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Making the decision to enroll in a private, Catholic high school is an exciting one, but it also comes with its questions and challenges. Light on The Hill is designed to keep prospective and current students — and their parents — up-to-date on news, thoughts, and events relevant to the mission and values at St. Lawrence Seminary High School. 

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Student Blog: The Great English Teacher

a compilation of photos of Mr. Van Asten: looking at a tree with a student, in his office, wearing a wig and posing with a basketball, teaching in front of a whiteboard and holding a jar of "Hilltop Gold" maple syrup

The following blog comes from one of our students and was originally published in an issue of Hilltopics.

Students passing through St. Joseph’s Hall are bound to run into Mr. Anthony Van Asten on the second floor. He has a very happy and jocular personality. Mr. Van Asten teaches Speech, Communications and Junior English. He is also an alumnus of SLS. He arrived as a freshman in 1997 and graduated in 2001. After he graduated, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and majored in English Literature and Religious Studies. Later, he went to Marquette to receive his master’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership.

This spring, Mr. Van Asten started the Maple Syrup Project. Students who joined learned how to tap the maple trees and cook the tree sap down to maple syrup. They were able to produce many jars of Hilltop Gold, 100% pure maple syrup, to enjoy with friends and family.

Why did you come to SLS as a student?

“I had many roots here at SLS. My mother taught here and my brother also came here.”

Why did you come back to SLS as a teacher?

“I felt like I owed something to St. Lawrence. So when I had the opportunity, I jumped at it. My original plan was to stay for four years, but the benefits were really good."

What was your favorite thing about St. Lawrence as a student? As a teacher?

“I think my favorite thing was the community. The community of staff and students. You could get help from teachers and classmates easier than anywhere else. I really appreciate the spirituality of this community. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s been great. It’s been spiritually enriching as a teacher. It’s not the same kind of spiritual support as other places or schools."

What is the biggest change you see in St. Lawrence since you were a student?

“I think the school has made tremendous leaps in updating itself for the 21st Century. We have more access to technology and the students have more access with technology.”

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

“June, July, and August. Na, I’m just kidding. I like it when a student discovers a passion they have or a thing they have. That’s my favorite part."

Why did you start the Maple Syrup project?

“I saw Doc (Doctor Gereon Welhouse) at the Christmas Concert and I brought up the idea with him. We used to do it as students. It helped me get out into the woods at a different time of year. Syrup is a cool product that students can make and share."

Is there anything you would like to say to your students?

“I guess this sort of lines up with maple syrup. There is a whole lot of awesome ways people make a living. Students should never stop finding their own passion.”

St. Lawrence Seminary is an all boys Catholic boarding school located in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin. We welcome students from Minnesota, Illinois and across the United States. Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the example of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Lawrence Seminary provides a residential college preparatory education in a living Catholic community nurturing mature, well-rounded men of faith. See if St. Lawrence is right for you and your son.

This entry was posted in Academics, Student Blogs on November 12, 2019 by Andrew Tran