Fort Osage CTC

students win grant in

Farm-to-Table Challenge

Five students from the Career & Technology Center at Fort Osage's Agriculture Production program competed in the Farm-to-Table Challenge. The Kansas City-based event provided students with an opportunity to pitch an idea for an activity or event centered around one of three topics: healthy eating, active lifestyle or farm-to-table. Fifteen groups were given $1,000 grants to put their idea into action in their school.

A CTC team's concept of a Farmer Appreciation Week was the recipient of one of the grants. Veronica Brosan, Skylar Johns, Tess Kinne and Jeffrey Tonahill described how their event would bring local farmers into the high school to raise awareness about farming among their peers. The event would include trivia and feature produce from the farms.

"This was a wonderful learning opportunity for my students," said Michelle Preslar, the CTC Agriculture instructor. "As a teacher it was enjoyable to watch them work together to come up with an idea and present something that was completely original that would benefit other students and individuals as well."


John Olivarez Scholarship

essays are due Dec. 1

The city of Independence in collaboration with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration committee today announced this year’s theme for the John Olivarez Scholarship is “The Color of Unity.”

High school seniors are invited to write a 500-word essay on the theme, the winner will receive a $300 scholarship. Eighth graders can win $50 and an Adventure Oasis Water Park Family pass by entering a 300-500 word essay on the same theme.

Winners will be announced on Jan. 15, 2018, during the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at the Truman Memorial Building.

Essays must be typed, double-spaced and include the student’s name and address on each page. Completed essays are due on Dec. 1 and can be submitted in person at 111 E. Maple Avenue or via email at dcraig@indepmo.org.

Olivarez created the scholarship in 1999 to recognize high school students who understand the importance of valuing the differences of others and to promote the role of the Human Relations Commission in the community.

This is the 19th year the Olivarez scholarship has been offered providing more than $8,500 in scholarships to Independence students over the years. Olivarez was appointed to the Human Relations Commission in 1982 and served as chair of the Commission until his resignation in 1998. He continues to be an active part of the community.


Chawana named

MCC vice chancellor

John M. Chawana, Ph.D., has been named Metropolitan Community College vice chancellor of institutional effectiveness, research and technology. Chawana’s appointment by Chancellor Kimberly Beatty was approved Oct. 19 by the Board of Trustees. He will start his new position Oct. 30.

Chawana comes to MCC from Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas, where he is executive director of institutional effectiveness and compliance. TCC is one of the nation’s largest community college systems, serving more than 100,000 students annually.

At MCC, Chawana will oversee the areas of institutional research, effectiveness and planning, as well as technology. As a member of the College’s Executive Cabinet, he will report to Chancellor Beatty.

During his tenure at Tarrant County College, Chawana has provided leadership in designing and developing institutionwide strategic imperatives for organizational effectiveness and planning, as well as ensuring overall institutional compliance with federal and accreditation requirements. Under his leadership, the college revamped and streamlined multiple organizational functions to achieve operational efficiency. The college also radically overhauled the institutional effectiveness and compliance infrastructure, resulting in adoption of new technologies, processes and realignment of roles.



Lee’s Summit student

awarded KU Wounded

Warrior Scholarship

The University of Kansas’ Office of Graduate Military Programs has announced that eight students, including one from Lee’s Summit, have received the university’s Wounded Warrior Scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year. Recipients of the scholarships receive up to $10,000 per year and are renewable for up to four academic years.

The scholarships assist injured veterans and affected family members in meeting the financial challenges associated with pursuing a college degree. The many donations made to the KU Endowment to benefit the KU Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund make these scholarships possible.

Jimmy Gentile, a native of Lee’s Summit, is a recipient of a Wounded Warrior Scholarship. Gentile served with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines in Ramadi, Iraq, as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. On April 6, 2004, during the Battle of Ramadi, Gentile was shot in the face by an AK-47 round that severed a carotid artery. He was evacuated off the battlefield for lifesaving surgery in Iraq, then to Germany and eventually to Bethesda Naval Hospital. The combat wounds have resulted in 41 surgeries and caused him to speak openly about his injury and his faith. Gentile is a second-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in information technology. He and his wife, Megan, have four children and currently live in Lee’s Summit.


Local students fare well

in WKU forensics contests

The Western Kentucky University forensics team traveled to the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg and the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to take part in four tournaments the weekend of Oct. 21-22. And a pair of local students fared well.

At the tournaments in Mississippi, co-hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University, WKU placed second in overall team sweepstakes for the two tournaments combined. Other competing schools included the University of Alabama, Tennessee State University and Wiley College. Additionally, at the William Carey tournament, three WKU team members took the top three ranks at the tournament as overall top performers.

For the two Missouri tournaments combined, WKU placed second in overall debate sweepstakes and overall combined debate and individual events team sweepstakes.

Results from the Third Annual University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University “Hub City” Swing tournaments:

• Sam Moore, a senior from Blue Springs, tournament champion in poetry interpretation, third in dramatic interpretation and fourth in duo interpretation (with Sean Diaz) at the William Carey tournament; fifth in duo interpretation (with Sean Diaz) at the Southern Mississippi tournament.

Results from the 2017 Central Missouri “Mule”/Dale Carnegie Invitational Swing:

• Lyric Davis, a senior from Blue Springs, tournament champion in poetry interpretation and tournament champion in duo interpretation (with Andrea Ambam) at the Missouri Mule tournament.


Independence student

receives scholarship

from Lake Erie College

Lacey Harris of Independence, who attended William Chrisman High School, received the Presidential Match Scholarship from Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, this fall.

Area residents were among more than 260 freshmen and transfer students welcomed to the Lake Erie College campus this fall. Students claimed $3.9 million in merit and athletic scholarships for their outstanding high school achievements.

The College's merit scholarships are awarded to full-time students and are renewable for up to four years with good academic and social standing. Including merit and need-based scholarships, LEC students received more than $25.8 million in financial support for the 2017-18 academic year.


– Compiled by Karl Zinke