Bloomington Campus Celebrates Tenth Anniversary
May 11, 2006
The Bloomington Campus of Minnehaha Academy recently culminated its year- long tenth anniversary of being part of the community with a special celebration service and dedication of the school’s library.
While Minnehaha has been providing private, Christian education since 1913, the Bloomington Campus, located in the Bloomington Covenant Church at 102nd Street and Xerxes Avenue, was opened in 1996 to provide kindergarten through grade-five education for families primarily living in the southern and western suburbs. During that time, over 800 children have made the school their educational home.
Bloomington residents Dave and Julianne Willemin have had a child at the Bloomington school throughout its ten-year existence.
“We love Minnehaha and are very happy that Leah and Peter graduated from the Bloomington campus,” says Julianne. “We like the small classes and the individualized attention by all the teachers. Not only did our children receive an excellent education, the school provided a supportive community for our whole family.”
Peter is graduating fifth grade this spring and will attend Minnehaha’s Middle School in Minneapolis next fall. Leah Willemin, who is now a ninth grader at Minnehaha, started kindergarten when the Bloomington campus opened in 1996.
Pat and Angela Simmons are also ten-year “veterans” of Minnehaha in Bloomington. Through the years, they have driven their three children from the Eden Prairie-Chanhassen area to give them the many benefits they see the school provides.
“Our children are now in fifth, eighth, and tenth grade. The many benefits they receive far out weigh the extra drive time,” says Angela Simmons. “The Minnehaha teachers are committed to their students and the sense of community among families is strong. We like the academic challenges and the ways in which students develop self-esteem. Kindness permeates the classrooms, lunchroom, and hallways.”
Carey Erkel, the principal of Minnehaha in Bloomington, explains that the small campus and small classes allow teachers and parents to be a team. “Our teachers come and stay. For many it’s their life’s work. We think our focus on the individual takes students to a higher level. We are seeing a trend that every year our students are scoring somewhere in the 90th percentile nationally on standardized tests. We think small classes, skilled teachers, and individualized attention are the reasons why.”
During its tenth anniversary celebration, the school’s library was dedicated to Jean Reinhardt, a beloved principal of Minnehaha in Bloomington from 2000 to 2003, who passed away after a valiant battle with cancer in the fall of 2003. “She loved books, she loved children, and she always had a smile on her face,” says first-grade teacher Mary Newhouse, an original faculty member at the Bloomington school.