BHS Quiz Bowl team moving on to nationals

Posted on April 2, 2015
The Burnsville High School Quiz Bowl team went 7-3 at the State Championship at Eastview High School on Saturday, March 7, finishing in sixth place. Now, the team has its sights set on  the High School National Championship, held May 30 in Chicago.
With the team’s most recent successes, Quiz Bowl coach Les Moffitt, who’s in his third year of coaching and runs competition-like practices twice a week to prepare his team, is optimistic about their upcoming events.
“Our team has grown from a casual participant to a serious competitor, and I want to continue developing into a dominant program,” says Moffitt. The team has had unprecedented success this year, displacing former divisional rivals like Rosemount and St. Thomas Academy, and scoring victories over the state’s top two programs, Eden Prairie and Wayzata. Burnsville is looking for a top 100 finish at the national championship.
The BHS Quiz Bowl team consists of 30-40 students and has had five teams compete in the league this season.
Junior Mitchel Fischer is the team’s highest individual scorer, consistently ranked as one of the top students in the state. Other members of the varsity team are Jacob Tangney, Dakota Wickham, Kien Truong and Drew Ehlers. Additional key individuals with recent, highly ranked individual scores include Katie Smith, Noah Pahl, Blake Andert, Nick Schatz, Connor Hume, Sabirina Dauid and Trang Truong. Quiz Bowl truly winds up being a team effort because each round contains a wide range of topics and many members have specialties in certain areas such as history, geography, art, music, literature, mythology, math and science.
“I am very proud of the work that our students have put in this year,” says Moffitt. “One thing that is very nice to see is that Burnsville has a wider range of diversity than many other schools. I am proud of our inclusivity.”  
The BHS Quiz Bowl Team is currently ranked 164th in the world and fifth in the state of Minnesota for the 2014-15 high school quiz bowl season. Recognized for its top finishes, the team has been invited to participate in additional national tournaments. With two such tournaments on radar, the team will be hosting a community event to raise funds to go to Chicago and New Orleans and hopes that community members will participate.
The next event for the team is the Burnsville Area Quiz Bowl Tournament on April 18 at Burnsville High School.  
Posted in Achievement, Student Success | Tagged bhs, quiz bowl team, les moffitt, nationals

Students finding balance, strength in yoga class

Posted on April 2, 2015

Picture an elective high school physical education class in your mind and it probably involves a lot of boys getting exercise and letting off steam by playing some competitive sport. But that’s far from  what you get if you visit the wrestling gym at Burnsville High School during the first and last hours of the day.

Lori VanderWoude is in her sixth year of teaching “Yoga, Pilates and Fitness” to BHS students who are looking for something different than action-packed competition. Instead, her students — mostly girls, but more than a handful of boys, too — experience dimmed lights, quiet background music, and time learning how to relax through movement.

Practicing yoga three days a week with pilates and cardio exercises the other two, VanderWoude says the skills students learn will help them stay healthy and deal with the stresses they have in their lives.

“It’s a fitness class, but we do talk about relaxing, breathing and dealing with stress. We talk about using deep breathing and other techniques to help stay relaxed and focus if you’re getting ready for a test,” VanderWoude said. “I’ve had kids tell me that it works. It’s great that they can take what they learn here and use it in their lives.”

Senior Kelly Keenan echoed those sentiments as she explained why she registered for the class.

“It gets me active and motivated,” Kelly said. “And school stresses me out and this is great stress relief.”

On Fridays, VanderWoude has introduced an extended period of deep relaxation time. It’s hard to imagine, but at those times, her class has 30-plus teenagers who are completely still, quiet and unplugged. She says she wasn’t sure it would work, but once students learned how, they are thriving on that down time

VanderWoude says the class was developed as a way to appeal to students who weren’t interested in the more competitive classes. Plus, she says, it’s something everyone can do.

“From athletes to students with special needs,” VanderWoude said, “this is a great option for a wide range of students.”

Posted in Health, Athletics | Tagged bhs, fitness, health, yoga, pilates

NCAA information meeting slated for April 6

Posted on April 1, 2015

There will be an NCAA clearinghouse informational meeting on Monday, April 6, at 7 p.m. at Burnsville High School in the Mraz Center. This meeting is for all student-athletes interested in participating in collegiate athletics. Students of all grade levels and parents are invited to attend.

If you have any questions, please contact Jeanine Riggs in the Athletics Department at 952-707-2151

Posted in Athletics | Tagged bhs, NCAA meeting, student-athletes, collegiate sports

BHS Winter Drumline wins state competition

Posted on April 1, 2015

The Burnsville High School Winter Drumline placed first in the Scholastic A Division of the Minnesota Percussion Association (MPA) Championships in St. Cloud, Minn. on Saturday, March 28. The victory completed an undefeated season in all of the MPA competitions in which the team participated.

This year, the drumline also placed very highly at a regional competition run by the national circuit – Winter Guard International (WGI) – and placed ahead of some groups it had never beaten before.

The last time the BHS Winter Drumline placed first in the MPA Championships was in 2010. Each of the past few years, the team has inched its way to the number one spot, finishing second last year and third the year before.

This year's show, called “The Grass is Always Greener,” included music, movement, theatrics, and uniforms, costumes and props created by the staff. The show featured a huge wall in one corner of the floor and centered on the team trying to get through that wall. Through this, the team’s intent was to show that their new way was no better than what it already had. In the end, the team discovered the green inside and learned to be happy with what it had.  

“I am incredibly proud of the students for working so hard and having fun to make this show come to life,” said director Paul Connell. “I am also very grateful to have a passionate staff to help design and teach the show, a great parent group that supports us at every turn, and the support of the BHS Music Department and Activities Director Jeff Marshall.”

The BHS Winter Drumline is directed by Paul Connell and supported by a design and instructional team, including Jordan Wein and Mack Steinberg and BHS alumni Matt Schmeichel, Alex Claseman, Gavin Andersen and Alex Cole.

Posted in Achievement, Student Success | Tagged bhs, winter drumline, state championship, minnesota percussion association

Dick Hanson receives the 2015 John Gagliardi Legacy Award

Posted on March 30, 2015

The Minnesota Chapter of The National Football Foundation is excited to announce the 2015 John Gagliardi Legacy Award winner, Dick Hanson, to be recognized at the 8th Annual Minnesota Football Honors May 3, 2015 at the Hilton Minneapolis.

For 24 years from 1969 to 1993, Hanson took the Burnsville High School football program to new heights. In his time with the Blaze, he guided the team to a 192-56-2 record that yielded 11 conference championship titles, 11 sectional championships and state championships in 1972, 1980, 1985, 1989 and 1991.

A graduate of Grand Forks Central High School, where he was a member of the 1952 state championship basketball team and lettered in golf, Hanson went on to garner his bachelor of science degree in mathematics education in 1956 at the University of North Dakota before taking additional education courses at both the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas. He became the head coach at Burnsville High School after serving as an assistant coach for the team from 1960-68.

Hanson also saw success off the field when he was named the District No. 191 Teacher of the Year and the Minnesota Teacher of the Year in 1968. He was a runner-up for the National Teacher of the Year in 1969.

Later in his career, Hanson earned the Presidential Award for Mathematics Teaching, Education Minnesota’s Distinguished Educator Award and had involvement with the National Mathematics Journal Board. Hanson also became an adjunct professor at St. Thomas, St. Olaf and Bemidji State and was a consultant for NASA and Hewlett Packard.

Hanson, for whom Burnsville named its football field in 2006, was inducted into Grand Forks Central High School’s Hall of Fame in 1993, was a member of the Burnsville High School Hall of Fame’s inaugural class and was a Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee in 2012.

The 8th Annual Minnesota Football Honors, presented by the Minnesota Vikings, will take place Sunday, May 3, 2015 at Hilton Minneapolis. College and professional football Hall of Fame inductees are scheduled to attend the event, and WCCO-TV news personality Frank Vascellaro will return for his eighth year as Master of Ceremonies. The event is open to the public. To register or for additional information about this years Minnesota Football Honors, please visit

Posted in Athletics, Achievement, Community | Tagged bhs, dick hanson, national football foundation, football

Kindergarten enrollment, information fair set for April 7

Posted on March 18, 2015

Preschool children and their parents/guardians are invited to a 2015 Enrollment & Information Fair in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 on Tuesday, April 7, in Diamondhead Education Center, Upper Level, 200 W. Burnsville Parkway.

Parents/guardians can drop by anytime from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to learn what the district offers to students in the full-day kindergarten program, ask questions, gather information, and enroll on the spot.

“We have a high-quality kindergarten program and we invite parents to learn more about it,” said Superintendent Joe Gothard, who adds that District 191 has been a leader in full-day kindergarten. “Our teachers start children off right for a life-time of learning.”

At the fair, parents will be able to:

  • Enroll now to reserve their child’s spot in the 2015-16 kindergarten class.
  • Learn more about services including school meals, transportation and health services.
  • Talk with school principals, nurses and other district staff members.
  • Register for before- and after-school care (Project KIDS).

In order to complete the enrollment process, parents will need to bring the following for their children:

Required Documents are:
  1. Proof of legal name - birth certificate, passport, I-94, hospital birth record
  2. Proof of residency - home purchase agreement, rent/lease agreement, utility bill (driver's license not accepted)
  3. Immunization record

Childcare and light refreshments will be provided.

Families can also enroll online at or in person at the District 191 Welcome Center, 200 W. Burnsville Pkwy. For more information, please call (952) 707-4180.

Posted in Parents | Tagged kindergarten, enrollment, pre-k

‘Class Acts’ will raise funds for scholarships

Posted on March 18, 2015

Nearly 150 employees in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 are involved in the upcoming 27th annual Class Acts comedy variety show to raise money for scholarships for graduating students.

So far, Class Acts has raised more than $242,000 to help students at Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School pay for college.

This year’s show, dubbed “An Evening with the Stars” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on April 9-11, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday, April 11. All performances will be in the Mraz Center at Burnsville High School, 600 E. Highway 13.

Staff members will sing, play instruments, act in skits, tell jokes and dance. There will also be a basket raffle again this year. 

Tickets are $5 and available 30 minutes before each show. Tickets can also be purchased in advance by contacting Kari Deering at

Posted in Community | Tagged class acts, scholarships

Parents can discuss classroom placements for 2015-16

Posted on March 17, 2015

Once again this year, parents have the opportunity to meet directly with Principal Nesvig for a brief conference to discuss their child's strengths and weaknesses, as well as what classroom environmental factors they feel are most important.

To select a conference date and time, parents can go to Meetings with Principal Nesvig can be in person or by phone by calling (952) 707-3901 during the time selected time slot. Emails and paper requests will not be accepted.

Tagged harriet bishop

BHS senior earns Dease Scholarship, full ride to St. Thomas

Posted on March 17, 2015
With encouragement and support from her teachers, Burnsville High School senior Libin Said submitted an essay to St. Thomas University, one of her top college choices, in hopes of earning a four-year, full-tuition scholarship.
On Friday, March 13, her hopes were realized when a university representative, Codi Seoun, greeted her in the Career Center with some surprising news. Libin was one of 14 students out of 300 applicants to receive the Dease Scholarship, a scholarship program initiated to increase access to a St. Thomas education for students historically underrepresented at the university. This group includes first-generation students, students of color, and students from families without the means to afford a private-school education.
“I never thought I would get the scholarship. I was so surprised,” said Libin. “When they brought me to the Career Center, and Mr. Helke was standing there, I thought I was in trouble. I thought maybe I would be suspended for skipping class and going to the Black History performance instead.”
This year, Dease Scholarship applicants had to answer the question, “What would receiving a Dease Scholarship mean to you personally and how would you use this opportunity at St. Thomas to celebrate cultures of diversity while advancing the common good?”
As the daughter of a single mother who is a Somali immigrant and also disabled, Libin’s expectations of attending college were low. No one in her family has ever gone to college. However, that didn’t stop Libin from challenging herself by taking Advanced Placement and honors classes. Through these classes, Libin learned that a college degree was paramount to her success.
Through volunteering at a local hospital, mosque and her apartment building, where she organized a fashion show and potluck for residents to come together and foster positive relationships, Libin says she has learned the value of celebrating diverse cultures. She also hopes that her voice and perspective of a Muslim woman will advance the common good during a time when the media portrays various voices of her religion.
“Libin is highly motivated to succeed — not just to do a good job but to do the best job that she can,” added Katie Burke, BHS language arts teacher.

In the aftermath of receiving the news, Libin’s aunts and uncles from Europe called to congratulate her. Her mother was shocked.
“It was weird because I don’t like getting a lot of attention, but I felt very loved that day,” said Libin.  
Posted in Student Success | Tagged bhs, St. Thomas University, Dease Scholarship, Libin Said

2015 Spring Testing

Posted on March 16, 2015

To help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota’s academic standards and also meet the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Burnsville High School will be administering several tests when students come back from spring break. Please read the following information regarding the upcoming tests.


10th Grade


All MCA Science Tests are done online and students will be testing in one of the Media Center computer labs. One week prior to testing, room assignments, dates and testing times will be posted outside of the Attendance Office entrance, outside the Media Center entrance adjacent to the elevator, and in the Science hallway.

Testing Dates

  • Thursday, May 7, 2015
  • Friday, May 8, 2015
  • Monday, May 11, 2015
  • Tuesday, May 12, 2015
  • Wednesday, May 13, 2015
  • Thursday, May 14, 2015 (Make-up Testing)


11th Grade

ACT TEST - Make-ups for the ACT are Tuesday, May 12:

The test will begin at 7:33 AM in C180. Passes will be sent for students taking the test.


Posted in Parents | Tagged bhs, MCA, ACT, GRAD Writing Test