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SCC Eagle Scout candidate works on 'field desks'

Freshman Alex McKenna holds a prototype of the 20 field desks he plans to create for the district as his Eagle Scout project.

St. Croix Central Middle School English and science classes will soon have 20 "field desks" to share thanks to freshman Alex McKenna.

During the public comment time at the regular school board meeting Monday, May 23, McKenna gave a presentation to the board about the Eagle Scout project he created to benefit the school.

McKenna is at the Rank of Life in Troop 161. He said he approached high school science teacher John Tackman last November about the project to see if there was a need for field desks in his class or at the middle school.

McKenna said the response from Tackman and middle school teachers was a "resounding yes" that the project could be utilized in classes taught outdoors.

McKenna showed the board a prototype of the field desks.

"The field desk will consist of a clipboard, a three-foot rope used to measure and as a handle and waterproof plywood backing," McKenna said. "I will build a classroom set of desks (20). These can be used by students to store small items, to write on and to sit on if the ground is cold or wet."

McKenna said the desks will promote environmental education within the school district.

"I think the desks will be used a lot because in my past experience outdoor classes can be troublesome if there had been rain or snow a day or two before we went," he said.

McKenna said he plans to have all 20 desks completed by summer school as teacher Paul Fettig said he could use them as early as then.

Hueg suggested McKenna imprint the desks somehow saying he made them for his Eagle Scout project.

"It helps build legacy within the district of Scouting and some of the great things individuals have done to earn Eagle Scouts. Plus, it's OK to have a little legacy tied to Alex McKenna when you come back in 25 years and see these desks still being used," Hueg said.

Not only did McKenna have teacher and school board support, but the Home Depot in Hudson made a very generous donation to his project, by donating glue, nails, sandpaper, waterproof wood coating and string.

Because of the donation, McKenna told the News the desks only ended up costing him about $5 each.

McKenna used a field desk design adapted from the Minnesota Department of Natural resources and started working on the desks awhile ago. He said he plans to have all the desks completed by next week.

"I hope the desks encourage kids to get out into the school forrest," McKenna said. "The school forrest available to students really is a great place."

In other news:

• The board approved adding virtual school opportunities to home school families within the district. Board members Scott DeGross and David Olsen were not present at the meeting.

• The board approved adding virtual school opportunities with Aventa. The contract will allow the district to market the online classes for the summer to families who want to pay for the course for their students to get extra credit through high school or make up credits; who don't want to physically take the classes at the school during the district's summer school.

• The board approved raising the lunch prices 20 cents for students and 25 cents for adults in order to align with a possible Federal rule that would require reimbursement rates for paying student and adults to match the reimbursement rate received through free and reduced lunches ($2.72). Food Service Director Tammi Simonson said the government doesn't want to be funding the school lunch program. The 20 cent increase allows the district to put $34,000, that it's now paying out of Fund 10, to cover the salary and benefits of staff working in food service. With 178 meal days, the increase will cost families an additional $35.60 per student, per school year; equaling around $1 additional dollar a week.

• The board approved raising the Drivers Education fee from $250 to $275. The board also approved a Family and Consumer Education Career Foods class fee of $25 to help cover some of the food costs of the class. The district spends around $9,200 for food-related programs, this fee could reduce what the district spends on food by $1,000.

• The board approved a bid from Derrick Building Solutions LLC for the 4K classroom at Trinity Lutheran Church; for the amount of $88,300; board member Jeff Redmon abstained from the vote.

• The next regular school board meeting is June 20 at 7 p.m. in the middle school library.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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