Bobcat students participate in playing of ‘Taps’ nationwide this Memorial Day

Taps Across America

Several Marshalltown residents took part in Monday’s “‘Taps’ Across America” musical event. Three MHS Bobcat students were among them, including Eysak Stanfield (bottom left), Lydia Hayes (middle right), and Tristan Weir (bottom right). Also pictured are community members Burt Tecklenburg (top left), Todd Metge (bottom center), and Brian Cox (top right).

Unique public health circumstances may have impacted many Memorial Day traditions earlier this week, but that didn’t stop several Bobcats from taking part in a new tradition to commemorate America’s fallen service members.

Responding to a nationwide call to “Play ‘Taps’ Across America” on Memorial Day Monday, several Marshalltown Schools students picked up their instruments and added to the chorus.

Participating students included junior Lydia Hayes. sophomore Eysak Stanfield and junior Tristan Weir. Lydia played the famous, somber tune on the flute while Eysak and Tristan employed trumpets.

“It was very exciting and there was excellent feedback,” said MHS Instrumental Music Director Brett Umthun. “One neighbor asked the student to do it again next year. They got inspired and played taps at a cemetery.”

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Nine Bobcat seniors to graduate high school with an associate’s degree


These nine Bobcats are graduating high school with an associate’s degree from Marshalltown Community College this year. They are, from left: Carmen Araiza, Mia Barajas, Olivia Brintnall, Grace Fisher, Saylor Hempy, Amanda Hoffman, Trevor Ketcham, Kaci Uhde, and Liz Vargas.

Nine Class of 2020 Bobcat seniors are being rewarded for their hard work and dedication as their final year of high school comes to a close – all will graduate from high school with associate’s degrees. The graduate include: 

  • Carmen Araiza
  • Mia Barajas
  • Olivia Brintnall 
  • Grace Fisher
  • Saylor Hempy
  • Amanda Hoffman
  • Trevor Ketcham
  • Kaci Uhde
  • Liz Vargas

The dual-enrollment partnership between Marshalltown Schools and Marshalltown Community College provides opportunities for high school students to take college coursework. The dual-credit courses are free to students and offer them additional high-quality learning opportunities.

The nine Bobcats Class of 2020 dual-enrollment graduates will leave high school with their diploma and associate’s degree in hand, ready for post-secondary life. 

Congratulations to all of these remarkable students!

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Pizza Hut, Wendy’s make delicious additions to student meals

Food story 1

Pizza Hut pizzas arrived at meal prep sites around the district this week, and fresh slices were added to students’ meals at school sites and on Meals Close to Home bus routes. Pictured, from left, are MCSD Food Service employees Amanda Torres, Karla Sperry, and Gabby Paz.

Providing meals to students is a Marshalltown Community School District priority, especially in the current time of crisis, and this week restaurants Pizza Hut and Wendy’s offered yummy surprises for students in support of the district’s meals program.

Students who picked up meals mid-week this week noticed a slice of Pizza Hut pizza included in their grab-and-go bag. A coupon for one free Wendy’s Jr. Frosty was also included with each meal. Both restaurant companies have locations in Marshalltown.

Food story 3

Free Wendy’s Jr. Frosty coupons were packed with student meals earlier this week, providing a fun surprise.

I am so thankful to Pizza Hut for donating enough pizza to feel all children for a meal, and I’m thankful to Wendy’s for providing the Frosty coupons,” said MCSD Food Service Director Lynn Large. “During the school year, Pizza Hut Day is one of the kid’s favorite meals and I hope this gesture lets the kids know just how much we are missing them.” 

She said the gesture also shows students how much the community cares about them during the difficult time brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s so awesome to see businesses come forward wanting to give back in this time of uncertainty,” she said.

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Heritage Spanish Resource Center classroom coming to Marshalltown High School

Heritage Spanish WEB

MHS Spanish teacher Kristin Stuchis, second from left, applied for the The Lori Ann Schwab ’95 Alumni Grant to bring a Heritage Spanish Resource Center classroom to high school students. Pictured from left is University of Northern Iowa professor Dr. Elise DuBord, Stuchis, UNI student and MHS graduate Martha Ortiz Diaz and UNI professor Dr. Juan Carlos Castillo at a Heritage Spanish event last year.

A Heritage Spanish Resource Center will be coming to a Marshalltown High School classroom after a successful grant application by MHS Spanish teacher Kristin Stuchis.

“I am honored, humbled, and excited to receive the Lori Ann Schwab ‘95 Alumni Grant,” Stuchis said, adding the grant totals $1,650 toward the resource center. “The funds will establish a classroom Heritage Spanish Resource Center that features Latinx authors and is for students who grew up with the Spanish language. The HSRC will engage and empower students through stories that resonate more closely with their life experiences.”

Being a Grinnell College alum allowed Stuchis the opportunity to apply for the grant. She said she applied because she believes in the importance of providing relevant texts that mirror our students’ diverse stories and is inspired to contribute to the culturally responsive environment at MHS.

“These resources will broaden students’ perspective, help them realize that they have important stories to tell, and to discover that through writing that they have the power to make the world a better place,” Stuchis said.

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Elementary students find resourceful, creative ways to make art

Outdoor art WEB

Rogers Elementary first-grader Zakarria Johnson (left) and Anson Elementary fourth-grader Keyla Castellanos (right) used objects found in nature to create art.

Creating art is an important part of the education of young Bobcats, and being unable to physically attend art classes has not stopped students’ creative drive.

Elementary art teachers Danielle Platt, Nancy Cross and Maggie Parks have encouraged their students to continue creating while they’re at home. The teachers have been compiling photos of students’ artwork throughout the closure period.

Drawings art WEB

Several students (and parents) have created unique drawings. Top: Fisher first-grader Piper Peitig; Center: art by  Franklin kindergartner Ashlynn Goings and her mother; Bottom: Franklin kindergartner Nolan Schmit shows off his colorful drawing.

“Art is therapy,” said Platt, who teaches Anson and Hoglan elementary students. “I know art helps me to think through life and can distract me from my troubles. So, when these kids do their art projects with me or with their families, it is helping them mentally and sometimes physically, too.”

Fisher and Woodbury elementary art teacher Maggie Parks said she has enjoyed watching students show their resourcefulness while working on art projects.

“One of my favorite activities was when the students created artwork with found objects outside, in the spirit of Andrew Goldsworthy,” she said. “Another of my favorites was asking the students to recreate a famous work of art by posing like it. This activity has been popular across the country thanks to the Getty Museum Challenge.”

Check out the images to see what MCSD elementary students have been creating during the school closure.

Imitation art WEB

Woodbury second-grader Theodore Lewis recreates Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” (left) and Anson third-grader Hannah Klaas gives her rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine” painting.


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Sibling students create daily publication, build creativity skills

MM combo WEB

Sibling Bobcat students James and Lily Marquess are making the most of their time at home from school during the public health situation; the two have produced a daily publication – “Marquess Mayhem” – each day since schools closed in mid-March. 

James, a Hoglan Elementary 4th grader, and Lily, a Miller Middle School 8th grader, said the project has kept them both busy and entertained over the past several weeks. 

“I get to write about things that are big in my life,” James said. “I like learning things. I search, I learn, and then I try to summarize it.” 

He said he particularly enjoys writing about animals and events from his daily life. 

Lily said she is happy to have “Marquess Mayhem” to concentrate on during the unusual situation with COVID-19. Like her brother, Lily said she finds great joy in writing about things that interest her.

“I have an article that’s about a bunch of random facts,” Lily said. “I do the National Day article. There’s always something about that. Today was Dance Like a Chicken Day.” 

Marquess Mayhem WEB

The Marquess siblings, James (left) and Lily (right), work together on an edition of “Marquess Mayhem.”

The siblings said they have learned quite a bit from their project. James said he enjoys learning new things as he researches topics to write about, and he also enjoys sharing what he learns with his family and friends who receive the newsletter. 

Lily said she enjoys looking up facts, adding the project has developed her researching skills. 

The students’ mother, Bethany Currie, said inspiration for the publication came from a family friend, whose family makes a weekly newsletter to send out to loved ones. She said Lily and James devote a lot of time to ensuring each edition has fun, interesting information. 

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Marshalltown Tennis Complex construction project being live-streamed

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Heavy equipment is on-site at the Marshalltown Tennis Complex. This shot was taken from the new live stream of the construction project. 

Work has begun to improve the tennis complex at Marshalltown High School, and a live stream of the project went online Friday afternoon.

The live stream enables community members to check in on the project, which will add six new tennis courts, three new pickleball courts, and will include the renovation of the eight existing tennis courts into six new courts.

Additionally, the project will include a new parking lot along S. 2nd Ave., restroom and storage facilities, and lighting for the pickleball courts and the six new tennis courts.

The project live stream can be seen here, at the MCSD YouTube Channel, as well as on the MCSD website homepage.

The project was made possible with the help of the Marth-Ellen Tye Foundation and the City of Marshalltown. For more information, click here.

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