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5-19-22 — May 2022 Awards

May 19, 2022

Olathe Northwest Ranked #4 High School in Kansas

Olathe Northwest High School was named the fourth best high school in Kansas according to the U.S. News Best High Schools.

“We are certainly honored that U.S. News has again recognized the quality of the education our students experience at Olathe Northwest,” Principal Chris Zuck said. “ONW is special because of the students, staff, parents, and community who have high standards and expectations, as well as an equally significant support of ONW and belief in education.”

One of Olathe Northwest High School’s values is to create a “Raven Family Atmosphere” where staff and students work hard “to be a safe and caring school where every student can flourish and have a positive experience.”

The rankings include data on nearly 24,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 18,000 schools were ranked nationwide on six factors based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

North Senior Wins Big at National Chess Competition

Olathe North High School senior Akerth Jain was the top Kansas competitor at the National Chess Awards at the U.S. Chess Federation National High School Championship in Memphis, Tennessee on April 8-10.

Chess players from across the U.S. competed in different divisions based on their current ratings. In the K-12 Under 1,600 division, Jain placed 15th in the nation, placing first from Kansas. He placed third in the Blitz K-12 1,400-1,499 division, also placing him in the top spot in Kansas.

The U.S. Chess Federation is the official U.S. membership organization for chess players and chess supporters of all ages and strengths, from beginners to Grandmasters. Their mission is to empower people through chess one move at a time.

Students Selected to All-State Academic Team

Olathe North High School senior Nipam Raval and Olathe West High School senior Emily Yan were selected to the 2022 Gannett Kansas All-State Academic Team. Maggie Ridgway, Olathe South High School senior, received honorable mention recognition

“Your selection to the All-State Academic team is in recognition of a stellar high school career and the great promise we see in you as you begin the rest of your life,” The Topeka Capital-Journal education reporter Rafael Garcia said.

Raval and Yan are two of 40 students that will be honored in a story to be published online in The Topeka Capital-Journal, The Hutchinson News and The Salina Journal, as well as the print editions of those newspapers.

Student Earns KSHSAA True Blue Scholarship

Olathe East High School senior Komalpreet Kaur was named as one of 34 Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) True Blue Scholarship recipients. The True Blue Scholarship is a $2,000 scholarship made payable to a two-year or four-year accredited college, university or technical school in the name of the selected student.

In this initial year, 590 applications were received across the 34 different scholarships. Students were selected based upon an assessment of several criteria including community service, academic achievement, activity achievement, breadth of school activity participation and financial need.

Kaur received a scholarship in the debate category. She plans to attend the University of Kansas where she will major in Global Studies or Political Science with a double minor in Business and Spanish. She plans to go to law school after college and earn a master’s degree in Public Administration in a joint MPA and JD program.

Westview Elementary Receives Challenge Award

Westview Elementary School was named one of the 2021 Challenge Award recipients by the Confidence in Kansas Public Education task force. Ninety-two schools were named across the state for outstanding achievement and uncommon accomplishments based on Kansas Assessment results in math and reading. The awards recognize Kansas schools that are making a notable difference in student achievement despite facing significant challenges in their school population. Winning this award is due to the amazing staff and students at Westview Elementary School.

Two Students Nominate Kindest Kansas Citians

Lia Silva, Olathe Virtual School seventh grader, and Aksel Mammeri, Forest View Elementary School third grader, were chosen for the Kindest Kansas Citian award.

Silva was one of the top three winners for her Kindest Kansas Citian essay entry. She nominated Valerie McGee, Ridgeview Elementary School English language learner teacher, who helped her and her siblings out in a crisis. McGee has been a part of the Ridgeview Elementary School team since 2008. Mammeri nominated his mother’s friend due to her impactful role in his life and generosity to the community.

Silva and Mammeri both had the opportunity to attend the Kindest Kansas Citian awards ceremony where they read their essays in front of 400-plus event attendees at the Hotel Intercontinental in Kansas City, Missouri.

Olathe Schools Win Be the Spark Grant

Two Olathe schools’ Kansas Association of Youth (KAY) clubs received a “Be the Spark” grant from the Kansas High School Athletic Association in partnership with Kansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Students had to submit projects that focused on encouraging health and wellness. Twenty-three school clubs were awarded funds across the state of Kansas.

Summit Trail Middle School was awarded a $5,000 grant to build a new trail connecting to 119th Street. Olathe South High School received a $5,000 grant to build an outdoor learning space. Both grants were given “for understanding the value of a healthy lifestyle by seizing the opportunity to raise an awareness amongst their peers regarding the importance of being physically active, mentally healthy, and by having nutritional eating options… for creating a new environment in their community that will play an important role in helping achieve a healthier tomorrow for Kansas.”

The two KAY clubs were surprised with the news on May 9 at the KSHSAA building during a grant announcement.

Theatre Programs Receive 48 Blue Star Nominations

All five Olathe high schools were nominated at the Blue Star Awards, which is an educational musical theatre awards program recognizing students for their work sponsored by Starlight Theatre and Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Olathe theatre programs received 48 nominations in 21 categories. With 210 nominations across 24 categories metro-wide, Olathe Public Schools students accounted for 23% of all nominations. The Blue Star Awards will be awarded on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at Starlight Theatre.

Outstanding Overall Production:

  • “The Lightning Thief,” Olathe South High School
  • “The SpongeBob Musical,” Olathe West High School

Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Raleigh Jonas, Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)
  • Brandon Heflin, Olathe West High School (“The SpongeBob Musical”)

Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role:

  • Phoebe Mock, Olathe East High School (“Mamma Mia”)
  • Ella Bentley, Olathe North High School (“Legally Blonde The Musical”)

Outstanding Orchestra:

  • “The SpongeBob Musical,” Olathe West High School

Outstanding Hair and Make Design:

  • “9 to 5,” Olathe Northwest High School
  • “The SpongeBob Musical,” Olathe West High School

Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role:

  • Julianna Bowles, Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)

Outstanding Scene Design Tier 1:

  • “The Lightning Thief,” Olathe South High School

Outstanding Scene Design Tier 2:

  • “The SpongeBob Musical,” Olathe West High School

Technical Achievement:

  • Ashley Gaffney – Stage Management, Olathe East High School (“Mamma Mia”)
  • Carly Welter – Scenic Design, Olathe North High School (“Legally Blonde The Musical”)
  • Corwin Magee Bower – Lighting Crew, Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)
  • Michael Rathman – Sound Design, Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)

Dream Production Award:

  • Molly McBride – Choreography, Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)
  • Hailey Brooks – Hair and Makeup, Olathe West High School (“The SpongeBob Musical”)
  • Emily Heflin – Scenic Design, Olathe West High School (“The SpongeBob Musical”)

Outstanding Artistic Contribution by a Student:

  • Sydney Nicks, Phoebe Mock – Choreography, Olathe East High School (“Mamma Mia”)
  • Anna Szymanski — Direction, Olathe North High School (“Legally Blonde The Musical”)
  • Eva Smith – Choreography, Olathe North High School (“Legally Blonde The Musical”)
  • Jack McCurdy – Direction, Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)
  • Maddie Dohogne, Olivia Keiter – Direction, Olathe West High School (“The SpongeBob Musical”)

Outstanding Technical Crew:

  • “The Lightning Thief,” Olathe South High School

Outstanding Actor in an Ensemble Role:

  • Tai Fenton, Oz Powell — Olathe West High School (“The SpongeBob Musical”)

Performance Scholarship:

  • Kate Meives — Olathe East High School (“Mamma Mia”)
  • Molly McBride, Carter Stelting – Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)
  • Genevieve Anderson, Kalista Brown, Brandon Heflin, Amberleigh Nicole Worley – Olathe West High School (“The SpongeBob Musical”)

Outstanding Costume Designs & Construction, Tier I:

  • “Legally Blonde The Musical,” Olathe North High School

Outstanding Costume Design & Construction, Tier II:

  • “The Lightning Thief,” Olathe South High School
  • “The SpongeBob Musical,” Olathe West High School

Outstanding Ensemble:

  • “The SpongeBob Musical,” Olathe West High School

Outstanding Lighting Design:

  • “The Lightning Thief,” Olathe South High School
  • “The SpongeBob Musical,” Olathe West High School

Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Guyon Grant — Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)

Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Alana Shields – Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)
  • Genevieve Anderson – Olathe West High School (“The SpongeBob Musical”)

Rising Star Scholarship:

  • Madeline King – Olathe East High School (“Mamma Mia”)
  • Molly McBride, Alana Shields, Carter Stelting – Olathe South High School (“The Lightning Thief”)
  • Brandon Heflin – Olathe West High School (“The SpongeBob Musical”)

“We are excited that the Olathe theatre programs were all recognized with nominations,” High School Theatre Facilitator Dustin Pence said. “Olathe theatre has had at least one Outstanding Overall Production nominee in 10 of the last 20 years and has won the award three times. Thank you for your support of the Olathe theatre programs.”

Olathe Students Named KC Scholars

A total of 13 Olathe Public Schools juniors were named KC Scholars for traditional students. This program annually awards 250-plus traditional students scholarships for up to $10,000 a year, for up to five years.

  • Miranda Murillo, Olathe East High School
  • Taiwo Awe, Olathe North High School
  • Daniela Estefes-Santos, Olathe North High School
  • Gloria Fernandez, Olathe North High School
  • Noble Rafu, Olathe North High School
  • Joshlyn Rodriguez-Arango, Olathe North High School
  • Tirzah Scholten, Olathe North High School
  • Viridiana Tostado Rosales, Olathe North High School
  • Gurvinder Kaur, Olathe Northwest High School
  • Amire Endris, Olathe South High School
  • Hermela Solomon, Olathe South High School
  • Jesse Czajka, Olathe West High School
  • Jeremiah Thomas, Olathe West High School

Nine Olathe Public Schools freshmen were named KC Scholars in the College Savings Match program. Awardees are eligible to earn 1:1 match on college savings, not to exceed $1,000 and up to $400 for achieving college-ready milestones during high school.

  • Qosai Daifallah, Olathe East High School
  • Mercy David, Olathe East High School
  • Isabella Vaccaro, Olathe East High School
  • Kelly McCoy, Olathe North High School
  • Bamlaku Kifle, Olathe Northwest High School
  • Victor Vaccaro, Olathe Northwest High School
  • Meklit Zewdie, Olathe Northwest High School
  • Rygel Graven, Olathe West High School
  • Yasmine Valdez, Olathe West High School

KC Scholars is an organization that creates life-changing opportunities for thousands of individuals and is positively transforming the region’s workforce and economy by continuing its support for postsecondary attainment.