Thursday, March 31, 2011

Trojan Statue Unveiled


A 7 foot tall bronze Trojan statue now stands at the entrance of Topeka High School. The trojan, the mascot of the school, is a gift from 1948 THS graduates Adrian Whited and John Alberg. They and their families along with fellow 1948 classmates were on hand for the dedication and unveiling of the statue this afternoon. Whited and Alberg dedicated the statue to the past, present and future Trojans of Topeka High School. The statue, which sits atop a 5 foot granite stand, was forged at Degginer’s Foundary in Topeka. The owner, Tim Degginer, is a 1965 graduate of Topeka High School. It took nine months to prepare the statue for today's unveiling.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Former HPHS Debater Wins National Title

On March 22nd, Derek Ziegler, a former Highland Park High School Debater along with his partner Beth Mendenhall, a former Saint Thomas Aquinas debater, won the College National Championship at the 2011 Cross-Examination Debate Association's national tournament. The tournament was held at Binghamton University, Binghamton, N.Y. The pair defeated a team from Towson University to claim K-State's third national debate championship since 1991. The competition featured 139 teams from 50 schools.

Highland Park High School debate coach Matthew Herbert says, “At Highland Park I had the opportunity to coach Derek and watch as he achieved similar successes, twice going to nationals in both debate and forensics. In my five years as head debate and forensics coach at Highland Park, Derek showed the greatest potential of any competitor I've coached to continue his successes at the Division I college level and I am tremendously proud to see him live up to his potential.”

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Students Give New Look to Abandoned Houses












Three abandoned houses at 25th and California now have doors and windows decorated with cartoon characters and other colorful scenes, thanks to students at Highland Park High School. More than 60 students and adults spent last Thursday clearing brush, trimming trees and covering windows and doors with plywood decorated by HPHS art students. The houses, across the street from the school, have been used by kids to skip class and get into trouble.


School Resource Officer Larry Gonzales decided to get students and others involved in cleaning up around the houses to help reduce crime. Gonzales decided to use a method called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. "Simply by trimming trees, cutting back shrubbery, opening line of sight and making areas more pleasant to look at can assist in reducing crime," said Topeka Police Sgt. Lance Feyh. Several local businesses donated supplies and equipment for the project. City, county and school officials helped assist the students.


Highland Park High School student Jarron Ogles talked about what he will be thinking the next time he passes the houses. "It will be the best feeling in the world. I'll tell everybody I had a part in that. I did that house right there. It will be fun to tell people that."

Monday, March 21, 2011

HPHS Community Summit and Alumni Weekend

“Getting There From Here”
Highland Park Community Summit
Back Home Alumni Weekend
April 14-16, 2011

April 14

8:30 a.m. Community Breakfast
11:45 a.m. Leaders Luncheon
6:30 p.m. Reunion Choir Rehearsal

April 15

2:00 p.m. Alumni/Prom Royalty Parade
5:30 p.m. Community Reception
6:30 p.m. Community Summit
7:30 p.m. Back Home Reunion Musical

April 16

10:00 a.m. Community Fair
11:00 a.m. Educators Stations
11:30 a.m. Parking Lot Picnic and Concert
1:00 p.m. Community Forum

Featured Speakers:
David M. Chavez, CEO of LaPointe, Inc.
Booker T. Jones, Executive Director of Principals and Fundamentals of Life (PFL)
Norton M. Bonaparte, Topeka City Manager
Dr. Kevin Singer, Superintendent, Topeka Public Schools

Phone (785) 274-6075
Fax (785) 274-4896
E-mail: sabbott1@topeka.k12.ks.us

Johnson-Betts Receives Service to Mankind Award

Topeka Public Schools Foundation Executive Director, Pamela Johnson-Betts was recently honored by the Golden City Sertoma Chapter at a March 15 Tri-Sertoma annual banquet chaired by Dan Hejtmanek,Esq.. The Chapter presented Johnson-Betts with the 2011 Service to Mankind Award for significant and meritorious service to mankind. Johnson-Betts was nominated by TPS certified personnel manager Marie Carter. Carter states, “Pam has a high level of energy, her intuition is keen and her ability to gauge is absolute. Pam is committed, has strong work ethics, she is a visionary who does not shy away from hard work and is diligent in staying involved from beginning to end.” The Service to Mankind Award is Sertoma’s highest civilian award.The Golden City Chapter is chaired by Ross Elementary principal Nick Nichols.Johnson-Betts was also recognized at an ABWA luncheon on March 15, along with other past honorees, she was their 2006 Woman of Distinction.

Sun Heats Water at Topeka West


Solar power is now being used to heat water at Topeka West High School. Members of the media got a chance March 18th to see and hear about the solar water heating system at the school. Most of the funding for the project came from the city’s federal energy efficiency and conservation block grant.

On the roof of the school’s cafeteria are 20 solar panels which help heat water through a heat exchanger. The hot water is stored in a 500 gallon tank. The water is then used throughout the campus in the kitchen, restrooms and gym showers.

A display screen set up next to the Topeka West office will allow students and visitors to monitor the solar water heating system. It will display such information as water temperature, where the water is going and how much water is being used. Science teachers throughout the district have already attended a meeting to learn more about the solar water heating project and how they might use the information to help teach students about renewable energy.

It is hoped that information from the solar water heating project can be tied in with information from the wind turbine at Hope Street and the planned wind turbine at the Kanza property to allow even more information for students about renewable energy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Student Wins KU Sports Art Contest


Scott 2nd grader Cameron Crumble likes KU basketball and he likes to draw. A combination of the two resulted in Cameron’s drawing of a Jayhawk basketball player being displayed at the Booth Family Hall of Athletics adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse.
His drawing, entitled “Thunder Dunk,” won 3rd place in his age category. For his winning entry, Cameron will receive a personal congratulatory letter signed by all of the KU head coaches and he will be honored at a KU softball game this spring.

Possible School Closings Discussed

Topeka Public Schools is facing a potential $5.2 million budget cut this year due to a continuing drop in state aid per pupil. The amount of money the district will receive this year for each student is the same amount as it was in 1992.

The budget and potential school closings were talked about at the March 17th board of education meeting. Executive Director of Operations Larry Robbins said one consideration being looked at would close three elementary schools this year. The schools mentioned were Quinton Heights, Linn and Lundgren. The three are among the smallest in the district, each with less than 200 students.

Robbins told board members that students from Quinton Heights would go to one of four school; Meadows, Williams, Stout or Highland Park Central. Linn students would attend Avondale East and Lundgren students would go to State Street. Fifth grade students from Avondale East and Linn would attend Eisenhower Middle School while fifth grade students from Lundgren would attend Chase Middle School.

The closing of the three schools could save the district about $1.5 million. Robbins said a fourth elementary school, Avondale East, could close at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer will give board members his recommendations for school closings at the April 7th board of education meeting.

Ann Aubert Latest Above & Beyond Winner

Ann Aubert is going above and beyond when it comes to teaching students about positive behavior, respect and responsibility. That’s why the Meadows 4th grade teacher is the latest Above & Beyond Award winner. Children in Ann’s class are rewarded for good behavior by getting a nutritious snack and getting to play games in the reward room. The respect room is where students go to learn how to change their behavior and for those who do not demonstrate responsibility, there is the responsibility room. Ann’s program to teach children good behavior has been so successful that the program has been adopted by the entire school. Ann Aubert has been teaching for 21 years. This is her 8th year at Meadows. Before that, she taught at Shaner Elementary School.

Friday, March 11, 2011

French Middle School Yearbook Wins Award

The French Middle School Yearbook has been honored for its outstanding contribution to scholastic journalism. Balfour Yearbooks awarded the French Middle School yearbook staff an Honorable Mention Certificate of Recognition. Yearbooks published by Balfour for the 2010 school year were evaluated for theme development, layout design, photo content and cover design. Only 15% of yearbooks published by Balfour are recognized by the company.

“The students were an enthusiastic group willing to put in extra time to learn a new computer program,” said Michael Chavez. Chavez and Brad Stipcak are the yearbook advisers at French Middle School.

Flowers to Hall of Honor at Emporia State

Jo Flowers, physical education teacher at Avondale West Elementary School, will be inducted into the Alumni Hall of Honor at Emporia State University. The Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Alumni Hall of Honor recognizes graduates of the department who have achieved prominence in their chosen field or who have made significant contributions to Emporia State University in the form of service to the HPER Department.

A luncheon to recognize Jo and other inductees will be held April 8th at the Sauder Alumni Center at Emporia State University.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Topeka High Musicians Awarded Camp Scholarships

The Topeka Jazz Workshop Band and Topeka Jazz Workshop Inc. have announced the names of young musicians from this area who will be attending summer jazz camps or workshops courtesy of scholarships awarded Saturday by the two organizations.

Three Topeka High School students received $505 scholarships. They are: Forrest Evans, guitar, junior; Matt Ingram, drums, sophomore; Nick Johnson, trumpet, junior.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Topeka West Names New Principal


A woman who grew up in Topeka and attended Topeka Public Schools is coming home to become the next principal at Topeka West High School. Jeanne Carton attended Topeka West as a sophomore before moving with her family to Wichita. Carton is currently the principal at Nowlin Middle School in Independence, Missouri.

"I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to lead Topeka West into the next fifty years of outstanding student achievement, remarkable athletic accomplishments and exemplary activities' programs. I began my formal education as a Topekan, and it is a dream for me to go full-circle and return to my home town as a school leader," said Carton.

Carton is a graduate of Wichita State university. She has been a school administrator in Missouri for six years. Before that, she taught school for 20 years in Andover, Kansas.

Carton will replace Topeka West Principal Steve Roberts, who took the position for one year after Mick Lowe retired last summer.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friends of Education Honored

TPS honored its 2011 Friends of Education (FOE) at the March 3 Board of Education meeting—Kecia Tripe (school volunteer), Fellowship Bible Church(community/civic organization) and Ben Brian C. Buckles (community leader).

The statewide Friends of Education program is sponsored by the Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force. This award program honors people who have made outstanding contributions to public education.

The Task Force recognizes statewide FOE winners each year. Fellowship Bible Church received the top award from the Task Force in their category. Kecia Tripe and Ben Buckles received a certificate of award in their respective categories.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Students Donate Books to Rescue Mission

Students in Nancy Armstrong’s kindergarten class at Quincy Elementary School learned a valuable lesson in sharing recently. Armstrong’s class was one of the 100 winners of the Scholastic Book Club's ClassroomsCare Program. Each winning classroom received 200 books. The students keep half of the books, the other half go to someone in the community. Armstrong’s class chose the Topeka Rescue Mission.

On March 2, the students, their teacher and Principal Val Patterson, delivered the books to the rescue mission. Ace and Lola Cleavinger, who oversee programs that benefit students living at the rescue mission, were on hand to welcome the Quincy students and accept the books. The donation came on Read Across America Day, the day set aside to honor children’s author Dr. Seuss.