Summer STEMmin’

While our regular student body is off exploring every nook and cranny of the planet and spending the summer with their families, there’s still plenty happening around the halls and classrooms of St. Paul Preparatory School.

During the month of July, we’ve got students from Taiwan and France taking part in a Summer STEM class at SPP as part of Nacel Open Door’s Short Term Program. Students have been experimenting in the lab, learning in the classroom, and taking part in field trips around the Twin Cities.

Noodle Towers

One of the first lab challenges of the STEM class was building towers out of noodles in order to hold up a single, fat marshmallow. Students could use tape, but couldn’t anchor their towers to the table. The highest tower was over 100 centimeters!

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Interstate State Park

Located just 49 miles from downtown St. Paul, this state park is known for it’s “potholes” formed by glacial meltwater at the end of the last Ice Age, along what is now known as the St. Croix River.

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Rollercoasters

Back in the lab, students had to make a “rollercoaster” out of foam tubing, marbles, and duct tape, with requirements that the coaster have one loop-de-loop and a second hill. Gravity and physics won the day!

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The Art of St. Paul Prep

One tradition that has lasted at St. Paul Preparatory School from back in the early days when we were still known as “Nacel International School” is an appreciate and talent for art. In fact, one of our special diplomas is in Visual Arts!

And this year was no different at SPP, as we had many great artists!

Since not everyone who knows, loves, and supports our students and school could be in St. Paul for the Spring Art Show/Performance Day, we wanted to share some of the wonderful and beautiful works of art made by the talented hands of St. Paul Prep students. Enjoy the photo gallery below! Yay art!

#SPPinChina Photo Gallery

#SPPinChina Wraps up Amazing Trip

If you’ve followed along with our updates, you know it’s safe to say our students and teachers experienced a once-in-a-lifetime journey through China, learning the history, culture, customs, and more.

We have one last trove of photos to share, and we thank you for following along with us as we watched our group explore China.

#SPPinChina Update

As many of you know, we currently have a group of students and teachers wandering around China, learning about Chinese history, culture, and language, while exploring the many sights (and food) of the country.

The group just wrapped up Day 16 of the trip and returns July 14. Below are OVER 100 PHOTOS taken from July 5 to July 10. Enjoy!

First Photo Gallery

(Originally posted July 3) Our group has been in China a little over a week now, and from the look of things, they’re having plenty of good food and loads of fun exploring the country and learning about Chinese culture! What’s your favorite photo? Comment below!

SPP Journalism: Students Dislike American Food

SPP Students give American food Two Thumbs DOWN

These articles were written by St. Paul Prep’s Journalism class.

SPP students do not like American food, because of its awful taste and excessive use of chemicals, according to the interviews conducted at SPP.

Although SPP students vary in cultures, political views, and religions, they have one opinion in common: American food seems unhealthy and not as tasty.

Fabrizio F., a junior from Venezuela, seems to prove that point.

“The first thing I think about American food is not very good, very unhealthy, and not very well prepared,” he stated. “It usually comes from a different culture also. It’s usually trashy food like hamburgers.”

Jeanne A., a senior from France, listed the multiple ways that American food is different from food in France.

“Serving size, which in America is so much different [bigger], GMOs are illegal in France; the quality of the food because meat here is not that good and not sustainable or anything,” she concluded. “We eat way more veggies and bread, but good bread, not the smushy bread that is nice looking for two months.”

Wuttikorn “March” K., a senior from Thailand, made it clear that chefs in his country prepare food in diverse ways, and something like that does not exist in the United States.

“They are a lot of differences. We use herbs, we use spices from India, and China and India influence Thai food,” he claimed. “We use a lot of seafood stuff that makes it kind of a little fishy, but it just tastes the best.”

Interestingly, American SPP students have the same view on American food. Hayla O., a junior from the United States, completely does not really enjoy it, so she finds different foods to consume.

“I eat a lot of Colombian and Mexican food. I love Thai and Chinese food!” she confirmed.

Living away from their families and having a new experience with regional food makes SPP students miss home more.

“I miss my food more than my family, to be honest,” March lamented.

SPP Journalism: Why Students Chose U.S.

These articles were written by St. Paul Prep’s Journalism class.

SPP Students Chose U.S for a Variety of Reasons

International students at St. Paul Prep have moved to the United States in recent years thanks to various exchange organizations in their home countries in order to alter their routine, explore a new culture, and expand their educational opportunities.

According to the majority of the students interviewed, the primary factor that attracted their attention to this specific country began with their interest in an enhanced educational system.

“The school’s operational method here, where you can choose classes, is way better than the Spanish one,” Spanish junior Xurxo R. said. “I’d prefer to pick advanced math classes such as A.P Calculus and general history classes rather than religion because they contribute to my future career.”

But selecting their own courses is not the only educational reason behind their journey here. Other students sought to experience the American academic system because it opens more doors for them later on.

“My country is still in [a] war zone, and our education system is not good enough for me to fulfil my dream,” Afghan junior Mushtaq W. said. “I wanted to have a strong educational background to be able to go to U.S university for a better future, and then go back with full energy to serve my country.”

Just like Mushtaq, other students traded the situation in their home country for a more prosperous and calm habitat in America.

“I always wanted to escape bad transportation in Thailand, and I also hate to see Thai people fight each other, and I hate bad governments that corrupt the country and people,” Thai junior Krissada “Mix” H. said.

Students also agreed that they came here in search of a more challenging environment that would allow them to experience the world by themselves.

“Before, I always had everything pretty much ready to go,” Italian senior Roberto R. said. “I thought that if I truly wanted to see if I could manage my own way, I wanted to go to a completely different place with a totally new stimulus, where the survival and social aspect would almost be entirely on me.”

Increased independence played a role as well in the decision-making process. This autonomy encouraged Jeanne A., a senior from France who began her adventure at SPP two years ago, to step out of the ordinary and relocate to St. Paul, Minnesota.

“It was time for me to leave home and get more independent while [getting to know] a new country,” Jeanne said. “I wanted to alter my routine and surround myself with minds that worked differently than mine.”

But what students enjoy the most during their time in America, more than a good education, new challenges and independence, is the opportunity to expanding their horizons by learning about a new culture and different perspectives.

“I love diversity and learning from different cultures around the world,” Mushtaq said. “While being here I can learn different perspectives which can shape my personality.”

St. Paul Prep Class of 2017

It has been one amazing year at St. Paul Prep! If you missed our live stream of the graduation ceremony, you can watch a video of the entire event right here.

Below are some photos from the ceremony. If you have any pictures you’d like to share, email them to skoob@nacelopendoor.org or tag us on Facebook or Instagram.

Thank you seniors. You made 2016-17 an epic year at SPP!

 

A Crisis At Home While Abroad

fullsizerender-8In my first blog post, I explained how I got to SPP and why I wanted to leave my city in Venezuela so badly; however, what I didn’t mention is why my parents wanted me to leave just as much as I did.

I would love to explain to you more in depth the roots of my nation’s issues, but as a person who deplores politics (probably because of my experience), I don’t feel like a have a voice in this matter; however, I can tell you what it was like living under such regime.

These past few years have been of profound crisis for my country; inflation increases daily -sometimes even 500% within a week. There’s scarcity of every product you can think of, and I dare to call it one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Luckily, my family has not been as heavily affected as other unfortunate families, but that doesn’t mean I can’t share the pain.

Years ago, I remember people being so happy you could always feel a kind and zealous vibe around, but these last two years specially, crisis reached its brink and people are simply miserable.

As inflation keeps rising, people don’t have any money of actual value to buy anything. You see them wandering in the streets looking for something to eat inside garbage bags, you see them desperately waiting for a mango to fall from its enormous tree, you see them starving to death. And when they can actually afford products, they form interminable lines under the 104 °F sun hitting right at you; all the wait so when they actually enter the supermarket everything is gone. Two years ago my mom picked me up at 3am from a party, and on my way home I still remember looking at hundreds, maybe thousands of people already lined up outside the market waiting for it to open the next day. “It is absurd,” I said to my mom, but then she replied, “Vale, in times of crisis and need people behave irrationally to find a way to survive.”

I guess she was right, but a lot of them also supported the government during the elections, so watching them lose their dignity caused me more anger than sadness.

But anyways, other than our economy, when we are not dying from starvation, we are getting killed in the streets. Human lives became so incredibly worthless for criminals; it is not good enough for them to just steal from you, they have the urge to also kill you.

My parents feared my stay in Venezuela; I was in too much danger so they sent me here, but that did not take any of my preoccupation away. Weeks ago my country became an official dictatorship, and our citizens have been protesting ever since, but it only makes me more and more psychotic about what will happen. What has been the beginning of May for me? I have nightmares that wake me up in the dawn at least once a week. I know that the impression I give at school is of a very happy and positive person, but that doesn’t mean I’m not being internally consumed.

I might be theoretically out of danger here in the U.S. but knowing that my family is still there, taking every risk I am avoiding, keeps me from evading the fear, anxiety, and pain anyway. Honestly, do you want to know why I came here? I was pushed away by the government from the most beautiful land and people I’ve ever seen who have now turned miserable and mediocre by the evil in power. The thing I hope the most right now is for the government to finally be overthrown by the protesters today and go back to my home tomorrow and happily read headlines in every newspaper “Millions of Venezuelans all around the world go back to their home land.”