Spring fever: who is more excited for summer?

Riley Studinski - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI Spring is in the air, and summer is near. Lourdes’ students and staff members are both excited for summer break, but who is more excited?

It is already May, and everyone is excited that the school year is winding down. Sports are underway and nearly done. The countdown until the end of the year is under 20 days. Yes, spring fever has officially arrived at Lourdes Academy.

Teachers and students at Lourdes are both very excited for the arrival of summer vacation, but who is more excited?

High School English teacher Jennifer Pollack says that she is excited for summer because she will have more time to read and is looking forward to the arrival of warm weather. Even though she loves her job, Pollack said she is looking forward to not having to work. Pollack stated that she thinks teachers are more excited for summer than students because they work hard all year and are looking forward to a break from spending countless amounts of time on the weekends and after school grading papers and preparing for classes.

Eighth grader Chloe Studinski said she is looking forward to summer so she can do what she wants, when she wants. Studinski also said she is looking forward to ending middle school and starting high school next fall. Studinski said she believes students are more excited for summer than teachers because teachers enjoy teaching but most students don’t normally enjoy going to school every day.

High school English teacher Sue Dolan said she is looking forward to summer because of her big trip to Colorado. She stated she is looking forward to seeing her brother and her nephews.

Sophomore Logan Wolff said he is looking forward to the arrival of summer so he can relax and spend more time with friends.

Senior Jacob Diker admitted that he believes teachers are more excited for summer than students. Diker said seniors know that they will soon be done with high school and on to another chapter of their lives, so they want to cherish their time with their friends at school. Personally, Diker said he is looking forward to summer so he can unwind and settle down before college.

High school social studies teacher Cathi Probst says she is looking forward to summer so she can travel, work in her garden, spend more time with family, and prepare awesome lessons for next year.

Senior Ellie Mackenzie says he is looking forward to summer so she can spend time with friends before they all go off to college.

After looking at the facts, it was surprising to see that teachers are more excited for summer than the students.

Oshkosh resident impacts the world

Submitted by Barb Muza Reed

Science teachers Barb Muza Reed and Carrie O’Connor and social studies teacher Linda Kaelin were grateful for the time and information provided by a local resident who is definitely making an impact on our world.

On April 9, Lourdes Academy High School Science and World Culture students heard an extremely important presentation from Mark Hassman, an employee of Crane Engineering in Oshkosh.

CAPP Biology 105, Botany, Environmental Science, and freshman World Cultures students learned how Crane Engineering is helping to bring water to remote areas of Africa. Hassman spoke about the water problem in Africa and a novel solution he is completing with the assistance of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Hassman also spoke to the students about the advantages of an engineering degree.

Teachers swap classes for a week

By Maria Foss - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - English teacher Sue Dolan and art teacher Jill Thurk decided to swap classes for a week in order to complete projects that would benefit the students and the school.

“The seniors write biographies as a project for Saint Norbert College English 150,” Dolan said. “The biographies are written about a person who they know and are then given to that person as a gift. To make the gift special, we like to give them their biography published in a physical book. I’m not great with artist skills, so I thought that it was a great chance for Ms. Thurk to work with the seniors to help them make the physical books.”

According to Dolan, she and Thurk wrote a grant several years ago in order to have the supplies and equipment that were needed for the book-making process. “We were awarded a Celebrate Education grant which allowed us to buy different materials that we needed.”

When the SNC English students work with Thurk to complete their book covers, Dolan carries out a project with Thurk’s art students.

“This year, Ms. Thurk challenged me to come up with something for her art students to do, so I began thinking of ideas. One day, I was walking down the hallway after a school Mass and noticed the bulletin boards near the Castle. I thought that it would be a fun idea to update some of the bulletin boards and display cases throughout the building, so I talked to the art students before having them in class and came up with some designs for them [the bulletin boards].”

While the SNC English students created their book covers with Thurk’s guidance, Dolan helped the art students to update the bulletin boards. The students hand-cut letters and shapes, printed photos and images, and redecorated the bulletin boards for a fresh look. They also cleaned and rearranged several display cases throughout the school.

“Cleaning up the bulletin boards was fun because they’ve had the same thing in them for a long time, and it was nice to see a change - a way we could help our school,” sophomore Nora Sammons said.

One of the bulletin boards, showing pictures of students and staff, promoted the school’s mission to live the Gospel values of our faith. Another showed proper etiquette and tips to consider before using social media.

Lourdes forensics team takes home gold

Charleigh Reinardy - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - Lourdes forensics team members junior Joely Hurkman and sophomore Laura Binning took home gold medals at the forensics state competition in Madison on April 13.

According to the Wisconsin High School Forensics Association, forensics teaches speech, theater, and debate skills to help students become effective communicators. At the meets, students then compete in a category of their choice related to speech, theater, or debate.

Hurkman has been participating in forensics for seven years, whereas Binning has only been competing for two years. The girls both shared their practice techniques that helped them advance to the state competition.

“Because I need to memorize an 8-10 minute piece, practice for me is rehearsing over and over,” Hurkman said. “I’d start with one paragraph and memorize it. I’d add a second paragraph and rehearse that with the first one, then I’d add a third and fourth until, eventually, I would be repeating my entire script.”

With only two team members this year, the girls spent most of their time practicing their pieces by themselves and in front of their fellow classmates.

Binning performed three different pieces at state that was collectively put into one performance. “I competed in the farrago category which required me to have at least three pieces containing two different genres and a self written introduction and transitions. I was required to read from a manuscript for my pieces, while my transitions and introduction had to be memorized,” Binning said. “I used a dramatic monologue by Joseph Arnone entitled ‘Inner Core,’ a poem by Patrick Roche called ‘Every 40 Seconds,' and a speech by Reagan Meyers titled 'Depression is Funny Like That.’"

Binning later shared that her favorite piece was “Every 40 Seconds” because the author, Patrick Roche, addressed important questions regarding depression and suicide.

Hurkman performed a piece called “Rosie the Teddy Bear” by Steven Bergman in the category of Solo Acting: Serious. “My favorite part is when I can get an emotional expression from the judges. Whether they cry or get uneasy, it is great feedback for my performance.”

Both girls shared the importance of forensics and why they love competing.

“I do forensics because it lets me express my ‘dramatic’ side,” Hurkman said. “I love acting as a different person and trying to portray that person’s life.”

“I like forensics because it's a creative outlet and good way to let some stress off and talk about important issues,” Binning said.

Both girls encourage new students to join the team next year. “Others should join forensics because it allows them to express other sides of their personality,” Hurkman shared. “You’re a sweet, quiet type? Perform a piece that gets you to raise your voice and yell what you believe in. Forensics meets have surprised me many times when I would meet one person in the lounge, and meet another side to him/her in the competition room.”

“My favorite part about forensics is the people,” Binning shared. “Everyone is so accepting and kind and honest. Your performance could have been terrible, but instead of people being mean about it, they will give kind yet helpful criticism.”

Binning added that students should consider joining because forensics is a creative outlet. “It's a good way to let off some steam like if you want to scream or shout, by all means work it into your piece,” Binning said.

Shared teachers share knowledge

By James Gross - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - Several teachers at Lourdes teach both middle and high school classes and are able to share their knowledge with students from both levels.


Art teacher Jill Thurk has been at Lourdes for 12 years and has been teaching both middle and high school for three years. Thurk teaches basic art principles in middle school, but in high school she goes more in depth in her classes. According to Thurk, the biggest difference between middle and high school is the students’ energy levels. “In middle school, the energy levels are very high which gives me energy as well,” Thurk said.

In high school, Thurk said that one of the parts of her job she enjoys the most is helping students organize their college art portfolios. Turk said several of her former students have contacted her years after graduation and thanked her for helping them which she said makes her happy. In Thurk’s Art 1 class, students mainly use pencils to create drawings. In Art 2, students work with acrylic paint and create some 3D paintings. In Art 3 and 4, students create more 3D drawings, and students have more choices about what type of art they want to focus on. Many of the Art 3 and 4 students choose to create art that aligns with their expertise and that will help them prepare for college-level art classes, Thurk said.

Thurk has recently been awarded the Silver Sword Award for excellence in teaching, proving her versatility as a teacher.


Theology teacher Abby Mikesell is one of the newest members of the Lourdes staff who is nearing the end of her first year as a teacher. Mikesell teaches the basics of religion in her middle school classes but said that in high school she goes into more detail about what was learned in middle school. According to Mikesell, she is encouraged in her first year of teaching to see that both middle and high school students are interested in learning. “One of the biggest differences is just where students are developmentally. Middle school and high school students have different needs and capabilities. Middle schoolers are also going through a lot of changes and their brains are developing, so they just require different needs,” Mikesell said.


Physical education teacher Stacy Smith is one of the two physical education teachers and has been teaching at Lourdes for three years. This year is her first year teaching both middle and high school. At the middle school, Smith teaches the students both outdoor and indoor activities. In the high school, she teaches many different classes including Strength and Conditioning which focuses on getting the high school students in fit shape. Smith said she enjoys teaching this class because the students compete for different prizes. Another high school class Smith teaches is Competitive Sports which focuses on learning the rules and playing specific sports including floor hockey, basketball, volleyball, pickleball, soccer, flag football, and team handball. Smith said the biggest difference between teaching high school and middle school is how she teaches the classes. Smith said she has to adjust her teaching style to keep the high schoolers active for the entire block which is 90 minutes in contrast to the 45 minute classes in the middle school.

Mackenzie Havlik: rising gymnast

By Noah Ralofsky - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - Freshman Mackenzie Havlik dominates the gym as she continues to pursue her passion in her 14th year in competitive gymnastics.

Havlik said she has been a lifelong gymnast, starting at just 18 months old. Her love for gymnastics started with her mother taking her to a mother-daughter gymnastics class. Havlik said she was a hyperactive baby, and her parents thought it would be a good idea to put her in some sort of physical activity. Havlik ended up loving the classes and has stuck with gymnastics ever since.

Havlik said she competes for Ultimate Fusion Athletics in Menasha, Wisconsin. She competes in all events including vault, bars, beam, and floor, although she says her favorite event is either bars or floor.

Havlik said she travels to competitions all around the U.S. with the farthest being Fort Worth, Texas for one of the biggest meets she has ever been to: the Metroplex Challenge. In addition to Texas, another large meet she has competed in is the Chicago Style in Illinois, which is the largest international gymnastics meet in the world. Havlik is clearly an exceptional gymnast as she said she won the Chicago style meet for her age group and level.

“My favorite part of gymnastics is basically doing gymnastics. I love to tumble and flip around and to compete even more,” Havlik said. Unlike most other competitors, Havlik’s inspiration is not a gymnastics star but rather the other gymnasts she competes with. “They show me who I can be and what it takes to get there,” she said.

Havlik’s proudest moment thus far in her gymnastics career has been earning her place in the Level 9 Westerners in Spokane, Washington. She explained that Level 9 Westerns is essentially Level 9 nationals, and one must be one of the top seven competitors in his or her age group to qualify.

In addition, Havlik runs track and field for Lourdes but only for fun. “Gymnastics will always be my first priority,” Havlik said.