Como Park High students go to Washington

By Eric Erickson

Here is a roundup of some major news from Como Park Senior High School:

Twenty-seven seniors enrolled in AP Government and AP Macroeconomics classes at Como Park Senior High visited Washington, D.C., in late February as part of the national Close Up program, which promotes civics education and participation in our democracy.

Como student highlights during the trip included study visits to national monuments and memorials including Jefferson, FDR, Martin Luther King Jr., Lincoln, World War II, Vietnam and Korea. They also visited the Smithsonian, the Supreme Court, U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, Holocaust Museum and unique Washington neighborhoods.

Students met with U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., and also discussed policy with staff and legislative aides for Minnesota’s U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith at their Capitol Hill offices.

While observing the House of Representatives in session from the House Gallery, Como students saw Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, present the Green New Deal resolution. Ocasio-Cortez’s presentation was inspiring for several students, who support the legislation.

Throughout the week, Como students participated in policy discussions and simulations in workshop groups with peers from across the nation and beyond. One hundred fifty students represented California, Texas, Louisiana, Utah, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana, as well as Puerto Rico and Panama.

The annual trip to Washington, D.C., for Como AP Government students is supported by student and school-­sponsored fundraising activities. The Como Park Booster Club, Rice St. Athletic Club and Friends of Como Athletics also are significant contributors.

Fifty-seven cadets from Como’s Marine Corps JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps) spent the weekend of Feb. 21-23 at Camp Ripley in Little Falls and Camp Shamineau in Motley. The winter Cadet Leadership Camp included evaluations in the standards of cross-country skiing, ice wall climbing, rock wall climbing, hiking, horseback riding, winter survival skills, zip lining, broomball and sledding. Cadets meeting or exceeding standards in those or any of the other five activities earned a Distinguished Military Training award.

Family and Consumer Science teacher Courtney Gbolo is a semifinalist for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award. Of 134 nominees, 36 were selected as semifinalists.

Gbolo teaches culinary arts and has developed an international cuisine course that incorporates knowledge she gained through a grant to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

“Teaching CTE (Career and Technical Education) classes provides students with real-world opportunities to explore career paths,” Gbolo said. “I have former students who are thriving in fields that our programs have exposed them to, which is really rewarding.”

Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park High School. His classes include AP Government.

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