Franklin hosts Fun with Food event


Franklin Elementary School hosted a Fun with Food event on March 17 to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle.

Franklin Elementary School hosted a Fun With Food event for third and fourth grade students and their families on March 17. More than 100 people attended the event and sampled healthy food and learned more about fitness and other health-related subjects.

The event is part of a Carol M. White Physical Education Progress (PEP) grant received by the Marshalltown Community School District. Several local community partners participated in this event including Central Iowa Healthcare (formerly MMSC), Mid-Iowa Community Action, ISU Extension, Hy-Vee and Marshalltown Schools Food Service.

The purpose of the PEP grant is to increase student personal health awareness and involve families, community members and educators as part of increasing students’ health awareness. Franklin school has a PEP team consisting of educators, the school nurse, physical education teacher, community members and parents.

For video from the event, click here.

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MHS state speech performers reach success

It was a successful trip for four Marshalltown High School students at the state individual speech competition on March 14 in Cedar Rapids.

MHS took five entries to state and came home with 14 out of 15 judges rating the school’s performers with a division 1 and one judge giving one performance a division 2.

MHS senior Libby Crawford, received a perfect score for her solo musical theater piece and received all-state honors. Junior Megan Emerson received perfect scores in both poetry and acting. MHS junior Elliot Weidenaar received two division 1 ratings and a division 2, for a division 1 overall score in literature program. Freshman Keyara McDowell moved the judges with her poetry piece, earning a perfect score in her first state competition.

“We are so proud of their work and dedication to the program and cannot wait to see what they will do in the future,” said MHS coach Brianna Yates.

Crawford will perform her solo musical theater piece at the All-State Speech Festival on March 30 at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

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Lenihan teams tackle Battle of the Books


This team of Lenihan Intermediate School students won the Battle of the Books on March 9 at the Marshalltown Public Library. Team members pictured from left, include Taylor Jones, Erin Stanley, Norah Wilson, Lilly Duff and Ellie Draisey. In the back row is Lenihan associate principal Liz Jurgensen and Marshalltown Mayor Jim Lowrance.

Teams from Lenihan Intermediate School placed in the top three places in the annual Battle of the Books Bash at the Marshalltown Public Library on March 9.

The team Bobcat Book Worms came in at first place and consisted of Taylor Jones, Erin Stanley, Norah Wilson, Lilly Duff and Ellie Draisey.

The Battle of the Books has 20 teams read 35 books over the course of several weeks and then take a test to gauge their knowledge of the books. Lenihan teams competed against each other and also teams from St. Francis Catholic School.

Also on the day, the teams dove deeper into the subject matter of some of the stories with special guest speakers and presentations at the library – including a magic show. All participants were also able to select a free book to take home, compliments of the library.

The second place team from Lenihan included Gia Hernandez, Lizbeth Garcia Tellez, Katelyn Stowe, Brynn Van Buren and Rebekah Stone.

The third place team included Xander Harwell, Keaghan Gorsuch, Oscar Morales, Brianna Medina and Rochelle Avalos. A team from St. Francis Catholic School won the spirit award.

Battle of the Books is an initiative to encourage students to read quality literature in genres they may normally never read.


Second place team


Third place team

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MHS senior places second at Poetry Out Loud state contest


Marshalltown High School senior Ellen Podhajsky placed second at the statewide Poetry Out Loud contest in Des Moines on March 8.

Marshalltown High School senior Ellen Podhajsky placed second in the statewide Poetry Out Loud contest on March 8 at the State Historical Building in Des Moines.

Podhajsky recited from memory “The Woman at the Washington Zoo” by Randall Jarrell and “The Windhover” by Gerald Manley Hopkins in the preliminary rounds. She then recited “A Graveyard” by Marianne Moore in the final round.

As a runner up, she won $100 for herself and $200 worth of poetry books for MHS.

Seventeen school finalists from throughout Iowa competed in the state Poetry Out Loud contest. First place went to Josie Kasik of Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School.

Poetry Out Loud is organized and facilitated at MHS through the Extended Learning Program teacher Susan Fritzell. Ellen worked with a mentor, retired speech coach from Tama, Gary Zmolek, as she prepared for the state contest.

Podhajsky won the MHS contest on Dec. 18, 2014.

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MHS advances four to state individual speech


The four Marshalltown High School students pictured have advanced to the state individual speech competition. From left, are Keyara McDowell, Megan Emerson, Libby Crawford and Elliot Weidenaar. The state contest is March 14 at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids.

Marshalltown High School has advanced four students in five total events to the state individual speech competition after a successful day last Saturday at the district contest.

MHS students who received Division I ratings at districts and have advanced to state include Libby Crawford in solo musical theater, Elliot Weidenaar in literature program, Keyara McDowell in poetry and Megan Emerson, advancing in both acting and poetry.

The IHSSA District Individual Speech Competition was held at Vinton-Shellsburg High School in Vinton on Feb. 28.

Three other MHS entries received Division II ratings and very positive comments from the judges at districts including Adrian Nunez in solo improv, Maria Urbina in storytelling and Keyara McDowell in acting.

“These kids have worked very hard this year and will continue to build their public speaking skills,” said MHS speech coach Brianna Yates. “Congratulations to all of these wonderful kids and best of luck to those advancing to state.”

The state competition will be March 14 at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids.

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MHS qualifies two for national speech tournament


MHS students Megan Emerson and Chandler Fisher have qualified for the National Speech and Debate Tournament.

Marshalltown High School students Chandler Fisher and Megan Emerson have qualified for the National Speech and Debate Tournament to be held in Dallas, Texas June 15-19.

Fisher and Emerson qualified by placing in the top two for Duo Interpretation at the recent East Iowa District Tournament in Iowa City. Their performance has them acting out historically significant events utilizing a previously published script.

“They put together a wonderful performance,” said MHS coach Brianna Yates. “They work very well together.”

Fisher, a senior, has now qualified for nationals for the second year in a row.

“It’s a lot of fun.” Fisher said. “I feel very proud to represent Marshalltown High School, especially on a national level.”

Emerson, a junior, has qualified for nationals for the first time.

“I’m really excited,” Emerson said.

MHS took three students to the East Iowa District tournament in four events. Elliot Weidenaar competed in two rounds of Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Emerson competed in three rounds of Dramatic Interpretation and three rounds of Duo Interpretation, and Fisher competed in two rounds of Original Oratory and three rounds of Duo Interpretation.

“This is our seventh consecutive year qualifying for nationals, and this year I have challenged our team to make it past the preliminary rounds,” said Dr. Janelle Hawk, director of forensics at MHS. “That means that they need to be in the top 60 after the end of Tuesday’s competition. I really think we can do it this year.”

While qualifying for the National Tournament is a great honor, it is also a burden on the speech and debate budget, Hawk said. The team is looking at ways to raise the extra funds needed to pay for the transportation and hotel fees. They will be holding tip nights at Pizza Ranch, and would welcome any and all donations from the community. Donations can be sent to Marshalltown High School, c/o Dr. Hawk, 1602 South 2nd Avenue, Marshalltown, IA 50158.

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Youth art show at Fisher Community Center


The Marshalltown Community School District will hold its annual Youth Art Show from Feb. 28 through March 25 at the Fisher Community Center.

A free opening reception is planned for the public from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 28) at the Fisher Community Center. The show is held in conjunction with Youth Art Month.

The show features approximately 300 works of art from students throughout the district, grades kindergarten through 12. Each art teacher chooses the finest examples produced in their classroom during the past year for display at the show.

The show is open during regular business hours at the center for the next month.

A committee from Central Office and the Marshalltown School Board will choose a collection of outstanding artwork from the show. These award-winning pieces will be labeled with a golden sticker for the opening reception and will all be framed and placed on display at Central Office following the show.

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