Living the Dream Art Contest Recognizes Many TPS Students

The 2014 Living the Dream Art Competition announced its winners, and Topeka Public Schools was well represented. The art competition was open to students from 1st through 12th grades and was inspired by Rev. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy. Students submitted artwork for the contest, which is in its 13th year, and the top three winners in each grade category were announced.

1st and 2nd Grade
                1st Place: Danniell Johnson…Quincy Elementary
                2nd Place: Kayden Gibbs…Logan Elementary
                3rd Place: Elizabeth Escalante…Williams Magnet School
3rd and 4th Grade
                1st Place: Jaq’Son Bush…Williams Magnet School
                2nd Place: Amaiya Washington… Williams Magnet School
                3rd Place: Kristina Branch… Williams Magnet School
5th and 6th Grade
                1st Place: Hailey Zimmerman…French Middle School
                2nd Place: Trina Jabary…Quincy Elementary
                3rd Place: Ann Beall…Robinson Middle School
7th and 8th Grade
                1st Place: KayShiona Acquaye…Jardine Middle School
                2nd Place: Wilnarean Lee…Chase Middle School
                3rd Place: Megan Lucas…Washburn Rural Middle School
9th and 10th Grade
                1st Place: Tru Terrell…Washburn Rural High School
                2nd Place: Stephaun Gales…Highland Park High School
                3rd Place: DaShawn Williams…Highland Park High School
11th and 12th Grade
                1st Place: Vincent Johnson… Highland Park High School
                2nd Place: Abel Sanchez… Highland Park High School
                3rd Place: Erika Spaulding… Highland Park High School

Congratulations to all of these talented artists!

BOE Hears About Possible Bond Issue Improvements

Board of Education members tonight heard the latest facilities committee report that calls for the closing of three elementary schools and the construction of a new elementary school next to Jardine Middle School.  Bishop, Avondale West and Shaner Elementary Schools would close with students from those schools attending the new elementary school.

The facilities committee report also calls for:
b     Bishop Elementary to become a new district-wide professional development center
       Capital City Schools to relocate to the nearby Boisen Building
        Capital City Schools to become the home of the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALC)
         Shaner Elementary to become a new Pre-K facility
          Modular classrooms would be removed from McEachron, McCarter and Sheldon Child Development Center
           FEMA approved shelters would be built at Quincy, Stout, Shaner, McCarter, McEachron Elementary Schools and Hope Street Academy
                    Air condition would be added to gymnasiums at all high schools and middle schools (except Robinson Middle School)
          School security improvements would be made throughout the school district
                    Technology enhancements
                      Renovated science labs at high schools

The total cost of the recommendations is $142,632,159.  Board members will decide in January whether to go forward with a proposed bond issue next spring.  If approved, the district’s mill levy would not increase.

"Santa" Visits Sheldon Preschool

Santa came early this year for the preschoolers at Sheldon Child Development Center, and he ditched his sleigh in favor of a motorcycle! 

A trio of bikers from Kansas City, representing the non-profit organization Hands to Hearts, arrived on Wednesday with wrapped gifts for each of the 367 children who attend the center. The presents, which were collected throughout the year, were brought in by Michael Bergen and his “elves,” Bobby and Dasher (yes, Dasher!). 

Sheldon principal Scott Henson explained the fun- but agonizing- process the hundreds of children went through to receive their gifts. “The children gathered in the hallways right outside their classrooms, and Michael personally handed each child a gift. Then he had everybody wait until he counted to three to unwrap them, which can be somewhat of a challenge for a three- or four-year-old!” This was the 20th year Hands to Hearts has delivered gifts to children in the Midwest, and the 2nd year at Sheldon.

The Sheldon youngsters have received gifts from several other generous donors this year, too. Constructive Playthings, an educational toy company, sent the school over $7,000 worth of new toys, and Barnes and Noble donated a Little Golden Book for each of the center’s preschoolers. A Sheldon parent, who works for God’s Storehouse, also brought in a stuffed animal for every child.

We hope the Sheldon preschoolers enjoy their gifts and have a delightful holiday season!

THS ROTC Students Shop for Christmas Bureau

Led by Topeka High School ROTC instructors Chief Warrant Officer Gunner Kelley and Sgt. Major Lewallen, a group of the school’s ROTC students headed to Walmart on Tuesday to shop for families in need. The Christmas Bureau supplied a list of 75 families who had not yet been adopted and United Way donated a $30 gift card for each family member in all of those families. The students also adopted six families to shop for with money they raised themselves by working at Worlds of Fun.
Hunter Hodges, a junior at THS, says “I love shopping for other people, helping people through the holidays. I love it.” Dalton Breitkreutz, a sophomore, agreed. “I think it’s a great thing we’re doing. A lot of families don’t have money…to get what they want or need. I think this is just a great way to help out the community and reach out.”
But according to Kelley and Lewallen, the families being shopped for aren’t the only ones who benefit from this experience. “It teaches the kids three things: the value of a dollar, how to budget, and most important, is (it teaches) decision-making skills.” The students will also be assisting in the delivery of the gifts, which will all be distributed by early next week.
The next project for the ROTC students will be a food drive this Saturday at HyVee on Wanamaker from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Their goal is to collect 4 tons of food in one day. If you’re out and about, please stop by and help these generous students reach their goal!

Hope Street Elementary Stacks Up

With help from 25 stackers at Hope Street Elementary, a new world record was set on November 14th as part of STACK UP! 2013. According to the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA), this year’s event exceeded all expectations with 555,932 stackers taking part on Guinness World Records Day, smashing the 2012 mark of 483,658. The stackers spanned the globe, hailing from 360 countries and representing 2,631 schools and organizations. This is the eighth year the WSSA has teamed up with teachers, physical educators and youth leaders from around the world to set a Guinness World Record for “Most People Sport Stacking at Multiple Locations in One Day.” All stackers were required to be engaged in sport stacking and fitness activities for at least 30 minutes on November 14th. Many schools also “stacked up for a good cause” by combining their event with a local charity. Registration for STACK UP! 2014 will open on September 10th.

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