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.

Photo Provided

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.”

Photo provided.

Bunker Hill, IN - In preparation for their upcoming British Invasion choir concert, members of Maconaquah High School’s Counterpoints Choir sought out individuals who witnessed the phenomenon first-hand.

Earlier this month, the choir sang a few songs from their upcoming concert at Vernon Manor in Wabash, Camelot Care in Logansport, and Aperion Estates in Peru. And at Aperion Estates, the students also interviewed residents to hear how the surge in popularity of British music changed American culture in the 1960s.

“The residents were so helpful and very excited to share a little of their lives,” said choir director Michelle Bailey. “The students loved hearing stories about the times, and it gave them a greater appreciation for the people and the way music spread.”

Bunker Hill, IN - Maconaquah Cattle Company keeps expanding with the help of local and non-local support.

The agriscience program at Maconaquah Middle School recently received a $2,500 grant from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture for the expansion of the program’s curricular materials.

Craig Jernagan, Principal of Maconaquah Middle School, thanked the ISDA for seeing the value in the program.

“To receive a grant from the state department of agriculture is a big deal, and it has been very encouraging to the students involved in the program,” he said.

John Sinnamon, MMS agriculture teacher and advisor of the program, also said he is thankful for the support.

Mac Photo by Eric Stoff

Bunker Hill, IN - A handful of Maconaquah alumni and administrators gathered outside the high school weight room last week to celebrate.

The Maconaquah Athletic Booster Club purchased naming rights for the high school weight room — a one-time $2,000 donation for the next four years and the first large contribution to the Future Brave Endowment Fund.

“It’s neat that I have the opportunity to help build a fund that will give to all students,” said Nina White, president of the booster club.

White said the booster club “thought of what facility benefits all of Maconaquah’s athletes, and we decided … the weight room was someplace that meant something to every athlete.”

The Future Brave Endowment Fund was started at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Funds are raised through various efforts, and the dollars are invested with the Northern Indiana Community Foundation (NICF), of which the Miami County Community Foundation is a fund affiliate. More than $5,000 has been raised so far through various donations and five percent of concession and ticket sales at school events.

Photo by Eric Stoff

Bunker Hill, IN - Kelly McPike whispered, “kindness,” to more than 100-second graders, and they responded, “matters,” in a unified, hushed voice.

The call and response was part of a new challenge issued to every grade level at Maconaquah Elementary School last week by McPike, the principal of the school. The challenge was to complete 600 acts of kindness by the end of the school year and sign a No Excuses University flag, committing to work hard in the second semester.

“This is a reminder to the kids that it’s time to get back at it and get focused,” McPike said.

McPike and Assistant Principal Jeremy Fewell attended the No Excuses University conference in October, and one speaker named Leon Logothetis made a particular impact on them. Logothetis is the author of the book, “The Kindness Diaries,” which chronicles a trip he took around the world with no money. He simply relied on the kindness of others because he believes “kindness makes the world go round.”