provides tools to lead students into higher technology
Beth Rumsey, Staff Writer
Jac-Cen-Del students have a unique opportunity
to sharpen their critical thinking and problem solving skills
through the engineering courses that are a part of the Project
Lead the Way program. The three classes, Introduction to Engineering,
Principles of Engineering, and Digital Electronics, include
students from grades 8 through 12 and provides an opportunity
for them to earn college credit when completed.
This is the third year for Project Lead the Way courses at JCD,
according to Jr./Sr. High School Principal Johnny Budd. The
curriculum and lab as well as all equipment and supplies needed
were funded through grants from such organizations as the Indiana
Virtual Academy, Workforce Development and EcO 15, which is
for $103,000 over the next three years.
The EcO 15 grant has allowed us to offer the third year
Digital Electronics course, said Budd. Without the
grant, this would not have been possible.
The current lab was expanded so that students are able to work
on projects at the same time. According to Budd, work benches
and room renovations were completed by JCD personnel.
As an instructor in the Principle of Engineering and the Digital
Electronics courses, Paul Thole was required to train two weeks,
learning the curriculum and the projects. According to Thole,
the training was extremely intensive with eight hours of instruction
and six hours of homework.
Projects for the courses included taking apart an everyday object
and then creating drawings of the parts on the specialized computer
software. In Digital Electronics, the students work on circuit
boards while learning from their mistakes along the way. The
classes allow the students to be creative and challenged as
well as learning teamwork skills, said Thole.
Glenn Unklesbay has been the high school band director for several
years before he was approached by Principal Budd to become an
instructor for the first year Introduction to Engineering course.
According to Unklesbay, he is enjoying his first year as a Project
Lead the Way instructor.
The engineering curriculum changes the way a student goes
about problem solving, he said. The students are learning
skills that they will use every day for the rest of their lives.
Both Thole and Unklesbay are passionate about the program and
believe that every student would benefit from the class even
if they do not become engineers. I think every student
at JCD should take Introduction to Engineering, said Unklesbay.
I hope that parents realize what a great opportunity these
classes are for the students, said Thole. I would
like for them to encourage their children to try the introduction
Students who have completed all three courses at JCD can continue
their engineering studies at the Southeastern Career Center
through the Advanced Engineering course, also part of the Project
Lead the Way program.
What impresses me the most is the way the students cant
wait to get started, said Cheryll Obendorf, Ripley County
EcO15 Coordinator. The program brings a new excitement to education.
BETH RUMSEY PHOTO
Senior Jonathan Siegert works on the day's assignment
in the newly renovated Project Lead the Way lab, funded
by grants through Indiana Virtual Academy, Workforce Development,