ALC students recognized during MAAP Stars state conference

WORTHINGTON -- Three Worthington Alternative Learning Center students earned specual recognition during the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs (MAAP) State Spring Conference in late April.

Worthington ALC MAAP Stars Advisor Anne Raetz (back left) stand next to junior Juan Villegas while seniors Thalia Gonzalez (front left) and Michelle Ramirez are seated during the MAAP Stars Spring State Conference. (Special to the Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Three Worthington Alternative Learning Center students earned specual recognition during the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs (MAAP) State Spring Conference in late April.


The Worthington MAAP Stars team excelled in numerous categories during the two-day competition, which took place April 26-27. Seniors Michelle Ramirez and Thalia Gonzales, along with junior Juan Villegas, placed first in the Community Service Project category, and also captured third place in the Life Smarts and Annual Program Activities categories.


Additionally, Ramirez was named 2016-2017 MAAP Student of the Year.



MAAP Stars Advisor Anne Raetz explained that the team competed at a regional conference about a month ago and performed well enough to qualify to state. She added that this year’s performance has been exceptional, since it’s the first time the Worthington team placed in a team event.


“Three hundred-plus alternative students from around the state competed in the conference, so it’s an honor to place in three events,” Raetz said.


“Culture Day” was the project that earned the three Worthington ALC students first place in the Community Service Project division. The project consisted of highlighting the most predominant cultures within the ALC and showcasing them to the student body. For a day, ALC students learned about Guatemala, El Salvador, Thailand, Mexico and African cultures; they also tasted their traditional foods.


“I am really proud about that (Culture Day) because we worked really hard,” Ramirez said.



The LifeSmart category consisted of 32 teams answering questions in a format similar to a game show. The questions were related to general knowledge about situations students could face as they move on to adulthood.


For the Annual Program Activities category, the team had to create a scrapbook of all the activities that students in the MAAP Stars class completed during the school year.


“I think they did exceptionally well,” Raetz said. “The judges commented on how well they worked together as a team … and also on the fact that each one of them were individually knowledgeable of their projects.”


Ramirez was chosen 2016-2017 MAAP Student of the Year among eight alternative student nominees. In order to compete for the award, a faculty member needs to nominate a student who has shown outstanding involvement in MAAP Stars.



Raetz said she nominated Ramirez because of her enthusiasm and hard work during school year projects and activities. She noted that on top of being academically successful, Ramirez has been able to be a role model for her classmates and family.


“She stood up in my mind as the perfect nominee because she really played a large, key role in MAAP Stars in the last two years,” Raetz said. “Michelle’s family situation has made her play a parenting role within her household, so for her to do all that while maintaining a solid GPA and get accepted in Winona State University ... really speaks highly of her character.”


After catching up with her credits, Ramirez will be able to graduate on time despite dropping out of school at one point. She added that being part of MAAP Stars was a great learning experience that motivated her to push herself more in every aspect of her life.


“It showed me that coming back to school was worth it,” Ramirez said.


The students also participated in Public Speaking, Team Parenting Decision Making and Team Management Decision Making categories.


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