Category Archives: Stand Up for Public Ed

Barneveld students win national building competition

A group of four Barneveld High School students recently won the 2022 SkillsUSA TeamWorks Championship at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Agri-View reported.

Twenty-seven teams from across the country participated in the competition, focused on working as a team to build a structure. Every group was given a blueprint and instructions the first day of the competition. Teams were required to write an action plan for creating the structure.

The students had to build an 8-by-10-foot structure with a wood floor and second story. All the labor had to be completed within a 12-hour window during the three-day competition.

Barneveld qualified for the national competition after winning state.

“I told the team they’d be competing against the best,” Will Hodgson, coach and technology education teacher, told the newspaper. “They knew they’d face hard work but said they weren’t going to be outworked. When they faced obstacles they didn’t give up; they figured it out. They put their minds to the test.”

Barneveld High School junior Billy Carden contributed his plumbing abilities to the competition.

“It was the second time I’d ever done plumbing and the first time was at the state competition,” he told the newspaper. “I feel great about winning gold for Barneveld and Wisconsin. It’s pretty surreal to believe this group of people could succeed in such great things.”

Read the full article on Agri-View’s website.

Milwaukee Public Schools team up to create engaging bus stops

Pop Stop murals, part of the MCTS Bus Shelter Art Project, feature interactive games and activities to engage children outside the classroom.

Milwaukee Public Schools is a partner on a project to design educational bus stop displays for children to enjoy while waiting for the bus, CBS 58 reported.

Two dozen bus stops around Milwaukee will be decorated with murals featuring interactive games.

The partnership involves the Milwaukee County Transit System, Milwaukee Public Schools, the advertising agency BVK and Milwaukee’s Office of Early Childhood Initiatives.

“We designed each shelter with several criteria in mind,” Gary Mueller, founder and creative director of BVK, told the television station. “The activities include counting, identifying shapes, objects, colors, foods. Some are designed around reading stories or scavenger hunts. Some even include physical activity.”

All 24 murals are set to be finished within the next two weeks.

Read the full story on CBS 58’s website.

Oshkosh school district launches student-run food truck

Photo courtesy of the Oshkosh Area School District

The Oshkosh Area School District is launching a new food truck that gives students of all abilities the chance to gain work experience, WFRV reported. The truck is described as the first of its kind in the country.

The customized and fully accessible food truck is called Brewing Futures Mobile CAFE (Coaching Ability for Employment). Oshkosh students receiving special education services will operate the “mobile classroom.” Students will receive real-life work experience and local community engagement.

“We know that being employed and having a sense of accountability and responsibility is positively life-changing. This exciting project demonstrates our commitment and investment in connecting our students with special needs to their community, securing jobs, and being gainfully employed,” said Linda Pierron, Oshkosh director of special education, on the district’s website.

The truck will debut this summer at community events and local businesses. The menu will be flexible depending on the event, including beverages and prepacked and prepared food items.

Read the full story on WFRV’s website.

Sauk Prairie, Reedsburg, River Valley students with disabilities graduate from health care internship

Project SEARCH is a business led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration.

Sauk Prairie-area young adults with disabilities graduated recently from a program intended to help them gain and maintain employment, Channel 3000 reported.

Project SEARCH, which helps young adults with physical and developmental disabilities enter the workforce, partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Sauk Prairie Health Center. Students from the Sauk Prairie, Reedsburg and River Valley school districts participated.

“(The program) consists of three 10-week unpaid internships within the businesses, and the students learn job skills and they learn to develop all kinds of things (so) that they can become really good, productive workers in an integrated setting within their communities,” Liz Kennedy, who oversees the program, told the TV station.

Josh LaHaie, a graduate of Sauk Prairie High School, tells the Department of Workforce Development that Project SEARCH was a “safe place to work and if I made a mistake, my co-workers helped me through it and I learned from it.”

To learn about more about Project SEARCH, visit their website:

To read the full story, visit the Channel 3000 website.

Racine student earns license to pilot drones

A student at Horlick High School, in the Racine school district, is the first in the school’s aviation program to become a certified drone pilot, Milwaukee-based CBS 58 reports.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” Jacob Thillemann, a senior, told the station. “Since the beginning of the year we’ve been just going through the drone pilot handbook.”

The school’s aviation program, which launched five years ago, is led by former Air Force crew chief James Bucholtz.

“We’re really cross-curricular,” Bucholtz says. “You’ve got history. You’ve got physics, a lot of math. And simply government regulations, how to navigate those. That’s a minefield in and of itself.”

“There’s a huge shortage [of workers] within aviation right now,” Bucholtz says. “We’re hoping with just our small part, we can fill some of those needs.

Thillemann told the TV station he’s having a blast.

“[Flying a drone] is like a video game just in real life. It is fun just controlling it,” he says.

Read the full story at CBS 58’s website.

Trailblazing Stoughton senior trains to be steamfitter

A Stoughton senior is among a small number of girls training to be a welder as part of the Youth Apprenticeship program managed by the Dane County Schools Consortium, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

Jordan Bittrick, 17, a senior at Stoughton High School, is working at Stoughton Trailers. She is the only girl in her advanced auto class and one of two in an advanced welding class.

Bittrick, who hopes to become a steamfitter, says her fellow employees don’t treat her differently because of her gender.

“It’s not like, ‘Oh you are a woman, you can’t do this.’ So this is what is really nice about that environment, they all support me,” she told the newspaper

Her interest in welding comes from her family. Her great-grandfather, Ken Spink, of McFarland, was a welder and her father, David Bittrick, works in construction.

“At a young age, I always hung out with him,” she said of her father. “I worked on cars and helped him fix things.”

Read the full story at the newspaper’s website.

Peshtigo Students Add Recipes to Community Cookbook

Peshtigo School District students are contributing recipes to a cookbook created by the local chamber of commerce and food pantry, the Eagle Herald newspaper reports.

“The hope is that this will be a kids and family cookbook, and families can come together to contribute family recipes,” Town of Peshtigo Supervisor Kristen Edgar told the newspaper.

Students will also compete to design the cover of the cookbook, and businesses can sponsor a student’s recipe for $50.

Learn more at the newspaper’s website.

Milwaukee high schooler earns practical nursing diploma before graduation

The Journal Sentinel tells the story of a Milwaukee Public Schools 17-year-old who earned her practical nursing diploma while still in high school.

Imunique Triplett has become the first Milwaukee student to complete the M³ (“M-cubed”) program, which allows MPS students to enroll in classes held by UW—Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College.

The program began in 2019 and is free for students.

Triplett told the newspaper she had feared she would be repelled by nursing because of the “blood and body fluid,” but that’s not what happened.

“If I had let myself continue to tell myself I couldn’t do something, I wouldn’t have known and missed out on a huge opportunity,” she said.

Read more about the program and Imunique at the newspaper’s website.

Oconomowoc high schoolers deliver gifts, cheer to elementary schoolers

Hadfield Elementary School students open presents from the Adopt a School event organized by the Oconomowoc School District.

Oconomowoc high schoolers joined parents and staff to spread presents and cheer to a group of Waukesha elementary students last week, the Waukesha Freeman reported.

Every child in Hadfield Elementary School received a present with donated school supplies, books, hats and other items from their wish list.

The gift-giving is part of a 15-year tradition called “Adopt a School” started and maintained by DECA students.

Seventeen-year-old Paige Westerman told the newspaper they make sure each student’s wish list is filled and the presents get wrapped.

“The most rewarding part is seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces. It’s the best feeling — nothing can beat it.”

Read the full story at the Waukesha Freeman.

Holmen Students Open Store, Help Local Family

Holmen High School students opened a model store whose proceeds will benefit a local family, WXOW reports.

The Christmas novelty store, “Bundled Up,” sells food, Christmas decorations and clothing. It’s part of a long history of entrepreneurship students opening model stores.

The store raises money to help the a family whose father died unexpectedly of a heart attack in August.

“I’m glad we’re opening up the Bundled Up store because it shows the Holmen community has their back to get through this hard time,” Store Co-Manager Chloe Lichucki said.

The store is open through December 16. 

Read the full story and watch the video at WXOW’s website.