VISTA Productions (Visitation and Saint Thomas Academy) earned Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Awards for its show Peter and the Starcatcher directed by Wendy Short-Hays. The honors include outstanding Overall Performance, Sound Crew, Lighting Crew and Overall Technical Team. Several individual awards were also earned. Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role went to Tess Cavanaugh (as Mrs. Bumbrake). Outstanding Technical Leadership went to Megan Overel as Assistant Sound Designer, Thomas Lund as Board Operator, Ryan Farrington for Props, and Jax Wiitanen, Tommy Ondrey and Amaia Walsh as Deck Captains.

Peter and the StarCatcher
Visitation’s "Peter and the Starcatcher." Photo by Chuck Nields

The MSHSL State Debate Tournament drew several local student qualifiers on January 13-14 at the University of Minnesota. Central’s Max Ulven competed in Lincoln Douglas debate. Central’s Maren Lien & Cayden Mayer and Eleanor Johnson & Kieran Levitre, and Highland Park’s Audrey Snowbeck & Sebastian Crea competed in policy debate. Saint Paul Academy’s Cerena Karmaliani and David Schumacher made it to the quarterfinals in public forum debate.

The Saint Paul School Board elected officers for 2023 during its annual meeting on January 3. They include chair Jim Vue, vice chair Jessica Kopp, clerk Halla Henderson and treasurer Uriah Ward. The board also includes Chauntyll Allen, Zuki Ellis and Jeanelle Foster.

The Women’s Drum Center, 2242 University Ave., will hold a four-part drumline camp from 6-7 p.m. Saturdays, February 4-25. Participants will explore original drum pieces as well as songs performed by drumHeart, the center’s premier ensemble. Some drumming experience is encouraged. Drums will be provided. The cost is $65. For information or to register, visit

Saint Thomas Academy senior Samuel Fulton was named the 2022-2023 cadet colonel and brigade commander, the highest-ranking officer in the school’s corps of cadets. Jackson Cercioglu was promoted to cadet command sergeant major, the senior-most noncommissioned officer in the brigade. Seniors  Luke Pucel, Michael Miller, Hung Nguyen, Emmett Wolf and Bennett Kotok were promoted to cadet lieutenant colonel. Promoted to command sergeant major were Gavin Engelbert, Eric Zauha, Adam Husaby and Luke Audette.

Saint Paul School Board member Zuki Ellis received the Marny Xiong Legacy Award at the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) conference on January 12. The award was established in 2020 for late board chair Marny Xiong. She died in June 2020 at the age of 31 due to COVID-19. The award honors school board members who have spent years making a lasting impact on the lives of children, teachers and administrators. Saint Paul board vice chair Jessica Kopp received a directors’ award for completing 100 or more hours of MSBA training programs within her term.

Saint Thomas Academy’s 2022-2023 cadet colonel and brigade commander Samuel Fulton (left) and cadet command sergeant major Jackson Cercioglu.


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