Olathe & Southwest Joco

Nineteen students and two teachers from Germany experienced Kansas City culture this fall

Students from Germany trekked to Kansas City’s 18th and Vine District to experience jazz, a musical genre born in America.
Students from Germany trekked to Kansas City’s 18th and Vine District to experience jazz, a musical genre born in America. Photo provided

German students immersed in KC culture

Nineteen students and two teachers from the Bavarian area of Germany experienced Kansas City culture this fall and spent time in two Olathe high schools as part of an ongoing program organized by the Olathe Public Schools.

Every other year, the district welcomes students from sister schools in Germany and Japan, who stay with host families for 10 days. Students from Penzberg, Germany, visited this fall, and Japanese teenagers will be here during the spring semester.

Upon arrival, the cultural exchange participants met their host families at a welcome reception at Olathe Northwest High School.

While here, the students tasted Arthur Bryant’s barbecue and visited Kansas City landmarks such as the American Jazz Museum, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the National World War I Museum and Memorial. During the day, they attended school with their host siblings.

German teachers Christine Hanks, from Olathe East High School, and and Kimberly Watts, from Olathe Northwest, organize the program itineraries and maintain the relationship with the sister school.

“Olathe’s cultural exchange with Penzberg has proven to be an invaluable experience for students in our German programs at Olathe East and Olathe Northwest,” Michael Flenthrope, district coordinator of world languages, said in a news release. “This partnership enables our teachers to bring the contemporary German culture and language not only into the classroom, but also into the homes of our students.”

At the farewell dinner, German students thanked their host families and taught them about their home city by sharing pictures and performing songs with instruments.

State funds secured for new Gardner interchange

Gardner officials announced this week that the state has allocated roughly $10 million for improvements to the interchange at Interstate 35 and Gardner Road.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is designing a diverging diamond interchange for that location, a newer design that increases safety by eliminating left-hand turns into oncoming traffic.

The city said KDOT will provide $3.925 million for Phase 1, which will realign 191st Street west of Gardner Road and signalize the intersection ramps.That work is to begin late next year.

In addition, $6 million will be granted for the replacement of the Gardner Road bridge over I-35. That Phase 2 construction is slated to begin in 2022.

Library book sale concludes Dec. 9

A book sale organized by the Friends of the Olathe Public Library continues through Dec. 9 at the library’s Teen Commons, 16160 W. 135th St.

Sale hours were scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 7-8. Customers can stop by from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 9 for a “Sack Sale” where they can fill a sack for $6. If they buy two sacks, they get four more for free.

Hunt for candy canes by flashlight

Several cities around the area have scheduled candy cane hunts — by flashlights — during this holiday season.

By 5:30 p.m. Dec. 20, the city of Gardner expects Santa to have hidden hundreds of candy canes in Cornerstone Park for kids to find. Families should bring their own flashlights at that time to join the hunt. Prizes will be given to those who find the “lucky canes.”

The event is designed for children aged 2 to 12. The cost is $3 per child, and registration is due by Dec. 17 at City Hall or online through the Parks & Recreation page at gardnerkansas.gov.

Olathe rescheduled its event for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Stagecoach Park. Registration was required.