The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 6:00 am

Students find lessons in river cleanup

Jamie Duffy The Journal Gazette

Sixth-grader Natalie Dresdow was quietly sifting through a sample pile of rocks spread out on a sheet next to the St. Joseph riverbank at Johnny Appleseed Park.

She was looking for crawling things that grow on the river bed. "There’s supposed to be bugs in here, like larvae," Natalie said, while a fellow student, Daniel Coker, also a sixth-grader, said there had been a couple of ants. "There were no uncles, though," he joked.

Both are students at Canterbury Middle School and are members of the St. Joe River House, one of six "houses" whose focus is one of six natural locations in the city.

On a beautiful sunny morning in May, Natalie and Daniel were part of a 41-member student crew learning about the river and lending a hand to clean it up.

Matt Jones, water resource education specialist for the Allen County Partnership for Water Quality, led the students through a curriculum provided by Hoosier Riverwatch. The students learned water testing techniques before they scoured the riverbank for refuse, wearing bright blue latex gloves.

"It wasn’t as dirty as I expected it to be," said Lynnette Wallace, a middle school social studies teacher.

Ankit Kinger and Soe Lin, both eighth-graders, hauled in a 4-foot-by-5-foot scrap of carpeting they’d found, roots embedded in the mud-caked carpet pile. They put it into a heap of other garbage treasure such as a 20-foot long industrial hose and beat-up car muffler.

One student said she found sunglasses and held up a big yellow softball that apparently missed its mark at a nearby field.

Manchester University

Manchester University recognized three members of its faculty for distinguished teaching, scholarship and service. The 2015 Teacher of the Year is Rachel Polando, assistant professor of biology. Jim Brumbaugh-Smith, associate professor of mathematics, received the award for service. The 2015 scholarship award recipient is Katharine Ings, an associate professor and chair of the English Department. 

STEM event

Fort Wayne Community Schools, the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana and IPFW are hosting a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Conference for girls in grades K-12 on Saturday in the Walb Ballroom at IPFW. A small group of middle and high school girls will experience STEM career explorations from 8 a.m. to noon, followed by STEM exhibits for all girls from 1 to 4 p.m. The conference will include an afternoon of STEM activities designed to encourage girls to think like a scientist and explore innovative concepts. The cost of the conference is $2 and includes a Girl Scout membership. Students can register at their school through Wednesday.


• IPFW elected leaders of the Indiana-Purdue Student Government Association for next year: Wade Smith, junior, student body president;  Alexander Sanderson, sophomore, vice president of legislation; Nathan Fawley, junior, vice president of finance, and Jessie Graves, junior, vice president of programming.

• Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, returned to IPFW after a six-year absence with the induction of 38 members. Faculty adviser is Alice Merz, associate professor in the Department of Educational Studies. Selection as a member of Kappa Delta Pi is based on high academic achievement, a commitment to education as a career and a 3.0 GPA. Officers are Kaitlyn Biere, president;  Chuck Kaduk, vice president; Kira Witte, secretary; Zach Elder, treasurer; and Trent Culbertson, graduate student liaison. 

Concordia Lutheran

Concordia Lutheran High School has named three new members to its board of directors beginning in the 2015-16 school year to serve three-year terms. They are John Stafford, Greg Clark and Barry Marquart. 

Bishop Luers

• Bishop Luers High School Class of 1965 "Golden Knight Ceremony" on Friday will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its graduation ceremony. Participants will be presented with gold sashes, alumni buttons, and a Golden Knight Lapel pin. The class of 1965 will have its 50th class reunion on Aug. 22. For more information, call Melissa Hire at 456-1261 extension 3040.

• Bishop Luers High School will be hosting athletic and performing arts camps during the summer. All camp registration forms and camp details are available on the school’s website, Summer camps being offered are: Football Lineman: June 22-25; Dance: June 24-26; Volleyball: June 6-7; Girls Basketball: July 13-16; Football: June 20-23; Show Choir: Aug. 4-7

St. John the Baptist

The Destination Imagination teams from St. John the Baptist Catholic School in New Haven will compete at the global competition next month in Knoxville, Tennessee, after placing first and second at the state level in April. The 14 students range from fifth to eighth grade and will compete against 1,500 teams from 42 states and 17 countries.

East Allen Schools

The Heritage FFA recently awarded an honorary degree to Ken Folks, superintendent. Folks is only the 13th individual to receive this award. 


Ana Lizarraga and Calvin Shenk of Fort Wayne are among 19 students from the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities at Ball State University to be named National Merit Semi-Finalists. 

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, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne IN 46802-0088; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.


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