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U.S. Olympian to speak during Sacred Heart's opening day program

Laurie Hernandez, a member of the U.S. Olympic gymnastic team and winner of TV's "Dancing with the Stars," will speak Tuesday at Sacred Heart School in East Grand Forks.

Hernandez, 17, will participate in a question-and-answer session with students beginning at 2 p.m. in the Merth Gymnasium.

The school's "Day One" event is intended to generate student enthusiasm for the upcoming school year.

At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Hernandez captured gold and silver medals for the U.S. and was lauded for her dazzling floor exercise routine and her grace and artistry on the balance beam.

A second-generation American, she is the first U.S. Latina to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. Her grandparents emigrated from Puerto Rico.

Hernandez won the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2016.

Her first book, "I Got This: To Gold and Beyond," was published in January and appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

The "Day One" event featured Titans Coach Herman Boone in 2016 and Minnesota Viking and Super Bowl Champion Matt Birk in 2015.

In choosing Hernandez as speaker, the selection committee was "looking for somebody a little bit different, younger, maybe in a different sport," said Jen MacLeod Koller, marketing and admissions officer at Sacred Heart School.

The event is open to Sacred Heart parents and alumni and Sacred Heart Catholic Church parishioners.

Internet grant

Grand Forks Public Schools has received a grant from Sprint and the Sprint Foundation to provide electronic devices and internet access to high school students who do not have access at home.

The goal of Sprint's "1Million Project" is to provide one million devices and access to one million high school students throughout the U.S.

For Grand Forks Red River, Central and Community high schools, 250 devices will be allotted for each of the next five years.

Students selected for the project will receive a free wireless device, depending on availability, and up to 3GB per month of free internet connectivity through their high school years. Students may apply online at:

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me, it's an equity thing," said Joel Schleicher, director of technology at Grand Forks Public Schools. "We know that not every student has access to a reliable internet device at home to complete their work. This project levels the playing field; students who don't have access now will have access."

Schleicher said he and his staff will reach out to teachers, social workers and counsellors in the district to help identify students who would benefit from this project.

'Net zero' school

The grand opening for the first energy-efficient building on tribal land in the U.S. was held Thursday at Fort Totten Public School in Fort Totten, N.D.

The "net zero" school, the first in North Dakota, will produce more energy than it consumes each year, said Karen Peters, an employee of Shingobee Builders, a Minnesota-based commercial construction and development company, in a news release.

The new career technology education facility, which is adjacent to Four Winds Community School on the Spirit Lake Reservation, will expand students' learning experience in alternative programs.

The facility includes classrooms, lab space for six teachers, bathrooms, storage areas and offices.

Features of the building include solar panels, a geothermal heating and cooling system, high-efficiency heat pumps, equipment that minimizes energy use, specially insulated walls and roof, and triple-pane windows.