Bulletin Board – Oct. 10
Living Word Church dedicates school in Ghana
Living Word Church recently completed its fourth mission trip to northern Ghana to dedicate a brand new high school, Sakote Methodist Technical, located in the remote northern village of Sakote, Ghana. The church was invited to participate in the dedication ceremony and was greeted by the entire village, the chiefs and elders, elected officials from the region, clergy, teachers and the children who stand to benefit from a high school education in their town.
“This new school building was entirely funded by The Ghana Project, and we went to accept thanks and stand in the place deserved by all of our donors and supporters,” said Jim Harfst, member of Living Word Church and The Ghana Project Steering Committee chair.
He said when the van turned off the dirt road to go to the school, he was “nearly in tears.”
“I was definitely smiling from ear to ear as I first caught sight of the massive new bright blue and yellow structure, with shiny tin roofs reflecting the sun,” Harfst said. “The paint colors seem inspired by Ghanaian Methodist school uniforms, blue pants or skirts and yellow tops.”
Harfst said the difference that the school will make in the lives of children will be incredible.
“It is hard for 21st century Americans to imagine a place without a high school,” Harfst said. “But Sakote and its surrounding area has never, ever had a high school. There was no school at all until the 1950s, when a primary school and junior high school were built, but those schools were all the people there had. Most children for generations in Sakote have hit a brick wall after finishing junior high.
“But the situation has now changed. There is no brick wall anymore. All children can continue their education, learn a trade, learn skills beyond junior high right in Sakote. That’s an amazing gift to give the next generations. Thanks to The Ghana Project. And thanks to God.”
Taste of West
About 750 people came out to Parkway West to participate in its fifth annual Taste of West (pictured above), which raised more than $8,600 for Parkway West High. Twenty-five West County restaurants and businesses participated in the event, which raises money for senior class activities. The Taste of West event is a traditional part of Homecoming week festivities.
National Merit Achievement semifinalists
A Lafayette High student and four Parkway School District students were named National Merit Scholarship Achievement Scholarship semifinalists. The students are among 1,600 black American high school seniors who will compete for Achievement scholarship awards totaling more than $2.5 million.
About 80 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win an Achievement Scholarship award. The Achievement semifinalists and their high schools include:
• Deanna Patelis, Parkway Central
• Devin Powell, Lafayette High
• Kendra Rowey, Parkway North
• Andrew Stock, Parkway North
• Christina Wesley, Parkway North
Scott Moser, a science teacher at Rockwood’s Selvidge Middle, always works in a classroom buzzing with activity.
“I teach seventh-grade, so the kids are full of energy,” Moser said. “You never know what to expect.”
When Moser leaves Selvidge, he returns home to a different kind of buzz.
“I have 80 hives right now, but I’ve had as many as 120,” Moser said.
He has been keeping bees for 15 years and entered the hobby after reading an old life sciences book that posed the question “What can scientists do? Keep bees.” Moser looked into it and started with two hives. At the end of the first year, he had nine.
“I joined the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association, became the secretary, then president,” Moser said.
After seven years as president, Moser became president of the Missouri State Beekeepers Association.
His 80 hives certainly keep Moser busy, and with the honey the bees produce, he sells to produce markets.
“I love to talk to my students about beekeeping,” Moser said. “It leads to great discussions about ecosystems and our interconnected environment. Of course, the students always ask the two most popular questions, ‘Do you get stung?’ and ‘Does it hurt?’ The answers are yes and yes.”
Turning loss into music
Denise Dauw, a 1997 graduate of Marquette High, turned a difficult loss into the foundation for a new young adult fiction novel, “If Music Be The Food Of Love.” The story ties her experience of losing her grandmother to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease to music performance, family, romance and medicine.
“In the final stages of her illness, talking to my grandmother didn’t draw a response,” Dauw said.
“However, when I sang to her, she opened her eyes, turned to me and tried to speak. It was a special moment because she gave the gift of music to my mother, who in turn gave it to me.”
While a student at Marquette, Dauw was involved in numerous aspects of the fine arts program, from concert and chamber choirs to wind ensemble, marching band, musicals and more. Her favorite activity was serving as a drum major in the marching band.
Today, Dauw serves as band director at Wildwood Middle and assistant band director at Eureka High.
Once her novel is published later this year, she plans to give a portion of the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association. From teaching to writing to serving as a captain for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s 5K Run/Walk at Busch Stadium, Dauw wants to bring further awareness to the disease.
“Music can create powerful connections every day, and I’m hoping to inspire as I’ve been inspired in the process,” she said.
Students, parents and community members are invited to attend a screening of the documentary film, “Weight of the Nation,” on Oct. 15 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Marquette High. At the screening, guests will watch part three of the four-part series, which addresses children in crisis and what can be done to fight childhood obesity.
The health consequences of childhood obesity include a greater risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other serious illnesses.
The combination of these health effects and the dramatic increase in childhood obesity rates during the past three decades causes some experts to fear this may be the first generation of American children who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
“We know it takes a partnership with parents, schools and the community to ensure students are fit, active and ready to learn,” said Amy Wehr, supervisor of wellness and health services in Rockwood. “From this screening and our conversations, we’ll share strategies parents and families can use to instill long-term habits that promote healthy living.”
Racing with robots
Students in Karen Giesler’s class at the Center for Creative Learning were “getting geared up” as they used gears to create movement and precise speed for robots. The goal for the fourth- and fifth-grade students was to determine the gear ratios and programming needed to compete in two races: a “snail race” for the slowest robot and a “drag race” for the fastest. With each adjustment, students tested their robots down the halls of the school.
“Students must figure out what adjustments are needed in order to control the speed of their robots,” Giesler said. “Throughout the process, they keep track of their combinations so they know what adjustment to make next.
“As a teacher, it’s exciting to watch students combine technology through computer programming and problem-solving skills to accomplish the challenges. I think I enjoy the activity as much as they do.”
Cheers for World School Milk Day
Students in the Rockwood School District on Sept. 26 got to drink their milk through a colored and flavored straw in celebration of World School Milk Day, which is held annually to encourage children to drink milk and continue the habit into adulthood.
According to Kristin Davis, dietician, Rockwood students consumed 1.3 million cartons of milk in 2011-2012.
“Milk is a key part of a healthy diet; in fact it is the No. 1 food source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium,” Davis said. “Rockwood offers a variety of low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt at both breakfast and lunch to help students fuel their bodies so they are prepared to learn.”
Marquette High graduate Ravali Gummi and Lafayette High graduate Richard Lu are among three students in Missouri to earn the State AP Scholar Award through the College Board.
Only 108 students nationwide received the award, which is based on their outstanding performance on the 2012 Advanced Placement exams.
“This is a significant accomplishment for these students, their teachers and their families,” said Dr. Bruce Borchers, Rockwood superintendent. “It represents an enormous amount of time, energy and effort on their behalf as they successfully pursued Advanced Placement coursework.”
Gummi is a pre-med major at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Lu is attending Princeton University.