Eureka Springs VICA students honored for winning state-wide competition

Thursday, April 27, 2006
Winning V.I.C.A. students from left to right are: Waylon Wolfinbarger, V.I.C.A. President Andrew McClung, Jake Martin, Matt Lackey, Ethan Capps, Ernesto Negrete, Kevin Young. Sheree Kuehn / Carroll County News

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Proud Eureka Springs High School V.I.C.A. (Vocational Industrial Chapters of America) students started off the district's school board meeting, held April 20, after many won first, second and third place medals at state competition held in Hot Springs last week.

The students, which ranged from sophomores to seniors competed against other high school V.I.C.A. students from larger districts that included Springdale, Fayetteville and North Little Rock.

The winning students were Ethan Capps, third place, carpentry; Matt Lackey, third place, residential wiring; Jake Martin, first place, masonry; Andrew McClung, V.I.C.A. president, first place, plumbing; Ernesto Negrete, second place, residential wiring; Waylon Wolfinbarger, first place, carpentry; Kevin Young, third place, cabinet making.

F.B.L.A. (Future Business Leaders of America) students Dustin Maberry and Corey Tefftelor placed third at competition for web design.

The students were then asked to stand and tell the board how they felt after winning. All said that they were very proud and that it meant a lot to them.

Younger students said that winning this competition just made them want to work harder to earn first place at next year's competition, while others stated it helped their enthusiasm and self-esteem in life.

"These students should feel extremely proud," said V.I.C.A. teacher Larry Wicker. "They beat other kids from much larger school districts.

"There was a superintendent from Nabholtz wanting our students to come to Little Rock to start working. That says a lot when business people say great things about our students. I think that we have the best kids in Arkansas and the best staff and administration across the state."

After some fun-nature prodding from Superintendent Reck Wallis, Wicker shared a story concerning the behavior of his students at Hot Springs.

"I had a lady come by and pat me on the back to tell me that I had one of the finest groups she had ever seen at competition. My students are first with me, they know I will tell them what I think. How they appear is how they will perform. I am blessed with these type of students," said Wicker.

All three first place winners will go on to represent Eureka Springs at Nationals June 19-24, in Kansas City, Mo.

After a short break, discussion ensued on the possibility of a new district administration building. Currently, the district offices are located in the elementary school.

In the March meeting, Wallis had noted with the rising number of students entering the school system, that space was becoming limited. The board had discussed using the V.I.C.A. students for construction.

Wallis reviewed design plans with the board, noting his desire was for the building "to be pleasing to the eye and more residential looking rather than just some small business building."

He also noted that time was of the essence if V.I.C.A. was to do the construction, noting that Wicker, after 33 years of teaching, has talked of possible retirement sometime in the future.

School board member Bruce Knapp broached the subject of cost with Wicker. Wicker said he could not give an exact number, due to the changes in cost for lumber and other items, but that he would get an estimate to the board as soon as possible.

Wallis noted that the building would be paid with general fund monies and would not require a millage increase or request from taxpayers.

The board approved the motion and work is scheduled to begin sometime in August of this year.

In other business the board:

* Listened to a presentation by second grade teacher Karen Colby on the new K-6 Health curriculum.

* Heard a report by all three school principals on the policies and procedures used for teacher evaluations.

* Approved the hiring of Gail Hunter as a special education teacher for the elementary school and Chad Martin as the new band K-12/music teacher. Martin is replacing David Massey, who will finish out the school year. Hired back all probationary teachers as listed and accepted the resignation of Paul McGowen as special education aide.

* Heard the financial report. Collections are up by $96,165.85 over last year.

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