Winchester Trail students reach out to help community


By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Winchester Trail Elementary students and staff are helping the community through Project Based Learning endeavors.

Winchester Trail Principal Kelly Zywczyk said third grade classes on Success Street built PBL skills by participating in a project to support the homeless.

“Mrs. Smithers, Miss Ratliff, Miss Vanbuskirk, and Mrs. Renner’s students accepted Kid President’s Socktober challenge to help him collect 2 million new socks nationwide,” said Zywczyk. “All four classes worked together, along with Mrs. Hazelbaker and Mrs. Robert’s classes at ITES, to spread the word about their service project. Our students realized they could accomplish great things by taking initiative and working with the community to help them reach their goals.”

One elementary student obtained permission to place a collection box in Wagnalls Memorial Library. Zywczyk said when Wagnalls heard about the service project, they placed the collection box in the lobby and agreed to match up to 250 pairs of new socks. New socks collected from both elementary schools will be donated to Faith Mission of Columbus to distribute to local homeless shelters.

Thanksgiving project

The district participated in the 17th annual Thanksgiving Project for Needy Families, created by Canal Winchester graduate Brian Wollenberg 18 years ago and now dedicated in memory of his friend and work supervisor, Byron Saunders.

Last year more than 6,000 meals were provided to families through the project in Canal Winchester and other communities. Each Thanksgiving Bag – re-useable cloth grocery/shopping bags – was filled with a $20 grocery store gift certificate and provisions to create a holiday meal for a family.

Singing their praises

Eight high school students were selected to participate in the All-OCC Academic League Honor Choir. They joined students from other Ohio Capital Conference high schools to form a choir of nearly 300 singers under the direction of Dr. Lynda Hassler, of the Capital University Choral Department.

Canal Winchester choir members were Kailin Clymer, Michayla Gussler, Jillian Vogt, Raegan Snider, Tucker Johnson, Isaiah Coe, Jacob Brown and Julian Brooks. Coe was also selected to perform the only solo during the concert.

Changing the nature of education

Superintendent James Sotlar commented on changing the way education is presented in a dynamic work environment. He said while technology has kept pace, education is still fundamentally presented the same way it was 100 years ago.

“We want a different type of learning for our kids with the ever-evolving world we live in,” said Sotlar. “How school was for us as parents is not the same world for our kids. We need to match the needs for our workforce. Education was set up to prepare kids for the workforce. Something has to be done. It is our job to keep thinking. We’ll be having some conversations over the next couple of years. It’s about what’s best for our kids, not what’s best for us.”

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