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Students excited to spread information, benefits of Vision One91

Students, who met with architect Mark Hayes recently, are Tyrese Leverty, Marissa Marsolek and Katie Kilinski. They're members of a #BurnsvilleStrong subcommittee on Vision One91.

Many changes will be in place at Burnsville High School as Vision One91 becomes reality, beginning with the 2016-17 school year.

A group of students has taken a particular interest and formed a Vision One91 subgroup of the #BurnsvilleStrong group at their school. They’ve researched Vision One91 and have met with the architect of the project, Mark Hayes, to discuss upcoming changes to the school building.

The students have learned a lot and their next step is to share information and support their classmates in the transition to an expanded Burnsville High School, which will open in September 2016 with grades 9-12.

Juniors Tyrese Leverty and Marissa Marsolek responded to a few questions (below). Many thanks to them for taking time from their busy schedules to share their thoughts about Vision One91 and what it will mean to them and to their classmates.

Question: Why did you start a #BurnsvilleStrong committee about Vision One91?

Tyrese Leverty: I was really inspired by the positive changes that were made over the summer by the students and teachers of the #BurnsvilleStrong group. So, when I started my eleventh grade year, I still had all of this leftover energy for making a difference in the community from all of the things that I had done over the summer. Then, I had began to notice the dynamic of the school shift from the subtle anxiety of the first week to a somewhat negative attitude towards the building and construction process itself. I heard students complain about necessary cancellations of dances, spirit weeks, etc. and about how the change in parking for students is not convenient for them. Suddenly, all of this constant negativity started to bog me down and I wanted to do something about it. I started our committee because I wanted to make the transitions of Vision One91 easy and exciting for residents, students, administration, teachers and parents in the BES community.

Marissa Marsolek: The intent of this committee is to spread information about the new updates happening to our school to our fellow classmates, faculty and the Burnsville community as a whole.    

Q: What will the committee be doing to get information out about Vision One91?

Tyrese: First, we are educating ourselves about the changes that are following after the passed referendum as well as gathering varying opinions and emotions during the process. Then, we will start our noticeable work in the community in the month of February 2016 so that we are informing and projecting ourselves during second semester. Please stay tuned as we continue in our efforts to educate in an unique, informative and positive way.

Marissa: We are planning on using our multiple modes of social media to portray our message and information to the public. Our Twitter page @VisionOne91 will be a great way for us to send out updates and interesting facts about the new updates. We are planning on doing videos showing the progress of the construction and additions to our school, as well as segments on our school news show called BlazeWeekly that airs every week.    

Q: How did you become so interested in finding out about Vision One91?

Tyrese: I am very interested in construction, planning and architecture, so when I heard that the referendum included an update to several buildings, I was very excited and I wanted to find out more. I then used the district’s website to gather information for myself and to understand what VisionOne91 actually meant to me as a student. From there, I gave one too many long-winded speeches about how passionate and interested I am in Vision One91. From my peers and teachers to the school’s administration members, everyone that I spoke with embraced my enthusiasm and granted me with the means to develop my own committee and pursue my efforts for education. Now that I have been recognized, I have been doing my best to hold on to my original mission and zest and to continue to help others around me to the best of my ability.

Marissa: Tyrese Leverty is the one who really got me interested in finding out more about Vision One91.  He gave a presentation during one of our whole group #BurnsvilleStrong meetings on the information that he had collected. I was astonished to learn so much that I did not know about the changes to our school in that short amount of time. He inspired me to want to find out more about the renovations and updates.

Q: What do you wish that students would know and understand about Vision One91?

Tyrese: I hear a lot of unfavorable opinions about the construction of the new wings at the high school. This is because people are only focused on the physicality of the buildings and not the planning and meaning behind them. I really believe that, if students understood what was going on beyond the fences and walls, then they would be as optimistic as I am for the additions to curriculum, teaching styles, social structure, and the high school itself. I urge students to use #BurnsvilleStrong’s Vision One91 committee as a database for information in the future and to also be curious and seek out the truth in their given situation.

Marissa: I wish more students realized that the short-term inconveniences that came with the construction are going to be so incredibly minor compared to what is to come. There are going to be so many amazing opportunities that the students will get the chance to discover and that they should be looking forward to experiencing.  

Q: How do you think students will benefit from Vision One91?

Tyrese: I really believe that the realignment of grades is good for, not only the students, but the community as well. This way, transitions between schools better fit the children’s ages, and the full effect of the four-year high school experience will ease transportation and activity issues that have presented themselves in the past. Not only that, but I think that the increase in technology will really help to shift the way that we teach students in a new direction. This technology will definitely allow for ease of access and communication in and outside of the learning environment. There are continuous updates and additions to Vision One91 that will benefit the incoming generations of students more than they realize.

Marissa: I think that students will benefit the most from the number of opportunities that will be available to them. The new technology will make learning environments more interactive and fun for students and teachers alike. There will also be an increased number of ways for students to discover their possible future careers.

Q: What interests you the most about Vision One91?

Tyrese: Everything is new! I love new environments that I have never experienced before that push my comfort level and allow me to truly grow as a person. Although the entire school and education system will not be new, the additions will provide just enough excitement for me to imagine that BHS will be larger, more complete school in 2016. Also, I am curious to see how different pushes for technology in the classrooms will vary with time and how students use it to increase their learning capacity. The introduction of new curriculum with Project Lead The Way and Pathways will be a phenomenal gateway for students to use to better their understanding of their interests and aid with career choices in the future. All of these things, and more, are absolutely brilliant, in my opinion, and I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds.

Marissa: As an athlete, I am very excited for the new gym space. The sports have always competed for gym time and space. This will now be alleviated. The new weight room will be awesome for both the weightlifting team and for other sports’ offseason workouts. The dance team will now have their own studio where it will be quiet and they will not have to hear the bouncing of basketballs or shouts of fans. All the sports will find ways to benefit from this incredible space.

Q: You’ve done a lot of research on Vision One91, what’s an especially interesting and/or important fact you’ve discovered?

Tyrese: Throughout my searches, I’ve found that this vision will really bring people from different schools, varying mindsets, and diverse experiences all together to really push the standards of learning and communicating in a school district. Personally, this experience has taught me that unity, inspiration and support are key in developing a versatile environment that fits the strict education requirements but also the demand for functionality and character that every great community building should have.

Marissa: One of the aspects that the architects and construction company have worked very hard at is letting more natural light into the building. This will not only cut costs for electricity, it is also proven to help with students’ performance. It will make the school a brighter, happier place to learn and grow.

Q: Your senior year will be your only year to benefit from the Vision One91 changes, how will you make the most of it?

Tyrese: The fact that I have the ability to be a senior and a role model for BHS as well as the entire community is truly amazing. I am working as diligently as possible to ensure that the students’ transition from where they are now to the magnificent places that they will be in the future is simple and engaging. I have a plethora of ideas including tours, panels, retreats, and more that I plan on acting upon in the very near future. I’m dedicated to this vision and I’d like to continue to work with it until I graduate from Burnsville High School.

Marissa: I think that educating myself and others about the available possibilities that we are going to encounter with the new building and technology will be the major factor in benefiting from the new changes. In seeking that knowledge, we will discover all the options we can experience and benefit from.

Posted: Friday, January 8, 2016 - 07:57