2018 Fort Scott High School graduate Darby Toth is a National Speech and Debate Student of the Year nominee, she was notified last week.
Toth has qualified all four years of high school to attend the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Florida, this year June 15-23.
But this year she is one of five finalists for National Speech and Debate Student of the Year.
While at the national tournament this year, Toth will interview with selected debate coaches to find out her placement.
The honor is a dream come true, she said.
“I want to thank all my coaches,” Toth said. “Amber Toth, Travis Toth and Sarah Bahr for giving me the tools…and an avenue for this to happen, because this truly is a dream becoming reality.”
Two of the speech and debate coaches are her parents, both teachers at the high school.
Amber Toth taught debate, forensic and speech, Travis Toth teaches history.
“It’s a family rule,” Darby said. “You have to try (speech and debate) for one year.”
It has become one of her passions, she said.
Speech and debate have had “amazing” effects on her and has allowed her to follow her other passion: social justice, Darby said.
Through her high school years, Darby has honed her communication and goal-setting skills learned in speech and debate.
She helped organize a formal dress drive at her school as a sophomore.
“We got winter formal (dress) donations for anyone who couldn’t afford it,” she said.
Following Hurricane Harvey’s devastation of south-east Texas, Darby used the skills to help raise almost $5,000 for schools in Texas, she said.
She took it upon herself to start a sexual harassment awareness campaign when she learned that issue was a problem for some students at FSHS.
“It was definitely a challenge to get students, administration, and teachers on board,” she said. “It took a pretty detailed mapping of a plan…..they plan next year to have a sexual harassment awareness speaker come speak to the entire student body. We have several posters up around the school. Our counselors are more aware that it is an issue in our school and are working with the students.
“There were some kids who were not being appropriate in the classroom, physically,…they faced repercussions for what they did.
“I felt I needed to be a voice for people who felt as if they didn’t have one because I knew what happened in the classroom wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg. I heard personal stories of girls, whether in or out of the high school. They are suffering in their personal life.”
An AXA Achievement Scholarship was awarded to Darby’
“It’s a $1,000 grant to the high school… it’s used for teacher professional development,” she said. “I gave Mr. (Shawn)Thomas (FSHS Principal) all my research on the subject, Restorative Justice. Instead of a zero-tolerance program, it’s more restorative, therapeutic based…I asked that (the grant) be used for Restorative Justice.”
This topic includes focusing on the reasoning behind student actions, then mediating and working through it, she said.
The AXA Achievement Scholarship is awarded to students because they have demonstrated ambition and self-drive.
For more information on this scholarship click here:
She had a 4.0 Grade Point Average at FSHS in mostly honors classes and received an Ellis Foundation Grant, Peterson Scholarship, Garvey Scholarship, a Kansas Honor Scholar among others.
Darby is a four-time Speech and Debate National Qualifier, District Top Point Earner for two years, state champion in oration, state runner-up in impromptu speaking, number one debater/forensicator in Kansas, District Student of the Year, ranked in the top ten nationally, and recipient of the Debate and Forensics Scholarship-chosen by a panel of teachers.
Toth will attend Washburn University with a psychology major and leadership minor in the fall.
“I would like to work with children, especially the impoverished,” she said. “Starting my own practice would be cool… Working in a school would be cool. Which would provide an avenue to coach debate/forensics.”
The first of four Art Walks is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Friday, May 25 at the Liberty Theatre Patio, 113 S. Main. In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the offices south of Crooners Lounge.
Join Us For the Art Walk!
Hosted by the Bourbon County Arts Council
This Friday, May 25th from 5-8pm
Liberty Theatre Patio
113 S. Main St.
Artists interested in having a booth
may click here for an application.
See below for more events hosted by the
Bourbon County Arts Council!
As Parents Prepare for Summer Break, State Offers Advice on Keeping Kansas Kids Safe
TOPEKA – The summer months mean a welcomed break from school for Kansas kids, but they also signal a shift in the family’s daily routine.
Families may be considering leaving children home alone during the summer, instead of opting for a sitter. Safe Kids Kansas, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) have some tips on how to decide if your child is ready to be home alone. And if you decide to keep the kids home, we have some important advice on keeping them safe.
“Developmentally, children are generally ready to be home alone around the age of 12 or 13,” said Cherie Sage, State Director of Safe Kids Kansas. “However, children develop at different rates, so use your own discretion to determine your child’s maturity level and capabilities. For example, if you have an impulsive 13-year-old who is a big risk taker, you might be hesitant to leave him/her alone. On the other hand, a thoughtful 11-year-old, who has a good track record of following household rules might be ready. Most states, including Kansas, don’t have regulations or laws about when a child is considered old enough to stay at home alone or babysit another child.”
DCF has some general guidelines to help you make the decision when your child is ready to be home alone:
Age—Young children through age six, should never be left alone for even a short period of time. Kids six to nine can be left alone for only short periods of time, depending on their level of maturity. Children 10 and older can be left alone, depending on other factors.
Length of time alone—Consider whether your child is ready to spend the whole day alone or if only a couple of hours is more appropriate.
Maturity—Consider your child’s ability to fend for himself/herself and your child’s level of common sense. Certainly, children with developmental disabilities and emotion issues should be monitored closely.
Knowledge of emergency preparedness—Ask your child if he/she knows what to do in the event of a fire, tornado, stranger at the door, etc. Ask “what ifs”.
Availability of adults—Children must know how to reach a responsible adult at any point in the day for any reason, even if it’s just to provide reassurance if the child becomes fearful.
Insecurity—Children should feel comfortable with the idea that they will be home alone. The more fearful they are, the less likely they will be able to respond appropriately to emergency situations.
Behavior—Children who misbehave, vandalize, steal, intimidate neighbors, set fires or are a danger to themselves need close supervision.
“If you are unsure whether your child is ready to stay home alone, it is best to be cautious and take all measures necessary to ensure child safety,” DCF Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel said. “Never assume your child is ready because he/she seems old enough.”
Each year, more than 3 million kids, ages 14 and under, get hurt at home—and more than 2,000 children die from unintentional injuries in the home. Fire, suffocation, drowning, choking, firearm and poisoning are among the top leading causes of unintentional home injury death for this age group.
“Teach your children about hazards around the home, and make sure they know what to do in an emergency,” says Sage. “The first time your kids stay home alone, it should be for a short time and you should be nearby.”
Safe Kids Kansas also recommends parents take the following precautions to ensure your child’s safety:
Carry a cell phone and keep it turned on. Make sure your children know where you will be and what time you will return. In addition to your cell phone number, post emergency numbers (police, fire, EMS, doctor and the poison control hotline, 800-222-1222) and a friend or neighbor’s number by every phone in the home. Teach your child their home address so they can tell emergency personnel where to dispatch assistance, if necessary.
Prepare a snack or meal in advance — preferably one that does not need to be heated. If your children will need to cook, remind them never to leave an oven or stove unattended while cooking and to turn it off when they are finished.
Make sure potentially poisonous or hazardous household items are locked up out of reach — especially medications, matches, lighters, weapons and cleaning products.
Review your family’s emergency plans and make sure your children know what to do if the smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector goes off. Practice two escape routes from each room.
Review and practice plans for other types of emergencies, such as severe weather. Ensure they know where to go for emergency shelter.
Show your children where you keep your first aid kit and how to use basic first aid supplies.
New entertainment acts and hours of the street dance are what’s different this year at the 37th Annual Good Ol’ Days Festival May 31 through June 2.
The theme this year is “Fins, Feathers, and Furs”.
“The street dances will be from 7 to 10 p.m., with the carnival and beer tent open until 11,” Kellye Barrows, vice chairman of the festival’s board, said.
Formerly the dance went until 11 p.m. but the new time will allow people to leave more leisurely, Barrows said.
For all performances at Skubitz Plaza bring a lawn chair. No coolers or glass containers are allowed. And no pets, please.
Performing on Skubitz Plaza for the street dance on Friday, June 1 is Shades of Blue, from Kansas City. These five young musicians share a love of blues and rock and roll, according to information provided.
Also on Friday night, the street fair and marketplace on North Main Street will be open from 5 to 10 p.m.
Wade Henry, “entertainer extraordinaire”, according to Barrows will perform Saturday morning from 10-11 a.m. and again 1-2 p.m. at Skubitz Plaza. Henry is a juggler, unicyclist, ropewalker, fire eater, equilibrist, magician, speaker and comic.
Saturday evening, from 3 to 6 p.m. Stone Country, a country-western band from Girard will perform at Skubitz Plaza. The group is comprised of Shana Lynette Stone, Dan Duling, Jeff Culver, Rick Eaves, Rick Duling and Fort Scott native, Jason Richison.
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 2 the 2nd Annual BBCO Outdoor Expo will be located from 1st to 3rd streets on North Main Street.
Adam LaRoche, Buck Commander, and Duck Commander are partnering for this event. A full schedule of events will be available at the festival.
Activities At The Fort
Fort Scott National Historic Site will be featuring presentations on canoeing/kayaking and youth archery instruction provided by the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additionally there will be a broad-ax/hewing carpenter display by Jim Bailey with the National Park Service.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. live birds of prey will be on display by Operation WildLife at the fort.
A story-time will be provided by Steve Otto from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bring a blanket for an old-fashioned picnic. Visit the food booths downtown, then bring your lunch to the Fort and enjoy some shade, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
An old-fashioned mattress race will be run at the fort from noon to 12:30 p.m.
There will also be a timed visit of “Buddy The Bison.” Buddy Bison will be one of the attractions of Good Ol’ Days at Fort Scott this year and is the grand marshal of the parade.
Kayden Blaes Samyn, age 11, Mound City, Kansas passed away on Sunday, May 20, 2018, as the result of an accident.
He was born at Olathe, Kansas on July 14, 2006, the son of Dale Samyn and Karrie Ortman Barnes. He was a student at Jayhawk Elementary School.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather Jess Ortman.
Kayden is survived by his parents, four brothers: Freddie Barnes, Ethan Wettstein, Miles and Landyn Samyn, three sisters: Jessica Ortman, Alyssa and Kelsie Nelson, maternal grandmother, Jessie Ortman, paternal grandparent Edward and Debbie Samyn and seven nieces and nephews: Andrew, Camdyn, Aunika, Tristan, Fynleigh, Rowan, and Daniel.
Funeral service will be 10:30 am Saturday, May 26, 2018, at the Mound City First Baptist Church.
Burial will be in the Curry Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 pm Friday at the Church.
Contributions are suggested to Kayden”s Memorial and can be sent to the Farmers State, P.O. Box 158, Blue Mound, KS 66010 or Schneider Funeral Home, P.O. Box J, Mound City, KS 66056. Online condolences for the family can be left at www.schneiderfuenrals.com. Arrangements: Schneider Funeral Home and Crematory, Mound City Chapel.
Obesity accounts for more than 1 in 5 American deaths alone. In fact, today, more than 70 percent of adults are considered overweight or obese. More than one in three American kids and teens are considered overweight or obese, making them five times more likely to become obese or overweight adults. Ramping up the severity of obesity is the fact that it’s linked to 60 chronic diseases including cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease and the estimated healthcare costs in the United States is between $147 billion to $210 billion annually.
There is no disputing the growing dangers of opioid deaths and the fact that stricter laws are needed to fight this issue. There is also no disputing the need to fight obesity as well. However, there is a difference – obesity is preventable by making a few simple changes including diet and exercise. Exercise serves as an anti-depressant and when you exercise you feel better about yourself, you build your confidence as well as your self-esteem. And when you feel good about you, you are less likely to abuse your body.
I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of exercise. I know from personal experience how important it can be in turning a life around. As a kid, I was overweight with a bad stutter and zero confidence. At 13, my dad bought me a set of weights, and it changed my life forever. Not only did the weights build my body, but it boosted my confidence and self-esteem. It made me a firm believer in its power. By adding physical activity into your daily life, you’ll find that it positively changes your perspective on everything. It gets your blood flowing, which helps you concentrate, improves your performance at school, and keeps you both mentally and physically fit.
I’ve been helping people get fit for more than 40 years but realized I needed to do more. To make a real difference, we need to focus on our children. So, to help motivate kids across the country to get fit and to inspire them to move each day, I created the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils (NFGFC). Since its inception, NFGFC has delivered DON’T QUIT! Fitness Centers to elementary and middle schools to 24 states and this year we’ll be delivering fitness centers to Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and Tennessee. Our fitness centers is financed through public/private partnerships. In short, they don’t rely on a single taxpayer dollar or government funding.
Since we began dedicating these fitness centers to schools throughout the US, the response from students, teachers and the communities we’ve visited has been unbelievable. Kids are excited about working out and being physically active. The benefits gained through exercise are undeniable. I’ve always said that when you give the schools the tools, amazing things will happen…and they are happening!
There is no reason that obesity levels in this country should be at an all-time high. By introducing kids to physical exercise, we can reduce childhood obesity numbers significantly while helping fight a host of other issues including drug addiction.
Our children are our most precious resource, and when our kids are strong, the future of our country will be strong!
Jake Steinfeld serves as the Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, which supports state councils by providing fitness centers to schools across our nation. Visit www.natgovfit.org for more information.
Kansas Strengthens Trade Relations by Rejoining the Midwest-US Japan Association
Topeka- Governor Jeff Colyer announced today that Kansas will renew its alliance with Japan by rejoining the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association. Governor Colyer met with the Japanese consulate in April at the Capitol to discuss the relationship between Kansas and Japan and feels this partnership will be a good way to strengthen business and agriculture relations.
“Kansas and Japan have historically been and continue to be great partners. It is time to take the next step,” said Governor Colyer, “I am looking forward to strengthening this valuable partnership through our renewed membership in the Midwest U.S. – Japan Association.”
Japan is an important export market for Kansas, traditionally ranking as one of the state’s top trading partners. Based on 2017 data, Japan is Kansas’ third largest export market, totaling $980 million. Kansas has also welcomed investment from Japanese companies such as Kubota, Kyodo Yushi, Takako, Gunze, Softbank, Yanmar, Sekisui, and Sumitomo.
“Japan is a very important export market for Kansas, and we are looking forward to continuing our already strong relationship,” said Robert North, Interim Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce. “By joining the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association, we will have even more opportunities to work together and explore opportunities for growing our trading partnership.”
In early June, the Kansas Department of Agriculture will be participating in a USDA-led trade mission to Japan. Japan has been Kansas agriculture’s number two trading partner since 2014 and the goal of the trip is to strengthen the state’s relationship with Japan through this trade mission to Tokyo and Osaka. The trip will provide an opportunity to connect with potential customers and take part in briefings and site visits to learn firsthand about maximizing trade relationships with Japanese businesses.
“Japan continues to be the top export market for U.S. beef. Strengthening ties with this important trading partner is beneficial for Kansas beef producers,” said Kansas Livestock Association Chief Executive Officer Matt Teagarden.
“International trade markets are vital to the state of Kansas and the farmers and ranchers who call it home. Strong relationships with other countries can only help grow opportunities for Kansas farmers and ranchers,” said Kansas Farm Bureau president Richard Felts, a Montgomery County farmer.
St. Martin’s Academy, a newly developed boys Catholic boarding school, hosted an open house Saturday on the campus at 1950 Indian Road, rural Fort Scott.
The campus is currently under construction.
“Our goal was to introduce the academy, its campus, and some of its staff both to local residents interested in the new project, potential supporters of our academic and cultural vision, and the families of prospective students,” Patrick Whelan, the academy’s headmaster said.
The torrential downpour on Saturday did not deter interested people.
“Despite the terrible weather in the morning, at its busiest, we had about 80 people present with some coming from as far away as Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, and Texas,” Whelan said. ” Many of the folks who attended were from local areas including Fort Scott, Pittsburg, and Kansas City, and many of those in attendance were families interested in sending a son to St. Martin’s Academy. “
The open house program began with Catholic Mass celebrated by the school’s chaplain, Fr. Bob McElwee, followed by a welcome and introduction from Daniel Kerr, the academy’s president, and Whalen.
Visitors participated in a round-robin of presentations from the faculty and staff of St. Martin’s Academy, including presentations on academics, residential life, farming, faith, and campus development.
“After lunch those interested participated in a hike through the campus that included feeding the animals, walking the woodland obstacle course, and visiting our ‘base camp’ in the woods,” Whelan said.
Following a break, visitors and local interested residents met in the lobby of the Courtland Hotel, downtown Fort Scott, for the third, public St. Martin’s Academy Faculty Lecture, he said.
“In a warm setting, with food and drink provided by the academy, Ron ‘Magister’ Klassen delivered a talk entitled The Joy of Learning Latin,” Whelan said.
For more information, click here to view a prior story:
FSCC is responding to students interested in welding.
Fort Scott Community College (FSCC), Southeast Kansas Career and Technical Education Center of Crawford County (CTEC) and area businesses have banded together to prepare for the fall semester increase of students interested in welding, according to Kassie Fugate-Cate, Director of Strategic Communications and Student Activities at FSCC.
FSCC’s Welding, Construction Trades, Masonry, and HVAC programs are located in Pittsburg.
Enrollment from Crawford County high school students is approximately 43 students, which made the expansion necessary.
CTEC will be adding five new welding booths to the 11 that already exists to accommodate the increase in enrollment.
FSCC masonry students are in the midst of building the cinder block booths, while Nutter Electric, Garland, is providing the necessary electrical upgrades, and the college is supplying the welding equipment.
Potential industry donors have been identified who may be willing to donate equipment for the new booth spaces as well.
Kris Mengarelli, the Director of FSCC CTEC says: “It is exciting to see our enrollment increase, giving our students the opportunity to learn a trade in high need jobs. This spring, we have been approached with more job openings than ever before from industry partners and have had more students take the certification test. CTEC is an incredible partnership between high schools, FSCC, industry partners and generous donors and we are excited to continue to work together to benefit students in Crawford County.”