Therme, Edwards re-elected to posts
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD — The Winfield-Mt. Union school board said farewell to Mindy Shelledy, who has been on the school board for two years, and welcomed Joy Sparrow, first-time board member, during the first meeting of the new term.
During the organizational meeting of the new board, Robyn Therme was re-elected school board president and Klay Edwards was re-elected as vice president. Therme has been on the board since 2003 and has been president for eight years. Edwards begins his third year as vice-president.
During the administrators’ reports, secondary Principal Dave Edwards told the board of a speaker who returned to the school to work with the students and a new mentor program taking place in the school.
“With the Safe and Supportive Schools grant that we received last year, we brought in this fellow named Bill Cortes,” Edwards said. “He spoke to the students and it was very well received. He had a really great message and he was just phenomenal so we brought him back.
“He was here yesterday and today,” Edwards continued. “Yesterday he was with the juniors and seniors and today he was with our freshmen and sophomores. He worked with the students on what is called are school unity project.”
Edwards explained to the board that the School Unity Project is as a program the school has started to help students for relationships with each other and build unity among the students.
One of the ways Cortes helped build relationships among the students was getting them to open up about some tough issues.
“He started out in the morning with all the kids doing some light activities and just having fun,” said Edwards. “Progressively, he started getting into some heavier topics and I didn’t stick around for the whole time because I wanted kids to be able to feel comfortable to react however they needed to. I know it got emotional for some of the kids with certain topics.”
“It was a pretty intense exercise. You could feel it when you walked into the gym,” agreed Therme.
At lunch time, Edwards told the board, students got matched up with mentors from the community to help them work on the things they learned from Cortes.
“It was a bit of a chore because it got everyone out of their comfort zone a little bit,” Edwards said. “They spent some time in the afternoon with the mentors and their groups of about 10 high school students and they got to know each other and then did some planning for the future.
The role of the mentors, Edwards said, is to help the students keep focused on the positive things they learned from Cortes and to build a sense of community with other students and area residents.
“The mentors will get their groups together three to five times over the course of this year to talk about things, do some fun activities, community service work and just have a good time learning from each other,” said Edwards. “It will be a really positive thing to help these kids move on down the road.”
The board also:
• Approved the resignation of Mel McCreight, special education associate.
• Approved hiring Brad Doerring, boys’ track coach and Blayne Willadsen, assistant junior high girls’ basketball coach.
• Approved the 28E agreement for the shared industrial arts teacher with New London.
The next W-MU board meeting will be 6 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the school media center.