Truman’s Ruz claims

title at state Legion

oratorical contest

A Truman High School student claimed a title in the state contest of the 83rd National American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program held Feb. 18 in Jefferson City.

Lorinda Ruz, a junior at Truman, won the Missouri State competition with her oration titled “The Constitution: A Document from We the People.”

Her oration earned her a $2,000 scholarship and a gold medal. She will present her winning oration in the national contest in Indianapolis April 21-23. The National Oratorical Finals will be streamed live, free of charge, on legiontv.org on April 23 at 9 a.m. (Central time).

Ruz won her high school competition to advance to the Jackson County contest. She then wen the district and zone contests to advance to the state finals.

Ruz will be competing in the national contest with approximately 54 other contestants, who won their Legion state/department level competitions, for medals, certificates and scholarships of $18,000, $16,000 and $14,000. Each contestant who does not make the final round of competition will receive a scholarship, through the second level, of $1,500 for each level of the national contest completed. The American Legion pays expenses of state winners and their chaperone at the national contest.

The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students.


Local high school

students capture

UCM scholarships

A pair of local students have earned the University of Central Missouri’s Red and Black Scholarship.

Dedication to academic success in high school has earned Victoria Lunceford, daughter of Anna Lunceford, Independence, a Red and Black Scholarship of $1,500 per year to attend UCM in Warrensburg.

A senior at Van Horn High School, Lunceford plans to attend UCM in the fall majoring in elementary education.

Matthew Thalken, son of Keith and Carole Thalken, Blue Springs, also earned a Red and Black Scholarship of $1,500 per year to attend UCM.

A senior at Blue Springs High School, Thalken plans to attend UCM in the fall majoring in criminal justice.

The Red and Black Scholarship is awarded to incoming UCM freshmen based upon their high school cumulative grade point average and ACT composite score. The scholarship is renewable and may be received for a maximum of eight semesters of undergraduate study.


Fort Osage CTC

students named

Cerner Scholars

A pair of Fort Osage High School seniors were selected as the first Cerner Scholars by the Career and Technology Center at Fort Osage.

Doug McIntosh and Tanner Kramer, seniors in the advanced computer engineering program, were selected

The Cerner Scholars program offers students from the CTC and several other schools the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom at Cerner Corporation. Students spend half the school day with Cerner and participate in the internship for one to four semesters.

Cerner Scholars can participate in a variety of areas, including information technology, marketing and communications. Many students have continued on in paid summer internships. The program also offers students insight into a diverse range of careers available in information technology, business and health care. Students are selected by CTC instructors for program consideration. Students then complete a competitive interview with Cerner before being selected.


Lee's Summit North,

West music students

to perform Sunday

Music students from Lee’s Summit North High School and Lee’s Summit West High School will perform Sunday, March 12, at Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Thanks to a collaborative effort with the Kauffman Center, students in band, choir and orchestra will perform at the world-renowned facility with each school music department assigned a specific performance time.

Through the partnership, the Kauffman Center is providing the facility at cost and will not be making a profit on the student performances. In addition, the center is returning all ticket proceeds to the schools’ Music Parents organizations as a fundraiser. Hawthorn Bank is a diamond sponsor for the concert. Platinum sponsors are Unemployment Insurance Services; Stinson, Leonard, Street; Gale Communities; B&B Theaters; Rockhill Orthopaedics; and Henderson Engineering.

The Lee’s Summit West groups will perform at 2:30 p.m. That same day, the Lee’s Summit North groups will perform at 6:30 p.m.

Ticket prices for each concert are as follows: $20 for Orchestra and Parterre; $15 for Mezzanine; $10 for Grand Tier. Tickets can only be purchased online through the Kauffman Center Ticket Office at http://kauffmancenterkansas.ticketoffices.com/.

For more information about the sponsorship opportunities, contact Phyllis Edson at phyllisedson@comcast.net or Juneitta Brumley at jfbrumley1@gmail.com.



Blue Springs student

wins scholarship

from Wichita State

Cameron July, from Blue Springs High School, has been named to the 2017 Wallace Scholars at Wichita State University.

Wallace Scholarship recipients will receive $28,000 each to attend Wichita State for four years. Wallace Scholars are a community of more than 40 engineering students from every class and nearly every major within the College of Engineering. Wallace Scholars are involved on the WSU campus and within the Wichita community to promote engineering, math, science and community service.

Selection for the Wallace Scholarship is based on recipients’ high school GPA, ACT score and performance at the annual Wallace Invitational for Scholarships in Engineering, which was held in November.

The Wallace Scholarship is made possible through the Dwane and Velma Wallace Endowment, created in 1976, which supports scholarships for engineering students and provides funds for the College of Engineering. Since 1980, the endowment has benefited more than 300 engineering majors at WSU.


Local students

earn degrees

from NW Missouri

Several students from Eastern Jackson County have earned their degrees from Northwest Missouri State University following the fall 2016 trimester at the school in Maryville, Mo.

Degree recipients include: bachelor of science (B.S.), bachelor of science in education (B.S. Ed.), bachelor of technology (B.T.), bachelor of arts (B.A.), bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.), master of science (M.S.), bachelor of science in clinical laboratory sciences (B.S. CLS), bachelor of science in medical technology (B.S. MT), master of arts (M.A.), master of business administration (M.B.A.), master of science in education  (M.S. Ed.), and education specialist (Ed. Spec.)

Those graduating with honors are listed in parentheses: Summa Cum Laude (cumulative grade point average of 3.95 to 4.0 on a 4.0 scale); Magna Cum Laude (cumulative GPA of 3.75 to 3.94); or Cum Laude (cumulative GPA of 3.50 to 3.74).

Local graduates include:

Blue Springs

• Anna Elizabeth Brand, B.S.Ed., Elementary Education.

• Jordan DeAlmeida Chrisman, B.S.Ed., English Education.

• Joanna Nicole Accurso Deffenbaugh, B.S., Pre-Professional Zoology.

• Rachael Ann Hetzel, B.S.Ed., Elementary Education.

• Delaney Jackalyn Kramer (Cum Laude), B.S., Psychology.

• Samuel Laney Morgan, B.S.Ed., Middle School.

• Daniel Noud, B.S.Ed., Middle School.

• Cicily Kathleen Petralie, B.S., Recreation: Corp Rec/Wellness.

• Saundra Anne Weigel-Blount, B.S., Human Services.

• Carly Danielle Wheeler, B.S.Ed., Elementary Education.

Grain Valley

• Zachary Taylor Pahopin, B.S., Finance: Financial Services.

• Andrew Jordan Perry, M.B.A.

• Chad A. Whisenhunt, M.S.Ed., Educational Leadership: Elementary.


• Jacob Patrick Ragan, B.S., Mass Media: Applied Advertising.

Lee's Summit

• Allison Nicole Coley, B.S., Business Management.

• Abby Jo Fisher, B.S., Biology: Zoology Emphasis.

• Ryan Patrick Gassen, B.M.E., Instrumental Music Education/Non-Piano.

• Christina Mae Plummer, B.S., Accounting.

• Alexis Annette Thompson, B.S., Mass Media: Broadcast Production.


• Kathyrene S. Hayes, Ed. Spec., Ed Specialist: Superintendent.

• Kenealy L. Link, B.S., English.

• MacKenzie Davis Magwire, M.B.A.


Blue Springs student

named to dean’s

list at Iowa State

Jessica Swindell of Blue Springs has been named to the dean’s list for the fall 2016 semester at the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences.

Dean's list students have earned a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.


Blue Springs South

grad on dean's list

at U. of Sioux Falls

Trevor Wescott of Bates City has been named to the dean’s list for the fall 2016 semester at the University of Sioux Falls.

To qualify for the dean’s list, a student must achieve a semester grade point average of 3.5 or greater on a 4.0 scale.

Wescott, a Blue Springs South High School graduate, is a sports management major at the school is Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


Blue Springs’

Van Dyke named 

to Iowa dean’s list

Nathan Van Dyke of Blue Springs has been named to the dean’s list for the fall 2016 semester at the University of Iowa.

Undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Tippie College of Business who achieve a grade point average of 3.50 or higher on 12 semester hours or more of UI graded course work during a given semester or summer session and who have no semester hours of I (incomplete) or O (no grade reported) during the same semester are recognized by inclusion on the dean's list for that semester.

– Compiled by Karl Zinke