Kristie Steyer 440-632-0261, ext. 1000

CMS a ‘School on the Rise’

Cardinal Middle School students are making history in the PHabLab. The National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) named CMS as its November School on the Rise. CMS was chosen from more than 900 certification centers across the country and is the only middle school to ever earn this award. NC3 selects “Schools on the Rise” based on hard work and dedication towards career and technical education and an increased certification performance.

“This is a true testament to the teacher we have in that classroom, Mrs. [Mandi] Matchinga, and all of our middle school students,” Cardinal Middle School Principal Andy Cardinal said. “What Mrs. Matchinga has been able to achieve with our students in that lab has far exceeded all of our expectations.”

The CMS PHabLab opened last year and includes 3D printers, a laser cutter, a CNC milling machine, Arduino microcontrollers and a Google JamBoard as well as a recently added Cricut Maker and heat press. Already this year, students are learning how to create designs on the Cricut Maker.

“It truly feels like we get to ‘play’ in class all day with these projects,” Mrs. Matchinga said, adding that students are utilizing STEM skills and honing their creativity. “This environment truly provides so many opportunities for students to get hands-on experience with concepts they don’t even realize they’re learning because they’re having so much fun.”

In April 2020, CMS was also the first school to ever be virtually certified by NC3. NC3 provides industry recognized certifications on the machines utilized in the PHabLab. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, nearly every sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grader received an industry certification from NC3. Fifth graders do not receive certifications, but they do learn the basic operation and safety measures of each machine. NC3 will feature CMS in their newsletter and on their website,, starting Nov. 1.

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