VREP puts new spin on gaming

Tom Skoda, Zack Vandervort, Shane Trautsch, Kevin McQuire and Rhonda Vobr give a presentation on VREP to the school board members on Feb. 27.by Marcie Klomp

Four students from Virtual Reality Education Pathfinder (VREP) presented some interesting projects from the club supervised by Rhonda Vobr.

Tom Skoda, Zack Vandervort, Shane Trautsch and Kevin McGuire showed some of the projects they have been working on in the virtual reality and 3-D imaging program offered at Howard-Winneshiek Schools during the board meeting on Feb. 27.

The program is fairly new as it was started in 2006 by Principal Rex Kozak of East Marshall. He got help from Jack Harris from Rockwell Collins. Harris claims, “The project’s aim is to understand difficult science and technology concepts and information abstractions in order to increase the number of students pursuing further education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

The boys showed some projects they are working on which include making video games and creating a new 3-D world. There are eight students in the program, and although they get guidance from Vobr, they actually support each other by sharing ideas they have learned or picked up on the Internet.

• In other business, fourth grade Crestwood teacher Heather Suckow presented some letters written by her students to board members. Their theme was getting personal i-Pads for elementary students, as well as the junior and senior high students.

She said they came up with compelling reasons for the purchase including no heavy books to carry in their back packs and going green by saving paper and pencils.

She gave their conclusion. “How can we afford i-Pads and lap tops? Clearly we cannot afford not to have them.”

• Teachers Jane Ullom and Chris Lentz gave an update on Emergency Management for the high school. They have been working on a Homeland Security policy since October 2009 with Officer Rick Busch.

They have had two practice lock downs and each time learn more about what to add or change to the policy. Ullom said, “We have done a walk-through with the fire department and police department with Darrel Knecht (Howard County Emergency Management Director) and Rick Busch.”

One of the projects they worked on was putting up the barriers in front of the school. Before the barriers, anyone could drive through the front doors of the school.

In an act of terrorism, students will be put on a bus and driven around randomly until the threat is taken care of.

• Justin Denner was hired as a high school math teacher to replace a retiring teacher. His salary was set at $29,819 with an additional $11,272 in benefits.

• Kristi Sobolik resigned after two years as JV volleyball coach.

• Cresco kindergarten was approved to visit Pinter Landscaping and Vernon Springs for a field trip.

• Lime Springs-Chester K-3 students were approved to see a production of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear.”

• Band instructor Jason Dobbs was approved to go on a band trip to Orlando March 28-April 2, 2013. The students were given their choice of destinations and Orlando won by 80 percent!

• The next regular board meeting will be March 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the board room in Cresco.

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