Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan

Students excel at state speech tourney

Students from the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district took home four of 13 first-place titles and 27 of 104 total medals awarded at this year’s State Speech Tournament for Class AA schools.

State champs are: duo Tessa Dahlgren and Trevor Taylor of Apple Valley High School, Keiaireyona Brown of Apple Valley, Varoon Pazhyanur of Eastview High School and Siri Dove of Eastview.

At the April 18 tournament, medals are awarded for places one through eight in each of the 13 categories. Apple Valley won 12 medals, Eagan High School eight medals, Eastview six medals and Rosemount High School one medal.

Apple Valley and Eagan high schools continue to rank first and second, respectively, in total state speech titles won since 1969. That includes this year’s results.

Head speech coaches are Kathleen Johnson at Apple Valley, Joni Anker at Eagan, Ryan Roseen at Eastview and Carol Sylvester at Rosemount.


Metcalf chess team takes home awards

The Metcalf Junior High chess team again brought home several honors from the National Junior High Chess Championships held April 23-25 in Kentucky.

The tournament began with Metcalf earning a team co-championship and eighth-graders Pratik Nehete and Zander Gorton being named individual co-champions in the blitz chess tournament.

In the championship tournament, the Metcalf U-750 and U-1000 teams both won team championships, led by individual national champions Matthew Nguyen (U-750) and Colin Ridgeway (U-1000). In addition, at the U-750 rating, Wesley Ho took second, Brayden Taheri took fifth, and Griffin Boos placed 8th.

At the U-1250 rating, the Metcalf team took fourth place overall, and at the championship level, Metcalf took fifth place as a team.

Coached by math teacher Brian Ribnick, the team is among the most successful junior high chess programs in the U.S. Only one other school has won more national junior high chess championships. The Metcalf team won the Minnesota State Junior High Chess Championship earlier year, which was the school’s 28th state chess title.

Student collects supplies for Ethiopia

Egeziharya Yilma, a sophomore at Burnsville High School, noticed on a recent trip to Ethiopia that schools and students lacked supplies. She decided she wanted to help and created Project Pencil to collect school supplies for students there.

With the support of Principal Dave Helke, Yilma began the project in March. She set up a collection site at school to gather new and slightly used school supplies, including folders, markers, backpacks, and erasers. Donations will be accepted through the end of the school year. She wants to gather unused supplies from seniors who will be graduating June 5.

Her goal was to collect enough to fill one suitcase when she returns to Ethiopia this summer with her parents, who were born there. So far, she’s already filled six suitcases.

Yilma hopes to record Ethiopian students using the supplies so fellow students get to see the difference their donations made.

South Metro

Bike sale benefits Kids ‘n Kinship

The seventh annual bike sale to benefit the Kids ‘n Kinship mentoring program will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 16 at 12738 Ethelton Way in Apple Valley.

Bikes being sold were repaired by local bike enthusiast Rick Anderson, who has fixed and sold more than 660 bikes in previous years. His work has resulted in more than $46,000 for the Kids ‘n Kinship program, which matches kids with volunteer mentors.

There will be more than 140 bikes available for all ages and skill levels, ranging in price from $30 to $350. Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Schwinn, Raleigh, Giant, and Fuji are some of the brands available. Bikes include road bikes, mountain bikes, cross bikes, city bikes, hybrids and classics.

Cash donations to the program will also accepted on site. For details about Kids ‘n Kinship, visit

Erin Adler