Sixteen years ago, eighth-graders Jillian Dent and Mukul Sharma met in Cathy Nalivaiko’s Spanish class at Bernard Campbell Middle School and began a relationship that has lasted through adulthood.
Both graduated in 2006 from Lee’s Summit North High School, where Dent ranked third in her class and was National Honor Society president. Sharma was valedictorian and Student Senate president.
Both obtained bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Dent went on to earn a law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law, and Sharma earned a master’s in business administration from Northwestern University.
Now, they live in Chicago, where she is an attorney and he’s a credit adviser.
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When the two returned to Lee’s Summit in October, around the time of Dent’s 30th birthday, they returned to their former middle school, where Bernard Campbell Principal Sherri Lewis opened school on a Saturday evening, Oct. 7, so Sharma could propose in the very classroom where they met. He had decorated the space for the occasion.
“I told her that we had plans to have dinner with some of her family,” he said. “That cover was quickly blown after I told Jillian that I had a surprise for her inside of Campbell as we were driving by the building.”
The couple plans to wed next fall.
Catholic church assists R-7 families
Parishioners from Holy Spirit Catholic Church have donated children’s Christmas gifts and household necessities to about 55 families served through the Great Beginnings Early Childhood Center.
The church is among numerous businesses, civic groups and religious organizations that help Lee’s Summit R-7 School District children facing financial struggles.
In addition to “wish-list” gifts for the children, the church donated items such as vacuum cleaners, dishes, paper towels, toilet paper and cleaning items. Gift cards also were provided for grocery shopping.
This is the 11th straight year that Holy Spirit has helped Great Beginnings families during the holidays. In addition to the holiday support, the church provided about 45 new coats for Great Beginnings children and around 60 backpacks.
Holy Spirit also assists with specific situations such as a family in need of a car seat.
‘Coins for Christmas’ generates $2,600
The Summit Pointe Elementary Student Council recently conducted a “coins for Christmas” drive, raising approximately $2,600 to assist needy families.
The money — which was donated by students, staff and families — was used to buy gifts that were donated to Lee’s Summit Social Services.
Brenda Hall is the Student Council sponsor.
Essays note the impact of music
Students at Summit Lakes Middle School were asked to write a 500-word essay on “How has music affected who I am and will become?” for a contest co-sponsored by Arvest Bank.
Lauren Kyanka was the seventh-grade winner and Sophie Ackerman was the eighth-grade winner. Each received two tickets to “Hip Hop Nutcracker” on Dec. 10 at the Midland Theatre.
Contest judges included music educators and the school’s Partners In Education Committee.
Unlocking the mystery of computer coding
Bernard Campbell Middle School celebrated Computer Science Education Week this month by offering an Hour of Code activity.
Students met in the library before school to learn more about coding and could choose from several coding options. Sphero robots were a big draw as the students used a Chrome app to block code the robots.
Several students also created apps using BitsBox. That website teaches students how to write code in an online-app environment. Students also learned about variables and functions.
Code.org provides many options for students to learn more about the process.
Chiefs $10,000 grant to promote healthy habits
The Kansas City Chiefs, in partnership with Midwest Dairy Council and the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program, awarded a $10,000 NFL Hometown Grant to support the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s healthy nutrition and physical activity programs.
Lee’s Summit and Sunset Valley elementary schools each received $5,000 based on their success with Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school program that encourages students to become healthy leaders in their community.
The schools use the funding to encourage physical activity and collaborate with the district’s nutrition department on promoting healthy eating.
Parenting courses offered
Lee’s Summit CARES will present two Love and Logic parenting courses early next year:
▪ Parenting the Love and Logic Way, designed for parents of youth from 11 to 18 years old, will be offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Jan. 9-30, at Pleasant Lea Middle School, 630 S.W. Persels Road.
The course will teach parents how to maintain a positive relationship, how brain development affects behavior, how to help teens handle peer pressure, communication strategies that work, setting limits that can be enforced and reducing parenting stress.
▪ Love and Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun will be offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Jan. 17 through Feb. 14, at Great Beginnings Early Education Center, 908 N.E. Bluestem Drive.
The course is designed for parents of children through 6 years old.
Each course costs $50. Scholarships are available for qualifying residents of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.
For more information, to preregister, or to apply for a scholarship, visit www.lscares.org or contact Bev Hatley at 816-347-3259.
Placement exam Jan. 6 at St. Michael the Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel Catholic High School has scheduled a second placement test from 8 a.m. to noon Jan. 6 for eighth-grade students who want to attend the Lee’s Summit school next fall.
Incoming freshmen must take the test to be considered for scholarships. The exam also is used to place students in the most appropriate class next fall. Results will not be used to deny anyone admission to the school.
Sign up online at smacatholic.org/makeup-placement-test.
Compiled by Elaine Adams, Special to the Journal