Bowling Green Kiwanis Club

BG teacher helps sculpt students into young artists

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nikki Myers is not above using puns to get students excited about art. One pottery team was deemed the “Harry Potters.” Some projects create so much mess, “it looked like a unicorn threw up in my room.” Myers, art teacher at Bowling Green High School, was recognized Thursday by the Kiwanis Club as this year’s high school inspirational educator. As she was being honored, Myers gave the Kiwanis members a taste of what it is like being in her classroom. The assignment had grownups teaming up to draw bizarre creatures. The result in one case was a nerdy geek head, sitting atop a winding intestines torso, complete with duck feet as the final touch. “It’s a great way to open up,” Myers explained of the art exercise. “It’s a great way to get them to work together.” Myers likes to combine problem solving with art. Like when she has students take off their shoes and work together to create the tallest shoe sculpture. First comes the frustration as the shoes keep falling over. Then comes the light bulb. “They start to figure it out. They get geeked out,” she said. “The kids are pushed beyond what they think they can do to make great art,” Myers said. Students see what they can create from a cup or a plain white T-shirt. “Then we have a fashion show.” The students visit a local farm to experiment with photography. “They get all geeked out hanging with the cows,” she said. They go to the Toledo Museum of Art, and play with the interactive art. “They sounded like they were in second grade,” she said of the high school juniors and seniors. Students learn how to make moveable metal art – like a metal armadillo that squirms and a decorative pair of scissors that make a cutting motion. Myers is also big on making mistakes. “You’ve got to fail to succeed,” she said. She is also big on community, and getting her students involved by…


BGMS teacher inspires students in class and on court

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This was no hum-drum history lesson. This was the story of the Boston Massacre told through hip-hop. Under attack by a mob of angry colonists, the British soldiers shot and killed several men – setting a spark for the American Revolution. This was a history lesson from 1770 set to a 2018 beat by a Bowling Green student inspired by her eighth grade social studies teacher, Mandy Pasley. Pasley, who has taught at Bowling Green Middle School for 19 years, was honored Thursday as an inspirational educator of the year by the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. She played the Boston Massacre recording to the club to show the creativity of her students. “Mandy’s one of our best educators,” Middle School Principal Eric Radabaugh said after Pasley was given her award. “Her passion for students is what drives her to be the best.” But Pasley, who also coaches the varsity volleyball team, passed on all the credit to her parents, her husband, her “kids” at home and in the classroom – but mostly her favorite teachers who left lasting impressions on her life. “I was blessed to have some of the best teachers I’ve ever been around,” she said. Pasley, who grew up in Bowling Green, fondly remembered her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Daly. “She was way ahead of her time,” using problem-based strategies that are popular in today’s classrooms. Some lessons stuck with Pasley, like the day the class made gingerbread men, then arrived at school the following day to find the cookies had disappeared. The students had to solve the clues to find the missing gingerbread men. Then in third grade at Crim Elementary, Mrs. Sullivan was her sweet, kind teacher with very high expectations. “We never wanted to disappoint her,” Pasley recalled. But one day Pasley and her friend did disappoint their teacher, when they wrote a secret note to a boy in their class. Pasley felt horrible, and Mrs. Sullivan knew her young student well enough to know she didn’t…


Classroom is a stage for Conneaut’s Bob Marzola

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The fifth grade classroom at Conneaut Elementary School is Bob Marzola’s stage. “There’s storytelling. There are props. There are costumes. At least when I teach there are,” Marzola said. Marzola, who teaches social studies and English language arts, knew his teaching style was reaching his young audience when a parent came in for a teacher conference. The student had told her mother that Marzola memorizes a new script every day. “‘Mom, I don’t know how Mr. Marzola does it,’” the parent explained her child said after school one day. “‘He puts on a different show every day.’” Ta-da. Lesson learned in a most pleasant way. Marzola was recognized Thursday by the Kiwanis Club as Bowling Green’s elementary inspirational educator. The organization honors outstanding teachers each year. Later this month, inspirational educators from the middle school and high school will be recognized. Marzola is definitely not a traditional type of teacher. His skills are known throughout the district, leading teachers from his own and the other elementaries to recommend him for the award. “He’s creative. We want kids to think outside the box,” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said. “He brings the classroom to life. The kids love him.” And Marzola loves them back. “I’m here receiving this award because of them,” he said. “I have become a better teacher because of my relationship with them. They inspire me. Just as I’m teaching my students, they are teaching me.” Marzola gets to reconnect with a lot of his students when they get into high school, since he choreographs all the district’s musical productions. “Building on the relationships we had when we were in the elementary is amazing,” he said. “They truly are attached to your heart forever.” Marzola credited his parents with being patient with his love of dance as he was growing up. Their support was steadfast even when his first performance consisted of him standing on stage crying. He stuck with it, and they stuck by him. And that has helped…