Activities beyond the classroom
OWL students are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities to enhance their learning in the classroom and their connection to the school and each other. Our activities reflect our students and their interests.
OWL has a rich theatre tradition that has benefited from the recent overhaul of our stage. The drama department puts on a play every fall and spring. Students have significant input about what plays are produced, allowing for a nice balance between classic productions and lesser-known gems. Recent plays at Open include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Importance of Being Ernest, The Tempest, Love Rides the Rails and The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet. Open Theatre is a member of the International Thespian Society.
National History Day
While a required part of the social studies curriculum both at middle school (a project is completed in both grades 7 and 8) and high school (part of the US History course), students may continue to compete in History Day each year. We have many state competitors each year, with some making it all the way to the Nationals in Washington, DC.
Open boasts Saint Paul’s only school-sponsored archery team, complete with an improvised shooting range and a full set of compound bows. The coed team practices during enrichment time twice a week and after school. They compete in tournaments around the metro area, including the state championship every spring.
Fraquetball is a sport invented by Open students that has grown into a mighty tradition. Twenty-four two-person teams compete for spots in the playoffs in hopes of attaining the coveted Fraquetball trophy – and yes, there is a real trophy. Fraquetball is possibly best described as ping pong meets floor hockey; players use a ping pong paddle to try and whack the ball past the opponent’s goalie. Games are played during lunch.
Open’s co-ed ultimate club – the Manatee – started as an informal after school pick-up session, grew into an obsession, and evolved into a competitive team that competes in the high school ultimate league.
The Purple Press, OWL’s official student publication, was launched in 1996 and publishes eight times a year. Students meet during enrichment to brainstorm stories, then write, revise and layout their own product under the supervision of the staff advisor. The paper features a variety of stories, from hard-hitting editorials about school policy, to reviews of the latest video games.
Open has long been a leader in the service-learning field. Students need to log 150 hours of community service and 150 hours of school service to graduate. Crew leaders help students connect to valuable opportunities in their own neighborhoods and throughout the West 7th community. Many students participate on the Kids Against Hunger Team, leading food-packing events at OWL and other St. Paul schools. There is also an Outward Bound service-learning adventure trip every spring that visits Outward Bound base camps throughout the country.
Each spring a group of OWL students participate in the Midwest PeaceJam. This is a weekend-long conference that works to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody. Students engage in service-learning projects and meet with world leaders such as Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, and the Dalai Lama.
Open Education Abroad
A ten-day international adventure led by OWL staff. Previous destinations include England, Germany, Italy, Spain and Costa Rica. Stay tuned for information about our next trip. It will combine language and cultural studies with a service-learning component.
Student Government and Site Council
Direct student involvement in the running of the school has long been a philosophical priority and pedagogical reality at Open. Students can have input about school policy decisions by attending site council meetings. In fact, the site council bylaws allow for a majority of students as voting members. Student government plans school-wide events, coordinates recycling, and other projects.
Athletics at partner schools
Students at OWL who are interested in playing sports that are not offered at our school are eligible to participate at partner schools. Dave Gundale will help students with the required paperwork. Please note: if your child would like to take part in a fall sport (many of which hold try outs and practice over the summer), please notify us the previous spring so that we can help make arrangements.