More than 1,000 people took advantage this year of a one-day event connecting needy families in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District with social service providers.

The fourth-annual 622 Project Family Connect was held on April 26 at Woodland Hills Church in Maplewood.

According to the district, which serves students in Washington and Ramsey counties, 605 people went to the church and another 475 people received help at home.

The event has served more than 2,400 community members during the past four years, the district said in a news release.

The project, organized by district staff members Jennifer Terry, Carla Korth and Lisa Hoogheem, came about after teachers and staff members noticed that some students and family members were struggling with social, economic and mental health issues.

Thirty-three providers were on hand this year offering on-site dental services and housing and employment assistance, among other services, the district said.

More than 200 bags and boxes of clothing and hundreds of pounds of food and toiletries also were distributed.

"The families were so appreciative for all we did and I heard from them over and over again how much it means to them that we offer this event," Terry said.

The district said 160 volunteers helped set up and guide people to the appropriate service providers.

"One lady was crying at the end and said to her guide, 'You are an angel sent to help me,' " Terry said. "She then came back with her mother to introduce her mom to the 'special angel lady' who helped her connect with so many resources."

Cottage Grove

Spanish immersion marks 10 years locally

The South Washington County School District is nearing the end of its 10th year of Spanish immersion programming, and students marked the anniversary with a short presentation to school board members on April 24.

In September 2004, the district said, 59 kindergartners kicked off the program, and since then about 600 students have participated. The first group of students now are ninth-graders at Woodbury High School and are building their Spanish language proficiency toward "near native-speaking fluency," the district said in a news release.

The district's Spanish language "pathway" begins at Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, a K-5 school that shares a building with Crestview Elementary in Cottage Grove. From there, students go to Cottage Grove Middle School and then to Woodbury High, where advanced immersion classes are offered.

Students also participate in community service projects and have an opportunity to study in Spain.

Minnesota now has 67 language immersion programs serving 13,000 students across the state, the district said.


Local student wins AAUW scholarship

The American Association of University Women's St. Paul branch named the six high school winners of its annual senior achievement scholarships. One of the recipients, Lauren Schlenker, attends Woodbury High.

The winners received four-year scholarships and were honored at AAUW's annual scholarship dinner on April 29, officials said. The AAUW also awarded scholarships to three women planning to return to college to complete their degrees.

The other scholarship winners were: Gowjaye Aimee Vue, Como High School; Kaia Findlay, St Paul Academy; Daretu Doto, Humboldt High School; Hnouci Lee, Harding High School, and China Moua, Central High School.

The three winners planning to return to college were: Beth Nagovsky and Yashi Lucas, St. Catherine University, and Genevieve Herkert, University of St. Thomas.

Anthony Lonetree, Libor Jany