Name chosen for PHS commons

By Belinda M. Paschal -

PIQUA – It was an evening of introductions and a unanimous vote for the name of the commons area at Piqua High School during the Piqua City Schools board of education meeting Thursday evening.

The board approved naming the commons area at PHS after local educator Yuriko “Yuri” Wilcox. A formal dedication ceremony will be held at a future date, said District Superintendent Rick Hanes.

Several Piqua Central Intermediate students were introduced to demonstrate the projects they entered in the Regional Invention Convention held recently at Central State University.

Marin Funderburg and Olivia Amlin won the Superior Innovator Award for their creation, “Bug-B-Gone,” a bed insert to help rid dogs of fleas. Savannah Swanson, who won first place in the fifth grade category, showed off her “Frost Field,” a retracting plant cover to protect sensitive plants from frost damage. Ohio Choice Inventor Award recipient Aubree Schrubb demonstrated “Boo-Boo-B-Gone,” a customized wrap to protect the tender skin of nursing dogs.

All four students qualified to advance to the National Invention Convention, which will take place May 19-21 in Washington, D.C. Funds are still being sought to assist the girls’ trip, which will cost approximately $4,500, according to PCIS Principal Jake Amlin.

The district also is introducing American Sign Language as a world language course, joining German, Mandarin, French and Spanish. Students are “extremely excited about this potential,” Hanes said,” adding that being proficient in ASL will give young people an edge in the job market. “It’s a unique opportunity to put on the resumes of our students,” he said.

Several new faculty members will be joining PCS in the fall, including Amy Todd, who will replace Teresa Anderson as director of student services, Jordan Drake, a new math teacher at PHS, and Bronson Marlett, who has been hired as an intervention specialist at PCIS. Sarah Bensman will teach ASL at the high school, which also will welcome biology teacher Karen Bensman.

Summer school programming was a big topic during the evening, with plans outlined for Springcreek and Washington primary schools, as well as PCIS.

Washington will offer an “Enjoy the Arts” camp, in which the arts are incorporated into reading, writing, math and science. Springcreek’s summer STEM camp will be twofold: an “All Things Electric” program and a study of the engineering design process involving an arcade game.

Incoming sixth graders will be invited to take part in a reading incentive program to help combat the “summer slide” – the time off from school during which learning loss sometimes occurs.

The program will challenge students to complete 900 hours of reading over the summer and keep a biweekly got that they turn in to participating businesses sponsoring each month of the program. Those who meet their goals will have a chance at such incentives as playing on an inflatable slide, being entered into a drawing for a Kindle, book, Piqua gear and other items.

Springcreek Elementary also has entered a partnership with Home Depot called “Project Figure it Out.” The Piqua store has offered to donate $1,000 in supplies including dry-erase boards and markers to be used as STEM teaching tools for both students and teachers. As part of the project, “Home Depot Day” is being planned at the school to take place May, and will feature a variety of workshops for students.

The next meeting of the PCS board of education will be at 6 p.m. May 26, at Piqua Junior High School.

By Belinda M. Paschal

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341.

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341.