Wanna Blog?

Are you a current or soon-to-be St. Paul Preparatory School student? Do you enjoy taking pictures, writing, or making videos? Want to share the awesomeness that is St. Paul Prep with the rest of the world?!

WE WANT YOU!

If you’re looking for a creative, fun way to document your time at SPP, let us know! We’re seeking a new batch of student writers for the SPP Blog for the upcoming semester/year!

Want to know more about this opportunity? Message us on Facebook or Instagram, or send an email to skoob@nacelopendoor.org and let us know you’re interested!

Not sure if it’s for you? Check out some posts (here, here, here, here) by Valeria from Venezuela, who wrote for the SPP Blog last spring.

TwInstagram Cities

Whether in St. Paul or Minneapolis, there are plenty of opportunities around the Twin Cities to snap an iconic photo and rack up the likes!

These spots are sure to get your followers to double-tap!

#1 Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis

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Not many other places can lay claim to a 60-foot waterfall within city limits, but head to Minnehaha Park near the Mississippi River in southeast Minneapolis, and your ‘Gram will earn #waterfullhunter status immediately!

#2 Cathedral of St. Paul

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Serving as the Co-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St.Paul, the immense Cathedral overlooking downtown St. Paul. It took seven years to build (1907-14). In recent years, Red Bull’s “Crashed Ice” has been held in front of the cathedral.

#3 Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis

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Standing as the only fully stone arch bridge across the Mississippi River, this former railroad bridge has become an icon in the Mill City (Minneapolis’ old nickname). Great spot to snag pictures of the Minneapolis skyline and St. Anthony Falls.

#4 Sunken Garden/Conservatory, Como Zoo, St. Paul

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Let your filters run wild! A popular place for weddings, the flowers in the sunken garden change with the seasons, but it’s always a balmy, tropical feeling inside! And, while you’re at it, check out some monkeys over at the zoo!

#5 Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

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Snag one of the most recognizable images from the Twin Cities with a picture of the Cherry & Spoon Bridge in Minneapolis’ newly redesigned Sculpture Garden. It now features a 25-foot blue rooster, as well.

#6 Downtown St. Paul from Indian Mounds Park

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You can get a good ‘gram of downtown St. Paul in a number of places, but one of our favorites is from Indian Mounds Park. Colorful sunsets make for a good background of the “Saintly City”.

#7 Mall of America

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Take pictures shopping! Take pictures building a bear! Take pictures riding an indoor rollercoaster! Take pictures of your food! Endless photo ops here!

#8 St. Paul Saints game

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Crazy promotions? Check. Cheap tickets? Check. Ball Pig? CHECK! Welcome to the joys of a St. Paul Saints baseball game. What is a Ball Pig, you ask? Well, get ready to fill your Insta with fun. Also, the stadium is just a block from St. Paul Prep!

#9 Minneapolis Institute of Art

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Like old art? Like new art? Don’t like art? Go to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and be amazed! (And amaze your followers with pictures of 2,000-year-old pots)

#10 Rice or Mears Park, St. Paul

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Rice Park is good for that “winter wonderland” ‘gram, while Mears Park is a beautiful summer oasis. Both are located in the middle of downtown St. Paul, and are great places for students to escape and snag a few filter-ready pics!

Where are your favorite spots for the best ‘gram in the Twin Cities? Let us know! Follow us on Insta @stpaulprep!

One Clean Field Trip

Why are these students dressed like this?

Nanotechnology.

Last week, SPP Summer School students toured the Nanotechnology Lab at University of Minnesota, which required that everyone wear protective suits. The tour was led by Professor James Marti. He showed them how the lab creates smaller and smaller microchips for our endless array of electronic devices.

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After a brief talk with Dr. Marti, it was time to suit up!

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As Mr. Wiggin put it, “(The suits) are to protect the work, not the students!”

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Since the beginning of July, we’ve had students participating in our Summer School, which is a partnership with Nacel Open Door’s Short Term Program. Many of the students are from groups from France and Taiwan, though we have a few SPP students in the mix as well.

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Want to see what else the Summer School Program has been up to? Read about it here, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

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!

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.

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.”

Guest Blogger Aleksander: Tabula Rasa Part 2

IMG_1513I hope you’re all familiar with the term “butterfly effect.” If not, it is a concept that theorizes how small causes can have large effects, such as the flap of the wings of a butterfly in Rio de Janeiro changing the weather in Chicago. Let that sink in for a moment.

This post will be a rather positive example of this theory. I want to tell you all how the trip to the USA saved my life. Literally, not just figuratively.

Test day

The air in the room was very dense. We sat at tables and looked at each other in terror. “What happens next?” – everyone thought.

It’s not an excerpt from a horror book. It’s simply an accurate description of how the test day went down. It was the day when we were given the tests to asses our knowledge of math, English, etc. I remember that very first day I met the person who altered my life: Margaux. Long story short, thanks to her I have identified depression, anxiety, and OCD in myself. Now, three years down the road, I am in the middle of therapy, that I’ve started last year.

What would have happened if I wouldn’t have met her in America? Or rather – what would have happened if I would not have talked to the representative of the American Embassy in Poland? I could have been dead by now. While of course, that’s just my interpretation, many other bad things could have happened, too.

What else saved me? The Mobile Jazz Project. This project changed my life. Let me explain:

It is a project where young people interested in making and/or playing music (not necessarily talented; of course there were some brilliant musicians, but talent was not necessary) could do what they wanted to do – transform their thoughts into language understood by everyone on earth (music). Every week we listened to a short musical performance. Then there was a time for questions for the performing artist/band. After that, people could split into dedicated groups. I remember that I was in a “tech” group which created music from scratch in Pro Tools. At the end, I recorded my take on “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. I was very inspired by Stevie Wonder’s pop/funky sounds and Jimmy Ray Vaughn’s cover of the song, so I decided to combine these two styles.

Right now, in my bedroom, I have a MIDI keyboard, an electric guitar ,and Ableton Live installed on my PC. Music was an escape during my dark days. If you want to hear some of my jams, go to my soundcloud profile. It also led me to publish my pictures on the internet. If you want to see some of them, go to my society6 profile. The Mobile Jazz Project showed me that if I want, I can be an artist, too. It’s up to me. I actually liked the idea of becoming a music producer so much that I went on a tour of a college where I could get MA in music production. I loved everything except for the price. So I am studying in Warsaw instead. That’s another one of these things I still regret.

I wish you actually realized how different the teachers I met in SPP were from my teachers in Poland. Teachers in Poland would MOSTLY (not all) destroy your grades. They would bomb you with everything until you just couldn’t take it anymore. The teachers at SPP were so much different. They encourage you to learn. They praise you when you have done a good job. Ms. Larson showed me that math can be bearable. Ms. Stormont showed me that I also can be a good writer. Ms. Redding showed me that democracy in a classroom works.

If you are going to get out one thing out of this article, then let it be this: if you feel that you need a change, go and make it happen.