The Bear Facts
April 8, 2017


Good morning! I’m Emerald Shipler!

I’m Gabe Trainer!

And I’m Nolan Greene! 

Last weekend’s Gala was a record-breaker. The final totals aren’t in yet, but we do know that guests contributed more than $385,000, or about $50,000 more than the previous record. One of the most successful new projects this year was called “Pick Your Passion”, a board with several small things that were on teachers’ wish lists at Garrigan and Seton. Every one of those projects found a sponsor. We thank the guests who supported them and everything else at Gala 2017.

This past Wednesday and Thursday Garrigan students had a special activity in conjunction with students at Algona High. Called “Every 15 Minutes”, the program is intended to prevent drunk, impaired, and distracted driving. We began the day with an activity that was intended to drive home just how serious of a problem drunk driving is. While we sat in class, every fifteen minutes a costumed Grim Reaper came around and took away a student as a victim.

Wednesday afternoon we went over to Algona High to see a very realistic re-creation of a tragic car accident. Local police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians were on the scene, and there was even a life-flight ambulance from Mercy Medical Center in Mason City. Then a hearse showed up to haul away the final victims.

We saw the aftermath of an accident in a re-creation of the hospital emergency room and video from the police station. That continued Thursday when we witnessed a drunk driving trial and also attended a funeral for the victims of the crash we’d seen. We also heard guest speakers remind us of how many people that each accident affects and urge us to make intelligent choices.

While the math behind “Every 15 Minutes” is wrong—in fact someone in America dies from drunk driving about once an hour—it’s still an important problem, and we definitely got the point. The presentations were interesting., and they definitely made us more aware. As one speaker said, if even one student changes behavior because of the program, it served its purpose.

Last Wednesday the Golden Bear quiz bowl team competed in a nationwide online competition called 3—2—1, and they did very well. The team’s score of 361 was 50 points more than Garrigan scored when they competed last fall, and it should place them among the top fifty schools nationwide. Competing for the Bears were senior Levi Capesius; juniors Ben Degen, Sam Trainer, and Nolan Greene; and sophomores Logan Heying, Gabe Trainer, and Ashlyn Harrington. Congratulations, quiz bowl!

Today the Bishop Garrigan music department is hosting the state solo and small ensemble music contest for Class A schools in our area. Musicians will be competing individually and in small groups with both band and choral selections. This will be the final solo and ensemble contest for longtime music teachers Ken and Linda Ferjak, and we wish them and all the Garrigan students good luck today.

Last year we began a tradition of spring field trips at Garrigan, which we’re continuing this year. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be traveling to different destinations. These include houses of worship for other religions, the state capitol and supreme court building, and a fish hatchery. The trips will happen next Wednesday, April 12.

Next week is Holy Week, as we get ready for Easter. Each year on Holy Thursday we have a special retreat at Garrigan to help us get closer to our faith. This year’s day of reflection will begin with a footwashing service for our seniors, followed by living Stations of the Cross. We’ll hear talks on St. Cecelia’s sister parish in Haiti and Fr. Sunny Dominic’s trip to Mother Teresa’s canonization. We’ll also see the movie Voiceless, and we’ll end the day with our intramural basketball championship.

Next week is also important for the Garrigan students who are part of the Algona FFA. Emerald Shipler, Lexi Berte, Drew Merron, Bryce Garman and Madelyn Cink will be headed for the state FFA convention in Ames starting tomorrow and ending next Tuesday. The FFA students are showing off their leadership skills and exploring careers in agriculture-related fields. Congratulations, FFA!

Our Senior Spotlight this week shines on Matt Lappe and Brandon Berte. Here to tell you about them is John Zeimet. 

Matt Lappe loves to farm. He enjoys helping out with the hogs at his home near Wesley. He also takes construction classes, and his past activities include football. Matt plans to attend Kirkwood next year, and we wish him all the best in the future.

Brandon Berte has been a cross-country manager, and in the past he also ran in cross-country and track. He’s also been in golf, and he loves spending time with friends. Brandon plans to go to DMACC next year, and we wish him good luck.

Thanks, Johnny! On this week’s Golden Bear calendar, there’s state solo and ensemble music contest today at Garrigan. Today is also packaging day for Parish Families Against Hunger.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and the FFA members will be leaving for the state convention. Then on Monday there’s golf at Belmond, boys track at Fort Dodge, and the girls track team hosts the BGHS relays.

Tuesday the girls track team runs in the Algona High relays, and the golf team plays at Britt. Wednesday is field trip day, and that night is the junior high spring show. Also on Wednesday night the juniors will have an overnight retreat.

We’ll have our day of reflection on Thursday, followed by the intramural basketball championship. Then the Triduum of Easter begins.

Finally this week we want to extend our condolences to the family of Hunter Origer of West Bend, who was killed in a tragic accident this week. When he was in middle school, Hunter was a classmate of the BGHS sophomores. We offer our sympathy and our prayers for him and his family.

That’s the “Bear Facts” for this weekend. Thanks for joining us, and be sure to tune in again next week for more news from Bishop Garrigan High School.