Fountain Hills Schools…Excelling Kids to a Strong Future

For the second year, Fountain Hills High School students set a Guiness World Record in Potato Launching. Here, Freshman Garrett Sweetland prepared for his record launch of 17 from his homemade launcher.

For the second year, Fountain Hills High School students set a Guiness World Record in Potato Launching. Here, Freshman Garrett Sweetland prepared for his new world-record launch of 17 from his homemade launcher.

Potato Launching World Records.  The Invention Convention.  A “Model City” Civics Experiment for 5th Graders that would make any college professor proud.  It’s the end of the school year, and kids in the Fountain Hills School District are eager to display this year’s academic achievements before they move on.  Whether it’s high school graduation or  a gradeschool Science Fair, the Fountain Hills School District gave us PLENTY of reasons to be impressed (okay, awed might be more the term in a couple instances) and to believe that our future just might be in good hands with these kids.

If there was a TV show called “Extreme Creativity,” the Fountain Hills teachers and school administration could fill an entire season.  In our family, we were privileged to be involved in several great examples of how educators are combining clever, real life scenarios to challenge these future leaders beyond science, math and social studies.

Nick Laessig and Grace Loisi, 8th Inventors of the "Remote Guard"

Nick, an 8th Grader, spent the past six weeks struggling to invent a marketable item.  As the project unfurled, he was tasked to overcome the challenges of design, production, supply chain and marketing.  At the 8th Grade “Invention Convention”  the last week of school, everyone in the class then had to sell their product to visitors (buyers) who each magically arrived with $1,000 (fake) dollars to spend.  I will tell you it was not easy deciding which of the 100+ inventions to choose from…they were all well-thought, cleverly marketed and aggressively “hawked” by kids who were experiencing for the first time the realities of hope, optimisim, preparation, success and customer rejection in a heavy dose of adult-like reality.  But, most important–it was fun and they learned volumes.

5th Graders Preparing for C4 Day

Fifth Grader Katie had the chance to participate in a model city experiment called C4 (Community, Citizenship and Careers in the Classrooms).  This project is not unlike the Junior Achievement “BizTown” that Fountain Hills 5th Graders have often participated in the past.  However, due to budget cutbacks and the huge cost of bussing students to BizTown in Phoenix, the Fountain Hills district came up with it’s own version. (This allowed the students to participate in the preparation during the preceding weeks.  In comparison to Nick’s experience several years ago, I noticed Katie was more geared up and excited about the learning opportunity…so the district saved money and made the event even more meaningful!!)  Students were writing checks. Others were researching currency. Still more were taking inventory in a makeshift warehouse while a guard asked any visitor to “Please sign in.” Students managed transactions, determining what jobs needed to be created, and then hiring individuals to do the work.

I suspect that hosting C4 Day was loads of extra work for already taxed teachers, but my hat goes off to them for creating such a vital and meaningful experience for our kids.  It’s just one of many examples I witnessed recently that help to understand why the Fountain Hills School District is consistently an “Excelling” School District.

And the proof is in the pudding……Fountain Hills High School Senior Awards Night occurred on May 11th.  A whopping $2.5 million in earned college scholarships for 170+ graduates was awarded, including 33 local scholarships for almost $50,000…our students have once again proven how hardworking and deserving they are.  Congratulations to the class of 2011 and their parents!

Select photos and text courtesy of The Fountain Hills Times.

Dori Wittrig, Designated Broker of Sonoran Lifestyle Real Estate

Posted by Dori Wittrig, Designated Broker, Sonoran Lifestyle Real Estate.  For more information about buying or selling homes in Fountain Hills, Scottsdale Mountain and the area around the McDowell Mountains, give her a call at 602-558-5901


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