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MX News Update 2024


CCSD news: Engineering, science, and supporting a friend

Churchill County High School Junior Megan Johnson was recognized as an Aspire Scholar by the Society of Women Engineers at the 2024 Night of the Stars Banquet in Reno on May 26.

Johnson’s science teacher, Steve Johnson, couldn’t be more excited for her and this incredible achievement.

“She is an amazing student, earning top grades in honors chemistry and organic and biochemistry. This award was well-deserved,” he said.


On April 8 eighth-grade student LeAnne Wallace’s life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with leukemia.

LeAnne loves sports and plays lacrosse, volleyball, basketball, track and soccer. Her mother, Jessilyn Wallace, said her daughter has a natural ability to be good at whatever she puts her mind to. Whether it is school or sports LeAnne is determined to excel. Unfortunately, with her diagnosis, she has had to leave school and sports. She misses attending school, playing sports, and seeing her teachers and friends terribly.

On May 1, CCMS came together for a drive-by visit from LeAnne Wallace to show her their unwavering support and to lift her spirits.

“The school came up with the idea,” Jesilyn Wallace said. “They announced that they had dedicated the day as LeAnne’s Day, and asked everyone to wear orange and to make signs. Then on the day of the drive-by, everyone gathered outside the school and waved and shouted to LeAnne as we drove by. She and I were both moved to tears.”

Principal Robbie Wickware and Secretary Heidi Woolsey worked together to organize the event, and it was teacher Amy Nichols’ suggestion to have the students line up along Virginia, Maine and Front Street.

Woolsey made the following announcement leading up to the day of the drive-by event: “Here at CCMS we would like to support our student and friend, LeAnne Wallace on May 1t by wearing orange and purple clothing or ribbons as she fights her battle with Leukemia. LeAnne would like all of you to know that she greatly misses you and can’t wait to see all your smiles again. She is very grateful for all your love and support.”


Students in Vanessa Burch-Urquhart’s, Dominique Johnson’s and Shannon Matheson’s fourth-grade classes used their engineering skills to design inventions to help people they learned about in Peña Blanca, Guatemala. They had to calculate the cost of actual supplies after designing their prototype and then build a model. Students persevered by making many improvements when their models failed.

“They really had to consider time, costs, and materials for the people in the village for which they designed it. They planned tests with controlled variables and made necessary improvements with each test,” Burch-Urquhart said.

Student Jadden Lucero really loved the problem-solving process that went into the project and had fun while doing it.

“It was fun because we could make stuff to help the people of Pena Blanca so that they don’t get water inside their houses,” Lucero said. “If you’re sleeping, you don’t want to get wet, so me and my partner for the project, Travis, made a house that had a pipe that leads to a filter to water their plants.”

Burch-Urqhart, Johnson and Matheson agreed that their favorite part about this project was seeing their students’ creativity come alive.


Churchill County High School students in Guy Josephs’ science classes created science books for students in Stacey Stults’ third-grade class. Each book contained third-grade science content standards.

“Mr. Josephs reached out to me and asked if I would be interested and then asked me what the third-grade science standards were so he knew exactly what content his students needed to focus on when creating the books for my students,” Stults said.

Josephs’ students then took those standards, thoroughly researched the topics and then wrote and illustrated books to help further the third-grade students’ knowledge of their science standards.

“My class really loved these books and are definitely benefitting from the knowledge of the high school students. I cannot thank Mr. Josephs and his students enough. We are so grateful they chose us for this project,” Stults said.


Lahontan Elementary staff decided to do something different for their annual “Spring Fling” – their last family event of the year.

After some brainstorming with her staff, Principal Kimi Melendy came up with the idea of ​​what she called “A Night of Art.”

“Our kindergarten and first-grade students love creating art and we hoped to spotlight their unique artwork with their families and the community at this event,” Melendy said.

The goal was to find a way for students to create a keepsake for their family and friends, and Melendy worked with retired CCHS art teacher Eileen Haugen to make that a reality. Haugen went to all 24 LES classrooms and worked with the students to create their own bug art. Their bug art was then turned into individual notecards that families could purchase.

“This was such a great project and they all turned out so well, unique, and truly highlighted each student’s unique personality,” Haugen said.

On the evening of May 1, all the individual bug art was displayed in the cafeteria along with a written piece students did in class about their bugs.

“Seeing the artwork and their writing on display, and watching how proud students were to find their piece and show their families was really something special,” Haugen said.

In addition to the bug art, each class came up with a class project that they worked on together that was placed into a silent auction at the event. These items included wind chimes, planters, a bench, toy chests, platters, an antique window, a birdhouse, and a cookie jar. Families also took part in a school-wide art scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt took families throughout the school to see all the artwork displayed throughout the hallways that students recently created in their classrooms. Families could also participate in two make-and-take flower crafts. At the end of the event, each family received a wildflower seed packet to take home.

“It was the best night with our families,” Melendy said. “I loved looking around to see them gathered throughout our school. I cannot thank my staff enough for their hard work in making it such a successful event, Mrs. Haugen for curating the bug art projects and our families for coming out.”

—Kimi Melendy and Katy Loop