A new semester is not only a time of change for students, but for teachers as well. But instead of coordinating lesson plans and grading papers, two South High veterans are shifting their roles in the school as they retire. Neil Anderson, a social studies teacher, and Mr. Musich, an educator integral to the partnership program at South, will be taking on changing responsibilities.
“My retirement is that I retired from the classroom at the end of semester,” Anderson explained, “it will be totally from the district as of June 5th.” Until then, he is assisting with this year’s senior graduation.
When talking about future plans, Anderson said, “I hope to coach at a Youth Golf Academy in the summer and to do a lot of fishing and golfing.”
Anderson’s departure ends a decades-long association with South because, he said, “I’ve been here since 1972 because I graduated from South.” What will he miss from the school? “Probably the most would be the kids. They have always been about learning and doing the best that they can do.”
Musich’s situation, he said, is “I retired as of the sixteenth of January so that Mr. Gay could start working by the eighteenth and accrue tenure.” His plans for the far future was summed up in one word, “Death, everyone has term limits.”
But joking aside, he said, “In between that, I’m trying to see if I could develop my cartooning and storytelling skills. I think that the use of arts in education is really important, so I’d like to put energy into making it grow.” After a pause, he added, “And read comic books.”
Musich will miss is “the energy, in a word. It makes education possible and makes learning possible. Also, the neverending story, everything’s to be continued always and I like that and I like the unpredictability.”
In seeing these two educators depart, these teacher’s view of South and especially their students has reciprocated the influence that they had on the countless high schoolers that passed through their tutelage.
“We swam really really well; the boys were pumped and did what we wanted them to do,” said Neil Anderson, who co-coaches the men’s swim team with Jeff Sanders and Edwing Gelvez. On Friday, February 25, the men’s team competed in section finals at Richfield middle school.
All coaches were pleased with the athletes’ performance in the meet. Anderson commented, “They had lots of big drops, everyone swam well.” In addition, some swimmers qualified for the state meet. Senior Calder Michienzi qualified in the 200 Individual medley, 100 breaststroke and 4 x 50 medley relay. The 4 x 50 medley also includes Junior Emerson Hunton, junior David Baldus, and senior Riley Kramka. Lastly, sophomore Andres Alvarez qualified for state in the 100 backstroke.
“The highlight of the meet for sure was the 4 x 50 medley relay,” said David Baldus. The South relay team took first in the event, beating Cretin-Derham Hall for the first time since 1999. In addition to that triumph, Michienzi placed first in both of his individual events, 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, and only missed meet records in both events by one hundredth of a second. Thus, he was named ‘swimmer of the meet’. The men’s swim team was also named the section 2AA academic champions.
On Friday, March 4, state preliminaries are being help at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, starting at 6 PM. “[It’s] not a big meet, we’re not Edina, not trying to win it,” said Anderson. “We hope [we] go faster. It just depends on how [we’re] feeling on that day.” The team’s goal is to place in the top eight so that they can medal.
On October 27, the women’s swim team redeemed themselves against Southwest and defeated them to win the city conference. South originally held the city title for twenty-three straight years before losing to Southwest for the past two years. Now, they have reclaimed the title.
“[It] kind of came out of nowhere,” said sophomore swimmer Ellen Gorsky. Not only did the team win the conference title, but junior Lucy Hennen also broke the school’s diving record by fifty points.
The final score of the meet had South in the lead by fifteen points. With a switch in the original relay order and some motivational words, the coaches sent their girls off to swim as well as they could.
“[We] told them really seriously to swim well from a technical point of view,” said South teacher and swim coach Neil Anderson. To get ready for the meet, the team focused on “the red zone,” or their technical areas, starts and turns.
Another important factor was that head coach Jeff Sanders and coach Anderson tried not to put too much pressure on the girls. The coaches knew that the first time they faced Southwest, too much weight was put on the girls’ shoulders, causing their defeat. “We knew that it would be close,” Anderson commented.
The girls will now continue to regionals. Although they will be participating in one of the top two regions, Anderson has hopes that the team will send one or two divers and/or swimmers to state. “I’m very happy for the girls and the team,” said Anderson.
On Wednesday, October 13, the South women’s swim team had what could be called a successful defeat. Although they lost to city rival Southwest by ten points, it was by a much smaller margin then the first meet.
In their first meet against Southwest, South lost by thirty points. Also, many South students improved their personal records the second time around. “It was very successful,” said sophomore Ellen Gorsky.
In terms of statistics, the last two years for the swim team have been rather disappointing. After 23 years of holding the city title, South lost for the first time during the 2008-09 season and has yet to win the city title back. That year, many good senior swimmers graduated.
But for the girls, points aren’t what’s most important. “[We’re] all really close,” said sophomore Eva Peterson, “We spend so much time together.” For Peterson and junior swimming companion Genevive Paule, the defeat at Southwest was disappointing. “It was sad because we tried so hard and came so close,” commented Paule.
There is good and bad to everything and senior captain Julia Hauser has not failed to see the good that has come with the last two years. “It’s less cliquey,” said Hauser, when asked about how the team has changed. “Everyone supports each other,” she added. Also, many upcoming swimmers look promising. Said coach Neil Anderson, “We will become much stronger in the next couple of years.”
One highlight of the swim season is the trip to Austin, MN, for an overnight stay and swim meet. It is one of the many bonding opportunities for the team. “[I love] doing the fun things outside of practice,” said Gorsky.
As the regular season comes to an end, hopes remain high for post-season swimming.