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.

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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.

Mac Photo by Eric Stoff

Bunker Hill, IN - A handful of Maconaquah alumni and administrators gathered outside the high school weight room last week to celebrate.

The Maconaquah Athletic Booster Club purchased naming rights for the high school weight room — a one-time $2,000 donation for the next four years and the first large contribution to the Future Brave Endowment Fund.

“It’s neat that I have the opportunity to help build a fund that will give to all students,” said Nina White, president of the booster club.

White said the booster club “thought of what facility benefits all of Maconaquah’s athletes, and we decided … the weight room was someplace that meant something to every athlete.”

The Future Brave Endowment Fund was started at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Funds are raised through various efforts, and the dollars are invested with the Northern Indiana Community Foundation (NICF), of which the Miami County Community Foundation is a fund affiliate. More than $5,000 has been raised so far through various donations and five percent of concession and ticket sales at school events.

Photo by Eric Stoff

Bunker Hill, IN - Kelly McPike whispered, “kindness,” to more than 100-second graders, and they responded, “matters,” in a unified, hushed voice.

The call and response was part of a new challenge issued to every grade level at Maconaquah Elementary School last week by McPike, the principal of the school. The challenge was to complete 600 acts of kindness by the end of the school year and sign a No Excuses University flag, committing to work hard in the second semester.

“This is a reminder to the kids that it’s time to get back at it and get focused,” McPike said.

McPike and Assistant Principal Jeremy Fewell attended the No Excuses University conference in October, and one speaker named Leon Logothetis made a particular impact on them. Logothetis is the author of the book, “The Kindness Diaries,” which chronicles a trip he took around the world with no money. He simply relied on the kindness of others because he believes “kindness makes the world go round.”

Mac Photo Provided

Bunker Hill, IN - It’s a win-win-win kind of idea, and Tara Rush’s fourth grade class at Maconaquah Elementary School has been doing it for four years.

Her class just wrapped up its annual Christmas toy drive, gathering 473 toys and more than $1,000 in donations.

First, the students receive a lesson in writing by drafting persuasive letters to family, friends, and local businesses. Next, the donors benefit by giving to a good cause during the Holiday season. Lastly, families in need benefit by receiving donated toys and funds.

“I am so proud of my students,” Rush said “Every student went above and beyond during this project.”

She said 17 families at Mac El will benefit from this year’s toy drive, and the remaining toys will be donated to Helping Hands in Peru.

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Bunker Hill, IN - A car accident involving two Maconaquah High School students the morning of October 24 left the school corporation shocked.

Zac (sr.) and Austin Straub (so.) were involved in an accident at the intersection of U.S. 31 and 800S last Wednesday morning at around 8 a.m.

First responders brought Zac, who was driving, to Dukes Memorial Hospital, and he was released later that day. Austin was flown to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, and he is still there.

The Straub family has asked that details regarding Austin’s condition remain private, although they did say doctors are “amazed” at his recovery so far, and they are “overwhelmed with love and support,” from the Maconaquah School community.

“I can't even begin to thank all of you in our family, community, school for everything you are doing to help support us and pray for us,” said Erin Straub, the boys’ mother, in a note to Maconaquah staff. “We will never be able to repay all of you for everything you have done for us.”