Williamston High School in acceptance stage after fatal accident

How the lockers appear now.


By Eric Walters
Williamston Post staff writer

In October 2011, Williamston High School freshman Gabe Corbett died after a locker room wall he was climbing on collapsed, falling on top of him.

“We remember him every day and he’ll never be forgotten. But, people have begun to realize that we need to move on, we can’t be crying every day, we have to focus on other things,” said Williamston High School principal Dr. Jeffrey Thoenes.

Thoenes said the aftermath of Corbett’s death went better than expected, a fact that he credits to his students.

“Our kids are remarkable. After Gabe’s death they put together a celebration of his life that we held on our football field, that went extremely well,” Thoenes said. “They’ve been there for each other, supported each other the whole way.”

To help students cope with Corbett’s death, the school offered counseling for all students and even paid for a few to have out-of-school counseling. After dealing with the initial shock of the accident, the next step was to determine how the accident happened, and what to do with the locker room area.
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Sports suffer minimal losses at Williamston High School

artwork on display in the Williamston High School cafeteria

By Justine McGuire
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON – Loss of funds has not stopped Williamston High School from providing sports programs for its students.

The high school has avoided cutting sports teams and coaching positions but has had to trade two part-time athletic directors for one part-time athletic director and assistant principal, Mike Freeman, who took on the extra role without additional pay. The school has also had to cut back on uniforms, supplies and materials.

Finance Director Steve Cook said the district has lost $270 per student, or about $500,000. The district’s total budget is just shy of $16 million.

Williamston High School Principal Jeffery Thoenes said that sports have had minimal cuts because, overtime, general funding for sports has been replaced with sports boosters.

The district has avoided cutting any sports programs because of the possibility that students might use school of choice to play their sport elsewhere.

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InvenTeam receives grant for rip-current alert system

By Eric Walters
Williamston Times staff writer

Team engineer, Jacob Brandon, explains the the system's inner mechanics.

In fall 2011, the Williamston High School InvenTeam was awarded a $10,000 grant by Lemelson-MIT for the rip-current detection system idea it developed. Williamston is the only team from the Midwest to receive a grant.

The InvenTeam program was begun by Lemelson-MIT, with the first grant being awarded in 2002. Teams consist of high school students, teachers and mentors, who work together to create inventions that solve real-world problems. The teams submit ideas for review and a select few are awarded grants to further the idea and actually build the invention.

Dan Schab, a teacher at the WHS Math and Science Academy, is a mentor for the team. He said the Williamston program was started in 2010. That year, the team submitted a proposal for an environmentally friendly window washing system and became a finalist. Williamston did not receive a grant but did receive valuable feedback. In summer 2011, the group began to brainstorm a new idea.

“We were throwing around all sorts of ideas. At one point they (the students) wanted to do a see-through toaster. I got so frustrated, I had to leave. I said ‘here’s my phone number, call me when you have an idea,’” said Schab.

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