Olathe & Southwest Joco

Olathe North wins mock-trial state championship

After winning the state championship, the Olathe North mock trial team will compete nationally next month in Reno, Nevada.
After winning the state championship, the Olathe North mock trial team will compete nationally next month in Reno, Nevada. Photo provided

The mock-trial team at Olathe North High School won the 2018 Kansas state championship, earning the right to compete in mid-May at the national level in Reno, Nevada.

Team members Reem Atallah, Alexa Edmonds, Lauren Ellenz, Anchal Gupta, Kirsten Osei-Bonsu, Alyson Shirley and Vanya Shivashankar secured the title by defeating Shawnee Mission Northwest’s team by four points.

Mock trial is a speaking competition modeled after a courtroom trial. For the annual state competition, the Kansas Bar Association releases a case, which is based on an actual trial, and students familiar themselves with the case materials and courtroom procedure.

“The students spent weeks preparing for competition,” Richard Belske, the school’s debate and forensics coach, said in a news release. “They are the first Kansas City area team to qualify for the national competition in nearly a decade, and they are the only Olathe school in history to qualify.”

Gardner considering fiber initiative

Gardner citizens are being asked to weigh in as the city explores taking steps to bring faster internet service to property owners.

An online survey will be posted through 5 p.m. on May 9 at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/fibernetwork.

The survey asks people about their current internet service, whether they would support a city-owned fiber optic network and how much they would be willing to pay upfront and monthly for such a service.

Prescription Take Back Day is April 28

The Olathe Police Department will help residents dispose of unwanted prescription drugs April 28 during the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Bring pills or patches — no questions asked — to the Olathe Police Department, 501 E. Old 56 Highway, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Liquids, needles or sharps cannot be accepted.

Take Back Day aims to provide a convenient, responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while educating the public about medications and their potential for abuse. Improper disposal can harm the environment, particularly the water supply, and keeping old prescriptions around can endanger children or lead to theft and abuse of the medicine.

Summer Lego camp in Gardner

The deadline to sign up for a Lego Jedi Engineering Camp, which takes place June 4-8 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Gardner, is May 31.

With instructors from Play-Well TEKnologies, kids will explore basic principles of engineering and physics while constructing Lego creations and learning to collaborate with others. Parents are invited to the last 30 to 40 minutes each session to see what the kids have made.

Morning sessions are scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon for children 5 to 7 years old. A Jedi Master Engineering Camp will run from 1 to 4 p.m. for children 8 to 12.

The fee is $150. To sign up, go to gardnerparks.com and click on Activities & Special Events.

Graphic novelist fires up young readers

Reading can be intimidating for some kids, but graphic novels have engaged some of these “reluctant readers” who can then take their skills to the next level.

It’s even better, no doubt, when kids can actually meet a graphic novelist.

That’s what happened at Olathe’s Central Elementary School late last month, when author-illustrator James Burks visited the school. He has written and illustrated several graphic novels for children and also has worked on animated movies such as “The Emperor’s New Groove,” “Space Jam” and “The Iron Giant.”

During a student assembly, Burks spoke about his professional journey from drawing as a child to working in animation and writing and illustrating books. He drew several popular characters from his novels and took audience suggestion for new characters. Students also previewed the cover art and storyboards for his next book.

That evening, Burks hosted a meet-and-greet where students and community members could visit and receive autographs.

“The author visit was incredibly inspirational for our students,” Central Principal Dana Hinds said. “They were shaking the hand of the author and illustrator of the books they’ve grown to love. Every student wanted to hurry back to class and begin creating their own stories and sketches.”

To pay for the visit, Central reading specialist Kim Curry obtained a grant from the Olathe Public Schools Foundation.

State honors eight career/tech students from Olathe

Eight Olathe high school students have been chosen as 2018 Kansas Career and Technical Education Scholars by the Kansas State Department of Education

They are Matthew Boehm, Liam Delancy and Collin Wall, all from the Olathe Advanced Technical Center; Wesley Cavanaugh, Nolan Dean, Alexander Ge and Zachary Peterson, all from Olathe East High School; and Ethan Weeks, from Olathe Northwest High School.

The Kansas Career and Technical Education Scholar Program recognizes well-rounded students who are finishing their senior year. This is the second year for the initiative.

Math winners announced for April

The final Olathe Elementary Math Wings competition of the year took place this month and crowned co-winners in both the fourth- and fifth-grade division.

The fourth-grade division finished in a tie between the Cedar Creek and Regency Place elementary teams. Cedar Creek team members were Carter Poplin, Drake Heimsoth and Caleb Flatland. Regency Place was represented by Grady Waddell, Jack Kennedy and Nicholas Hammond.

Walnut Grove and Prairie Center elementary schools tied for the fifth-grade division crown. Walnut Grove team members were Jakob Gilbo, Dylan Gilbo and Bret Keech. Regency Place team members were Abigail McCulloch, Hannah Cleveland and Alex Robinson.

Olathe Math Wings is an after-school math club fourth- and fifth-graders.

Black Bob Elementary to celebrate 40th anniversary

Current and former employees, students and families of Black Bob Elementary School are invited to the 40th anniversary celebration May 4 at the school, 14701 S. Brougham Drive.

A private gathering of current and former staffers is planned from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

From 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., families and the community are welcome to tour the school, see old photos and yearbooks, and enjoy refreshments.

Risers will be set up in the multi-purpose room for those who want to take group photos with friends.

Compiled by Elaine Adams, Special to The Olathe News