Foundation 191 awards 10 grants for learning projects

Posted on May 11, 2018

Foundation 191 will fund 10 grants for learning projects during the 2018-2019 school year totaling almost $5,000, it was announced at the May 10 meeting of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Board of Education.

Each year, the not-for-profit foundation receives grant requests from District 191 staff members with creative ideas to enhance, enrich and expand educational opportunities for students, which is core to the foundation’s mission, according to Robbie Bunnell, interim president of the foundation.

“Congratulations to each award recipient,” she said. “Thank you to teachers and staff members for not only taking the time to go through this grant application process with us, but for also going above and beyond by providing fun and innovative educational experiences for our 191 students.”

Since its inception in 2005, Foundation 191 has provided more than $100,000 in grants and in-kind contributions to supplement and enhance students’ experiences.

Grant awards for the 2018-19 school year go to:

  • M.W. Savage Elementary: $500 for Whaletale Publishing.
  • BES Transition Program: $1,000 for core quilting project.
  • Nicollet Middle School: $500 for audiobooks.
  • Vista View Elementary: $400-$500 for student-led book clubs in 4th grade.
  • Sky Oaks Elementary: $500 for the Sky Flyers student leadership team.
  • Edward Neill Elementary: $292 for Boogie Boards.
  • Eagle Ridge Middle School: $150 student service club.  
  • Community Education / Hidden Valley: $500 for swimming lessons.
  • Early Childhood Programs: $400-$500 for providing more diverse literature.
  • District-Wide: $500 for Bowls for BrainPower fundraiser for weekend food for students in need.

Photo: Robbie Bunnell, interim president of Foundation 191, presents a check to Board Chair Jim Schmid. 

BHS student takes top honors, school is runner-up in competition to find nation’s strongest

Posted on May 11, 2018
Danielle “Dani” Kurr, a junior at Burnsville High School, has had quite a year in the weight room.
On May 2, USA Weightlifting (USAW) named Dani the strongest high school athlete in her weight class in America, based on results from a USAW contest. The organization also announced Burnsville High School  the strongest high school in Minnesota and runner-up to the strongest high school in the nation.
Dani began the weightlifting season by setting a new women's strength record at the school with a back squat of 225 lbs. She opened the Olympic Weightlifting season with a second place finish at the North Metro High School Open at Armstrong High School and followed up with a second place finish at the Raider High School Open at Northfield High School. Unsatisfied with finishing second, Dani decided to place her training emphasis on winning a state championship in March.
Dani found herself to be the strongest she had ever been and she was poised and prepared for the familiar opponents that had previously kept her just one step from the top. After completing her first two attempts, Dani was positioned to take second place. However, a window of opportunity opened when the leader missed on her third attempt.
Coach Justin Lerfald said, "I leaned over to Dani and said, ‘Let's go for it. I know it’s more than you've ever done, but you have second locked up. Go for it, I know you can do it.’"
Dani’s third attempt was 71 kilos (156 lbs), 6 kilos (13 lbs) above her second, and more than she had ever done.
"She absolutely nailed it,” said Lerfald. “Her teammates and coaches were going crazy." Dani was crowned state champion.
In April, Lerfald encouraged Dani to enter the USA Weightlifting (USAW) contest to determine the strongest high school athlete in America. The contest consisted of sending a video of a max attempt on three movements: the clean, back squat and bench press.
Then came the USAW announcement naming Dani the nation’s strongest high school athlete in her class.
“I am so proud of these lifters. This has been an incredible year, with some truly amazing kids,” said Lerfald.
Dani received a trophy and an invitation to attend a summer camp hosted by USAW.
"This year's weightlifting season was one of my favorite seasons I've had in any sport,” said Dani. “As for my teammates and coaches, I love them all so much! I'm grateful to be pushed and encouraged every single day by my teammates and coaches.
Dani added, “They are the best family an athlete could ask for."
Posted in Athletics, Achievement | Tagged bhs, Olympic Weightlifting, justin lerfald, dani kurr, strongest athlete, strongest high school

Byrne Spring Carnival is May 11

Posted on May 9, 2018

carnival header image

It's Carnival Time!

Please join us on May 11 from 6-8:30 p.m. for the William Byrne Spring Carnival.

There will be games, crafts, outdoor activities, and the Book Fair. Game tickets will be on sale at the door for 50 cents per game. There will be free pizza and frost deserts for purchase from the Hometown Creamery Truck.

Come and have a great time with the Byrne Community!

Posted in Parents | Tagged carnival, william byrne

Hidden Valley students shine at regional science fair

Posted on May 9, 2018


Six students represented Hidden Valley Elementary this year at the 67th Annual Southern MN Regional Science and Engineering Fair at Minnesota State University, Mankato on Saturday, April 28.

The following students won awards.

Grand Award Bronze Medals
Given for projects that demonstrate the greatest potential contribution to science, exemplify student creativity and curiosity, and reflect a student’s    personal and academic growth:

  • Sam Skoglund   
  • Emma Legorreta  

Agstar Financial Award (certificate and gift card)
Given for an outstanding agricultural-related project about plants:

  • Kylie Wallace

Our students also all received either a blue or purple ribbon.  Purple signifies top scoring excellent projects that are above expectations.  Blue signifies that the project met expectations and is superior in the category.

Congratulations again to those students who participated in Mankato this year:

Grade 3

  • Sam Skoglund (purple)

Grade 4

  • Evan Higgins (blue)
  • Kylie Wallace (blue)

Grade 5

  • Juan Carlos Carrillo Ruiz (blue)
  • Ashley Gutierrez De Jesus (purple)
  • Emma Legorreta (purple)

Great job everyone!


Nathan Naef / Science Fair Coordinator

Posted in Academics | Tagged science fair, hidden valley

‘The Crucible’ comes to BHS stage May 17-19

Posted on May 9, 2018

The award-winning play, “The Crucible,” will be performed at Burnsville High School at 7 p.m. on May 17, 18 and 19 and at 2:30 p.m. on May 19, in the Mraz Center, 600 E. Highway 13.

The play focuses on a farmer, his wife, and a young servant-girl who maliciously causes the wife's arrest for witchcraft. The farmer brings the girl to court to admit the lie, and the plot thickens. Written by Arthur Miller, “The Crucible” won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1953.

“The show is really applicable to today because it's all about what happens when we try to position two groups against each other,” said Marie Hansen, director. “None of the accusations in the play are based on facts, but rather on suspicion, and in a world where the topic of fake news is becoming increasingly relevant, these witch hunts that stem from the desire for personal gain are in​teresting to think about.”

There’s more interaction than usual with the audience serving as the jury in the big courtroom scene. Also townspeople will be entering and exiting from the audience.

The school’s fab lab printer and equipment were used to create the trees for the set. “It was an awesome use of pathways and technology,” said Hansen. The production’s poster was inspired by Sammy Kutz, a student in a BHS design class.

Cast and crew members in the production include Ryan Horrocks, Emma Wavrunek, Emma Harrold, Henry Smalstig, Jasmine Buckner, Abby Harrold, Megan Bormann, Joy Bogonko, Maddie Moher, Kelly Solberg, Andrew Vixayvong, Eyakem Yilma, Kara Schwenn, Zach Holmes, Meta Lobben, Jackson Thellin, Alyse Dees, Kaitlin Johnson, Davin Blix, Isaac Nelson, Sofia Kemeny, Bianka Delgadillo, Jacob Holtzleiter, Daniel Akah, Sam Brenes, Gavin Oliveras, Jon Butler, Sophie Herzog, Matt Bollinger, Mason Teal, Jayde Grass, Gaby Kauls, Aviva Leverty, Eliana Panos, Angela Linh, Sofia Versailles, Kenzie Carrane and Mikayla Hughes.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $8 for students and can be purchased at  

Posted in Parents, Activities | Tagged bhs, theatre guild, the crucible, marie hansen

May is Mental Health Awareness month

Posted on May 9, 2018

Burnsville High School's #BurnsvilleStrong club will be promoting Mental Health Awareness during the week of May 7. 

Each day, there will be an announcement to inform and educate about mental health and how to support ourselves and each other.

Good mental health isn’t the absence of mental health issues - we all have them. However, it is the ability to cope and continually learn how to deal with stressors in our lives in ways that are positive and healthy.

Parents and students can check out the Mental Health Minutes that will be posted to Schoology each day. 

Students who need assistance with mental health issues or who want more information should see their school counselor. 


Posted in Community, Parents | Tagged bhs, mental health awareness month, #burnsvillestrong

Register for The EDGE summer program; visit open house

Posted on May 7, 2018

Registration is now open and a calendar of events is available for The EDGE, a comprehensive summer youth program for students entering grades 6-9 (or up to 16 years of age), run by Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Community Education in partnership with Farmington, Lakeville and New Prague schools.

An open house for families to learn more about The EDGE will be take place on Tuesday, May 15 from 5-6:30 p.m. at Harriet Bishop Elementary.

The EDGE runs June 13-Aug. 24 and is located at Harriet Bishop Elementary School, 14400 O’Connell Road, Savage.

Participants take daily field trips to places including Valleyfair, Minnesota Twins games, Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, water parks, movies, malls, bowling, zipline courses, and many more! Breakfast, a bag lunch or lunch outings, snack and all fees (except Valleyfair admission, unless you have a pass) are included in the $35 daily fee. Transportation is available to and from several area schools in Burnsville, Farmington and Lakeville.

The focus of The EDGE is to give kids experiences that will help develop skills such as independence, responsibility, and accountability, along with improving interpersonal communication. These fun and positive experiences will be provided in both recreational and educational environments throughout the community, allowing kids to feel successful and receive recognition.

Registration for The EDGE is online this year and available all summer. Registration materials and instructions can be found at

For additional information about The EDGE summer program, contact Shar Lattery at (952) 707-3908 or To view The EDGE promotional video, please visit

Eagle Ridge student honored for service at national event

Posted on May 7, 2018

Eagle Ridge Middle School student Shrey Pothini was honored as Minnesota's top middle level youth volunteer of 2018 at a ceremony in the nation's capital on April 29 for his outstanding volunteer service during the 23rd annual presentation of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Shrey received $1,000 awards and personal congratulations from Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn at the ceremony and gala dinner reception held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

An eighth-grader, Shrey has organized an annual citywide "day of service" for the past three years to mobilize community members to help others. He has been passionate about community service ever since he collected new bath towels for a local homeless youth shelter when he was 5 years old. That effort led him to start a service club at Harriet Bishop Elementary School, and then to encourage volunteerism throughout his entire city. "I wanted children and families in my city to be exposed to the needs in our community and learn how to make a difference while having fun," said Shrey.

Shrey took his idea for a "Service Day Saturday" to the city's mayor, city council and city administrator. After receiving permission, he put an ad in the local paper letting people know about the event and then formed a planning committee. He also talked to the city fire, police and communications departments; the local library; every school in the area; and local businesses and nonprofits. On the day of the event, residents were encouraged to conduct their own volunteer projects or participate in one of 12 that Shrey had organized. More than 1,500 people participated in last year's Service Day Saturday, collecting 4,000 pounds of food, donating 2,000 books to nonprofits, decorating 4,000 lunch bags for Meals on Wheels, assembling 500 bracelet kits for hospitalized kids, putting together 375 dental kits for homeless youth, and raising money to purchase 20 goats for families in Kenya.

"I'm so grateful that people listened to my ideas and didn't think I was just being a silly child," said Shrey. "I would tell other young people to never let anybody tell them they cannot make a difference."

"These honorees exemplify something we've known for a long time – that young volunteers have the power to bring meaningful change to their communities," said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. "These students have shown leadership and determination well beyond their years, and it's a privilege to celebrate their service."

Posted in Community | Tagged service, prudential spirit award, shrey pothini, eagle ridge

BHS DECA is finalist in KARE11 #eyesUP PSA, with chance for cash prize

Posted on May 4, 2018

Burnsville DECA has been selected as one of the top 11 finalists for the KARE11 #eyesUP public service announcement (PSA) challenge.

KARE11 challenged high school students in Minnesota and western Wisconsin to help reduce distracted driving in our communities by creating a PSA for KARE11.

A committee of KARE11 employees reviewed all the entries and selected 11 winners. Each of the 11 winning PSAs will air on KARE 11 through the summer and into the fall of 2018. However, the top three will receive a cash prize of $1,100 to be used by the winning schools to help promote distraction-free driving in their school and community.

Burnsville's ad was played on KARE11 and was featured in the promotion of the contest

The voting period ran May 1 through May 8 at 8 p.m., and viewers could vote once per day.

Posted in Community, Parents | Tagged bhs, KARE11, eyesUP, PSA, distracted driving

Gideon Pond reader leader will be honored at Twins game

Posted on May 3, 2018

Fourth-grader Nabiil Ibrahim loves to read.

That’s one reason why Nabiil came to mind when Gideon Pond Elementary School Principal Chris Bellmont was asked by the Minnesota Twins to nominate a student to be honored during a game on June 5.

The Twins will spotlight students who embody attributes of literacy, courage and leadership. All three attributes apply to Nabiil, said Bellmont.

Teachers of selected students will also be honored that day. So Nabiil and his teacher, Janie Beeninga, will be on the turf and on TV at Target Field along with other students and teachers being honored.

“Nabiil is the type of student who grabs a book to read the second he’s done with assigned work,” said Beeninga.

His desk is often full of books. Generally, he’s got 10 books going at the same time.

“Nabiil challenges himself, and he’s open to suggestions for reading and is willing to try all kinds of books,” said Beeninga. “He reads fiction, non-fiction, comic books and all genres.”

Nabiil credits his mother with instilling a love of reading. “She would read books to me when I was little,” he said, “and she took me to the library.”

Beeninga asks all her students to read at least 40 minutes each day and to journal about what they’re reading. She enjoys the one-to-one reading conferences that she has on a regular basis with her students to discuss what they’re reading. She shares her love of books and reading with her students and suggests books they might enjoy.

“Reading is so important to all academic subjects, and to daily living,” said Beeninga. “Reading opens up so many doors in all aspects of life.

“Nabiil inspires me with the amount he reads,” she adds. “He’s a wonderful role model for other students.”

Nabiil’s book recommendations:

  • “Middle School” by James Patterson
  • “Sardine” series by Emmanuel Guibert
  • “GameKnight999” series by Mark Cheverton
  • “Captain Underpants” books by Dav Pilkey
  • “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney.  

Ms. Beeninga’s book recommendations:

  • “Wonder” and “Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories” by R.J. Palacio
  • “Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper
  • “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park
  • “El Deafo” by Cece Bell
Posted in Community, Academics | Tagged reading, literacy, gideon pond, minnesota twins