Cass County Democrat Missourian

Ray-Pec Volunteer of the Year a school district treasure

Model U.N. participants included Harrisonville eighth-graders (from left) Menda Schroeder, Elizabeth Allen, Caroline Ocheskey, Jaelynne Bundt, Elizabeth Lundeen, McKinzie Parks, Max Werner, Cort DeVenney, Kale Weber, Gael Rios and Charles Sturgeon.
Model U.N. participants included Harrisonville eighth-graders (from left) Menda Schroeder, Elizabeth Allen, Caroline Ocheskey, Jaelynne Bundt, Elizabeth Lundeen, McKinzie Parks, Max Werner, Cort DeVenney, Kale Weber, Gael Rios and Charles Sturgeon. Couresy photo

Ray-Pec Volunteer of the Year does it all

Jodi Price, who is treasurer for both the Timber Creek Elementary School PTA and the district PTA Council, is the 2019 Volunteer of the Year for the Raymore-Peculiar School District.

The Ray-Pec Council of PTAs made the announcement during a reception to honor 14 nominees for the award. Price was nominated by Kyle Burke and Nicole Cline.

“Jodi is a vital part of the Timber Creek PTA and has volunteered to be a chairperson for multiple committees over the years leaving her mark on each,” their nomination letter said.

“For the last four years Jodi has been the anchor for the carnival, which is one of the biggest events of the year. She spends months working with vendors for food and games, gathering prizes and donations for the silent auction. She also finds all of the other volunteers that make the night possible.”

The letter said that this year, Price also took on the chairmanship of the staff appreciation committee, leading six luncheons for the entire staff and celebrating each staffer’s birthday.

“She also volunteers at registration, works all three book fairs, seven family nights this year, counts box tops and labels monthly, set up and tear down for musical programs, kindergarten round up, and trick or treat street. She also comes up with and throws the most amazing class parties and does not shudder at the huge events like the carnival or Apex Fun Run.”

Drexel names K-12 assistant principal

The Drexel School District has chosen Doug Chisam to be the K-12 assistant principal for 2019-2020. The district said he has more than 30 years in education, including 20 years as principal at Osawatomie High School in Kansas. He retired from that job last year.

The hiring of Chisam completes a restructuring of the district’s leadership team. With the voluntary departures this year of both the elementary and secondary principals, Superintendent Terry Mayfield said he would hire a K-12 principal and a K-12 assistant principal/instructional coach.

Gary French, who is retiring this year as school superintendent in Osawatomie, was hired earlier as the K-12 principal.

“Now that the new administrators are in place, we will be meeting over the summer to discuss and finalize the job descriptions and duties for the principal and assistant principal,” Mayfield said in an email.

Character ed group recognizes Belton’s early childhood center

Grace Early Childhood Center in Belton has earned a 2019 Promising Practice Award from, a national organization dedicated to high-quality character education in schools. The award recognizes “unique and replicable” ways that educators implement a character principle.

Preschool teacher Lori Steele and classroom paraprofessionals were the primary staff members involved.

In Steele’s class, students guide their learning. When the topic was water, the children were intrigued to learn that water doesn’t come from a faucet in many parts of the world. They explored the area around Cleveland Lake and discovered that many people would be grateful for such a resource, although the lake water is deemed undrinkable in Cass County.

The kids then wanted to help bring clean water to places without it. They learned about Ryan’s Well Foundation, which builds wells in African villages, and raised more than $1,500 for the organization through a coin drive and dance-a-thon.

Harrisonville kids think globally at Model U.N.

Academically gifted eighth-graders from Harrisonville joined students from around the Kansas City area this spring at the Metro Kansas City Model United Nations Conference at Johnson County Community College.

The Harrisonville Middle School students served as delegates from Colombia and Greece, collaborating and caucusing with others to develop, debate and vote on resolutions. They practiced parliamentary procedure and public speaking, and learned how challenging it can be to get countries to work together.

The eighth-graders are part of the HATS (Harrisonville Academically Talented Students) program directed by Laura Frees.

Ray-Pec musicians earn top ratings

For the first time ever, five vocal ensembles from Raymore-Peculiar High School received exemplary ratings – the highest possible – at the State Large Ensemble Contest in early April. They were the Concert Choir, The Black and Gold, Chamber Choir, Treble Choir and Bella Armonia, an ensemble that participated in the contest for the first time.

As a part of their rating, all groups that had a sight-reading component also received an exemplary rating. Only five groups from each school could attend, so Ray-Pec got the most exemplary ratings possible.

Four instrumental ensembles from Ray-Pec also earned exemplary ratings: the Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble and Wind Symphony.

At the State Music Contest on April 26, these students earned gold ratings for vocal solos: Payton Ballinger, Tayler Bates, Cooper Carson, Katie Clewell, Chloe Coons, Addison Hansen, Kylie Hansen, Samuel Reicher, Matthew Stewart and Sydney Strauss.

Earning gold for instrumental solos were Cecilia Brown, Sage Buckley, Zaran Jathaul, Lilah Manning, Zach Paszkiewicz, McKenna Sloan, Megan Strauss, Devin Tilawen and Tammy Yang.

Ensembles earning gold at the State Music Contest:

▪ Men’s Quartet: Jacob Elliott, Robbie Keays, Mark Moorhead and Matthew Stewart.

▪ Percussion Quartet: Ashlyn Mohn, Jayden Bramble, Julianna Reaka and Tammy Yang.

▪  Women’s Sophomore Octet: Payton Ballinger, Claire Eberhart, Kiersten Grier, Olivia Pace, Jaycee Robertson, Gracie Romine, Jaci Stratton and Carinne Williams.

Logan Gray Award honors Belton student

Belton High School junior Chase Lebow was the 2019 recipient of the Logan Gray Award announced at the Cass County Job Olympics in April.

The award, named for a Pleasant Hill student who died in 2008, recognizes a student who demonstrates the same qualities that Logan Gray did. Gray loved his school, his community and the Job Olympics and took pride in everything he did.

Five students are nominated for the award. They participate in an interview process with the special education directors from each northern Cass County school district: Pleasant Hill, Harrisonville, Cass Midway, Belton and Raymore-Peculiar.

Students don’t know ahead of time what they’ll be asked, but Belton teacher Nikki Mackay said Lebow, the Belton nominee, “nailed it.”