WAUPUN — Every baby born in the Waupun Area School District is being welcomed as a “Warrior in Training,” thanks to a new idea from members of the district’s Communications Committee.
A gift bag is being provided to newborns by the district, including a “Warrior in Training” onesie, and a book to be read to each child as part of lifelong learning – an educational goal actively promoted by the district.
“The Communications Committee includes Superintendent Steven Hill and representatives from the high school and the elementary schools,” said Career and Technical Education/Communications Director Doug Disch. “We often brainstorm ideas on how to connect with the community, and this was something we decided we really wanted to do. The administration was eager to see it happen, so they were willing to help as well.”
He said, “We were just trying to come up with a way to welcome new children to the Waupun Area School District, and also to showcase the work created by our students.”
COVID-19 put the idea on hold. It was only recently that plans could move forward as classes became more regular and in-person schooling became more routine.
Tech Ed students came up of the onesie, emblazoned with the school mascot and the words, “Warrior in Training.” The students suggested the label, which Disch agrees is quite clever.
“Students in the Warrior Innovation Center really enjoyed designing and creating the onesies for the future Warriors,” said Dawn Disch, Doug’s wife and fellow teacher in the Warrior Innovation Center. “It’s positive and it’s fun, and the students are enthusiastic about being part of it.”
A book with animals and textures is included to promote early reading and to help babies develop eye-hand coordination. Pages include textured animal images so a baby can connect sensations with the world around them.
Bags are printed with Wallace the Warrior as well, making it clear where the gifts have come from.
“That’s one of our goals as well, getting our name out in the public and promoting Warrior pride throughout the community,” said Doug Disch. “We’ve done projects regularly promoting that concept — at the Celebrate Waupun event, printing car decals and elsewhere.”
For clothing the lab is equipped with a laser printer, which cuts the vinyl letters and designs onto a vinyl sheet. After the negative spaces are removed the design is pressed under heat to adhere it to the fabric.
Onesie’s, in a limited number and a rage of three sizes, were taken to the hospital, ready to be distributed. The Warrior bags are just one of several gifts provided to parents as a gift from community organizations and individuals.
“I know those gifts were really appreciated when our three kids were born,” said Doug Disch. “It’s a really nice tradition that we’re now a part of.”
Nicole Gill, Vice President Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer, is happy to be a part of the program.
“We really appreciate the strong support we receive from our community partners, including the Waupun Area School District,” said Gill. “It is through these ongoing relationships that we are able to more effectively understand the specific needs of each partner and then focus our resources on ways to help the individuals and families we serve. The gift bags are adorable and much appreciated and have been well-received. Our families will benefit from this generosity, and for that we are grateful.”
Baby Lane, the son of Holly and Luke Marwitz and brother of Piper, Harlow and Emerson, recently received the gifts at Waupun Memorial Hospital where he was born just before Christmas.
“It was kind of a bonus that Holly is one of our WHS grads,” said Doug Disch. “We really appreciated that they sent us a photo of Lane in his onesie that we can share with the people who made this possible.”
He said that a next step might be printing a book for presentation – a book written and illustrated by one or more Waupun students.
Doug Disch is quick to point out that the gift bags are available to district babies born at other hospitals as well. To be included parents are asked to contact the district.
Families that receive the gift are invited to share a photo by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be shared on the WASD social media channels. They may also also tag it @waupunschools or use #WarriorPride.