ANNA — Anna Elementary School students received a hand-on learning experience when Manufacturing Day was held at the school. A total of 526 elementary school, 27 high school students and more than 40 elementary school staff members and volunteers participated in the event.
“We (Anna Local Schools) have a goal to prepare all our students to be ready for whatever their future may hold,” said Anna Local School Curriculum Director Heather Wuebker. “When Tilda (Phlipot,Shelby County Historical Society executive director) came to me with this opportunity, I was beyond excited, because this one day was able to expose our students to so many skills they need to be successful in adulthood, as well as to teach them about one of our county’s biggest career fields — manufacturing.
“Our students worked with others from all grade levels on teamwork skills, problem-solving, logistics, math, engineering, communication, visual arts, and so much more. They were able to experience hands-on, real-world activities with local experts in the manufacturing industry,” Wuebker said. “They got to see how many of the standards they learn about in the classroom (measurement, problem-solving, critical thinking) are actually applied in a workplace. In addition, due in large part to Tilda’s ability to see the big picture, always — they got to learn about the History of Manufacturing in our area as well as see an overview of the Industry. Tilda was careful to design the day to include some of the aspects of the manufacturing world that we don’t necessarily think of — warehousing, payroll, marketing, and quality control, to name just a few. It was so rewarding to see our students working together at each station and being so excited and happy to learn.”
Wuebker said she received positive feedback from staff members and parents about the day. Some of the anecdotes she heard included:
• “We had students smiling and behaving who normally don’t do either.”
• One mom said her son came home and played “manufacturing” with his preschool aged brothers. They “built stuff,” boxed it up, labeled it and shipped it to various areas of their house.
• Another mom said her son couldn’t stop talking about “all the cool things he got to do.” “He was so proud of his finished product.”
• One girl told me she was “exhausted from having so much fun all day” and wanted to know if we were doing this again next year.
“I also can not say enough about how grateful we are for Tilda’s tireless work. As I’m sure you know, she puts her all into these activities for our communities. She works tirelessly to make the experiences quality for our students. I am constantly amazed with her ability to design activities that are meaningful, valuable, and aligned to what students should be learning,” said Wuebker.
“For years I have talked with Manufacturing leaders and they have talked about how do we build a better work force and it made me start to think,” said Phlipot. “My father worked at Monarch Machine Tool and Die. He was known for making bonus everyday.
“As a child I would listen to him talk with his friends and they all took great pride in making a quality product efficiently for the company. I also knew that companies all over the country called my father and offered him positions but he never wanted to move his family from his home town. He was a mathematician. How could we instill in our children today the importance of going to work everyday, making a better product then could be found anywhere in the country in the most efficient way,” said Phlipot.
Once the Shelby County Historical Society started looking at building an Industrial Exhibit these thoughts even became more vivid, Phlipot shared.
“Then Deb McDermitt of the Workforce Partnership and Fran Demski both told me that we need to offer a WorkForce program at the elementary level but know one seems to know how to make that happen. Then Bob Barnhart retired engineer from Honda walked into my office and said, ‘Tilda I would love to work on an educational project with you can you think of something for us to partner on.’
“Barnhart was the person I needed to create this project he knew the industrial side and could help me create a project that we could manufacture. Barnhart and I started brainstorming and he kept changing the candle holder until I could do the process with ease. He changed his barn into a manufacturing company making jigs and gages so we could mass produce blanks for the students but even Barnhart needed help. Keith McLain retired firefighter, Bob Shofner retired Postal worker, Mike Jones retired from Slagle Mechanical and Cecil Steele retired from Emerson Climate volunteered to help make the blanks,” said Phlipot.
“It is amazing the hours it takes to prepare all the elements of Manufacturing Day. People ask me why do you include Kindergartners and the answer is simple last year in a thank you note from one of the kindergartners the note read. “I learned that if you do not go to school you cause all of the other people to have to cover for you.” This student may have not understood all the concepts that were taught completely but they did get that it was important not to be absent,” said Phlipot.
“This year we had a student actually get sick but he refused to go home because he was having that much fun,” she said.
Phlipot praised Wuebker and all her hard work in making the program a success at Anna Elementary School.
“Wuebker made everything that she had to do easy but I know that is wasn’t, I owe her a debt of gratitude and look forward to working on our next project. She is a great asset to our community,” said Phlipot
Volunteers for the day included:
Manufacturing station: John Amos, Kurt Anderson, Richard Bailey, Dave Fishbaugh, Mike Jones, Steve Knouff, Roger Lentz, James Loos, Keith McLain, Bob Shoffner, Cecil Steele, Randy Wentz, Chris Wooddell, John Wooddell, Lola Billiel, Amanda Brandewie, Alice Jones, Jane Jones, Becky Michael, Cheryl Michael, Carlene Pettit, Samantha Slover, Carol Wentz and Dianne Wooddell.
Purchasing station: Duane Mullen.
Quality control station: Scott Bruce (Honda), andMegan Hengstler (Honda).
Transportation station: Jim Coe, Brent Grieves and Harry Noah.
Warehousing station: Vanessa Garner (NKP), Alicia Holtzapple, Grace Ontrop and Ryan Shurts (NKP).
Overview of industry station: Jim Perry.
History station: Tilda Phlipot.
Engineering station: Bob Barnhart, Bryan Armour (Honda), andDoug Benson.
Packaging station: Chuck Axe, Ryan Axe, Tim Bender, Bryan Doak and Collin Worthington.
Payroll station: Lisa Moeller and Mindy Seitz.
Marketing station: Liz Arnold, Mike Behr and Krystal Swiger.
Human resources: Beth Bailey, Jane Bailey and Kayla Buchanan.
Anna High School student helpers: Derek Arling, Lindsey Barhorst, Claire Bensman, Cameron Bowersock, Luke Cantrell, Brayden Collier, Isaac Dodds, Nathan Edelmann, Brandon Hemsworth, Brooke Hemsworth, Ethan Huecker, Jake Kovacs, Devan O’Connell, Colton Nanik, Jacob Osborne, Georgia Platfoot, Lucas Poeppelman, Isaac Rindler, Ben Schmitmeyer, Andrew Scully, Jarred Seigle, Hannah Shoemaker, Callum Smith, Lauren Stephens, Alexia Wells, Selena York and Tyler Zimpfer.