Spark Newsmagazine


Spark Newsmagazine


Spark Newsmagazine


In The Spotlight

The second annual Light Up Lakota showcase was held at East’s Main Campus this year, allowing each school in the district to hold a booth demonstrating an aspect of their school that they were most proud of.
Maddie Behrmann
The cast of East’s Mamma Mia sing a variety of different songs from the musical.


The sounds of a symphony from the East jazz band traveled down East’s Main Street and offered a warm welcome to all attendees of the event. Finger paintings done by Wyandot Early Childhood students and award-winning illustrations from Lakota Central students were displayed to create an art gallery to the right of the entrance. Booths lined the hallways to showcase many clubs and activities offered by schools all across the district.


These were some of the items highlighted in Light Up Lakota, an annual event held at East Main Campus this year, although the event alternates between being held at East and West’s Main Campuses. Members from each school in the district had a table at the event, displaying the chosen aspect of the school that they are most proud of to staff members, fellow students, parents, and community members. 


“We’re able to put the focus on our students and our staff and what’s actually happening within each building and what they choose to highlight within their building,” Board President Julie Shaffer told Spark.


Not only did students get to nominate an activity at their school to showcase, but also they were the ones presenting the information according to Lakota Director of School and Community Relations Betsy Fuller.


“I could stand here as a staff member and tell you what we do, but to have a student stand at a booth and tell you what they are learning and see them get excited is a whole other story,” Fuller told Spark. “You always want to hear it from the source, and who better to tell that story than our students?”


Fuller, who organized the event, said it used to be called the State of the Schools event, but was rebranded to Light up Lakota for the 2023 event in order to put the focus on representing each school in the district. 


The event was organized into sections based on the four pillars of Lakota’s Strategic Plan: “WE are in this together,” “WE are personalized,” “WE are future ready,” and “WE are fiscally responsible.”


The first of the sections is “WE are in this together” which, according to the District website, “refers to the strong partnership between students, staff, parents, and community members.”


Along with Cherokee Elementary’s Black History Month Showcase, Hopewell Junior’s National Honor Society, and Union Elementary’s Communication for Inclusion booths, the spotlight presentation from Endeavor Elementary about their Culture Day specifically demonstrated this pillar.


“My favorite part of our culture day is the parade where we can dress up in our native clothes,”  Endeavor fourth grader Anshika Monga told Spark. “I participated in the parade last year and this year. I also like our school lobby decorated with the flags from all of the different countries at Endeavor.”


A substantial focus on community is something that the students in the West Powerlifting Club are no stranger to.

Attendees participating in Lakota West’s Powerlifting Club activity.

“We are trying to make a community around weightlifting as a way to grow yourself and grow as a community,” West junior and Powerlifting Club President Alex Shannon told Spark. “We are trying to get other clubs in other schools to try to expand the club and become an actual sport and more than just a club.”


Part of the club’s showcase was the ongoing pushup competition involving everyone from teachers to small children. 


While the club fits under the pillar of “WE are in this together,” it also portrays the “WE are personalized” pillar with its individualized lifting plans for each member. This section is also characterized by the freedom of opportunity for clubs at Adena Elementary and the flexibility of Central High School.


“One of the things about central is our flexible schedule. We can choose a schedule that fits us and is personalized. And because we have smaller classes, we have a lot more one-on-one time with teachers and they can explain things better,” Central sophomore Leah Allman told Spark.


Allman and other Central art students shared their collaborative digital artwork at a booth as well as in a spotlight presentation. 


Representatives from Adena Elementary also showcased the personalization of their recently formed run club.


“I felt like there needed to be more opportunities for our students to get involved in things. A lot of our students might not have those opportunities outside of school. We wanted to let our kids have more of a sense of community,” Adena Assistant Principal Jordan Eisenhard told Spark.


According to Eisenhard, the run club and other afterschool programs allow for more opportunities for their students to personalize their school experience at a young age. 


Continuing on through the event, booths like Ridge Junior’s student news team, Woodland Elementary’s ClassVR display, and East Freshman’s Financial Literacy showcase, make up the “WE are future ready” section. 


Parents like Rachel Bohn took note of the extensive opportunities available to their students through allowing them to be “future ready.”


“I think it’s really cool to see the fun and innovative things happening at each school. I noticed the kids on the VR headsets, and it’s cool to introduce them to new technologies. [Light Up Lakota] shows each age group and school and what they are bringing to students, especially modern day things,” Bohn told Spark.


The financial literacy booth caught the attention of Assistant Treasurer Darian Ascoli who played a role in the “WE are fiscally responsible” exhibit that contained boards detailing aspects of district finances.


“We had a lot of different boards talking about things like differences between what we spend in our general fund versus our general improvement fund,” Ascoli told Spark. “We had a board on how we pay for our master facilities plan. We had a board on how much we collect in effective milage compared to our neighboring districts.” 


The event showed the importance the student voices play in education through their school specific presentations.


“I think it gives [students] real world experience on how to communicate, how to present their ideas, and how to have that knowledge base to share with others,” Lakota Board Member Douglas Horton told Spark. “I think it delivers an authentic experience for family and community members that are here to sort of see the real work and learning that is going on at our schools, not some kind of glossified version of what the teacher is presenting.”


Fuller believes that regardless of who walked through the doors of East during the Light Up Lakota event, the goal of the event was to shine a light on the great things happening in Lakota schools. 


“It was really neat to talk to people who don’t have anybody [at Lakota]. I spoke to one woman and she told me that her daughter had graduated from here but she doesn’t have anyone that goes to school here,” said Fuller. “She just likes to keep in touch with what’s happening in the schools, and that’s what we are trying to do.”

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