Celebrating the great work of Faribault students and staff
Students raise over $10,000 for Toys for Tots
Supportive staff, programming, help students pass citizenship test
Courtesy of the Faribault Daily News
A course offered through the the Faribault Public Schools Community Education program and the Faribault Education Center (FEC) has been playing a key role in helping area residents gain their United States citizenship. The FEC offers these types programs designed for people who are all adults with a wide range of ages and status. “Our program are for people who do not qualify for the high school, so they are all adults,” said FEC teacher Laura Hakala. “Within that there is a huge range from young adults and new arrivals to older people who have been here for many years and have now found time to work on their education or apply for citizenship.
Two of the latest local residents to gain their U.S. citizenship status with help from the class were Isabela Mejia Ramierz and Farhiya Shadali.
A former resident of the central Mexico city of El Carreton in the state of Guanaujato, Mejia Ramierz came to the United States 23 years ago since her husband was working in the Faribault area. The couple have one daughter and all three are now U.S. citizens.
Shadali is from Baladweyne, Somalia and also came to the United States since her husband was working at Jenny-O in Faribault. The couple have four children and all of them are now United States citizens too.
The U.S. Citizenship class offered by the FEC helps individuals prepare for the process of applying for citizenship and passing tests required by the government. One part of the exam includes a quiz that covers 128 knowledge questions on United States history, civics government and responsibilities of a citizen. Citizenship candidates also have to demonstrate that they can read, write and speak English. The FEC class strives to prepare its students to answer the test questions and prepare them to meet the reading and speaking requirements. Both Meija Ramierz and Shadali recently completed their citizenship exam in Minneapolis. “The class and instructors helped me a lot,” Mejia Ramierz said. “On the test, I was very nervous but from memorizing what the class had taught me and paying attention to specific questions, when the person on the test asked those questions, I was able to recall those specific questions asked in class. When they started to ask the questions, I started to feel more relaxed because I would remember the questions from class.”
The U.S. Citizenship classes are offered throughout the year and there are a pair of course sessions each week. Each session consists of two 1/2 hour classes each week and it is based upon an individual’s literacy level. “One class is for those who are working on their reading and writing,” Hakala said. “Then we can just focus on them getting to recognize words and letter sound correspondences, whereas the more advanced class be diving into the content they need to have memorized for the exam.” The classes are all done in English with help from pictures in the text book and an occasional use of Google translate for words that may not be clear through a teacher’s explanation. “It is immersion education,” Hakala said. “We try to meet their level of literacy and skills to bring them up to whatever the next level is for that student.”
Students in the classes come from a variety of countries including Somalia, China, Cambodia, Viet Nam and Mexico along with countries in both Central and South America. “Whoever is willing and ready, we provide the services to help those people along,” Hakala said. Both Mejia Ramierz and Shadali listed better opportunities as one of the benefits of living in the United States. Shadali is enrolled in English language courses at the FEC, and the goal of many involved with the programs at the FEC is to obtain their diplomas or GEDs and possibly advance to the college level. “I definitely hope to get better in school,” Shadali said. The pair also praised the help they received from Hakala and teacher Bridget Lund in helping them pass their citizenship exams.
Hakala said she has received positive feedback from those individuals who have had success taking the U.S. Citizenship class. “I hope the class makes them feel less anxious about taking the test, that they feel prepared and that it is something that is manageable for them,” Hakala said. “Once they gain citizenship, I am sure a lot of other anxieties are relieved about family relations within the country and the certainty of your future…because once you get citizenship then you can travel with a passport and you are always welcome in the United States.” Hakala added, “Some of the students in the class may not be planning to apply for citizenship but they are welcome in the class anyway because everyone needs to know what their rights are, how the government works and what is the history of this place they are living in.”
FMS musicians perform at Winterfest
"We want students to recognize that they are woven into the fabric of the Faribault community and that even at a young age there are ways they can contribute," teacher Amelia Tesdahl said. "It truly isn't about a perfect performance; it's about recognizing and celebrating the things that make us human and using music as a tool to bring us together."
7th grader Ani Gliem: "It was really fun and exhilarating and nice to see everybody so interested and listening even when I made a few mistakes..they just acted like nothing happened. I felt like I was doing good by making people happy... It was really nice because it was like spirit-lifting to see everyone together after the rough year we had."
Lockerby part of winning team in Football Showcase
Congratulations to senior Devin Lockerby, who represented the Falcons in the Minnesota High School Football Showcase Dec. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Players and coaches representing 83 schools participated in the game. They were selected by members of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association. Lockerby was part of the victorious South team.
Lockerby signed his letter of intent to play football at North Dakota State University Wednesday at FHS.
VIDEO: FHS Rotary concert
Staff Spotlight: Myranda Splett
Myranda Splett, Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher at Faribault Middle School
Hometown: Morristown, MN
Education: I attended UW-Stout for my bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education and later earned my Master's of Education in Curriculum Instruction with a K-12 Reading Endorsement through Concordia University - St. Paul.
Career: I taught for 4 years at Mankato West High School and am now in my 8th year at FMS! My husband and I also own a food concession stand.
Additional roles in FPS: I am currently on the middle school Site Council and am the team lead for the exploratory department.
What are some of your hobbies and interests? I love baking, hiking, being outdoors, reading, and spending time with my family and friends. I have 3 kids that keep me very busy!
What's something interesting about you that not a lot of people know? Throughout college, I spent the summers working in Alaska! I spent two summers working at a fishing camp in the middle of nowhere and two summers at an Alaskan art gallery in Homer, AK.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in education? I started my college journey as an interior design major but changed my mind after the first semester. I wanted a job where I could be creative, use my leadership skills and work with kids. My mom is also a FACS teacher so I knew what the job entailed and followed her in her footsteps!
What do you enjoy most about working with students? I love their excitement and the spark when they learn something new. I especially love helping them learn how to cook and hear how excited and proud they are when they apply those skills at home. Every day is different when working with middle school students. I feel so much pride seeing them succeed!
Share a bit about a fun project or innovative project you’ve worked on in the past. What made it memorable for you?
A favorite foods lab this past quarter was when the students made pasta. They absolutely loved the lab and it's a recipe they can make at home. It was really fun to see how they customized their pastas with different types of noodles, sauces and vegetables. My students are currently sewing in class and it is so rewarding to see them transform from being nervous to being super confident!
What do you enjoy most about working in FPS? Our school community is unmatched. I have the absolute best co-workers and support system. Faribault has amazing educators that are always working hard and doing their best for the kids! I love all the opportunities for students in Faribault and it is rewarding working with a diverse group of students!
Smile Fairy visits Lincoln
Shawn Peck: What a principal is grateful for
Faribault Daily News column by Roosevelt Principal Shawn Peck
It’s the time of year that we take a moment to reflect on what we are truly grateful for. Most of us focus on big things like health, family, pets, and friends. Some of us focus on little things like a good cup of coffee, afternoon naps, a good book, or free wi-fi. From the principal’s chair at Roosevelt Elementary School, there are several members of our school community that I feel compelled to show my gratitude for because, without them, we simply would not be able to fulfill our purpose of teaching the children that attend our schools in Faribault and having a positive impact on their lives.
- If our students don't have loving, caring, and supportive homes, it is hard to teach them well at school. Thank you, parents & families.
- If our students can't get to school, they can't learn at school. Thank you, bus drivers.
- If our students are hungry, it is hard for them to learn. Thank you, cooks and foodservice employees.
- If our students don't have adequate one-on-one support, they can't meet their full potential. Thank you, paraprofessionals and educational assistants.
- If students don't have their social and emotional needs met, it is hard for them to excel academically. Thank you, social workers.
- If there is no one to fill in for teachers or staff when they are out sick, students can’t continue to learn. Thank you, substitute teachers.
- If our school is broken down and dirty, people feel no school pride and it is hard for people to teach and learn. Thank you, custodial staff.
- If we didn't have professionals that set up our tech systems and problem solve issues when they arise, we couldn't utilize technology for learning. Thank you, technicians.
- If our communication and organization are poor (or if there isn’t someone to tell the principal what to do), things do not run smoothly and culture suffers. Thank you, secretaries.
- If we can't connect with parents or build community partnerships, it is harder to meet the needs of children at school. Thank you, Family and Community Engagement Specialists and Family Literacy Specialists.
- If we didn't have talented people to sit side by side with emerging learners, we would not be able to get them caught up to grade level. Thank you, AmeriCorps tutors.
- If we didn't have highly trained and caring health professionals in our schools, we would not be able to navigate a global pandemic and continue learning. Thank you, school nurses.
- If there is no vision, direction, or support offered by strong leaders, our teachers and staff can become frustrated and disillusioned. Thank you, Superintendent Sesker, cabinet, and school board members.
- If our students don't have talented and dedicated educators that love them, believe in them, and challenge them to meet their full potential, they won’t ever realize the greatness that lies within them. Thank you, teachers.
- And most importantly - if we didn't have the wonderful children that fill our schools with so much joy and love each day, we would not feel as whole and fulfilled as we all do. Thank you, students.
STOPS students decorate, donate tree
Staff Spotlight: Manya Fiock
Manya Fiock, Social Studies Teacher, Faribault Area Learning Center
Hometown: Lakeville, MN
Education: History & Sociology/Anthropology double major from Gustavus Adolphus College, Teaching 5-12 in Social Studies Certification from Mankato State University Graduate Program
Career: 5 years teaching English in the South Korean public school system, 1 year teaching 6th grade Minnesota Studies, First year in Faribault Public Schools
What are some of your hobbies and interests? I love to read and make it a goal to get through 48 books a year - this year I'm at 56! Fantasy is my go to genre for books and movies.
What's something interesting about you that not a lot of people know? I travel with my cat and together we've been to multiple foreign countries, and a large number of national parks!
Why did you decide to pursue a career in education? I love working with people, and I had a professor at GAC recommend I go to South Korea to teach for a year; I ended up staying 5 years and fell in love with teaching so I knew I had to come back and get my license to teach!
What do you enjoy most about working with students? Their creativity and their passion for their interests. Students never cease to amaze and surprise me with what they are capable of!
Share a bit about a fun project or innovative project you’ve worked on in the past. What made it memorable for you? I had a class play a Voyageurs game, and they got dressed up for it, made their own canoe logos and had to compete in a series of Voyageur tasks to get to Grand Portage first and be able to trade for the most beaver pelts. It was memorable because the students were so invested in this project, and it was just so fun to watch them become absorbed in what we were doing that day!
What do you enjoy most about working in FPS?
I enjoy the people I get to work with each day. The ALC is a great community of staff and students with an atmosphere like no other!