TPS Students Part of National Honors Orchestra

Two TPS students are among the nation’s best high school musicians.  The National Association for Music Education, NAfME, has selected Genevieve Akins and Joe Teeter to be part of the National Honors Orchestra.  Akins is a senior at Topeka West and plays the violin.  Teeter is a senior at Topeka High and plays the cello.  The two are the only Kansas high school students named to the strings section of the national honors performance group.  The orchestra will rehearse and perform in October at the NAfME conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Students Part of Dream Speech Event

It was 50 years ago that Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his I Have a Dream speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.  Today in front of the Brown v Board National Historic Site, students from four of our high schools took part in a celebration of the March on Washington a half century ago.

The Topeka High School drum line helped create an atmosphere of excitement before the event began.  The Highland Park High School ROTC presented the colors as Hope Street students helped with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Topeka West High School singers provided music.

Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech was read by Topeka High School student Dele Adgebore.  Governor Sam Brownback signed a proclamation honoring this day.  He then helped ring a bell at 2 p.m., the same time that bells were to ring throughout the United States.

JAG Program Comes to Highland Park High School

Seventeen Highland Park High School students will learn basic business skills in a nationwide program intended to help students reach graduation.  The Jobs for America’s Graduates, or JAG, was kicked off yesterday by Governor Sam Brownback as he visited Highland Park High School and three other schools across the state.  Twenty-five Kansas schools are participating in the first year program.

While JAG is new to Kansas, the program has been in existence for more than 30 years and is focused on preventing dropouts among young people most at-risk.  The program in Kansas will be administered by Communities in Schools.

Highland Park teacher Mike Munoz says students will meet every week and learn basic business skills like how to write a resume and how to prepare for a job interview.  Local business people will speak to the students.  Munoz says he has developed an individual academic plan for the students and he will make sure they are attending their classes and keeping up their grades.

The JAG website reports a 93% graduation rate among the students involved in the national program last year.

THS Class of '78 Presents Check to School Museum

The Topeka High School class of 1978 presented a $3,000 check to the Topeka High Historical Society on August 19th.  The money will fund a new display cabinet sponsored by the class of 1978 in the Paul Fink Museum.  The museum will undergo remodeling soon.  Once it is finished it will be known as the Topeka High School Historical Society Paul Fink Museum and Office.  Paul Fink was Topeka High principal during all four years the class of 1978 attended the school.

Picture Above:  Linda Gwaltney (Beiter), Nancy Perry, Bruce Von Stiers, Tom Payne, Melanie MamaWamby Pari-Wambsganss, Martine Padilla (Hunter) and John Fink

Topeka High Student Participates in Mock Mars Mission at NASA

Lauren Sherwood, a student at Topeka High School, in Topeka, Kansas, recently returned from a week at NASA where she planned a robotics and radiation mission and experienced life as an engineer and scientist.

Sherwood was one of ninety female high school students from 41 states who visited Johnson Space Center in Houston in to participate in the Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars project, or WISH.

NASA sponsored two six-day summer internships for rising high school seniors during late June and early July. The young women worked in teams with female NASA mentors to develop a radiation and robotics mission.  Teams worked on designing a radiation shield that would protect their rover once on the surface of Mars.   They worked within the confines of a fictitious budget and built several small mockups of vehicles to demonstrate a successful launch and landing of the Mars spacecraft.

“My experience at NASA was absolutely unforgettable. It really highlighted the opportunities available to women in STEM and assured my decision to pursue that career path”, said Sherwood.

The young women were selected based on completion of interactive, online lessons focused on space exploration and mapped to national education standards, academic merits and geographic diversity. The WISH program encourages young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees and exposes them to the real-world applications of STEM careers at NASA.

For more information about WISH, visit:

PBS Provides School Supplies for Highland Park Central

Highland Park Central Elementary students and their families received a large donation of school supplies courtesy of employees of Personalized Brokerage Services.  The PBS staff did an outstanding job of collecting needed school supplies.  HPC and Topeka Public Schools want to thank PBS for helping out students and families as the new school year begins.

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