Tommie East Hall
The new Tommie East Hall. Photo by Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas

The University of Saint Thomas’ new Tommie East Residence Hall on Cleveland Avenue has become the first building in its category in the Midwest and only seventh in the world to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certification. Saint Thomas opened the five-story, 139,300-square-foot residence hall last fall. It is located on the site of the school’s former faculty residence and can house up to 260 students. Designed by ESG Architecture & Design and constructed by Ryan Companies, the energy-efficient building features electric vehicle charging stations, high-efficiency appliances and low-flow water fixtures, green space access and underground rainwater infiltration. Tommie East is certified using LEED’s Building Design and Construction: Multifamily Midrise rating system for new construction. For the full story, visit

Cretin-Derham Hall, 550 S. Albert St., recently announced that it is planning to begin construction of a new Ryan STEM Center this spring near its library and commons area on the south side of its building. The STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) facility is expected to be used for academic courses and co-curricular activities. Support was provided by alumni Ron Ryan, founder of R.J. Ryan Construction, and Patty Ryan. Wold Architects and Engineers is designing the center.

CDH STEM building
The proposed Ryan Stem Center at Cretin-Derham Hall.

The Saint Paul Public Schools recently announced the winners of the Home Energy Action Talent contest, in which students submitted videos about how to save energy at home. The first-place winners in the two age divisions were Highland Elementary School second-grader Layla Kawo and Highland Park Middle School seventh-grader Alice Verbrugge. More than 80 students participated in the contest. The first-place winners received a $100 VISA gift card and the second-place winners received a $50 gift card. The winning videos can be seen at

The Minnesota Department of Education is seeking local sponsors or sites for this year’s Summer Food Service Program, which ensures that children ages 1-18 receive free nutritious meals during the summer break from school. Children with disabilities and approved individualized education programs may participate through age 21. The no-cost meals are provided at schools, colleges, parks, recreation centers, libraries and elsewhere. Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursement to cover the costs. For more information, visit or call 651-582-8526.


Central High School has eight seniors who were named as National Merit Scholarship Finalists in 2021, one of the largest numbers in recent memory. They include Wrigley Brick, Mani Chadaga, Sasha Hydrie, Marit Isaacson, Simon Klancher, Simon Mulrooney, Akshay Nambudiripad and Joseph Thompson. Each student is eligible for a scholarship of $2,500.

Henry Sibley High School senior Natalie Meyers has advanced to finalist standing in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. She was one of approximately 15,000 semifinalists nationally who were notified this spring that they have advanced to the finalist standing.

TommieMedia student journalists from the University of Saint Thomas won four first-place awards in late January through the Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Minnesota Newspaper Association. The award for best use of multimedia went to Noah Brown and Emily Sweeny for “Navigating handicap accessibility at Saint Thomas.” Best editorial was awarded to Maddie Peters and Kayla Mayer for “Racism at Saint Thomas requires action from administration and students.” Best sports feature went to Carly Noble for “Remembering the grandfather of Saint Thomas softball.” The highly competitive best website award went to Emily Haugen and TommieMedia. To learn more, visit


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Saint Paul Academy made it to the elimination round of eight during the Minnesota Academy of Science’s virtual high school Science Bowl on January 23. The contest drew 150 students in five-person teams competing to solve technical problems and answer questions in all branches of science and math.


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