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#BurnsvilleStrong is growing stronger

#BurnsvilleStrong members have formed a Vision One91 committee to support the transitions coming up at their school. They are, from left, Marissa Marsolek, Maggie Gillis, Samantha Hoanglong, Carolina Aguilera and Tyrese Leverty. Follow on Twitter @VisionOne91

An initiative started last year by students and staff at Burnsville High School is expanding and growing stronger both at the school and across Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

#BurnsvilleStrong began as a response to the tragic deaths of current and recently-graduated students. Since the hashtag first appeared, #BurnsvilleStrong has had major impact in strengthening a sense of community. The group is now focusing on new and expanded ways to unite the community while supporting and encouraging the well-being and success of young people.

“It began with such sadness, but so much good has come out of it,” said Marie Hansen, an English teacher at Burnsville High School. “We do not want to let it go, but will continue it in many new ways.”

Hansen said about 60 students are active members of the #BurnsvilleStrong group at Burnsville High School. They come from various backgrounds and reflect the diversity of the student body. “We’ve got great students involved who are leaders in all areas,” she said. “What they have in common are positive attitudes, lots of school spirit, and a desire to be involved in the community and support their peers.”

For example, junior Erika Torralba, who was also part of a leadership team when she was a student at Metcalf Junior High, says, “I like being involved in school and I enjoy helping others and that’s what #BurnsvilleStrong is all about.”

She and other Burnsville High School students are focused on these current #BurnsvilleStrong activities:

  • Mentoring program began this fall at Burnsville High School with juniors and seniors mentoring 10th graders in an on-going way.

  • Positive outreach is planned each month like the positive affirmations about body image and self confidence that were added to bathroom mirrors at Burnsville High School.

  • Community support like the drive led by #BurnsvilleStrong students recently to collect personal care items for 360 Communities to give to people in need.

  • Volunteering by #BurnsvilleStrong students in elementary and middle schools, serving as positive role models while strengthening community.

  • Vision One91: A subcommittee is strategizing ways to support the transition to a 9-12 high school next year as Vision One91 becomes reality. Follow on Twitter @VisionOne91

  • Across the district: There’s a staff member at every one of the 15 schools in the district serving as a point person for #BurnsvilleStrong. They’re leading events like #BurnsvilleStrong Days at schools and other events and activities.

“I thank our high school staff members for supporting students and providing leadership opportunities through #BurnsvilleStrong,” said Superintendent Joe Gothard. “It is quickly developing into a model program and has a strong identity throughout our community.”

For more information on #BurnsvilleStrong, go to and follow on Twitter @BVillestrong.

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 13:12