What's New @ 542
A Student's Perspective
A Student Testimonial
Our teachers are doing their best to make this transition to online learning as smooth as possible, which I’m sure can be difficult and frustrating, especially for the less tech savvy people. I assure you that you aren’t the only ones having a difficult time, and myself and my classmates all miss your classes and seeing you every day, and wish everything could just go back to normal.
We’re all in this together, and I genuinely believe I speak for everyone when I say that we appreciate your hard work to educate us in the face of adversity. So keep at it, and hopefully this will become an easier and enjoyable experience for everyone. Thank you all!
By: Joey Nine
Checking in with Ms. Wendy in the Kitchen
We asked Wendy Molstad in the kitchen some questions and this is what she had to say!
How has distance learning affected your job?
Distance learning has affected my job in many ways. The first is NOT being able to see the kiddos every day. I miss the kids so much. Then there is the paperwork nightmare that has been caused by this pandemic. I have had to apply for many different waivers from the State of Minnesota and the Federal Government. These waivers included things like, approval to serve breakfast and lunch at the same time, approval for meal deliveries, approval for substitutions for meal pattern requirements and many more. There have been many, many, many hours of distance learning for me too! I have watched many webinars and had many zoom meetings with Food Service Directors from around our region and the state.
Has distance learning made your job harder?
During the first two weeks, it was very difficult. With an amazing amount of help from Steve and the bus drivers at the Bus Garage, Krys and Nya in the offices, and several AMAZING Para's; the work has become easier. The amount of work is… different. We are making the same amount of food now as we did when we were in school, the only difference is that we don't have the salad bar/alternate lines, just the main line. I HAVE THE BEST KITCHEN STAFF EVER!
What are some disadvantages that you and the lunch staff have faced while working during distance learning?
One of the issues we have faced, and are still facing, is getting products and supplies. Because this has affected the entire country, everyone is using take-out containers. Therefore, they have been difficult to source. We were using brown paper bags right away, but they became impossible to get, and I was getting worried. Then Mr. Setterholm had a great solution - MINNOW BAGS! Only in Minnesota would someone think of using minnow bags as lunch bags! Mr. Setterholm contacted Marshall Koep and he DONATED 2,000 minnow bags! THANK YOU, MARSHALL KOEP!!!
Are there any advantages?
Yes, there are advantages to distance feeding! We know exactly how much food to prepare. We have been able to keep working, which is wonderful. And we have been able to work in departments that we haven't before.
What does your work day look like right now, in comparison to how it did, say, two months ago?
Besides not having the energy and noise in the building, my day is roughly the same. We come to work, we make food, we feed kids, we clean up, we go home.
Is there anything you'd like to say, or any advice you'd like to give, to the students?
I just want ALL of the students to know how much we miss all of you! I want you all to know you are special. You matter. You are unique. Please remember to be kind to each other, be courteous to others, and always respect yourself and those around you. You don't always have to agree, but you can always be KIND! See you in the fall!!!
Miss Wendy (a.k.a. Momma Wendy, a.k.a. the Wendster, a.k.a. Wendall)
Ms. Block has been teaching for three years, all of which have been with Battle Lake School. Her favorite part of teaching at Battle Lake is the sense of community and the students.
Her favorite class to teach, in terms of curriculum, is natural resources. She goes on to say, "I am very passionate about being outdoors and the wildlife we have here in Minnesota, so being able to bring that to my students means so much to me." Recently, a student in Ms. Block's class decided to "hatch chicks in the classroom" for a project. The picture included here is Ms. Block with one of those chicks, Chico! All chicks are now living with Ms. Block in a coop built special for them.
Ms. Block was inspired to become a teacher based largely on her experiences in high school. She loved her exposure to high school agriculture and FFA and I wanted to be a part in helping students get those same experiences as well as helping students understand the importance of agriculture. However, she didn't decide to go into teaching until her sophomore year of college. In her words, "It was always in my mind that I wanted to be involved in agriculture, I just didn’t know what that looked like until then."
Since Ms. Block arrived at Battle Lake, she has been the co-FFA advisor. Some of the things that she loves about being the FFA advisor includes being able to see students grow and learn through different experiences. Some of the projects the FFA works on include; the greenhouse, the school field, fruit sales and conventions, just to name a few.
Healthy Banana Pancakes
As a student in a distance learning environment, I have been making my own lunch everyday, as I think other students are doing as well. I know that pancakes are a “breakfast food” but I personally think they can be eaten anytime of the day. Click on the link below to view a healthy pancake recipe with bananas that are fun to make! Feel free to print the recipe off…...you will not regret it!
Making Healthier Decisions with your Food!
Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started.
- Slow down. Slowing down while you eat is an easy way to start. If you eat slower your body can process the food you are eating and will let you know when you are full so you don’t overeat.
- Use Greek Yogurt. Using greek yogurt is better than regular yogurt because it is rich in high-quality protein and nutrients that people often do not get.
- Drink a lot of water. Drinking water can maintain weight and slightly increase the calories you burn in a day. Drinking a glass of water before a meal can also decrease your appetite.
- Stay away from “Diet” foods. The way that companies make “diet” foods actually makes the foods have more unneeded sugar and sometimes even have more calories than the non-diet version of that food.
- Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is important to being healthier because if you get too little sleep your appetite goes up and it can also affect your metabolism.
Best Ways to Stay Healthy
- Wash your hands often, especially after touching everyday objects like doorknobs and phones.
- Fist bump instead of shaking hands, high fives or hugging.
- Try coughing inside your elbow or into a tissue.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes or mouth.
- Avoid contact with those infected.
- If you are sick, stay home.
- Sanitize common household surfaces.
- Avoid unnecessary travel and crowds.
Nature and Mental Health Among Veterans
Nature is therapeutic. We can all attest to this. The solace it provides is beyond compare as it fills one with a sense of peace and comfort. Nature’s healing effects are especially evident among our nation’s heroes. Something truly special happens when those who have fought to protect this country are able to find themselves immersed in the natural world. The results are astounding in fact.
Outdoor excursions are a valued element in the lives of the Fergus Falls Veterans Home residents. In an interview with Brad Anderson, the Fergus Falls Vets Home Recreation Program Asst, LPN, and veteran, he reveals the mental benefits nature can have on our vets. Anderson explains how the Rec Program sets up various outdoor activities and excursions to benefit the veterans. The vets are taken out on summer and winter fishing retreats, pontoon rides, rodeos, Ely trips to the Veterans on the Lake, an annual Duluth fishing trip, hunting trips to Orwell Dam and Camp Ripley, growing gardens, and even singing the national anthem at Twins and RedHawks games.
Anderson explains many veterans face PTSD, anxiety, or depression symptoms. However, he describes the benefits outdoor excursions offer the veterans as they face these mental illnesses. He states that the veterans staying at his facility “get so excited” when they can get outside. Anderson reveals the healing power of outdoor recreation in the lives of vets when he states, “They start to remember jokes. They start to bond. They start to talk with each other." He goes on to explain, “In these activities is when they start to communicate and where they share emotional past experiences.”
Anderson continues to describe how much these outings mean to the veterans:
“I had one guy break into tears the other day. He was so happy just to be outside.” It can be concluded that outdoor excursions strike a chord with our veterans; they find an emotional connection with the natural world.
After realizing the profound impact of nature on veterans' mental health, it’s natural to wonder how our community can ensure our local vets can get outdoors. How can we show our appreciation and care for the ones who have fought for us? Supporting the ongoing work of the Fergus Falls Veterans Home Recreation Program will ensure that local veterans get the nature therapy they so desperately need. To give back, consider a monetary donation as it will provide the Veterans Home with the ability to continue offering our vets natural experiences. If you have other ideas for how to help our veterans enjoy the outdoors or other gifts to further the program, feel free to contact Brad Anderson at the Fergus Falls Veterans Home Activity Department. For more information please contact the Fergus Falls Veterans Home at (218) 736-0400. Thank you for supporting our local heroes (Anderson)!
By: Kathleen George & Connor Drake