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Articles from November 2015

Ames Middle School teams are Quiz Bowl State Champs

Ames Middle School seventh and eighth grade Thinking Cap Quiz Bowl Teams both placed first in the statewide contest, Friday, Nov. 20.

Thinking Cap Quiz Bowl is an online contest of information commonly covered in the middle school curriculum, along with trivia about sports, music, and current events. It is a timed group test, so students must be able to share information quickly and correctly.

The seventh grade team bested 26 other teams, earning a score of 1,191 to edge out the second place team, West Des Moines, by more than 60 points.

Representing the seventh grade: Rob Arbuckle. Ellie Barry, Ella Chopski, Ian Coffman, Caius Danley, Emma Dorhaut, Arunadee Fernando, Nao Furukawa, Kaleb Glover, Brandon Harold, David Jiang, Eliot Jurgensen, Ha Nguyen, Zeynep Oghan, Aria Pilcher, and Eddie Wei.

7th grade quizbowl

Seventh Grade Quiz Bowl team. Seated-L to R: Arunadee Fernando, Emma Dorhout, Ian Coffman, Kaleb Glover, David Jiang, Nao Furukawa, Eddie Wei. Back row-L to R: Aria Pilcher, Ella Chopskie, Caius Danley, Rob Arbuckle, , Zeynep Oghan, Eliot Jurgensen, Ha Nguyen, Brandon Harold, Ellie Barry

The eighth grade team competed among 42 teams from across the state to earn 1,284  out of 1,500 possible points, taking first place with 100 points more than the second place team.

Representing the eighth grade: Jinal Amin, Elizabeth Andrews, Silvia Ayndinyan, Lara Baker, Rianna Bloom, Kendra Caulfield, Jason Chen, Oliver Chen, Shria Chug, Andres Cordoba, Nathan Essner, Nitzan Friedberg, Hannah Huang, Bjorn Iverson, Justin Kenny, David Kim, Susanna Mkhitaryan, Mitchell Oh, Will Orth, Sayre Satterwhite, Simeon Steward and Joshua Webb.

eighth grade quiz bowl

Eighth grade team. Seated-L to R: Kendra Caulfield, Rianna Bloom, Hannah Huang, Susannah Mkhitaryan, Silvia Ayndinyan, Elizabeth Andrews, Lara Baker Standing L to R:Bjorn Iverson, Mitchell Oh, Oliver Chen, David Kim, Will Orth, Justin Kenny, Simeon Steward, Nathan Essner. Not Pictured: Jinal Amin, Shria CHug, Nitzan Friedberg, Sayre Satterwhite, Joshua Webb

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Ames Middle School Mock Trial team is regional champion

Ames Middle School’s mock trial Team One won first place in the regional competition held November 5 in Mason City.

Mock Trial is designed to introduce sixth, seventh and eighth graders to the courtroom and legal system, and enhance their public speaking and critical thinking skills. Ames Middle School mock trial teams, led by teacher Shannon Fitchko, have worked hard since the beginning of the school year, preparing questions and memorizing courtroom procedures.


Congratulations to Hannah Huang, Justin Kenny, Nitzan Friedberg, Silvia Aydinyan, Tessa Huff, Maddie Shelton, Gemma Kreider, Amy Guan and Josie Dorius.


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Camp Sawyer Girls STEM group in the news

Every Thursday, most of the fifth-grade girls at Camp Sawyer Elementary School stay after school. They gather as part of new program started by three teachers to empower more girls to consider pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields.

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Lauren Powers, L and Lillie Kennedy, prepare to create an exothermic reaction at Camp Sawyer girls STEM group, Thursday, Nov. 19

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Kent Jahn receives “Teacher of Excellence” Award


Ames High School teacher Kent Jahn is the Iowa Industrial Technology Educators Association’s “Teacher of Excellence” for 2015. The Association presented the award, which goes to one Iowa high school industrial technology teacher each year, at the state Career and Applied Technology Conference, Oct. 30.

Jahn, who has been teaching Industrial Technology for 33 years with 18 of those years at Ames High School, says he has taught everything from Building and Trades to Computer Applications and Entrepreneurialism.

Jahn says over the course of his career he’s learned to adapt instruction to meet students at their level.

“I have students of high ability in the same class as those with low ability. Every student can benefit from being in Industrial Technology,” he said.  “I don’t want the low ability students to get behind and stressed out or fail nor do I want the high ability student to be held back. What I try to do is provide a basic outline of instruction to the point where I can get them started and then make myself available to provide instruction and personal guidance where it is needed.”

In Industrial Technology, students learn to problem solve and persevere, Jahn said.

“It’s an important life skill to develop the willingness to try and retry and then try again and realize that it is OK and that it is a part of learning,” he said..

Jahn says the value of Industrial Technology goes well beyond learning to use CAD software and honing woodworking skills.

“These students are learning that they do have abilities and they can do things that they never thought they could do,” he said. “They develop confidence and take pride in doing a job well and when they take a complex drawing or a finished wood project home and show it off to their family, there is a real sense of accomplishment and that feeling of ‘look what I did’”.

Jahn says he’s still learning, too.

“When there are so many things that are changing with technology and improvements of machines, it is really hard, if not impossible, for someone to learn everything,” he said. “So many of the things that I do with my classes I have had to learn along the way. I learn as much as the students do and sometimes I am learning from them.”

Above all, Jahn says his belief that each of his students is special has kept him in his profession and motivated him to keep improving as a teacher.

“I can’t imagine myself doing anything else,” he said.  “There are a lot of things that make teachers think about leaving the teaching profession but none of them have anything to do with the students. The students are what make teaching worthwhile and they keep all of us coming back.”

Editors note: This marks the second consecutive year an Ames High School Industrial Technology teacher has won this award. Craig Boylan was  the 2014 “Teacher of Excellence.”

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Fellows students talk to a diplomat

AMES–Cultivating relationships with foreign countries is rewarding as well as complicated for government officials, fifth grade students and Fellows Elementary School learned this week. There’s a lot at stake when everything from, manners, rules, government systems and religions affect how people interact, conduct business and even become friends. That’s why most governments palce diplomats in foreign countries to help, students learned.

U.S. Embassy Consular Chief Jeffrey Osweiler visited Fellows School, Monday, Nov. 2. as part of The Secretary of State’s Hometown Diplomats Program. According to its website, the program’s mission is to “explain to America what we do and why it matters. We do this by tapping into our best resource: our people.”

The Hometown Diplomats Program helps the U.S. Department of State establish and maintain important relationships with individuals and local communities, its website says. Department employees like Osweiler volunteer their time during trips to their hometown to speak publicly with local organizations and students of all ages and educational backgrounds.

A 1990 graduate of Ames high School, Osweiler has a son and a daughter who are students at Fellows.

Osweiler spent several years in Madagascar along with his wife and children before recently being stationed in Tunisia, he said.

“My family is living in Ames now and this is the first time my children have attended school in the United States,” he said.

It’s safer for his family to be in Ames than in Tunisia, Osweiler said.

“I visit Ames often, especially when the children have days off from school and during holidays and breaks”.

DIPLOMATOsweiler learned that at least half of the students in the Fellows fifth grade had visited or lived in a foreign country.

Based on their diverse experiences, students directed questions to Osweiler about food, customs and currency in foreign countries like Madagascar.

One student asked why his relatives had to wait so long to obtain a visa to come to the United States, giving Osweiler a chance to explain various types of visas and reasons people might have for visiting or relocating to a foreign country.

“There are different types of visas for visitors, refugees and immigrants,” he said, explaining that his department does not manage visas.

Fifth grade teacher Cathy Miller said Osweiler’s presentation will hlep students gain a perspective for their study of government this year.


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