Welcome Valley Grads and Friends of the Akron / Mentone Communities

Two thirds of 8000 alumni of Tippecanoe Valley -- and the schools that created it -- no longer live in the school district. This blog is intended to keep us all connected, to news of our hometowns and of each other.

Friday, December 13, 2013

November Tornado Damage

Everyone knows that tornadoes are common weather occurrences during Indiana’s peculiar spring and summer weather patterns, but a chain of 26 confirmed tornados throughout the state in the middle of November should cause some alarm. It is known as the second biggest tornado outbreak in Indiana. On November 17th, three of these tornadoes damaged many parts of our community and devastated a handful of local families. Sophomore Karis Tucker and Freshman Lucas Mills are two students who were stunned to see their farms destroyed by the tornadoes.
There were three tornadoes in Kosciusko County, the first tornado was an EF1 and ran near Talma and went past Mentone. The second one was an EF2 and went from Rock lake to east of Silver Lake. The third tornado was an EF1 tornado going from Oswego to Warsaw.
 Many people realized how bad the devastation was and wanted to help. Church members, fire fighters, police, neighbors, family, and friends from the community graciously helped both farms clean up the destruction.  Fifteen students from TVHS spent their day cleaning up the Mills farm and the Tucker’s farm. With the help of construction crews and the other community members, Tucker farms was almost entirely picked up. The next day twenty students visited the Mills farm for the afternoon and picked up the remainder of the damage.
Junior Cody Demske helped clean up the farms. “I loved knowing I make a difference in someone’s life, its heart breaking to see someone go through that, it’s hard to imagine putting yourself in their place. It was cold but well worth it.”

 All the students and community members courteously sorted through the debris and recycled loose parts they could find. With debris scattered all over the fields and piled on top of each other, the job could have easily taken weeks to clean up but was finished in only three days due to the help from community members. We have an incredible community, when someone is in need of help our community steps forward and helps them. 

Mock Interviews

On Thursday, December 5th, the freshmen class did their annual mock interviews.  The mock interviews are part of the career planning class taught by Mr. Parker and Mr. Engbrecht. For the last few weeks the freshmen have been preparing for their interview. They have been practicing interview skills along with writing resumes, hand shake, eye contact, appearance, and posture.
                The freshmen have been placed into groups according to their career. There were thirty-one different groups with five to six freshmen in each group. Once every member of the group gets interviewed then the interviewer will choose a winner who gets “hired.” The interviewers were Mr. Parker and Mr. Engbrechts internship and ICE students which are all either juniors or seniors at TVHS. The Interviewers were given the names of their interviewees early and were told to look them up on social media and find out as much information about the student as possible. Some of the freshmen had a wide awakening when their interviewers asked them about some of their inappropriate material that was on their social media. We are hoping that they will now be more cautious about what they put on public media. The interviewers asked them a series of common interview questions and pick a winner based on their answers, speaking, handshake, appearance, posture, and willingness to take notes and ask questions.
                I am a senior at TVHS and I am interning at the hospital next semester, since I would like to become a nurse one day I got six students who  want to become nurses also.  I thought interviewing them was very fun and a good experience. We were also allowed to ask our interviewees a random question that they didn’t know was coming. I asked the same question to all of the freshmen. The question was “what can you bring to this business that no one else can?” while some answered the question very well  there were a few who didn’t do so well but it was entertaining either way. I think the interviews are a good experience for the internship students, ICE students, and career planning students. I hope that the freshmen are more prepared for future interviews and I hope they know what to expect in the future.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Author Mike Mullin Visits TVSC

             With incredible writing and taekwondo skills on hand, Mike Mullin, author of the Ashfall trilogy, visited both the Tippecanoe Valley Middle School and Tippecanoe Valley High School in November. During his time at the schools, Mullin spent time with the TVHS Creative Writing Club, a group where each member’s goal is to write a novel during National Novel Writing Month (November). They learned how to spark their imaginations and improve their writing techniques by creating stories about objects, such as bowling pins and baseball gloves. The group also learned how to publish a story and avoid writer’s block.
            Sophomore Cassie Abalos, a member of the Creative Writing Club, said she really enjoyed Mike Mullin’s presentations. “One of the topics I enjoyed most was the ‘What If?’ discussions. Mr. Mullin basically grabbed a marker and asked us, ‘What if this marker…?’ and everyone in the club pitched in ideas. Some of them were pretty crazy, but everyone had so much fun with it!”
           Abalos, who is currently working on a fantasy novel, learned many valuable things from the author’s presentation. “I think the most valuable lesson I learned from his discussion was to never give up. He said determination is key to writing any good novel. Just remember that it may take some time to polish your idea, but it’s never a good idea to throw it away.”

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

N.E.W. Career Workshop

              Twenty-five sophomore girls at Tippecanoe Valley High School attended the N.E.W. workshop in Warsaw, Indiana.  N.E.W. (or, Nontraditional Employment for Women) is an annual event which gives high school females the opportunity to learn about career areas that are dominated mostly by males.  Women from various job positions such as a meteorologist, minister, broadcaster, and lawyer were at the conference to talk to the students about their careers and how to deal with gender discrimination.

               The students also got the chance to try their hand at several projects, ranging from building a tool box to welding.  All girls who attended the event learned that there are very many opportunities within their grasp and that all females have the right to pursue their dreams.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Freshman Field Trip: JA Finance Park

Every school year, all Tippecanoe Valley freshmen are required to take Preparing For College and Careers, a course which helps  students learn about different career paths and college expectations. Also, through this class, they gain real-life experience by traveling to the Junior Achievement (JA) Finance Park in Fort Wayne, Indiana; it is a center where kids can learn how to make a budget and use it effectively.  Students from Mr. Darren Parker and Mr. Aaron Engbrecht’s attended the event for one day in October.
JA Finance Park is a not-for-profit organization, which, according to the group’s mission statement, empowers young people to own their future economic success by enhancing the relevancy of education.  Volunteers ranging from Fort Wayne community members to upperclassmen from Tippecanoe Valley helped at the event by supervising each station. After each student is given their marital status and number of children, they are instructed to “travel” to different businesses and create a budget not only for themselves, but their family members as well.   The stations are specific to their own category and are very unique.  From banks, automotive shops, and restaurants, to retail stores and entertainment, the JA Finance Park allows for students to make a budget for everything they will need in the real world.

At the end of the day, after “traveling” to various businesses, students calculate their final budget and see if they have any extra money remaining for either saving purposes or spending on a certain object.  After this, they can see how well (or how poorly) they created a budget.  This event helps students plan for the future and build skills they will need as well.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

JAG Program

               JAG is a program and it is short for Jobs for America’s Graduates, and it is a new class offered at TVHS. JAG is a national Non for profit organization that specializes keeping students in school until they graduate and helping them succeed throughout the school year. The program also prepares them transition into the work force. JAG is a student led organization within the class with a focus on community service. Each student has to have a minimum of 10 hours of community service.
 The program is funded through the state, by Mitch Daniels who awarded six million dollars to the Indiana state JAG programs. So far the program is very successful. JAG is led by Mrs. Duran, a new teacher this year; she is in charge of the program and making sure the students are doing well in school. So far the program has eighteen students participating; they are able to have a maximum of forty students.

 The students have already taken a field trip to Wawasee high school and are looking to visit colleges.  Right now the class is launching an anti-bullying campaign through videos and posters.  JAG can also be described as a careers class that helps with business etiquette, appropriate business attire, and the students will learn how to write a resume. The class also helps with employability skills, scholarships, college preparation, and career options. JAG is  a great program that will help students get prepared for the future. 

Internship at TVHS

Internship is a great program that Juniors and Seniors can participate in to help them get prepared for their future career. Students can experience their career choice deeper and then they can decide if it will be a successful choice for them in the future. Most internship sites do not pay but give the students a chance to gain experience. Most jobs need training before you can start and internship helps them get that training. This is the fourth year that internship has successfully been going on.  The program has students leaving for a few hours either in the morning or in the afternoon. Mr. Parker (Darren Parker) is in charge of all the interns and internship sites. He helps make it possible for all the interns to have the experience they do.  
There are twenty-five students from TVHS who are interning this year. There are usually around twenty to twenty-five students every year who are involved with the program. Students can experience different career fields such as the medical field, veterinary science, agriculture, business, IT, journalism, education, ministry, finance, law enforcement, and many more.  The internship sites range from all over our community. Students get to participate in local businesses that accept interns. Any business that wants to have interns is available to, that way it gives students the chance to have a larger choice in internship sites.

               I am in internship myself and I am interning with Mr. Parker, I am experiencing what it is like to write stories and newsletters like journalists do. Next semester I get the opportunity to intern at the hospital. Having these experiences help me find out if the career field I want to be in is best for me. Internship is a great program that more students should participate in!

Friday, October 4, 2013

New Class: Political Sciences-Part One

            Seniors at Tippecanoe Valley High School can now choose to take Political Sciences, a dual-credit course through Grace College.  The class combines three different subjects: U.S. Government, Economics, and Advanced English, allowing students to get a total of four high school credits by the end of their senior year.   But, students get an opportunity to do something no Valley class has had the chance to do: they are going to create their own businesses.

            The Young Entrepreneurs’ Academy (YEA) is a program which helps teach students in grades 6-12 how to launch and run their own real businesses. One of the exciting factors to the class: not only will the seniors be creating and developing their own business/invention for a project; they also have the chance to win a trip to New York City.  Since this class has only just started, more information will be available soon!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Distinguished Alumni Dinner

             Tippecanoe Valley High School hosted the Distinguished Alumni Dinner! For those of you who don’t know, the Distinguished Alumni Association is a group of outstanding graduates that have succeeded greatly in their life. They have great jobs and help out great in the community. They also come to our schools and promote and motivate kids to be successful by telling them their stories. They do great stuff for Students and the dinner is just one way we appreciate them!
 It was held on Thursday, September 12, at 6:30 pm at the Tippecanoe Valley Middle School.  
The dinner included many delectable foods including baked chicken breast, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, salad, dinner roll, cheese cake, and a drink. After the dinner the Rita Price from the local radio station held interviews for all seven inductees.  The seven members they honored were Dr. Cameron Vanlaningham, Kenia Rosas, Chuck Howard, Orville Haney, Dr. Marilyn Kindig Stahl, Ron Newlin, and Brandon Miller. 
          Please come to further events we will have for our Distinguished Alumni! 

1-to-1 device

                Starting this year, Tippecanoe Valley High School is upgrading its technology department by purchasing Acer tablets for all high school students. The TVHS board has approved the high school to acquire $132K to buy the tablets. The school is going to be a 1-to-1 school starting this school year and lasting until the 2016-2017 school year. After that four year period the school corporation is able to choose to purchase the tablets or get rid of them. The students are very excited to receive the new tablets in September.
            For those people that want to know its design, it has silver aluminum finish with neatly curving edges. The tablet weighs less than the iPad 2. It has a good line-up of connections, including a micro HDMI, a micro USB (with a full-size one on the keyboard), a micro SD memory card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack that fits most headphones. Also there is two cameras, one eight-megapixel camera with an LED flash that is on the back, and a two-megapixel version on the front for video chat.
            “I can’t wait to get the new tablets this year; I think it will give the high school students a chance to have some responsibility. I think it will be cool to do homework at home without carrying big heavy books with me,” says senior Casey Laycock. Many students have that same outlook. Books are heavy, and having tablets makes it easier for students to bring their homework home. 
The tablets are planned to make students more enthused to do their homework and bring it outside of school. Students are fast at typing and don’t like to take notes so one advantage of the tablets will be for students to type notes out instead of writing them, this is expected to boost studying which will lead to improved grades.  The school is hoping the tablets bring everything they expect them to.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Literacy at TVHS

 According to the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation’s hedgehog concept, student success can be achieved through character education, leadership, and literacy.  However, what many parents don’t know is that at the high school, reading is coordinated into unique activities such as SSR and “Fill Death Valley with Books.”

 Every day, students read in a program called SSR (Silent Sustained Reading), where they can read a book they enjoy for twenty minutes.  Also, every year, students can participate in “Fill Death Valley with Books”, a yearly event where kids can log the number of pages they read for a chance to go to an end-of-the-year pizza/movie party; and if a student is a top reader, they receive a Barnes and Noble gift card.  Sophomore Emily Shepherd, who placed second in last year’s competition, said that “it’s fun and it’s great for people to get something else out of reading besides great stories.” 

 So, literacy is guaranteed to be used in every high school student’s day.  And some students, like Shepherd, are content with this.  “Honestly, some things in books help me in my English homework; they give me an idea of what people like to read.  Also, literacy helps me apply things in the real world.”

-Liz Shepherd
TVHS Class of 2014

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Valley Fund Makes $2500 in Grants

Five community organizations took home presentation checks totalling $2500 from the inaugural grant-making session of the Valley Community Foundation at the Akron Community Center on May 7.

Forty-one Valley graduates who responded to an invitation to attend listened to presentations from the five charitable causes, then decided in small groups around five tables how to distribute the funds.

The recipients were the Boomerang Backpack Program, represented by Valley principal Kirk Doehrmann, $350;

Akron Youth League, represented by Lisa Fear, $440;

the Little Free Libraries project, represented by Kristin Horrell, $450;

the Helping Hands food bank, represented by Jerry Secrist, $550;

and the Pioneer Days/Prill School visits program pairing high school History classes with Akron and Mentone 4th graders, $710. The program was presented by faculty members Jeff Shriver and June Yazel, and students Mitch Randall and Kortney Mayorga (pictured above).

You can read full coverage of the event from the Warsaw Times Union here, or the Rochester Sentinel's page one coverage here.

The Valley Community Foundation is a fund within the Fulton County Community Foundation. Its first grants were made from early contributions made by a number of Valley alumni, many of whom no longer live in the community.

After awarding the grants, many participants in the meeting joined a Valley Community "Giving Circle," by which friends and graduates of the Valley communities make contributions of $120 a year, half of which will be re-granted each spring for similar educational and community-development projects, and the other half of which will begin to build a growing endowment fund, interest from which will add to the funds to be granted each year.

Make sure you are at next year's event! You can join the Giving Circle -- or make a tax-deductible gift of any amount -- by mailing a contribution to the Fulton County Community Foundation, 715 Main Street, Rochester IN 46975, or giving online here. Just identify "Valley Community Foundation" as the fund.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Valley Community Fund to Make First Grants

Efforts to create an organization of Tippecanoe Valley alumni have recently evolved into a grant-making Community Foundation model. To be specific, the Valley Community Foundation is a fund within the Northern Indiana Community Foundation in Rochester. And at 7 PM on Tuesday, May 7, representatives and guests of the fund will meet at the Akron Community Center to make a first round of community development grants.

Late last fall, TVSC superintendent Brett Boggs and then-NICF director Terri Walgamuth Johnson (’79) convened a group of Valley graduates to visualize what kind of local projects and organizations could benefit if a private foundation existed solely for the purpose of promoting charitable causes in Akron, Mentone, and the communities and countryside served by the Tippecanoe Valley schools. This group became the advisory board for a dedicated fund within the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, and on Tuesday will meet with several dozen other Valley graduates of every generation to hear presentations from five different local causes, and make up to $2500 in grants.

The charitable projects that will share their stories are the Akron Youth League, for upgrades and lights on baseball fields that would extend more play and practice time; the TVSC Literacy Framework Committee for a “Little Free Libraries” project; the Prill School Museum for bringing Pioneer Day activities to Akron and Mentone 4th graders; the school corporation’s “Boomerang Backpack” program, and the Helping Hands food bank. Participants in the May 7 meeting award each of these programs at least $100, and will distribute an additional $2000 among them.

At the May 7 meeting, participants will also discuss the idea of creating a “Giving Circle,” through which all graduates and friends of Tippecanoe Valley schools are invited to make annual charitable contributions to this fund, so that in future years grants of many times this size can be made. Participants will also discuss ways to communicate with far-flung Valley alumni, including revitalizing this blog (perhaps using student interns), and using social media to locate and build a “mailing” list.

Gifts of any amount to the Valley Community Foundation are fully tax-deductible. All donors at the $120 level (a convenient $10/month online option is available!) will be invited to participate in future grant-making events, but smaller donations are welcomed. Contributions can be made online at www.nicf.org/donate (just enter "Valley Fund" in the comment section) or mailed to NICF at 715 Main St., Rochester, IN 46975, attn. Brian Johnson.

To reserve your spot at the May 7 meeting, call 574-353-7031, ext. 2203 or e-mail nolansponseller@gmail.com by Friday, May 2.

Members of the advisory board for the Valley Community Foundation are: Anna Higgins, Nolan Sponseller, Jayme Parker, Shelly Engle, Micah Lukens, Darren Parker, Cami Shriver, Stephanie Bibler, and Aaron Norris; and Terri Johnson, Brett Boggs, Ron Newlin, Kirk Doerhmann, and Brian Johnson, ex officio.