Celebrating the holiday season

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Students and staff took full advantage of “Ugly Sweater Day” at Marshalltown High School. Pictured, from left: staff members Justin Boliver, Calvin Scales and Chad Weir, as well as students Mia Rasmusson, Mariana Ramirez, Jordan Perry, Aidan Hugen, Jillian Long and Sandra Faltys. 

Winter break has come to Marshalltown Schools, and across the district students and staff took time to celebrate the season with ugly sweaters, gift-giving and charitable donations before classes ended for calendar year 2019.

Elementary students sing, show appreciation for public safety officials

Music is a big part of the holiday season, and hundreds of Marshalltown elementary school students spread cheer by singing to community members, including some of the most important workers in the Marshalltown community – public safety officials. 

Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper and Lt. Rick Bellile were joined by Marshalltown Fire Chief David Rierson at Hoglan Elementary Thursday morning for a rousing round of holiday music sung by hundreds of students in the school’s gym. 

The three were then presented with holiday treats and kind letters from Hoglan students and staff. 

Kindness Club students at Anson Elementary also took time to write letters and put together snack packs for police officers and firefighters. Officer Eric Siemens and firefighters Cody German and Alex Needham stopped by the school to greet the students and pick up the treats and cards for delivery to their departments. 

Anson students also got out into the community Friday for caroling at the Marshalltown Hy-Vee store, bringing some holiday cheer before going home for break. 

Bobcats contribute to charitable efforts

Each year, Marshalltown staff members take time and put in effort to bring some joy to local families in need during the holiday season. 

This year was no different, with several Adopt-a-Family efforts in partnership with the Salvation Army of Marshalltown. Anson Elementary staff collected gifts for two local families and Central Office staff held a similar drive. 

Several food drives took place at Marshalltown Schools in the month of December as well, including at Miller Middle School, Lenihan Intermediate School, Hoglan Elementary, and this one at Rogers Elementary, among others. 


Anson Elementary staff were among the many district employees who gave to the Adopt-a-Family program this holiday season.

Ugly sweaters everywhere!

Bobcats all over Marshalltown had a bit of fun with the last day of classes before winter break Friday, donning colorful, “ugly” holiday sweaters and other festive garbs. Check them out below!

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Fisher Elementary staff had a blast on the last day of school before break. Pictured, back row: Austin Craig, Sue Cleveringa, Teia Anderson and Heather Van Buren. Front row: Jackie Vega and Carley Sullivan. 

We at Marshalltown Community School District wish everyone happy holidays and a safe, fun, relaxing winter break. The break runs Monday, Dec. 23, 2019 to Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. We look forward to welcoming students back in the new year!


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MHS students showcase poetry skills


This year’s Marshalltown High School Poetry Out Loud leaders included, from left: Ashlyn Ruiz, Ana Nolasco Osegueda, Olivia Adams-Zmolek and Carmen Araiza Solorio.

The 12th Annual Marshalltown High School Poetry Out Loud contest provided engaging, thought-provoking competition earlier this week. 

The contest winner, junior Olivia Adams-Zmolek, will for the third year in a row represent the Marshalltown Bobcats at the Iowa Poetry Out Loud competition in Des Moines on March 8, 2020. She performed “Fate” by Carolyn Wells and “Dirge Without Music” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. 

Olivia and fellow performers Heather Junk, Carmen Araiza Solorio, Leticia Herrera, Averi Bolar, Ashlyn Ruiz and Ana Nolasco Osegueda took turns reciting poetry they had been studying for several weeks at Tuesday’s event. Student Kaiden McWilliams also worked hard in preparation, though he was unable to attend the contest.

Ana took home the second place prize, while Ashlyn and Carmen tied for third place. The panel of judges included MHS alumni and former Poetry Out Loud school champions Melissa Niessen, Chandler Fisher and Ellen Podhajsky. 

Each year, about 150,000 students from all 50 states compete in Poetry Out Loud. The winner of the March 8 state contest in Des Moines will join the other state winners in Washington, D.C. in April of 2020. At stake will be $50,000 in scholarships. 

For more information on Poetry Out Loud, click here.

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Community kindness

Fundraiser addresses outstanding student lunch accounts

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Brothers and MCSD alumni Tom Wise, left, and John Wise, center, have helped lead an effort to raise funds toward addressing student lunch debt. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented the two with certificates of appreciation at Monday’s school board meeting.


Many generous Marshalltown community members and businesses have been working hard to raise funds to address outstanding student lunch account debt in recent weeks, and their work was recognized by the Marshalltown School Board Monday. 

Two key figures in the effort, brothers Tom and John Wise, said they were inspired by La Carreta Mexican Grill owner Alfonso Medina, Jr.’s donation to the same cause in October. When they heard about that donation, they began planning to put together more funds to go toward the lunch accounts. 

So far, more than $15,000 has been raised. 

“I hope we get $20,000 (or) $25,000,” John Wise said. “I think it’s a good cause.” 

Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the effort is heartwarming and will benefit many students and families. 

“It’s an astonishing gift of generosity,” he said. “On behalf of our kids, our families and our district, we are just so greatly appreciative of this gift.”

Partners in the fundraising effort include Anderson Funeral Homes, Dave Wright Auto, Jensen Inc., John and Cynthia Wise, Marshalltown Company, Mary McGregor, Mitchell Family Funeral Home, Sho-Biz Inc. Minuteman, Shomo-Madsen Insurance, Steve and Mary Rund, Thomas and Shelley Wise and United Bank and Trust. 

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Rogers Elementary students, staff collect items for Emergency Food Box

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Rogers students worked hard to help collect food for the Emergency Food Box. Back row, from left – Elynn Garcia, Estrella Mendoza Luis, Dulce Arauza, Jeanelle Martinez Ramirez, Usher Bollas, Brandon Avalos Lopez, and Brianna Mendoza. Front row, from left – Amiah Sales, Chastelyn Martinez, Juliana Davila, Jesus Reyes Sease, and Julia Meh. 

Rogers Elementary students and staff celebrated the season of giving by collecting food items for the Emergency Food Box. 

The donations were collected for the month of December and students learned the value of caring for others in need. Both students and staff enjoyed the feeling of giving to the Emergency Food Box. 

“It makes me feel good because we get to help people that don’t have enough stuff. It is exciting to help people who may not have a home or food. It feels good to be a good person,” said Rogers student Juliana Davila. 

For more information on the Emergency Food Box, click here.

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Marshalltown students sweep calendar art contest

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The Marshall County Landfill calendar contest winners were honored at the Marshalltown Public Library earlier this week. From left: Back row – Nancy Mach of the Marshall County Landfill, Keyla Castellanos Perez, Katelynn Hagen, Faith Sommerlot, Romina Avina and Arianie Hidalgo. Front row – Cin Lian, Esli Yael Castellanos Perez, Lucia Contreras Ordaz, Rylie Kelderman and Khine Soe.

Marshalltown Schools elementary students’ creativity and art skills were recognized recently, with all of the top 13 art pieces in the Marshall County Landfill’s annual poster calendar contest belonging to Marshalltown students.

The contest, held in partnership between the landfill and Iowa Valley Community College District, is open K-6 students throughout Marshall County and received more than 900 art submissions this year. The calendar theme is “Protect Our Species.”

The contest cover winner was Anson Elementary fourth grader Keyla Castellanos Perez. She won $100 and her art will be displayed on the front of the 2019-20 landfill calendar. 

Students whose art will be featured on the calendar’s individual month pages include

  • January – Khine Soe, Anson fourth grader
  • February – Belen Dulce Hernandez Guido, Hoglan Elementary fourth grader
  • March – Katelynn Hagen, Fisher Elementary fourth grader
  • April – Romina Pamela Andrade Avina, Anson third grader
  • May – Arianie Hidalgo-Placencia, Woodbury Elementary fourth grader
  • June – Rylie Kelderman, Anson second grader 
  • July – Amy Fonthip Manivanh, Hoglan third grader
  • August – Lucia Contreras Ordaz, Anson fourth grader
  • September – Cin Lian, Anson fourth grader
  • October – Faith Sommerlot, Hoglan third grader
  • November – Esli Yael Castellanos Perez, Anson second grader
  • December – Zoe Davenport, Hoglan fourth grader

Each of the students whose art will be featured with a month won a $10 prize for their hard work. The students were recognized for their achievements at the Marshalltown Public Library Tuesday evening. 

For more information and to get a good look at the students’ art pieces, click here



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Marshalltown Learning Academy receives $10k STEM grant award


Two MLA students work at a mechanics education station purchased with a previous STEM BEST grant. The new grant is a separate award which will go toward a unit for electrical education

Marshalltown Learning Academy is one of a handful of schools across Iowa to be awarded a STEM BEST Program Enhancement Fund grant by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. 

The school was awarded $10,000 for the current school year after submitting a grant application. The funding comes from the STEM BEST Program Enhancement Fund and does not require a match.

The school was awarded with a separate STEM BEST grant of $25,000 in 2017. 

“MLA is excited to provide additional relevant, technical training experiences to students with this grant funding. Helping all of our students be Bobcat Ready for the world beyond school remains our highest priority,” said MLA Principal Eric Goslinga. 

The funding will be used to continue providing work-based learning education at the school. Those efforts include local business-education partnerships, such as internship and apprenticeship opportunities. 

For more information about the STEM BEST Program Enhancement Fund grant award, click here

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Lego League students show project to Noon Optimists

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Lenihan Lego League students perform their puppet show presentation on building stronger structures to withstand tornado winds to the Marshalltown Noon Optimist Club. Pictured, from left: Josue Corral Coronado, Gavin Staker, Jaeger Purchase, Levi Bell and Thaw Ta Soe.

The Lenihan Intermediate School Lego League team – the City Shaping Robot Bananas – presented their project presentation and programming to the Marshalltown Noon Optimist Club this week. 

The FIRST Lego League’s theme for the year is city shaping, which includes finding ways to make cities and communities more sustainable. The students’ goal is to define a problem that is local to their community, create an innovative solution or improve upon an existing solution to the problem, and then present their research as a part of their competition. 

The City Shaping Robot Bananas selected the problem of a lack of structures that can withstand the winds of a tornado. Their solution was to build a large concrete structure that could be a community tornado safety area as well as double up as a homeless shelter, which would be a potential solution to another problem in our community. Their description of the solution was presented in the form of a humorous puppet show.

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The students showed off their creativity and engineering skills as they had a robot complete several tasks on a table full of Lego obstacles. Pictured, from left: Jaden Schwartz, Nicholas Wise, Thaw Ta Soe and Matthew Bradley.

“The Noon Optimist Club have been fantastic supporters of our program. We really appreciate having them as our test audience so the students know what needs some polishing before we go to competition,” said Lenihan Extended Learning Program instructor Vanessa Engel. “The group is always so supportive and it really helps build the kids’ confidence.” 

The students have enjoyed the challenge and fun brought by the project.
“I think it’s cool doing research to solve a real problem.  It makes this really interesting,” said Lenihan student Zane Moore.

Zane and classmates Levi Bell, Jaden Schwartz, Josue Corral Coronado, Aidan Boozell, Thaw Ta Soe, Gavin Stake, Jaeger Purchase, Nicholas Wise, and Matthew Bradley will take part in the FIRST Lego League competition at Marshalltown High School Dec. 14. 


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