Cass County Democrat Missourian

Grateful soldier presents flag to Pleasant Hill band

Pictured at the Pleasant Hill flag presentation are, from left, Adam Twenter, director of bands for Pleasant Hill; Capt. Joshua Kolden, and Kristin Peterson, assistant director of bands.
Pictured at the Pleasant Hill flag presentation are, from left, Adam Twenter, director of bands for Pleasant Hill; Capt. Joshua Kolden, and Kristin Peterson, assistant director of bands. Courtesy photo

Soldier honors Pleasant Hill High band

When the marching musicians of Pleasant Hill High School blew their horns and beat their drums last fall during performances of “A Hero Is....,” someone was watching from far away.

That someone was Capt. Joshua Kolden of the Army National Guard who — from Iraq — saw every performance of the Pride of the Hill Marching Band throughout the fall via livestream. At the same time, he delivered personal messages to his family at each marching event.

Because of the time difference, he and other members of the 35th Combat Aviation Brigade would get up in the middle of the night to catch the band in action.

Kolden has since returned home after being deployed nearly a year, and on May 14, he gave the band an American flag that had been flown in Iraq. He told band members at the presentation that he and his colleagues drew inspiration from seeing the Pleasant Hill musicians honor heroes during the fall season.

East Lynne principal takes on superintendent duties, too

As of July 1, Sonja Yoder will assume more responsibility in the East Lynne School District.

Yoder, who has been principal at East Lynne School since August 2017, will now assume the superintendent’s duties as well. In that role, she succeeds John Brinkley, who worked two days a week this past year and is now retiring fully from the district’s top post.

An educator for 27 years, Yoder taught in Lynchburg, Va., before moving to Missouri. Yoder said she is entering her 10th year in East Lynne, having worked as a language arts teacher, curriculum director and principal.

The East Lynne School, which serves pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, enrolled 116 students this past year.

Liberty Store proceeds support The Moving Wall

Second-graders are likely too young to grasp the full meaning of The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial that will be in Harrisonville from June 27 through July 1.

But they can take satisfaction in the role they played to bring the wall to town. By operating the annual Liberty Kids Store, second-graders in Leslie Culpepper and Sally Holman’s classes raised nearly $2,000 for the project. For two days this spring, the Liberty Kids Store offered students at Harrisonville Elementary School a chance to buy patriotic products like pencils, dog tags and temporary tattoos. Learning a lesson in economics, the second-graders set up the store and sold the merchandise. They took money, counted change and answered questions from shoppers. The Moving Wall exhibit, coordinated by the American Legion, can be seen at the Mill-Walk Mall parking lot, 2601 Cantrell Road.

Ed Roberts, a Moving Wall volunteer, accepts a check from second-grade students.

Local singers to perform at state conference

Two Cass County school districts, Harrisonville and Raymore-Peculiar, have announced the names of students chosen to perform at the Missouri Choral Directors Association conference next month in Jefferson City.

Ray-Pec said that all five singers who auditioned for 9th and 10th grade Honor Choir were selected. They are Payton Ballinger, Claire Eberhart, Jonah Hagelin, Meghan Larsen and Carinne Williams.

Also chosen for that choir was Leah Bartlett from Harrisonville High School.

Four other Harrisonville students were selected to the Missouri All-State Show Choir: Michael Schuhler, bass; Riley Mathew, alto; and sopranos Amy Tracy and Carolyn Schrock.

Hillcrest STEAM is fourth National School of Character in Belton

Hillcrest STEAM Academy has joined three other Belton Schools as National Schools of Character, a designation awarded by

Previously earning the designation were Kentucky Trail Elementary, Mill Creek Upper Elementary and Grace Early Childhood Center.

Each year, certifies schools and districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development in a way that improves academic achievement, student behavior and school climate. Some earn state-level designations, but the national award is the highest given by the organization.