Good News Bulletin
Nov. 17, 2023
A Thanksgiving tradition returns
The Alternative Education Program at Elizabeth High School resurrected a time-honored community tradition on Thursday night: The free Thanksgiving Community Dinner served by students, welcoming Elizabeth residents to enjoy turkey and all the trimmings .
Students and teachers pounded the pavement all over Elizabeth to promote the event and solicit donations of food, cash and door prizes over the last few weeks. Everyone had a role on Thursday night, too, from food service to cleanup. More than 250 people took part in the 2023 community dinner, which was coordinated by teachers Lori Horton, Adam Payton, Kelly Riggle, Jaime Schmalz, Alana Wolner and Cherie Wyatt; counselor Casey Waters; assistant principal John Everhart; and numerous members of the district's food services staff.
Before the Alternative Program was transferred to EHS with the closure of Frontier High School, the dinner was a major annual event for Elizabeth. Because of the success and growth of the program since the move, Payton and others sought to bring it back. Students Marshall Baker, Trenton Cammalleri, Morgalish Ferland and James Julin serve as leaders for the program and were heavily involved in all the steps it took to organize the event.
The Alternative Education Program provides an educational home for students who learn differently and may struggle in a traditional learning environment. Courses in the program focus largely on project-based and experiential learning, with smaller class sizes for individualized and direct instruction when needed, and real-world experiences such as Horton's "On the Go" class which provides exposure to a variety of work settings, museums, outdoor learning and more through frequent field trips. With the inclusion of the program at EHS, students have much easier access to extracurriculars such as athletics, drama, marching band, auto club, EZTV. Best of all, community service, which is a part of every Cardinal's high school experience, once again has a major spotlight for the Elizabeth community and the Alternative Education Program.
Thanks to Jonny Horton for sharing photos.
Interns learn ins and outs of engineering & their own school
Four new interns don’t have to go far at all to feed their interest in engineering. Elizabeth High School’s unique internship program gives students the chance to learn about career fields that interest them well before they have to make choices about their post-graduation plans.
Technicians and engineers from global energy efficiency and sustainability company Schneider Electric are working their way through EHS – and soon every other school in the district. They are overhauling electronic climate control systems and replacing all fluorescent lights with more efficient and less costly LEDs. Those professionals are also providing a group of EHS interns with a broad view of different kinds of engineering, contracting and maintenance career options.
Elizabeth School District entered into an agreement with Schneider Electric earlier this year to make cost-saving improvements to its buildings and then reinvest current and future savings into long-deferred maintenance projects and upgrades that will both extend the useful life of each building and set the stage for even greater improvements including, eventually, air conditioning at both elementary schools. The project is called the Resource Efficiency Initiative, and part of that agreement with Schneider Electric was not only to carry out all the improvements but also to provide learning opportunities to students while the work is being done.
Last week, project manager Alex Williams was joined by Jennifer Verdugo, automation engineer, and Zachary Wilder, automation project lead, in launching the internships of Trace Burrow, Tyler Deering, Kyle Gustafson and Evelyn Malakowski.
Wilder and Verdugo told the interns that Schneider Electric employees work all over the world. Recently, both have worked on multiple projects from Japan to Spain, and in just the last few weeks, they have worked on projects in Alabama, California and Kansas. Verdugo recently had a project with NASA, too.
As building automation engineers, they design systems to automate lighting, gas, water and electricity to both save staff time and make the buildings more efficient. By programming a system to let computers do most of that work, the cost of operating a building can be much lower than manually controlling each system.
Wilder said their work can sometimes range from examining, redesigning and replacing a system in a day and a half all the way to the kind of project he’s also helping with in Japan, which started in 2019 and is still ongoing.
Wilder said he had started some of the work on that job, and Verdugo took over from him. “We all work together in a way that we can easily hand off to someone else.” Verdugo said she enjoys the fact that no job is the same, and there’s lots of movement from one job to the next.
Mechanical engineers worked on the first steps of the Elizabeth School District project, then handed it over to the next team and may not return to it for six months. Meanwhile, Williams will be on-site every week. Operating in a team dynamic like that, “you have to be thorough and be good at communication,” he said.
The students were presented with the reflective vests and hard hats they will wear whenever they are on site as work is being done. The helmets were unassembled, and to make a point about different ways to communicate, Williams had two students work with Wilder as he told them how to assemble the hard hats but didn’t show them. Meanwhile, Verdugo showed but didn’t tell the other two students how to put theirs together. Both groups struggled at times but eventually everyone’s helmet was assembled – and both teams took roughly the same amount of time to complete the task.
Once equipped with their personal protective equipment, the Schneider team showed the interns 15 pages of EHS plans and schematics they had already assembled after three weeks and four rounds of revisions. “We have to answer as many questions as possible with these so we can hand them over to installers and make their work as clear as possible,” Verdugo said. Williams noted that, depending on the job, some sets of plans can be hundreds of pages.
Wilder said one aspect of being an engineer that’s rewarding to him is being able to hand over a finished package and, years later, receive photos from a job where those plans were completed. Verdugo added that part of their job is capturing the fundamentals of what people do and how they use a building space so they can make it overall better for people to enjoy being there.
Williams added that it’s amazing to see their work translated to having giant cranes – or sometimes even helicopters – putting units in place on top of buildings. “It’s like being a kid and playing with toys but this is life-size, real and makes a difference,” he said.
After the introductions, the Schneider Electric team took the students on a tour of the work being done at EHS, from the boiler room to the pipes and conduit above ceiling tiles as well as the lights and ventilation system in the gym. The students will have opportunities to observe several different upgrades, take online classes that explain even more and, perhaps most useful of all, pick the brains of numerous visiting experts. In fact, the students started doing that right away, getting tips on post-graduation options, different types of engineering paths, and where Schneider Electric offers college internships.
Elementary schools celebrate Veterans Day
Running Creek and Singing Hills Elementary Schools hosted almost simultaneous Veterans Day celebrations last Friday, Nov. 10. Each school welcomed current and retired members of all branches of the military and honored them with full-school assemblies in their gyms.
After student performances and hearing from veteran speakers, each school hosted a reception in its cafeteria, where students got the chance to speak with servicemembers.
Thanks to Michael Seefried and Ashlee Johnson for sharing photos.
Running Creek Elementary Veterans Day celebration
Singing Hills Elementary Veterans Day celebration
EMS theatre troupe prepares 'Jack and the Giant' musical
With a cast of 20, plus eight stage crew members, Elizabeth Middle School's theatre program, under the direction of Melanie Kaumeyer, is putting the finishing touches on its musical, "Jack and the Giant."
Tickets are available for $6.50 apiece at this website for the 6 p.m., Dec. 1, performance and the 4 p.m., Dec. 2, performance.
Here's the synopsis of the play: "The giant is making life pretty miserable for Jack, his mother and the entire kingdom. Jack is even forced to sell his beloved dancing cow for magic beans. And where does Jack go? That’s right! Jack goes up the beanstalk and into the castle where he not only fights Gogmagog, the giant, but the malicious Troll as well. By the end of this special tale, the cow is returned, the chicken learns how to lay golden eggs and the good life returns to the kingdom."
Gymnastics team honors bus driver
The EHS gymnastics team honored bus driver Mark Johnson at its end-of-season dinner. Johnson, who is a new driver in the district, drove the team to each of its out-of-town meets and developed a good-humored rapport with the gymnasts. They even gave him a trophy for being their driver and "always hitting the red lights on Parker Road." The trophy says:
Best Bus Driver
Seniors Bria Hundley and Paisley Gammel took the admiration even further, wearing customized swag at the dinner (above).
Thanks to Sarah Patterson for sharing the fun and photos!
EZTV crew celebrates Thanksgiving their own way
Due to scheduling issues with the production of the Good News Bulletin last week, this episode of EZTV was not included. Most of it is still relevant, as the crew brings its Thanksgiving celebration to class and covers the conclusion of fall sports and the beginning of winter sports. But even though the Community Thanksgiving Dinner (see above) and the Dodge4life tournament (see next edition) have already happened, the video production students' work is definitely worth a watch.
Space Foundation brings celestial science to schools Dec. 6
The Space Foundation, an education and industry collaboration nonprofit based in Colorado Springs, will bring engaging science programs to Elizabeth schools Dec. 6 and will follow it up with a community stargazing party that evening, weather permitting.
Select groups of students from each school will have opportunities to enrich their science education:
- Elementary school students will get to learn about coding and programming with Ozobots.
- Middle school students will work on a design challenge for a Mars lander.
- High school students will take on a higher-level Mars lander design challenge.
Teachers interested in the Space Foundation's Summer Leadership Academy will have the chance to learn about it from 4-5 p.m.
Everyone is invited to a stargazing party from 5:30-7 p.m. at the EHS football field. Space Foundation staff members have said they are excited for the stargazing because Elizabeth has so little light pollution to deal with, so they'll be able to see clearer and farther into space with the many different kinds of telescopes they will bring.
November – National Native American Heritage Month
Nov. 20-24 – NO SCHOOL - Thanksgiving Break
Nov. 29 – EHS Student Academy graduation, 5 p.m.
Dec 1-2 – EMS musical "Jack and the Giant," 6 p.m. Dec. 1; 4 p.m. Dec. 2
Dec. 2 – National Special Education Day
Dec. 6 – Space Foundation at Elizabeth School District
Dec. 6 – Coffee with the Board, 4 p.m., Ziggi's Coffee
Dec. 6 – Stargazing with the Space Foundation, 5:30 p.m., EHS football field
Dec. 7 – EHS Blood Drive, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dec. 11 – Board of Education meeting, 6 p.m.
Dec. 12 – EHS-EMS Holiday Band Concert, 6 p.m., EHS
Dec. 13 – EMS Orchestra Concert, 6 p.m.
Dec. 14 – EMS Holiday Choir Concert, 6 p.m.
Dec. 14 – EHS Holiday Choir Concert, 7 p.m.
Dec. 15 – EHS StuCo Movie Night, 8 p.m.
Dec. 22-Jan. 9 – NO SCHOOL - Winter Break
Running Creek Elementary preps for food drive
Running Creek Elementary is conducting a food drive Nov. 27-Dec. 13 in support of the Harvest Bible Church Food Bank (next door to the school).
External donations are welcome, and each class will be competing to bring in the most donations. The most generous class will win a pizza party, and the runner-up class will earn an ice-cream float party.
Check the accompanying flier for a list of suggested non-perishable and household items to donate.
Elbert County's Got Talent hits the EMS stage on Jan. 26
Elizabeth School District and the Elbert County Partnership will host the first-ever Elbert County's Got Talent contest from 6-9 p.m., Jan. 26, at Elizabeth Middle School.
Songwriters and performers will compete to have their original compositions become the official song of Elbert County. Refreshments will be provided by the Elizabeth High School culinary program.
For more information check out the Elbert County Partnership website.
EHS brickyard bricks specially priced until Dec. 15
EHS families and students can make their mark -- permanently -- by purchasing a custom brick for the brickyard at the southern main entrance to the school. And from now until Dec. 15, they can buy bricks at a discounted price.
The EHS Cardinal Club normally sells 4x8-inch personalized bricks for $150 each, but during the special, it's only $100 per brick. Larger, 8x8-inch bricks normally $500 are $250 (plus $55 for a customized logo if provided by the sponsor).
The 4x8 bricks have three lines with as many as 18 characters per line and can include logos and icons. For more details and to order a brick during Cardinal Club's sale, visit this website or download this flyer, which includes a Venmo code to donate directly.