Tag Archives: L.A. Ainger Middle School

Englewood Rotaries to start school clubs

Englewood Rotary Clubs are working with local schools to introduce students to the world of the Rotary.

The Rotary Club of Placida will be working with Vineland Elementary School, Rotary Club of Englewood with L.A. Ainger Middle School, and Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Club with Englewood Elementary School. The three Rotary Clubs work together on the existing Interact program at Lemon Bay High School.

“It’s going to be an after-school service,” said Mark Grossenbacher, Englewood Elementary principal and a Rotarian. “The club is teaching the components of the Rotary — truth, fairness, goodwill, being a benefit to all.”

Grossenbacher said he estimates 20 students, which is a typical size of a club, may get involved with RotoKids. Membership is not limited.

“We’re doing the groundwork for it now,” said Ray LaBadie, past president of LBSRC. “Interact is for high and middle school. Roto-Kids are for fourth- and fifth-graders.”

LaBadie said the programs are designed to acclimate students to the Rotary.

“Rotary stands for service above self,” he said. “RotoKids is new to Rotary International. We’ve very excited about bringing in younger kids and teaching them about the Rotary.”

Lori Wellbaum-Emery, president of the RCE, said the programs at the schools should get started within the next month.

“Once (the students) get started (on a project), they become autonomous,” she said. “Roto-Kids tend to do environmental projects. Interact kids will decide whatever project they want to do local or international.”

Wellbaum-Emery said LBHS students last year compiled shelter boxes for victims of disasters, filling them with survival supplies.

Joe Mason, assistant governor of RCE, said Englewood Elementary students are collecting bottle caps for a recycling center that makes benches out of the recycled material.

“I call it a mustard seed program,” Mason said. “It starts out very small, then it starts blossoming. It’s important to get them involved in the community right now rather than just playing video games and going to the beach.”


Time off for good behavior

ROTONDA —Students who gathered in the cafeteria at L.A. Ainger Middle School were in for a treat Friday morning, as school staff provided a pancake breakfast at a Positive Behavior Intervention Support assembly. “(PBIS) is not only a statewide, but … Continue reading


Ainger donates $500 to EACF

SUN PHOTO BY TOM CHANG L.A. Ainger Assistant Principal Matt Whelden presents a check to Lou Long, president of the Englewood Area Cancer Foundation for $500 Friday raised from the Valentine’s Day “Think Pink” Dance held at the school.


Ainger STEM students grow mutant pumpkins

ENGLEWOOD — Students Kyle Frost, Romeo Ortiz, Corey Huntley and Chris Szoke might either be future mad scientists or agricultural pioneers after growing three giant pumpkins for Natalia Shea’s STEM class at L.A. Ainger Middle School. STEM is a hybrid … Continue reading


Embracing jazz at all ages

ENGLEWOOD — Tim Ostrow, band director at L.A. Ainger Middle School, had 80 students this school year who wanted to be in the jazz band and only 24 spots. “(Jazz) is a big hit with the kids,” said Ostrow, who … Continue reading


Ainger student places first at state science fair

SUN PHOTO BY TOM CHANG L.A. Ainger Middle School students Sarah Lown, Eleanor Keys and Kelsey Hansen participated in the 58th State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida March 26-28. Keys won first place in Junior Division botany.

ENGLEWOOD — Winning first place in Junior Division botany at the 58th State Science and Engineering Fair hasn’t sunk in for Eleanor Keys.

She is one of three state participants who attend L.A. Ainger Middle School. Others include Kelsey Hansen and Sarah Lown.

“Ever since I got back into the car, I’m like, ‘Did I really just do that?’” Eleanor said.

Eleanor’s agriculture project is based on Dr. Maynard Murray’s book “Sea Energy Agriculture.” She also took first-place honors at the Thomas Edison Regional Science Fair.

Her project involved growing tomato plants from seed using different watering solutions including sea water. It was titled “The Relative Impact of Ocean Solution as a Watering Medium for Plants and Its Implements of Mineral Content of the Fruit.”

“I read Murray’s book and all the tests he conducted in the 1950s had a 100 percent success rate,” Eleanor said.

The media she tested included deep ocean water (she acquired it online), household water from the tap, sea water from Boca Grande and Miracle Gro fertilizer.

“My hypothesis was that deep ocean water would produce the highest amount of tomatoes as well as the highest mineral content, because it contains 90 of the 92 natural elements,” Keys said. “What I found was that the seawater plants produced an average of 70 tomatoes compared to 45 of the deep ocean water, 17 for the household water and 14 for the fertilizer. I tested this for 133 days which is approximately 19 weeks.”

The purpose for her project, she said, was to prove how invaluable seawater can be in developing countries for agriculture.

“There are millions of starving people around the world and the farmers in these countries are suffering,” Eleanor said. “They can easily get access to the seawater around their countries and it’s abundant. Instead of importing fertilizers into their countries, they can use the seawater if they dilute it to 1:100 ratio and if they put it on their plants, it produces bigger crops. Their crops grow more quickly and which in turn, saves lives. It feeds more people. These also have a higher mineral content which is better for consuming.”

Only high school students compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix in May, Eleanor said.

Port Charlotte High School student Angelique Noles, who placed fourth in Senior Division botany, will be presenting her research at the International Science Fair.

Eleanor said she hopes to study law and natural science at Harvard or be an entrepreneur.

Kelsey won third place overall and first place in animal sciences for her project, “Painting Dolphins” at the Thomas Edison Regional Science Fair.

She explored human and dolphin communication through painting. The project took three months of study and research with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

“My goal would be to go to Cornell University to major in animal training and animal psychology,” Kelsey said.

Sarah won first place in environmental sciences at the Thomas Edison Regional Science Fair.

She studied the carbon dioxide intake from weeds and trees.

“It was a continuation project from two years ago when I tested carbon dioxide intake between five different trees,” Sarah said. “I was in contact with an Australian scientist who was working on something similar on a grand scale.”

Sarah hopes to be a teacher and is looking at Eckerd College or Florida Gulf Coast University after high school.



Introducing Englewood’s Iron Man

Daniel Lopez

L.A. Ainger Middle School student Daniel Lopez invented the Robotic Exoskeleton Shoulders and Arm (REXSA) after seeing the film “Iron Man.” With mentoring from Engineering Society of Naples, he will present in front of Gator Cage, an angel investment group.

ROTONDA WEST — Eighth-grader Daniel Lopez may not have the vast resources of Tony Stark, the Marvel Comics superhero who saved the world in “Iron Man,” but he may be just as creative.

Daniel’s robot won him first place for eighth-graders and middle schoolers overall at the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science and Engineering Regional Fair in early February.

Now the Rotonda West teen has the opportunity to present his invention, the Robotic Exoskeleton Shoulders and Arm, or REXSA, to an angel investment group.

With mentoring from the Entrepreneur Society of Naples, Daniel hopes to show REXSA to the investor group Gator Cage later this spring or summer.

“The movie ‘Iron Man’ was my inspiration,” said Daniel, 14. “I saw the suit and I wanted to build one of those.”

The robot is built using parts from Vex Robotics, a provider of educational robotics products to middle and high schools and colleges and used to teach science, technology, engineering and math, according to vexrobotics.com.

The robot is mounted across Lopez’s shoulders with Velcro straps attached from top to bottom on the front side. The right arm is affixed with an adjustable claw that has enough pressure to hold a water bottle and can exert enough force to press buttons.

“This is the first design,” said Daniel, an L.A. Ainger Middle School student. “I plan to build the second version of it within the next couple months.”

Andy Green, an Ainger science teacher, helped Daniel with his invention.

“He’s a special young man,” Green said. “He’s a really inventive person.”

Green praised Daniel’s resourcefulness in building this and other original designs.

“He built a model airplane from scratch,” she said. “It’s the same with his REXSA project. He found a program online to help with the design and he was able to program it. It’s pretty incredible.”

The Entrepreneur Society of Naples is mentoring Daniel and he plans to present the robot to them on March 13. They will prep him for a meeting later in the summer with Gator Cage.

Daniel said he wants the robot “to be completely autonomous.”

The final product will be a full body suit with a microcomputer for processing and will run off of a motorcycle battery, he said.

“It’s not going to be gasoline (powered),” he said. “It’s going to be full electric and I expect it to have a full battery life of 45 minutes.”

The current model runs on a 7.2 volt battery, which is ideal for the “small little battle robots,” Daniel said.

After he finishes high school, Daniel said he plans to go to Massachusetts Institute of Technology and be an aeronautical engineer. He hopes to start his own technology company and work in the fields of medicine and nanotechnology.

But first he has to finish middle school.

Daniel’s more immediate plans are to attend the EnergyWhiz Olympics at the Florida Energy Center May 4.