School board honors success

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LAPEL — The Frankton-Lapel Community School Corp. board of trustees spotlighted the extracurricular accomplishments of one group of Lapel High School students and the in-class adventures of another group during this month’s regular meeting.

Members of the Bulldog tennis team were guests of the board following a season in which they won a fourth-straight sectional championship and a third consecutive Madison County title. After the squad led the Pledge of Allegiance, the board presented the team with certificates honoring them for another accomplishment as they were recently named academic all-state.

The team boasted a grade point average of 3.67.

Lapel teacher Amy Ingram then spoke to the board about the recent virtual experiences of some of her students. Using Google Hangouts, the students were able to connect online and speak with several show business professionals, a useful application for one of her classes.

“I grew up in Florida and danced at Disney,” she told the board.

“And now my friends have kids who dance at Disney. Fortunately, for my drama class, we had a Google Hangout with a girl who goes to the University of Florida, but she plays one of the princesses. They asked her lots of questions. It was very interactive, and she told them about college programs.”

Through another friend, Ingram also was able to allow the students to speak with a performer in New York City.

“A former student I taught at Mt. Vernon is on Broadway,” she said. “He also spoke to them about techniques he used. He gave them motivation that someone from a small town can make it.”

She also will direct the school musical at Lapel. This year, it will be “Grease,” and Ingram said she’s very excited about the cast, which includes Lapel senior Samantha Voegele as “Sandy.”

In other board business:

• It was another rough month for health insurance claims. The corporation costs for the month of October were $205,989, which is a $93,261 increase compared to the same month a year ago. The year-to-date total is up $250,739 from last year, but Superintendent Bobby Fields is hopeful some ground can be made up during the last two months of the year.

“At the end of December, I’m sure we’ll be behind where we were in 2015,” he said. “But still, it’s not a horrible year compared to $3 million in 2012. It seems that claims creep up every year, but we’ve been lucky that they’ve stayed pretty steady the last several years.”

• The total number of students receiving free textbooks this year was down 44 from last year. The total number is 1,044, which will result in a total reimbursement from the state of $90,163.

• The board also approved the calendar for the 2017-18 school year. The first day for students will be Aug. 11, with the final day being May 25. Fields said because the school year ends as Memorial Day weekend begins, graduation ceremonies would probably take place the following weekend. The 2017 Christmas break will be from Dec. 22 to Jan. 8.