Cass County Democrat Missourian

Belton Educational Foundation names new leader

Rhyse Dickey, the Student of the Month at Cass Career Center, is pictured with Jeri Ware of the Cass County Elks Lodge #2791, which sponsors the award.
Rhyse Dickey, the Student of the Month at Cass Career Center, is pictured with Jeri Ware of the Cass County Elks Lodge #2791, which sponsors the award. Courtesy photo

Belton foundation names new leader

Sonja Abdelgawad began work Feb. 11 as executive director of the Belton Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that uses private donations to enhance learning in the Belton School District.

She has worked in education for two decades as a teacher, parent educator, instructional coach and district curriculum facilitator, according to a news release from the foundation. She’s been with the Belton district for 14 years and has served on the Raymore City Council since 2012.

“Supporting the teachers, students, and families in the Belton School District was an integral part of my work as an instructional coach and curriculum facilitator,” Abdelgawad said in a news release “As executive director of the Belton Educational Foundation, this opportunity increases exponentially.”

She replaces Krista Watkins, who left to move closer to family.

Cass Career Center selects Student of Month

Marketing student Rhyse Dickey, a senior from Harrisonville High School, is the Student of the Month for February at the Cass Career Center.

Dickey is a marketing student at the career center, which is operated by the Harrisonville School District but accepts students from surrounding districts.

Judges needed for Ray-Pec senior projects

Members of the public are invited to serve as judges at the Raymore-Peculiar High School senior project DRIVE Community Night on April 24, a Wednesday.

All seniors enrolled in English IV are required to complete a senior DRIVE project. DRIVE stands for Directed, Real-World, Innovative, Venture, Experience.

Each student must work with a community mentor to complete his or her project and dedicate at least 25 hours outside the school day to it.

Projects must demonstrate leadership abilities and mastery of soft skills, the district said, and result in the student becoming a more educated, active and productive member of the community, the district said. On April 24, students will give presentations of eight to 10 minutes.

Get details and the signup form at Direct questions to Sarah Renfrow at

DECA members headed to state

Eleven DECA members from Cass Career Center have qualified for state competition by performing well at the district level on Feb. 13. Students competed in both written and role play events.

Those qualifying for state are Peyton Zaring, Haley Holden, Michael Schuhler, Ethan Danner, Rhyse Dickey, Anastasia Ray, Elizabeth Bostic, Madison Barnes, Amy Tracy, Madison Hoffman and Sydnea Crawford.

Fourteen students received either trophies or medals in their events.

Those finishing in first place were Michael Schuhler, business finance series individual role play; Elizabeth Bostic, apparel and accessories marketing individual role play, and Madison Barnes, hotel and lodging management individual role play.

Second-place honors went to Peyton Zaring and Haley Holden, travel and tourism team decision making, and Zaring, quick serve restaurant management.

Winning third place in their events were Michael Schuhler and Ethan Danner, business services operations research, and Rhyse Dickey and Anastasia Ray, integrated marketing campaign event.

Fourth place honors went to Sydnea Crawford and Madison Hoffman, marketing management team decision making; Elizabeth Bostic and Kara Lemmer, buying and merchandising team decision making, and Grace McLaughlin and Cassidy Spencer, hospitality and tourism team decision making.

Other district awards went to Rhyse Dickey, fifth place in marketing communication individual role play; Ethan Danner, fifth place in food marketing individual role play, and Amy Tracy, sixth place in hotel and lodging management individual role play.

The state competition will be March 24-26.

Ray-Pec theater techs win it all

The Raymore-Peculiar Tech Challenge team earned the grand champion title at the Missouri State Thespian Festival last month, as Riley Linn won first place on lighting, Becca Bessette took second place on threading a sewing machine, Zach Scott and Devyn Phillips placed third in props setup, and Nick Hime, Linn, Bessette and Scott finished third in drop folding.

The improv team of Ian Van Horn, Ella Schnake, Spencer Harris, Spencer Barr and Ashley Sclesky earned a superior rating in the Improv Intensives.

Two students auditioned and were cast in the All-State show of “A Streetcar Named Desire” to be performed at next year’s festival. Alec Heriford will portray Stanley and Ella Schnake will be Eunice.

Monopoly tourney to benefit scholarship fund

Cass Career Center, the Harrisonville Kiwanis Club and Coffelt Land Title will host a Monopoly Tournament on March 2 to raise money for the Jerry Tabb Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides an annual scholarship to a Cass Career Center student.

Anyone is welcome to enter the tournament, which will take place at the Career Center, 1600 E. Elm St. in Harrisonville.

Check-in begins at 8 a.m. and there will be three rounds beginning at 8:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided.

The cost is $25. To register, go to or call 816-380-3253, extension 7223.