Cass County Democrat Missourian

Harrisonville names Educator of Year, other awards

The 2018-19 yearbook staff at Ray-Pec High School.
The 2018-19 yearbook staff at Ray-Pec High School. Courtesy photo

Harrisonville names Educator of Year

Maria Derner, who teaches Spanish at Harrisonville Middle School, is the Harrisonville School District’s Educator of the Year. She was honored at an year-end ceremony that also recognized Harrisonville High School accompanist Kathy Eckert as the Support Staff Employee of the Year.

Chandra Kelly, criminal justice/CSI instructor at Cass Career Center, received the Outstanding Community Involvement Award. The Volunteer of the Year designation went to the Harrisonville PTO.

Derner has been teaching for 19 years beginning with 15 years in the South American country of Colombia. She also has also taught in the Belton and Blue Valley districts.

She’s been at Harrisonville Middle School for two years.

“Mrs. Derner builds great relationships with her students, first knowing that the mastery of her content will come after those basic needs are met,” a nomination said. “As a truly great teacher Mrs. Derner understands the power of creativity, wonder and laughter. She makes learning experiences full of engaging questions, wonder and discovery. She makes learning real.”

Eckert, who is in her 15th year with the district, was applauded for teaching soft skills along with music. She was described as a “true encourager” who builds relationships with students.

Kelly’s community involvement includes leading the Police Explorers program and working with the Harrisonville High softball team. The PTO was recognized for donating funds for field day, new playground equipment, movie licenses and a rock wall. The group also has rounded up volunteers to paint playgrounds and found ways to show appreciation to the staff.

What’s the chance of that?

Book fairs are pretty standard in today’s schools, but probability fairs? Not so much.

At Harrisonville Middle School, however, just such an event helped seventh-grade students conclude both the academic year and a unit on probability.

The students worked in groups to develop games involving probability, and their classmates got to play them at the Probability Fair. The games had to be built out of recycled material or items around the house, they had to be durable and they had to offer all players the same chance to win.

The name of the games were pretty, too. A sampling: Lucky Ducks Trading Post, Balloon Hula Shot, Probability Knockout, Scurvy Singing, Spin Around the Pie, Guess ‘N’ Go and 2 Random.

Ray-Pec yearbook honored

The 2019 Raymore-Peculiar High School yearbook, The Panther, has been inducted into the Walsworth Publishing National Gallery of Excellence.

The gallery is an annual collection of the most distinguished yearbooks in the country. Yearbooks are chosen for quality of theme, coverage, design, photography and copy.

The 2018-19 yearbook staff was led by student editors Sydney Bearden and Kenzie Jones.

Harrisonville musicians earn gold at state contest

Harrisonville High School musicians traveled to State Music Contest this spring in Columbia, and some of them came home with the highest rating possible.

Those earning a gold rating were vocal soloists Rebekah Bartlett and Carolyn Schrock; a men’s vocal trio including Peyton Holden, Alek Baker and Zach Austin; and instrumental soloists Kenna Hawley on the tenor saxophone and Alex Sheldrake on the tuba.