It is well known that funding for schools at the state level has been severely impacted in the past several years. In response to this and in an effort to give our Okoboji students the best education possible, the Okoboji Community School Foundation Special Projects Committee was formed in the summer of 2016 to broaden the Foundation’s support beyond scholarships to include K-12 field trips and other vital educational opportunities. Extensive research has proven that field trips can awaken the desire in a child to try new things and pursue previously unconsidered dreams, introduce children to new job opportunities, and can spark new interests and passions.
Students at Okoboji High School were the first to experience the new Google Expedition VR technology. Sophomores and juniors in Mr. Stumbo’s American and World History classes took tours of Civil War battlefields and the City of Jerusalem, visiting sites such as the Western Wall and Temple Mount. This new technology brings students where school buses cannot and will allow teachers to take the students through guided 3D expeditions all over the world. Okoboji Community School District was able to purchase the technology through the generosity of the Okoboji School Foundation and RDI (R&D Industries), whose operations are located in Milford. The thirty device kit of Google Expeditions will be used in all three buildings within the District. The technology will allow students to take trips to not only points of history but also to places we could not travel in reality, such as other planets and even within the human body.
Presenting the check are Brad Tendal and Ryan Polz, from R&D Industries of Milford.
L-R: Brian Downing, OHS Principal, Todd Abrahamson, Superintendent, Brad Tendal & Ryan Polz, RDI, Abby Walleck, Okoboji School Foundation Special Projects Chairperson
With a generous donation from the Marvin and Garnette Anderson Family, the vision of having makerspaces in the elementary and middle school is a reality. These spaces allow all students to share ideas, build interests in new areas and discover learning in a whole new way.
Photo: Marvin & Garnette Anderson eXplore Lab dedication ceremony at Okoboji Middle School
L-R: Ryan Cunningham, Middle School Principal, Todd Abrahamson, Superintendent, Deborah Clark, MS eXplore Lab Coordinator, Laurie Simington, Committee, Kim Anderson Swanson, Abby Walleck, Chair, Barbara Anderson Powers, Juli Johnson, School Board, Ann Ditsworth, Committee, and Alex Spooner, STEM Lab Teacher
“At Okoboji, we are building upon our great educational tradition with the launch of the Marvin and Garnette eXplore Labs in both the elementary and middle school. From high tech tools such as 3D printers, robots, and drones, to practical devices such as sewing machines and soldering irons, our students are learning skills as they problem solve through real-world problems and challenges.” -Ryan Cunningham, Middle School Principal
Trip to the Capitol
What a great year for the Okoboji Community School Foundation Special Projects Committee! The 2017 sixth grade class was the first to experience the state Capitol trip since 2011. The students also were able to see the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend and spend time at the Living History Farms. With your help, we can continue to make this trip an annual event for the sixth grade.
“The Des Moines trip was really fun! It was nice to travel with my classmates and learn about Iowa’s history. My favorite part was touring the State Capitol and seeing all the amazing architecture…even way up in the dome! Thanks for this opportunity!” - Lauren Ditsworth, 6th Grade
In April, the entire elementary school was able to see an Opera Iowa performance of Jack and the Beanstalk with the 4th grade participating in workshops with the actors.
“Today we got to go to an opera workshop and performance…I learned that a singing conversation is called a recitative. I learned that all opera is like a puzzle, you get all the stuff before you can finish it. I also learned that the theme of the performance is not to bully and forgive someone who did something to you even if they still did something bad to you, you still forgive them.”-Ava Evaro, 4th Grade
This successful first year of the Special Projects Committee is due to the generous contributions from alums and the community. We are hoping to continue our efforts to provide for unique and exciting learning opportunities for all of our Okoboji students.