Schools notebook: Southwest honors longtime basketball coach

Southwest High School basketball alumni gather to honor longtime basketball coach Walt Williams. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

Southwest High School has dedicated its basketball court to honor longtime boys basketball coach Walt Williams.

Williams coached from 1949 to 1980, including for about 25 years at Southwest, according to Southwest girls basketball coach Dan Froehlich. He is a member of the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and won 326 games as a coach.

“Anyone who pays attention to high school basketball knows that’s an incredible stat,” Froehlich said, noting that teams back then played fewer games than today.

Williams died in 2004.

Southwest alumnus Harvey Feldman paid for the new gym floor, which features Williams’ name, as well as new lights, basketball hoops and banners celebrating the school’s athletic championships. He and dozens of Southwest basketball alumni were on hand for the dedication ceremony before a recent boys basketball game.

Minneapolis set to host Winter Wellness Week

Minneapolis Public Schools is planning a weeklong event to foster a culture of social, emotional and physical well being while celebrating Minnesota winters.

The district will host its first-ever Winter Wellness Week Jan. 30–Feb. 3, an event for all MPS schools that will include a virtual medal hunt and themed days and events. The goal is to create community engagement while teaching students healthy self-care skills, said MPS Wellness Program Manager Lindsay Biller.

“We want to really start on a positive note and get kids thinking about self care and what you can do to feel well,” Biller said.

Each day of the week will have a different theme. On Monday, physical education and health teachers will learn strategies for improving emotional health and wellbeing. Students will not be in school that day. Tuesday is “Tall Sock Tuesday,” with the district encouraging staff and students to wear tall socks and winter hats. Teachers will have access to winter-safety lessons.

The district will be celebrating  “Winter Walk Day” for the third time on Wednesday. Lunch will include turkey chili, the winning recipe of the MPS Junior Iron Chef competition, and high school students will have warm oatmeal as a breakfast option. Nearly 20 schools are registered to participate in the day.

Thursday will be “Local Cozy Lunch” day, with the district celebrating with a lunch of oven-fried chicken, scalloped potatoes and mixed vegetables. On “Freestyle Friday,” the district will be encouraging schools to have students participate in some winter activity, such as building a snowman, ice skating or shoveling a neighbor’s driveway.

The weeklong scavenger hunt will feature nine clues. Teams of students and staff will have to virtually hunt for the clues and will have one chance to guess the correct answer.

The district will post the list of schools registered for Winter Walk Day closer to the event date. Not all schools will register for the week. Some will hold events without extra support from the district.

Eight schools and 12 departments have registered for the scavenger hunt so far.

People are encouraged to use the hashtag #mpswinterwellness on social media to show their participation. Contact [email protected] for more information on the week or visit to learn more.

Applications open for city’s summer internship program

The city of Minneapolis is taking applications for its summer internship program for undergraduate and graduate students through Feb. 18.

The Urban Scholars program aims to provide college students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds with professional work experiences.

Students work in different city departments such as the Mayor’s Office and City Council offices as well as with the Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County, Minneapolis Public Schools, the state of Minnesota and more. They also participate in a leadership institute, where they build networks and develop communication skills.

“We hope to build a pipeline of leadership for the city as well as for our partner organizations,” said Aaron Brink-Johnson, who manages the program.

Students are paid for their participation in the program. Minneapolis had more than 500 applications last year and chose 73 interns.

Visit for more information.

Northeast Middle School students host Shark Tank

Northeast Middle School students brought their pitches for a sustainable urban growing system in front of Minneapolis Public Schools leaders earlier this month.

Science teacher Yosefa Carriger hosted the day, during which seventh-graders presented their ideas to a panel that included Supt. Ed Graff, School Board Treasurer Jenny Arneson and other district leaders. Phillipe Cunningham of Mayor Betsy Hodges’ office read the students a proclamation from the mayor.

Students Khallyah Jordan and Tiana Novack said they were nervous at first but that it was cool to present. They said they want to someday open an OB-GYN clinic together someday and grow fruits and vegetables for the mothers for whom they care.

“The mother and the baby inside will have more nutrients,” Khallyah said.

Their aquaponics system would include fish, which would provide nutrients for the plants. Tiana said the plants would grow faster than plants grown in the ground.

“They all have a connection,” she said, “and each one depends on each other to survive and live.”