Public invited to attend Akron and Mentone elementary music programs

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Elementary school students throughout the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation are gearing up for their annual holiday music programs.

Akron Elementary’s Christmas music program has been rescheduled for Thursday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the school gymnasium. Doors will open at 6:30.

The Akron program will feature kindergarten, second grade, and fourth grade students singing songs and dancing several folk dances. The theme is “Sing Merrily, Sing for Joy!”

Students in first, third, and fifth grades at Mentone Elementary are also preparing for their annual Christmas music program. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13 with the program beginning at 7:00 in the gym. Students should report to their classrooms for lineup.

Both music programs are open to the public. There is no charge to attend.

TVHS blood drive collects 54 units of blood for American Red Cross

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A blood drive hosted by the Tippecanoe Valley High School student council on Friday, December 2, collected 54 units of blood for the American Red Cross.

A total of 51 donors rolled up their sleeves to donate. Three people were able to donate “doubles” where their blood is put through a special machine that separates the blood. They donate two units of red blood cells, while the platelets and plasma are returned to the donor’s body.

This was the second of four blood drives the high school student council hosts throughout the school year. The American Red Cross provides scholarship money to students depending on the number of blood donations collected at the blood drive.

“We need over 200 units for the year to reach the top scholarship goal of $2,500. We are at a total of 98 units from the two blood drives we’ve had so far,” said Student Council Advisor Crystal Heckaman.

As the school year continues, more students turn 16 and are able to donate which helps replace the donors that graduated last year.

The blood drive was also open to community members who met the donor requirements outlined by the American Red Cross.

Cattle now being raised on Tippecanoe Valley High School grounds

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Cattle are officially being raised on school grounds at Tippecanoe Valley High School. The delivery of four steers on December 8 was the last major piece of the school’s Farm-to-Fork program to come together.

Dale Miller raises cattle on his farm near Claypool and sold the steers to the school at a discounted price. He spent his entire life around agriculture and wanted to be involved with the program as soon as he heard about it.

“It’s very applicable for a rural school because a lot of the students are probably involved in agriculture in some degree. They now get hands-on experience working directly with this,” said Miller, who is also a Tippecanoe Valley graduate.

The steers are a mix of both Angus and Hereford breeds. They will be raised to a certain weight and then processed at This Old Farm in Colfax, Indiana, a USDA-inspected processing facility.

“It’s really exciting that they’re doing this. I think it’s going to be a good program. It really makes sense for kids to see how this works from A to B,” said Miller.

The Farm-to-Fork initiative started as an idea in a political economic studies class about how to put a better quality meal on school cafeteria tables. The idea eventually turned into a plan to raise calves on school grounds, process the meat, and then use the meat in school lunches.

Curriculum will now be designed around the program for a variety of subjects. Community partnerships and grant money will be looked at to sustain Farm-to-Fork in the future.

TVMS Spell Team Tops Regional Competition

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Back row, left to right: Abby Bowers, Kennedy Kohler, Mallory Bowers, Emily McGriff, Devan Chandler, Coach Siebrase Front row: Cheney Canada, Thatcher Keesee, Mateo Salazar

A team of eight students at Tippecanoe Valley Middle School recently competed in the Indiana Academic Spell Bowl State Finals at Purdue University on November 12, placing fourth in the class three division of the competition.

The team placed first in their class at the regional qualifications held on November 1. Tippecanoe Valley Middle School and nine other schools throughout Indiana competed in the regional qualification,which was hosted by TVMS.

“We had a score of 45 and we got the top position. We’re all really excited,” said spell coach Susanne Siebrase.

A perfect score is 72 for junior division teams. Students were broken up into classes one, two, three, and four. The class a team falls in is based on last year’s enrollment. TVMS is in class three.

TVMS competed against six other teams in the state competition at Purdue University. The students studied a list of 1,600 words for about 30 minutes a day to prepare.

“We practice really hard. The strategy that I use is that I focus on words that are difficult that they might not have heard before,” said Siebrase.

This was the third trip to the state finals in the last four years for TVMS. The last time the TVMS team went to state was two years ago.

Mentone Fifth Graders Rake Leaves for “Be a Good Neighbor Day”

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L to R: Wade Jones, Jenny Lozano, Tiffany Bullington, Bryauna Clodfelter, and Shelby Olivarez)

Fifth grade students at Mentone Elementary recently rolled up their sleeves to help out their community.

Friday, November 4th, was the school’s inaugural “Be a Good Neighbor Day.” Nearly 75 students went to several homes throughout Mentone to help rake leaves for elderly residents or for people who needed some extra assistance with household chores.

“We would like to increase our involvement in our community. Sometimes as an elementary school it’s hard to come up with things that 10 and 11-year-old children can do,” said Principal Randy Dahms.

Dahms worked with fifth grade teachers to help organize the community service day. He hopes to expand it to more grade levels working on different service projects in the future.

“This is a good opportunity to really do something for your neighbors and your community. That was really the purpose behind it. Our goal is to try to teach our students to be civic minded,” said Dahms.

The kids were split into six different groups. Half of the groups went around to different homes on a bus provided by the corporation while the other half worked at homes within walking distance around the school. Four parents also volunteered their time lead the groups and help rake leaves.

“The weather was beautiful. The kids had a good time and I think we got a lot of good work done,” said Dahms.

Cattle Shelter Construction Complete for Tippecanoe Valley’s Farm-to-Fork Program

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The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation’s Farm-to-Fork program, an initiative that will put beef raised on school grounds into school cafeterias, reached an important milestone Thursday, November 10.

Construction of a shelter for the cattle is now complete. The shelter was officially moved to ground adjacent to the high school football field where the cattle will be raised.

Dan Peters, a local farmer and owner of Scrap Wood Sawmill in Rochester, offered to bring some of his own equipment and donate his own time to the project. Peters worked with students for three days a week over the course of two weeks to build the structure.

“Once they got into the groove of it, just get out of their way. The kids just did an awesome job,” said Peters, who has had a passion for agriculture his entire life.

The Farm-to-Fork initiative started as an idea in a political economic studies class about how to put a better quality meal on school cafeteria tables. The idea eventually turned into a plan to raise four calves to a certain weight, process the meat, and then use the meat in school lunches.

“Five years down the road, hopefully we are able to produce enough that we don’t have to buy any ground beef,” said Mike Jones, agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at the high school.

The school board is committed to supporting the project and funding the start-up costs including fencing, electricity, an automatic water system, calves, and feed. Community partnerships and grant money will be looked at to sustain the program in the future.

“This is the start of learning about where food comes from,” said instructor Jeff Shriver. “It’s the kind of thing I could see expanding from the agriculture classroom to an economics classroom, to a home-ec classroom, and then to a science classroom,” Shriver added.

Farm-to-Fork is something every student can benefit from regardless of their background. Shriver said having cows on the school grounds is a discussion starter within the community about sustainability and where food comes from.

Students taking an agriculture class or who are involved in FFA are sure to benefit, too. FFA members who may not have the space to raise their own animals or crops will be able to use the Farm-to-Fork program as part of their summer Supervised Agriculture Experience project, a requirement for any FFA member.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to use real-life experiences whether it’s balancing feed rations, looking at market prices to see what kind of price we’re buying them at, and then what their value would be if we were selling them even though they’re going to our cafeterias,” said Jones.

Assistant Superintendent Blaine Conley said he would like to have calves brought in by the end of the 2016 calendar year.