Education & Agriculture

    At the Monday night Central Community High School board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Dustin Foutch brought up the possibility of Central High School starting a bass fishing club.
    He said athletic director Neil Hamon brought up the idea and the club would be able to participate in the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) sectional and state competitions, but would not be considered an athletic “sport” at Central. He said most bass fishing clubs are sponsored by high schools and boat “captains” are unpaid volunteers. 
    "There has been considerable interest in starting a bass fishing club at the high school and it was the number one activity I was asked about while giving tours to groups of incoming freshmen," Foutch said.
    Foutch asked the board for approval and to explore the possibility more thoroughly and the board agreed.
    In other news, Foutch said that a great deal of work continues to progress on the renovation and building projects. 
    "The HVAC Art Room Duct Heater project is complete and we received an invoice from Glaenzer Electric in the amount of $4,250 for the electrical portion of that project," he said. 
    He added that outdoor renovations have focused mainly on the junior varsity baseball field. 
    "The fencing project is nearly complete and grass has been planted in the outfield," he said, adding that the outfield grass is not growing as expected and will need to be slit seeded in the fall. 
    "The summer building renovations are going very well," he said. "The new math classrooms and technology offices have been wired and drywall has been installed."
    He said that there  was an issue with the new hallway that will be joining into the band “storidor” from the east wing hallway, where there were header and drywall modifications needed to ensure the hallway could be installed. 
    The cost of this change order was $6,872.56. The board approved the change order. 
    In addition, Martin Fence has begun work on the protective fence around the bottom of the football field grandstand and should be completed well before the mid-August deadline. 
    They have also scheduled work to begin on the East Gym sound system and Commons projection system this summer. 
    "Cignal Systems Inc. will be completing both of these projects with the combined cost of both projects at $12,975," Foutch said. "When this price is compared to the $16,000 bid we received last year just to complete the commons project alone, I felt that Cignal gave us a very competitive price."
    The board approved the purchase.
    Foutch said that they have not received official information regarding the Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Perkins Tutorial grant commitments or allocations, but every indication shows the people at the CTE office have confirmed a likely approval. 
    "Just as other years, we are hopeful that we can supplement the RTI (Response to Intervention) tutoring services with supply and material money from the Career and Technical Education grant program annually received from the CTE system," he said, adding that they have Mrs. Stacy Schroeder supervising the program and have confirmed with Mrs. Dawn Becker that she will return as the tutor on grant funds. 
    "When we get word, we will move forward with the CTE part of the program.  This program also affects the purchase of other items for the CTE teachers here at Central who are planning on certain supplies, materials and equipment as well," he said.
    The board approved to hire Mason Kuper as a special education aide. 
    "As you recall, Mason was recently hired as an assistant soccer coach and I think he would be a good, positive addition to our special education staff," said Foutch. "Mr. Kuper is a certified teacher and from what I have seen, he is enthusiastic and should relate well to our students."
    The calendar for the start of the 2019-20 school year is as follows:
    • Aug. 1: Registration Day (8 a.m. to  7 p.m.)
    • August 2, 5, 6: Registration Days (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
    • Thursday, Aug. 15: Teacher Institute Day and Freshman Orientation (7 p.m.)
    • Friday, Aug. 16: First day of school (8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.). All students in attendance
    • Monday, Aug. 19: First full school day
    • Tuesday, Aug. 20: Photo Day
    Central Community High School board meetings are held the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at Central.

By Ken DeCoster
Rockford Register Star
apolloLeft: Retired engineer Ted Biondo holds a July 21, 1969, copy of St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper. Right: Kaney Aerospace engineering manager Rudy Valdez is pictured with an award he received in 2005 for overseeing Sundstrand's contributions to NASA's Space Shuttle program. (Photos by Ken Decoster, staff)    Fifty years after the Apollo 11 lunar landing, some of the region’s rocket scientists are recalling how the historic mission inspired them to work in the space program — and predicting that the U.S. will resume crewed space missions to the moon and beyond.
    Retired engineer Bob Guirl of Rockford was 8 when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin steered the lunar module Eagle to the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.
    “It was the awe of the astronauts flying away, landing and coming home,” Guirl said, as he recalled watching the lunar landing while in the living room of his family's Rockford home. “We drew the curtains so we could see the black-and-white TV on the little roll-around metal cart. I was lying on the floor watching them (astronauts) climbing down the steps.”
    Guirl was hooked.
    After graduating from Guilford High School, Guirl earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois before landing a job working on the space program at Sundstrand, now Collins Aerospace. Today, the Rockford area boasts the sixth-largest concentration of aerospace employment in the United States.
    “It was kind of inspiring,” he said. “Me, a rocket scientist. I didn’t think that would ever be in my purview. I was an engineer and the space program was interesting and captivating and unique. Kind of all drawn from those early memories of that (Apollo 11) launch and that landing and that return.”

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