In This Newsletter Issue

ITEEA Member Receives PATINS Award

January 29, 2020

Abbi Richcreek, teacher at Edgewood Middle School was named 2019-2020 Starfish Award Recipient. Congratulations to Mrs. Richcreek who went above and beyond to promote inclusiveness and awareness to the life-changing affect assistive technology can have for all people, no matter how young, through Edgewood's GoBabyGo! Project.

Mrs. Richcreek promotes STEM education through her classroom curriculum, after school clubs, and special projects such as “Forget Princess, I Want to be an Engineer,” Vex Robotics Club, Manufacturing Club, and GoBabyGo! GoBabyGo! founder Dr. Cole Galloway, Pediatric Motor Learning Scientist & Designer, started hacking Power Wheels to help provide mobility for children with disabilities. His organization has chapters across the country to custom modify cars for children. When Mrs. Richcreek heard Dr. Galloway speak at a conference, she applied to Kosciusko County Community Foundation and received a 2019 grant to fully fund the materials and the cars for the three children.


After securing funding, Mrs. Richcreek searched for three beneficiaries, recruited fifteen Edgewood students who committed to a five-week after school STEM activity, and partnered with mentoring engineers from local companies. 


Elizabeth Hausmann nominated Mrs. Richcreek. Addy Hausmann, daughter of Elizabeth and Stephen, received her customized pink modified 12-volt vehicle in March of 2019 at Warsaw’s First Friday Showcase. With this gift, Addy has increased independent movement experiences that allow expression, play, socialization, and exploration for learning.


Three 8th-grade Edgewood students were interviewed at Mrs. Richcreek’s surprise announcement. McKale Hagg, spoke about Addy as a happy and bubbly toddler. He recalled how during one check-in visit, his team realized that Addy could not access the peddles so they went back to the drawing board to engineer a solution. McKale smiled and added, “We implemented a gas button on the steering wheel so that Addy could drive just like the other children. It really helped!” Of Mrs. Richcreek, McKale offered, “Mrs. Richcreek was a fantastic mentor in this program and really deserves this award. She really does go above and beyond.” Isaac Beam spoke about his older brother who had been a student of Mrs. Richcreek. That sibling is now an engineer and urged Isaac to join the after-school GoBabyGo! Project. Isaac voiced that he grew in confidence and became more comfortable sharing his ideas because of this opportunity. He loved watching the toddlers driving around the STEM lab. Isaac raved, “Mrs. Richcreek really deserves the Starfish Award because she really cares about other people and is a kind-hearted person and just a joy to be around.”


Madison Smalley was thrilled to research what Addy liked and then create a custom design for Addy. She found it incredibly rewarding to see the look on Addy’s face when they presented her with a pink and purple car covered in Minnie Mouse decals. Madison described Mrs. Richreek as an inspiring teacher.  


Mrs. Richcreek was truly surprised and grateful. She went on to say, “This has shown us how powerful it is to give young people an opportunity to help others. They don’t need to wait - they can get involved now and make a real difference.”


Abbi Richcreek will receive a Starfish Certificate and Commemorative Silver Starfish, a feature in PATINS Pages eNewsletter, free admission to Access to Education's state-wide fall conference valued at $200, and Starfish Badge. Mrs. Richcreek would like to thank PATINS and all who supported the GoBabyGo! Project. She looks forward to future collaborative enterprises with Depuy, Zimmer-Biomet, Dalton Foundry, and Paragon Medical to make a lasting difference in the lives of students and recipient children.