TEAPIE disbands, makes final donation to Hatchet Innovation Lab
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – As its final contribution to the community before disbanding, Tomahawk Extended Area Partners in Education (TEAPIE) recently donated $3,555.00 towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education at the School District of Tomahawk.
The monies, which represented the remainder of TEAPIE’s funds, were allocated to the Hatchet Innovation Lab.
“The Innovation Lab is a STEM environment that utilizes high-tech equipment to foster creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration and the attainment of technical skills that can be applied in high-skill careers of the modern workforce,” the School District of Tomahawk stated.
Equipment types include 3D printers, 3D scanners, laser engravers, graphic printers and cutters, direct-to-garment printers, computer-controlled plasma cutters, computer-controlled routers, computer-controlled milling machines and more.
The Innovation Lab is utilized by several CTE courses in the middle and high schools. Multiple high school student-operated businesses also utilized the manufacturing capabilities of the Innovation Lab to design and create products for school and community customers.
A release from TEAPIE said the organization felt the donation to the Innovation Lab would “impact multiple students, as classes sixth through senior year participate in this program.”
“While there is no guarantee that these skills they learn will keep them in our community, as is one of our goals, this was what we felt would leave the longest-lasting impression on TEAPIE’s behalf,” the release stated.
TEAPIE President Brenda L. Bartz said the organization’s dissolution was effective as of Friday, Jan. 27.
“It was discussed at the 2022 Annual Planning Session that the current need and mission for TEAPIE was becoming extinct,” Bartz stated. “Board members officially voted, and it was unanimous to dissolve the Tomahawk Area Partners in Education board, committees and events.”
Bartz said any future partner needs between the school and the business community will be “initiated by the school per need or identification of a necessity.”
Equipment purchased by TEAPIE through a recent STAR Foundation grant went back to the community – a laptop was donated to the Tomahawk Community Thrift Shop, while Tomahawk Main Street Inc. received a new printer for its downtown office.
“It was an absolute pleasure for everyone who devoted time and efforts over the years to this fantastic group,” TEAPIE stated. “(While) we are sad that we are no longer a resource as a group, we are pleased that we have helped the school to the point that a full organizational committee is no longer necessary. We will all continue to serve our schools, just not together.”