What’s it like to be a lifer?

Leni Nowakowski: Hi, Everybody, this is Leni Nowakowski, and today I will be talking with St. Paul Academy lifers Gracie Tilney-Kaemmer and Cooper Bollinger Danielson about their perspective of SPA. Listen along to learn more about these lifers, and what they think about the years they have spent at SPA. Gracie Tilney-Kaemmer and Cooper Bollinger Danielson have enjoyed their years at SPA and seen their entirety of being a student at Spa as both a positive and negative factor. Gracie Tilney-Kaemmer Is grateful for the relationships she has been able to build with other SPA students; however, she also sees this as a negative when considering the lack of change in social aspects of her life.

Gracie Tilney-Kaemmer: You know the same group of people for a really long time so you get very comfortable with everyone in your grade, even like the kids that came in like elementary school I just, you know, I’ve known them my whole life at this point and it’s kind of it’s easier in some ways, and it’s harder in others because it’s easy because you never have to like interact with new people, but it’s harder because then when you are in situations where you’re meeting new groups like at camp, or like traveling or if you join things outside of school then you don’t know who those people are and you have to like kind of learn how to meet them and how’s it been never changing schools like academically.

LN: Cooper Bollinger Danielson feels the same way about the social aspects of going to the same school and how that limits interactions with outside people and the change of interacting with new people.

Cooper Bollinger Danielson: Um, I think you’re not necessarily exposed to different people and different kinds of people. And I think that’s probably going to be really important, especially like, I think, going into college is pretty far away from us now with that, like, trying to re-acclimate to a new school and trying to meet new people you’ve only ever done it in kindergarten. We’ve always been comfortable, we’ve been the ones who like have to introduce other people. And I think that’s going to be probably the part of the hardest. That was probably one of the largest cons, but I think pros, you get really comfortable, and I think for me it’s been so much easier. It’s so much easier for me to learn I’m comfortable.

LN: Gracie Tilney-Kaemmer and Cooper Bollinger Danielson both feel like the years that they have spent at Spa and Spa’s learning environment have allowed them to build a strong relationship with teachers that have continued throughout their SPA experience. Gracie Tilney Kaemmer especially remembers the importance of the relationship she has built with Ms.Beth SPA’s elementary school music teacher.

GTK: It’s nice because I get to like see all my old elementary school teachers and like, they get to kind of watch me grow up, like I remember Miss Beth, who’s the elementary school music teacher was like such a giant force in my like love for performing and I never realized that I know she like watches me and all the productions we do in the high school and it’s just kind of crazy to think that she like had me sing as a third grader and I had no idea what it would turn into, so that’s nice.

LN: Cooper Bollinger Danielson also feels that he has been able to connect with teachers on a more personal level in part because of the years that he has spent at SPA. Cooper feels that this connection with teachers allows him to further his education as he feels that the knowledge that teachers have with students and the relationship that teachers have with students help students learn better.

CBD: I guess like I’ve gotten to know the teachers are a lot. So, I think being able to stay and communicate with them is like I can go back to the middle school, and talk with, I don’t know, teachers, if I want to, I don’t, that I could. I don’t know. I just I think I’m really comfortable here at SBA and I think that’s helping me learn.

LN: Cooper and Gracie see being a lifer at Spa as an amazing experience that they are very lucky to be a part of. They both, however, see the downsides in being a lifer as well. Gracie feels as though being a lifer can take away from the validation of being a Spa student.

GTK: Well I never had to take any tests to get into SPA so like sometimes I worry that I’m not as smart as the people that got into in like sixth grade or ninth grade, just because I’ve never had to like prove that I can go to SPA if that makes sense like they were just like, oh, kindergarten here.

LN: One change that Cooper Bollinger Danielson would make to SPA is a larger involvement and importance placed in extracurricular activities such as sports.

CBD: I mean, I think the sports program is that’s that’s pretty big for me, I guess, and I think that would have been just a little bit more. I don’t know just thought you care into the sports program.

LN: Despite the downfalls of being a lifers Gracie and Cooper have valued their time at SPA and consider themselves very lucky to have attended SPA for their entire career as students.

Music: « Happiness » «A New Beginning » from Bensound.com

Upbeat Forever Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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