Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette Kekionga Middle School teacher Jon Luckey helps sixth-grader Gabriella Carrillo address an envelope during a recent meeting of the school's amateur radio club. Mailing Kekionga's QSL card is a way of confirming the club made contact with someone else via radio.
Monday, December 24, 2018 1:00 am
Kekionga radio club finding success
ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette
When Fort Wayne Community Schools educator and amateur radio operator Jon Luckey first set out to share his longtime hobby with students, he failed miserably, perhaps because he was a first-year teacher.
Now in his 21st year, he has found success with the Kekionga Middle School Amateur Radio Club, an extracurricular activity with a core group of six students, mostly sixth-graders.
“It amazes me how much they enjoy it,” Luckey said.
He credited Principal Matt Schiebel for supporting the effort, which relies on donations of equipment.
This fall, the inexperienced club placed fourth in the School Club Roundup, an amateur radio contest sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, its Hudson Division Education Task Force and the Long Island Mobile Amateur Radio Club to foster contacts with and among school radio clubs.
“It was a hard contest,” Luckey told the Fort Wayne Community Schools board this month.
The board recognized the students who competed – Gabriella Carrillo, Isaac Cortes, Kole Mault, Jude Ratajczak, Phu Phu Sone and William Stroud.
Gabriella enjoys communicating with people across the United States, she said during a recent meeting.
Luckey, however, knows even the chattiest students can freeze up on the radio.
To combat this situation – or mic fright – he created a script about four sentences long for them to use during the contest. It included Kekionga's call sign, KE9KEK.
“We've gotten so many compliments on the air about the call sign,” Luckey said, noting it rolls off the tongue.
Luckey doesn't know of any other northeast Indiana school that offers an amateur radio club.
The lessons the hobby provides go beyond the radio. Students learned to address envelops so they could send Kekionga's QSL card – the amateur radio equivalent of a business card – to confirm contacts they made. Luckey also taught them about the Pythagorean theorem when they set out to attach an antenna to the school flagpole.
Luckey expects that real-world application will stick with the students as they advance in math.
“They're going to remember the flagpole,” he said.
Luckey plans to teach club members about digital modes, which will be new to him, too. He hopes to encounter struggles so students can learn about troubleshooting and determination, he said.
“That might be the most important skill I teach them,” Luckey said. “How to learn something new.”
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• Students from the University of Saint Francis, Purdue University Fort Wayne, Ivy Tech Community College and Huntington University will create advertising ideas for the New Haven Community Foundation as part of The Pitch program. The Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne annually selects a nonprofit as the recipient of the pro bono marketing and design services generated through the educational competition. Students will pitch their ideas in April.
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• Ivy Tech Community College recognized 19 honorees at its annual Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony. The Fort Wayne campus recipient was Tony Pulley, president of Crossroads Bank's Investment Center. He has also served his community through such organizations as the Wabash Advisory Board, Wabash Child Abuse Prevention Council and Ivy Tech Advisory Committee.
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• Kevin Brown of Adams Central High School received the University of Saint Francis Pay it Forward Scholarship, a full-tuition award. It honors students who go above and beyond to serve others. Brown was selected after submitting an essay, reaching the finalists stage and being profiled in a feature video by WANE-TV. Finalists Margaret “Maggie” Kelly of Bishop Dwenger High School and Alex Yoder of Eastside High School will receive half-tuition scholarships.
• Entries for the 2019 Teens for Alzheimer's Awareness Scholarship Essay Contest are due Feb. 15. Sponsored by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, the competition asks high school seniors to describe how Alzheimer's has affected their lives and share how they plan to make a difference in the fight against the disease. Prizes include scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000. Go to www.alzfdn.org and click the “Teen Scholarship Essay Contest” tab for more information or call 866-232-8484.
• Forms are available for the Central High School Alumni Association Scholarship. Interested descendants of graduates or students who attended Central High School in Fort Wayne can contact either Dianne Bezdon (firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-637-4181) or Bonnie Arnold (email@example.com or 260-341-0274) for an electronic version. Applications are due March 25 to CHS Alumni, Anthis Career Center, 1200 S. Barr St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.
• Applications are due at 4 p.m. Jan. 15 for the Talia Joy Smith Performing Arts Scholarship, which was created to annually help a graduating East Noble High School senior pursue an education in musical theater/vocal performance. Go to www.CFNoble.org for more information. Contact Jennifer Shultz at Jennifer@CFNoble.org or the Community Foundation of Noble County at 260-894-3335 with questions.
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