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Relish the memories, do your best in the future, 2024 Burlingame High School graduates told

Burlingame High School class of 2024. BHS photo.

Seniors addressing their fellow  graduates urged the Burlingame High School class of 2024 to keep their memories but rely on themselves to face the future. During the school’s commencement exercises May 11, 2024, at Burlingame High School, 22 graduates received diplomas from members of the USD 454 Board of Education.

2024 BHS Senior Class President Brandon Punches told of some personal memories he made with his class, “some that are embarrassing and some that I’ll never forget, and a lot that are both.” With those memories, he noted, he and his classmates were now ready to face the future.

“I know [my classmates] can’t wait to get out of here and spread their wings, or just can’t wait to get out of here,” he said. “Today is about the class of 2024.”

Talking about being one of the classes to go through the pandemic, Punches said the class was now “the kids who aren’t really kids anymore. Nope not at all, now it’s time for us to grow up, or just grow old, because some of us (myself included) will never grow up.”

He concluded by leaving his classmates with a quote, “’The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.’ So go out there and be crazy!”

The 2024 BHS valedictorian, Kaylin Noonan, thanked teachers, coaches, family and her classmates for their success in reaching graduation.

To teachers: “You’re always being willing to listen to our silly issues or drama and just making sure we had what we need to succeed,” Noonan said.

To coaches: “For making school about more than just class work. For always pushing us to be our best and for teaching us so many valuable lessons!”

Parents and family: “You listened to our complaints, supported us through everything we did and were always there as someone to lean on when we were struggling.”

Thanking her classmates, she urged them to not forget the lessons they learned together. “While we didn’t always get along we have grown together and made so many memories. We always seem to find a way to laugh.”

“All of the lessons we have learned both in and outside the class,” she said, “all lead to this moment.”

But even with those lessons learned, “graduating is about accepting uncertainty – that we don’t have all the answers and that we are going to screw up sometimes – that doesn’t mean that we should be afraid to keep going and to take big bold steps … today we take the first step together.”

“We stand here today on the precipice of the future,” Noonan said. “It’s not a distant reality anymore. It begins here. It begins today. Congratulations class of 2024 we did it!”

Following senior addresses by 2024 BHS Salutatorian Senior Isabelle Masters, Punches, and Noonan, USD 454 Superintendent Marcy Cassidy gave remarks to the crowd, followed by BHS Principal Geoff Markos presenting a video and profile of the class.

USD 454 Board of Education President Melissa Droege accepted the class for graduation, and board members presented diplomas to the 2024 Burlingame High School graduates: José Arevalo Jr., Starla Bennett, Evan Bowman, Cooper Burns, Jarrek Clark, Chloe Havens, Colby Heckman, Madison Hovestadt, Asiah Jeaudoin, Korden Kinney, Haylee Kosek, Maliyah Lopez, Isabelle Masters, Jenna Moon, Desiree Mundy, Calvin Noonan, Kaylin Noonan, Brandon Punches, Seth Quaney, Juliunna Shinn, Savannah Short, and April Woods.

Life’s lessons lead 2024 Lyndon High School graduates toward bright future

The 2024 graduating class of Lyndon High School. Photo by Chelsi Simpson Photography.

Lyndon High School’s valedictorian Samanth Cole and salutatorian Caleb Anschutz encouraged their fellow graduates of the class of 2024 to remember the lessons they have learned and use those lessons to make their own successes in the future.

Following a welcome from LHS Senior Class President Brooklynne Morrison, the honor students addressed the crowd of friends, family, classmates and well-wishers gathered for the Lyndon High School commencement exercises Sunday, May 5, 2024, in the Nick Dawson Gymnasium.

Salutatorian Anschutz reminded classmates they should not forget their past, but their future lies ahead of them.

“I can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia for the memories we’ve made over the last four years and a sense of excitement for the future ahead of us,” Anschutz said. “Today, we’re ready to take on the next chapter of our lives.

“In the past four years, we’ve experienced moments of triumph and moments of defeat. This is what allows us to grow together and mature as adults.”

Anschutz said one of the highlights of high school was being involved in sports, which taught him lessons not covered in the classroom.

“Every sport teaches discipline, commitment, competitiveness, and determination, which are important lessons to learn as we go forward in life,” he said.

He said the LHS class of 2024 had already achieved greatness. “From athletics to academics, there is a lot of talent. This is what makes our class so special: we are successful in diverse ways.”

“I can’t wait to see where our journeys take us,” Anschutz said. “Whatever path we choose, I’m confident that we can all achieve greatness, as we have in the past. There will always be victories and defeats. It’s how we react in those moments that will define us. Whatever we do, I hope we never forget the lessons we have learned here at Lyndon, and continue to grow from our experiences.”

“Let’s make the future bright!” he encouraged the graduates.

Valedictorian Cole told of her own journey through high school and a lesson she learned from her experiences “that’s far more valuable than any math equation or history fact.”

“Going into high school, I thought I had to be amazing at everything,” Cole said. “I thought that in order to prove my worth, I had to excel in as many things as humanly possible. I was putting so much pressure on myself to be everything to everyone, to be the best at everything. I was making myself miserable.”

She said her volleyball coach helped her realize “you don’t have to be the best at everything to still have a meaningful life!”

“[The coach] helped me to see that I didn’t need to be a varsity starter in order to have a fulfilling season,” Cole said. “I realized that because I had been so focused on trying to be the best, I was missing the camaraderie of my teammates. I learned that true success doesn’t come from being the best. It comes from giving your best to those around you.

“When we give others our full attention and are truly present with them in the moment, we discover one of the best gifts that God has given humanity: the gift of relationship,” she said. “Don’t be so consumed with the future that you miss the gift of the people right next to you. I challenge everybody in this room, starting now, to slow down and enjoy each other.”

Osage City High School 2024 graduates rely on courage to face next chapters in life

Osage City High School class of 2024. OCHS photo.

Expressing sentiment of their class motto, Osage City High School’s four senior honor students encouraged their fellow 2024 graduates to remember “It takes courage to be who you really are.” Honor students Jorjia Kitselman, Riley Petitjean, Madyson Bourne, and Colby Hokanson spoke of facing the future but not forgetting the past, during the OCHS class of 2024’s commencement ceremony, May 12, at the Richard Homewood Gymnasium.

Honor student Jorjia Kitselman said she hadn’t heeded “cheesy quotes” such as “High school is the best years of your life.” But, “When you’re younger you don’t really grasp how much truth there is to them. While I sure hope these weren’t my best years, I know that the memories made will stick with me for a long time.”

Kitsleman told younger classmates to not dwell on getting to the end of high school, and instead “get involved and make those memories while you can. Don’t spend your time wishing it were over, because when the time comes you’ll wish you’d done more.”

“Make the most of the time you have left,” Kitselman said. “To the class of 2024, this isn’t the book’s close. There are still plenty more memories to be made and pages to be written. I wish each of you the best in wherever your next chapter takes you.”

Honor student Riley Petitjean reminded graduates of how their world had grown and changed over the past school years. As children, “We learn that actions have consequences and bike rides can cause scars. We start learning how to read and write. From there, our world continues to change.”

Graduating from grade to grade, the students’ world continues to grow, Petitjean said. Then as the pandemic hit in 2020 – “our world stops. School switches to virtual and Zoom has become our new classroom. It’s funny how quickly our world can change. How masks become normal … how we can sit down with our friends at lunch one day and all be quarantined the next. As the next two years go by, our world slowly creeps back to normal or some weird version of it.”

But change continues, she said, and “Then, all of a sudden, you’re a senior. Our worlds are going on different paths, and although it’s sad, there is also something special about it. Our world has changed since the beginning and is now taking on a new dimension. Our memories are nothing short of remarkable. Our time is now. So congratulations, class of 2024, we made it. It’s our turn to change the world.”

Santa Fe Trail High School sends 54th graduating class out on the trail

Santa Fe Trail High School class of 2024. SFTHS photo.

On a mostly sunny spring Saturday, Santa Fe Trail High School held its 54th commencement exercises, May 11, 2024, sending 86 members of the SFTHS class of 2024 out into the world toward new experiences.

Santa Fe Trail Band provided “Pomp and Circumstance” and the SFT Choir serenaded with “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Student Council President Whitney Herren and USD 434 Superintendent Faith Flory welcomed the graduates’ crowd of friends, family and well-wishers to the school near Carbondale, Kan.

SFTHS Principal Patrick Graham introduced 2024 salutatorian Noah Burgoon, who introduced this year’s SFT valedictorian Drake Graham. Both of the scholars encouraged their classmates to remember their time at Santa Fe Trail High School and use the knowledge to face inevitable challenges ahead.

“The experiences that we have had in these halls are what have shaped us into the people we are today,” Burgoon said. “The memories that have been made in these halls will journey with us.”

The salutatorian said lessons picked up along the way will help when encountering obstacles in the future, even if unsuccessful. “Remember, every setback is a setup for a comeback,” Burgoon said.

“Embrace the challenges, for they are the stepping stones to your success,” he said. “Be fearless in the pursuit of your dreams, and never underestimate the power of your own potential. Always remember, the greatest power you possess is the power to believe in yourself.”

“Graduates, the world is waiting for you to make your mark!” he said.

Valedictorian Graham noted how fast high school years had past, during which he had the “privilege” of being the principal’s son. Although he didn’t need to be concerned about going to the principal’s office during his high school years, “No worries, he kept every single hallway interaction completely awkward.”

“It feels like yesterday we were navigating the halls as freshmen,” Graham said. “But, look at us now, ready to go into the world to make our mark.”

The valedictorian advised his classmates to remember Santa Fe Trail High School as they faced the future.

“As we start the journey beyond these halls, success is not about avoiding failure,” Graham said. “Failure is inevitable. It allows a new path to be taken to follow your dreams.

“When you find success, never forget the roots from which you have grown. It is the foundation of your journey.”

“Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, always stay true to yourself, and may your future be as bright as your potential,” he said. “Yes, our high school journey may be ending, but our lives are just getting started.”

Marais des Cygnes Valley 2024 graduates: ‘Officially’ headed toward new chapters in life

MdCVHS 2024 graduates, front from left, Aydin Deeter, Brooke Spillman, Olivia Lacey, Kelsey Rice, and Haylea Bethell, back, Jaxson Dorr, Hunter Trienen, Deken Coyler, DJ Johnson, Mason Rose, Kristopher Ruth, Gunnar Pendroy, and Corey Criss. Photo by Lisa Reeser.

Members of the Marais des Cygnes Valley High School class of 2024 officially declared the end of their public school days and the beginning of new chapters in their lives during commencement exercises held Saturday, May 11, 2024, in the school’s gymnasium at Melvern, Kan.

With Pomp and Circumstance, MdCVHS Principal Darrin Ashmore introduced MdCV’s 2024 co-valedictorians Olivia Lacey and Kelsey Rice, who thanked all of those who helped them get to this point in their lives. They congratulated their classmates and advised them not to forget their school years at Marais des Cygnes Valley as they continued their lives.

“We are officially done with high school! Guys we did it!” Lacey said. “Whether you are heading to college this fall, going to the workforce, or taking some time for yourself, we must always remember where we came from and the incredible potential each of us holds.”

She said the students “learned so much about ourselves” and that would help them in the future.

“As we have seen in the past four years, a lot can change,” Lacey said. “We’ve faced challenges that seemed insurmountable, like learning through a pandemic over Zoom classes. But we didn’t just survive; we thrived. We adapted, we supported each other, and we made it through. This resilience is what sets us apart.”

“I do know that endings are inevitable, and with this one, one door is closing while another is opening. High school wasn’t meant to last forever, and it’s time to say goodbye,” Lacey said. “As we go onto the next chapter in life, may we always remember what shaped us into the young and bright individuals we have become.”

Rice spoke about the student’s eagerness to get to this point in their lives.

“We were all saying, ‘I can’t wait to graduate,’” Rice said. “But why are we so eager to move on? Is it because we’re ready for new challenges, eager to make our own decisions, or simply excited to leave high school behind? Maybe it’s a mix of all these reasons. As we look forward to the future, let’s not forget what we might leave behind.”

She told of a lesson she learned “that I wish I had realized sooner – not everything is as serious as it seems. We often stress over small things that in the grand scheme of life, won’t matter that much.”

Her simple advice for the future: “Be yourself. Surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are. Do what makes you happy.”

“As we move forward into this next chapter of our life,” Rice said, “let’s carry with us the memories we’ve made, the lessons we’ve learned, and the friendships we’ve built. Let’s step into the future with confidence, knowing that we’ve got the support of our loved ones, close friends, and most importantly the strength and resilience we have within ourselves.”

Braun selected as Franklin County magistrate judge

TOPEKA, Kan. – The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission has announced its selection of David Braun to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Franklin County.

Braun’s new position will be effective on his swearing-in. He currently is in private practice at Braun Law. He will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of district magistrate Judge Kevin Kimball on March 1.

The 4th Judicial District includes Anderson, Coffey, Franklin, and Osage counties.

Willing Workers celebrate spring with a picnic

By Lena Stucky, Club Reporter

Willing Workers 4-H Club, 2024

On April 28, 2024, the Willing Workers 4-H Club met for our foods meeting. The Willing Workers decided to have a picnic-themed meeting to celebrate the spring weather. We made PB&J sushi kabobs and Orange Julius. We had a great time and really enjoyed the food. We also had a record number of members attend.

Happy spring!

MdCV students go to spring signup for fall semester at Washburn Tech

On Thursday, April 18, 2024, ten Marais des Cygnes Valley High School sophomores and juniors traveled to Washburn Technology Institute, in Topeka, for WTI’s 11th Annual Signing Day for the fall of 2024 semester. MdCV students attending include, back from left, Hunter Masenthin, Sully Simpson, and Serenity Meade, middle, Issy Romi, Taytum Gellhaus, Kelsie Benjamin, Kadence Masenthin, and Xanthe Hattok, and front, Akyra Traver.

Photo thanks to MdCVHS.


Hidden History: Small town girl stands up to small-minded scorn

A family photo of Peter and Kate Peterson and sons, Roy, Clyde and John. Wendi Bevitt collection.

History becomes hidden for many reasons. At times it is because the person or event is surrounded by some shame. Attempts to suppress the shame cuts that part of an individual’s story out of the historical record. Living in a small, rural community amplified any shame a person had because town gossip mills could and still can be devastating.

Emily Kate Bratton, “Kate” for short, was born in 1867 in Pennsylvania, the youngest of eight surviving children born to John and Catherine. Her birth came right before her family and a group of others from the same area moved to Burlingame, Kan.

Kate’s uncle, George Bratton, had been one of the first settlers of Burlingame in 1854, when it was known as Council City. Kate grew up on a farm not far from town. As a girl from a rural middle class family, she would have conformed to the norms of the day – helping her mother with the household chores such as cooking, cleaning, and mending.

However, unlike other girls her age, as the youngest in her family, she did not have the responsibility of helping to look after younger siblings, which gave her a certain amount of freedom. As a student, school attendance was not regulated at this time, and particularly with farming families school was optional compared to farm and home responsibilities. Even though there was a school within a mile of the Bratton home, northwest of Burlingame, by the time Kate was 13, she was not attending school.

Burnt Trees smolder into grand championship at Smoke in the Spring

2024 Smoke in the Spring grand champions, Burnt Trees BBQ, Nick and Shannon Holman, of Minot, N.D.

The grand champions not only burned a few trees at the 2024 Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship, they also scorched all of the competition on their way to winning the title.

Burnt Trees BBQ, Nick and Shannon Holman, of Minot, N.D., seared the grand championship April 6, 2024, at the 21st annual Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned contest at Osage City, Kan. The grand champs competed against 96 teams – 93 from 11 states and three from Canada.

The Holmans claimed the championship with an overall score of 706.2628, breaking 700 points and joining the coveted 700 Club. Kansas City Barbeque Society recognizes teams that have achieved a contest score of 700 or more in the overall division of any contest.

In a social media post, the Holmans said it was the first 700 plus score they had earned in barbecue competition. Other firsts for the husband-wife team at Smoke in the Spring: First competition of the 2024 season, first trip to Osage City and Smoke In The Spring, first time to cook in gale force winds, and their first grand championship of the season.

“Saturday was a windy one and even inside the trailer we felt it,” they said. “We simplified our cook and were happy with the results.”

To tally up their championship score, Burnt Trees took fifth place in chicken with a score of 178.8572; 14th in pork ribs,176.500; 19th in pork, 175.4056; and 12th in brisket, 175.440. Although they turned in the contest’s championship boxes, the team did not earn a perfect score, or 180, in any of the four categories.

“Huge shoutout to all of the volunteers and Corey Linton for a fun and well organized event,” the team posted.

Smoke in the Spring reserve champion, Ryan Cain, Damn Fine Beef & Swine.

Damn Fine Beef & Swine, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., with head cook Ryan Cain, came in hot behind the grand champs to win the weekend’s reserve grand championship with a total score of 705.0972. Damn Fine’s score was the tally of 11th place in chicken,177.7028; 19th in ribs, 175.4172; 10th in pork, 176.5600, and 17th in brisket, 175.4172.

Others in the top five overall winners were There’s No Place Like Smoke, Palmyra, Mo, third place, 704.5488; Dr. Squealgood BBQ, Olathe, Kan., fourth, 700.5260; and Wags Backyard BBQ, Osage, Iowa, fifth, 698.8000.

TwoCousins weeSale named as new business of the year

New Business of the Year Award was presented to TwoCousins weeSale LLC and owners, Stephanie and Jaryl Seth. Chamber photo.

A new award for the Osage City Chamber of Commerce this year, the New Business of the Year Award, was presented to TwoCousins weeSale LLC, and owners, Stephanie and Jaryl Seth, at the recent Chamber awards banquet.

During 2023, Osage City was fortunate to be chosen as the home for TwoCousins weeSale LLC. The Seths have settled in the building that was formerly Henry’s Coffee House, and are filling their store with a variety of clothing from new born to maternity wear. They also house a nice variety of toys, bedding, and furniture to outfit a home for a new addition to the family.

They have become involved with the various events that the Chamber has to offer throughout the year and look forward to becoming more involved as the time passes. They regularly partner and donate merchandise to the local non-profit organizations in the county, support the schools with shoes and clothing for families in need and emergency support of families upon a disaster.

Information thanks to Osage City Chamber Executive Director Jeanette Swarts.

Lira recognized as Osage City employee of the year for helpful, friendly attitude

Louise Lira, of White’s Foodliner, is Osage City’s employee of the year. Chamber photo.

Louise Lira, of White’s Foodliner, formerly Jerry’s Thriftway, was announced as the recipient of the Osage City Chamber’s Employee of the Year award during the organization’s recent awards banquet.

Louise has been an employee since 2012, with 12 years with Jerry’s Thriftway and now with White’s Foodliner.

Lira was recognized for how she always greets customers with a smile, and is always helpful answering customers’ questions. Louise has worked through the grocery store’s recent owner change and made the transition with ease. Throughout her years of gaining experience, she has taken on a leadership role with the other checkers, and always takes care of their problems that they may encounter.


Osage City Public Library earns Chamber’s non-profit of the year award

The Osage City Public Library was named as the recipient for the Osage City Chamber of Commerce’s Non-Profit of the Year Award, at the Osage City Chamber of Commerce’s annual award banquet held March 22, 2024. The library’s mission statement is “More than just books”. The library is committed to supporting a lifelong enjoyment of reading and learning.

The library is dedicated and provides more than books to all ages of citizens of Osage City and Osage County. They have partnered with AARP to provide tax assistance to the elderly. Catholic Charities brings a resource bus to the library, providing food, hygiene and baby items. The Osage County Sheriff’s Office uses the library as a toy drop off station during the Christmas season.

Jeanette Stromgren and her staff and volunteers are always known for being friendly, professional and willing to help visitors find books and movies of interest. The staff consists of two fulltime and five part-time employees.

The library provides snacks to students after school, meals for children during the summer, story time twice a week for those five and younger.

The staff visits local daycares, assisted living, nursing homes, and homebound individuals.

Osage City Chamber names Payne Financial as business of the year

Osage City Business of the Year: Kevin, Angie, and Joshua Payne, Payne Financial Strategies. Chamber photo.

During the Osage City Chamber of Commerce’s annual award banquet, held March 22, 2024, the Business of the Year Award was presented to Payne Financial Strategies, and owners Kevin, Angie, and Joshua Payne.

In the last year, Payne Financial Strategies has been involved and engaged with the community by establishing a business of financial professionals that are dedicated to professionally serving the Osage and surrounding area communities. They have gained remarkable growth, community involvement and passion in educating and serving the community. Josh Payne, a member of this team, is a recipient of the Kansas NextGen Under 30 award for young professionals, a very prestigious honor.

Payne Financial Strategies has experienced growth in staff or other development as they have achieved milestones and set new standards of success by serving others. Their commitment to the local community is to provide quality, customer satisfaction and proper financial planning that will assist their clients in achieving short-term and long term financial goals.

Information thanks to Osage City Chamber Executive Director Jeanette Swarts.

Chamber awards banquet recognizes local businesses, employees, non-profits

Winners at the 2024 Osage City Chamber of Commerce awards banquet, from left, Stephanie and Jaryl Seth, TwoCousins weeSale, new business of the year; Angie, Kevin, and Joshua Payne, Payne Financial Strategies, business of the year; Louise Lira, of White’s Foodliner, employee of the year, and Jeanette Stromgren, Osage City Library, non-profit of the year. Osage City Chamber photo.

Friday, March 22, 2024, marked the second annual Osage City Chamber of Commerce awards banquet, which was held at St. Brigid Hall. There were approximately 100 in attendance at the evening event, which was filled with a variety of entertainment, good food and visiting with friends from the community. C.J. Adkins, of Flinthills Catering, catered a delicious meal topped off with a triple chocolate torte dessert that melted in your mouth.

Gavin Robert, a talented junior at Osage City High School, provided a nice medley of soft dinner music on his keyboard and guitar. Following the meal, the first segment of the evening program included two OCHS forensics students presenting their award winning presentations. Dustin Stucky, forensics instructor, introduced Gavin Ericson and Emily Whalen. Both students gave very entertaining presentations and kept the attention of everyone.

Following the students was guest speaker, Casey Woods, executive director of Emporia Main Street. He shared with the group some of the keys to a strong community. Emporia Main Street is an economic and community development agency that operates within the city of Emporia and Lyon County. Their mission is to sustain and grow Emporia’s local economy by applying a four-point approach to create jobs, encourage tourism, and support entrepreneurs and business owners.

Highlighting the remainder of the program was the presentation of awards for four categories. Nominations for the four categories were submitted to the Chamber of Commerce throughout the months of February and March. See related stories.

Information thanks to Osage City Chamber Executive Director Jeanette Swarts.

MdCV High School juniors, seniors don formal wear for ‘Casino Nights’ prom

Marais des Cygnes Valley High School held its junior senior prom Saturday, April 6, 2024. The theme for the evening was “Casino Nights”.

MdCV seniors attending the event included, front from left, Haylea Bethell, Olivia Lacey, and Brooke Spillman, back, D.J. Johnson, Deken Colyer, Jaxson Dorr, Corey Criss, Kristopher Ruth, and Mason Rose.

Osage City’s Got It: Osage City Library is more than just books

Osage City Public Library, 2024. Courtesy photo.

Submitted by Jeanette Swarts

Along with the town itself, the Osage City Library has a very historic past. The Sorosis Club, a women’s literary group, established the library in 1922. They developed a collection by pushing baby buggies around town to gather books.

In the mid 1920s, Edward Lieber donated money to build the first library at 214 S. Sixth St. The Sorosis Club consisted of 26 members; each member volunteered two weeks of their time to operate the library up until 1969. The library had outgrown their club and it became a public supported library in 1970.

With community support, a new library was built in 2000 and the Lieber Library became the Osage City Public Library. A community room, which can be rented, was added in 2016. A plaque honoring the Sorosis Club’s years of service was put on display in the library.

The library’s motto is “More than just books” and is very fitting. The library has a collection that loans out not only books, but a variety of items including audiobooks, cake pans, magazines, movies and television shows, music CDs, puzzles, and video games. The audiobook collection includes CDs, but also Playaways and Wonderbooks. Customers of the library also have access to Flipster, Hoopla and Libby; all are digital borrowing services that provide access to ebooks, digital audiobooks, music, movies, tv shows and magazines for users to enjoy free.

The library provides a variety of programs and services for all ages. During the school year, story time is held twice a week for those five and younger; programs for school age children are held after school on Tuesday and Thursday each week; and Lego Club meets each month. When school is not in session, additional programs are held. A teen group meets to work on projects for themselves and for the library, and the adult book club and bingo are held monthly. Art classes for adults and youths are also held at the library.

During the summer, the library provides library programs and incentives to promote reading, as well as providing summer meals to those 18 years and younger. Anyone needing to laminate, fax, scan or make color or black and white copies, the library provides those services. Also available is wi-fi and computers to use. The library’s genealogy collection includes local newspapers dating back to the 1800s, and Osage City High School yearbooks starting with the 1913 yearbook.

All invited to 19th annual crowning of Ms. Wheelchair Kansas

The Ms. Wheelchair Kansas crowning ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 24, 2024, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Lawrence, Kan. The ceremony will be open to the public and free of charge. The ceremony will include platform speech presentations by the contestants; a keynote speech from Long Beach City Councilwoman and Ms. Wheelchair California 2012, Mary Zendejas; farewell from the current titleholders; and crowning of the new Ms. Wheelchair Kansas and Little Miss Wheelchair Kansas. McKenzi Davis, with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, will serve as mistress of ceremonies.

The two contestants participating in the 2024 MWKS competition are Tamara Blackwell, of Bel Aire, Kan., and Bridget King, Topeka, Kan. The contestants will participate in a variety of activities March 22-24 to prepare for Sunday’s crowning. The contestants will be scored during four events: two personal interview sessions, a platform speech presentation, and on-stage questions. Judges will evaluate the participants based on their accomplishments, self-perception, communication, and projection skills. The contestants will take part in a variety of informative sessions on such topics as empowerment, advocacy, and working with the media. They will also participate in a “Read with Ms. Wheelchair” event for children at the Raven Bookstore in downtown Lawrence at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23, Children of all ages are invited to attend.

The mission of the MWKS program is to annually select one woman, who is wheelchair mobile, who will successfully advocate, educate, and empower all people on a state level. This is not a beauty contest, but rather a competition to select the most articulate, accomplished delegate who will serve as a role model and spokesperson for people with disabilities in Kansas. The crowned titleholder will have the opportunity to travel throughout the state educating various groups about the issues of importance to people with disabilities. She will share her voice and platform with the community through presentations, public appearances, and interaction with the media. Her reign will ultimately lead up to an opportunity to attend the national competition in August, where she will represent Kansas and compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America.

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