Tag Archives: school

Widji 2022

This year marked Andrew’s third trip as a chaperone with the 7th grade at Camp Widjiwagan along the boundary waters in northern Minnesota. This trip was different for a number of reasons. First, Griffin was a seventh grader, so he was on the trip too! It was pretty great to be able to share this experience. This year we also went up in March rather than January. As the normal January date approached, COVID rates were spiking, so the school and camp made the wise choice of postponing. It was a bit soggier than usual, but we had no issues with the pesky virus, so it was well-worth the wait.

My gifted colleague, Bobak— social studies teacher, photographer, and videographer—documented the trip for posterity. I’ve pulled a set of photos from the larger collection to share here. Most of these include Griffin, but some just help set the scene.

Here is Bobak’s “Widjimasters 2022” video compilation:

Luminary Loppet 2022

The 2022 luminary loppet took place on Saturday, February 5. It was a lovely evening of mild weather after a long, cold week. (Temps in the teens rather than hovering around zero plus wind.)

2022 loppet map

We’ve attended the event most winters, though it doesn’t always make it into the blog (see 2011 and 2017). It features a beautiful ski/walk/snowshoe trail that winds around the surface of the Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. The trail is lit entirely by ice luminaries (frozen columns, blocks, or spheres that contain candles). It’s otherworldly, to say the least.

This gives you a blurry sense of what it looks like.
The hanging luminaries were a new feature.
Maggie next to a giant luminary.

Oliver wrote a book about the experience at school. Each page features an illustration and a caption (in the blue bar). I’ve added typed captions additionally in case you aren’t adept at reading Oliver’s calligraphy.

Hot cocoa
fire dancer

Teacher-Parent Joy

On Friday, I had to give a series of short presentations about the middle school GSA to students in every advisory in the building. I was with my two wonderful colleagues, Kate and Vito, who have been co-leading the group with me for the past few years. Over the course of 90 minutes, we gave the presentation to a dozen different groups of students. We tried to keep it high energy, so we were running a bit ragged by the end of it. One of the last groups, however, made my day.

As we wrapped up our presentation, a girl called out, “Mr. Roy, are you Griffin’s dad?” I said, “Yes I am. Why do you ask?” She responded, “He is the nicest person I have ever met!” At which point, a bunch of other students chimed in in agreement.

This wasn’t surprising in the sense that I feared that Griffin wasn’t nice—my sense has always been that he is uncommonly kind—but it is rare for seventh graders to put themselves out there to compliment a classmate so publicly. Moreover, it helped quell any lingering anxiety about how he is settling into his new school.

Way to make an entrance, Griffin!

Rocky Start

Maggie and Oliver’s school made it three whole days before needing to temporarily shut down due to a COVID scare. They closed on Monday and Tuesday of this week because a vaccinated staff-member tested positive and may have had close contact with a wide array of people. They wanted to make sure the entire staff could get tested and recommended that all students do as well.

As long as we were testing the kids, we decided to just do it as a family, so we all traipsed over to the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown Saint Paul on Sunday to spit in five vials. It went as quickly as it could have, with no line and plenty of tables. We were all pleased to have negative results.

School reopened on Wednesday. We’re hopeful that we’ll have a smoother ride from here on out.

Courage Retreat

Every fall, my school hires Youth Frontiers to conduct a day-long activity for our eighth graders called the Courage Retreat. I was skeptical about it the first time we ran it in 2010, but they won me over because they were able to win the students over.

This morning, while discussing the retreat with some new faculty members, one of my colleagues discovered a video on the Youth Frontiers site that features our school. These were our eighth graders three years ago, so they are in eleventh grade now. It was a great class.

The video is obviously an advertisement, but it warms my heart nevertheless. I thought some of you might enjoy catching a glimpse of one of the many things we do at SPA. Sharp eyes can even spot me in the background in a few shots.

In case the YouTube link above ever goes defunct, I made a personal copy of the video that should work in perpetuity below. (My guess is that YouTube’s streaming protocols are far more efficient, though, so I would watch the above copy as long as it is working.)

Griffin’s Application to SPA

As the school year kicks off, I’ve been spending more time on my laptop, and I keep running across files that I intended to post over the past year. (It was a very busy year!)

Attached below is a scanned copy of Griffin’s handwritten admission “essay” that he filled out last January when he first applied to St. Paul Academy (where I teach). I love it that he filled it out on his own without any input from Sarah or me. It’s a great snapshot of his thinking in the middle of a his sixth grade year. At this point, he hadn’t been at an in-person school for ten months.

You can view it below or click the download link below to view it in a larger window.