Colorado Students Use STEM to Solve ‘Crime’

PEYTON, Colo. (Nov. 7, 2013) — “I felt like I was going after someone who needed to be stopped, pulled over, you never know,” said seventh grader Maddelyn Sackuvich, exiting a flashing police vehicle Nov. 6 at Falcon Middle School in Peyton.

Sackuvich, 12, was part of a group of sixth and seventh graders taking turns in a parked patrol car. The approaching line of students trembled each time someone wailed its siren. Wesley Woodworth of the Colorado Springs Police Department said, “This is my office.”

Nearly 100 students from Falcon Middle School were participating in a Crime Scene Investigation Camp-for-a-Day, an event offering experiences that combine science, technology, engineering and math skills. Continue reading

Colorado Students Give Voice to Domestic Violence Victims

PEYTON, Colo. (Sept. 24, 2013) – Amanda Hanson was 15 years old and more than three months pregnant Aug. 19, 2002, when she was strangled, beaten and stabbed.

An explanation of her boyfriend’s continued carnage was presented Sept 24 at Patriot Learning Center. The horrific mutilation on a trail in Manitou Springs, involving “sticks and a boulder,” sparked a somber embrace for several students. Some cried.

“She was the age of some our freshmen here, so it’s really relatable,” said 12th grader Celine Inge, 17, standing near a life-size cutout of a female figure, constructed of plywood and painted red. Hanson’s story was hung over the figure’s shoulders with a ribbon. Continue reading

What Makes a Colorado Healthy School Champion?

PEYTON, Colo. – The kids always ask, ‘What’s for breakfast tomorrow,” said Jeanne Hornberger, scooping eggs, sausages and cinnamon rolls, restocking fruits and milks.

Hornberger is the nutrition services manager at Skyview Middle School, where breakfast is now offered for a second year. Each morning, the cafeteria typically caters to 60-70 students, of which about two-thirds arrive almost daily.

“Sometimes, I just come in for a small yogurt so I can be focused,” said sixth grader EJ Sutton, 11, while eating breakfast with several friends talking about their favorite sports teams. Continue reading

Colorado Students Unveil Civil Rights Tribute, Remember 9/11

PEYTON, Colo. – “The hatred I see today bothers me – it bothers a lot of people,” said James Wade, while unveiling a school project Sept. 11.

Wade, 17, a 12th grader known for his creativity at Patriot Learning Center in Peyton, Colo., had led the school’s ninth through 12th grade social studies students’ three-day civil rights project that combined ideas, materials and artworks.

During the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, they unveiled to their school a pictorial tribute to the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Hung in a hallway, a large, bell-shaped pressboard contains the collage of student works, each representing excerpts from King’s speech. A cutout of the word “freedom” is situated as the bell’s clapper. Continue reading


Our Rising Star

Miracles? Devine interventions? The energy of the universe creating connections? An eerie but random set of events?

Rising StarI witnessed an interesting merger with the sun in early July 2012, while driving near our home in Colorado Springs. A vertical vapor trail had helped it resemble a rising star. A couple of weeks ahead of that sighting, we finalized plans to visit my wife’s sister and niece in Quebec.

During the trip in August, we toured Saint Joseph’s Oratory at Mount Royal. Brother André Bessette, a distant cousin of my mother, founded the oratory in October 1904. He was appointed its guardian in July 1909. Brother André became known as a miracle worker by our family and countless others, even beyond his death in 1937. Continue reading

Survival Story Aims to Inspire Colorado Students

PEYTON, Colo. – “You have a choice to be bitter, or get better,” said Rai Henniger, speaking Aug. 9 to a group of high school students in Peyton, Colo.

While Henniger was setting up a fireworks display May 12, 2007, at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs, he says it was negligence that led to a powerful explosion. Someone had ignored a critical safety precaution.

The blast threw him 15 feet, leaving him with a 1 percent chance of survival. Continue reading

Colorado Springs Students Strengthen City’s Cultural Ties with Japan

PEYTON, Colo. – Displaying nametags and smiles Aug. 7, a group of students in Colorado Springs greeted teens arriving from almost 6,000 miles away.

As 17 students representing five junior high schools in Fujiyoshida, Japan, entered Skyview Middle School in Falcon School District 49, nearly 20 eighth graders welcomed them. Many attempted cordial Japanese greetings, as several of their guests snapped photos.

“We wanted our students to have an international experience,” said social studies teacher Gary Heaston, who coordinated the event for the eighth graders at Skyview Middle School. Continue reading

Educators Give Gifted Students New Summer Opportunity

PEYTON, Colo. – Amid a warm week in July, gifted students in the Falcon area of El Paso County experienced a unique summer break – it put them, briefly, back in school.

During Falcon School District 49’s first Gifted and Talented Institute, July 8-12, roughly 130 students from across the district gathered at Vista Ridge High School in Colorado Springs.

While first through 12th graders met with peers who also boast intellectual gifts, who understand their desire to develop their unique talents and build their passions, they shared a period of project-based learning that deviated from typical classroom curricula. Continue reading

Fishing Event Gives Special Needs Students Lifetime Activity

Fishing Event Gives Special Needs Students Lifetime Activity

PEYTON, Colo. – More than 80 special needs students gathered lakeside May 10 to explore one of Colorado’s top outdoor activities.

Roughly 100 yards of shoreline along Prospect Lake in Colorado Springs was devoted to Falcon School District 49’s annual fishing event.

Bonnie Mendenhall, District 49 adaptive physical education teacher for middle and high school students, started the event in 2006, after receiving a Future Fisherman Foundation grant for the required instructional materials. Continue reading

History Hook Boosts STEM Education in Colorado

History Hook Boosts STEM Education in Colorado

PEYTON, Colo. – Student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is taking off in Colorado Springs with a new aviation museum.

The National Museum of World War II Aviation opened in October. The founders partnered with the Colorado Consortium for Earth and Space Science to start an educational program for area kindergarten-twelfth grade students in April.

Deb Haase, an Academy School District 20 teacher on special assignment to CCESSE’s Challenger Learning Center, said the program supports STEM curricula with a hook into history. Continue reading