Lee's Summit Journal

Aspiring doctor headed to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Anna Upman
Anna Upman

LS grad studies abroad thanks to State Department scholarship

Anna Upman, a May graduate of Lee’s Summit North High School, as been awarded a scholarship to study in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a gap year student with the program KL-YES Abroad. It’s a yearlong cultural exchange program for high school and gap year students to one of 13 countries with primarily Muslim populations.

YES Abroad began the year after 9/11 to foster cultural understanding by connecting youth from primarily Muslim cultures with their American counterparts. The scholarship, funded through the U.S. State Department, allows American students from across the country to gain a better understanding of a new culture, society and group of people through immersion while living with families in a host country.

“I hope to take these experiences with me into the future, as I aspire to be an international traveling doctor and help people all around the world and live a variety of places,” Upman said.

She will depart Aug. 10 to live with a host family and attend a local high school taught entirely in the Bosnian language. She will travel within Bosnia, meet with the U.S. Embassy staff, complete community service at local language schools, attend cultural enrichment activities and complete a capstone project about her host city.

Upman is familiar with exchange programs. She hosted five German students while in high school and traveled to Germany last summer for the Lee’s Summit School District’s German School-to-School Exchange. She has studied German for five years and believes her German will be helpful as many in Bosnia learn both German and English.

“Travel is a great teacher, and living abroad is an extraordinary one,” said Deborah Parker, Upman’s German teacher at Lee’s Summit North. “The benefits and enrichment are invaluable. Many cultures – Germany being one – consider it such an important facet of education that one of the requirements for graduating with a university degree is having lived abroad for at least one semester.”

After traveling to Germany with Parker, Upman said, she learned the importance of seeing a culture firsthand.

“What I really like about YES Abroad is its purpose to bring together two cultures that have many preconceived notions about one another,” she said.

Meadow Lane receives huge Kauffman grant

Meadow Lane Elementary School has won a $212,102 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to support project-based learning and innovative practices over the next two years.

Specifically, the school applied for the money to integrate a SMART (where Science and Math meet Art) lab full of project-based learning and hands-on experience. As part of staff training, the school will work with the Buck Institute for Education, which the Lee’s Summit School District describes as “the gold standard in project-based learning professional development.”

“This is will be the first school in the Lee’s Summit School District receiving this caliber of monies to focus on project-based learning and future-ready initiatives at the elementary level,” said Meadow Lane Principal Sheryl Cochran. “I’m thrilled for our students to continue experiencing engaging, motivating and dynamic opportunities in their learning.”

Meadow Lane Elementary has the largest number of Title 1 students in the R-7 district. Fifty-nine percent of its 550 students qualify for free-and-reduced meals. It also has a diverse student body: 54 percent white, 23 percent black, 17 percent bi-racial students and 6 percent Hispanic.

Exchange program honors Lee’s Summit West

Lee’s Summit West High School has received national recognition for excellence in global education from Education First (EF) High School Exchange Year, which sponsors a leading exchange program.

“Lee’s Summit West has shown an outstanding commitment to offering a global education,” said Bob Fredette, president of EF High School Exchange Year. “By welcoming exchange students into the classrooms, Lee’s Summit West has created new and unique learning opportunities for not just the exchange students, but for the American students and faculty as well.”

The award is for the just-concluded school year, when Lee’s Summit West welcomed six exchange students from EF High School Exchange Year.

“The community and visiting students shared an unforgettable experience thanks to the generosity of Lee’s Summit West administration, teachers, students and families,” said Cindy Chamberlain, the local exchange coordinator.

Boys State accepts SCA students

Summit Christian Academy students Gage Brown, Jake McIlhaney and Brandon Self were accepted to participate the 2019 American Legion Boys State of Missouri program, which concludes June 22 at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

The program is designed to educate young leaders in functional citizenship and government. Nearly 1,000 student leaders build an entire state government in a single week, the school said.

Summit Christian Academy breaks ground on new addition

Summit Christian Academy recently broke ground on a 10-classroom addition to the secondary school. More than 1,000 people attended the Legacy of Faith Groundbreaking Ceremony in late May.

Over the past five years, enrollment at SCA is has increased 16%, including a 28% increase in high school enrollment.

“With the amazing growth SCA is experiencing, there is an urgent need for additional secondary classrooms,” Head of School Linda Harrelson said in a written statement.

The 10-classroom wing is Phase One of a long-range strategic plan for the school. The new addition will be named the Goppert Wing after the campaign’s lead donor, The Goppert Foundation.