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Bunker Hill, IN. -  Maconaquah School Corporation partners with FCA Automotive and UAW Local 685 to focus on the future of the students and the skilled workforce in Midwest Indiana.

As skilled trades numbers continue to decline, a few hopeful advocates search for ways to close the gap. Paul Adkins, Brian Beachy, and Roger Sampson are Skilled Tradesmen employed by FCA Automotive. After making a connection with Maconaquah’s SRT program last year, they have found their way back into the school, this time making waves in PLTW class.

“I love working with students, I always have, so when I was approached about working on a project that would help introduce skilled trades to students, I said absolutely. I’ve recognized that this is something we need back in the school system, and I see such a benefit to it. So many students graduate with no idea what to do next. The idea of introducing trades at a younger age gives kids more of an opportunity to find their passion. Showing them something they've never done before can give them an opportunity to see something click, to trigger that passion,” said Brian Beachy. Beachy is a pipe fitter at FCA, and one of the gentlemen responsible for helping introduce the newest construction project to Maconaquah’s Project Lead the Way students at the Middle School.

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Washington, DC - For the past few years, Maconaquah Middle School has given 8th-grade students the opportunity to experience the culture, tourism, and history of Washington D.C.

Last year, 8th grade U.S. History teacher Michael Sommers took over the job as 8th Grade D.C. Trip Sponsor. This year was his second year taking students on the trip, and he said he couldn’t be happier to have taken on such a great role.

“This is such a good experience for the students,” says Sommers. “It is one thing to read and learn about history and culture, but it is another thing to be able to experience it first hand.”

Last week, Sommers was able to take a group of 82 students and 21 chaperones on a three-day tour of the U.S. Capitol.

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Bunker Hill, IN - Maconaquah Middle School partners with Tracey Winey and John Howe from Engineering Brightness to achieve a common goal of accessing healthy light.

The idea to bring Engineering Brightness to Maconaquah started in 2018 with Ms. Rachel Smith’s SRT class. The goal of the class was to find ways to make the world a better place. Throughout the course of the year, the students came up with several ideas, the most feasible being bringing solar-powered light to less fortunate areas of the world. The students worked together to fundraise and organize the Engineering Brightness team coming to MMS.

“The goal of Engineering Brightness is to collaborate globally to ensure everyone has access to clean and healthy light,” says Maconaquah Middle School teacher Rachel Smith. “Our purpose in bringing Tracey and John to MMS was to hopefully start the Maconaquah branch of EB.”

Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Tracey and John traveled to Maconaquah to spend last week training students and staff on how to build 3D printed solar-powered lanterns. The students worked with and learned about circuit boards, diodes, soldering, as well as much more. At the same time, they were able to see the impact their new discoveries would have on people many miles away.

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Miami County, IN - Members of the Maconaquah FFA Chapter participated in helping teach agriculture to 4th graders across Miami County at the annual 4th Grade Ag Day. The Maconaquah FFA provided a petting zoo for the 4th graders to experience animals up close and have a chance to interact with them. Several members helped and presented at other stations and talked about everything ranging from beef production, water quality, apples and bees, to soil erosion along with bringing their own animals for the petting zoo.

Overall, everyone was excited to help make Ag Day run smoothly and help out with the kids. Ag Day is such a great community service project for the FFA to participate in, and we appreciate helping with it every year and can’t wait till next year!

 

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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.”