyland, at Big Reggie's Danceland, choir trips, the Washington D.C. trip. We all had varied experiences. Many have become quite funny after the passing of 50 years!

We will celebrate them with you and our classmates. We will share your memory (with your permission, of course) in these future updates. If you have a story and/or a picture you would like to share, please email it to me:
We look forward to hearing from you.

Check these communications out. They will be fun, hopefully give you a laugh or initiate a memory of someone or sometime you have not thought of in 50 years. Think of it! "How the heck did we get here so fast?" This is the comment we have heard from many of our classmates.

Watch for monthly updates and learn more about the plans for our 50th - parties, details and interesting factoids about the Southwest Class of 1965!!!
Your classmate and friend,  
Mark Simmons 
and Your Reunion Committee,  

Kathy Bruner-Crask, Sterling Clarren (Class President), Gregg Corwin, 
Pete Crandall (Co-chair),  
Russ Davies, Patty Erkel-Hegman, Terri Faus-Havig, Laurie Fowler-Shields (Co-chair), Sue Ginthner-Freese, Janet Jones-Lieb, Don Kleven, Jim Lange, Dan Loewenson, Tom Neiman, Nancy Nemer-Proman, John Olson, Carolyn Reeves-Blesi, Rose Scheidler-Schiltz (Contacts), Mark Simmons, Marcia Wattson.


Friday July 24 
Minikahda Country Club overlooking Lake Calhoun. Classmates & guest meet for drinks and great food. 
Band: CASTAWAYS (Liar Liar)  
Saturday July 25
Marriott Southwest - Minnetonka.
Classmates and their guests will meet for casual gathering. No up-front cost, just what you want to order.

Sunday July 26   
Lake Harriet for a fun picnic near the band shell. Free Event!

Minneapolis Southwest High School 
Class of 1965 Facebook page  

Southwest Clubs and Activities

Speech Practice 
Speech practice is Tuesday and Thursday.
Spanish tutoring will resume on January 20th

Young Ladies Mentorship Group
Young Ladies Mentorship Group meets on Thursdays in Ms. Christine’s room 126 during A & B Lunch. Pizza provided!

Young Men’s Mentorship Group
Young Men’s Mentorship Group meets on Fridays in Ms. Christine’s room 126 during A & B Lunch. Pizza provided!

Need Help With Your Financial Aid Application?  
TheSW counseling team is here for you!  Stop by the CCC on Tuesdays from 2-3:30 starting January 20th. Please note that we will NOT be available January 27th as we will be out of the building for training.

Step Up Application Now Available! 

The2015 Step Up application is now available.  Apply now for a PAID summer internship that provides amazing experiences!  Deadline is February 18.

ALIANZA meets each week in room 108
Want to perform Cumbia y Banda on the big stage? Show up to ALIANZA after WinterBreak. Gente, let's connect and represent.  Check us out on FB or see Ms. Valdez for more info.

ALC Credit recovery meets every M-Th in room E110. 
If you have credits to make up, please see your counselor.

Spanish Peer Tutoring every Thursday after School in Room 218
Generally, Spanish peer tutoring is available Tuesdays AND Thursdays.  All level 1-3 Spanish students are welcome.  Snacks provided!  See Ms. Woebke for more information.

Chess Club Meeting
The chess team meets on Wednesday after school, from 3:30 until 5:00 pm in room 216, Mr. Fresco’s room. Everyone is welcome…and bring a friend.
Art club is on Thursdays  from 3:15 to 4:30 in room 14.
Come help paint the murals or use the time for open studio projects. 

Japanese Culture Club
Meets Wednesdays from 3:05 to 4:30 in Room 219.  If you are interested in Japanese Culture, Japanese movies, and J-Quiz, please join us.

Southwest Boys Basketball at Target Center Monday February 2

Boys Basketball Playing At The Target Center 

(Your ticket will get you a voucher for a future Timberwolves game too!)

The boys basketball team will be playing at the Target Center on Monday, February 2 versus St. Paul Highland Park.  

Game times are:  C-team @ 3:30, JV @ 5:00 and Varsity @ 6:30.  

Tickets are available for $10 dollars. 

They can be purchased at the table in the link area during lunch at school, from any player, or contact Coach Weko @ 612 802-6264.  

Please come and have a great time supporting the boys.

One Acts - Friday with 7 pm curtain and Saturday with a 6 pm Curtain

One Acts: Tonight Fri., Jan.30 at 7 pm and 

  Saturday, Feb 1 at 6pm in Auditorium 

·      How I learned to Drive  by Paula Vogel, directed by John Lynn.

·      The Game  by Louise Bryant, directed by Tor Johnson. (going to State Competition)


 Buy tickets at the door: Adults $10, Students $5

Hot Notes on a Cold Night - Saturday February 7 - Get Your Tickets Now!

At Hot Notes you can buy tickets and gift cards from local businesses and every dollar goes to SWHS performing arts. Here's a sampling:

Entertainment, wow!
  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Minnesota Opera
  • Vocal Essence
  • Town Hall Lanes
  • Guthrie, Chanhassen, and just about every other theater in town!
Restaurants, yum!
  • Nightingale
  • Loring Kitchen & Bar
  • Spoonriver (plus a cookbook!)
  • Broder's Pasta Bar / Cucina Italiana
  • Tum Rup Thai
  • and DOZENS more
Fitness, go for it!
  • Yoga Fit one month membership
  • YWCA 3 month family membership
  • Bike tune up at The Alt
  • Gear Running Store
  • Spas (yup, fitness)
And so much more it'll blow your mind!
Online bidding for select items begins this Saturday at midnight. Are you ready?!

Hot Notes on a Cold Night Cabaret
Haven't bought tickets?
Register online here.
Register by mail here.

$35 in advance
$50 at the door

Saturday, February 7
7:00 p.m.
St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, Minneapolis


If you have a student in the show and it is a financial hardship to purchase a ticket, please let us know. We want you with us!

Volunteer at Hot Notes? Why, yes, that would be wonderful!
There are many ways to help, big and small, and all of it is appreciated. For more information and to sign up, click here. If you are able, we ask that all volunteers purchase an admission ticket. We guarantee that you will have plenty of time to socialize, bid, and enjoy the entertainment!
—Your Hot Notes hosts

Thursday, January 29, 2015

RePost from Linden Hills - Hot Notes on a Cold Night

Profile: Creating Hot Notes on a Cold Night!

“The kids graduated, but we didn’t,” she says with a laugh…
Hot Notes Cold Night
Hot Notes on a Cold Night planners Julie Madden (left) and Beth Gilleland

Beth Gilleland and Julie Madden – two Southwest Moms helping with the Hot Notes on a Cold Night fundraiser for SWHS Performing Arts – have both seen their youngest kids graduate from Southwest.* Yet, (like me) they are still committed to building and supporting the Southwest High Music, Theater and Dance programs.

These two “Theater Moms” – and by that I mean, women who have histories and careers of their own in theater – will on February 7 entertain and cajole the parents and public during the Hot Notes entertainment segment of the evening. (That is, before and after the silent auction, the Gathering-sign-ups, and the live music and dancing that comprises the Cold Night.)

Julie – whose job is to give the “Big Ask” for money – says, “Asking for money is easy for me to do. Because I know how much time these teachers give to our kids. This kind of attention, these things they learn about themselves and about being part of something, that stays with them their entire lives.”

Beth, who will be the Hot Notes emcee, agrees. Her son Denny took a week-long summer class with longtime (now retired) music teacher Keith Liuzzi before Denny began junior high school. At that class, called “Pick an Instrument,” Denny chose the saxophone… Now he is attending DePaul University, studying music and performance.

As the three of us sat at Turtle Bread, reminiscing about all the great things our kids got from Southwest – the gratitude and true admiration poured out of us:
  • For Margaret Berg – whose choice years ago to stage Les Miserables was in part a way to help the kids authentically connect to the world, and to the Arab Spring movement that was just happening. “She was helping our kids realize, and they do realize it, that art can make a difference,” Julie says.
  • For Nathan Knoll – whose choir program now has five distinct and viable performing groups. (And if you were at the Basilica for the winter program weeks ago, you know just how skilled those choirs really are.)
  • For Bill Smith – whose continued support of the arts has helped make Southwest High School the kind of place where the entire wrestling team can go en masse to the main stage musical.
These are just three examples of the quality of attention these kids get at Southwest. There are so many others, teachers and parent volunteers, that help make things happen for our students. Dance instructor Colleen Callahan-Russell. New band teacher Reid Wixson. Ruth Lemay… Ellen Young… Leslie Walker… Terrell Daniels… Emily Meyer…

And, of course, there are the excellent student artists themselves, worth bragging about. (We’ve profiled a few of them; use “Southwest” and “youth” as keyword searches to find past stories… or check out the “Southwest” category in the Blog Topics menu at middle right.)

“What Southwest has given to us will last forever,” Julie says. “We love this school, so we keep on giving. Our kids graduated, but we didn’t.”

Saturday, Feb 7, 7pm – 11pm
St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church
3450 Irving Ave So

Get tickets here

Find more details about the event in our earlier blog post.

And note that we’re always looking for good story ideas to introduce our talents to the wider community. Don’t be shy!

– Larry LaVercombe, owner

*Julie’s youngest graduated in 2011, Beth’s in 2014, and my son Jesse graduated in 2010.

Communication is Important and Critical and Difficult

Getting the word out is always difficult if not completely impossible.  You never tell the right people, in the right way, in the right manner, at the right time, or enough.  That is especially true over the past 48 hours.

When ever there are children involved we are dealing with the most precious part of any community.  There is a mother, father, loved one, caring person or interested party who cannot get any information regardless of the topic.  If you are talking about my kid, I want to know more.

The robo calls are great but the telephone numbers need to be correct.  The person picking up the message needs to listen even after the first greeting of "This is a message from the Minneapolis Schools."  It needs to be in a language the listener understands.  It does not reach everyone.  This blog can only send out written words and people have to know about the blog, read it from time to time and be comfortable with the information contained.

The District sends out robo calls and press releases.  The radio and TV stations receive information from a variety of sources and then edits and does with it as it makes sense to them.  Sometimes this happens in the middle of the night.  Sometimes it works perfectly with scheduled broadcasts and sometimes not.

Regardless of how much anyone wants to share there is some information that should not be broadcast, some can't be explained and some is very difficult to explain.  All parties involved also have rights that must be protected.  Some information needs to be protected due to investigations.  Some information is in development and can be premature.  The desire to communicate can be there but limited by law, common sense and reasonableness.

Every decision made at Southwest High School and throughout the school system is dictated by what is best for children.  We do not ignore safety or common sense.  When in doubt, don't.  Sometimes those decisions are obvious and popular.  Sometimes they are less obvious and sometimes questioned.   There is never an attempt to hide or confuse.  Even though that sometimes happens.  The well being of our children must be a given.  We must have faith in one another.

Our society needs to be less fearful and violent.  Our city needs to be safer for our children.  Our neighborhoods need to be more protective and supportive of one another.

Southwest New Construction - Bids are Opened and Being Reviewed

Southwest High School Addition!

The bids are opened and being reviewed.  The project appears to be within budget.  The District is pouring over the numbers and will be making recommendation to the Board of Education in a few days.

From a preliminary and unofficial glance it appears that the bids are within budget!!

Now the project is waiting for the Board of Education to award a contract to a construction firm.  The Board meeting is February 9, 2015.

This is another giant step in a major investment in the community and city.  The growing needs of Minneapolis students deserve a quality facility.  The next generation of city leaders needs quality equipment and facilities to learn the skills to compete in a global economy.

One more step!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

School Decisions are Never Easy or Simple

Decisions about school are NEVER easy or simple.  They are filled with emotions, memories and concerns.   Closing school is a complicated and mulit-layered problem.  However, in the matters of student safety caution and security will be paramount in the thought process.

The conditions surrounding events of Tuesday night brought about the serious decision to close Southwest today.    Working very closely with the Minneapolis Police department we have determined that conditions are significantly different to warrant a different decision for Thursday.  

We are confident that we are not placing our students and staff in harm's way and our educational life can return to normal.  That is not to say that we will relax our sense of caution and concern for the safety of our children.   

We understand the emotional response and will make every effort to instill a sense of calm and normalcy within our school and educational community.  Yes, we are living in strange times.  But, when has that not been true.  

Safety is a constant concern and will remain so.  Thank you for your understanding and concerns.  I am looking forward to another great day in the lives of our children and another great school year.

Southwest 2015 City Champions Nordic Skiing

Please extend a hearty congratulations to our Nordic Skiing boys and girls teams for winning the City Championships at Theodore Wirth park yesterday.

2015 City Champions

Lily richmond, daisy Richmond, Marie ryden, Madeline Guillery, lily Scheartzberg, coya hall, Ariana Thompson, Lenna johnson

2015 City Champions

Avanash Patel, Kai Anders-Macleod, Joey Doyle, Foss Kerker, Noah Rothman, Adlai Sinkler, Torsten Brinkema, Conlon Olson

They will be competing in the section championships at Theodore Wirth Park this coming Monday.

Go Lakers!

James Dundon

Southwest and District New Release - School Open Thursday January 29

Jan. 28, 2015
Rachel Hicks
Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs
Southwest High School to welcome students back to school Jan. 29; no unsafe materials found during police walk-through
MINNEAPOLIS – Minneapolis Public School yesterday evening received a bomb threat specific to Southwest High School. The safety of students and staff is our priority, which is why we took deliberate and appropriate action to cancel school.
The Minneapolis Police Department responded to the incident and conducted a walk through at the building this morning. No unsafe materials were found. We are unable to share additional details because of the ongoing police investigation.
“We know today’s closure may have posed an inconvenience to some families, however we make decisions with the safety and security of our students and families in mind,.” said Stan Alleyne, chief communications officer for MPS.
Southwest High School will welcome students and staff back to school tomorrow, Jan. 29 for a regular school day.
There are serious consequences for individuals who make threats to our students and schools. We will cooperate with Minneapolis Police to ensure that individuals are held responsible for their actions.
Today's closure affected all Southwest High School events, including Community Education classes, athletics events and all extracurricular activities. All other MPS schools remained open.

Staff and students were encouraged to participate in classroom discussions and online coursework as much as possible today.

Southwest Update Mid-Day Message to Stduents, Parents, & Community

Message to families

Good morning, this is Bill Smith, principal at Southwest High School. I am calling with an update to the threat we received last night to our school community.

We learned about a credible threat yesterday evening and took deliberate and appropriate action to cancel school. We can confirm that it was a bomb threat specific to Southwest High School. We are unable to share additional details because of the ongoing police investigation.

The Minneapolis Police conducted a walk through of the school and no unsafe materials were found. We will welcome students and staff back to school tomorrow, Jan. 29 for a regular school day.

There are serious consequences for individuals who make threats to our students and schools. We will cooperate with Minneapolis Police to ensure that any individuals are held responsible for their actions.

Again, this is Bill Smith, principal of Southwest High School. I’m calling to share that no unsafe materials were found in our building, and students are welcome back tomorrow, Jan. 29.

Minneapolis Southwest High School Closed Wednesday January 28

SchoolMessenger to families

Good evening, this is Bill Smith, principal of Southwest High School. This is an urgent message for families of Southwest.

School will be closed tomorrow, January 28, for students at Southwest because we received a CREDIBLE threat to the school community. The Minneapolis Police Department is responding to the incident. The safety of students and staff is paramount, which is why we made the decision to close.

This closure affects all Southwest High School events, including community education classes, athletics events and all extracurricular activities. All other MPS schools will remain open.

Students are encouraged to participate in classroom discussions and do coursework online as much as possible tomorrow.

The safety and security of our students is a top priority. We will continue to update families with more information as it is available.

Again, this is Bill Smith calling to let you know that Southwest High School will be closed tomorrow, January 28. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Southwest Speech Opens Season with Awards

The Southwest Speech Team had its first meet this last Saturday and is off to a very strong start. 

We are a great mix of returning members (and captains), along with a wonderful crop of new members. 

The students commit (along with the adults) to a nearly 12 hour day (given the location of the tournament) on a Saturday that begins with a brisk group gathering in the parking lot at 6:30 in the morning. The team is always fine spirited and professional (with silliness mixed it) and are a true credit to our school. Please let them know you are proud of them.

Geneva Larche, Henry Aoki,  Shira Rabkin, Raini Lussier, Piper Shatz-Akin, Nathaniel Larson, Maisy Martin all made it to finals. 

Geneva and the duo of Nathaniel and Piper took first in Humorous and Duo (respectively) , while Shira and Maisy took third place in Original Oratory and Creative Expression (again, respectively). Henry (in Original Oratory) took 7th, while Rayni Lussier took a very impressive 5th place in Prose.

Dan Ferris
Ali Vujovich
Southwest Speech Coaches

Friday, January 23, 2015

Our Town - Outstanding Production by Unhinged Theater - One Night Remaining Friday Jan. 23

One night remaining!  Curtain is at 7:00 pm in the Black Box.  Under the skillful direction of Anna Moskowitz and Anna Young, this ageless classic by Thornton Wilder the production comes to life once again.

The empty set with minimal props focuses the attention to the actors and their words.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  Are you in the moment?

The cast, starting with Stage Manager (Narrator) Piper Shatz-Akin immediately captures the tone of the play, we are in a place that could be anywhere, at an ordinary time and it is all within a second or many years.  Character life, events happen, life goes one and then die.  Some things are clock work - the train whistle - and some things spontaneous - the birth of twins - and time marches on.

Emily (Amy Green) is 10 and 17, a bride and a mother with a four-year old.  Mr. Webb (Zach Christensen) shares with his future son-in-law (Luc Langille)  advise on his wedding day that was passed down from his father on his wedding day.  Behind it all violinist Ava Szychalski reminds of yesterday and tomorrow.  The entire talented cast brings the play into the audience and the audience into the moment and memories.

Once again a wonderful evening produced by talented Southwest students.  An outstanding theatrical production  comparable to any level of actors.  Our Town is one of the numerously performed plays that should be required viewing for all.

Take time to smell the roses.  What did you do today?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Minneapolis Board Meeting Jan. 27 Student-Based Allocation 6-8 pm

Board of Education Meeting reminder

The next school board meeting will be a Committee Meeting of the Whole on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 with a presentation on Student-Based Allocation from 6-8 p.m. The Committee of the Whole is a meeting in which all school board members discuss topics together.

This meeting is open to the public. Please be aware, the meeting starts at 6 p.m., and the format is without a formal public comment period at 5:30 p.m. as seen at regular board meetings.

Davis Center Assembly Room
1250 W. Broadway Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55411

For more information:
School Board Website