Tara is a sophomore at Roseville High School and is a second year Peer Minister at Saint Joan of Arc.
In the summer she's beauty, she's calm, her waters are clear and grand, her waves crash calmly on the shore, she likes it when people find joy in her waters, she likes how the many creatures that she holds swim happily together enjoying her warm and cold depths and she loves when you take a moment to listen and talk with her
But in the fall she is a force to be reckoned with for she is not calm she's angry she's angry that the cold is trying to silence her she's mad at all the beings of the earth for using her in polluting the earth that gives her life so she brings down all the things they've made but no one knows what drives her to take the ships she takes, she will leave some battered and bruised and others she takes to her watery grave never to be heard from again
Under the blanket of snow she sleeps quiet barely stirring she has given her best but she is tired ready to rest she wakes up sometimes but is lulled back to sleep by the bitter wind and sleeps in icy stone to hard for any ship to pass through but still weak enough to kill letting it be know that she still has anger and is a force to be reckoned with and making it known that no one can fully control her
In the spring she breaks out of her icy blanket ready for a new year she brings life to her long banks bringing out all the aspects of the nature that survives off of her, she is beauty and calmness but still is windy for she has harmony with the wind, she plays a game with the sun where they are battling for how warm her waters are, she is happy she likes to wake up from her hibernation and start the cycle all over again constantly stirring and bring life to the world around her providing for her sisters and brothers for she is the greatest lake in all the land always powerful and strong never letting anyone control her for she is Superior
Lili is a peer minister at Saint Joan of Arc and a Junior at Open World Learning School in Saint Paul.
The recent events, such as the attempted coup at the capital, are mind blowing for some people. But for kids my age, it doesn't seem that much different than any other week. This statement is not meant to say that these aren't important events. Many of us are horrified by what happened, and angered by the stark comparisons in police and public reactions to this summer's peaceful BLM protests. But we've lived through so many “where were you?” moments that we've almost become numb to them.
With the MANY police killings, the school shootings, and the pandemic shutting down schools and beloved activities, we've lived through what the adults like to tell us is “history.” It may sound cool that in 20 years we’ll be able to tell our kids that we've lived through what is in their history books. Right now it's exhausting.
It's scary to watch as so many injustices happen, but at the end of the day, we're still kids. We expected to be worried about who we're going to the prom with and what we got on our math tests, not if our democracy is going to fall apart and how much longer our planet is going to be habitable. So how do we cope with all of this?
This summer, when the weather was warm and we weren’t responsible for keeping our grades up, we were able to spend our time working toward justice by going to protests and doing community service. Now that it’s cold and we have to worry about our grades again, finding time for these kinds of things is harder and harder. While we want to be activists and fight for what we believe in, we already have to deal with typical high school struggles, and these events can be really saddening. Personally, when I am feeling particularly overwhelmed about these things, I try to throw myself into things that I can control like school work or athletics. Although this can be effective for a while, pushing away these feelings only lets the guilt build.
What does that guilt mean? That guilt is calling us to do more than we're doing, to find a balance between our desire for a “normal” highschool experience and the action we are called to take as a part of a greater community.
SJA Peer Ministers
Our Peer Ministers compiled a list of their favorite Christmas Treats. Try them out this Christmas Season!
Russian Tea Cakes
1 cup butter or margarine | 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar | 1tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour | 1/4tsp salt | 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
Mix butter, sugar and vanilla thoroughly. Sift flour then mix with salt. Blend sugar mixture and flour mixture. Mix in nuts. Chill dough. Heat oven to 4oo. Roll dough into 1" balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 min or until set (but not brown). While still warm roll in confectioners sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again!
No Bake Christmas Wreath Cookies
Magic Dream Bar Recipe
Grandma Fox's Ginger Cookies
Tess is a Sophomore at Visitation High School and a Second Year Peer Minister
On the 4th Thursday in November, people all around the country will be celebrating the annual holiday of Thanksgiving. In Greek, the word Thanksgiving means Eucharist. Not only do we eat the Eucharist at mass, but it also symbolizes the mystery and salvation of Christ in his Death and Resurrection being accomplished when we eat it.
The Eucharist and Thanksgiving are related not only by the exact meaning of the words, but also in their spiritual meaning. Eating the Eucharist symbolizes letting Jesus come into your body and if you let Him, your soul. Jesus died for us on the cross and eating His body and drinking His blood is a beautiful notion of thanks for what He’s done for us.
Thanksgiving dinner is a celebration that so many people around the US are blessed to be able to feast at! From the turkey and mashed potatoes to the cranberry sauce and hopefully pumpkin pie, thanksgiving is a time where people can express gratitude to one another and acknowledge the sacrifices people have done for each other. This year, my extended family is not gathering for a dinner feast but I am going to make sure I talk to them none-the-less to tell them how much I love them! Many of us haven’t seen extended family in quite some time and the zoom calls (especially from school) can seem even overused now. But thanking people for their sacrifices and love they have given you makes a huge deal. Just last week a friend of mine who I’m not even super close with but still know pretty well wrote me a quick card saying thank you to me for always giving her a piece of gum, and it made my whole day!!
Small tokens of gratitude to people are really noticed and especially this time of year it’s the perfect time to express them! Jesus died because He loved us so much so let us love others, and in that way, love Him in return.
Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!
Bridgid is a Senior at Hopkins High School and a four year Peer Minister
Wherever I go I always get asked the classic questions, “where do you go to school?” followed by, “what grade are you in?”. When I say I’m a senior, I always get the inevitable question, “what’s that like?”. It’s a fair question, this is a time that only the class of 2021 will hopefully ever experience. Last year's seniors lost their last three months but we haven’t had any months yet, and things are not looking up. But the question is really hard to answer because, let’s be honest, there’s a lot going on. Not only is there COVID-19, but we’re also addressing systemic racism, and dealing with our climate quickly deteriorating. Basically, we’re watching our world fall apart all around us and when we hear people tell us that we’re the future, it only adds to my generation’s notion that it’s up to us to fix all this.
There are definitely a lot of parts that suck and make me feel hopeless and really frustrated. Obviously, losing my senior year and all the traditions and privileges that come with it is a pretty big one for me. I have been looking forward to this year for twelve years now, and working really hard to get here. And in six months, everything I dreamed it would be is gone. We don’t get pep fests, football games, or have the teachers that we’ve been waiting to have. And we’re the only class that will probably never get a chance at prom, which I personally am not sad about but many of my friends are.
My friends and I don’t get to see each other as much as we would like because my school is all online so I don’t see them every day like I would normally, and when we do it’s mostly socially distant and outside which is getting harder the colder it gets. More importantly however, in these past few months, I’ve seen a lot happening around Minneapolis that is really shocking. Not only seeing the police brutality but also the lack of justice with the response to it was really upsetting and frustrating, especially when it continued to happen in other places around the country. However the retaliation from the people has been encouraging.
I’ve been hearing all over that this is a time for us to come together, and I have seen a lot of that recently. After the murder of George Floyd, I took part in the protests. Being with all those people and marching together is such an empowering experience. Everyone around you has the same goal and attitude that you do, and it feels so good to actually be taking action and being a part of something bigger than yourself. It’s especially awesome when it’s a youth led protest, like the many climate change marches, as well as the anti gun violence march, that I attended. It’s really inspiring to be a part of a generation that is really politically active and prone to taking action, even when most of us can’t even vote. That kind of persistence and determination is what allows us to stay adaptable and optimistic even when we have to do school over google meets.
We’re still finding ways to be together even when it can’t look like normal. Like my senior class did a ‘senior sunrise’ where we all gathered on the football field at 6:30am and watched the sunrise together. We also organized an outdoor drive-in movie night where the whole school could come and watch together. And we’re trying to do that again but instead of a movie, we broadcast the football games so we can still watch them together. Because that’s “what it’s like”, there are a lot of things that make me really sad, but by choosing to focus on the good and the things I do have, I feel hopeful instead of defeated.
Six word stories is a writing exercise inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s shortest story. It goes “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” This brief tale leaves you with many more questions than answers, and opens the door for further discussion.
In that spirit, we recently adapted this writing challenge for our peer ministers to tell us about themselves in six words. The instructions were loose: choose six words to tell us something about you. It can be part of an important story in your life, six words you’d use to describe yourself, or something you find inspiring.
The Peer Ministers did not disappoint! We read them aloud to each other during our last Wednesday night zoom session, and it was riveting. Each story says so much, and leaves you wanting more.
Check out these six words stories from our very own SJA teens.
Working hard, fostering relationships, that's success.
Seeing new things, traveling and exploring.
Want dragon pet, powerful galic queen.
Mental health is important, take care.
Positive attitude, good sportsmanship, full effort.
Flannel, Naps, Senior, Green, Band, Procrastination.
I want to go to Hogwarts.
I have broken fifteen bones already.
Always on time; Five Minutes Late.
Tess is a first year peer minister at Saint Joan of Arc.
Relationships are a tricky thing, especially when you are a tween or teen. There are so many different types of relationships we have with people. There are family relationships, friend relationships, dating relationships and more. But right now more than ever it’s important to have healthy relationships because relationships make you stronger and the people in relationships help each other grow. But in any kind of relationship God is and needs to be there. It’s like a triangle, you and one other person are the base to an equilateral triangle and God is at the top keeping your whole relationship intacted. Take away God, your whole relationship will fall apart.
In my own relationships I see God in moments of compassion and love we share. I know He is present because I can see my friend challenging me to step out of my comfort zone or challenging me to reach out to others. Or I see my friend really listening to me talk. It is in these moments I see God speaking through them and I know He is also in our relationship.
I keep God in my relationships through prayer and acts of service to others. Every night when I go to bed I pray for my friends and ask God to watch over them! In this way I ask for him to be with us. We all need God. I need God. For us to think otherwise is a great sin.
Relationships are so important, and our relationship with God will be with us forever - so this week I’m going to challenge myself to focus on how I can bring God into my relationships and I challenge you to do the same.
Bridgid is an ascending Senior at Hopkins High School and a peer minister at Saint Joan of Arc.
In the midst of some really hard times, it can be hard to recognize what is still good in our lives, but still it’s really important to take time to do so. I decided to make a gratitude list for five days by just taking a couple minutes at the end of the day to think about what I appreciate in my life. Some were really simple things and some were more impactful. It’s super easy and I found that it’s actually really calming to take some time to reflect! Without further ado, here’s my list:
Something I’ve noticed over the last month or so is how important summer is in our year. I have always been a “love the first snow” kind of person. But when it’s still snowing in April, I quickly turn into the “when’s it going to end?” person.But Minnesota winters are what make our summers so amazing. We’ve earned them. We deserve them. Nothing beats a Minnesota summer.
I’ve been thinking of that feeling a lot lately. Even though I am not in school anymore (be right back as I celebrate that feat once again…) I still have those same feelings moving into summer. Setting goals, recharging, and making time to relax and regroup after a long winter.
In many ways, this year is no different. Our winter itself may not have been the most difficult Minnesota winter we’ve had recently, but it was one to remember. Living among a worldwide pandemic tends to alter our sense of normality. Events are cancelled, postponed, or changed to limit exposure to other people. Not to mention how contentious the proper way to protect yourself and others has become… (small plug to wear a mask as much as possible in public places and around other people). With everything that’s different, it’s hard not to reflect on past summers and the things we often take for granted.
The 4th of July has always been a big holiday for my family. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and for decades my grandpa raised the flag every morning at the end of the street as you entered the gates to our community beach club on Lake Erie. No matter the weather or day, he would walk to the corner and raise the flag.
During my grandpa’s last years before he passed our family moved in with him to help him live rather independently and not have to leave the home. Whenever someone asked why he raised the flag for so long, he would answer “for the men and women who didn’t make it home.”
My dad continues the tradition of raising and lowering the flag every day. On the 4th of July, our family leads the community in the pledge of allegiance while raising the flag prior to a celebration at the beach. This 4th of July will be different. There won’t be big celebrations, parades, or fireworks. I wonder if that will allow ourselves a chance to take a step back and realize what is important about our country.
This 4th of July, I challenge us all to spend time with those we love, reflect on the historic time we are living in globally, nationally, and locally, and think of ways we can continue to make our nation a place for all people to celebrate and be free. I also want us to recognize that our experiences are different. We are always learning that our understanding of being free is different than our neighbors. We must actively work towards a place where all people feel included in our nation’s freedom. I say that as we remember the stonewall uprising of 1969 this week and the protests against racial injustice across our nation. We are all stronger together.
The pandemic is still very much with us. I hope the 4th of July is able to convey a small bit of recharging to our summer. Spend time with family, fire up the grill, and think about what the 4th of July means for us as a community and country. If that thought is uncomfortable or not what you want it to be- I challenge you to wake up on July 5th and think of ways to start changing that.
Saint Joan of Arc Peer Ministers
Our Peer Minister's compiled a list of their favorite places to go in the Cities. Here's what they came up with!
1. Raspberry and Harriet Island- Saint Paul
The award-winning Harriet Island Regional Park located on the Mississippi River, as well as Raspberry Island Regional Park, provides stunning views of downtown Saint Paul.
2. Bruce Vento Regional Trails
3. Hidden Falls Regional Park
The park dates back to 1887, when it was selected by Horace Cleveland, a nationally known landscape architect and park planner, as one of four major park sites for the City of Saint Paul.
4. Como Park and Conservatory
The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and Como Park is full of trails, Como Lake, fields, pavilions, and trees to hammock. The Conservatory is officially open, by reservation, starting today!
5. Lake Nokomis and Lake Harriet
Both lakes are great for swimming, boating, running, and just being with friends outside!
6. Kayak down Minnehaha Creek
7. Big Willow Trails
8. Lone Lake Park
Located in the southeast corner of Minnetonka, Lone Lake Park features views of Lone Lake, including a 1.2-mile loop from the lower main parking lot that offers scenic views of the various ecological areas in the park, including wetlands, woodlands and prairies.
9. Minneapolis Farmers Market
10. Walk Across the Stone Arch Bridge
Have any places to add? Let us know in the comments!
Our youth at SJA have amazing things to say. Our goal is to give them a platform to share their thoughts on topics they want to talk about. Their thoughts are uniquely theirs. From politics to faith, school issues to our church, this blog shares their voices with our community.