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High-tech labs gear teens toward workforce in Wausau

Wausau Daily Herald: Senior Brennen Pozorski learned how to fine tune the new cobalt-blue, manual mills in the Wausau East High School metals lab and was setting them up and leveling their tables a week after classes started this fall.

The 17-year-old likes working with his hands and is thinking about attending Northcentral Technical College, where he already has some credits earned through his high school classes. Pozorski will likely earn more of those credits before graduating and in the process learn how to use the lab’s new computer numerical-controlled — or CNC — mills, which can be programmed to cut things out and drill.

Wausau East and Wausau West high schools have a lot of new equipment and upgraded spaces for technology education. Welding booths, a laser engraver, plasma tables, a maker space, 3-D printers, revived wood and metals labs and a brand-new 9,000-square-foot auto lab all have been added to the schools’ tech-ed department in recent months.

It’s a good time for Wausau high schoolers to get into auto repair, manufacturing, design and other tech-centric electives. And local businesses hope students will be turned on to their industries after exploring them in school.

School district leaders, notably Career and Technical Education Coordinator Jon Winter, worked with businesses in the community to tailor the improvements at the high schools to what manufacturers and other local companies need. Some of those companies chipped in for equipment to help train students in technical-education courses.

“We see that they have a need. We’re trying to fill those pipelines,” Winter said of employers. “We built these facilities for our community.”

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Wausau students raise money to buy prosthetic arm for custodian Students at Wausau East High are changing the life of one of the school custodians.

Chong Lee is a custodian at the school.

He lost his arm during the Vietnam War when he was just 5-years-old. Earlier this year, the Youth Culture Club began fundraising to buy him a prosthetic.

He’s been using it for months now, changing how he does even the most simple tasks.

“We saw a need, and Mr. Lee is a really wonderful man,” said George Hagge, the club’s faculty advisor.

It’s a cause the students feel close to.

“He’s worked countless hours, worked super hard and we thought about him and then we wanted to give back to him,” said Fong Moua, a Wausau East High School senior.

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Wausau students raise $6,000 to help disabled racers John Muir Middle School students in Wausau have spent months raising money for a race chair for children with disabilities, and on Tuesday, it was revealed.

The school teamed up with myTeam Triumph, a nonprofit that lets people with disabilities use specifically made race chairs in Wisconsin for 5Ks, marathons, triathlons, and more.

The chair cost $5,000, but the students raised $6,000 through fundraisers and incentives, even collecting pennies to add to the total.

“It’s amazing, and it’s so rare to see that students that want to benefit others and give back in that way, and so we’re just blown away and so thankful of the students at John Muir Middle School,” myTeam Triumph executive director Christian Jensen said.

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Wausau educator recognized by police department

Wausau School District Director of Pupil Services Dr. Jeff Lindell received The Educator Award from the Wausau Police Department ​at its first-ever Awards Banquet held on March 1. 

This award is presented to an educator who best represents the Wausau School District and exemplifies excellence in their profession. This individual has made outstanding contributions to academic achievement and works hand-in-hand with the police department and other community organizations to keep our schools safe while educating youth and families. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Williams said, “Jeff is amazing at what he does and how he does it. His affable, thoughtful, empathetic, and collegial nature helps to contribute to our District and its students’ success.” 


Wausau East & Wausau West DECA Raise Funds to Help Others

Wausau East and Wausau West DECA chapters recently raised more than $2,100 to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s mission to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harmful effects of muscle-debilitating diseases so they can live longer and grow stronger.

Additionally, 40 students from East High and West High DECA participated in the Special Olympics Wisconsin Polar Plunge and raised $9,500 to help persons with intellectual disabilities to participate in year-round sports training and competition.