Classtime Briefs


Walck national FFA runner-up

Walck national FFA runner-up

A Holcomb High School FFA member has earned a national runner-up award for Forage Production Proficientcy at the National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis, Ind.

Andrew J. Walck of the Holcomb FFA chapter was one of four national finalists for the Forage Production proficiency award at the 85th National FFA Convention. The forage production award area is sponsored nationally by Animal Health International, Inc., and CLAAS of America, Inc., as a special project of the National FFA Foundation, according to a release from HHS.

The national FFA organization’s Agriculture Proficiency Awards program recognizes outstanding student achievement in agribusiness gained through establishment of a new business, working for an existing company or otherwise gaining hands on career experience. It serves as the award structure for an FFA member’s Supervised Agricultural Experience (mandatory for all FFA members) that is designed to develop specialized skills in 49 categories that they can apply toward their future careers. Awards, like Forage Production are available at the local, state, and national levels, the release said.

Walck became eligible for the national award after winning the Kansas state FFA competition earlier this year and took home $500 plus a special plaque. Andrew J. Walck of the Holcomb FFA chapter works with his neighbor, producing 520 acres of forage crop irrigated alfalfa hay. Learning all aspects of the operation, he developed the skills to operate the swather, rake, bailer, retriever, semi-truck and trailer. He can identify and eliminate the pests that can affect an alfalfa crop while also learning about the importance of land management. Walck is supported by his parents Regina Walck and Lance Walck and his FFA adviser Brandon L. Barr

USD 457 teachers get mini-grants

A grant squad Monday surprised several USD 457 teachers with mini-grants to help enhance classrrooms.

The awards were presented with a surprise celebration.

Teachers receiving grants were Scott Weniger, Garden City High School, 2720 Buffalo Way Blvd.; Penny Cruz, Alta Brown Elementary School, 1110 E. Pine St.; Renae Hukill, Garfield Early Childhood Center, 121 W. Walnut St.; Megan Becker and Kambra Becker, both of GECC; and Rod Willis, Buffalo Jones Elementary School, 708 N. Taylor Ave.

 The foundation received 15 grant applications from staff around the school district. The grants are awarded to help support learning initiatives in the classrooms. The grants may be used for the classroom, department, or individual staff development for a district employee. Employees can apply as individuals or teams, and the foundation also accepts school applications. The applications are read and judged by a Garden City Public Schools Foundation committee, a release from USD 457 said.

Weniger, science teacher at GCHS, will use the grant to fund the purchase of materials to build rockets. The goal of the project is to introduce students to the JETS Science Club at GCHS. It will help hook students on science, technology, engineering and math to build a strong academic foundation. Students will gain academic knowledge and skills in the application, design, production and assessment of engineering concepts to products and systems.

Cruz, library media specialist at Alta Brown Elementary School, will use the grant to purchase materials to help graphic novels to entice reluctant readers to read a book. The project is to improve the reading ability and enjoyment among those least likely to engage in reading.

Hukill, special education teacher at Garfield Early Childhood Center, will use the grant to purchase materials to help increase the resources available in the school’s library. It will help the teachers to focus the students’ attention on print materials to help increase the students’ interest in reading and storytelling.

 Megan Becker and Kambra Becker, early childhood instructors at Garfield Early Childhood Center, will use the grant to purchase books for students to explore. The books will help to use for verbal skills, to make observations, and to cerate the interest in reading as the students start their education.

Willis, math coach at Buffalo Jones Elementary School, will use the grant to purchase materials for students to focus on mathematical strategies and concepts to help them become better problem solvers.

The Garden City Public Schools Foundation was founded in 2004 and is a non-profit organization that is committed to effectively generate, manage and distribute funds to stimulate excellence for the preservation and enhancement of exemplary education provided by Garden City Public Schools. The Foundation offers the opportunity to enhance the learning environment, increase the effectiveness of instruction and to help strengthen and broaden ties between the schools and community. The Foundation functions in alliance with the Western Kansas Community Foundation, the release said.

Peterson earns recognition

Aimee Peterson, Lyons, daughter of Jerald and Debi Kempke, Garden City, was recognized Sept. 28 at the Council for Exceptional Children Award Luncheon in Wichita for her achievements in special education. She received the Kansas Special Educator of the Year Award.

The Kansas branch of the Council for Exceptional Children recognizes educators who currently provide service to students with exceptionalities.

Peterson is the third- through fifth-grade special education teacher at Central Elementary School in Lyons. She teaches reading, writing and spelling. She also serves on the MTSS leadership team and runs the after school ASIST program.

She graduated from Garden City High School in 1999, from Garden City Community College in 2001 and received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology in 2003 and education with a minor in special education in 2005 from Fort Hays State University.

She taught her first year at Alta Brown Elementary School in 2005-2006 before moving to Lyons.

Bilberry, Deaver Kiwanis students

Lindy Bilberry and Kyle Deaver have been named outstanding students for the month of September by the Garden City Noon Kiwanis.

Bilberry is the daughter of Larry and Ann Bilberry. She has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average throughout her high school career. Bilberry has participated in Garden City FFA, Southwest Kansas District FFA, Youth Entrepreneurs of Kansas, GCHS Sugar Beet, GCHS orchestra, GCHS Debate Team and GCHS Forensics Team.

Bilberry is involved in several community agencies and projects, as well. She is the president of the Wide Awake 4-H Club, a member of the Pierceville Federated Church Youth Group, and Plymell Union Church. She is also an Ag Ambassador for the Finney County Farm Bureau and volunteers with the All American Beef Battalion.

Bilberry is involved in public speaking. She has gone to nationals in debate and recently participated in a speech at the FFA national convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lindy works at Baker Boot and she enjoys reading and writing in her spare time.

She plans to attend Kansas State University in the fall and major in agribusiness.

Deaver is the son of Michael and Carol Deaver. He has maintained a 3.64 GPA throughout high school.

Deaver is also involved in FFA. He has held several offices with the group. He is a member of the National Honor Society, and is GCHS’s track team.

Deaver also participates in the Wide Awake 4-H club. He is the Vice President. He participates in Pierceville Federated Church youth Group, Finney County 4-H Livestock and Meat Judging. By participating in 4-H, it has allowed Kyle to have the opportunity to be involved in endless community and volunteer work.

In his free time, he enjoys customizing and restoring trucks, researching farm equipment information, 4-wheeling, photography, welding and participating in car shows. Deaver plans to attend Garden City Community College and continue working on the family farm and eventually own his own farm ground.

Bilberry and Deaver were presented certificates of accomplishment on Oct. 10. They are now eligible to compete with other monthly selections for a scholarship to be presented at the awards assembly in May. 

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