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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Minster sixth-graders pitch Ga-ga ball idea to school board

By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER - Board of education members received an offer they could not refuse Monday night. It came from sixth-graders intent on having an outdoor Ga-ga court for use at recess.
Student Shelby Bohman explained students were introduced to the European equivalent of dodgeball during an overnight field trip to Camp Willson near Bellefontaine. They returned home with a mission to have a court for middle school students. Under the direction of sixth-grade teacher Pat Baumer, they set up a committee and four subcommittees to look into the matter.
In addition to comparing material prices, they targeted a grassy area west of the middle school as the potential site. Isaac Gibson made a small model of one of the eight wooden barriers needed. He and four other students prepared the presentation for the board.
They explained Ga-ga can be played with a large group of people. The objective is to eliminate players by hitting a ball with an open hand or fist into an area between their knees and feet. The last person on the court is the winner.
Treasurer Laura Klosterman asked how much the court would cost. The students indicated the $252 cost includes treated wood, pea gravel and balls. Village of Minster officials have agreed to dig holes for needed posts and labor would be free thanks to members of the sixth-grade building committee and supportive parents when the weather improves.
"Are you Ga-ga masters?" board member Kurt Forsthoefel asked.
The students smiled and admitted they were not masters by any stretch of the imagination. Similar smiles were reflected on the faces of board members as they unanimously approved the request.
Superintendent Gayl Ray recognized board members Dale Sherman and Tricia Pohl who chose not to seek new terms due to business commitments.
Pohl joined the board a year ago replacing Michael Hoelscher who moved from the area. Sherman, the current board president, has served 81/2 years. They received plaques and wrapped gifts in recognition of their service.
In other business, the board:
• Listened as Klosterman spoke about action or lack of action by legislators in regard to state budget concerns. The state is not matching federal stabilization dollars and there has been no budget correction bill as yet leading to dire predictions for all school districts including Minster. Ray asked those attending the meeting to contact legislators.
• Set Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. for the annual reorganization meeting followed by the monthly meeting in the high school conference room.
• Heard a report from guidance counselor Pat Gavit on the recent Career Day, which included a keynote speaker and presentations by 18 people, including several Minster High School students, on various careers.
• Accepted the resignation of custodian Alan Dock due to retirement effective Dec. 31.
• Approved a new vet tech program to be offered by the Tri Star Career Compact in Coldwater.
• Held two executive sessions - one prior to the meeting and the other at the conclusion of business - to discuss compensation of a public employee. No action was taken. Newly elected board members John Heitbrink and Connie Meiring, who will take their seats in January, were present for both discussions.
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