Category Archives: Schools

Degree Without Debt Offered to Walmart Employees

Walmart Fort Scott, 2500 S. Main.

In May, Walmart announced a new associate education benefit program designed to help employees to enroll in college and graduate from college in certain fields of study, according to a press release.

Benefits include free college credit for Walmart Academy training and options for employees to earn a college degree without student loan debt.

Walmart employees will be able to access affordable associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in business or supply chain management.

These programs are available to full-time, part-time and salaried Walmart U.S. store, supply chain, home office and Sam’s Club employees.

Degrees will be offered through the University of Florida at Gainesville; Brandman University, Irvine, California; and Bellevue University, Bellevue, Nebraska. These schools were selected for their focus and strong outcomes on serving working adult learners, according to the press release.

Program highlights include:

The associate contribution toward a college degree would be just $1 a day. Walmart will subsidize the cost of tuition, books, and fees, which helps get rid of student loan debt, according to a press release.


Also, associates can start their path by earning college credit for paid training at Walmart Academies. Hundreds of thousands of associates have already undergone skills training equivalent to more than $210 million in college credits. This will save associates both time and money in completing their degree.

Walmart selected universities with a specialized focus on serving working adult learners and top outcomes for the working adult demographic. Walmart is also collaborating with these universities to tailor the curriculum to relevant skills for jobs and advancement across industries for today and in the future.

The goal is for all employees who apply for admission to be accepted, and the three selected universities have a dedication to high graduation rates for their students.

Employees will receive support from a  coach on everything from the application and enrollment process to selecting the appropriate degree. This kind of academic counseling has been shown to help students complete their degree.

Walmart kicked off a scalable approach to creating educational opportunity for America’s workforce,  said Rachel Carlson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Guild Education, with whom Walmart is collaborating to provide the program.

Guild Education helps people gain an education through their employer’s tuition benefits which lead to increased employee satisfaction and retention, according to

Walmart is also leading innovation in workforce development and higher education to help associates earn college credit for on-the-job training, Carlson said.

The Lumina Foundation has agreed to research and measure the impact and effectiveness of the program and will work with the Walmart team to share findings.

Walmart’s new education program underscores the importance of education in helping employees prepare for the future with degrees in supply chain management or business. This is part of a broader approach to preparing the workforce to succeed today and into the future.

Initiatives include:

· Developing a broad suite of offerings across roles from frontline to executive levels develop job-related skills for advancement.

· Covering the complete cost for employees and eligible family members for earning a high school diploma or GED.

· Offering employees and eligible family members access to tuition discounts, financial aid assistance, and education coaching across Guild’s broader network of more than 80 accredited, nonprofit university partners, including schools such as The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Columbia University and Purdue University. These institutions are made available through EdX.

· Giving access to professional development courses including college prep, leadership training, and ESL.


Walmart associates can learn more by visiting WalmartOne.


2018 Lowell Milken Fellows Coming June 17, June 24

The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas, an international educational non-profit, has awarded its prestigious Fellowship to 12 educators who will come to Fort Scott in the next couple of weeks

The LMC Fellowship is awarded on the basis of merit to educators who have distinguished themselves in teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning or who have the potential for this distinction. The Center selects exemplary teachers from across America and Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.

Week 1 – June 17

Caldarelli, Emily: 2016 Rhode Island Milken Educator – Emily teaches fourth-grade in Providence. Her innovative implementation of math and science curriculum has been recognized all over New England

Flynn, James: 2009 Connecticut Milken Educator – James teaches U.S. History and is heavily involved with local history projects. His energy and enthusiasm will translate into projects. 


Guerra, Elisa: Global Teacher Finalist and Teacher of the Year in the Caribbean and Latin America – Elisa teaches Middle School Humanities in Aguascalientes, Mexico and is a project maker.


Johnson, Stephanie: 2016 South Carolina Teacher of the Year – Stephanie teaches 2nd grade and enjoys using cross-cultural lessons with her students. She has received many awards along with a Global Learning Fellowship.

McGaughey, Jordan: 2017 Missouri Milken Educator – Jordan teaches Government at the high school level. His innovation and creativity lend itself to project-based learning and our unsung hero projects.


Safari, Argine: 2017 New Jersey Teacher of the Year – She teaches at a performing arts high school and studied at the Moscow State Conservatory. She was the Princeton University Distinguished Teacher. Dynamic is the word from every area of our research.

Week 2 – June 24

Craven, Katie: Award-winning PBL teacher from St. Paul, Minnesota – Katie’s students have received dozens of honors in project-based learning. She comes to the Fellowship as an accomplished educator in many areas.


Dennison, Thomas: 2017 Maryland Milken Educator – Thomas’ work in elementary education is creative and innovative. As a 5th grade teacher, he stands out for his project work.



Franklin, Paula: 2017 Tennessee Milken Educator – Paula teaches American government at West High School in Knoxville and has much project-based learning experience.



Giannopoulos, Nikos: 2017 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year – Nikos is a Special Education teacher at the Beacon Charter High School for the Arts. He is a leader in New England education and excited about his Fellowship.


Heath, Penny: Award-winning PBL teacher from Canton, Oklahoma – Penny teachers US History and local history in an exciting way. Her students have won numerous national awards for projects as has she for PBL.



Jensen, Lauren: 2015 New York Milken Educator – Lauren is currently teaching high school English in Virginia. Lauren has set a high standard for creativity and innovation in the classroom.


Red Ram Motel Gets Repurposed

The Red Ram Motel on North National Avenue near U.S. Hwy. 54.

Fort Scott Community College closed on the purchase of the Red Ram Motel, 701 N. National Avenue, on May 30, 2018, for $90,000.

“The Patel’s (the former owners of the motel) donated $20,000 to the  FSCC Endowment Fund,”  FSCC President Alysia Johnston said.

The FSCC plan is to repurpose and clean up the property to be used for student housing for the college, according to Johnston. The property will become a part of the campus and therefore tax exempt.

When complete, the new student housing will be called the Greyhound Lodge.

“We are getting a code footprint on it by Ag Engineering (Uniontown), when that is done we will send it to the state and the city,” Johnston said.

Currently, the college is taking bids for cleaning the property of trees and other unwanted items, she said.

“We had at least three people interested in the Red Ram Motel sign,” Johnston said. “Rhonda Dunn (Fort Scott’s Community Development Director) suggested using it for a fundraiser.

There are 21 units at the lodge, with the possibility of 42 students.

Each room will have a small refrigerator and microwave oven.

Students can still purchase a modified meal plan if they will be eating on campus, which is across town to the south of the lodge property.

A two-bedroom apartment on the property will be remodeled for an assistant coach to live in for security and supervision duties, she said.

The current lobby area will be turned into a computer lab.

Behind the lab will be a student laundry facility and behind that will be a student lounge with adjacent student kitchen.

The old swimming pool area will be converted into an outdoor eating area complete with grills, a gazebo, and picnic tables, Johnston said.

“The cost to students will be $300 per month,  which includes everything except food,” Johnston said.

The lodge is expected to be ready for students in mid-August, Johnston said.

“It’s been fun to start the transformation,” Johnston said. “We hope to have a ribbon cutting at some point.”

FSCC Offers Free Children’s Summer Theater Camp, Auditions July 9

We’re bringing back children’s theatre camp!!

What happens when “Mean Girls” meets a classic Disney fairy tale? Well, you get something like D.M. Larson’s “Beauty IS a Beast,” an original twist on the age-old story of what constitutes real beauty.

The play, a parable in six scenes, will be presented Aug. 1 and 2 at the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center as the culminating event of a four-week children’s summer theater camp, conducted by FSCC theater director Allen Twitchell with assistance from FSCC students and staff.

The camp is free to all area youth ages 6 to 17 and runs from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday beginning with introductions and auditions July 9.

Roles are available for 15 to 55 young actors.

The script is available to read at

Enrollment is open by attending the first day of camp July 9.

Late enrollees also will be accepted the first week of camp only.
In addition to rehearsing the play, camp participants receive instruction in theater basics and the chance to engage in theater exercises.

Campers are encouraged to bring snacks and indoor activities for a 15- to 20-minute break time each session.

For more information, contact Allen Twitchell by phone at (620) 218-2147 or by email at

FSCC Construction Trades/Masonry in National Competition

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Potter

Fort Scott Community College students Dylan Giager, from left, Alex Garcia and Pittsburg High School students Coltin Oehme and Wil Jameson qualified for the SkillsUSA National competition after sweeping the SkillsUSA state competition in masonry and carpentry.

 FSCC Construction Trades and Masonry take on SkillsUSA Nationals

Fort Scott, Ks.—Fort Scott Community College Construction Trades and Masonry students head out to Louisville, Ky. to compete in the 54th annual SkillsUSA National competition held on June 25th-29th. Students who placed first at the state level competition earned the chance to take on nationals. FSCC took 13 carpentry students, 3 HVAC students, and 3 masonry students to state and 4 students came out on top; Alex Garcia and Coltin Oehme for masonry, Dylan Giager and Wil Jameson for carpentry.

FSCC sophomore Siarra Clark, who came in second at state, but only by a couple points, says “I was raised around concrete and construction so the program at FSCC was fitting. The competition was a great experience and I hope to compete in something like this in the future.” Siarra took 1st in the hands-on portion of the state competition and 2nd in the written portion, making it 2nd overall.

Pittsburg High School (PHS) senior and now FSCC certified mason Coltin Oehme came in 1st overall at the state level, so he will go on to compete at nationals. Oehme not only came in 1st but was the first one done even with making multiple corrections. “If the design isn’t correct and perfect, it’s an automatic loss,” says Oehme. FSCC Masonry instructor, Nacoma Oehme, Coltin’s cousin, says “Coltin did great at state and we’re looking forward to seeing what he does at nationals…he takes a lot of pride in his work, especially since it’s in the family. We come from a long line of masons. Coltin inspires others to look into masonry as a career choice.”

FSCC carpentry students Dylan Giager (FSCC) and Wil Jameson (PHS) will compete on the carpentry side of SkillsUSA. This is FSCC carpentry’s 7th year to nationals under the supervision of instructor Kim Coates. “You never know who is going to bring who,” says Coates, “Wil Jameson is the first high school sophomore to win gold and go to nationals…I was surprised and very excited.” Brady Newman, FSCC student barely came in 2nd behind Dylan Giager by only 2%, winning him a silver medal. Right behind him was Thomas Mayfield with a bronze medal.

Darby Toth: National Speech and Debate Student of the Year Nominee

Darby Toth with some of her winnings as a speech and debate student at Fort Scott High School.

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:

Darby received other recognitions as well.

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.”



FSCC Graduation Commencement 2018

Family and friends of Associate of General Studies and Associate of Science degree graduates wait patiently for the noon ceremony to begin Friday. An overflow crowd watched from the lobby area.

Fort Scott Community College held two graduations  May 18, with approximately 200 students receiving associates degrees.

Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science, and Certificate students had a commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. and Associate of General Studies and Associate of Science students at noon in the Ellis Fine Arts building.

Three outstanding individuals were recognized for their work over the years.

FSCC recognized John M. Laflen, class of 1956, Dawn M. Reed, class of 2002, and Shelbie Hutchinson, class of 2018.

Laflen and  Reed were recognized as this year’s Outstanding Alumni and Hutchinson was recognized as this year’s Outstanding Sophomore.

Dawn Reed, the 2018 FSCC Outstanding Young Alumna. Courtesy photo.
John Laflen, Ph.D., the 2018 Outstanding Alumnus. Courtesy photo.

The banquet for Outstanding Alumni was held between graduations at 10:30 a.m. at the center.

Outstanding FSCC Sophomore Shelby Hutchison visits with a former Christian Learning Center teacher, Deanne Bloesser, prior to commencement in the lobby of the Ellis Fine Arts Center.
Students chat as they are lined up prior to entering the Ellis Fine Arts Center auditorium for commencement.
Faculty of FSCC prepare to line up to enter the auditorium at the Ellis Fine Arts Center Friday.
FSCC students enter the auditorium of the Ellis Fine Arts Center for commencement ceremonies.
Shelby Hutchison, FSCC 2018 Outstanding Sophomore gives her commencement speech.
Jerry Laflen, filling in for his brother John Laflen, Ph.D., gives a commencement speech during the noon graduation ceremony. John Laflen was unable to attend because of health issues. Laflen is the 2018 Outstanding Alumnus.
Some students decorated their graduation hats for the commencement ceremony.

Uniontown School District Receives $100,000 Grant For Fitness Center

USD 235 staff and students who worked on the grant application for the fitness equipment for the district: front, from left: Betty Dennis, school nurse; Rhonda Hoener, school counselor; and Tara Gorman, teacher. Back row, from left: Vance Eden, teacher; Kolby Martinez, Zach Franklin and Cade Goodridge, students; Bret Howard, superintendent; Mark Calvin, high school principal and Tyler Jackman, elementary school principal. They are in the proposed room for the community fitness center, the junior high/high school library.

West Bourbon Elementary School Principal Tyler Jackman received an email from the Kansas Department of Education in late winter about an opportunity to provide a fitness center in the school district.

He got the green light from Superintendent Brett Howard to apply for the grant and enlisted the help of other district employees.

“The application process was simple,” Jackman said. “They wanted to know what equipment we had, what condition it was in.”

Teacher Vance Eden created a video of the need in the district and interviewed several employees.  Click below to view the video:

The grant application was due April 6, and on May 16 they received notice that the district received a $100,000 grant.

Governor Jeff Colyer and Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, announced three Kansas schools that were selected to each receive a DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center.

The multi-million-dollar physical fitness campaign named Lincoln Elementary School in Fredonia, Jardine Middle School in Topeka and Uniontown USD 235 in Uniontown as the state’s most outstanding schools for demonstrating leadership in getting and keeping their students fit.

“We are excited, this will be a great asset to our community,” Jackman said. “The community will have access.”

Tyler Jackman stands in the access door to the proposed community fitness room. The room is the former library of the junior high/high school, that is currently housing the USD 235 Board of Education. The outside access door is near the southeast corner of the room, which leads to the south parking lot of the school.

 The proposed site for the fitness center is the former school library at the junior high school, which is being underutilized, Jackman said.

Installation begins this summer and a public ribbon cutting will take place in early September, Howard said.

School starts in the district on August 30 this year, he said.

National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils State of Kansas DON’T QUIT! Campaign initial requirements:

  • The school must be a public or public charter school.
  • The majority of students must be between the ages of 8-13 years old.
  • The school must have a preexisting room on the school’s property that is available for equipment installation during the summer of 2018.
  • The room must be approximately 900-1500 square feet.
  • The proposed fitness center will be in the junior high wing of USD 235 campus.

FSCC Graduations May 18

FSCC President Alysia Johnston with Shelbie Hutchinson, Outstanding Sophomore for 2018.

FSCC Graduation Time

Fort Scott Community College will hold two graduations this Friday, May 18th.

Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science, and Certificate students will have their ceremony at 9:00 a.m. and Associate of General Studies and Associate of Science students will have their ceremony at  noon in the Ellis Fine Arts building.

There are approximately 200 students graduating between the two sessions.

During graduation, a few outstanding individuals will be recognized for their prestigious work over the years.

FSCC will recognize three Fort Scott natives, John M. Laflen, class of 1956, Dawn M. Reed, class of 2002, and Shelbie Hutchinson, class of 2018.

John Laflen and Dawn Reed are being recognized as this year’s Outstanding Alumni and Shelbie Hutchinson is being recognized as this year’s Outstanding Sophomore.

The banquet for Outstanding Alumni will be held between graduations at 10:30 a.m. in the Ellis Fine Arts meeting rooms.

For more information regarding graduation, please contact Courtney Metcalf at 620.223.2700 ext. 3580 or Taylor Wade at ext. 3560.