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Sixth-graders’ fund-raiser is big success

[NOV. 9, 2001]  Six tables were filled with items for sale at 3 p.m., and sixth-graders in Sue O’Hara’s room at Washington-Monroe School were wondering if anyone would come to the sale they were having as a benefit for the children of Afghanistan.

But by 4 p.m. the "slightly used" toys, games, books and puzzles, along with the brand-new craft items, were almost gone, and the baked goods had practically disappeared.

"It was wild," class member Rebecca said. "I thought at first people wouldn’t come in, and then suddenly everyone was coming in!"

The customers who crowded into the school library were fellow students from the other 14 classrooms at Washington-Monroe, along with parents, brothers and sisters, and teachers.

The toys and games went first, reported Tim and Adam, who were selling those items. The fresh baked goods were a close second, Miranda and Frederick reported.


Sabrina and Alex sold crafts, some made by Andrew and his mother, and some by Kami’s mother. Hannah and Jeff staffed the table with the stuffed animals. Jessie and Ashley bagged purchases after the customers paid cashiers Kelsey and Rebecca. Each of the 19 students had a job to do, and each one did it.

Another "wild" moment came when the cashiers realized they had well over $100 in the box, and the day wasn’t even over yet. The final total, tallied the next morning, came to exactly $156.

That was an impressive total for a class that had as their first goal raising $1 per student, as President George W. Bush asked American’s children to do in a speech he gave about three weeks ago.


Some of the youngsters had heard about the president’s request, and the class talked about a plan. They and Mrs. O’Hara decided they didn’t want to just ask their parents to give them a dollar; they wanted to find a way to raise the money themselves.

"We put our ideas in a box and decided a fund-raiser was the best one," Hannah said. "We had class meetings to decide what we were going to put in and how to do it. We had meetings almost every day."



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Mrs. O’Hara didn’t tell the class what to do but served as the "supervisor," and she was a very good one, Amy reported.

"We started bringing in stuff three days ago, but the baked goods just came in today," Miranda explained.


Although students used class time to work on the sale, they learned a lot from it, Mrs. O’Hara said. Making the posters put up throughout the school required English skills, and pricing and selling the merchandise used math skills. Learning about the Afghanistan children and their need for help enhanced social studies skills.

Cashier Kelsey’s math skills were put to the test when a customer gave her a $20 bill for a 25-cent purchase and she had to count out the change, but she was up to the challenge.

"That was my worst moment," she said.


Along with academic skills, the sixth-graders learned other things, too. They learned to work together to get a job done. And some of them found out that doing a big project, no matter how positive it is, can create tension.

"It was stressful and hectic, but we’re glad we did it," Sabrina said.

"Sometimes I wanted to give up on it," Hannah admitted.

Kami said her biggest fear was that "people wouldn’t come."

Several said they didn’t sleep very well the night before the sale, and Amy reported dreaming about it.

The $156 will be sent straight to the White House, to become part of a government-sponsored program to help the children of Afghanistan and their families, Mrs. O’Hara said. The toys and books that didn’t sell will be saved and donated to an all-school fund-raiser to be held later. A couple of leftover blueberry muffins were disposed of immediately.

[Joan Crabb]


Split-rail fences bring history to life

[NOV. 7, 2001]  Students at Washington-Monroe took advantage of the fine weather last Thursday afternoon. Members of the Logan County Railsplitting Association were on hand to help the students build a fence around their garden of prairie grass and prairie flowers. The fourth-grade classes of Bev Wunderlin and Mrs. Singleton study Illinois history and were learning about split-rail fences.



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[Marty Ahrends]

Library’s volunteer tutors
earn worthwhile dividends

[NOV. 1, 2001]   Can you help a child — 

•  Memorize the state capitals?

•  Study spelling words?

•  Learn math facts?

•  Practice reading?

If you can, and have a little spare time, you can be part of the Prime Time Tutoring Center at the Lincoln Public Library. It’s a volunteer job, but it pays dividends, as the tutors there will tell you.

"There’s a direct correlation to how much a person reads and how much he continues to learn lifelong. It’s a beautiful thing to think I helped a third-grader read. That’s a gift to me," says Allison Lindemann, an AmeriCorps volunteer.

Aubrey Smith, a student at Lincoln Christian College, doesn’t get credit in any of her classes for the tutoring she does, but she finds other benefits.

"It’s a stress reliever just to spend time with somebody who’s learning." She smiles at her student. "And it’s wonderful to see the look on her face when she gets something."


Michael Plummer, another AmeriCorps volunteer, who just came to Lincoln from Alaska, is doing volunteer work with young people in many areas. He works with special needs students at Lincoln Community High School and with Project Read.

He likes the flexibility of the Prime Time Tutoring Program, and on this particular day he has chosen to tutor a student sitting on the floor in a back corner of the children’s section. This quiet corner helps his student stay focused on the task at hand because there are no distractions.

"I like to work with kids, and this allows me to wear many different kinds of hats," he says.

Mary Leesman of Hartsburg is an adult tutor, and she sits with her third-grade student at a child-size table while he learns to count change.

"I saw a sheet at the Recreation Center about tutoring, so I signed up," she says. "It’s a nice feeling to work with children again."

Mary’s own two children are both in college, and she doesn’t have any grandchildren yet. She thinks tutoring is a good idea for those who like young children and are "between children and grandchildren."


The tutoring center now has 14 students and 11 volunteers but is expecting more students soon.

"We usually get quite a few calls after the first report cards come out," says Pat Schlough, children’s librarian. The calls are mostly from parents, but sometimes they’re from teachers who call because the parents want their child to have tutoring.

Tutors are not teaching children new skills, Schlough says, just helping them with homework, encouraging them to get it done, answering questions if a child didn’t take in all the information at school.

The center has textbooks from District 27 schools in case children forget their own. Tutors also use reference books and the Internet to help students get information for reports and other projects.


"We match up the tutor to the child," Schlough says. "We ask tutors what areas they are comfortable with. Some are not comfortable with science or sixth-grade math.

"We sometimes have students waiting for math tutors, and if there’s anyone out there good at math who would like to tutor, we’d love to have them."

Tutors not particularly strong in math are also needed, says Cindy Harris, coordinator of the Prime Time Learning Center, because many students also need help with reading comprehension. "Reading comprehension and math are the areas most asked for," she says.

The tutoring center works with students in grades two through six, with occasional exceptions for students in other grades. Most youngsters meet with tutors twice a week, but some meet more often. Students may come from any Lincoln-area school. Tutoring starts about 3:30 p.m. when schools are out, and goes until 6 p.m.



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[Tutor Aubrey Smith helps Holly, a third-grader from Carroll Catholic, choose a book.]

[In a corner of the busy children’s section of  the library, tutor Michael Plummer and student J.J., a sixth-grader at Central School, work on learning state capitals.]

[Tutor Beth Edgington, an LCC student, helps student Lori with her spelling homework.]

[Allison Lindemann helps Brandon, a third-grader at Northwest School, with reading.  Brandon’s grandmother says his grades have improved tremendously since he came to the tutoring center.]

[Tutor Allison Lindemann helps Jacob, a third-grader at Central School, with rounding off numbers.]

[Caitlin, a fifth-grader at Central School, works with tutor Allison on English, which is what Caitlin thinks she needs the most help in.  “She’s a whiz at math,” her tutor says.]

Many tutors this year are from Tri-County AmeriCorps, while others come from college, such as LCC. The tutoring program has also had retired teachers and senior citizens.

Many of the young people who are tutoring this year want to work with children as a career. LCC student Beth Edgington wants to be a teacher, while her roommate, Aubrey Smith, wants to be a children’s minister. Michael Plummer hopes to start a therapeutic wilderness program for at-risk youth, the kind of project he once did for AmeriCorps."

Parents are generally enthusiastic about the program, Harris reports. Jill Struebing says tutoring has really helped her two children. Her third- and fifth-graders recently switched schools and were a little behind. She describes both of their tutors as "very good."

Tina Johnson, whose daughter comes to the program, also just moved to Lincoln.

"It’s getting harder for me to help with homework," she says. "Math has changed so much since I got out of school." She thinks it is easier for her daughter to deal with a tutor closer to her own age, one who has learned the material more recently.

The students seem to like it, too. They appear to be comfortable with their tutors, not afraid to ask a question or share an idea. For example, third-grader Jacob shares his enthusiasm for the story of the Titanic with tutor Allison, reading to her from a book he has brought. "My tutor is nice," he says.


Sixth-grader C.J. holds up some treats he’s earned from tutor Michael. Michael is helping C.J. with reading and describes him as "really good" at math.

Harris, who has been coordinator of the tutoring center since January of 1995, is happy with the program and with her current group of students and tutors.

"For the last couple of years I’ve had really good kids. We have no problems getting them to come in or do their work. And we have a lot of repeat students from past years."

To become part of the Prime Time Learning Center, call the Lincoln Public Library at 732-8878 and ask to speak to anyone in the children’s department.

[Joan Crabb]

Honors & Awards

Area students inducted into Phi Theta Kappa
honor society at Lincoln College

[NOV. 1, 2001]   The Iota Chi Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa fraternity at Lincoln College inducted 64 new members at its initiation ceremonies on Sunday, Oct. 28. Phi Theta Kappa is a junior college academic honor society

Lincoln College PTK faculty advisers John Welter and June Burke welcomed the guest speaker, Lincoln College Museum curator Ron Keller. Keller gave a speech on the tragic events of Sept. 11 and what everyone can do to make a difference.

Area students who qualified for membership are Kari Borowiak, Ashley Brinner, Tim Christoffersen, Miles Craig, Lisa Curcuru, Andrew Dexter, Molly Donnelly, Heidi Graff, Brock Guzouskis, Julie Halcomb, Brooke Huskins, Aaron Johnston, Teri Kavelman, Lyndsey Pickering, Jonah Rosenthal, Anna Schmidt, Clinton Smith, Joshua Twente, Joshua Utterback and Kate Winters, all of Lincoln; Nathan Dieckow, Hamilton Harmon, John Hoblit, Rich Lynch and Tiffany Sutton, all of Atlanta; Brittany Franklin of New Holland; Felicia Haak of McLean; Tamar Lyons of Elkhart; Rececca Ruben of Hartsburg; and Heather Long and Harry McMillan of Mason City.

[News release]


Notice to participants in the current GED program
You are urged to pass all five sections of the present GED exam by Dec. 31. In January 2002, a new GED test will be given and it will be necessary to start over from the beginning. Make your plans now to finish all five sections and get your GED.

For orientation dates and registration information, call Heartland Community College, 735-1731.



Lincoln District 27 schools


(Milk served with all meals)

Monday, Nov. 12 — Cereal, cinnamon toast, juice

Tuesday, Nov. 13 — Cream of wheat, toast, fruit

Wednesday, Nov. 14 — Cereal, bread and jelly sandwich, juice

Thursday, Nov. 15 — Scrambled eggs, fruit, toast

Friday, Nov. 16 — Cereal, rice crispy treats, juice



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(Milk served with all meals)

Monday, Nov. 12 — Corn dogs, green beans, fruit cocktail, oatmeal bar cookies

Tuesday, Nov. 13 — Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, bread and butter, strawberry applesauce

Wednesday, Nov. 14 — Sausage pizza, corn, carrot sticks, pears

Thursday, Nov. 15 — Sloppy Joes, cole slaw, french fries, cranberry juice

Friday, Nov. 16 — French toast sticks with syrup, hash brown, sausage patty, peaches

Mount Pulaski Grade School

Milk and condiments are served with all meals.

Students in grades three through eight may choose hot dog and bun or peanut butter and jelly sandwich in place of main entree.

Students in grades six, seven and eight may choose salad bar in place of main menu.

Monday, Nov. 12 — Hamburger, bun, cheese, pickle, peas, apple, potato chips

Tuesday, Nov. 13 — Chicken noodle soup, cheese, crackers, carrots, peaches, peanut butter sandwich

Wednesday, Nov. 14 — Hot dog, bun, corn, carrots, applesauce, graham crackers

Thursday, Nov. 15 — Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, fruit, pumpkin bars, rolls, oleo

Friday, Nov. 16 — Ravioli, cheese sticks, lettuce, mixed vegetables, oranges, bread, oleo


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Monday, Nov. 19 — Cheese pizza, mixed vegetables, peaches, brownie

Tuesday, Nov. 20 — Chicken and noodles, green beans, lettuce, pineapple, peanut butter sandwich

Wednesday, Nov. 21 — Corn dog, corn, carrots, applesauce, trail mix

Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22 and 23 — No school; Thanksgiving

Monday, Nov. 26 — Breaded chicken patty, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, peaches, bread, oleo

Tuesday, Nov. 27 — Hamburger, bun, cheese, pickle, tri tator, corn, applesauce

Wednesday, Nov. 28 — Spanish rice, lettuce, peas, orange, peanut butter sandwich

Thursday, Nov. 29 — Chicken noodle soup, carrots, cheese, crackers, cherry pudding, bread, oleo

Friday, Nov. 30 — Cheese pizza, mixed vegetables, banana, jello, raisins

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