Medora students show off their passions through school projects

MEDORA — If you could pick any topic that you are passionate about and work on a project, what would it be?

For a group of local fifth-graders, it was many different topics, from dogs and knitting to Greek mythology and the evolution of Army uniforms and so much more.

Medora STEM Academy teacher Jaelyn Ogle asked her eight fifth grade students to conduct a research project on something they are passionate about and present it to their classmates and others in the school.

“This is just a nice way to end the school year with them researching something they like. It’s a fun project,” she said.

Sydnie Elliott researched why animals end up in shelters and presented a slideshow filled with facts about animal homelessness, but that’s not all.

Elliott also organized a pet supply drive to gather cleaning supplies, food and other items to donate to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department K9 Control Center in Brownstown.

“I just really like dogs and wanted to help a shelter,” Elliott said.

Jackson County Animal Control Officer Andy Wayman listened to Elliott’s presentation and accepted the donation at the school. Wayman said he was grateful for Elliott’s donation, and the dogs will be happy.

Just a couple of steps away at another table, Addy Kessner presented the art of quilting and showed small fabrics she had quilted herself. During her presentation, she took the audience through each step on how to quilt.

Kessner said her grandmother also likes to quilt, and she has slowly picked up the hobby, as well. The small examples she displayed on the table she was able to sew together in 5 to 10 minutes.

“I really like picking out the pattern, and sewing it together makes me feel calm,” she said.

Kessner said her favorite type of pattern is crazy quilting and hopes to eventually improve her skills enough to quilt a blanket one day.

One the opposite side of the room, Aiden Baird spoke about the evolution of Army uniforms while wearing military gear himself. He showed the audience the evolution of the military colors and gear going all the way back to the American Revolution.

Baird also displayed what current soldiers eat when they are in combat or in field conditions where food is not available. He brought in the contents of an MRE, also known as a “meal ready to eat.”

An MRE is the main operational food ration for the U.S. Armed Forces, and in the package, it comes with a variety of items. The MRE Baird brought included an entrée of beef stew, a shortbread cookie, crackers, peanut butter, grape powder for a drink, utensils, coffee grounds and a heating bag for the entrée.

Baird said while this was the first topic that came to mind for him, he made sure to let others know the Army is pretty cool.

Toward the back of the room, students gathered around the table for Jaylex Slick’s presentation about Greek mythology heroes. Among the heroes he displayed on his poster board, he mentioned Greek god Zeus was the father to all gods and heroes during this time.

Slick had an abundance of knowledge on the heroes that were represented, which included Hercules, Odysseus, Theseus, Prometheus, Achilles and Perseus.

Slick also pointed out an interesting fact that Achilles was the only one of the heroes to not die of old age.

He said since third grade, he had been heavily interested in Greek mythology and thought this project was the perfect opportunity to share his knowledge.

In a corner of the media center, Gracie Hatchett displayed her talents of knitting with the audience while also providing a step-by-step instruction sheet on how to knit a bracelet.

Hatchett said she would often watch her grandmother and brother knit and felt she was missing out on the fun.

Hatchett officially started knitting around four weeks ago, and since then, she has made countless bracelets and a scarf and currently is working on a blanket.

In the center of the room, Landon Fisher talked about the difference between hunting and poaching with a video that he edited himself with some help from Ogle.

Fisher said poaching has become a big problem in not only other countries but also here in the United States. He pointed out the fact that hunting deer out of season can result in a fine ranging from $250 to $1,000.

Fisher said he likes to hunt and fish, and the most fish he has caught in a day is 26.

For these students, their passions turned into projects, and from there, who knows? Maybe careers such as a soldier for the U.S. Army, a historian, a seamstress or even an animal shelter owner.