LSJ News

Summer seminar in store for Lee’s Summit North teacher

Sara Witteman
Sara Witteman Photo provided

Sara Witteman, communication arts and social studies teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School, has been chosen to attend a two-week seminar in July sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Witteman will attend a seminar called “The Company Town at Seabrook Farms, NJ: Internment, Migration and Resettlement in the WWII Era,” at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Previously, she was selected to attend a 2004 summer seminar on John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”

The selection process includes an essay and references.

Seabrook Farms, a frozen-foods and canning agribusiness during its heyday in the 1940s and 1950s, employed more than 6,000 laborers at peak production and produced roughly two-thirds of all frozen food consumed in the United States at that time.

During World War II, it recruited and received around 2,500 Japanese Americans paroled from incarceration and internment camps. It added Eastern European refugees to its labor force after the war.

Using Seabrook Farms as a case study, workshop participants will learn about how their instruction can incorporate the topics of refugee resettlement, internment and immigration.

Witteman has worked 17 years at Lee’s Summit North and currently teaches Advanced Studies English 10, English 12 honors and International Baccalaureate Social and Cultural Anthropology. In 2017, she was the Lee’s Summit North faculty speaker at graduation after being selected by students.

Duke University scholars

After qualifying for the Duke University Talent Identification Program, Summit Christian Academy seventh-graders Olivia Truesdale (left) and Shea Rider earned state recognition for their ACT scores, which were about equal to the 50th national percentile rank for college-bound seniors.

A total of 17 SCA students qualified for the Duke program, and four took the ACT.

Suicide fought on two fronts

The suicides of two Lee’s Summit North High School students last fall has prompted students and staff to take action in hopes of preventing similar future tragedies.

The school will host what organizers hope is the first annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk on April 28.

The event, which is collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the school, 901 N.E. Douglas St., with on-site registration at 9 a.m. The walk is free, but donations will be accepted.

The walk aims to increase awareness for suicide prevention and mental health concerns.

Meanwhile, 10 music students and orchestra teacher Joe Keeney used their talent to raise nearly $8,000 for ReDiscover, an organization focusing on mental health services.

After the deaths last fall, the students began organizing a benefit concert for this spring. For several months, the students held auditions, secured nearly $4,000 in business sponsorships, recruited volunteers and organized the program.

Ticket revenue from the March 16 concert brought the total raised to $7,797. It is estimated that more than 500 people attended the concert.

More than 40 acts auditioned for the LSN Music Department Spring Showcase, which organizers hope to conduct annually with all proceeds continuing to go to ReDiscover.

Future Business Leaders qualify for nationals

Students from all three Lee’s Summit R-7 School District high schools won awards at the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference with eight students qualifying for national competition.

Students qualified for nationals by placing in the top four at state. They include:

▪ Keaton DeGraeve, Mary Angotti and Hannah Keel, Lee’s Summit West High School, first place in website design.

▪ Tucker Knipp, Lee’s Summit West, first place in introduction to business management.

▪ Jacob Harris, Lee’s Summit High School, second place in insurance and risk management.

▪ Sara Alley and Jacob Harris, Lee’s Summit High, second place in marketing.

▪ Spencer Black and Drew Houk, Lee’s Summit North High School, third place in hospitality management.

R-7 benefactor wins state award

Jon Ellis, who owns the Paradise Park recreation center in Lee’s Summit, is the recipient of the Business Leader Advocate Award from the Missouri Alliance for Children, Youth and Families.

Kerry Boehm, principal of the Great Beginnings Early Education Center, nominated Ellis for his longtime support of early education in the Lee’s Summit School District, which dates to when his children were enrolled in Parents as Teachers.

Ellis and his wife, Juli, have made numerous donations to the early childhood program, including funding for a speech/language pathologist which has benefited about 3,600 children and their families since 2002.

The couple co-chaired the capital campaign that raised about one-third of the funding for Great Beginnings. Ellis now serves on the Community Advisory Board for Great Beginnings and has been a district business partner for more than 20 years.

Through Paradise Park, Ellis frequently hosts professional development opportunities for school staff and allows the early childhood programs access to Paradise Park at a reduced or no-cost rate.

Greenwood cancer fundraiser among the best

Greenwood Elementary School was recently honored by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation as a Top Fundraiser for 2017.

During April last year, students and staff from Greenwood raised more than $10,200 by hosting 13 lemonade stands. All proceeds go to the fight against childhood cancer.

Students kicked off the 2017 charitable drive at an assembly. Fundraisers included lemonade stands at community locations as well as a competition between classrooms.

Nationally, more than12,000 events took place for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Missouri Scholars Academy will include eight from R-7 district

Several Lee’s Summit R-7 School District sophomores have been chosen to attend the Missouri Scholars Academy, a three-week summer academic program for about 330 of Missouri’s gifted students.

Students selected to attend this year’s Academy are Grace Garrett, Alyssa Harmon and Eghosa Ogbevoen of Lee’s Summit High School; Annie McCord, Monterey Mecham and Haley Jahn of Lee’s Summit North High School; and Zach Adams and Cassidy Gann of Lee’s Summit West High School.

Acceptance is based on a student essay, teacher recommendations, PSAT scores and IQ tests.

The state-funded academy is a residential program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, which enables students to become part of a learning community. The curriculum focuses on the liberal arts and extracurricular activities.

Retirees help students register to vote

Retired Lee’s Summit social studies teachers Tom Merrell and Debbie Fuchs conducted voter registration drives this spring at Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit West high school, registering more than 100 students during lunch periods over three days.

Merrell and Fuchs taught at Pleasant Lea Middle School.

“We miss working with students but also have a passion about getting our young people registered to vote,” Fuchs said in a press release.

Lee’s Summit North High School also conducts a voter registration effort, which isorganized by social studies teacher Tavish Whiting.

Whiting contacts seniors who are eligible to vote via email and has voter registration cards and instructions available in his classroom. He said around 50 seniors requested the information this spring. He also worked with seniors on voter registration last fall.

Compiled by Elaine Adams, Special to the Journal