Board to Recognize Staff with 25 Years of Service

The TPS Board of Education will recognize staff who have achieved 25 years of service at a reception on March 7 at 6 p.m. at the Burnett Administrative Center. The reception will last until 6:30 when a formal recognition will take place at the beginning of the scheduled board meeting.

Staff with 25 years of service include:

Debra Basom, Highland Park Central Elementary
Glenda Brown, Meadows Elementary
Pamela Cullen, Meadows Elementary
Carla Drake, Service Center
Steve Eubank, Topeka High School
Kevin Fleming, Bishop Elementary
Mickey Folger, Service Center
Floyd Gardner, Avondale West Elementary
Diane Hitchens, Burnett Center
Kenneth Johnson, Topeka High School
Julie Keller, Whitson Elementary
Jenny Lee, McCarter Elementary
John Litfin, Meadows Elementary
Gary Martin, Highland Park High School
Darlene Palmer, Highland Park High School
Penny Roberts, Hope Street
Mary Schneider, Whitson Elementary
Judith Ward, Holland Center
Roxanne Wendt, Holland Center
Sandra Willetts, Hope Street
Diana Zimmerman, Stout Elementary

Barngrover Latest Above & Beyond Winner

Will Barngrover is someone who makes sure schools and buildings stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  For more than 16 years, he has been doing it as a heating and cooling maintenance worker for Topeka Public Schools.  “I am the person you don’t want to see in your building,” said Barngrover.

Will Barngover is the latest Above & Beyond winner for all he does going above and beyond to help students.  He was nominated by David Fernkopf who wrote, “Most people he works with probably have no idea of the involvement in the community that Will has and all the time he volunteers.”

Young Champions of America is a karate class taught at Chase Middle School.  Each Saturday, you will find Will teaching karate to students, most of whom attend Topeka Public Schools.    Will says he wants to teach kids what to do to get away from an abductor.  “That’s very important to me, the safety of kids.  If I can keep a child from someone taking them, then every minute I spend is well worth it.” 

In addition to working with Young Champions of America, Will devotes time as a volunteer hunter safety instructor and he teaches self defense classes through Topeka/Shawnee County Parks and Recreation.

If you would like to nominate someone for Above & Beyond, you’ll find a nomination form on the district website at staff/forms for staff/district program forms and TPS Above and beyond award.

Cancellations - Monday, February 25

Ross Elementary and Eisenhower Middle School PM Academy (after school program) has been cancelled for today, Monday, February 245.

Basketball Game Begins Early Due to Weather

The Highland Park High School boy's basketball game today vs Santa Fe Trail has been moved up from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. due to the weather.

Sports Activities Cancelled Friday

All sports games and activities for Friday, February 22nd, have been cancelled.

School Board Meeting Cancelled

The Board of Education meeting scheduled for tonight has been cancelled due to the weather.

Adaptive Tricycles Are Popular With Students

Students with physical challenges need exercise just like other students.  Riding a bicycle is good exercise, but it can be difficult for certain students.  Thanks to Kimberly Wright, an adaptive physical education teacher, students with physical challenges now have access to several Rifton adaptive tricycles.  The tricycle is designed for handicapped riders of all ages and sizes.  The students are able to use the tricycles during their gym time or any time a teacher allows them to use.  “It gives them the experience of being able to ride a bike, it also allows physical fitness that functional students often struggle with,” said Wright.

Wright applied for a grant through the Topeka Active 20-30 Club and received three of the tricycles which will be rotated to schools throughout the district.  The tricycles just arrived and already students and teachers are happy to have them.  “The teachers I have talked to in all my buildings that have the tricycles say the kids just love it.  A student will come in and stand beside it because that’s his way of showing that’s what he likes,” said Wright.

TPSF Major Saver Cards on Sale Feb. 18 - 25

The Topeka Public Schools Foundation (TPSF) 2013 “Major Saver” discount cards will go on sale Monday, Feb. 18. The public will have an opportunity to purchase the discount card for $10 from a Topeka Public Schools (TPS) student/family or directly from the school or online.

Major Saver cards include discounts on purchases at 15 local restaurants.  The discounts are valid one time at each location.  These businesses support TPS by sponsoring this important program. 

Students from TPS elementary and middle schools will be selling the cards or they can be purchased online. The online feature allows sales anywhere in the nation. For example, a relative living in California can purchase a card online and credit it to a particular student/school. Buyers simply log on to to select his/her card. All cards purchased online will be credited to the student selected and then mailed directly to the customer.
Last year, the Major Saver program generated more than $58,000 in revenues for the Topeka Public Schools Foundation and Topeka Public Schools. The Foundation helps support students and teachers in programs and services.  Since the Foundation’s inception, it has given educational support to elementary, middle and high schools for educational programs and has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to graduating seniors.  Each participating school receives a portion of funds raised.

The dates that you may purchase Major Saver Cards are February 18 – 25. For more information, contact TPSF Executive Director, Pamela Johnson Betts, 295-3000 or

TWHS Senior Named Merit Finalist

Helen Sheng, Topeka West High School senior, has been named a Finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation competition for National Merit Scholarships. She will receive a Certificate of Merit from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Additionally, she may qualify for one of the 8,300 Merit Scholarships the corporation awards.

HPHS Honors Professional Sports Alums

Michael Wilhoite has achieved a lot since he graduated from Highland Park High School in 2005.  After playing football at HPHS and Washburn University, Wilhoite took his athletic talents to the highest level playing for the San Francisco 49’ers and playing in the Super Bowl earlier this month.

Last night, Wilhoite and two other former Highland Park athletes were honored at the half time of the boy’s basketball game for their playing professional sports.  Also honored were Kyle Weems, who is playing professional basketball in Europe and Theron Wilson, who is playing professional basketball in Australia.  They were not present at the ceremony, but were represented by their families.

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