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Bunker Hill, IN - For the past two years, Maconaquah Elementary School has partnered with McGrawsville United Methodist Church and Howard-Miami Church to provide non-perishable food items to students in need. This year, the school was fortunate enough to receive a matching grant through Meijer to expand the program to now serving students kindergarten through 5th grade.

On Wednesday afternoon, Maconaquah students, staff, and community members showed their Brave Pride by coming together to pack sixteen weeks’ worth of food to fill Buddy Bags. This is the largest shipment the group has received, but their concerns for not having enough manpower were diminished by the outpouring of support that showed up to help.

“It was really amazing to see so many people show up who wanted to help with this mission of feeding our kids. It was especially great to see all of the high school students, Jr. High National Honor Society kids, and even some elementary students helping their peers,” said Team Leader Lisa Duke.

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Bunker Hill, IN - The 2019-20 school year has come with new opportunities for Maconaquah High School students.

Over the summer, the school began renovations for a new welding and construction shop. The shop houses courses for students, sophomore through senior, interested in a welding or construction program. In previous years, students interested in Career and Technical Education programs would have to travel to the Kokomo Career Center in order to participate. Eliminating the commute is only one of the ways Maconaquah has expanded interest and enrollment in both welding and construction courses.

“The motivation behind reimplementing these programs is that for too many years they have been neglected. Our focus has been solely on improving our test scores. Test scores are important, but there is much more to the educational program,” says Dr. James Callane, Maconaquah School Corporation Superintendent.

In 2016, the Corporation received bond money to implement renovations on their buildings. Renovations were completed in 2018, but there was a surplus left over. This money was brought to the school board, where they had to decide what other renovations the money would be put towards. It just happened that administrators had been toying around with the idea of bringing back courses such as the welding program. It became apparent to School Board President Robert Daine and Superintendent Dr. Callane that this is what the leftover money would go towards.

Bunker Hill, IN - After directing band for 22 years for Caston School Corporation, James Byrn has made an exciting move to Maconaquah Schools.

“I really enjoyed my time at Caston,” says Byrn, “but I am excited to plant my roots at Maconaquah to learn their traditions while adding my own touch to a growing program.”

One of the first jobs on his to-do list is to form relationships with the students. “I think the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is establishing new relationships. It's simple things like standing in the hallway and talking to students during passing periods. I want the kids to feel comfortable with me and the program I’m taking over,” says Byrn.

James wants to get students excited about joining band. He also wants kids to know that they can join at any level. Just because a student didn’t participate in middle school doesn’t mean they can’t join in high school. The High School band will be graduating 6 very dedicated seniors this year, so he wants students to be eager to fill those spots.

Bunker Hill, IN, - The USDA recently announced this year’s record-breaking funding for Farm to School Grants.

Maconaquah Cattle Company is one of 126 selected projects across the United States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to receive grant funding. “We are pleased that the hard work of our students, teachers, and community is being recognized through receiving this grant,” said Maconaquah Middle School Principal, Craig Jernagan.

Maconaquah Cattle Company is an agriscience program that was implemented 4 years ago. As part of this program, students study, feed out, and send beef cattle to be processed for school lunches.

John Sinnamon, MMS agriculture teacher and advisor of the program, said he was excited when he was notified that Maconaquah received the grant. “I am looking forward to applying this grant to our program. This grant will greatly benefit our school, our Ag program, and most importantly our students. The big picture is that we have the backing of the USDA for our schools Ag program.”

Mac Photo provided

Bunker Hill, IN - Construction has been underway on US 31 since early summer. With the first day of school right around the corner, area schools are working to educate their bus drivers on how to get through construction both safely and efficiently. “The safety of our students is our number one priority. We hope that by implementing a plan in advance, we will eliminate the risk of any accidents occurring involving our students and staff.” says Maconaquah School Corporation Transportation Director, Angel Strik.

One area of focus is Maple Lawn Village, which houses many Maconaquah students and is located in the middle of the construction zone. Strik has worked closely with her drivers to put together a plan for both pick-up and drop off.

Students will now be picked up and dropped off at the Maple Lawn Office. The bus will load students at this location, and then make a loop through the middle of the mobile home park to exit back onto 31. “Our hope is that all residents of Maple Lawn park in a way that is mindful of our route. We are implementing this to create the safest environment for our students, and want everyone to be on board with it.” says Strik.

Bailey Ropes

Bunker Hill, IN - Maconaquah School Corporation approved the hire of a new grant writer and public relations officer at its June board meeting, and for her, it is a return to her alma mater.

Bailey Ropes, 2009 Maconaquah alumnae, will succeed Eric Stoff, who was with the corporation for five years.

“I’ve always enjoyed writing,” Ropes said, adding that she has journalism and P.R. experience. “I’m very excited to jump back into it, and I am also excited to return to Maconaquah.”

In addition to graduating from Maconaquah High School, Ropes worked as an instructional assistant at Maconaquah Middle School a few years ago.

Ropes said she loves Maconaquah’s tight-knit community.

Photo by student photographer Dorie Gillespie

Bunker Hill, IN - Sarah Bingham began Maconaquah High School’s graduation ceremony by welcoming a crowded gym of peers, family, and friends. The senior class vice president also prayed for blessing over their futures and thanked God for “all of the days of laughter, fun, great discovery and learning.”

MHS graduated 143 seniors in the class of 2019 on Saturday. Speeches from the class valedictorian, salutatorian and class president all focused on themes of pursuing dreams and staying true to one’s self.

Valedictorian Morgan Smith encouraged her classmates to describe who they think they are today. Her classmates laughed and applauded not only her description of herself but the various personas of her graduating class.

“Whoever you are, people are going to see you as they want. Be who you are. Be unapologetically you,” Smith said.

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Bunker Hill, IN - Maconaquah High School’s Academic Super Bowl Team brought home its fourth state championship in five years last weekend.

The Fine Arts Team, comprised of sophomores Anastasia Spahr, Stevee Judy, Gabriella Weaver, and junior Bethany Kincaid, were awarded the championship on Saturday, making them the third consecutive Fine Arts state champs from MHS.

Coach Kari Catanzaro said she is “so proud of all of our Academic Super Bowl teams this year.” Catanzaro and Allen Sayger co-coached this year, following the retirement of longtime coach Helena Banina.

“Fine Arts has become sort of a specialty for us at MHS,” Catanzaro said. “It's a testament to the hard work of our students but also to the high-quality programs we have in music, drama, and art at Maconaquah and our community.”