Minnehaha Academy Blog

Yearbook Staff Awarded by International Journalism Honor Society

Posted by Amy Barnard on Dec 17, 2019

2019-Quill-and-Scroll-Awardees copy

Quill and Scroll, an international high school journalism society with nearly 100 years of history honored four Minnehaha Academy students as well as the yearbook staff as a whole last week for their work.

The staff received Quill and Scroll's Blue and Gold award in the area of Comprehensive Visuals for the selection of photos they entered in the contest.

The following students received individual awards:

Lily McClelland, Junior: First place overall in the clubs/organizations photo division, below.

11 Clubs service interns Lily McClelland
McClelland's photo of Sammi '19 and Annika '19 collecting blankets for a charity drive. 
Anna Noble, Junior: Second place, feature photo, below.
12 Feature photo swingset Anna Noble
Noble's photo of Linnea Askegaard '21 and Abby Hobrough '21 playing with children during last year's Cultural Field Experience.
Josh St. Andrew, Sophomore: Second place, student life photo, below.
10 Student Life diploma Josh
St. Andrew's photo of Olivia '19 receiving her diploma from her father, Lower School instructor Jeff Bosshardt.
Stella Berlin, Sophomore: Third place, academic photo, below.
9 Academic photo Line drawing Stella
Berlin's photo of Bekah Hoyle '22 in art class.
Congrats on a job well done, yearbook staff!
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Topics: Awards, Academics, Exceptional Academics

Prestigious Colleges Honor Five MA Juniors

Posted by Amy Barnard on Jun 27, 2019

2019-FALL-BOOK-AWARDS-For-SocialFive prestigious colleges honored Minnehaha Academy students with book awards, presented at the end of the school year.

These awards recognize students who demonstrate academic excellence, commitment to their community, leadership, and character.

The students each received a book connected in some way to the school honoring them, chosen by alumni of that school.

This year's book award recipients are:

Grace Anderson—Wellesley College Book Award

This award recognizes a student who demonstrates intelligence, determination, motivation, and achievement, is a visible member of her school and communities, and is an academic leader. 

Clara Stein—Yale University Book Award

This award honors a student who demonstrates outstanding personal character and intellectual promise. 

Patrick Cullinan—George Washington University Book Award

This award pays tribute to a student who embodies the George Washington drive and spirit, specifically with his academic excellence, leadership outside of the classroom, diversity of thought, and ability to put knowledge into action. 

Andrew Karpenko—Harvard University Book Award

This award honors an outstanding student who displays excellence in scholarship and high character, combined with achievement in other fields. 

Danyelle Robinson—Gordon College Book Award

This award recognizes a student who exhibits excellent academic achievement, strong leadership potential, and commitment to Christ-honoring service for the common good. 

Congratulations, students!

Topics: Awards, Upper School, Exceptional Academics

French Students Take Home National Honors

Posted by Amy Barnard on Jun 18, 2019

2019-MS-French Exam awards

Middle School French students have acquitted themselves very well again this year on Le Grand Concours (the National French contest).

Seventh Grade French Honors:

Honorable Mention
16th Nationally and 4th in Minnesota
Robert “Xavier” Wilson

Bronze Medalists
14th Nationally and 3rd in Minnesota
Elaina “Célia” Johnson

12th Nationally and 2nd in Minnesota
Tito “Cédric” Sanchez


Eighth Grade French Honors:

Honorable Mention
21st Nationally and 20th in Minnesota
Jonah “Félix” Hixon  

19th Nationally and 18th in Minnesota
Makenzie “Rose” Streed

15th Nationally and 14th in Minnesota 
Ruben “Guy” Rubio Ramirez

14th Nationally and 13th in Minnesota
Danny “Daniel” Geyer

Bronze Medalists
12th Nationally and 11th in Minnesota
Kayla “Angélique” Riddley • Sofia “Claire” Howland

11th Nationally and 10th in Minnesota
Kennedi “Marie-Claire” Brumley

10th in the Nation and 9th in Minnesota
Ella “Sylvie” Pickerign • Jasmine “Agathe” Waktola

Silver Medalists
7th Nationally and 7th in Minnesota
Halle “Zoé” Whitman

Gold Medalists
4th Nationally and 4th in Minnesota
Daniel Ma

3rd Nationally and 3rd in Minnesota
Elizabeth “Elisabeth” Weber


Félicitations à tous!

Topics: Awards, Middle School, Academics

Middle Schoolers Take Top Honors in National Latin Exam

Posted by Amy Barnard on Jun 17, 2019

2019-MS-Latin-Awards for Social-1

In 2019 over 139,00 students took the National Latin Exam throughout the world. Minnehaha Academy Middle School students grabbed hold of this opportunity to shine, bringing home some solid honors.

Latin IA Awards:

11 students took the test and 9 students won awards.  

Special Certificate of Achievement:
Savannah Silvia Switzer • Curtis Decimus Craig • Ben Marcus Stromberg • Gabrielle Aemilia Wamre • Solomon Rufus O’Bert

Outstanding Achievement:
Aidan Marius Ghylin • Hailey Tullia Hill • Gavin Petrus Beck • Sienna Fulvia Kath

8th Grade Latin Awards:

17 students took the test and we had  14 winners.  

Cum Laude (with praise) Award:
Alex Petra Torstenson • David Dominicus John • Benji Septimus Koeckeritz • Justin Lustinus Nakatani

Magna Cum Laude (with great praise) Award:
Jonathan Primus Karpenko • Stella Silvia Kalmoe • Jack Lacobus Borgeson

Silver Medal, Maxima Cum Laude (with greatest praise) Award:
Owen Ioannes Hoffner • Kate Viola Mahoney

Gold Medal, Summa Cum Laude (with highest praise) Award: Simon Simonus Poelman • Lars Octavius Ramgren • Gabriel Horatius King • Grace Quinta Kassebaum • Elizabeth Flora Novak

Gratulationes omnibus!  We are so proud of you all!


Topics: Awards, Middle School, Academics

Senior Honors: Class of 2019

Posted by Amy Barnard on Jun 12, 2019

2019-Distinguished and National Merit Grads

Oh the places they'll go! 

The class of 2019 wasn't afraid of a little hard work, as evidenced by this year's Senior Honors Night. We're confident that each of these awards demonstrates much more than an Upper School achievement...the character and diligence that lead to the award is the foundation needed for future success. Congrats, Seniors!

Here is a run down of the honors and awards handed out at this year’s Senior Honors Night:


Minnehaha Academy Distinguished Graduates
Christina Cheng ● Arjun Goswitz ● Andrew Mollison ● Carolyn Rowley

Minnehaha Academy 4.0 Scholars
Christina Cheng ● Andrew Mollison ● Anna Pickerign

National Merit Finalists
Christina Cheng ● Samantha Martin ● Andrew Mollison 


 Leadership - Citizenship - Scholarship Awards

AAA Academics, Arts and Athletics Award
Cecelia Schurke ● Luke Wasson

American Legion Citizenship Award
Maxwell Gifford ● Hannah King

Athena Award
Taytum Rhoades

Dennis and Marcia Pearson Award
Lars Askegaard ● Anna Forslund

Minnehaha Academy Exemplary Service Award
Madeleine Danzberger

President’s Award in Arts & Scholarship
Evalin Olson ● Henry Pellegrin

President’s Award in Athletics, Leadership, and Scholarship
Christina Cheng ● Andrew Mollison

Principal’s Leadership Award
Matthew Doty ● Carolyn Rowley

Sons of the American Revolution Award
Jackson Pope


Athletic Awards

Athena Award
Taytum Rhoades

Best Senior Athletes
Taytum Rhoades ● Bennett Theisen


English Department Award

Fitzgerald Award
Andrew Mollison


Mathematics Awards

Council of Presidential Awardees in Math
Christina Cheng ● Han He ● Xiangfeng Kong ● Sirui Qi ● Timo Diep ● Lars Askegaard

Newton Award
Andrew Mollison


Senior Science Award
Christina Cheng


Social Studies Award
Connor Goehring Trempe


Congratulations seniors! We are so proud of your hard work and commitment to excellence. May you continue to find joy and success in the next leg of your journey!

Topics: Awards, Upper School, Academics

Upper School Latin Students Bring Home the Honors

Posted by Amy Barnard on May 31, 2019


Minnehaha Academy Upper School Latin students joined over 150,000 students worldwide taking the National Latin Exam and brought home twenty-nine total honors!

The following students earned recognition for their outstanding performances. 

Latin I


Cum laude certificate

Victoria Hoekstra

Magna cum laude certificate

Lincoln Reichenau


Latin II


Silver Medal and maxima cum laude certificate

Kaarianna Classen

Magna cum laude certificate

Dori Hobbie, Gabriella Ringling

Cum laude certificate

Annabella Martin, Lydia Schroeder


Latin III

Latin3.Section2 for blog


Gold Medal and summa cum laude certificate

Annika Currell, Alexis Stanley, Chris Olson

Silver Medal and maxima cum laude certificate

Eva Larson, Jordon Bates, Miriam O’Bert, Leah Wasson, Jack Daenzer, Elsie Craig, Tim Siems, Beck Westrem  

Magna cum laude certificate

Alison Sorenson, Andrew Karpenko, Charlie Olson, Frank Higgins II

Cum laude certificate: Luke Krummen


Latin IV


Gold Medal and summa cum laude certificate

Sophie King

Silver Medal and maxima cum laude certificate

Clara Stein

Cum laude certificate

Adam Coles, Makda Daniel


Latin V


Silver Medal and maxima cum laude certificate

Hannah King

Magna cum laude certificate

Christina Cheng


Many congrats to these hardworking students!

Topics: Awards, Upper School, Academics

Student Theatre Team Brings Home the Honors

Posted by Amy Barnard on Jun 11, 2018


Hennepin County Theatre Trust Recognition

Minnehaha students performed the play “Working” at the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Center this past April. They were awarded for their work by the Hennepin County Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education Program, which honors and supports Minnesota high school musical theatre students and programs through learning, performing, and creative experiences for students.

Honors included:

Team Awards

Overall Production
Student Orchestra
Technical Crew 
Overall Technical Team 
Light & Sound Board Operators 

Honorable Mention
Achievement in Musical Theatre 
Overall Performance 
Vocal Performance by an Ensemble 
Acting Performance by an Ensemble 

Individual Awards

Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role
Seth Retzlaff ● Grace Anderson

Honorable Mention for Performance in a Leading Role
Greta Hallberg ● Noah Bauer

Outstanding Technical Leadership
Evalin Olson (Stage Manager)

Evaluator Shout-Outs
Danyelle Robinson ● Hannah Pope ● Lily Kline ● Ray Tippin ● Jordon Bates


Way to go! We're so proud of your hard work and pursuit of excellence!

Topics: Awards, Upper School, Fine Arts

Senior Honors Night Showcases A Hardworking Class

Posted by Amy Barnard on Jun 11, 2018

Reading this year’s list of senior honors might fool you into thinking academics and leadership are easy: over 70% of the students graduated with honors, with 30 of the 78 graduating “With Highest Honors” (GPA of 3.8 to 4.0).

Had you walked the halls these past few weeks as students took AP calculus exams, rose early to watch their research project rocket towards the International Space Station, and put the finishing touches on their final musical performances, you would see that these students take their work seriously.

Here is a run down of the honors and awards handed out at this year’s Senior Honors Night:



Minnehaha Academy Distinguished Graduates
Alexander Cheng ● Lucas DiBlasi ● Grace Percich ● Ava Perez Erickson ● Seth Retzlaff ● Abigail Shaffer ● Laura Shea ● Daniel Stein ● Tristan Tew

Minnehaha Academy 4.0 Scholars
Forrest Ahrens ● Brett Allen ● Sara Bakke ● Seth Retzlaff ● Eleanor Schrantz ● Abigail Shaffer ● Laura Shea ● Daniel Stein ● Tristan Tew

National Merit Finalists
Alexander Cheng ● Daniel Stein

National Merit Commended Scholars
Forrest Ahrens ● Lucas DiBlasi ● Grace Percich ● Seth Retzlaff ● Zachary Schuster ● Abigail Shaffer


Leadership - Citizenship - Scholarship Awards

AAA Academics, Arts and Athletics Award
Luke Burnham ● Julia Larson

American Legion Citizenship Award
Alex Cheng ● Emma Melling

Athena Award
Terra Rhodes

Dennis and Marcia Pearson Award
Emma Melling ● Luke Burnham

Minnehaha Award
Daniel Stein

Minnehaha Academy Exemplary Service Award
Grace Percich

President’s Award in Arts & Scholarship
Greta Hallberg ● Seth Retzlaff

President’s Award in Athletics, Leadership, and Scholarship
Erik Ostrem ● Mikayla Williams

Principal’s Leadership Award
Noah Bauer ● Cynthia Garcia Balmaceda

Sons of the American Revolution Award
Forrest Ahrens


Congrats to all of our seniors this year...you worked hard and excelled in many areas. We are so proud of you!

Topics: Awards, Upper School, Academics

MA's Don DuBois and Karen Percich receive  MISF awards

Posted by Melissa Mortenson on May 14, 2018

Two special people from the Minnehaha Academy community were recently recognized for their positive impact and dedication to the School. Don DuBois and Karen Percich both received awards from the Minnesota Independent School Forum (MISF) at their 10th annual Private and Independent Education Awards ceremony. This celebration recognizes the excellence found in Minnesota’s private and independent school community.


Don DuBois, Building Supervisor, was nominated by Mark Norlander, Upper School French teacher, and won MISF’s “Behind the Scenes” award for his heroic effort to help others in the aftermath of the school’s explosion. Karen Percich, current parent, was nominated by Jason Wenschlag, Upper School Principal, for her leadership during the search and start up of the new school’s facility in Mendota Heights. She received the “Community Champion Award.”

We are so fortunate to have such exceptional people in our MA community – they are both so deserving of these awards – congratulations!

Read on to learn why Don and Karen received this special recognition.

Don Dubois “Behind the Scenes” awardee, nominated by Mark Norlander:

fullsizeoutput_97On August 2 Minnehaha Academy exploded. The heroic actions of Don DuBois that day expose him as someone of extraordinary courage and selflessness.

But Don is someone worthy of the Behind the Scenes Award without taking into account what he did on August 2. Don is a maintenance worker at Minnehaha who makes the Energizer Bunny look like a slouch. He has one speed – full. Bump into him anytime, and you will see beads of sweat on his face. When teachers need something repaired, Don is on it immediately. “I’ll get to it when I can…” is a sentence you will never hear from Don.

But on August 2, we discovered that Don is much more than a hard worker.

That morning Don heard a loud hissing sound. He ran to where workers were repairing the gas line. Those workers were running out of the building and Don soon saw why: A massive gas leak. Don’s exit door to safety was just feet away. But he chose instead to warn people. He ran upstairs, yelling into his walkie-talkie, “Get out! Gas leak!” He ran into an office area, screaming. Ten seconds later the explosion happened as Don lay on top of a pregnant employee, protecting her and her baby from falling debris.

Two Minnehaha employees were killed and several were injured, some critically. The losses would have been higher if not for the brave decision and actions of Don DuBois.

After the explosion, Don continued his selfless acts to help the Minnehaha community heal. He asked teachers and staff what items they most missed. He then entered the heavily damaged buildings multiple times, to retrieve whatever he could.

What people say after the explosion:

  • The access hallway to my classroom was obliterated. Don took a ladder and went through a window to get in to salvage curriculum materials. He saved me hundreds of hours’ worth of time that would have been spent replicating what I'd lost. I'm extremely grateful!
  • After the explosion Don looked out for our Spanish-speaking custodians, to be sure they got help from Spanish-speaking grief counselors.
  • I’m one of many, many teachers grateful for Don’s self-sacrifice, courage, countless rescue missions, and a positive, trusting outlook in the face of tragedy.
  • I have watched Don deliver treasured items to those people. Files, books, dusty artifacts, pictures. Simultaneous joy and tears greeted Don each time! He did not have to risk going into the damaged areas of North Campus, but he did. He knew how much these little items meant. He knew that having things from our old spaces would make this transition just a little better. Don uses these acts of kindness to help heal the wounds of August 2.
  • Don has helped the wife of John Carlson, who was killed, with upkeep and repair of her home on weekends and evenings.
  • No task is too big for Don. He is selfless and, as much as he hates this label, a true HERO.

Don DuBois is a humble servant and hero to everyone at our school, and is worthy of the Behind the Scenes Award.

Karen Percich, “Community Champion” awardee, nominated by Jason Wenschlag:

fullsizeoutput_94Karen Percich, a parent of two upper school students, was one of many people who reached out after our school's explosion. While my inbox was flooded with offers to help, Karen's initial email stood out because of her previous volunteering and professional background; I was intrigued! We met, and wow, bringing her on as my volunteer "project manager" turned out to be the smartest decision I made during the journey to open a new school in 35 days.

Karen worked closely with me from the moment we started touring potential school sites on August 7th, all the way until we opened the doors to our temporary site on September 5th. She worked seven days a week and was available to me day and night. Her initial responsibility was to track the logistics of moving one campus to another, with a key focus on furniture and outfitting school spaces. Her work turned out to be much more, including gathering input from all teachers; identifying furniture to move from the old campus; creating spreadsheets to track ordering of materials; working with other volunteer coordinators to help with the furniture deliveries; working closely with our vendors and design team; attending most design, construction, and transition team meetings; communicating directly with many MA faculty and staff; coordinating multiple furniture moving dates, with many volunteers and over 1,000 pieces of furniture to be moved; and so many other functions and decision-making processes related to our recovery.

Karen turned out to be not only an invaluable volunteer, but an incredible leader and giver of hope and joy. She and her husband, Tom (who taught me that when Karen is leading the charge, I should just smile and wave:), gave so much time and attention to our school, but did so with a smile, laughter, grit, and such intelligence and common sense. When I was feeling tired, overwhelmed, or like I had to focus on other things, like planning the start of a school year, Karen told me to go home early or close my door and work, and she kept moving like she was paid to do so. It reached the point where I almost felt guilty because I was able to do something for myself and Karen was at school wrapping up details with furniture movers. She was definitely a gift to me and our school, and helped me maintain focus, energy, and sanity so I could attend to all other matters. We ended up being a great team!

In summary, I have worked with many volunteers in my 21-year career. I have also worked alongside consultants who charge a lot and seem to do very little. Karen Percich is an incredible talent, but more importantly, a gracious, generous, hard working person who cares about Minnehaha Academy and gave everything she had to ensure a successful transition to our temporary school site. Most impressively, she did everything with no expectation of anything in return, and was a hero behind the scenes in what turned out to be a miraculous recovery and 35-day journey of opening a new school.

Don and Karen’s families were able to celebrate with them, along with other award nominees, at the University of St. Thomas on April 29, 2018. MISF’s goal is to connect and strengthen Minnesota’s independent schools through exceptional training, resources, and advocacy.

To read more or watch videos from the event:




Topics: Awards, 3100 Campus

The Results Are In!

Posted by Melissa Mortenson on May 1, 2018

Minnehaha Academy Upper School language students scored well in both the National Latin and French Exams.

Congratulations to Latin teacher, Mrs. Beck, French teacher, Mr. Norlander, and the following students for these great accomplishments!

The Upper School Latin students joined over 150,000 students worldwide, taking the National Latin Exam in early March. Many students (listed below) earned recognition for their outstanding performances. Especially noteworthy among the award winners is Daniel Stein, who earned his 5th consecutive gold medal.

Latin II

Gold Medal and summa cum laude certificate: Annika Currell, Alexis Stanley, Jordan Bates, Miriam O’Bert, Leah Wasson, Chris Olson, Tim Siems

Silver Medal and maxima cum laude certificate: Eva Larson, Charlie Olson, Patrick Cullinan, Juliette Kline, Elsie Craig, Jack Daenzer

Magna cum laude certificate: William O’Toole Cousins, Beck Westrem, James Blomgren, Daniel Haack

Cum laude certificate: Toby Jacobson, Luke Krummen

Latin III

Silver Medal and maxima cum laude certificate: Clara Stein, Isaac Laddusaw, Grace Anderson Maggie Daniel, Sophie King

Magna cum laude certificate: Jessica Stacey

Latin IV

Silver Medal and maxima cum laude certificate: Christina Cheng

Latin V

Gold Medal and summa cum laude certificate: Daniel Stein, who has earned a gold medal every year he has taken this exam!

Silver Medal and maxima cum laude certificate: Brett Allen

Magna cum laude certificate: Catherine Vitt, Seth Retzlaff


latin exam


MA’s Upper School French students also recently participated in the 2018 National French Contest. Taken by over 100,000 of the top high school French students in the United States, Minnehaha has some of the top results in the country.

French I

  • Sophie King: 6th place in the state of MN; 10th place in the US.
  • Alex Stanley: 9th place in the state of MN; 14th place in the US.
  • Alexis Jacoby: 11th place in the state of MN; 16th place in the US.
  • Heiby Hidalgo-Blancoa; 14th place in the state of MN; 19th place in the US.
  • Lucia Markoe: 20th place in the state of MN; 26th place in the US.
  • Jackson Richards: 22nd place in the state of MN; 28th place in the US.

French III

  • Drew Carlson: 12th place in the state of MN; 23rd place in the US.
  • Kate Hennings, Ethan Lessard, and Brynne Whitman: Tie for 19th place in the state of MN; 30th place in the US.
  • Sam Harris: 20th place in the state of MN; 31st place in the US.
  • Ellie Bedingham: 21st place in the state of MN; 32nd place in the US.
  • Peter Fortier: 23rd place in the state of MN, 32nd place in the US.

French V – Category 5C (Former French Immersion Students)

  • Henry Pellegrin: 9th place in the state of MN, 10th place in the US.
  • Andrew Mollison: 12th place in the state of MN; 13th place in the US.

French V

  • Greta Hallberg: 17th place in the state of MN; 24th place in the US.
  • Emma Melling: 20th place in the state of MN; 28th place in the US.
  • Terra Rhoades: 21st place in the state of MN; 29th place in the US.
  • Anna Northenscold: 29th place in the state of MN; 40th place in the US.


Topics: Awards, Upper School

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