CROOKSVILLE — Maker-space teacher Michelle Adams and her students can now take their imagination to unknown possibilities as the local Elks Lodge 509 in New Lexington delivered them a new 3D printer. Members of the Elks Lodge as well as some students accompanying Adams met at Crooksville High School to take a look at the new hardware.

“This is a high tech item,” Elks Trustee Jim Lackrone told The Perry County Tribune. “And I am not a high tech person.”

The local Elks Lodge received a Gratitude Grant to put towards youth and members of the community. The grant comes from the Elks National Foundation’s Community Investment Program. According to the Elks National Foundation, the grant must be used to help provide or support local, charitable activities such as purchasing clothes for the homeless, promote literacy or a clean-up day. A lodge that utilizes a gratitude grant must primarily focus on either employment, homelessness and housing, military families, health or educational support.

Lakrone is not just a trustee for the local chapter of the Elks, he is also involved in writing grants. Being on the grant committee

Prior to actually obtaining the grant funding, Elks Lodge 509 members like Lackrone had to choose one high school in the area that would benefit from the funding. According to Lakrone, New Lexington, Crooksville and Miller were given opportunities to apply for the grant. Sheridan High School received the same grant last year and Lakrone commented that he and others are trying to “run it through” all four county high schools.

“Crooksville was, we thought, the most deserving of the grant this year,” Lakrone told The Perry County Tribune.

Next year, the competition for the Gratitude Grant will be between Miller High School and New Lexington High School. Crooksville was the only high school to submit a written request for this year’s grant. Lakrone hopes to have Miller and New Lexington apply for funding in the future.

Adams, a teacher in Crooksville, was responsible for writing the grant application for the Elks Lodge. Lackrone stated that she did a great job and gave praise to her role in the grant application process. With Adams’ application, Crooksville High School received the Gratitude Grant, valued at $2,000, and an additional $800 from the Elks Charitable Foundation in order to make sure that the school did not have to spend any money out of pocket.

Adams’ main title is a Maker-space Coordinator using technology and computer programs to teach all ages about the vast array of different subjects. She also helps out other classes that may require her skills to complete a complicated project.

The highlight of the exchange was when Adams’ students were introduced to their new 3D printer. Already, the students are using the high tech creation device and its first test was making a key chain and a small display featuring the Elks Lodge 509. The specific device that was purchased was a $2,799 Makerbot Replicator, which came with a desktop 3D printer. The printer also came with classroom programs that Adams intends to include in her class.

“I am a retired educator so I was thrilled to see the kids get something they didn’t have access to,” Lakrone explained. “Right now, the 3D printer device is the state-of-the-art in this world.”

Lakrone, former principal at New Lexington High School for 17 years, added that he hopes that the students will be exposed to other kinds of professions that require knowledge to operate equipment like a 3D printer.

The technology used in school is changing rapidly and Adams sees the donation of the high tech as a vital asset to students. Her Maker-space program covers engineering and computer science which incorporates equipment such as 3D printers along with coding, graphic design and prototype engineering.

Her class has wasted no time in using the state of the art 3D printer as they are using it for current projects.

“One of the projects that my students are working on right now is they are creating desk organizers for teachers in the district,” Adams stated. “Another thing that we are working toward is 3D scanning.”

With 3D scanning, students will be able to copy the outline of a three dimensional image which will then be reconstructed with the printer.

More of what Adams hopes to see is students using what they have learned in the classroom to go out into the community. Adams commented that she would like to see how the Maker-space class can assist local communities and businesses.

“I think it’s amazing that the Elks could provide our students with this opportunity and chance to be successful in this new up and coming state of the art technology that a lot of businesses are moving toward in the future,” Adams said.

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