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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
State Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, visited South Wayne Elementary on Thursday to talk to third- and fourth-graders who wrote to him to make apples the state fruit.
Education Notebook

South Wayne kids get political

An idea born in a South Wayne Elementary School classroom gave students a chance to learn about how a bill becomes a law – and the possibility of having a hand in naming the official state fruit.

Ten students in Karen Fugate’s English as a Second Language class read “The Race for Presidency,” written by Mary Atkinson. In the book, the characters discuss naming pumpkin as the state fruit of New Hampshire.

After finishing the book, Justin Davidson, 9, and his classmates began to wonder what Indiana’s fruit was.

“We did some research on the computer and we found out there wasn’t one,” Davidson explained. “So then we started thinking about what we thought it should be.”

The students talked about several options – oranges, grapes or bananas – but settled on a fruit they thought represented Indiana well: the apple.

“It’s a fruit that we grow a lot and it comes in different colors too,” Davidson said. “And there’s Johnny Appleseed and the TinCaps.”

The students wrote state legislators, outlining their idea and suggesting a bill be written to make the apple the official state fruit.

They received a note from Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, and the whole class was surprised, Davidson said.

“We didn’t know he was going to come here and talk to us,” he said.

On Thursday, GiaQuinta visited South Wayne, using the children’s suggestion as a way to explain how a bill becomes a law.

GiaQuinta told the students he would present their idea to his fellow lawmakers to see whether they would support the idea.


•The Bishop Dwenger High School Dance Crew will host a summer Dance Camp for kindergarten through eighth-grade students. The camp will be held at school from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. July 14 to 18. The cost is $60 per camper and each participant receives a free camp T-shirt. Registration deadline is July 11. Go online to for details and forms.


•Questa Education Foundation recently awarded $70,000 through the Venette M. and Mabel M. Sites Scholarship to 67 Allen County public high school graduates who have at least a 3.0 college grade-point average. The recipients of this year’s Sites Scholarship award are listed. Seniors: Abigail Madison, Emily Garvin, Holly Miller, Cameron Powell, Logan Blair, Nathan Whetstone, Kelly Stace, Michael Haluska, Megan Daniels, Andrew Webster and Lauren Edgington. Juniors: Victoria Gardner, Gabriel Fickenscher, Tracey Tiernon, Emalee Reichenbach, Micah Spurgeon, Michael Thompson, John Drefke, Katherine Lickey, Nicolas Drewery, Peter Haydock, Allysa Royse, Werner Wolff, Joshua Stier and Tyler Hartman. Sophomores: Benjamin Fox, Nicole Biggs, Dawn Eastom, Brok Sailor, Tyler Goetz, Kelli Kruckeberg, Natalie Grames, Leah Widdicombe, Laurent Smith, Jasmine Hogue, Kaleb Krempel, Leah Stutzman, Brooke Conrad, Thomas Sheppard, Alexandra Coker, Daniel Wray, Spencer Raypole, Kacie Kirk, Kali Oliver, and Alyssa Griffis. Freshmen: Hanna Quade, Jacob Roop, Jasmyn Kalsto, Katrina Bard, Grace Woolsey, Lydia Neff, Andrew Ceckowski, Emma Roy, Kelly Piepenbrink, Christian Nitz, Anderson Smith, Clarissa Geiger, Kaleigh Ensley, Megan Grothaus, Natalie Alter, Natalie, Keegan Holle, Grant Bremer, Nina Williams, Austin Feipel, Erika Brandenburg, Braeden Holle and Nicolas Schwartz.

•Five Allen County students recently received full-tuition, four-year scholarships as the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne 2014 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars: Isaiah Fincher, Wayne High School; Kayla Heath, Snider High School; June Kreml, Concordia Lutheran high School; Dominick Parsons, Bishop Dwenger High School; Paw Soe, New Tech Academy at Wayne High School.

University of Saint Francis

•The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Saint Francis $600,000 to support students seeking bachelor degrees in science and mathematics beginning this fall semester. The Roger Bacon Scholars Program will be available to entering full-time freshmen in qualifying science and mathematics programs who show academic ability and financial need. Scholarships are to be used for tuition and fees. For information on qualifying degrees, application deadlines and the admission process, contact J.P. Spagnolo at 399-7700, ext. 6314 or

•University of Saint Francis Associate of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates taking the National Council Licensure Examination had a near-perfect pass rate in the first quarter of this year. Both classes missed the 100 percent mark by one student.

Dr. Karen Monique Gregg, a sociology professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Saint Francis, has been awarded the Indiana Campus Compact grant for Service Engagement through the Lilly Endowment.

Education Notebook listings appear on Mondays. To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne IN 46802-0088; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.