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.”

Mac Photo Provided

Bunker Hill, IN - It’s a win-win-win kind of idea, and Tara Rush’s fourth grade class at Maconaquah Elementary School has been doing it for four years.

Her class just wrapped up its annual Christmas toy drive, gathering 473 toys and more than $1,000 in donations.

First, the students receive a lesson in writing by drafting persuasive letters to family, friends, and local businesses. Next, the donors benefit by giving to a good cause during the Holiday season. Lastly, families in need benefit by receiving donated toys and funds.

“I am so proud of my students,” Rush said “Every student went above and beyond during this project.”

She said 17 families at Mac El will benefit from this year’s toy drive, and the remaining toys will be donated to Helping Hands in Peru.

Mac Logo

Bunker Hill, IN - A car accident involving two Maconaquah High School students the morning of October 24 left the school corporation shocked.

Zac (sr.) and Austin Straub (so.) were involved in an accident at the intersection of U.S. 31 and 800S last Wednesday morning at around 8 a.m.

First responders brought Zac, who was driving, to Dukes Memorial Hospital, and he was released later that day. Austin was flown to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, and he is still there.

The Straub family has asked that details regarding Austin’s condition remain private, although they did say doctors are “amazed” at his recovery so far, and they are “overwhelmed with love and support,” from the Maconaquah School community.

“I can't even begin to thank all of you in our family, community, school for everything you are doing to help support us and pray for us,” said Erin Straub, the boys’ mother, in a note to Maconaquah staff. “We will never be able to repay all of you for everything you have done for us.”

Maconaquah logo

Bunker Hill, IN - Maconaquah High School’s FFA is hosting its inaugural Trunk or Treat event Monday.

Alyssa Bell, FFA’s student president, said the event involves all student activities and will hopefully draw attendance from the community, which will make “a great experience for everyone.”

She said the event is not a fundraiser, but a way to give back to the community and bring attention to the great things student groups accomplish.

Bell described it as “an event to have fun and enjoy the holiday.”

Children and pets are welcome and encouraged to be dressed up for costume contests.

Photo provided

Bunker, Hill, IN - Maconaquah Elementary School was a pitstop last week for the President of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Eric Cardwell, the NAESP President, has been on a 4,500-mile round trip this fall. He’s been visiting elementary schools along the way in Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. And he visited Principal Kelly McPike at Mac El last week.

Cardwell said, “Schools are at the very center of this nation’s communities. I’m taking this listening tour as not only a celebration of schools and principal leadership but also to take a real look at the successes and challenges that they are facing.”

McPike said Cardwell visited Erika Reeser’s third-grade class and the school’s STEM lab. He learned about the process of Maconaquah constructing the lab and buildings its own STEM curriculum “from the ground up.”

Photo by Eric Stoff

Miami County, IN - Rainy weather didn’t stop a day of agricultural education Friday.

Fourth grade students from across Miami County gathered at the 4-H Fairgrounds for Ag Day, an annual event hosted by the Miami County Soil and Water Conservation District. There were 13 stations which students rotated between, including topics such as dairy and beef cattle, soybeans, farm machinery, apples and bees, and Maconaquah and North Miami high schools’ FFA programs.

Dawn Baker, Maconaquah High School FFA Faculty Advisor supervised some of her FFA students as they showed a mixture of personal animals, Baker’s animals, and the FFA program’s animals.

She said in today’s society, it’s easy to lose sight of the food chain.

“(The students) have become disconnected to the point that they don’t know where their food comes from at all,” Baker said. “We’re trying to provide that basic information firsthand. By showing the animals and teaching about where it all starts.”

She said it’s good for the FFA students to volunteer and educate younger students, too.