Cass County Democrat Missourian

Freshmen join older students at renovated Belton High

An explosion of color marks the end of the Catch the Spirit 5K walk/run.
An explosion of color marks the end of the Catch the Spirit 5K walk/run. Courtesy photo

Changes at refurbished Belton High

Belton School District freshmen are starting class this fall in an environment that their predecessors could not: A refurbished Belton High School where they can interact with sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Previously, ninth-graders were housed with younger students in a building with an unwieldy name: Belton Middle School/Freshman Center. But with money from a bond issue that voters approved in 2017, the district has upgraded the high school and created space for the freshmen.

“Our freshmen are now ‘back’ in a comprehensive high school setting, which is a four-year school,” district spokeswoman Melissa McConnell said by email. “When the freshmen were at the middle school, not only was that building overcrowded, we noticed students feeling disconnected with the high school academically and socially.”

With the new arrangement, McConnell said, academic outcomes should improve as students become more aware of how the freshman year affects graduation requirements.

“Socially, their opportunity for true high school experiences involving activities and athletics will build school spirit and a positive environment,” she said.

“No longer will freshmen have to catch a bus to the high school to participate in high school marching band, clubs or sports. Students can feel a part of homecoming week, pep rallies and the other events that make high school memorable. We are excited about the opportunities for all Pirates.”

Among other things, the $20 million bond issue, which did not require a tax increase, paid for 25 new classrooms at Belton High School, a performing arts center, an aquatic center, a fieldhouse with walking track, a secure entrance to the office area, new offices and meeting spaces for the additional administrators, counselors and clerical workers; a reconfigured library media center/commons area and lighting installed last year on the softball/baseball fields.

The move dovetails with the district’s effort to enhance learning and career preparation at Belton High with an initiative called the Academies of Belton, which will begin a little later this fall.

“The freshman class (Class of 2023) will become the first group to participate in the transformation of education in Belton,” McConnell said.

Catch the Spirit color run is approaching

Registration is underway for the 2019 Catch the Spirit 5K walk/run, a “colorful” event hosted by the Harrisonville Public School Foundation at 8 a.m. Sept. 14 at Harrisonville High School.

At various stations on the route, participants will be showered with colored powder made of non-toxic colored cornstarch and there’s a color toss at the end of the race. Runners and walkers can avoid the color aspect by traveling on the opposite side of the street when approaching a color station.

Race proceeds benefit the foundation and the Christina Collins Memorial Scholarship, given each year to a student in the Peer Helpers group in memory of 2006 graduate Christina Collins.

Through Aug. 30, the $25 fee will includes a T-shirt. Late registration after that does not include a T-shirt and costs $30. Under the family plan, any elementary student can register for $15 with an adult registration. The family plan includes a T-shirt for those who sign up by Aug. 30. Sponsorships also are available.

Register by clicking on the Catch the Spirit event at

National Honor Society officers in Drexel

The Drexel chapter of the National Honor Society has chosen student officers for the coming year: Jayklin Smith, president; Logan Cochran, vice-president; Makenna Willard, secretary; MaKenna Finley and Mackenzie Winfield, co-treasurers, and Andrea Cordell, reporter.

Bank gives $2,500 to Ray-Pec foundation

The Country Club Bank in Raymore donated $2,500 earlier this month to support the Raymore-Peculiar Public School Foundation.

The foundation raises money to give extra support to students and teachers in the Ray-Pec district. Among other things, it awards mini-grants to teachers, sponsors staff recognition programs and oversees the Caring About Nutrition program, which sends bags of food home with some elementary students on Fridays and operates small pantries in the secondary schools.