Oral Interp Performers Qualify for State

OralInterpTwo oral interp participants have earned themselves a chance to perform at the 2018 State Oral Interp Festival.  Brooke-Lynn Hawthorne of Dell Rapids and Aubry Hansen from Dell Rapids St Mary both qualified from their respective regions.

Hawthorne qualified for her storytelling piece that was performed at the Class A Region III meet on Monday, November 12th at Brookings.  Dell Rapids also had a few students earn alternate spots.  They include Tim Jaycox in humor, Ella Lueders in serious, Jaycox and Emily Dorn in duet acting, and the reader’s theater team of Kat Fletcher, Peyton Gleason, Jaycox, Lueders, and Krystal Stange.

Hansen advanced to the regions in the serious reading category after her district performance on Wednesday, November 7th in Madison.  Hansen’s performance at the regional meet on Tuesday, November 13th in Sioux Falls earned her a trip to the state competition.  Thomas Eining advanced through the district meet to the regions, but fell just short of qualifying for state.

The 2018 South Dakota State Oral Interp Festival will be held on Friday, November 30th and Saturday, December 1st at the Lake Area Technical Institue and Watertown High School.  Hawthorne’s storytelling category will start at 6:00 p.m. Friday at Lake Area Technical Institute.  Hansen’s serious reading category will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Watertown High School.

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Magician Tries to Help Youth Avoid “Social Media Land Mines”

Cyber Safety & Magic don’t usually go together, but on Thursday, May 3 students at Dell Rapids and Dell Rapids St. Mary will be learning about social media safety in an unexpected & engaging way!  

Teaching students about social media safety is critical. Whether it’s getting addicted to technology, posting hateful things, hurting reputations, meeting people online or tarnishing your online reputation. It can be dangerous.

Magician and “edu-tainer” Robert Hackenson Jr. is slowly changing how teens post and use technology. This amazing presentation has allowed students across the country, in 46 states and counting, to see and understand what to post and what not to post.

His presentation infuses card tricks, eye-catching props, and illusion in a way that engages students while reinforcing the educational lessons. Every piece of magic, story, video clip, etc. is used to deliver a message and make it memorable, without making light of this serious issue. His presentation helps start a conversation amongst students about social media safety and responsible posting. It makes them think not only about their own safety, but also about how they can keep their peers safe.

Hackenson will also give a parent presentation on Wednesday, May 2nd starting at 7:00 p.m. in the Dell Rapids MS Commons area.  The Dell Rapids Connections group will be serving refreshments.


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St Mary Student Wins Essay Competition

DRSM LogoPayton Park’s winning essay aims to help a leading nonprofit fulfill its mission through sound financial management, placing him first in the state of South Dakota for high school students

Spearfish, South Dakota March 15, 2018 – Many teens enjoy raising funds for nonprofit organizations, but 16-year old Payton Park wants to manage those funds! This exceptional sophomore from St. Mary’s High School in Dell Rapids, South Dakota channeled his inner financial advisor to create an investment plan for the World Food Program and become the South Dakota first-place winner of SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association) Foundation’s Fall 2017 InvestWrite® competition. Park’s remarkable essay on how to help a nonprofit organization manage its assets for maximum short- and long-term sustainability has positioned him at the top of thousands of students competing nationwide. Should he ever wish to manage his own nonprofit organization, Park has the financials figured out!

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the SIFMA Foundation’s acclaimed national financial capability programs engage 600,000 students and 15,000 educators annually with proven impacts in raising students’ math, economics and personal finance test scores and, through InvestWrite, their language arts and writing skills. The 4th-12th graders nationwide who compete each year are reinforcing what they have learned in The Stock Market Game an online simulation of the global capital markets that reinforces STEM learning, 21st Century skills, economics, investing and personal finance. Through InvestWrite, students are, in fact, building on what they have learned through their participation in The Stock Market Game, which has reached more than 17 million students since its inception in 1977.

InvestWrite enables students to develop the personal financial savvy needed to make practical financial decisions with confidence and gain a deeper understanding of economic opportunities, consequences, and benefits. Students consider real-world events and news, conduct research online, and develop investment recommendations. They work in groups during The Stock Market Game program and then write their InvestWrite essays individually to reflect their critical thinking, analysis and creative talents.

“SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are transformative programs that prepare students for college, career and life while teaching them about the capital markets and investing,” said Melanie Mortimer, President of the SIFMA Foundation. “Our students do measurably better on math, economics and personal finance tests. They also learn to work in teams, manage change, understand the impact of global economic activity, and become smart consumers ready for financial independence.”

Since InvestWrite was introduced in 2004, more than 215,000 students have submitted essays. Payton Park is among the 20,000 participants each year in InvestWrite, which bridges classroom learning in mathematics, social studies, and language arts with the practical research and knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning.

An independent, double-blind, nationally randomized evaluation conducted by Learning Point Associates (now AIR) found that The Stock Market Game improves students’ academic achievement and personal financial behavior. Students who participated in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests than their peers who did not participate. They also found that teachers who taught The Stock Market Game reported that the program motivated them to better plan for their own financial futures. The Stock Market Game has been named the only program that successfully increased scores on the Jumpstart Coalition’s test of high school students’ financial literacy.

The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are offered in South Dakota through the Center for Economic Education at Black Hills State University. “We honor and congratulate our InvestWrite winning student, Payton Park and his teacher, Amanda Geraets” said Donald Altmyer, Center Director & South Dakota Stock Market Game Coordinator. “Helping South Dakota students better understand our economy, our markets, the role of investors, and how to make good investments will pay dividends for the students, their education, and the South Dakota economy.”

The South Dakota Stock Market Game is sponsored by the Black Hills State University Center for Economic Education, the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the South Dakota Council on Economic Education. For more information on the program or the webinars, contact Professor Don Altmyer, SDSMG Coordinator at donaltmyer@BHSU.edu or 605-642-6266.

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Dell Rapids St Mary Holds Fall Sports Banquet

Dell Rapids St Mary High School held a fall sports team awards banquet on Tuesday, November 14th.  A potluck meal was served at 6:00 p.m. for the football, volleyball, competitive cheer, and cross country teams.  During the banquet, several Dell Rapids St Mary athletes earned awards.  Congratulations to all the award winners!



Offensive MVP: Weston Geraets

Defensive MVP: Eli Longville

Outstanding Lineman: Logan Gaspar

Outstanding Lineman: Tate Hansen

Hustle Award: Seth Bares

Scout Team Player of the Year: Jon Bares


All-Conference: Logan Gaspar

All-Conference HM: Tate Hansen



Offensive MVP: Maddie Schwebach

Co-Defensive MVP: Rhiannon Glazier

Co-Defensive MVP: Adyn Heinricy

Most Improved: Veronica Beck

Hustle Award: Cassandra Geraets


All-Conference: Maddie Schwebach and Cassandra Geraets

All-Conference HM: Adyn Heinricy



​Most Valuable Runner: Ella Heinitz

Most Improved Runner: Catherine Vogel



Co-Most Valuable Runner: Connor Libis

Co-Most Valuable Runner: Jacob Vogel

Most Improved Runner: Thomas Eining



Coach’s Award: Adyn Heinricy

Most Improved: April Hof

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Singers Selected for 2017 All-State Choir

music-2618342_1280Eight singers from Dell Rapids and four singers from Dell Rapids St Mary have been selected for the 2017 All-State Chorus and Orchestra performance.  This year’s concert will be held on Saturday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m. at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.

Kathryn Fletcher, Amy Meyer, Sydney Stofferahn, Mercedes Lodmell, Alec Saxon, Andrew Weiland, Thomas Petrik, and Peyton Gleason have been selected to participate from Dell Rapids.  Morgan Brech, Abby Stauffenecker, and Riley Nyman were selected as alternates.  Participates from Dell Rapids St Mary are Courtney Geraets, Paige Bunkers, Noah Dennis, and Jon Bares.

This year’s guest conductor is Dr. Tim Seelig from San Francisco, CA.  Seelig is a conductor, singer, teacher, and motivational speaker.

Tickets for the concert are $19.00 for adult and student reserved section, $14.00 for adult general admission, or $8.00 for student general admission.

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Dell Rapids St Mary Students Sing at Gift of Hope Concert

Five Dell Rapids St Mary students joined other students from the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls to sin in the Gift of Hope Concert.

Avery Carder, Paige Bunkers, Ella Swift, Lucy Swift, and Danika Deuter sang in the concert which was held on Sunday, March 19th, at Sioux Falls O’Gorman High School.  The students also had the opportunity to sing with Christian artist Mark Schultz on stage for the last two songs of the concert.

Proceeds from the concert went to the Catholic Family Services’ Gift of Hope Fund to help enhance the work of CFS.  Through this fund, people of all faiths, ages, and walks of life receive help, hope, and healing with services such as grief counseling, adoption, and many others.


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St Mary Cardinals Season of Giving

Story and photos submitted by Joni Smith

stmaryseasongiving_1December is a time of year that many us remember how blessed our lives our everyday.  It is also a time that we remember to give back to those who are not always so lucky everyday.  The students and families at St. Mary Catholic School have been very busy giving back to those in our community and in surrounding communities during this month.

The season of giving started the week of December 5th thru the 9th. Students in both the elementary and high school competed in a Penny War.  Each students brought pennies and other coins or cash to put in their own class’s collection bucket or in another class’s bucket.  Pennies counted as positive points for their class, but anything else counted as negative points.  The goal by the end of the week was to have the more pennies than anyone else.  It was a close stmaryseasongiving_2competition but the winners of the Penny War ( the class with the most pennies) was the Kindergarten for the Elementary School and the 9th Graders in the High School.  However, the winners for collecting the most money in their bucket was the 3rd graders with $130.64 and the 7th graders with $268.79 in their bucket.   All together $796.55 was raised in one week by all the students!  This money will stay in Dell Rapids and go to the Christmas For Our Kids Organization, and will help buy Christmas gifts and meals to those who need it in Dell Rapids.

St. Mary students in grades 7-12 collected new baby items as part of the annual diocesan Advent Baby Shower. More than 50 students donated diapers, sleepers, baby care items, onesies and toys for needy families.   All of the collected items will be given to needy families within the Dell Rapids community.

stmaryseasongiving_3If these letters were handed in by Friday, December 9th, Macy’s would donate $2 per letter.  Overall, students wrote over 170  letters and over $350 was raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Thank you to Macy’s and to all those that wrote letters to Santa!


The giving didn’t stop though.  On December 14th, students in Pre-K through twelve gathered in their Cardinal Families and spent about an hour cutting, tying, and making Fleece-Tie Blankets.  Students and teachers made and donated these fleece blankets to local residents of nursing homes in Dell Rapids and local homeless shelters in our diocese.  Overall 16 blankets were made by everyone in about 40 minutes.

The giving didn’t stop in our community though, the students at St. Mary School even gave back to their school.  On the last stmaryseasongiving_5day of school before students were set free to enjoy their Christmas Break, students and teachers in grades 7-12 cleaned the school, gym, and church.  Students scrubbed the top and bottoms of the bleachers in the gym, cleaned and organized the stage, washed lunchroom tables and chairs, washed windows, glass doors and trophy cases, cleaned church pews, disinfected computer keyboards, moved sidewalk salt to the garage, and tidied up the entire school before break.  The students then celebrated their successful cleaning day with a movie in the gym.


The students at St. Mary Catholic school are a great reminder that there are many great things that young ones can do.  The entire school and staff constantly are giving back to everyone in their community and  had a very successful month of giving.


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St Mary Students Participate in Band Festival

On Monday, November 28, 2016, three St. Mary High School Senior Band members traveled to the campus of South Dakota State University to participate in the 20th Annual East Central Honor Band Festival. Lexi Klein, Senior Clarinet player, and Spencer Thompson, Senior Percussion player, were both in the East Central Honor Band conducted by James McKinney.  Senior Baritone player, Zachary Geraets, was in the the East Central Festival Band conducted by Dr. Keven Kessler. Students practiced all day at SDSU, and then performed in a concert at the Performing Arts Center on the campus.


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Two Local Students Honored for Academic Excellence

The best and brightest from the Class of 2016 were honored for their academic achievements at the 26th Annual Academic Excellence Banquet in Pierre on Monday, May 2nd.


In conjunction with Governor Dennis Daugaard, the Associated School Boards of South Dakota invited more than 200 students, who were identified  as the top one percent of their senior class, from the state’s public, private, and tribal schools to celebrate their academic accomplishments.  Bridget Dunn from Dell Rapids St Mary and Josh Parrott from Dell Rapids Public were two of the students invited.


“Today we celebrate excellence,” ASBSD President Eric Stroeder said.  “These students represent the best and brightest from South Dakota.”

“You are the future of South Dakota.  We hope you will stay in South Dakota and become the next generation of leaders for our state.”

Governor Daugaard shared Stroeder’s sentiment and encouraged students to stay in South Dakota.

“The prospects for young graduates in South Dakota are better than anywhere else,” Governor Daugaard said.  “Your dreams can come true in South Dakota.”

Prospects and dreams made possible by the hard work the students have put forth.

“You motivated yourself to learn more and more,” Governor Daugaard said.  “That’s something special.  You’re something special.”

The event was sponsored by the South Dakota Community Foundation.  The Mobridge-Pollock High School Band provided the musical entertainment.

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Dell Rapids St Mary Recognized as an “Outstanding Student Council”

2016DRSMStudentCouncilThe South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) recently announced that 30 South Dakota high school student councils have been recognized as being “Outstanding Student Councils” for the 2015-16 school year.  This is the 26th year that this statewide program has been sponsored by the SDHSAA to recognize those South Dakota high school student council’s that meet or exceed the rigorous standards of excellence that are necessary to achieve the “Outstanding Student Council” designation.  “Outstanding Councils” excel in having a well-rounded program of activities and projects for the year.  The work completed by these “Outstanding Student Councils” has been a benefit to both their school and their community throughout the school year.

The major focus of the “SDHSAA Outstanding Student Council” program consists of each participating student council completing a self-evaluation of their organizational structure and their successful completion of projects in a variety of areas.  The evaluation also considers the involvement of the student council in their school and community. It is the intention of the High School Activities Association to recognize those student councils that meet the stringent standards and criteria demanded by this program.  The thirty student councils that have been recognized with this year’s ‘Outstanding’ designation are each well organized and highly motivated.  These student councils have met the rigorous standards necessary to be called ‘Outstanding’. The self-evaluation focuses upon the structure of the student council as well as the positive involvement of the student council in the activities of their school and community.

To be recognized as an “Outstanding Student Council” every council was involved in various projects in the areas of “Community and School Service”, “Health, Safety or Chemical Awareness”, “Education”, “Leadership” and others. Completion of projects in a wide range of areas was necessary to fulfill a variety of goals for the student council. Each school receiving the “SDHSAA Outstanding Student Council” award has demonstrated a desire for self-improvement and individual growth by participating in leadership workshops and conventions as well as other educational programs.

Some of the projects the Dell Rapids St Mary Student Council has completed this year include:
~ planning and organizing all Homecoming activities, along with Olympic Games & a Powder Puff Football game
~ sponsoring dress up days for Red Ribbon Week
~ hosting two dances during the year
~ organizing Secret Santa during Christmas
~ organized an Elf for a Day contest to raise money for Christmas for our Kids
~ host a Pajamarama for the elementary students during Catholic Schools Week
~ sponsor a week long food drive during Catholic Schools Week for the local food pantry
~ have Brownie Sundae fundraisers to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network
~ run a lunch stand and had a hoop shoot contest during basketball games to raise money for a new water fountain for our school
~ provided free babysitting & worked in the concession stands during our SFO fall craft fair
~ sponsor activities for Alcohol Awareness during Prom Week
~ provide gifts to our teachers during teacher appreciation week

The 2015-16 “SDHSAA Outstanding Student Council” Award recipients are:

  • Aberdeen Central High School, Advisor – Kevin Rook
  • Bennett County High School, Advisor – Mandi Smokov
  • Bowdle High School, Advisor – Jason Bishop
  • Canton High School, Advisor – Nicole Nelson
  • Dakota Valley High School, Advisor – James Schmit/Kim Bacon
  • Dell Rapids St Mary High School, Advisor – Cami Bacon
  • Edgemont High School, Advisor – Scott Corbett
  • Estelline High School, Advisor – Julie Rieckman
  • Faith High School, Advisor – Deanna Fischbach
  • Henry High School, Advisor – Philip Schonebaum
  • Herreid High School, Advisor – Janelle Rossow
  • Huron High School, Advisor – Becca Briggs
  • Lead-Deadwood High School, Advisor – Gary Linn
  • Lemmon High School, Advisor – Linda O’Donnell
  • Lennox High School, Advisor – Madeline Kroger
  • Lyman High School, Advisor – Carol Birgen
  • McCook Central High School, Advisor – Tracy Chase
  • Milbank High School, Advisor – Kathy Sussex & Nancy Paulson
  • Mitchell High School, Advisor – Nancy Leach
  • Philip High School, Advisor – Pamela DeJong
  • Pierre T.F. Riggs High School, Advisor – Brittany Green & Bob Gill
  • Sioux Falls Lincoln High School, Advisor – Jennifer DuBois
  • Sioux Falls Roosevelt High School, Advisor – Michele Jensen & Kari Bultje
  • Sioux Falls Washington High School, Advisor – Sandy Hoff & Kristy VanMeerteren
  • Sully Buttes High School, Advisor – Wanda Meyer
  • Summit High School, Advisor – Nicole Hoffman
  • Vermillion High School, Advisor – Paige Chapman
  • Wall High School, Advisor – Ronda Wilson
  • Winner High School, Advisor – Mono LaCompte & Lorna Phillips
  • Yankton High School, Advisor – Becky Tasa
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