Local students learn creatively

WAYNESFIELD — A group of local students recently took a creative approach to learning and did some good in their community at the same time.

Lori Dyer, animal science teacher at Waynesfield-Goshen High School, inserted a national program called, “Service Learning  into the Curriculum” for the class. The projects students came up with were nothing short of amazing.

“They had a very broad range to select from,” Dyer said. “The only thing they were asked was to make sure the four core subjects were learned in their projects.”

Students had to apply mathematics, social studies, science and language arts learning to their project and had to present their project to some kind of community group. In all, 20 students performed 20 projects ranging in a wide variety of areas, including making blankets for the children’s hospital in Dayton, collecting food items for the needy and preparing Easter baskets for children.

Mindy Brookhart, a sophomore, collected 67 pounds of canned goods and incorporated her project with a food drive competition between the FFA clubs among Auglaize County schools. The items were donated to the New Hampshire Food Pantry. She said she learned that one in four students in the school district come from food insecure homes.

“I think the project met its expectations,” Brookhart said.

Junior Amanda Presnall said she looked online and discovered the idea for making blankets for Children’s Medical Center in Dayton. She made 10 tie blankets, including four baby blankets, and gave them to the hospital.

“It took almost a month to get them all done,” Presnall said.

Garrett Hauenstein partnered with another student and prepared 65 Easter baskets to give to children in the Waynesfield area. The baskets were donated to First United Methodist Church in Waynesfield to give to children during an Easter event there. Hauenstein said the project was a lot of responsibility.

“We had to be organized and make sure we had enough supplies for the baskets,” Hauenstein said. “We had some money donations and we bought more candy to help fill the baskets.”

Another class member also donated enough Beanie Babies so that two could be put in each basket.

Other projects included Deryk Plapp, who painted some of the equipment in the weight room, and Taylor Schultz, who designed a bookshelf and donated it to the White Library.

Plapp noted he thought his project would be easy until he got down to doing it.

“It took me about six hours,” Plapp said. “There was a lot of sanding.”

All of the students agreed that the project was beneficial. They discussed the different learning experiences involved with their individual projects.

“I think it opens your eyes to a lot of things,” Presnall said.

Schultz said the one thing he might change is how their projects are distributed.

“I think it would make the project more important if we take the items ourselves to the people who are receiving them,” Schultz said. “That way we can see the effect of it.”

Dyer said the project was successful enough in its first year that it will likely become a permanent fixture in the curriculum.

The project goal was for the students to learn the leadership skills that are part of the outline of the animal science class,” Dyer said. “This gave them a way to meet that criteria. It will probably be incorporated into all of my upper level classes.”

The students had to have a minimum of five hours put into their project, though most put in many more.

“It gave the students a chance to do a meaningful community service and be able to take ownership of what they were doing,” Dyer said.