Vinemont INSPIRESS team (L-R): teacher/sponsor Shannon Bridges, Baylee Jennings, Hillary Holcomb, Jamie Marotz, Abby Sikes, Derrick Ransom, Justin Hoffman, Braxton Thompson / W.C. Mann
HANCEVILLE – On Thursday evening, the Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE) stepped outside the central office to hold its regular meeting at Hanceville Middle School as part of an effort to be more visible to its communities. At that meeting, the board approved multiple facility improvements and celebrated the achievement of a group of its students.
Facility repair projects
The board approved $323,980 in bids from Miller Roofing, Inc. to replace storm-damaged roofs on multiple buildings at Cold Springs High School including the Ponder House, concession stand, library, band building and gym.
Additionally, the board approved:
- An additional $1,500 to a previously-approved bid for replacement of plywood roof sheathing nail base due to existing water damage at Harmony School.
- A reduced bid from Miller Roofing for re-roofing and other renovations at Welti Elementary School. Miller’s original bid of $32,335 was over the board’s budget for the project, so the amount was reduced by 10 percent to $29,101.
Superintendent Shane Barnette recognized ICE, the team from Vinemont High School which, in December, won its division in InSPIRESS competition at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).
The “Innovative System Project for the Increased Recruitment of Emerging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Students” (InSPIRESS) is an outreach project of UAH’s Integrated Product Team program with sponsors and partners like NASA and Boeing, which allows high school students to work with undergraduate engineering students, according to the program’s website, “to develop and design a scientific payload to be accommodated on a spacecraft which is designed by undergraduate students in the UAH IPT project. High school students collaborate with the undergraduate engineering students to understand the engineering requirements, the design process, and the role a customer plays in design. InSPIRESS teams compete for selection by the undergraduate engineering teams. (www.inspiress.org/InSPIRESS)
With a hypothetical mission plan of exploring ways to facilitate human habitation on the moon, Vinemont’s team designed a scientific payload that would explore craters in search of water in the form of ice, and performed outreach activities to measure community interest in STEM.
Barnette asked the team members to introduce themselves and share their future plans with the board and audience.
- Baylee Jennings – planning to attend Auburn University to study veterinary medicine
- Hillary Holcomb – planning to attend UNA and UAB to study biomedical engineering
- Jamie Marotz – planning to attend Wallace State to study nursing, and UAB to study obstetrics and gynecology
- Abby Sikes – planning to go into elementary education or pediatric nursing
- Derrick Ransom – planning to attend Auburn University to study mechanical engineering
- Justin Hoffman – planning to attend UNA and UAB to study optometry
- Braxton Thompson – planning to attend UAH to study chemical engineering
The team will travel to Washington D.C. this summer to present its design to NASA.
Other board business
The board approved out-of-state trip requests for:
- Holly Pond Middle School’s sixth-grade science class to visit the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, in March
- Fairview High School’s and Vinemont High School’s bands to visit Universal Studios in Orlando for a combined band performance in March
- Parkside’s eighth-grade class to visit Six Flags in Atlanta for a math and science event in April
Barnette commented on the recent school closings stemming from the winter weather, saying that since Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency, schools will not have to make up either of the lost days.
The CCBOE’s next scheduled meeting is on Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. in the Holly Pond High School library, with work session at 5:30. The public is invited to attend.
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