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Closing high school chapter, Osage City graduates begin next installment of life

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – In front of family, friends, classmates and well-wishers, the Osage City High School class of 2022 closed one chapter of their lives and opened the next on Sunday, May 15, 2022.

The class’s two honor students, Hannah Jones and Bryson Murphy each described their sadness and fears about the end of their Osage City school years, but encouraged their classmates to not forget the good times and relive the happy moments.

“When I think about my time here at Osage I remember the good times,” Murphy said. Reviewing some of the good memories of his high school years, “It was everything to me,” he said. But as the class was making memories, they were also preparing for the next chapter, Murphy said he realized recently.

“I am ready for college,” he said. “I am ready for what’s next to come in life. But I am not ready to leave this. Leave family. Leave this home.”

He urged his friends to see how much they’ve grown, but to continue to grow.

“Let’s all take a deep breathe together,” he said. “It is time for us to begin our next chapter – not alone and afraid, but together and afraid.”

Jones thanked those who helped the graduates get to the final pages of their high school chapter. “Each of us have helped us get to this day,” she said.

Jones reviewed the class’s four years at Osage City High School, noting their junior year presented unexpected challenges.

“The school year began with temperature checks, masks and social distancing,” she said. Subsequently, the students learned about contact tracing and quarantining, all of which led to online learning.

“As the school year progressed, this became the new normal,” Jones said.

Jones thanked Osage City High School Principal Tony Heward for choosing the 2022 class as  his last at the school, as he was there for all of the class’s high school years.

“Four years goes by quickly,” Jones said, noting one important lesson she learned was “how important it is to live in the moment. Don’t rush or wish time away. Because it goes by plenty fast by itself.”

But she urged her friends to notice, “Even though it doesn’t seem like it now, high school is just a tiny part of our lives.”

“Our time has come to move onto the next chapter in our lives,” she said.

Frontier Extension District enlists interns for summer programs

The Frontier Extension District has been awarded three summer interns through a K-State Research and Extension grant to help combat COVID and promote learning within local communities.

With health and wellness frames in mind, the Extension district created Bicycle SPIN (Special Interest) Clubs partnering with local libraries. With interns’ assistance, youth will be able explore nature, food and nutrition, exercise, and much more. The SPIN clubs will provide a safe space where kids feel welcomed.

Welcome these Frontier Extension interns for the summer. Here they tell you a little bit about themselves.

Josie Thompson

Hello, my name is Josie Thompson. I am from Osage County and was a member of the Willing Workers 4-H Club for 12 years. I was involved in many projects over the years, but my favorites were livestock and food and nutrition. I am so excited to be a 4-H intern and make many connections with 4-H members.

As an intern, I plan to make the kids we work with feel included and as if they belong. I believe there is something for everyone in 4-H. Youth should be able to find their passion, whether it be cooking, Legos, showing livestock, or even fashion. I can foresee how much fun this internship will be this summer!

Hailey Gillespie

My name is Hailey Gillespie, and I am the 4-H Youth Development summer intern in Anderson County this summer. Over the last several years, I have been an active member of the Seekers Not Slackers 4-H Club and Anderson County FFA. In 4-H, I was involved in numerous projects, but the sheep project was always my favorite.

Currently, I am a Fort Scott Community College Livestock Judging Team member while I work towards my associate degree. After Fort Scott, I plan to transfer to Kansas State University. I am so excited to be working with youth over the summer!

Ethan Hatfield

Hi, my name is Ethan Hatfield and I am the 4-H Youth Development intern for Franklin County. I was born and raised in Pomona, Kan., where our family runs a small Hereford cattle operation. Throughout 4-H, I have been involved in numerous projects and events, but the one I enjoyed the most was showing cattle.

I am currently attending Kansas State University with a biomedical engineering degree on the pre-med track. My future career goal is to work as a family physician in a rural area. I’m looking forward to all the fun and great experience we have planned this summer.”

For more information about the Bicycle SPIN program, contact the Frontier Extension office at Ottawa, 785-229-3520, or inquire at a local library.

Burlingame’s 2022 graduates look back at paths taken, look forward to new journeys

BURLINGAME, Kan. – During the May 14, 2022, graduation ceremony, the graduates of Burlingame High School faced a reality – a long journey had ended and a new journey was beginning. With 22 students in the 2022 BHS graduating class, four were named as valedictorians, each sharing remembrances of the paths they had taken to get there and ideas about the direction they were heading.

Valedictorian Kenna Masters told her classmates, “Here we are at this very moment that marks the beginning of our next journey.”

On behalf of the graduates, she recognized those who had helped the class reach this point. To the teachers, “we appreciate all of the support you have given us throughout our years of school,” Masters said. To the coaches, noting the girls volleyball, basketball and softball teams had made school history during this class’s school years, “Thank you for preparing us and guiding us to achieve our goals. And to parents and family members, she said those who cared for the students “have created a solid foundation for [our] future.”

Daelyn Winters, valedictorian and 2022 senior class president, said the class had worked together on their journey “walking as one. We’ve done this all together, but today that ends. The path we have been sharing together is about to split into 22 different paths. Every single one of those paths will have challenges.”

She encouraged her classmates to “meet the challenges head on and not shy away,” and offered a farewell good wish, “Wherever the future takes you, let it take you somewhere you are happy with.”

Valedictorian Brooke Lewis lamented that “although school days seemed to drag on … the years went by so quickly.” But through their years at Burlingame schools, “We learned how to deal with adversity and push through difficult times.”

Congratulating her classmates for reaching this point in their school years journey, Lewis said, “You made it to this day for a reason. You are capable of so much, so set your goals high. Life is short, so go out there and follow your dreams.”

Valedictorian McKrae Masters had tallied up her journey as “2,487 days of conversation, of giggling and making jokes, and creating friendships, of loving one another … 2,487 days of figuring out who we truly want to be…”

“Well it’s here and we are grown,” she said, “but no I no longer want to be.”

Masters said though she hadn’t “enjoyed every minute of it” she enjoyed the “memories that were made, the laughter that was created, and the life lessons that we learned.”

“So as we leave here today, my only wish is that all the memories and the laughter and the lessons stay with us, and with all of you, forever,” she said.

In addition to the four valedictorians, Emma Tyson was named as the 2022 class salutatorian.

Grateful citizens work together to honor those who have fallen

Sprinkles and mud puddles didn’t stop local adults and youth from coming out May 26, 2022 and together decorating Oak Hill Cemetery, near Quenemo, Kan., for Memorial Day. Youth helpers included Bella Reeser, Olivia Lacey, Levi Arb, Gentry McNally, Gradey McNally, Braelyn McNally, and Allie Reeser. Adults not pictured, Caleb McNally, Mike Reagan, Heidi Arb, and Dwayne and Lori Meiers. Photo submitted by Bella Reeser.

Flint Hills Technical College bestows certificates, degrees on 2022 spring graduates

Flint Hills Technical College conferred nearly 250 students at its 2022 Spring Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 15, at William Lindsay White Civic Auditorium, Emporia, Kan. Earlier in the day, the dental hygiene program held its pinning, with 15 dental hygiene students recognized for their achievements.

Graduating students from Osage County, Kan., this spring included:

  • Gavin Robert DeBaun, Osage City; Division of Arts, technical certificate, multimedia design, graduating with honors.
  • Madison Louise Schubert, Osage City; Division of Health and Human Services, technical certificate, dental assisting.
  • Kira Paige Marsh, Vassar; Division of Health and Human Services, technical certificate, health occupations technology.
  • Rachel Dawn Bronson, Lyndon; Division of Health and Human Services, technical certificate, practical nursing, graduating with honors.
  • Carl Duane Merrifield, Osage City; Division of Technology, technical certificate, automotive technology.
  • Luke William Neary, Osage City; Division of Technology, technical certificate, automotive technology.
  • Joseph Brian Willard, Vassar; Division of Technology, industrial engineering technology, technical certificate, graduating with highest honors.
  • Jared Isaac Stutler, Osage City; Division of Technology, technical certificate, welding technology.
  • Mea Jenkins, Osage City; Division of Health and Human Services, Associate of Applied Science Degree, healthcare administration and management.
  • Riley Thomas Payne, Lyndon; Division of Information Technology, Associate of Applied Science Degree, network technology.

Journey of learning continues for Lyndon High School graduates

The 2022 graduates of Lyndon High School. Photo by Chelsi Simpson Photography.

For 32 graduates of Lyndon High School, May 8, 2022, was the day their school-years-journey met a fork in the road, LHS’s 2022 valedictorian Jaeden Parker told the crowd gathered at Nick Dawson Gymnasium.

“Our journey began the first day we stepped foot in the doors of Lyndon Elementary,” Parker said. “Many of us have walked beside each other every step of the way. However, today marks the day that this journey meets a fork in the road, or rather several forks in the road.”

In a tag-team speech, Parker and 2022 LHS salutatorian Kali Moon reminded classmates that though their journey continues, they should not forget lessons the past.

“Before we take those first steps toward the future, we should take a moment to look behind us and acknowledge the path that led us to this moment,” Moon said.

She remembered kindergarten as “when we began learning how to work together as a team.” The duo recounted highlights of their school years, including the “simpler time in our life” in elementary school, the “awkward time” of middle school, and the not-so-glamorous times of high school.

“Granted our high school experience was anything but ordinary,” Moon said. “No one could have expected our high school years to be derailed by a global pandemic.”

Parker talked about all of the lessons learned over the years, but noted that learning continues.

“A common theme across the years for this class is that no matter how old we get, we continue to learn things,” he said.

Moon noted an important lesson learned was the bond that her classmates shared.

“We are more than classmates and we are more than friends. We are all family,” she said.

To finish the speech, Parker took time to also recognize a teacher that had made a significant impact in his life. He explained that as a Governor’s Scholar Award winner, he was given the opportunity to honor a teacher with the award, which he presented to Michael Kaufman. Parker described Kaufman as “a teacher I have had the privilege of having since elementary school – a teacher who has inspired me with their infectious positivity and incredible teaching style.”

During the ceremony, Kylie Ratzlaff, senior class president presented the class key to Taylor Segrist, junior class president. Following the key presentation, Lyndon High School Principal Tanner Smith introduced the guest speaker, Toby Baker, LHS social sciences teacher.

Smith confirmed the Lyndon High School class of 2022 for graduation, and diplomas were presented by USD 421 Board of Education members. LHS 2022 graduates included Ryan Michael Addleman, Trey Christopher-Scot Bazil, Kyler Alvin Bergkamp, Jace Ray Brecheisen, Kaielyn Marie Brooker, Dylan Todd Buckalew, Addyson Mackenzie Easter, Mia Renae Fischer, Mariah Noel Fredricks, Eleanor Kella Harty, Josye Cheyene Hutchcroft, William Andrew Kill, Raylen Dale Krause, Aiyana Morningstar Lacey, Virginia Christine Landtroop, Liam Nicholas Long, Rebecca Marie Love , Kelbi Lyn Markham, Darian Michael Massey, Emma Adeline McMahon, Toby Kegan Miller, Kali Ann Moon, Joshua Daniel Moore, Jaeden Pierce Parker, Maci Rain Ramey, Kylie Lynn Ralzloff, Carter Zaiden Seth, Jada Nicole Seyler-Harting, Grady Cole Smith, Jesse Andrew Stevicks, KaLisa Dawn Stone, and Xandria Grace VanWinkle.

Marais des Cygnes Valley 2022 graduates move on to life’s next chapter

2022 graduates of Marais des Cygnes Valley High School. Photo by Jerry Kramer, Kramer Photos.

Encouraging his fellow graduates to use of the knowledge they had learned over the past four years, Marais des Cygnes Valley High School valedictorian Wyatt Lingenfelter quoted from Benjamin Franklin: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” during MdCV’s Saturday afternoon graduation ceremony, May 7, 2022.

Lingenfelter reiterated Franklin’s message in his speech to the graduating seniors gathered for the ceremony. “Knowledge is a huge investment in your future. It is something you can always fall back on,” he said.

He also reminded classmates from where and who they gained that knowledge, recognizing family and faculty for the class’ success.

“Without help from all of you, we would not be the people we are today,” he said.
Lingenfelter was joined in accepting diplomas by 14 graduating classmates, including 2022 salutatorian, Cole Lacey, who reminisced about the class’ journey through high school. Lacey recognized school staff, “You have supported us through this four year journey and have been there when we needed it most” – and parents, “You have been the most supporting, caring, and helpful people we know or ever know.”

Lacey reminded his classmates their journey didn’t end at graduation, “Our future is bright. We are a great group of kids and I know we’ll all go far.”

After presentation of the Marais des Cygnes Valley High School class of 2022 for graduation by USD 456 Superintendent Joe Sample, USD 456 Board of Education members presented diplomas to Dalton Bechtle, Maximus Davis, Madison Flatin, Mary Ingle, Cole Lacey, Angelina Lighfoot, Wyatt Lingenfelter, Jacob McGowin, Katy Parker, AKaylee Prunty, Braden Reed, Hailie Rose, Caden Smith, Riley Spillman, and Chisolm Woodson.

Euclid Lodge donation helps Osage County’s past to be remembered

L.D. Nicolay and fellow Euclid Masonic Lodge members Charles Hanna and Paul Oldham present a grant to Osage County Historical Society members Eileen Davis and Ann Rogers; member Bunny Givens, right. Courtesy photo.

The Osage County Historical Society received a $1,000 grant from the Euclid Masonic Lodge, Lyndon, Kan. Representatives presented the check to members of the historical society, Eileen Davis and Ann Rodgers. The grant will be used to help develop and execute new educational programming for children and families.

Willing Workers welcome spring with community service

Willing workers work to clean up Jones Park in Osage City after the annual Smoke in the Spring barbecue contest, front from left, Kassie Thielen,Clara Thielen, Hadley Bosse, and Paige Thielen, back, Reece Wilcoxson, Lelia Wilcoxson, Elisa Wagner, Kaiden Bosse, Avery Thielen, Grace Croucher, Jaiton Bosse, Kevin Whitmer, and Adalynn Wagner. Courtesy photo.

The Willing Workers 4-H Club had a busy April serving the Osage City community. On April 10, 2022, club members cleaned up Jones Park following the Smoke in the Spring event. This is something the club does every year.

The club also met several times to prepare for their first Easter egg hunt. They stuffed more than 3,000 eggs with candy and gifts. On April 16, a large crowd of kids showed up to hunt for the eggs. The club looks forward to making this an annual event, as there is a lot of opportunity to grow the event.

Equestrian trade group presents ag experience grant to Lyndon FFA member

Ethan Kneisler with his Vermeer hay wrapping machine. Courtesy photo.

A FFA supervised agricultural experience grant has been awarded to Ethan Kneisler, of Lyndon, Kan. The $1,000 grant was sponsored by the Western and English Sales Association (WESA). WESA provides the world’s largest trade events for retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives of the equestrian industry.

Supervised agricultural experience grants are designed to help FFA members create or expand their SAE projects, a requirement that all FFA members must complete. An SAE requires FFA members to create and operate an agriculture related business, work at an agriculture-related business, or conduct an agricultural research experience. Upon completion, FFA members must submit a comprehensive report regarding their career development experience.

This year 32 sponsors made 39 different types of SAE grants available. A full list of sponsors can be found on the National FFA Organization website on the SAE grants webpage.

Ethan is a member of the Lyndon FFA Chapter. He is the son of Darby and Kristin Kneisler, and is currently a junior at Lyndon High School. The grant funds will be used to help develop his custom hay wrapping business, called Jimmy’s Custom Wrapping. He started this business in early 2021 by purchasing a Vermeer hay wrapper at a farm auction, and with the help and guidance of his father grew the business in its first year to four customers.

Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA achieves national honor

Alyssa McCurdy and Olivia Lacey, left, show the National Superior Chapter Award they accepted on behalf of the MdCV FFA Chapter, and Cole Lacey, Braden Reed, and Wyatt Lingenfelter hold their State FFA Degree certificates, all presented at the Kansas East Central FFA District banquet, held April 6, at Eudora. (Not pictured: State FFA Degree designee Akaylee Prunty.) Courtesy photo.

Members of the Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA chapter were recognized at the annual East Central District banquet Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Eudora, Kan. MdCV FFA members Cole Lacey, Wyatt Lingenfelter, Braden Reed, and Akaylee Prunty achieved the highest honor the Kansas FFA Association can bestow on a member, the State FFA Degree. The degree is awarded annually at the State FFA Convention to those members who have met the minimum qualifications set forth by the Kansas FFA Association and National FFA Organization. The state degree recipients will also be honored at the Kansas FFA Convention late this spring in Manhattan.

MdCV FFA members Olivia Lacey and Alyssa McCurdy also attended the banquet as delegates representing the chapter in electing the newly installed 2022-23 East Central District officers. They also represented the chapter as it was recognized a National Superior Chapter Award honoree.

FFA’s National Chapter Award Program is designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership.

Melvern Jr. Highline goes bowling for meeting with Lyndon Leaders

By Club Reporter Bella Reeser

On Sunday, March 13, 2022, the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club held its monthly club meeting at Fusion Alley, in Ottawa, Kan. This was an exchange meeting with the Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club.  At 4:06 p.m. the meeting was called to order by President Braelyn McNally. The club began their meeting with The Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge, led by Braelyn.

Secretary Amelia Arb called roll, both clubs’ members and parents were to answer with “one thing they are planning to do over spring break”. There were 20 members and 13 adults present. Amelia read the minutes from the last meeting; they were approved as read.

Treasurer Gradey McNally read the treasurer’s report; it was approved as read.

Reporter Bella Reeser stated she submitted two articles to the newspaper.

In historian report, Historian Harper Melton shared “4-H Fun Facts” about the 4-H colors.

In leader’s report, leader Caleb McNally reminded members about Blue & Gold sales coming in on March 15. Leader Lisa Reeser reminded members of filling eggs at the April meeting and the Melvern Easter Egg Hunt on April 16. There was no new business.

In program, each club member share what project they were looking forward to for the fairs. In songs, the girls of the club led everyone in singing “MILK Song”.

At 4:36 p.m. it was moved and seconded to adjourn the meeting. The Melvern Jr. Highline’s next club meeting was scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday, April 3, 2022, with stuffing eggs at 4 p.m. Both clubs members and parents then enjoyed a taco bar provided by the clubs. Prior to the meeting, bowling was enjoyed by all for recreation.

Melvern Jr. Highline members host community Easter celebration

The afternoon of Saturday, April 16, 2022, Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club members held their annual Easter egg hunt at Melvern City Park. Members met before the April club meeting to fill the eggs, then met at noon on Saturday to clean the park of tree limbs and trash, lay out the markers for age groups, and throw out candy and eggs. Club members helping with the event Saturday included, from left, Anna Arb, Braelyn McNally, Amelia Arb, Bella Reeser, Allie Reeser (Easter Bunny), Gradey McNally, Landon Roy, Justin Brinkley, Levi Arb, and Owen Arb.

Reading schoolmates invite alumni and staff to annual banquet

The Reading alumni banquet will be held Saturday, June 4, 2022. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m., and dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Reading School gymnasium. Olpe Chicken House is serving the meal and there will be musical entertainment. Anyone who attended or worked at Reading School is invited. The cost of the meal is $18 per person. Attendees are asked to mail reservations and payment to Reading Alumni Association, PO Box 44, Reading, KS 66868-0044. Deadline for reservations is May 15, 2022.

Olivet farmer still busy with lifelong job after 50 years with highway department

Soybeans have been a major cash crop for Kathy and Glen Tyson on their farm near Olivet, in Osage County. Courtesy photo.

Working one job for half a century is a major accomplishment but Glen Tyson has been in his “second profession” even longer.

“Well, after 13,331 days, February 28, 2022, was my last day with the Osage County Highway Department,” Tyson said.

During those five decades, the Olivet man has also been what most would also consider a full-time farmer.

“I’ve had two jobs, a day job and an evening and weekend job,” Tyson admitted. “I was farming before I worked for the highway department, and I plan to keep right on farming.”

Announcing his retirement officially publicly with a Facebook post, Tyson instantly got a complimentary rebuttal. “All those hours on the official clock don’t include your overtime nights and weekends, Saturday and Sundays,” an acquaintance posted.

“It was all part of the job, which worked well with the farming,” Tyson said. “My last day was tough saying goodbye to a bunch of very good friends and employees. They’re the ones who’ve been so important in making my career much more than just a job.”

Miss Kansas Teen Volunteer gathers books and bears

Local teen Josye Hutchcroft, Miss Kansas Teen Volunteer, is conducting a teddy bear and book drive as part of a national competition for Miss Volunteer America. The drive will also benefit area children, with half of the donations going to local organizations.

Josye is collecting new teddy bears and books, with drop-off points in four locations in Osage County: Ann’s Diner and Shear Perfection, at Lyndon, and Jerry’s Thriftway and Osage Hardware, Osage City.

New teddy bears will be donated to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tenn., and a local hospital near Osage County. Half of the books will be donated to the Miss Volunteer America Book Drive, and the other half will be donated locally.

Motorists cruise into downtown Osage City for 2022 “cook’n”

Approximately 275 cars, trucks and motorcycles converged on downtown Osage City, Saturday, April 9, 2022, for the Twin Lakes Cruisers’ 18th annual Cruis’n and Cook’n Auto Show. The show included entries from Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas. The show lined Market Street from Fourth to Seventh streets and two blocks of Sixth Street, which were filled with an estimated 1,000 people during the day.

The Twin Lakes Cruisers presented the following awards during the show:

BBQ Celebration: Spring winds blow clouds of smoke into Osage City

Last Call Heroes BBQ, Travis Duffy, Emily Wickstrom and their dog, Bernie, accept this year’s grand champion award at Smoke in the Spring, Osage City. Courtesy photo.

A strong Kansas wind blew more than 94 barbecue teams into Osage City last weekend. Only one team headed home as Smoke in the Spring’s grand champion. Claiming this year’s title in the April 9, 2022, contest was Last Call Heroes BBQ, with head cook Travis Duffy, of Pierre, S.D.

Duffy described winning Smoke in the Spring as a “bucket list” contest.

“It only takes one look at the past winners of this contest, the caliber of cooks it draws to the event, the community impact the event has, the size of the check you get for winning, it makes this one of the biggest KCBS contests of the year,” Duffy said. “We’ve struggled a bit here in the past, but it takes a very technical cook and some luck to have a chance in a field of both teams and judges that are tough. But we just keep diggin’!”

The South Dakota team competed against 93 other teams from 11 states in the Osage City contest, which celebrated its 19th year this year.

Last Call Heroes BBQ won the grand champion designation with 700.0228 points, taking first place in ribs, fourth place in chicken, 28th in pork, and 37th in brisket. With the win, the team also won recognition for placing in the “700 Club”, which means they earned over 700 points in the competition.

Taking the reserve grand champion spot was a team from Gardner, Kan., High i Que BBQ, with Randy Vanslyke as head cook. The reserve champ team won by placing 43rd in chicken, fifth in ribs, fourth in pork, and 15th in brisket, totaling 699.9772 points.

Winning third place was another team from Gardner, Fergolicious BBQ, with head cook Richard Fergola, a veteran Smoke in the Spring competitor. Fegrolicious took 40th in chicken, seventh in ribs, 20th in pork, and secured their third place spot with second in brisket, totaling 699.3600 points.

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