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Hudson High School theater wins national grant

Photo of Hudson High School theater production

Hudson Star-Observer: When the call came out nationwide for exceptional theater programs, more than a thousand people applied. Music teacher Kari Heisler was one of them, representing the Hudson High School theater program.

With the premier of the new theater drama “Rise,” the Education Theater Foundation held auditions of a sort for Recognizing Inspiring Student Expression (R.I.S.E) grants, awarding $10,000 to the chosen theater departments.

Only 50 were selected in the end, and Hudson made the cut.

“That’s pretty amazing to be one of the 50,” Heisler said.

Heisler first heard of the opportunity through social media.

“I saw it and I got goosebumps,” Heisler said. “And I thought I don’t care if we ever get it we’ve got to apply for it.”

That was on a Thursday, the deadline for the application was the following Monday.

The application required a 500-word essay from Heisler, a letter of recommendation from an administrator and a two-minute video submission showcasing the theater department.

Read the complete article on Hudson’s national theater grant.

Two Altoona schools win titles at the Super Bowl

Altoona Fuel Play 60 photo Two Altoona schools came home from Super Bowl weekend with thousands of dollars in grants.

The NFL’s Fuel Play 60 invited Altoona Middle School and Altoona High School to its “AdCap” competition on the Saturday of Super Bowl weekend.

Physical education teacher Greg Emerson got a team of seven girls together. They had some prep time to come up with a project to keep kids healthy at their schools, and present it “Shark Tank” style in 60 seconds.

They were judged by CEOs, the COO of the NFL and even Vikings QB Case Keenum.

The middle school students’ proposal was an on-site smoothie bar called “Snack Shack.”

“So, what they want to do is open up, to have healthy foods, before and after school,” Emerson said. “With that, they’ll make smoothies, and they’ll have smoothie machines and stuff. They can sell them for lower cost than what stores would do, because we’ll make them right here.”

Read more about Altoona’s winning presentations.

Therapy dog program benefiting students in Eau Claire

Therapy dogs Class is back in session after Thursday’s storm for more than just students.

Students at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire had a special visitor Friday. Nelson the therapy dog stops by every other Friday to hang out with students. Along with his owner and handler Kelly Christianson, the two visit students in a Special Education Class and an eighth grade English Class.

Organizers said for the most part it’s just that, an opportunity for students to hang out and spend time with a dog. What the kids get out of it, though, extends much further.

“They’re unconditional, Nelson starts whining when I start pulling up in the parking lot here so he knows he’s coming in to see the kids. I’ve seen students in other classrooms where they might be sad or mad, turn it right around just by Nelson walking in the room. There’s been some pretty cool things that we’ve seen happen,” Christianson said.

Read the complete article.

Lake Holcombe class is all business

Lake Holcombe class

The Chippewa Herald: For 47 minutes every work day, LH Products’ workspace is abuzz.

Managers, producers and creators are completing orders, managing systems and organizing their business as it grows just six months after starting.

Those 47 minutes are also a class for Lake Holcombe High School students, and their work does not stop when the bell rings.

Funded through a $3,000 Wisconsin Educators Association Trust Forward Together Award grant, teachers Thea Hempel and Andrew Lorenzen helped begin the manufacturing company at Lake Holcombe High School in April 2017. The business is run, managed and serviced through students with interests both in the business world and technology.

Students make wood creations, such as cutting boards or coasters, and sell the pieces online and at local fairs and events. Some students help coordinate production and materials, while others are involved in the marketing, research and development of products.

Read the complete article.

River Falls’ “Sunshine Fund” honored at national character education conference

River Falls

River Falls Journal: The River Falls High School Sunshine Fund earned a “Promising Practices” award, presented at a conference in Washington, D.C.

High school principal Kit Luedtke said the Sunshine Fund shows a display of “student compassion and empathy and caring for others in the community.”

“Our national promising practice award, I think, reflects that, that our kids are doing something different than what the norm is as adolescents, or as teenagers,” Luedtke said.

The Sunshine Fund is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that offers financial assistance to River Falls School District families and “boots-on-the-ground” help such as raking leaves or mowing lawns.

The Sunshine Fund Board is made of students, mentored by community members.

Three of the students who went to accept the award, Shihab Adam, Macie VanNurden, and Riley Jahnke, said the best part of going to the conference was getting to share their ideas.

“Our main purpose going down there was just to spread our ideas, and actually just show people what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve created,” they said.