WARSAW — Warsaw Community Schools’ Board of Trustees was grateful for a pair of grants presented to the school corporation Monday, Sept. 17 and heard an update on the progress of the school’s in-house child care program. But the highlight of the meeting was an attempted jailbreak by a winged creature that is an adopted member of the school district.
Faculty and students of Washington STEM Academy gave the board a presentation on a program involving Monarch butterflies, captured as caterpillars and monitored by students in an on-facility habitat. The students bring in the green worms and watch as they create chrysalis’ and transform into the well-known, black and orange flying insects that will eventually migrate to Mexico.
After a short presentation, which included playing features from area television stations on the school’s project, several students brought a few insects, held by the wings, to show members of the school board. While showing Board President Heather Reichenbach, one of the students lost her grip on the butterfly and watched as it took flight in front of the face of Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert. Members of the board watched as the escapee flew toward the lights in the ceiling. Taller-than-average board member Randy Polston volunteered to attempt a re-capture and received a combination of laughter and gasps as he clapped his hands together, feigning a “far-too-aggressive” technique. He immediately assured any youngsters in the crowd that he was just kidding.
During the presentation, educators involved in the project told the board that escapes are common and that after emerging from their cocoons, several butterflies did eventually escape from the school. For those who remained, tags were gently placed on their wings to help other butterfly enthusiasts monitor behavior and flight patterns of the insects.
In other business, the board heard an update on the school corporation’s WarsawEarly Learning Academy, which provides childcare for WCS personnel. Warsaw Area Career Center Director Ronna Kawsky displayed a slide for the school board that featured top hires for the academy.
“This is probably our greatest accomplishment right in front of you,” Kawsky said. Heading up the facility will be Lynette Hawn, director; Erin Schramm, assistant director, infant/toddler room; and Shelby Swartz, assistant director, pre-school.
“This is a blessing for us to have these three ladies leading our Early Learning Academy,” Kawsky said. The academy currently has 13 infants and 10 pre-schoolers.
The board also heard about grants given to the school corporation from 1st Source Bank and from Kosciusko County Community Foundation. The bank gave $50,000 for new equipment for the school corporation’s Student Activity Center, still under construction. The bank was represented by Doug Baumgardner.
KCCF granted WCS $15,000 to help provide equipment for the new Warsaw Early Learning Academy. Susie Light attended the board meeting on behalf of KCCF.