Olathe East senior Neelie Browne won the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Essay Contest and a scholarship from the Olathe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, but her achievement involved much more than words.
To be eligible for the recognition, seniors first must demonstrate outstanding qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism —the four hallmarks of a Daughters of the American Revolution, or DAR, good citizen.
Each high school nominates one student for the DAR’s Good Citizen Award. The nominees then must obtain two letters of recommendation, document their academic and community accomplishments, outline their hopes for the future and describe how they demonstrate the four qualities of a DAR good citizen.
For those who choose to continue in the scholarship program, the final step is a 550-word essay on a given question. Students don’t know the question ahead of time and have two hours to write the essay without notes or other resources.
The Good Citizen Award recipients from four Olathe high schools participated in the essay contest.
As the overall winner, Browne received a $300 scholarship from the Olathe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Cameron Jones from Olathe Northwest, Marissa Lux from Olathe North and Lilian Gray from Olathe South each received a $50 scholarship as finalists.
Opera comes to Forest View Elementary
If you think opera is too sophisticated for elementary school students, you probably haven’t heard of the Lyric Opera Express.
Students at Forest View Elementary certainly have. They’ve been on stage with professional singers, performing an opera that depicts one aspect of the anti-slavery movement in the 19th century.
As part of their professional development, Olathe district music teachers visited the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and learned about Lyric Opera Express, which provides materials to prepare students for an operatic debut.
In addition to music, staging guides and activity packets, members of the Lyric Opera conduct a workshop at the school and perform with students in “She Never Lost a Passenger: The Story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.”
The materials provide “information on the history of Harriet Tubman’s life, the key players in the Underground Railroad and even some of the secret coding used to help transport the slaves to freedom,” said Forest View vocal music teacher Julie Sluyter said. “Students are learning musical concepts while investigating the historical significance of this period.”
On performance day, four principal singers accompanied Forest View fifth-graders as they performed for third- and fourth-grade students.
The Lyric Opera Express troupe typically performs with up to 28 students, but the entire fifth-grade class of roughly 80 students were involved in Forest View’s production. It was the troupe’s largest performance to date, the Olathe district said.
Career pathway fair for seventh-grade families
Olathe Public Schools will host a career pathway fair March 21 for seventh-grade students and their families.
The open house is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m at Prairie Trail Middle School, 21600 W. 107th St. It allows students and parents the chance to explore high school courses, career fields and learn more about the 21st Century Academies.
Students are encouraged to bring their school-issued iPads in order to participate in activities during the event. Limited child care will be available, but families must contact their school counselor to make a reservation.
Grants support storefront upgrades in downtown Olathe
Olathe is offering help to downtown merchants who want to improve the exterior of their businesses, but they must apply by April 2.
The Downtown Storefront Improvement Grant aims to encourage commercial property owners — including businesses, offices, retail and food establishments — to enhance the design and appearance of their façades.
The city will fund up to half the cost of eligible improvements with a cap of $10,000 per property. Applicants cannot start work until receiving a formal decision from the city.
Visit OlatheKS.org/DowntownStorefront for details and eligibility.
Compiled by Elaine Adams, Special to The Olathe News