The Bear Facts
                                                                    November 14, 2015

Good morning! I’m Carolyn Baxter!

I’m Devin Degen!

And I’m Andrew Lallier! You’re listening to the “Bear Facts”, the radio show where each week we keep you in touch with all the news from Bishop Garrigan High School.

Today Garrigan is hosting the Top of Iowa Conference Quiz Bowl Tournament. We began hosting a conference tournament last year in the North Iowa Conference, and when the conference expanded, we invited teams from throughout the Top of Iowa Conference to compete. Twelve teams from eight different schools are entered in the tournament, coming from as far away as North Butler in Greene. 

There are two teams representing the Golden Bears today. One includes seniors Devin Degen and Joseph Espinosa, junior Levi Capesus, and sophomores Noah Buscher and Devin Degen; while the other features junior Andrew Thilges, sophomores Sam Trainer, Tommy Kollasch and Caitlin Thilges, and freshman Logan Heying. Good luck to Coach David Burrow and the quiz bowl team!

This is the busiest time of year for the BGHS danz squad. The girls have started two-a-days, with practices both before school and again in the evening. The 2015-16 danz squad includes five girls who were selected for the All-Iowa Honor Dance Team: state champion Courtney Noonan, and also Sarah Skilling, Chloe Garman, Danielle Plathe and Hailey Kollasch.

Other danz squad members include Sophia Grandgenett, Kassidy Schiltz, Aubrey McEnroe, Kat Willie, and Olivia Hall; plus Grace Menke, Laurel Degen, Isabelle Capesius, Madison Illg, and Megan Besch. Among the dances they are practicing is a kick routine with a Willy Wonka theme. Good luck all season long to Coach Colleen Schiltz and the dancers!

We recently learned that both BGHS and Algona High had received extremely generous donations to benefit the music programs. Here at Garrigan we will be using the anonymous $25,000 gift to buy two new Clavinova pianos for the choir and new uniforms for the Solid Gold Marching Band. We are very thankful to this donor for their extremely generous gift.

This coming week freshmen, sophomores, and juniors at Garrigan will be getting out their #2 pencils to take the Iowa Assessments. These tests, which used to be called Basic Skills and ITEDs are one of the ways the state keeps track of how both individual students and the school as a whole is doing. When the results come back teachers take a detailed look at them to look for areas where we can improve our curriculum.

The Iowa Assessments are just one of many different tests students take. The official alternative assessment we use at Garrigan is called the STAR Test, which identifies specific weaknesses people have in math and reading. Almost every student at Garrigan also takes the ACT, a much higher percentage than at most high schools. Other tests we use are the ASSET, which qualifies students to take college courses in high school and the PSAT National Merit Test.

Some people have wondered how it’s been going now that grades 4 – 12 are out in the Garrigan building. Well, it’s crowded. It seems like there’s always people in the halls as the little kids go to music, P.E., and lunch. For high school students, it can be a long walk between classes—particularly when we’re coming from the new addition. Mostly, though, things have been going very well, and there haven’t been any major problems with having kids of different ages under one roof.

There are some advantages to having middle schoolers in the same building, too. The change has allowed a couple of sixth and seventh graders to take accelerated math and science classes, where they’re together high school freshmen. Those girls will continue to take advanced classes in the future and should be able to rack up lots of college credits by the time they graduate.

Our Senior Spotlight this week shines on Cady Steinman. Here to tell you about her is Mariah Bronk.

Cady Steinman has been involved in cheerleading all through high school, and she’s also one of the Bears’ top cross-country runners. This Algona native is also active in intramural basketball and Christian Leadership in Action. She’s looking at a career as a dental hygienist after high school, and we wish Cady all the best of luck in the future.

Thanks, Mariah. On our Golden Bear calendar this week, there’s the conference quiz bowl tournament here at Garrigan today. Tomorrow the freshman confirmation candidates will have a time of reflection with their sponsors.

All week long next week we’ll be running the late start schedule at Garrigan, though most students will still need to be at school on time. That’s because we’ll be starting the day with the Iowa Assessments.

The conference band festival is Monday afternoon in Mason City. Also that day boys basketball practice starts. Then on Wednesday we’ll have the annual induction ceremony for the National Honor Society.

There’s also an all-school mass on Wednesday. Thursday some of the Golden Bears will be gone to watch the state football championship in the UNI-Dome. Then on Friday we’ll have a jeans day for Gala.

Also next Friday junior Levi Capesius will be in Ames for the All-State Music Festival. The festival concert is next Saturday, and it will be aired on Iowa Public Television over Thanksgiving weekend.

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