Students representing Edgerton Elementary School explained to school board members the numerous fitness opportunities their school provides. Photo courtesy of Lynne Hermansen

Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
The Advanced Technical Center, Gardner-Edgerton High School Counseling Services and Edgerton Elementary students presented to the school board at their Sept. 17 board meeting.
Five students representing Edgerton Elementary School explained to school board members the numerous fitness opportunities their school provides through morning walks, an annual PTO Walkathon, the Cyclone Sprinters After School Run Club, a Walking Club at Recess where they can earn a marathon medal for walking at 26.2 miles by the end of the school year and the Edgerton Elementary Fun Run.
Melissa McIntire, student support services coordinator, walked the board through a slide presentation illustrating the benefits and impact counseling services, career-planning and the Advanced Technical Center have provided students in the USD 231 District.
“We help students navigate the tools to reach wherever they need to be,” she said.
McIntire pointed out that the mental health crisis has been overwhelming with older students in the past few years.
“It’s been important that Gardner-Edgerton has had a seat at the table with the county for all the lastest resources,” she said.
McIntire said the counseling staff are every day heroes connecting resources for families’ mental health and counseling needs.
“Things are starting to change, and students are feeling that too,” she said.
McIntire went through the ways they provide career planning guidance for students though a four year individual plan of study for every freshman, but starting as early as 6th grade.
“It is a fluid plan, not a signed contract,” she said.
Their program provides 12 pathways for career and technical education to give students an idea of careers, McIntire said.
25 students have been certified with Automotive Service Excellence and 29 students with Microsoft Office Specialization.
“It just gives them a leg up when they graduate,” she said.
Cherokee Boyd, Advanced Technical Center lead instructor teacher for two years, told the board students may not want to go to college and the ATC shows them other options for careers. Trade jobs are paying good money, and the students want these jobs, he said.
“They are family when they walk in the doors,” Boyd said. “What can we do to make a better life for them.”
1,600 students are currently enrolled in CTE classes in the district.
Boyd handed out multi-tools the students made as a gift for board members and cookies from the culinary students.
“Students grow attached and we grow that attachment too,” he said. “Our students are our kids.”
Greg Chapman, board vice president, said if he could redo high school again he would go through the CTE.
Jan Bechard, a district employee, also addressed the board Monday night formally requesting a gym or basketball court be named in honor of her late husband, Don Bechard.
Bechard was inducted into the Gardner Edgerton High School Athletic Hall of Fame ten years ago and won the KBCA Coach of the Year Award in 1996. He was a teacher in the district for 16 years and led the boys’ basketball team in winning the 1996 State Championships for the first time in Gardner-Edgerton High School history.
The board said they would do further research into the matter.