American Legion recognizes MHS
Members of American Legion Post 245 in Cross Plains paid tribute to Middleton High School staff and students the best way they knew how last week.
Post Commander Dan Cady and Post Adjutant Robert Hutchings presented Brent Siler and Brian Morstad with a resolution thanking MHS for all of their efforts at the Legion Park complex. Siler and Morstad, who is now an associate principal at the high school, each received a framed version of the resolution, which was printed by Advertisers Press, on Thursday night.
In 2008, Morstad’s Architecture & Design class developed a Veterans Memorial that was dedicated on Nov. 11, 2010. The five perimeter benches represented each branch of the U.S. armed services. The bench columns are inscribed with the eight major wars and list the number of Americans who served and were killed or wounded in each conflict.
There are 100 battle bricks that highlight combat operations where local veterans had been involved, while the central wall includes an honor roll of area veterans who gave their lives at war.
Siler taught the same class in the spring of 2012 and 10 students spent eight weeks designing a project that would put the finishing touches on the park complex.
Dick Williamson, an American Legion member who handles publicity for the post, said there is a park committee of five who will look at what the students did along with other suggestions and decide what to do next.
“We didn’t tell them anything,’’ he said. “We just said go at it and see what you think. We just wanted to hear what they had to say. They added some more good ideas to the pot. … We’ve had so many different comments on what to do with the park it’s been hard to come up with something meaningful to do something next.’’
Siler said the students spent six weeks touring the area, interviewing the entire park planning team and talking with post members about what they wanted. They then spent two weeks building a model of the complex.
“I really wanted the students to get the experience of working with clients in the architectural design process and understand that architecture is about more than just making what you like to work on,’’ said Siler, who just completed his first year at MHS. “It is about working with others to come up with a workable design that satisfies the needs of the client.
“I also really appreciated that students were able to participate in the modeling process, as not too many high school students are able to make working models of real use.’’
Siler said all of the plans the students proposed tried to separate the playground from the memorial at the complex. The version they submitted had a cluster of trees to block the view of the playground equipment as people are coming up American Legion Drive.
“The overall guiding idea was to make the memorial more respectful,’’ he said. “It would make it more of what the Legion is. That is what we aimed for.’’
The model also included a larger sandbox. Siler said the students got that idea after talking with some parents who said the current sandbox was too small and a safety issue.
Every inch represents four feet on the model.
“The best thing we got out of it was a model,’’ Williamson said. “That really helps.’’
The students who worked on the project were: Eric Bargaehr, Aidan Hall, Dean Lederer, Keith Lyster, Emily Mader, Zach Piper, Marcus Richards, Julie Rickert, Andrew Walther and Connor Wildes.
“I really enjoyed working with Mr. Williamson and all the others at the Legion,’’ Siler said. “They really helped the students see a side of architectural design that most people their age do not get to see.’’
For more event from Thursday's ceremony and of the American Legion Post 245 complex, please visit the district's Facebook page.