It was a busy night at the Fairbury School Board meeting as members of the Starck family presented the school district with a bench to honor former school board member Brian Starck, who passed away after a battle with colon cancer. The school board also had the opportunity to see speeches from members of the Fairbury Speech Team and to discuss possible updates to the courses offered at the high school.
Colton Starck, Brian’s son, presented the bench with his sister Kacy, his Uncle Alan Black and his Grandfather Roger Starck, explaining that this project has been in the works for a while. Colton is grateful for all of the support they have received to make this donation possible.
“I would first like to thank Diode for helping pay for the plaque that has our dad on it,” said Colton. “I would also like to thank my Uncle Alan Black for helping to pay for the wood and put together the bench. It turned out very nice. I also would like to thank Mr. Kroon (Nicholas Kroon, Principal at Fairbury Jr./Sr. High) for helping communicate with the school board, and also the school board for approving it. Tomorrow is our dad’s birthday, so it means a lot that we can get it approved and here.”
The bench will be placed in the hallway at the ‘47 Building, outside of the conference room where the school board meets.
Speech team members Michaela Buchli, Garret Ragland and Althea Esteller presented their speeches to the school board members during the meeting. Head Coach Aaron Leibel explained that they are having a strong year so far, already outdoing last year’s medal count with a total of 24 medals. He expects that number to continue to rise.
Also during the meeting, Kroon stated that they are working to develop career pathways at the high school to help students gain vocational skills they can use in future careers. He believes these career education pathways will be important to offer, especially since new educational requirements are forcing the school to drop three dual-credit courses—Honors English One and Two, as well as College Algebra.
“A lot of people are talking more about the career and technical education programs where, with the skilled labor force, a two-year degree or less is going to become very important,” Kroon said. “It can be a lot cheaper for kids too. We are going to create a three to five year action plan on how we want to start implementing things at our high school, and even in the elementary and junior high levels, about getting some of our kids informed about career and technical education and some of those jobs that might happen there.
“We’re kind of speaking of pathways where kids can have introductory, intermediate and a capstone course,” Kroon continued. “Right now we have a welding pathway; so a kid can take those three courses and have a really good foundational knowledge where they’re ready to go off and get the training or just go right into the job force. So we’re exploring more ways we can do that in other fields. The dual-credit courses are another thing that will have to mesh in with that. It’s nice to have dual credit courses taught by our instructors and a huge benefit to our kids. So, we’re hoping that some of the things in place for teachers to get their Masters in that area will help do that going forward.”
Also during the meeting, the school board approved resurfacing the gym floor at the high school, purchasing new bleachers to replace the original bleachers at the high school gym, and leveling the floor in the music room at the high school and installing new carpet.