RSM ready for new year

Thursday, August 25, 2022
Ashley Mohning has bulletin boards ready for her students at St. Mary’s School in Remsen. Mohning teaches 6th and 7th grade math, 5th grade science and 6th grade religion classes. She is looking forward to the first day of school on Aug. 23.
(Sentinel Photo by Beverly Van Buskirk)

REMSEN — Shiny floors and smiling faces will greet students at St. Mary’s School in Remsen on the first day of classes, Tuesday, Aug. 23.

RSM Principal Kim Phillips said she is excited for the 2022-23 school year to start.

“I’m looking forward to many things this year ... our seniors and high school students are wonderful leaders. We have awesome families, and our staff is amazing. I am looking forward to seeing our smiling students in our hallways,” Phillips said.

Open house for all students and their parents will be held from 6-7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 22, noted RSM’s Administrative Assistant Kris Schiltz.

“Most kids bring their school supplies to the classroom that night,” she said.

A special school/community event will be held Wednesday, Aug. 31.

“This year we will have a picnic after the opening school Mass, sponsored by Iowa State Bank,” Schiltz said. “They will be grilling hamburgers with chips, cookies and drinks provided to the community that comes to Mass that night.”

There will be two new teachers at the school: Denise Rolfes, fourth grade; and Melissa Ruden who will teach 9-12 online art classes. Dannielle Book joins the staff as a teacher’s aide.

A Piece of Germany Comes to Remsen

“We will also have a foreign exchange student this year. She is Lott Bamberger who will be staying with the Bart and Kelly Galles family,” Schiltz said. “She is our first foreign exchange student for a long time.”

Bamberger is from Germany and will be a sophomore. Schiltz added she is taking up volleyball.

“She has never played it before so she’s very excited,” she said.

Students will have a new look in the high school lunchroom as the walls and ceilings were painted over the summer.

STEM Programs Get a Boost

RSM’s computer teacher Kris Full had a busy summer and is ready to share the things she has learned with her students. Full is in charge of RSM’s STEM program.

“I applied for some of the STEM programs through the Governor’s STEM Initiative. We received two of those programs, and so I went to the training for those this summer. I also went to the Computer Science Teacher Association’s National Conference in Chicago,” Full said.

One of the programs provides six drones, along with all the training and supplies to go with them.

The other program brings 15 Finch Robots, with all the accessories, to the classrooms.

“Those two programs, with all the training and all involved with it, are worth a total of $7,255. Quite a nice STEM program,” Full said.

Full benefited in another way too, as between the training for those two programs and the conference, she had a total of 70 hours of STEM and computer science training.

Full explained the Finch Robots are a smaller robot which uses a microbit.

“We will have 15 of those when they all get here. They can be used across grade levels, from littles all the way up through high school. They can program them and use them across the curriculum,” she said.

Full is also excited to have the drones.

“Besides just learning how to run a drone and what’s all involved in running one, knowing the ins and outs of what drones are like today and how they are used in our area, especially with agriculture, is exciting,” she said. “They’re also capable of being programmed, so we will be doing some of that with the older students.”

The Way of the Future

New technology is also coming to the RSM gymnasium, and will be used by athletic teams and other activities.

RSM Athletic Director Jarrod Schott explained how Fuller Digital is working with the school.

“We’ve had a good partnership with Fuller Digital for the past 2-3 years of broadcasting all of our home events and they cover us in the post-season very well.

“One of the things they have done to try to help out schools a bit but keep their business model viable, is installing cameras in the gym that are automated. In the past we’ve had a tripod set up and somebody is always following the action, which obviously you need volunteers that are willing to do that stuff,” Schott said. “So they are helping us out to purchase a camera and install an automated camera in our gym, which automatically follows the action for us.”

Schott said it will not only help in broadcasting home athletic contests, it is also something that can be used in practice if they want to videotape a practice and upload it to Hudl for athletes and coaches to use.

“When we have concerts or events in the gym that are school-related, we can use that exact same camera to broadcast it out to the public. So we can use it for graduation ceremonies, or prayer services, too,” he said.

Meeting State Standards

The other new technology is the shot clock.

“The shot clock is a new thing statewide this year. We have to use 35-second shot clocks for basketball, at every single school for varsity level, boys and girls,” he said. “We got our shot clocks installed this summer and did some tuneups with it this morning (Wednesday), so we should be ready to go.”

Successful Athletic Bids

Schott also gave a shout-out to the RSM athletics programs.

“On the boys side this year, I think this is pretty special, in football, basketball and baseball, our boys were undefeated in the regular season, district tournament play and substates. The only games we lost, three games combined among the three sports were football semifinals, basketball semifinals and state finals in baseball. That was pretty remarkable,” he said.

On the girls side, the team made it to the state softball tournament for the second year in a row.

“The girls basketball team made it to the regional finals, lost only three games, which is the best season we’ve ever had in St. Mary’s history, and we have all those girls coming back. We lost only one senior in volleyball, so I think they have high expectations there, too,” he said.

The school also had a state championship in shuttle hurdle for girls track and a boy qualified for state track, for the first time in several years.

“There’s just a lot of exciting things on the sports side,” he said.