Select Page

Stand Up for Public Education

Wausau Students Raise $6,000 for Turkey Drive

A turkey being used as part of a fundraiser.

Wausau FFA students recruited a live turkey to raise money to buy hundreds of turkeys and hams for families in need this holiday season, television stations WAOW and WSAW reported.

Classes raised money to buy a square. Then they brought in a live turkey which picked one of the squares. The class that picked the square got a prize. On Sunday, the school district will hand out 450 turkeys and 120 hams to people in need.

Read the full story here.



Wausau High Schoolers Earn National Honors at FFA Competition

Two Wausau West High School students teamed up and won 3rd place at the 2019 National Future Farmers of America Agriscience Fair in Indianapolis, reports the Wausau television station WAOW.

Lexi Voight and Trinity Foster researched the flammability of different popular types Christmas trees and how to prevent them from going up in flames.

“If you water your tree it will be less flammable, but there wasn’t much out there already about specific species,” said Lexi Voight of FFA Wausau.

The duo worked on their research for over two years, testing top purchased Christmas tree species locally.

The pair experimented on the Balsam Fir, Blue spruce, Fraser Fir, and White Pine, finding which are better at retaining water, making them less likely to start on fire.

“Water your trees, because they will be less flammable. If you don’t water your tree they will dry out. Also, Balsam is the safest tree, so if that’s what your looking for to have in your house, pick Balsam,” said Trinity Foster, secretary for FFA on Wausau’s westside.

Read the full story here.


Jefferson teachers offer ‘Bedtime Stories’

An elementary school in Jefferson is using a new app to move storytime outside of the classroom, the Daily Jefferson County Union reports

West Elementary School students can take advantage of this opportunity through a new Facebook feature being debuted this fall through the Jefferson school’s Facebook page.

The new Facebook “Bedtime Stories” program is an outgrowth of the school’s Literacy Committee, which formed a couple of years ago and which has been meeting regularly ever since to come up with new 

events and efforts aimed at increasing students’ literacy and making reading fun.

One of the most important factors in a youngster’s future literacy is being read to as a small child, especially when that reading time is celebrated as a fun ritual.

The Literacy Committee includes principal Mike Howard and other staff representatives from a variety of grades and areas, including one specializing in English Language Learners.

The group has set its purpose as instilling a love of reading in students, with the vision of making West into a “community of readers.”

Starting last week, the school has invited one staff member per week to share a favorite bedtime story.


Read the full story here.


Wheatland Center School students win prestigious engineering competition

Students from Wheatland Center School compete in an engineering challenge Nov. 11. They built a machine that could grab, lift and place an object on a board.

Students in Kenosha County’s Wheatland Center School took top honors at an engineering challenge in Milwaukee Nov. 11, the news website reported.

In their third year competing in the Fluid Power Challenge at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, students from the the school’s PATHS Academy outperformed 26 other teams to win the Overall Champion Award.

Wheatland students left for Milwaukee early on Nov. 11 amidst the falling snow and came back with the coveted hardware.

Students from all over Milwaukee participated in the event held at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Each group had 5 weeks to design a machine that uses hydraulic and pneumatic power that can rotate, lift, and grab an object and move it on a challenge board in order to score points.

“It was easier this year because I knew what to expect, but it was still challenging to build an efficient machine to accomplish the task,” said WCS student Mason Biehn.

Continue reading the full story at


Baraboo students first in the state to become ‘Dementia Friends’

Dementia Friends students

From first recognizing you’re hungry to remembering where the bread is stored, there are more steps involved in making a sandwich than most people realize.

Considering those implicit steps and the difficulty they pose for people living with dementia was one of the lessons of a Baraboo High School health class Friday led by Gina Laack, a dementia care specialist with the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Eagle Country.

“Simple activities like making a sandwich or getting dressed that we think are so simple can become very daunting and difficult for individuals living with dementia,” Laack said.

Through 90-minute sessions, students in Julie Jensen’s six 10th-grade health classes became the first high school students in Wisconsin to be trained as “Dementia Friends” on Thursday and Friday, according to Laack. The program, originally started in the United Kingdom, came to the U.S. as Dementia Friends USAand seeks to inform more people about what it can be like to live with dementia and how to help.

The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute adopted the program last year and trained 38 Master Trainers, including Laack, last fall. After the local resource center contacted the Baraboo School District, Jensen took up the offer to bring a trainer to her students, noting that the topic fit in well with the health curriculum.

“I think dementia is an issue in our society and is becoming more and more of an issue,” Jensen said. “A lot of these students are actually seeing this and dealing with it in their own homes and their own families, and to give them an education on how to communicate better with their loved ones is really a good skill to have.”

Read the complete article.


Special-needs prom, now in its sixth year, transitions into new era

After Saturday’s Post Prom ended in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and nearly 1,100 high school students and their dates returned home, cleanup quickly began inside Festival Hall.

Outside, the red carpet stayed put for the second prom of the weekend.

On Sunday evening, more than 100 other young people, along with 200 volunteers, refilled Festival Hall for A Night to Remember, a prom for people with special needs.

“That’s what’s so special about both of these proms; I think Racine really understands how special both proms are for their communities,” said Sara Luther, one of the event’s organizers.

All high school seniors, including those with special needs, are invited to the traditional promenade on Saturday. But this second event, established by Great Lakes Church in 2014, caters to people with special needs and ages 13-30.

Mike Klug has quickly developed a deep appreciation for what A Night to Remember offers. His son Kevin — who has been diagnosed with epilepsy, a brain injury and autism — went to the traditional prom twice in high school. But A Night to Remember has become a highlight of his year, every year, for the past six years, he said.

“They’re kind of on stage and feel proud of who they are and being part of the community, and that doesn’t always happen,” Klug said. “That specialness lasts longer than one night. It builds confidence and makes them feel like they’re part of the community.”

Read the complete article.


Spartan Influence Camp to be held for area students with disabilities

The football program at Luxemburg-Casco High School is holding the Spartan Influence Camp this Saturday, May 18, for students with disabilities, ages 5 to 21 years old. The camp is designed to give participating students the opportunity to be active while learning more about football.

Free of charge, the event is from 12:00-1:30 p.m. at the Luxemburg Sports Complex, 113 North Main Street in Luxemburg. Participants will receive a T-shirt and medal; water and a snack also will be provided. Roughly 20 area youth are expected to take part.

“Our football program is based on servant leadership and service learning, and we believe this is a great way to give back to our school and community,” says Dillon Maney, head football coach at Luxemburg-Casco High School. “The game of football has given many of our athletes great opportunities, and our athletes want to do the same for other people.”

Six members of the Luxemburg-Casco football team are serving as 2019 camp coordinators: Ben Naze, Mason Renard, Reece Worachek, Matt Cravillion, Matt Dorn and Andrew Spengler.

The event will be held rain or shine, and may move into the school’s gymnasium if the weather is inclement. Registration at the door will be accepted, or it can be done in advance at Participants do not need to be residents of the Luxemburg-Casco School District.


Senior Arabella Adams presented with Herb Kohl Initiative Scholarship

Arabella Adams, a senior at Luxemburg-Casco High School, has been presented with a $10,000 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation 2019 Initiative Scholarship at a recognition luncheon hosted by Herb Kohl, Wisconsin philanthropist and businessman.

The Herb Kohl Initiative Scholarship recognizes state “students who have demonstrated a high level of motivation, have shown strong promise for achieving success in college and beyond, and have overcome significant personal obstacles or adversity.”

In summing up Arabella, Luxemburg-Casco school officials described her as “a twenty-first century Renaissance figure, equally adept in and intrigued by the arts and sciences.” She also was saluted as an advocate for the arts, particularly music, and a student possessing considerable musical talent. Arabella is said to have the ability to pick up practically any instrument and not only play it, but play it skillfully.

Arabella plans to study mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She is the daughter of Daniel and Heather Adams of Luxemburg.

In December 2018, Arabella and another student joined with a high-school English teacher to play Christmas carols for students and staff outside the main office on the day before Christmas break. Further demonstrating her passion for music, she wrote a major research paper for her English 12 class that addressed the impact of music education and advocated for expanding access to it for students throughout their academic careers.

The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation has recognized educational excellence for the past 30 years by awarding scholarships annually to 200 graduating high school students throughout Wisconsin. Since its establishment in 1990, the foundation has given $17.8 million to state students, teachers, principals and schools.


Greendale Middle School Student Qualifies for History Day National Contest

Rachel Kohl's National history Day project

Greendale Middle School student Rachel Kohl is one of two Wisconsin students heading to Maryland in June for the finals of the 2018-2019 National History Day contest. There she will compete against one hundred other middle school students from across the country. Rachel’s project is in the individual exhibit category. Guided by an annual theme, students participating in National History Day are encouraged to choose a topic that matches their personal interests. The 2018-2019 theme is Triumph & Tragedy in History. Students enter their projects in local level contests, with top entries advancing to regional and state/affiliate contests. Along the way, students receive honors, awards, and scholarships. The top two entries from every category are then invited to the National Contest held June 2019 at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Rachel’s project focused on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City on March 11, 1911. This was the deadliest industrial fire in American history. It claimed the lives of 145 people, mostly young immigrant women who spoke no English. They worked in cramped, crowded sweatshop conditions and the deaths were largely preventable. Working on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors in the Asch Building in Manhattan, only one of the four elevators was in working condition and the fire escape was not only very difficult to access, it collapsed under the weight of fleeing workers. There were also two stairways down to the street but one was locked (to prevent workers from stealing materials) and the other had a door that opened inward. As a result, 49 women died in the building, 36 in the elevator shaft, and 58 jumped to their death to try to escape this horrible tragedy. 

For the triumph of this historical event, Rachel focused on changes in laws that both protected workers and kept them safe in the workplace. To keep workers safe, laws were implemented ensuring that doors of factories opened outward, stairways were accessible, fire escapes sturdy and lead to the ground and that sprinkler systems were required in buildings. At the end of her project, Rachel also identifies the struggle women have had in being treated fairly in the workplace, a struggle and tragedy that still exists today.  

More than a half a million middle and high school students from across the country take part in National History Day each year. This project-based contest provides students an opportunity to develop critical thinking and source analysis skills while gaining historical perspective. Participants spend months researching a topic of their choice before presenting their work in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, and website.


Riverside High School robotics team ready for largest STEM gathering in world

Operators Mikalayah Tulloch, Arianna Massey, Damien Berna and Mordechai Tinney guide their 2830 robot.

Two years ago, Arianna Massey was walking through the halls at Riverside University High School as a freshman and came across a classroom where a mini-robotics competition was happening. Although she had no previous experience, she was hooked.

“I liked the energy,” Massey said. 

Now a junior, Massey is in her third consecutive FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics world championship. 

Finding strength in smarts, the RoboTigers took first place in the regional competition in March, beating more than 50 other teams in the Midwest. This week, they are in Detroit for the world championship. The competition started Thursday and ends Saturday. It’s billed as the world’s largest STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) gathering.

The RoboTigers have been working toward this goal all semester, practicing 20 hours a week starting in January when they were given the game their robot would have to be able to play. 

Erik Orlowski, a fifth-year UWM electrical engineering student, is a mentor for the team. He talked about the challenges the team has faced due to the economic makeup of the area. He and the team’s coach, Chris Levas, spend a lot of time getting the students to meetings and balancing their school life with robotics.

Read the complete article.

Teacher works with student

Subscribe to one or both WASB blogs!

* indicates required
WASB Blogs

Follow WASB on Twitter

WI School Boards

Is a referendum construction project in your future? The latest issue of Wisconsin School News has a fact-filled how-to guide for getting the project you want without breaking the budget. Read it here:

Archives: Success Stories

December 2019
« Nov