Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sophomores Travel to South Korea

Michael Ecker | Staff Writer for THE MOUNT

Throughout the dorms one can hear different languages, smell different foods, and see different clothes. The seven-day boarders add a way to experience cultures that can’t be found anywhere else in Nebraska. Students from South Korea, China, Vietnam, Spain and Belgium, help expand the student bodies’ understanding of other cultures, languages and activities. Sophomores Jack Avilla, Riley Kruse, and Joey Recker got a rare chance to fully immerse in a different culture.

Joey Recker, Jack Avilla, and Riley Kruse
On May 22, the three freshmen, now sophomores, left Omaha to begin a two week long adventure. The flight took off early in the morning to Dallas/Fort Worth International. and their final flight arrivied at Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea on May 23.

“It took over 24 hours of traveling,” Recker said, “the time differences gave me horrible headaches.”

The money for the trip didn’t come out of nowhere. The three negotiated with their parents to get the opportunity for this trip. The plane tickets cost around $1,000 one way. After that the sophomores were lucky enough to stay with sophomore Kyeongmin Kim and his family.

The three traveled around South Korea with Kim. One of the places they went to was the border between South and North Korea. there, they visited a Joint Security Area, also known as a Korean Demilitarized Zone, and saw first hand the tension between North and South Korea.

“Going to the Joint Security Area showed me a lot about there being a constant feeling of the possibility of war,” Avilla said.

Even with the tension, the sopho­mores agreed there is a side to the relationship between South Korea and North Korea that most Ameri­cans never hear about. They noticed that there is a lot of respect between the people of the two nations. Many people have family members or know people in the other country.

On May 25 the three experienced one of the most unique Korean cultural events, the celebration of Buddha’s birthday at Jogyesa Temple in Seoul. The temple is the center of Zen Buddhism in South Korea. During the celebration the people celebrate with songs, dances, and traditional clothing.

“I thought it was the most exotic, ancient, and beautiful of all the places we visited,” Recker said, “it was amazing to see the tradition and history at the temple.”

The group also experienced a wedding and a mass at Kim’s parish. Both were in Korean but the three enjoyed the uniqueness compared to the American counterparts.

Joey Recker, Riley Kruse & Jack Avilla Dressed as Korean Warriors
The three experienced another unique cultural activity. They dressed up in traditional South Korean clothes, those of warriors in Ancient Korea. They wore the clothes at one of the many palaces in South Korea.

Although they experienced a great deal of traditional culture, the boys also saw the modern side of South Korea. The country has developed a reputation of a culture centered around Korean pop, or “K-Pop”. “K-Pop” is known for its flashing lights, interesting fashion, and crazy music. But outside of the big cities there is a lack of “K-Pop” culture. 

“It seemed like only older people are still practicing traditional Korean,” Kruse said, “they are the only people not enveloped by ‘K-Pop’.”

One of the main things the three noticed was the work ethic. They got the chance to visit Kim’s father’s workplace, where they noticed how hard people worked and the quality of the work done. Workers sometimes also stay at officetel, which is a residential area in a workplace. This lets workers have the chance to work late and get up early to work without the transportation required to go home and back.

“People there aren’t lazy,” Recker explained, “everyone from the adults to the students have incredible work ethic and motivation.”

Another difference they noticed was a lot more respect to elders. This stems from an importance of family. Meals are also more important with more formal meals and less fast food.

Of course the sophomores, like most students know a favorite purchase on weekly outings to Walmart is Ra­men noodles, In South Korea the three students tried different foods. One of these foods was a liquid mix of herbs and medicine. The mixture was supposed to give you strength, but Recker just thought it was “funky”. Another dish is called tteokbokki, a dish with meat, rice cakes, and vegetables in a red sauce, which all three enjoyed.

“I was willing to try most foods,” Kruse said, “but there were some really spicy foods that I wouldn’t go anywhere near.”

Riley Kruse, Kyeongmin Kim, Joey Recker, & Jack Avilla 
There was one part of Korean culture that was familiar to the sophomores: gaming. Some international students spend hours and hours on their computers playing games. In Korea the gaming culture is even stronger. People spend so much time in PC Cafes that there is a law forbidding students to be in a PC Cafe after 10 pm on school nights.

“We as Americans are pretty bad with our overuse of computers,” Recker said, “but in Korea it’s scary how much people spend on their computers. We would walk by PC Cafes and it would be packed with gamers.”

The boys also enjoyed the public transportation system which allowed them to get around easily at just 60 cents a ride.

“The public transportation was great. Both the subways and buses were clean,” Avilla said, “we got everywhere we needed to on public transportation.”

The trip will be a lifelong memory for the three sophomores. . “Traveling is important,” Kruse said, “these experiences can be really cool and you can learn a ton.” No matter if you’re traveling to Iowa or South Korea traveling is fun and brings people together.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

More than Meets the Eye: Nick Snyder

Joey Recker | Guest Writer for THE MOUNT

In tight knit communities, such as Mount Michael, people have the chance to really get to know each other, especially if the community is small. People who see each other every day also start to form what they think is a relatively accurate idea of who the others surrounding them are, but in reality, they can be wrong.

Take Nick Snyder for example. He is the ideal student. In fact, one of his goals this year is to make a 4.0 grade point average. He is focused, organized, and extremely relaxed. A calm and collected guy.

“He listens,” said Spanish I teacher Carolina Westling. “There is nothing bad about him.”

Mrs. Wessling also praised him for being very studious when he was in her class as a freshman
“He is a great representative of the Mount Michael community.” she said. Fellow classmate Jacob Idra said something along the same lines.

“Nick is a cool dude, he will listen to anything.” While another classmate, Tommy Weekly, noted that Nick is very tolerant and patient.

“He let’s me steal his Pepsi,” Weekly said. The two clearly get along very well.

But there is so much more to Nick’s character than these things. Idra met Snyder on the tennis courts freshmen year. He made friends with Nick easily, and the two enjoyed the season together.

“We always had a good time, he made it a better experience.” Idra said.

In fact, the two became close enough that Nick persuaded Jacob to join choir sophomore year, an activity that Idra never would have seen himself doing if it was not for Snyder.

Classmate and friend Tommy Weekly appreciates Snyder’s sense of humor, specifically because they find the same things funny. But what is most important to Weekly is that Snyder “is a good friend to keep around.” Tommy remembers sharing shows and books with Nick, and of course, he always listened.

Snyder is also a ‘car guy’ according to his close friends. One of his favorite hobbies is to work on his car on the weekends, a ‘92 Pontiac Firebird.

“It needs some work,” Nick commented. “It has panels coming off, no stereo or air conditioning.” But this does not phase Nick. He is passionate about putting in work on his car, and really enjoys driving on the weekends. One of his idols is Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Car Company. In Snyder’s eyes, Musk is a visionary and someone to model himself after.

In fact, one of his dreams is to become the CEO of a big company when he gets older, but this is only one of his dreams. He said that he could see himself becoming a doctor or an engineer. Whatever it is that he chooses his ambition and great communication skills will get him there. And he will probably listen to the people around him.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Knights Capture State XC Championship

The Mount Michael Knights came away with the another state championship by the narrowest margin possible, one point over surprise Plattsmouth.  This is the 9th Cross Country Championship for the Mount the 6th under coach Gathje.

The Knights were led by Zach Hytrek with a 7th place medal while Nick Carson earned a 10th place medal.  Sam VanHaute & Peyton Hottovy just missed out as individual medalist with 17th and 18th place finishes.  The teams long term goal was accomplished.  State for Nate.  Nate LeFauve would have been a senior on the cross country team. As all familiar with Mount Michael know his life was cut short in a tragic car accident in October 2013. Nate's mother was present and assisted Coach Gathje in presenting the team with their championship medals.

Top 5 Teams
1. 50 Mount Michael Benedictine
2. 51 Plattsmouth
3. 78 Lexington
4. 86 Skutt Catholic
5. 90 Aurora
Standing Nick Huetter, Tom Swanson (asst. coach), Zach Cairney, Dylan Parlor (asst. coach), Charles Dudek (asst. coach), Coach John Gathje, Peyton Hottovy, Eric Crawford (asst. coach), Jack Blaser,
Kneeling: Sam VanHaute, Zach Hytrek, Nick Carson.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Will Denton '10 assits with Biomechanic Research

Mount Michael alum Will Denton as a graduate research assistant at UNO is currently collaborating on wearable technology to assist individuals suffering from COPD. The article below was taken from the UNO Magazine.

Monday, October 19, 2015

State Tennis Champions

The Mount Michael Knights wrapped up the season in grand fashion by winning the 2015 Class B State Championship.  This is Mount Michael's 5th tennis championship and the first since 2005.

Trophy Presentation at Homecoming Football Game photo by Linda Hitzemann
Besides the team championship they earned individual honors also.
#1 singles: Matt Amao was State Runner-up
#2 singles: Luke Krajewski was a Quarter-finalist losing to the eventual champion
#1 doubles: Jack Hitzemann & Alex Stoupa were State Champions
#2 doubles Logan Baumberger & Douglas Lorcan Jamal were State Champions

Photos by Dr. Peters - Omaha World Herald - Lincoln Journal Star (Great Article)

Class B State Tennis Champions photo by Dr. Peters
Standing: Coach Chase Petersen, Luke Krajewski, Matt Amao, Jack Hitzemann, Douglas Jamal, Alex Stoupa, Logan Baumberger.
Kneeling: Colin Mallisee, Jacob Bova, Joe Hitzemann

Team Scores
Mount Michael Benedictine50
Elkhorn South30.5
Grand Island Central Catholic26.5
Kearney Catholic18
Adams Central16
Omaha Gross Catholic16
Lincoln Christian14
North Platte4
Omaha Skutt Catholic4
Omaha Brownell-Talbot/Concordia2
Omaha Roncalli Catholic2
South Sioux City0

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Homecoming: First Knight Award

Three Mount Michael seniors were nominated by their fellow classmates to receive the First Knight Award.  Those nominated are recognized for their strong character and discipline; their ability to place others before themselves; their vow to be loyal, generous and humble in deed; and their embodiment of the five Benedictine values of moderation, service, integrity, community and hospitality. First Knight Photos by Eric Coldiron

Those students nominated were: Michael Fischer; Luke Krajewski ; and Jacob Ramaekers. This past week, all members of the Mount Michael student body voted to determine the winner.
Dr. Peters (Head of School), Robert, Jacob, and Michelle Ramaekers; Machell, Luke & Matt Krajewski; Kris, Michael & Brett Fischer. 
 Michael Fischer son of  Dr. Brett and Kris Fischer.  Michael is from Fremont where he attended Clarmar Elementary and Bergan Middle School.  Michael is the Student Body President and represented Mount Michael this summer at Boys State.  He is a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the 2015 Small Schools State Champion Academic Decathlon team.  He is active in sports, including as a member of the Mount Michael tennis team, the District Champion bowling team, the golf team and regularly powerlifts.  During his summers, he volunteers at the YMCA summer camp in Fremont and is a Lifeguard.  He is also a member of the 2016 Mount Michael Mission trip that will spend their spring break serving others in the mountains of Mexico.  Michael is planning to major in International Business and Political Science and is planning to attend either Rockhurst or Benedictine College.

Luke Krajewski is the son of  Matt and Machelle Krajewski.  Luke attended elementary school at St. Wenceslaus, where he is currently a Lector and Eucharistic Minister.  He is a member of the STATE CHAMPION Mount Michael Tennis team as well as the varsity basketball team and plays golf for the Knights.  Luke serves as a member of the Mount Michael Men of Benedict and represented the school at the University of Nebraska’s Chemistry Field Day.  He was a member of the 2015 Mount Michael Mission trip to the mountains of Mexico where they built a chapel for local villagers.  He is planning on participating on the Mission Trip again this spring break.  Luke is a member of the National Honor Society and is planning to major in Pre-Med at Notre Dame, Creighton or the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.  Luke plans to become a doctor.

Jacob Ramaekers is the son of Robert and Michelle Ramaekers.  Jacob attended elementary school at St. Vincent DePaul’s in Omaha.  He was a member of the 2015 Small Schools State Champion Academic Decathlon team where he placed 2nd in National Academic Decathlon competition. Jacob plays drums in the Mount Michael band has been a multi-season Yell Leader for the Knights.  He is active in wrestling and cross country at the Mount, and is a member of the National Honor Society.    Jacob remains active in his church through ongoing participating in the St. Vincent DePaul Youth Group and has spoken on the Spirit Catholic radio show “Witness”.  He works with his brother to restore rental properties in the area and plans to attend a four year college.

Dr. David Peters presents Michael Fischer with the 2015 First Knight Award

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cross Country Class B District Champions

The Mount Michael Knights harriers are heading to the State Tournament. The Knights won the district title with a solid performance on the home course of Skutt Catholic. Mount Michael had 5 individual medalist (Top 15). Zach Hytrek (3), Sam Van Haute (4), Nick Carson (5), Payton Hottovy (10), Jack Blaser (12). 
2 Skutt 39
3 Blair 50
4 Elkhorn 53
5 Elkhorn South 88
6 Bennington 103
7 Roncalli 131

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Senior & Freshmen Ropes Course Retreats

Every year each class makes a one day retreat.  Seniors and Freshmen for their retreat this year did a Ropes Course retreat held on the Boys Town campus.

Seniors the Class of 2016 on retreat 10/14/2015

Freshmen the Class of 2017 on retreat 10/7/2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Homecoming: Fall Clean Up

Wednesday of Homecoming Week was "Favorite Jersey Day". The seniors were off campus for their yearly retreat.   It was also PSAT day. After a full morning of testing the freshmen, sophomores and juniors broke into groups led by faculty to do some fall cleanup around the campus.  It was a great day for getting outside after being cooped up in a classroom all morning for a standardized test.  The projects consisted of such things as cleaning out the attic, sorting out storage, putting away window air conditioners, discarding branches, planting new trees, collecting windfall apples to feed to the horses and dismantling no longer needed barbwire fencing.   More Photos - More Photos by Dr. Peters

Monday, October 12, 2015

Homecoming Spirit Week!

Mount Michael's Homecoming week kicked off with the annual bonfire in front of the school. Talks were given by each of the the coaches for fall sports followed by class cheers.   Lending support to the pep rally were the cheerleaders from Marian High School who also decorated the school with posters and banners. More Photos

A poster by the Marian Cheerleaders
Each day during Spirit Week students will dress according to a theme.

  • Monday: Mis-Match day
  • Tuesday: Twin Day
  • Wednesday: Jersey Day
  • Thursday: Superhero Day
  • Friday: Blackout

On Wednesday evening there will be a Yell Competition supported by the Marian Cheerleaders. Thursday a vote will be held for selection of the "First Knight" to be announced Friday at the football game against Schuyler.

Adding to the excitement of the week is the State Tennis Tournament on Thursday & Friday and the District Cross Country Meet on Thursday.  GO KNIGHTS!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bits & Pieces

Rivers City Conference Champions
The Mount Michael  tennis team made a clean sweep at the York Invitational.
They all place 1st going 30-0 not losing a single match.
They also won the River Cities Conference Championship for the 2nd consecutive year.
Congratulations Knights!
York Invitational Champions 30-0

Recently  Mount Michael Government Class met with Nebraska's District 39 State Senator Beau McCoy.