Grain Valley’s Lovell

participates in WKU

summer gifted program

Hayden Lovell of Grain Valley was one of 189 students who participated the 34th annual Summer Program for Verbally and Mathematically Precocious Youth June 25 to July 15 at the Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

VAMPY provides advanced learning opportunities for academically gifted students who have just completed the seventh through 10th grades. In order to attend VAMPY, students must have earned a qualifying score on the SAT or ACT.

VAMPY classes met daily for the three weeks, allowing gifted young people to study one topic in great depth. This year, students could pick from 14 classes such as ancient civilizations, DNA and genetics, pop culture, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, and Arabic.

During the rigorous academic experience, VAMPY students took advantage of a wide range of opportunities, including a visit to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, using engineering to create a large chain reaction machine, a trip to the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., and holding multiple mock presidential debates.

Outside the classroom, students participated in many activities such as sports, a dance, a trip to a Bowling Green Hot Rods game, and a talent show.



Blue Springs student

studies abroad with

Belmont University

Malena Marcase, a Blue Springs High School graduate, traveled to Germany and Italy this summer as part of Belmont University's largest group of student travelers in university history.

With more than 650 students participating in 34 programs, including Maymester trips, students spent time in Greece, Brazil, England, France, Switzerland and Haiti, among many other locations.

Belmont's new Director of Study Abroad, Thandi Dinani, said the opportunity to spend time abroad in college is an invaluable experience as participants are able to see the world in a whole new way.

"Studying abroad encourages students to expand worldviews and deepen their understanding of themselves and the world," Dinani said. "Living in a global society, it is important that our students experience and understand the interconnectedness of the world. It also prepares students for their future careers, as they learn to understand diverse perspectives and work to navigate other cultures."


Blue Springs student

earns degree from

Harding University

Dallas Herrmann of Blue Springs was one of more than 900 graduates who received a diploma at Harding University's commencement exercises on May 6 in Searcy, Arkansas.

Herrmann received a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics. Herrmann graduated summa cum laude.

University President Bruce D. McLarty presented the diplomas to the graduates.

Area students

earn degrees from

Truman State

Several students from Eastern Jackson County earned degrees from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, following the spring 2017 semester.

Truman conducted graduation ceremonies May 13 for more than 1,100 students.

Students who graduated with honors will have that distinction noted by their names. Cum laude recognizes those who earned a grade point average between 3.50-3.74. Magna cum laude is for graduates with a grade point average between 3.75-3.89. Summa cum laude honors graduates with a grade point average above 3.9.

Master’s degree recipients have that distinction noted by their names.

Local students who earned their degrees included:

Blue Springs

• Travis Lee Belknap, Cum Laude

• Andrew Michael Brogan

• Rachel Katherine Graef

• Brent Michael Henderson, Magna Cum Laude

• Dakota L. Henning, Magna Cum Laude

• Matthew Edward Judd, Valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude

• Lindsey Michelle Lafal, Summa Cum Laude

• Anson Phillip Long-Seabra, Magna Cum Laude

• Jordan Danielle Noland

• Gary Parker, Master of Accountancy

• Chad Timothy Stohlmann, Magna Cum Laude


• Trevor Matthew Anderson

• Rebecca LeeAnne Atchley

• Courtney Taylor Green

• Dakota Joe Caleb Kiper, Magna Cum Laude

• Laura LaMastres

• Duane K. Price III

• Randy Soto, Cum Laude

• Kodey Michael Springate

• Zachary Wayne Wenig, Valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude

Lee’s Summit

• Samantha Mary Barnhart, Magna Cum Laude

• Haley Jo Bruns, Cum Laude

• Megan Elizabeth Goebel, Master of Arts in Education

• Alec Nathanael Hanshaw

• Kaitlyn N. Heman, Magna Cum Laude

• Gregory Jochems, Master of Accountancy

• Nicole Marie Kneib

• Jessica Lynn Rhoades, Magna Cum Laude

• Ian Christopher Siercks

• Caley Elizabeth Smith, Cum Laude

• Denise Marie Thoreson, Master of Arts in Education

• Parker Vance Willis

Oak Grove

• Nicolas John Arnone, Cum Laude


• Micah Robert Palmer, Magna Cum Laude


Independence student

selected as student

ambassador at BJU

Seth Sanders, a senior majoring in history, has been selected to serve as a student ambassador at Bob Jones University for the 2017-18 academic year. Sanders is a resident of Independence.

"We are very excited to welcome Seth to BJU's Student Ambassador Program," said Clay Bryant, University Host. "Seth's love for people and passion for service makes them a perfect fit as a representative of BJU."

In addition to providing tours to prospective students, ambassadors welcome guests to the University campus and answer questions about the many academic, spiritual, social and cultural opportunities available at BJU.

During the last academic year, ambassadors conducted over 300 tours to nearly 3,000 prospective students.


Local students named

to CMU dean’s list

Several local students have earned dean’s lists honors for the spring 2017 semester at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri.

Out of Central Methodist University's nearly 5,000 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and College of Graduate and Extended Studies students, the were among the 964 were named to the spring semester dean's list.

These students study at CMU's main campus in Fayette, at a CMU center, or through CMU's online program.

This outstanding academic achievement is awarded only to students who maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.50 or above for the semester, among other criteria, according to CMU Provost and Dean of the University Dr. Rita Gulstad.

The following local CMU students who were named to the dean's list included:

• Lillian Schnakenberg, Independence, a biology major who studies at CMU's main campus in Fayette.

• Aaron Schnakenberg, Independence, a computer science major who studies at CMU's main campus in Fayette.

• Makenzie Erikson, Independence, a middle school education major who studies at CMU's main campus in Fayette.

• Madison Clark, Independence, an athletic training major who studies at CMU's main campus in Fayette.

• Sarah Freiermuth, Lee’s Summit, an athletic training major who studies at CMU's main campus in Fayette.


Local students

named to honor

rolls at NW Missouri

Many local students were named to the Academic or President's Honor Roll at the end of the 2017 spring trimester at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.

To be included on the Academic Honor Roll, a student must carry a minimum of 12 credit hours and attain a grade-point average of 3.5 or above on a 4.00 scale. Students named to the President's Honor Roll have attained a perfect 4.00 GPA for the trimester.

Local students who were honored include:

Blue Springs

• Marqus A. Andrews, President

• Nathan E. Banks, Academic

• Meghan E. Cohen, Academic

• Derrick A. Dow, Academic

• Gordon M. Fang, President

• Kirk M. Finley, Academic

• Brianna R. Franks, Academic

• Hannah P. Frerking, President

• Megan N. Frerking, Academic

• Steven J. Gordon, President

• Brooke M. Grisham, Academic

• Taylor M. Hamdorf, President

• Kane N. Harmon, Academic

• Max G. Hill, Academic

• Sydney M, Jones, Academic

• Erin B. Keeney, Academic

• Courtney M. Kern, Academic

• Meg S. Kissner, Academic

• Rachel S. Ladd, President

• Aliyah J. Lee, Academic

• Brian G. Lowrimore, President

• Devyn J. Martinez, Academic

• Michael A. Mickelson, Academic

• Kayla L. Mueller, Academic

• Kramer A. Ragsdale, Academic

• Kaitlin D. Riggs, Academic

• Kelsey T. Schwensen, Academic

• Randi M. Smith, President


• Sydney F. Martin, Academic

• Elizabeth M. Shade, Academic

Grain Valley

• Daniel R. Favor, Academic

• Jesse R. Frazier, Academic

• Kierstin L. Hill, Academic

• Briana D Sparks, President

• Jordyn N. Tieman, Academic

• Kaylee J Wilmoth, Academic


• Connor M. Adams, President

• Marissa A. Atchley, President

• Cassandra R. Baldus, President

• Katherine E. Baldus, Academic

• Teresa M. Beck, Academic

• MaKenzie Bennett, Academic

• Coral R. Brown, President

• Jocelyn L. Contreras, Academic

• Courtney Dimitt, Academic

• Alex B. Duey, Academic

• Kassandra A. Erazo, President

• Joseph Fountain, Academic

• Joshua D. Gilliland, Academic

• Nichole L. Ginnings, President

• Angel J. Grammer, Academic

• Brianne R. Huntsucker, President

• William N. Hurt, President

• Meghan L. Jackson, Academic

• Jacob T. Jacobs, Academic

• Marissa N. Jarnagin, President

• Melissa L. Long, Academic

• Marissa L. Mallon, President

• Madeline D. Mason, President

• Kristen N. McCulley, President

• Brittany L. McDowell, Academic

• Breanna L. Perdue, Academic

• Sarah K. Simons, President

• Stephanie K. Sloan, Academic

• Kearstin N. Stimmel, President

• Amanda A. Stoll, Academic

• Isabella E. Welch, Academic

• Kaley A. Wells, Academic

• Megan L. White, Academic

• Rebecca L. Wood, Academic

• Megan A. Young, Academic

Lee’s Summit

• Abbigale K. Apeldoorn, Academic

• Calli R. Bales, Academic

• Alexis S. Banegas, President

• Malinda S. Blanchon, President

• Brian L. Downs, Academic

• Nikkolette L. Ehlinger, Academic

• Megan E. Jackman, President

• Samantha T. Kates, Academic

• Sarah E. Laemmli, Academic

• Morgan R. Maxwell, President

• Alexis K. Mikesell, Academic

• Melody C. Monroe, Academic

• Chobu Nkolo-Kangkolo, Academic

• Margaret T. Novak, Academic

• Tucker L. Peve, Academic

• Ashton B. Pickard, Academic

• Haley M. Riffle, President

• Maya G. Rivera, Academic

• Samantha M. Ruiz, Academic

• David L. Schmitt, President

• Vilune Sestokaite, President

• Travis D. Simonin, Academic

• James P. Thieman, President

• Taylor L. Urzendowski, Academic

• Brian C. Wackly, Academic

• Hannah D. Wilburn, Academic

Oak Grove

• Kyra L. Jagels, President

• Morgan Maguire, Academic

• Sequoia A. Masten, Academic

• Kaitlyn L. McCain, President

• Kori S. Simmermon, President

• Aimee C. Stiegemeyer, President

• Alexandria C. Turpin, Academic

• Michaela R. Wall, Academic

• Ashley E. Watson, Academic


Local students earn

degrees from

William Woods U.

William Woods University celebrated its 147th commencement on May 6, 2017. The university conferred 840 degrees, including 243 undergraduate and 597 graduate students, including several from Eastern Jackson County.

They earned degrees including: associate of applied arts, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of social work, master of business administration, master of education, education specialist in administration, and doctorate in educational leadership.

Award-winning country music star and New York Times best-selling author, Jimmy Wayne, spoke at the undergraduate ceremony in the morning, while Dr. Sherri Thomas, a William Woods alumna and principal of the Lewis and Clark Middle School in Jefferson City spoke to the graduate students in the afternoon.

Local students who graduated include:

• Melissa Belke, of Blue Springs, received a Bachelor of Science, with a major in Equestrian Science.

• Katherine Williams, of Blue Springs, received a Bachelor of Science, with a major in Equine General Studies.

• Jaclyn Brunk, of Blue Springs, received an Education Specialist in Administration Degree.

• Cole Chambers, of Blue Springs, received an Education Specialist in Administration Degree.

• Jenna Cook, of Independence, received an Education Specialist in Administration Degree.

• James Norman, of Blue Springs, received an Education Specialist in Administration Degree.

• Jessica Schibi, of Blue Springs, received an Education Specialist in Administration Degree.

• Michael Tarrants, of Blue Springs, received an Education Specialist in Administration Degree.

• Gwenn Tauveli, of Independence, received an Education Specialist in Administration Degree.

• Kristen Perkins, of Blue Springs, received an Education Specialist in Administration Degree.

• Jeri Kaylor, of Blue Springs, received a Master of Education in Education Administration.

• Bret Schwartz, of Blue Springs, received a Master of Education in Education Administration.

• Clarica Tulli, of Blue Springs, received a Master of Education in Education Administration.

• Emily Gilbert, of Lee’s Summit, received a Master of Education in Education Curriculum and Instruction.


Independence student

earns degree, dean’s

list honors at Dayton

Crystal Brock of Independence was among the nearly 1,400 undergraduates receiving bachelor's degrees from the University of Dayton during the spring 2017 commencement ceremony in Dayton, Ohio.

Brock also earned a spot on the University of Dayton spring 2017 dean's list, which honors undergraduate students achieving a minimum 3.5 GPA for the semester.


– Compiled by Karl Zinke