A presentation by three students and their instructor on their mid-April trip to Houston as participants in NASA’s HUNCH program (High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware) was the highlight of the May 20 Braham School Board meeting.

Students Zach Anderson, Jeremy Brown, Josh Klingensmith and agricultural science and technology teacher Luke Becker were on hand to brief the board on their experience. Ben Carlson was also a member of Braham’s HUNCH team but was involved in an athletic event the night of the board meeting.

The team’s project was to design a zero-gravity washing machine for the space station. Twelve of the 84 teams nationwide that were in the program were committed to the washing machine project.

Becker said: “The biggest challenge was finding a pump that would work (on the washing machine) in space. We were errant in thinking that NASA would already have such a pump — they don’t.”

Then he added the need for creating the machine lies in the fact that “things that work on Earth don’t work in space.”

If the Braham team can get its design to the right size they could have it in space in 12-18 months. He said he believes the team will be invited back this summer.

“I don’t know if our idea is going into space or if we will be going into round two,” he said. “But no matter how it plays out I believe that next year the base model (for the washing machine) will be our design.”

While the district will not receive any financial benefits from the washing machine design, Becker explained the students involved each can add “National Finalist” to their resumes.

“I’m incredibly proud of them,” Becker said. “It was an amazing trip. They did a phenomenal job.”

Elementary principal report

In his elementary principal’s report, Jeff Eklund reported a recent trip to the Crosby-Ironton School District to observe its STEAM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) had generated a strong desire to bring such a program to the Braham elementary program.

He also congratulated Lori Auers as the April T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) award winner. Auers is currently a kindergarten teacher in the district and next year will be the early childhood coordinator. She spent her spring going to training, observing pre-K programs, as well as networking with area programs and thinking of ways to continue growing the early childhood program.

Superintendent’s report

Superintendent Ken Gagner said all 25 East Central Minnesota Educational Cable Cooperative instructional TV rooms will be updated as a result of a $249,000 USDA grant. He also noted significant challenges facing the building and grounds committee as it deals with long-term facilities maintenance. Among these are ongoing maintenance of building roofs, which exceed 60 percent of incoming maintenance revenue.

Braham honors recipients

The Braham School Board acknowledged the following persons and organizations as Braham honors recipients for May at its recent meeting:

• For leadership in support of the 2019 Braham Area Education Foundation Spring Gala: Jazz Band, Echelon, Patty and Terry Lind, Nickie Nelson, Tim Gabrielson, Gary Skarsten, Kelly Nelson, Katie Kunschier, Edie and Art Kaunonen, Louise Nelson, Marion Larson, Becky and Terry Turnquist, Polly Grossbach, Linda Melcher, Jane Moening, Kay Rodrique, Jamie Mattson, Ellen Cunningham, Sue Riesing, Lana Regal, Harriet Lidke, Sharon Jaques, Connie Gelle, Cathy Lidke, Jeannette and John Benzen, Kitty Haley, Leona Dressell, Cindy Motzko, Peter Hesselroth, Julie Beck, Pam Fokken, Sally Olson, Nancy Vanderheyden, Sherry Evenson, Barbara Carlson, Dorothy Johnson, Lou Klemz, Lila Tix, Sharon Savsten, Arlene Morgan, Marie Meyer, Drew Klemz, Tim Nelson, Merrie Ann and Lee Hesselroth, Lizzy Fix, Angeline Giffrow, Karen and Aitor Leniz, Heather Sward, Carrie Davis, Tracy Fix, Kelby Jennissen, Tammi Johnson, Stephanie White, Brenda Gugglberger, Tina Heidelberger, Joanie and Steve Smith, Josh Smith, Marie Grundberg, Lee Eklund, Wayne Johnson, Diane and Arnie Althoff, Maxine Hallin, Jamie Lind, Tish and Milt Carlson and Angie and Eric Rysdam.

• Shawn Kuhnke for securing a $1,000 Financial Literacy Grant from Wells Fargo, which will promote enhanced learning opportunities for students.

• Tammi Johnson, Amanda Tessmer, Jonelle Klemz, Judy Bendickson and Shawn Kuhnke for initiative in securing a $1,000 “Change to Chill” grant, which will promote enhanced learning opportunities for students.

• Lila Anderson (student) and Jennifer Lundin (faculty) for their role in earning a sixth-place finish in the Minnesota State High School League Speech Tournament.

• The Student Council, the National Honor Society, Tammi Johnson and Beth Stone for participation in community service projects such as Feed My Starving Children, the blood drive and Highway 65 cleanup.

• Kevin Stahl for review of a case and use of deescalation skills in a May 1 incident.

• Zach Anderson for scoring a 1193 (out of a possible 1195) on the 2019 MCA Math Assessment.

• Jeanette Lener for donation of new books to the elementary library.

• Julie Johnson, Nickie Nelson, Luke Becker and Mike Thompson for their volunteer services to the Braham Business Expo on May 11.

In other business, the board:

• Authorized Student Assurance Services Inc. to continue offering insurance for students designed to supplement high deductibles and co-pays.

• Approved an increase of 10 cents for school lunches in the coming school year, raising the price to $2.70.

• Renewed membership in the Minnesota State High School League for the coming school year.

• Set the next board meeting for 6:30 p.m. June 17.

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