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  • Courtesy The Columbia City High School students are in the Washington, D.C., area this week for the National History Day Contest. Pictured are Jackson Longenbaugh, Maddie Schroeder, Liam Hesting and Grace Mills.

Monday, June 12, 2017 1:00 am

Teens' website sends them to nationals

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

A Columbia City High School foursome this week is accomplishing something no other group from their school has done: compete in the National History Day Contest in College Park, Maryland.

The teens – Jackson Longenbaugh, Maddie Schroeder, Liam Hesting and Grace Mills – created their entry, a website about Eunice Kennedy Shriver, as sophomores in Kristin Rentschler's AP World History class.

“I'm definitely excited we made it this far,” Schroeder said in a group phone interview last month. “We didn't really have any intention to go to Washington, D.C. To make it a reality was really cool.”

Mills agreed.

“Nothing I've ever done has made it to nationals,” she said.

The 2017 National History Day Contest runs through Friday at the University of Maryland. More than 3,000 students worldwide annually advance to the competition, which this year asked students to create a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website on the theme “Taking a Stand in History.”

Shriver sought to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and founded the Special Olympics.

The Columbia City students could relate to her cause. Schroe­der's mother works with special needs students, the teen said, adding Hesting had a relative compete in the Special Olympics.

The teens tweaked their work based on feedback from their teacher and people at the Indiana Historical Society, Rentschler said. She credited her students for being willing to complete those extra steps and put in extra time, sometimes at 10 or 11:30 p.m.

They compete Tuesday, meaning they will be interviewed about their project and research, Rentschler said.

She said the project gave the students a realistic representation of what an historian might do other than teach, which is a common assumption.

Although an Indian Springs Middle School student made it to nationals last year, Rentschler said, this is the first group from Columbia City High School to advance to this level.

“I had an idea that this group had a project that had potential pretty early on,” she said.

Southwest Montessori

Southwest Montessori Academy, 1625 Magnavox Way, is the first Montessori school to be validated by United Montessori Schools of Indiana. Founded in 2013, the school demonstrated core essentials of Montessori curriculum and philosophy, including credentialed teachers from accredited programs, authentic classroom materials, uninterrupted work periods and multi-age classrooms. Go to www.umsindiana.org for information.

Grants

• The Bosch Community Fund awarded more than $50,000 in grants to area school districts to increase students' access to science, technology, engineering and math as well as environmental sustainability programs and activities. Recipients were East Noble School Corp., West Noble School Corp. and Central Noble Community Schools.

• The Region 8 Educational Service Center was awarded a $37,500 grant from Views on Learning Inc. to buy a Digitarium Digital Planetarium System that provides a real-world astronomy education experience for teachers and students.

• The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is accepting applications for the state's STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund grants until June 30. The program supports organizations working to recruit, prepare, place and retain educators in schools where there are shortages of teachers with training and expertise in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math - subject areas. Go to www.in.gov/che/3171.htm for information.

Competition

Teams representing Bellmont and Norwell high schools advanced to the 2017 National JA (Junior Achievement) Titan Virtual Competition in May. Bellmont students Bryce Baumgartner and Josh Custer outmaneuvered 46 teams, finishing first and earning a $1,500 cash prize. Norwell students Kyle Murray and Alex Murray finished seventh. JA Titan is an online simulation in which student teams manage a business, competing against other companies in a virtual marketplace.

Grace

Top Counseling Schools ranked Grace College No. 4 in the nation for best online counseling degrees and No. 6 for best Christian colleges with graduate counseling degree programs. Affordable Colleges Online placed Grace 13th in the U.S. for best online degrees in mental health counseling.

Indiana Tech

Indiana Tech's College of Business has earned accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. It is the first time the institution has received the distinction.

Trine

• Trine University received 2016 Tree Campus USA recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management. The national program honors colleges for effective campus forest management and engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

• Three members were elected to the Trine University Board of Trustees: Jeanice Croy, president of Tuthill Corp. and co-owner of Fleet Feet Sports, both in Fort Wayne; Rick Henvey, chief operating officer of Parkview Health in Fort Wayne; and Derek S. Reiners of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ivy Tech

• Ivy Tech Community College Northeast's student-run massage clinic, Healthy Essence, will have summer hours through July 20. Appointments are available at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and noon, 1:15, 2:30 and 3:45 p.m. Wednesdays. It will be closed July 4. Massages are $25 for the public and $20 for Ivy Tech employees and students, military personnel and those 55 and older. Contact fw-tmsclinic@ivytech.edu or 480-2094 to make an appointment. Go to www.ivytech.edu/northeast/massageclinic for information.

Kim Barnett-Johnson is the new vice chancellor for academic affairs at Ivy Tech Northeast, a role she filled in an interim position for a year. She previously served as the college's university transfer division dean.

Huntington

Huntington University and the Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies have announced Jessica Baggerman is the animal science program's first faculty member. As assistant professor of agriculture, she will teach animal science and animal production courses.

FWCS

The Fort Wayne Community Schools board approved the appointment of Nikki Sprunger as director of special education effective July 3. She fills a vacancy created by Ann Barnes-Smith's retirement. She joins FWCS with 36 years of education experience, most recently as the special education director for the Adams Wells Special Services Cooperative in Bluffton.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email asloboda@jg.net.

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email asloboda@jg.net at least two weeks before the desired publication date.