The theme of last week’s session of Foundation for the Future summer school in Marion was journalism, and students wrote news and feature articles about local people and events.
They chose their story topics, interviewed the people involved, and wrote their stories. Coordinator Charlene Metcalf said some of the students, who were in fifth through eighth grades the past school year, are considering becoming journalists as adults.
“The newspaper always wants to encourage students to write and learn about journalism,” Marion County Record news editor Adam Stewart said Friday. “The stories they wrote show potential. I think we would be happy to have a student correspondent or two writing for the Record.”
Art teacher gets new job
The previous Marion Elementary School art teacher, Dani Lange, was transferred from her position to be a third kindergarten teacher. Principal Justin Wasmuth informed her of the transfer before the school year was out.
“I was always happy to teach art, but budget cuts have taken that away,” Lange said.
When asked if she wanted to teach kindergarten she said, “Yes, it will be a very great experience for me.”
This will be her second job in Marion Elementary School and she hopes it will be permanent.
This was a good choice because by having three smaller classes, it will make it a lot easier for the kids to learn the basics that prepare them for later life. That first year needs to be more personal.
“Kindergarten will be one of the more fun grades to teach,” Lange said.
Schools have new fine arts teachers
Julia Miller will be the new music teacher for grades five through 12 at Marion schools starting in the fall. Miller is originally from Hesston, and she studied at Bethel College in Newton.
She decided she wanted to be a music teacher when she got out of high school. Miller’s inspiration was her father, because she wanted be like him.
“I chose to work in Marion because I wanted to work in a place where there are good kids and good support,” she said.
This will be Miller’s first year teaching. She plans to move to Marion sometime this summer.
Also new to Marion will be Alisa Frazer, the new art teacher for grades eight through 12. Frazer went to Emporia State University. She has taught eight years in Great Bend.
Frazer is ready to be a middle and high school teacher. She chose to become an art teacher because her grandmother was one.
Frazer will be living in Marion. She plans on staying for a while.
“I’m very excited to work here and to start a new chapter in my life,” she said.
Schools try to save on utilities
Marion schools have had to deal with budget cuts to save money over the years. They have to save money because if there are fewer students, they get less funds from the state.
They are trying to save $200,000 over the course of this school year by making budget cuts. Superintendent Lee Leiker said budget cuts also make it harder for the staff and students. So they have to cut, for example, coaches for sports teams.
They are using less electrical light and more sunlight in the school to save money, Leiker said.
Elaine Ewert immortalizes dogs in book form
Elaine Ewert has written and illustrated two books for kids, “Estelle Wants to Fly” and “Izzy.” The books are about her two dogs Izzy and Estelle. She chose to write about her dogs because she knew more about them and wanted to immortalize them.
Ewert paid $15 to $20 for each book printed, which she then sold herself. She said that she tried to buy the right amount so she could sell them to people without the books being too pricey. The first book took three months to make, and the second book took less time. It took Ewert about four edits to get to the final copy.
Ewert has done many things other than writing. She has taught art and special education, was a graphic designer, and is a family advocate now. Her family was very excited to hear about the books and loved them when they came out. She said there is no plan for a third book, but there might be one in the future.
She also sometimes goes to schools and libraries to read her books to children. Sometimes she even brings Estelle.
“It’s fun to see the faces of the kids,” Ewert said. “Sometimes when I am planning on doing a book reading I get nervous, but once it starts I’m fine.”
Man collects miniature tractors
Ladd Helmer started his tractor collection at a young age. He has been collecting all his life. He has about 40 tractors. His collection is kept in his shop, which he calls “his man cave.”
He bought them at stores or received them as gifts. The tractors range in size from 2 to 6 inches and there is no specific brand. The prices of the tractors range from $1 to $100.
Marion schools getting Chrome Books
Next year all fifth through 12th graders at Marion schools are getting brand new Chrome Books laptop computers. Each student will have a Chrome Book allowing them to go paperless and complete homework using this new technology.
Each student will pay a $50 deposit at the beginning of the school year for the privilege of using them. If the student returns the Chrome Book in good shape at the end of the school year, the deposit will be returned to the family.
If a student breaks one, the deposit will not be returned and instead the money will be used to help repair or buy a new one.
“The Chrome Books will usually stay in the school,” Superintendent Lee Leiker said.
Fifth and sixth grades will only be allowed to take them home at teacher discretion, whereas students at the middle and high school levels will have more privileges.
“I am probably the most excited person about these new Chrome Books,” Leiker said.