2018-05-17 / Front Page

MES K’NEX Team Takes 2nd Place In Design Challenge

At 2018 STEM Design Challenge
By Cassidy Pittman STAFF WRITER

After competing at the K’NEX STEM Design Challenge in McVeytowon, MES students show off their inventions to school board members at their meeting last week. Pictured, left to right, are Madeline Gordon, Raegan Shindle, Phillip Rotz, Caleb Buterbaugh, Maggie Mellott, and Alison Tucker. After competing at the K’NEX STEM Design Challenge in McVeytowon, MES students show off their inventions to school board members at their meeting last week. Pictured, left to right, are Madeline Gordon, Raegan Shindle, Phillip Rotz, Caleb Buterbaugh, Maggie Mellott, and Alison Tucker. The Central Fulton School District (CFSD) Board met at its monthly meeting last Tuesday to view a presentation from the Mc- Connellsburg Elementary School (MES) fourth and fifth graders involved with the K’NEX program, along with their advisers, Valerie Alexander and Delores Henry. The students got the opportunity to show off some of their masterfully designed K’NEX projects that were submitted for the 2018 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Design Challenge held on March 22 at the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 Main Office in McVeytown.

Since December of last year at least 30 students have been working diligently on their team projects to build the best possible design. This year’s challenge was issued by Thermo Fisher Scientific, and the goal was to create a new product for the home. The product could be used for anything within the home and had to be environmentally friendly.

Each team had to have four students and each project had to use at least one motor. Up to 1,400 K’NEX pieces could be used per project, and journals and blueprints were required. They were judged on creativity, teamwork, challenge success, design, and presentation.

A McConnellsburg Elementary School (MES) K’NEX team including Alison Tucker, Maggie Mellott, Caleb Buterbaugh, and Henry Alexander came in second place for their project, Team CCO. Together, team members worked to design and create CCO, a robot that can be used to help people dispose of their trash. The robot rolls on wheels and has multiple ‘drawers’ – one for trash, one for recycling, and one for compost.

His interior compost bin spins as he moves to help the compost break down, and the ‘compost tea’’ drains into a hose that can be pulled out and used to water flowers or your garden! The two removable arms can be used to reach items on high shelves, or to pick up things off the floor without bending over.

Two additional MES teams, A-Auto including students Samuel Richards, Dylan Strelez, Will Casher, Ian Hampton and Super Scooper including students Raegan Shindle, Madeline Gordon, and Tatiana Hollenshead took home honorable mentions.

During the public comment section of the board meeting, attorney Andrea Shaw, who is representing a group of school district parents, Naomi Westberry with other mothers, Pastor John Hodge, Mary K. Seville, and Dawn Birgensmith shared their thoughts about the bathroom privacy issue.

Birgensmith, a mother of children who attend CFSD, spoke about the increase in student-to-student bullying, and how current reprimands are not sufficient.

“I believe the bullying issue is getting slightly out of control in this district and it needs to be handled, and it might be time for a stricter kind of consequence for bullying … .” Birgensmith spoke these words as she discussed the bullying her children face in school, as well as the bullying of the transgender student that has taken place. She went on to say, “This is an issue the school needs to address, this is an issue that we as parents need to be addressing.”

In other news, graduating high school seniors were approved for the commencement and baccalaureate ceremonies to be held in the middle/high school auditorium. Baccalaureate will be held Tuesday, May 29, at 7 p.m., and graduation will be held Thursday, May 31, at 7 p.m. Early dismissal of school is scheduled for Friday, June 1, at 1 p.m.


The school board moved to approve the tentative CFSD 2018-2019 General Budget Fund in the amount of $15,692,814. Area Vocational Technical School 2018-2019’s tentative budget in the amount of $1,063,690, with the district’s share being $343,220, was also approved.

Approval was given to increase the CFSD regular breakfast and lunch prices by 10 cents effective July 1. The increase will also be applied to all Fulton County Family Partnership breakfast and lunch prices.

A payment of invoice M18-016 to Bonded Applicators Inc. for roof repairs at the middle and high schools was made from the Capital Improvement Fund. The board also approved a payment of an invoice to Edgewood General Contractor LLC for painting at the middle and high schools out of the Capital Improvement


A contract with River Rock Academy for alternative education and transportation services was approved at a cost of $53,650. The board also approved the Behind the Wheel contract with Gregory Hays for student driving and for his completion of required student paperwork. The contract will include an increased rate of $248.09 per student, with the student rate increased from $50 to $60.


Two CFSD employees were approved for the Family and Medical Leave Act, one for May 10 to May 18 and one for August 20 to September 21.

The board approved the following hires: Kelli Miller as the elementary secretary at $10.50/hour with a 12-month contract; Heather Strait as the Extended School Year instructor at $25.50/hour; Odette Plessinger as the paraprofessional at the rate of $12.75/hour; Zachary Mason as summer school coordinator for a stipend of $2,000; CFHS student Michael Boos to assist the CFSD Technology Department for 24 hours a week for nine weeks during the summer at $12.75/hour; and Felicia Harris as a substitute van driver.

The board approved the following resignations: Dorothy Doyle as a middle school science teacher on June 5 and Karen Borst as the ESL teacher/coordinator on the last day of the 2017- 2018 school year.

The board also approved the resignation of Jeffrey L. De- Shong as a school board director in a letter dated April 16. The board will appoint his replacement within the 30-day requirement, which will be by June 8.

Jack D. Steele, D.D.S., was approved as the district’s dentist for the 2018-2019 school year. Dental examinations will be completed by Dr. Steele for students in grades 3 and 7 at the cost of $3/student.

Fulton County Medical Center was approved to provide physicals to students in grades K5, 6 and 12 as well as sports physicals as needed for the 2018- 2019 school year.

Buildings and grounds

Dr. Michelle D. Hall is to seek information pertaining to restroom/ locker room renovations for the middle/high school.

Approval was given to the AVTS to add a 20-foot x 20-foot pole building next to the greenhouse for storage purposes.

In attendance were Judy Messersmith, school board secretary, and board members Julia E. E. Dovey, Cory L. Gress, Christopher R. Hann, Rick E. Marshall, Jason M. Sharpe, Gary L. Shives, Gregory L. Strait and Roger W. Strait.

Administration in attendance were Alicia Mellott, elementary principal; Billie Jo Beatty, assistant elementary principal; Amy Hershey, business manager; Christina Ramsey, middle and high school principal; Jessica Curfman, middle and high school assistant principal; Ginger Thompson, director of special education; Dr. Michelle D. Hall, superintendent, and Messersmith, transportation director.

Also in attendance were Michael Miller, special counsel for CFSD; and the following parents, students, grandparents, citizens, taxpayers and church members from the Calvary Independent Baptist Church: Dawn Birgensmith, Jennifer Knepper, Reuben Knepper, Craig A. Knepper, Marilyn Dunkle, Victor Guyer, Hattie Seville, Dean Seville, Lynette Shindle, Mike Glessner, Gayle Detwiler, Cal Detwiler, Brad Seville, Penny Kipp, Whittney Kipp, Linda Hann, Philip Oakman, Milton Wink, Becky Wink, Dustin Wink, Andrea Shaw, attorney representing parents; Chris Sheffield, Dawn Sheffield, James Leslie, Matthew Skiles, Paige Yeager, Laura Mc- Quade, Paul Hock, Denny Boden, Misty Boden, Mary Lane, Cody Quarry, Jamie Smith, John Lupey, Michael Binder, Heather Swope, Myles Woolford, Jamie Wink, Emma Wink, Lori Mellott, Brandon Tucker, Kris Sheffield, Pastor John Hodge, Levi Clevenger, Randy Bunch, Donna Bunch, Shirley Miller, Roy C. Miller, Marvin Lewis, Lou Ramsey, Laura Mickey, Ed Mickey, Dee Johnston, Carmen Nesbitt, Thurman Nesbitt, Kristen L. Mumma, Charlie Glenn, David R. Hoover III, Dennis C. Cubbage Jr., David R. Shives, Aaron Shives, Carrie Shives, Beth Rezzetano, Sydney Rezzetano, Mary K. Seville, Misty Ritchey, Naomi Westberry, Richard Peck, Katrina Mickey, Brent Seville and three others whose signatures that were illegible.

The following individuals addressed the board during the public comment period: Andrea Shaw, attorney representing parents; Naomi Westberry, Pastor John Hodge, Dawn Birgensmith and Mary K. Seville.

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