Bunker Hill, IN - After directing band for 22 years for Caston School Corporation, James Byrn has made an exciting move to Maconaquah Schools.

“I really enjoyed my time at Caston,” says Byrn, “but I am excited to plant my roots at Maconaquah to learn their traditions while adding my own touch to a growing program.”

One of the first jobs on his to-do list is to form relationships with the students. “I think the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is establishing new relationships. It's simple things like standing in the hallway and talking to students during passing periods. I want the kids to feel comfortable with me and the program I’m taking over,” says Byrn.

James wants to get students excited about joining band. He also wants kids to know that they can join at any level. Just because a student didn’t participate in middle school doesn’t mean they can’t join in high school. The High School band will be graduating 6 very dedicated seniors this year, so he wants students to be eager to fill those spots.

Bunker Hill, IN, - The USDA recently announced this year’s record-breaking funding for Farm to School Grants.

Maconaquah Cattle Company is one of 126 selected projects across the United States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to receive grant funding. “We are pleased that the hard work of our students, teachers, and community is being recognized through receiving this grant,” said Maconaquah Middle School Principal, Craig Jernagan.

Maconaquah Cattle Company is an agriscience program that was implemented 4 years ago. As part of this program, students study, feed out, and send beef cattle to be processed for school lunches.

John Sinnamon, MMS agriculture teacher and advisor of the program, said he was excited when he was notified that Maconaquah received the grant. “I am looking forward to applying this grant to our program. This grant will greatly benefit our school, our Ag program, and most importantly our students. The big picture is that we have the backing of the USDA for our schools Ag program.”

Mac Photo provided

Bunker Hill, IN - Construction has been underway on US 31 since early summer. With the first day of school right around the corner, area schools are working to educate their bus drivers on how to get through construction both safely and efficiently. “The safety of our students is our number one priority. We hope that by implementing a plan in advance, we will eliminate the risk of any accidents occurring involving our students and staff.” says Maconaquah School Corporation Transportation Director, Angel Strik.

One area of focus is Maple Lawn Village, which houses many Maconaquah students and is located in the middle of the construction zone. Strik has worked closely with her drivers to put together a plan for both pick-up and drop off.

Students will now be picked up and dropped off at the Maple Lawn Office. The bus will load students at this location, and then make a loop through the middle of the mobile home park to exit back onto 31. “Our hope is that all residents of Maple Lawn park in a way that is mindful of our route. We are implementing this to create the safest environment for our students, and want everyone to be on board with it.” says Strik.

Bailey Ropes

Bunker Hill, IN - Maconaquah School Corporation approved the hire of a new grant writer and public relations officer at its June board meeting, and for her, it is a return to her alma mater.

Bailey Ropes, 2009 Maconaquah alumnae, will succeed Eric Stoff, who was with the corporation for five years.

“I’ve always enjoyed writing,” Ropes said, adding that she has journalism and P.R. experience. “I’m very excited to jump back into it, and I am also excited to return to Maconaquah.”

In addition to graduating from Maconaquah High School, Ropes worked as an instructional assistant at Maconaquah Middle School a few years ago.

Ropes said she loves Maconaquah’s tight-knit community.

Photo by student photographer Dorie Gillespie

Bunker Hill, IN - Sarah Bingham began Maconaquah High School’s graduation ceremony by welcoming a crowded gym of peers, family, and friends. The senior class vice president also prayed for blessing over their futures and thanked God for “all of the days of laughter, fun, great discovery and learning.”

MHS graduated 143 seniors in the class of 2019 on Saturday. Speeches from the class valedictorian, salutatorian and class president all focused on themes of pursuing dreams and staying true to one’s self.

Valedictorian Morgan Smith encouraged her classmates to describe who they think they are today. Her classmates laughed and applauded not only her description of herself but the various personas of her graduating class.

“Whoever you are, people are going to see you as they want. Be who you are. Be unapologetically you,” Smith said.

Photo Provided

Bunker Hill, IN - Maconaquah High School’s Academic Super Bowl Team brought home its fourth state championship in five years last weekend.

The Fine Arts Team, comprised of sophomores Anastasia Spahr, Stevee Judy, Gabriella Weaver, and junior Bethany Kincaid, were awarded the championship on Saturday, making them the third consecutive Fine Arts state champs from MHS.

Coach Kari Catanzaro said she is “so proud of all of our Academic Super Bowl teams this year.” Catanzaro and Allen Sayger co-coached this year, following the retirement of longtime coach Helena Banina.

“Fine Arts has become sort of a specialty for us at MHS,” Catanzaro said. “It's a testament to the hard work of our students but also to the high-quality programs we have in music, drama, and art at Maconaquah and our community.”

Photo provided.

Bunker Hill, IN - In preparation for their upcoming British Invasion choir concert, members of Maconaquah High School’s Counterpoints Choir sought out individuals who witnessed the phenomenon first-hand.

Earlier this month, the choir sang a few songs from their upcoming concert at Vernon Manor in Wabash, Camelot Care in Logansport, and Aperion Estates in Peru. And at Aperion Estates, the students also interviewed residents to hear how the surge in popularity of British music changed American culture in the 1960s.

“The residents were so helpful and very excited to share a little of their lives,” said choir director Michelle Bailey. “The students loved hearing stories about the times, and it gave them a greater appreciation for the people and the way music spread.”

Bunker Hill, IN - Maconaquah Cattle Company keeps expanding with the help of local and non-local support.

The agriscience program at Maconaquah Middle School recently received a $2,500 grant from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture for the expansion of the program’s curricular materials.

Craig Jernagan, Principal of Maconaquah Middle School, thanked the ISDA for seeing the value in the program.

“To receive a grant from the state department of agriculture is a big deal, and it has been very encouraging to the students involved in the program,” he said.

John Sinnamon, MMS agriculture teacher and advisor of the program, also said he is thankful for the support.