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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Homestead senior Caitlin Holtmeyer, high-fives Haverhill Elementary second-grader Makaela Wonderly after she chose the correct answer in a Spanish game. Homestead students make monthly visits to the elementary school to teach Spanish.

  • Strickler

Monday, January 01, 2018 1:00 am

Education Notebook

Students learn to speak same language

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

About once a month, Haverhill Elementary teacher Jen Coplen can count on her second-graders to repeatedly ask, “When are we having Spanish?”

Their eagerness isn't fueled only by a desire to learn the language. Coplen suspects they look more forward to seeing their teachers – Spanish V students from Homestead High School.

“The Spanish is a bonus,” she said.

For about 30 minutes, the teens take over all three second-grade classrooms to conduct lessons they prepared on such vocabulary as numbers, food and shapes.

The partnership began last year with one class, Coplen's. She wanted to bring the language into the classroom, knowing how easily young children can learn foreign languages, she said.

The high-school students' enthusiasm for the opportunity exceeded Coplen's expectations, and it's what most impresses their teacher, Justin Peeper.

The teens' after-school visits to Haverhill don't earn them any grades or extra credit.

“They're doing it because they want to do it,” he said.

During their December visit, the teens leading Coplen's class started the lesson with vocabulary for various shapes – such as circle, square, heart and diamond – and offered memorization tips and emphasized pronunciation.

Afterward, the teens gathered in Coplen's room, their chatter focused on the lessons and strategies to improve the grade-schoolers' retention.

“You sound like teachers,” Peeper said.

For Anna Zvers, 17, the program incorporates two favorites – elementary education and Spanish, which she wants to minor in.

The teen, who is also in Homestead's cadet teaching program, said the Haverhill students aren't the only ones getting an education through the monthly visits.

“I'm learning with them a little bit as well,” Zvers said. 

Grants, scholarships

• Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Homework Hotline will continue helping Indiana middle- and high-school students understand math and science principles through a $2.85 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. This support will make tutors available each school year through Dec. 2020. Tutors are available from 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays from early September until mid-May, except for holiday breaks. Call 1-877-275-7673 or go to for online resources.

• Now in its 18th year, the Duck brand Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest is allowing applicants to enter as individuals rather than as a couple. Two $10,000 grand prizes will be awarded – one in the dress category, one in the tux category. Eight runners-up will receive a $100 Duck Tape prize pack. The submission period is April 2 to June 1, with judging set for June 2 to 8. Finalists will be announced June 14, and the public voting will run through June 25. Grand prize winners will be announced July 9. Go to for more information.

• A scholarship board for incoming and current college students interested in the automotive industry is available at under the “resources” tab. Companies and organizations interested in having their scholarship hosted on the board should call 812-760-1811 or email


• The Rev. Jeffrey H. Pulse, associate professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, has completed his doctoral work at Durham University in England. His area of concentration was “Concepts of the Afterlife in the Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism,” and he wrote his dissertation on “Joseph: a Death and Resurrection Figure In the Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism.”

• Concordia University Chicago awarded the Rev. Lawrence R. Rast Jr., president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, a Doctor of Letters honoris causa during its fall commencement ceremony. He received his bachelor's degree in theological languages from the university in 1986 and served as commencement speaker.


• The Huntington University Foundation honored board member Rocky Strickler for 40 years of service. A lifetime Huntington resident, he founded multiple scholarships, chartered the President Huntington College Dugout Club, and initiated the Rocky and Carol Strickler Endowment for the Fine Arts “Christian Artist Series” and the Rocky and Carol Strickler Endowment for Digital Media Arts, among other contributions.

Bishop Luers

• Bishop Luers High School, 333 E. Paulding Road, will present the New Family Financial Aid Knight from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 10. No reservations are necessary. In the event of inclement weather, get information by going to The reschedule date is Jan. 16. For information, contact Lori Price (; Melissa Belleville (; or call 456-1261 ext. 3026.

• The winter homecoming and Casa Knight is Jan. 26, with the girls varsity basketball game at 6 p.m. and the boys game at 8 p.m. The Class of 1967 and the Bishop Luers Distinguished Knight award recipients will be recognized during halftime of the boys game. Casa Knight will open the homecoming activities. Dinners will be served in the cafeteria from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Meals are $8, but discounted rates are available for Luers students and children 10 and younger. Contact Shawn Johnson ( or call 385-3947 for reservations.

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

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 at least two weeks before the desired publication date.