Curiosity led MHS graduate into engineering field


Meredith Bell is manager of materials engineering at Emerson/Fisher in Marshalltown. She is a 1999 Marshalltown High School graduate.

It’s safe to say Meredith Bell had an interest in how things work at a young age.

“My mom said when I was three I learned how to fix the vacuum,” Bell said. “I grew up curious on how things worked.”

That curiosity led the 1999 Marshalltown High School graduate to study engineering at Iowa State University.

She is currently manager of materials engineering at Emerson/Fisher in Marshalltown. Her department supports the global valve manufacturer on material engineering concerns.

“It’s challenging and always something new and we are pretty passionate about it,” Bell said.

She is married to Kansas native and fellow Emerson/Fisher engineer Brandon Bell and the couple has three young children.

Somehow amid a busy home and work life, Meredith also makes time to give back to the community. She is part of the Assistance League, the Fisher Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, is on committees for Iowa Valley Leadership and the police/fire building and is active in other church and civic organizations.

“Volunteering is a calling of mine,” she said. “I give back and help other people be successful in their endeavors.”

Bell said she had “a lot of great teachers” at Marshalltown High School who helped prepare her to handle the rigors of college. Her parents, Bob and Karen Berger, still live in town.

Bell said Marshalltown has a nice blend of small town charm and nearby amenities. She is also part of a group of young professionals who are helping shape the future of the community.

“I’m excited to see people stepping up again and revitalizing the town in a different and modern way,” Bell said.

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Two open house events planned for Roundhouse Phase 2 design updates

The Marshalltown Community School District will host two open house events for the community to receive an update on the preliminary design for the construction of Phase 2 of the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse.

One open house will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22 in the MHS Roundhouse team room.

An additional open house will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 6 in the district board room in the administration center at 1002 S. 3rd. Ave. It will be held prior to the 6 p.m. board meeting that night.

Roundhouse Phase 2 will include a wrestling room and an auxiliary gym. FEH Design is the architect for the project and representatives from the company will be in attendance at the open house events.

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Desy’s Destiny: Fifth grader wants to be a doctor


Desy Sung is a fifth grader at Lenihan Intermediate School and wants to be a doctor someday.

Desy Sung and her family moved to America seeking a better life. And Desy is on track to make sure she takes full use of that opportunity.

Her family fled Burma as refugees to Malaysia and made its first American stop in Buffalo, New York. Eventually, they made their way to Marshalltown, where other family members were located.

The 10-year-old is now in the fifth grade at Lenihan Intermediate School. She wants to be a doctor someday.

“I want to help people who are sick or need helping,” Desy said.

She might not yet be a doctor, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t help people right now. Desy is involved in the Lenihan student leadership group Richochet, which helps out with community projects and her teachers say she is kind and compassionate to her classmates. She also puts maximum effort into her class work.

“She is a fantastic kid,” said Lenihan teacher Diane Simpson.  “She always goes above and beyond in the classroom. I can tell she has such a high value for education.”

Desy admits she was shy when she arrived in Marshalltown and was a kindergarten student at Rogers Elementary School. She said school staff members, her friends and family helped her come out of her shell.

“They made me feel really comfortable and I started to love school and I still love school,” Desy said.

She has also become a budding writer. Desy’s work was recently honored by the American Legion as she won first place in a “What the Flag Means to Me” essay contest.

“I was really proud of myself ,” Desy said of her winning essay. “It was a really great experience.”

Opportunities will continue to open for Desy into the future.

“She takes advantage of every learning opportunity,” Simpson said.

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Preschool and kindergarten registration is February 25

Registration for preschool and kindergarten students in the Marshalltown Community School District for the 2017-18 school year will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2017 during the Healthy Family Fair at the Marshalltown Mall (2500 S. Center St.)

Preschool registration is for children 4 years old on or before Sept. 15, 2017. Kindergarten registration is for children 5 years old on or before Sept. 15, 2017. 

For preschool there is no registration fee or monthly tuition. Bring a copy of the child’s proof of birth. Preschool is offered in the morning or afternoon four days a week at all Marshalltown elementary schools. New this year will be bus transportation offerings for preschool students for MCSD resident students.

For kindergarten registration there is a $40 book fee (cash or check only). Bring a copy of the child’s proof of birth and immunization records.

For more information on this registration, visit the Marshalltown Schools website at or call 641-754-1000. Registration for grades 1-12 will be in June.

For a video on our preschool program, click here.

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Lenihan students awarded for flag essays

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These Lenihan Intermediate School students received recognition as part of an American flag essay contest from the Iowa Elks Association. Pictured, front row, from left, Willow Schmidt, Connor Hugen, Jason Strand, Averi Bolar and Kaisa Stanley. Second row, Locke Bloomquist, Ashten Finders, Annmarie Zhou, Elexus Ocasio and Lupita Ortiz. Back row, Yessenia Alvarez-Zamora, Sarah Gooding, Jenna Van Law, Joshua Reynolds and Jackson Bowie.

Several Lenihan Intermediate School students have been honored by the Iowa Elks Association for their “What the American Flag Means to Me” essays.

Six students received top three local awards in their categories including girls Averi Bolar (1st Place), Annmarie Zhou (2nd place) and Yessenia Alvarez-Zamora (3rd Place) and boys Jackson Bowie (1St Place), Locke Bloomquist (2nd Place) and Jason Strand (3rd Place). These placewinners will be invited by the Marshalltown Elks Lodge 312 to an awards night on June 15.

Lenihan teacher Vanessa Engel said the Iowa Elks Association was very impressed with all of the essays from Lenihan.

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MHS student awarded for writing science fiction novella


Marshalltown High School senior Colin Lura has been named an award winner in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards contest from the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa.

Marshalltown High School senior Colin Lura has been notified he is the recipient of the Silver Key award in Science Fiction as part of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards from the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa.

Lura submitted his novella “I, Jack Mason” for the contest. The science fiction piece centers on a man who is half human and half alien.

Lura said he started out writing the novella just for fun and then later realized he should turn it in for the contest after some encouraging from MHS staff.

“It’s always great to see students doing work outside of school and something that they are passionate about,” said MHS English teacher Jocelyn Frohwein.

Lura will receive his award on March 11 at the University of Iowa. He is already working on the next novella in the series.

“I just like using my imagination and getting my imagination out there,” Lura said.

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Successful season so far for MHS Show Choir South Side Transit

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Pictured are members of the Marshalltown High School Show Choir known as South Side Transit. The ensemble has had a successful season so far including a Grand Champion award at North Polk on February 11.

Ensemble received Grand Champion award at North Polk

The past couple of weeks have been very exciting for the Marshalltown High School Show Choir, known as South Side Transit. The ensemble, which includes 26 singers/dancers, eight show band members and six crew members, competed at the State Show Choir Festival held in the MHS/Community Auditorium on January 30. They earned straight Division I ratings from all three of their judges, but didn’t stop there. They took the constructive comments from their judges that evening and forged ahead to their most recent success.

South Side Transit competed at the North Polk Comet Sensation Show Choir Festival in Alleman on February 11. Their performance earned them top honors in several categories. They were honored to receive the caption awards for Best Male Vocals, Best Female Vocals, and Best Choreography, with one additional award going to senior, Nicholas Cooper, for Outstanding Male Soloist for his solo in “Transylvania Mania.” They also earned 1st place in the 4A division and were awarded Grand Champion overall of the festival.

“I am very proud of this group of performers,” said choir director Amy Ose. “They are not the biggest group out there, but they have a drive to succeed and are truly a pleasure to work with. They take constructive criticism and turn it around to better the group. Coming home with so many honors this past weekend was thrilling, but in the end, it is the family that this group has created amongst themselves that makes them so much fun to be with.”

South Side Transit is not done with their competition season. The group has one more competition at 1:50 p.m. Saturday, February 25 at Southeast Polk High School.

“We welcome any hometown family and friends to come down and help cheer us on in our quest for success,” Ose said.


South Side Transit in the “Ghostbusters” theme with Grand Champion award at North Polk.

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