March 8, 2024 - Issue #122

March is Music in the Schools Month

Above: Symphonic Band competing at contest at Albany High School this week

Above: Mr. Pohland invites guest conductors on a regular basis to the Healy High Band room, helping our music students refine their talents and prepare for concerts and competitions.

The love of music is instilled early in Pierz youth, with lessons starting as early as 1st grade, and record-breaking participation in band and choir by the 5th grade. Ms. Audrey Aspen and Mr. Carl Mathwig work tirelessly to demonstrate to elementary and middle school children the joy of music, and this carries over to their talent as they enter Healy High School under the tutelage of Mr. Joel Pohland.

"Music to me, is such an important part of our day for so many of our students. Music is what makes many of our students whole. It is the brightest part of their day. It is a time when they get to enjoy creating, making, and performing music together with so many others. It gives them a chance to express themselves in a way that isn’t always possible [in other areas of their lives]. It enhances their learning throughout the rest of their school days and other activities. The music rooms provide a space for students to be themselves and interact with many others to inspire themselves and others alike. Music is the force that connects us all together." —Mr. Joel Pohland, Band Director

"Music is the one part of the day where all students are working together towards the same thing. They're not competing against each other, they're not striving for just an individual grade. They're actively creating mass works of art every time they sing. Music is unique in this way. It's easily one of the most communal spaces that a school is able to offer. Being able to teach music and provide this space for students is one of the greatest joys to me." —Ms. Stephanie Otremba, Choir Director

Here are just some of the events happening this month for Pierz Music:

  • Our 7-8 Bands go to Providence Academy for the CMBDA Middle School Festival next Friday, March 8
  • Pierz hosts the CMBDA 9-12 Honor Jazz Bands on March 9 - Concert at 4:15 PM
  • Pierz Choirs have their 5-12 Choir Concert March 11 at 6:30 PM
  • The Jazz I Ensemble attends the 50th UMD Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival March 15-17
  • The 5-12 Bands have "Band-O-Rama" on March 19 at 6:30 PM

Keep all these dates in your calendar and celebrate the Music in Our Schools. To keep up-to-date with the very talented Pierz Bands, be sure to follow them on Facebook.

Above: Ms. Stephanie Otremba with Concert Choir students

Above: These seven students completed their Minnesota All-State Bands auditions recently. This is the most auditions Pierz has submitted in at least the past 10 years, maybe ever!

Above: Mr. Carl Mathwig hosts Ukulele Club mornings before school at Pioneer Elementary. A casual, fun group that gets to hang out together, learn to play ukulele, and work together to make some music!

Our Fab Four music department staff (L to R): elementary music teacher Ms. Audrey Aspen; elementary and middle school band director Mr. Carl Mathwig; high school choir director Ms. Stephanie Otremba; high school band director Mr. Joel Pohland.

Happenings at Healy

Healy Knowledge Bowl team earns State berth

From L to R: juniors Lucas Kunstleben, Conner Cummings, Guy Clemons-Virnig, and senior Jonah Smith. 

On February 23, two Healy Senior High Knowledge Bowl teams competed in the District 5 Regional Knowledge Bowl meet at the CLC-Staples Campus. Knowledge Bowl is a competition set up somewhat like a game show. Teams compete by buzzing in to answer trivia questions from a variety of subject areas covered in school including art, English, math, music, and science. In total, 32 teams competed for four places at State. A Brainerd team took 1st place, Pequot Lakes took 2nd with one of their teams, Pierz took 3rd with one of our teams, and Wadena-Deer Creek took 4th. The first - fourth teams go to the state level. An interesting change that head coach Mr. Derrick Paulson noticed is that being a larger school, Brainerd typically ends up with two teams at State from our region; so it was nice to see other schools represented more than usual this year. "In my eight years teaching at Pierz and running Knowledge Bowl, this is our first time representing our school at the state level in this event. These boys have worked very hard to achieve their goal. I am so proud of them and can't wait to see how they do at state."

The State meet will be held at Craguns on Gull Lake, April 11-12th. 

A Focus on Pioneer PRIDE

At Healy, we continue to grow in our focus on Pioneer PRIDE (Perseverance, Responsibility, Integrity, self-Discipline, and Empathy. To ensure these characteristics aren't just a virtual idea lost in the ethos, the idea of a physical "PRIDE Wall" was formed. Ms. Jayne put together a PRIDE wall in the high school commons where students and staff can call-out these observed attributes of their fellow colleagues and peers. The goal is for students and adults alike to be able to notice when someone is demonstrating one of the qualities of PRIDE. They fill out a 3x3 piece of paper with the person's name, their own name, and what the nominated individual did and put it in the designated boxes in the media center and high school office. 

This has been a great way to remind us all of what PRIDE means and to continue modeling these attributes.

Failure doesn't mean the end

As reminder of the PRIDE focus "Persevere", students (L to R) Kaitlyn Sam and Sadie Johnson put together the "What Happens After We Fail" wall located in shop/art hallway at Healy. As part of DOE (Diversified Occupational Experience), Sam and Johnson along with nearly 40 other DOE students, are challenged to focus on ways to make the school a better place. Having seen students gathered around their display, trying to guess the 'failures', it appears they've done a very good job. Can you guess the celebrities called out below?

Happenings at Pioneer Elementary

Kindergarten Roundup: time to meet our newest Pioneers

Kindergarten Roundup is set for March 25, 2024 at 5:30 pm. Parents and incoming students are invited to attend this event to learn more about Pioneer Elementary and our kindergarten program, meet teachers, and tour the school. Watch the video to learn more about our amazing kindergarten program and why we are proud to be Pioneers!

Call the office for more information at 320-468-6458 ext 2209.

Pioneer PTO's Bingo for Books a success

The annual "Bingo for Books" night sponsored by Pioneer PTO was a fun night for Pioneer families. With hundreds of free books, everyone was able to leave with a free book (or two, or three). Interested in becoming a member of the PTO committee? We are recruiting! Please contact for more information.

Quack Open a Good Book month ends in school-wide fun

This year's I Love to Read Month theme was "Quack Open a Good Book." Throughout February, students and staff focused on creating time to read. To celebrate their dedication, the entire school (preschool-6th grade) gathered together for duck-themed games in the middle school gymnasium. And as you can see, the entire staff got into the spirit!

Pioneer Tidbits

Ms. Dalsted's media center Grow Tower is ready for harvesting. First graders feasted on salad this week.

Students in Ms. Moore's Global Studies classes learned about Carnival, a pre-Lent festival celebrated by many Latin American Catholics.

Ms. Becker's first graders celebrated Leap Day this year with frog-themed fun and created a time capsule.

Looking Ahead

March 14-16: Healy High School Spring Play: The Illiad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less, 7pm PAC

March 19: Band-O-Rama: 5-12 Mass Band Concert, 6:30pm, MAC

March 22: No School—Teacher Workshop

March 25: Kindergarten Roundup, 5:30pm, Pioneer Elementary

March 29-April 1: No School—Easter Break

Community Education

Upcoming Community Education

Calling all adults—the archery team is offering you a chance to learn a new hobby! Competition archery is the art of shooting at targets without having to sit in a cold stand waiting for your prey to arrive. But, you could use these introductory skills to become a hunter!

Join the team on March 12 or 14, 2024 to learn more. No experience or equipment is necessary; they will provide everything. All proceeds will go to the archery team.

Rachel Young will be offering CPR certification on March 13 at 6:00pm. There are still a few spots open!

When dropping off your students in grades preschool through grade 3, stop in for coffee while spending a few minutes visiting and meeting other parents. PTO, ECFE and Community Ed are teaming up to help you meet others, learn more about Pioneer Elementary and PTO! March 21, 7:45-8:30am just inside door 20.

Watch for more adult classes coming soon! You can always view the latest in offerings on under Community Education and follow Pierz Community Education on Facebook.

Register for any of the classes by calling 320-468-6458 ext 1906

Pierz Public Schools #484

District Office: 320.468.6458

112 Kamnic Street, Pierz, MN 56364