News from Como Park Senior High School

Debate teams qualify for state

Two teams from the Como Park debate program qualified for the Minnesota State Debate Tournament, held at the University of Minnesota in January. Juniors Jackson Kerr and Stephen Boler placed third in the section tournament to qualify for the state tourney. Sophomores Peter Schik and Henry Hansen placed fourth in sections to earn the final state qualification spot. Both teams participated in the policy debate division, which examined the question of the U.S. increasing its diplomatic or economic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.

Teams prepared arguments and positions for 90 minutes of debate against their opponents. The experience of debate has been rewarding for the participants. “We know infinitely more about China-U.S. relations than we did prior to the debate season,” said Jackson Kerr. “We really enjoyed the camaraderie and the practices were lively.”

WorldQuest teams place in top 10

Global Minnesota sponsored the annual Academic WorldQuest competition at Ecolab in downtown St. Paul on Feb. 1. Two Como teams of four students participated. Both teams placed in the top 10 out of 42 teams from across the state.

The team of seniors Divine Uchegbu, Georgie Kinsman, Aaron Coggins and junior Jackson Kerr finished in fifth place. The team of seniors Hannah Rhee and Ella Harker and juniors Dominic Wolters and Stephen Boler finished seventh.

The quiz bowl format featured questions from a wide range of world affairs topics and current events. The event was emceed by Current 89.3 radio host Mark Wheat.

NHS book drive a success

Members of Como’s National Honor Society (NHS) collected and delivered more than 300 books to Como Park Elementary School students. NHS students set up a collection box, built by Bob Prifrel’s woodworking class, in the main office. All books were donated by Como students and staff. Seniors Hannah Rhee and Divine Uchegbu launched and coordinated the effort.

“It really is a community project and the school has been very generous with their donations,” said Uchegbu. “NHS students have constantly volunteered to count, store and transport the books.”

The project will continue throughout the spring so the elementary students will be equipped with plenty of new and gently used age-appropriate books to read.

Carole Whitney nominee for Minnesota Teacher award

Carole Whitney is a nominee for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award. Whitney is the music department chair at Como, conducting five choirs and directing the fall musical and spring play. She has created opportunities for all students, ranging from beginning choir to preparing soloists and ensembles for state competitions to leading her advanced choirs to Carnegie Hall in New York City during the span of her 23 years at Como.

She has been certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Early Adolescent/Young Adult Music and has held several other leadership positions in regional and state music organizations. The announcement of the 2017 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be revealed in May. A panel of community leaders will work with Education Minnesota to analyze and determine finalists during the coming weeks.

WCCO names Mr. D an Excellent Educator

Donnell Gibson, known as “Mr. D” at Como, was featured on the WCCO morning news on Feb. 15 and honored with the station’s Excellent Educator Award. Mr. D is an intervention specialist and a motivating, positive presence in the halls and classrooms of Como. He was chosen for his tireless and selfless work with students, coordination of his non-profit Gibson Foundation and his leadership as the coach for the junior varsity boys’ basketball team.

Booster Club to sponsor fundraiser at Urban Growler

The Como Park High School Booster Club is sponsoring its third annual friendly fundraiser at the Urban Growler Brewing Co. on Sunday, March 12, 4-8 p.m. Advanced ticket purchases are $20 for adults and $15 for children. Tickets at the door are $25 and $20. The price includes one meal and one beverage, live music, plus a chance to win some high-quality prizes.

Funds raised will support extracurricular activities offered to Como Park High School students. Visit for more details or to purchase tickets on the link. You may also contact the booster club at, or call Ann Commers at 651-270-3692.

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