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5-8-24 — April 2024 Awards

May 8, 2024

Three Olathe Athletes Honored with KSHSAA Scholarships

Three Olathe Public Schools students are among 34 statewide to receive a $2,000 True Blue Scholarship from the Kansas State High School Activities Association and Capitol Federal Foundation. The scholarships apply to a two- or four-year accredited college, university or technical school.

“Kansas schools are filled with outstanding students who excel in the classroom, in competition and performance, and in the community,” said KSHSAA Executive Director Bill Faflick.

Olathe’s winners are Connor Lyons of Olathe West High School for boys’ cross-country, Anjali Hocker Singh of Olathe North High School for girls’ cross-country, and Ella Novion of Olathe Northwest High School for girls’ tennis.

Olathe Among Best Communities for Music Education

Olathe Public Schools was recently named in the 2024 Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants. This is the fourth such honor for the district since 2006.

The Best Communities for Music Education honor celebrates individual schools and districts for their “unwavering commitment to music education as an integral part of a well-rounded education for all students,” according to the NAMM. Olathe’s application with data on funding, staffing, commitment to standards, opportunity and access to music instruction underwent statistical analysis and was confirmed by researchers from The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“The amazing work our educators do in their music classrooms every day is a huge part of this recognition,” said Fine Arts Coordinator Martha Gabel. “An equally important part of this recognition is the unwavering support our music programs receive from our community, parents, Board of Education, district administration, building administration and the district as a whole.”

Three Kindest Kansas Citian Essay Winners from Olathe Public Schools

The 34th Kindest Kansas Citian awards, presented by Synergy Services, includes three essay winners from Olathe Public Schools. The students were honored at a reception May 3 at the Kansas City Zoo and Sobela Aquarium.

Forest View Elementary third grader Alex Rocha-Yanez, California Trail Middle School sixth grader Nick Londono and Mission Trail Middle School eighth grader Ryan Lynch. The annual essay contest is for students from kindergarten through 12th grade to describe the kindest person they know who has also made a positive impact on their lives. In addition, the Kindest Kansas Citian awards recognize the kindest school and two honorary stars this year.

About 2,000 essays were received this year, each scored and voted on by volunteers and committee members before a winner was selected from each grade level.

Winners Named in Final Districtwide Math Wings Competition

The third and final districtwide Math Wings competition for fourth and fifth grade students was held April 23 at Olathe North High School. Fifth grade math contestants will be invited to join middle school math clubs next year, where they will have a chance to compete multiple times, including at two districtwide events.

Winners of the April 23 event were:

Fourth Grade

  • First Place — Sunnyside team of Wesley Juliano, Michael Player and Anna Thielker
  • Second Place — Arbor Creek team of Dax Autrey, Alyssa Donham and Josh Matewos
  • Third Place — Manchester Park team of Brayden Liu, Carter Thurman and Wesley Becker

Fifth Grade

  • First Place — Forest View team of Jack Kelly, Garrett Felter and Graham Ceule
  • Second Place — Regency Place team of Vihaan Sripathi, Alex Jin and Jacob Bush
  • Third Place tie — Prairie Center team of James Payne, Aven Arnett and Jackson Kaiser; Ravenwood team of Toby Esser, Miles Christy and Mayen Boudjema

OATC Students Medal at State SkillsUSA Championships

Nearly a dozen students from the Olathe Advanced Technical Center earned medals in the statewide SkillsUSA championships held in Hutchinson, Kansas on April 26. SkillsUSA is a state and nationwide organization designed to improve the workforce via a program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training.

Gold medalists were Jordan Chenoweth in Customer Service, Cameron Fehrenbacher in Electronics, and Addie Johnson in First Aid/CPR.

Silver medalists were Carson Buster in Automotive Service Technology, Alina Del Real & Devan Plunkett in Construction Materials Identification, James Forster in Automotive Maintenance & Light Repair, Addie Johnson in Extemporaneous Speaking, Luke Roseburrough in Customer Service, and Tucker Wright in Job Skill Demonstration.

Bronze medalists were Lizbeth Garcia-Crisanto in Extemporaneous Speaking, Addy Ehrlich in Restaurant Service, Cameron Fehrenbacher in Related Technical Math, and Tucker Wright in Electronics.

Cameron Fehrenbacher will go to nationals SkillsUSA in Atlanta, Georgia in June for the second consecutive year. Addie Johnson will represent the state at the Health Occupations Student Organization in Houston, Texas in June at the world HOSA championships because she placed first in its EMT competition.

18 Olathe Seniors Named CTE Scholars

Eighteen of the 92 Kansas high school seniors named as 2024 Kansas Career and Technical Education (CTE) Scholars are from Olathe Public Schools. The announcement was made in April by the Kansas State Department of Education. Olathe had more CTE scholars than any other school district in Kansas.

The Kansas CTE Scholar program recognizes well-rounded outstanding CTE students who are finishing their senior year of high school. Students must have received or be receiving 3.0 or more CTE credits with verification of technical skill attainment, senior-level status, a CTE GPA of 3.5 or better, civic engagement or 100 community service hours, workplace experience, and have submitted a career vision summary statement. Honorees will receive a commemorative pin, special certificate, graduation honor cord and statewide recognition.

  • Olathe East High School: Zeina Adnan, Teaching/Training; Audrey Bryant, Teaching/Training; Adriana J. Cazares, Teaching/Training; Alexandria Decker, Teaching/Training; Mikayla Ezala, Health Science; Avalyn Gehlen, Teaching/Training; Malorie McRostie, Teaching/Training; Anna Persaud, Teaching/Training; Reese Pritchard, Teaching/Training; and Chloe Tyrrell, Health Science.
  • Olathe North High School: Lizbeth Garcia-Crisanto, Health Science; and Scarlett Shade, Health Science.
  • Olathe Northwest High School: Kellan Quinn, Construction and Design.
  • Olathe South High School: Belinda Chen, Health Science.
  • Olathe West High School: Laci Lister, Digital Media; Addison Smith, Digital Media; Ellen Steer, Health Science; and Elizabeth Taylor, Digital Media.

Student Video Projects Earn Broadcasters’ Association Honors

Five Olathe students brought home honors from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters student broadcast awards competition this spring. The competition is for high school and college students and covers a variety of audio and visual categories. All entries had been previously shown publicly either on a website or television channel. Entries were judged on excellence, believability, creativity and effectiveness.

Congratulations to our award-winning Olathe students.

  • Adam Donner, Olathe Northwest High School, “Raven Network Play-by-Play of Boys’ Basketball,” first place in the Sports Play by Play category
  • Emma Stanfield, Olathe Northwest High School, “One Team One Heart (State: Episode 1),” first place in the Documentary category
  • Evan Stanfield, Olathe Northwest High School, “Both Sides of Playoff Video for Social Media,” first place in the Vertical Video category
  • Olivia Kulzer, Olathe South High School, “Between Two Trees,” second place in the Public Affairs / Talk Show Program category
  • Lucas MacNider, Olathe South High School, “Connection,” honorable mention in the Documentary category

Rare Rudd Scholarship Goes to Olathe West Senior

Martha Garcia, a senior at Olathe West High School, is one of only 45 students to receive a full-ride scholarship through the 2024 Rudd Scholars Program. She was chosen after a rigorous selection process that weighs students’ academic achievements, life stories and contributions to their communities. Martha plans to attend Kansas State University.

The Rudd Foundation awards scholarships to four universities in Kansas (Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University and Wichita State University) with the goal of relieving the financial burden of an education for these selected students. Martha’s hope is to become a teacher.

Olathe North Shines at Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair

Nearly 30 Olathe North High School students in the Distinguished Scholars, Medical Professions or Geoscience academies participated in the 73rd annual Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair at Union Station in late March. They came away with dozens of awards including two of the event’s four Grand Awards, three of the top seven projects (Pioneers in Science), and the top winner honor.

Anshika Kapoor received the MRIGlobal Excellence in Science Award, given to the best of the senior division entries, with a cash prize and opportunity to intern at MRIGlobal.

Grand Awards

  • Soyee Cho, “The Effect of Available Oat Flake Mass on Physarum Polycephalum Path Efficiency” in the Microbiology category
  • Mahi Kohli, “SynAPPse: A Novel QSAR Modeling App for the Rapid Identification of AChE Inhibitors for Alzheimer’s Disease” in the Computational Science, Bioinformatics and Math category

Academic Honors

  • Soyee Cho, third place in Senior Microbiology
  • Sahitha Chunduru, first place in Senior Physics and Astronomy
  • Andrew Dai, second place in Senior Computational Science, Bioinformatics and Mathematics
  • Isabella Ginie, second place in Senior Plant Science
  • Madeline Holscher, first place in Senior Behavioral and Social Science
  • Luke Hui, first place in Senior Material Science
  • Anshika Kapoor, first place in Senior Molecular Biology / Chemistry and Health Sciences
  • Pace Klein, first place in Senior Plant Science
  • Grace Knight, second place in Senior Material Science
  • Mahi Kohli, first place in Senior Computational Science, Bioinformatics and Mathematics
  • Nathan Peters, third place tie in Senior Plant Science

Pioneers in Science

  • Soyee Cho, Microbiology category
  • Anshika Kapoor, Molecular Biology category
  • Mahi Kohli, Computational Science, Bioinformatics and Math category

Special Awards

  • Alex Cantero Segura, The Astronomical Society of Kansas City Award, senior winner of the Science City Ad Astra Award
  • Isabella Ginie, senior winner of the Office of Naval Research Award
  • Silas Guernsey, Anita B. Gorman Conservation in Action Award, the Burroughs Audobon Society of Greater Kansas City Award, the Lakeside Nature Center Award
  • Madeline Holscher, American Psychological Association Award
  • Layne Jones, senior winner of the Kansas City Garden Club Award
  • Benjamin Kameta, winner of the Society for In Vitro Biology Award
  • Henok Kassaye, second place senior for the U.S. EPA Region 7 Excellence in Environmental Science Award
  • Grace Knight, senior winner of the Science City Maker Award, senior winner of the Society of Women Engineers – Kansas City Section Award, senior winner of the Office of Naval Research Award
  • Will Pendley, senior winner of the Kansas City Garden Club Award, winner of the Missouri Organic Recycling Award
  • Amanda Perez, senior runner up for The Director’s Choice Award
  • Cassie Vickers, senior winner of the KC Zoo and Aquarium Biodiversity Defender Award

K-State Names Reist in Science Award Program

Olathe North High School educator Rhonda Reist received one of seven 2024 Kansas State University High School Science Teacher of the Year awards. Reist was named in the chemistry category of this year’s award.

“Receiving the 2024 Kansas State University High School Science Teacher of the Year was a wonderful surprise!” Reist said. “One of my former students nominated me which always makes a teaching award sweeter! It was a joy to attend a day at K-State with some former students and enjoy lunch with Ashley Taylor who nominated me. It was also wonderful to hear members of the K-State chemistry department say such nice things about my contribution to chemistry education over the past 35 years. This was a great honor!”

Students in K-State's science programs were asked which high school science teachers inspired them or made an impact on their growth and development. Those educators were then invited to apply for the High School Science Teacher of the Year award program, and seven winners were selected by members of K-State's College of Arts and Sciences.

Hanson Receives Rising Star Award for Coaching

Anders Hanson, assistant coach for boys’ and girls’ cross-country and track and field at Olathe East High School, earned the 2024 Rising Star Award from the Community for Coaches organization as part of their KC Metro Coaches of the Year program. The honor celebrates coaches who use sports to transform young lives.

During the nomination process it was shared that “Anders is incredibly relational and encouraging to all the runners he works with at Olathe East. He is able to meet student athletes where they are, and make them feel valued as individuals, not simply by their performance. He brings an enthusiasm and joy to practice, and he is a terrific listener.”

Kohli Qualifies for National, International Science Competitions

Olathe North High School freshman Mahi Kohli has a busy month of May. Two of her latest science research projects have qualified for national or international competitions. Most recently, Mahi was one of four Grand Award winners at the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair, but a few months ago, she was the youngest invited competitor in a regional science competition and took home first place.

Mahi’s Grand Award in the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair qualified her for the International Science and Engineering Fair, May 11-17 in Los Angeles, California. Her study is aimed at developing a machine learning-based Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship model to rapidly and cost effectively identify novel Alzheimer’s inhibitors based only on their structural characteristics.

In February, Mahi was one of 15 students in Kansas and Oklahoma to present their scientific research at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium regional competition. That project, a study aimed to improve breast cancer diagnoses, took first place and advanced to the national competition May 1-4 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received a $2,000 scholarship at the JSHS regionals. Although she did not place in the nationals, we are very proud of the fact she was among 98 students nationwide to present there.