Category Archives: Schools

How To Learn a Foreign Language: Host An International Student

Clara Ylander, from  Sweden,  left, stayed with Jim and Janice Fewins; Rachele Tarpinelli,right,  from Italy, stayed with Jay and Sara Jackman last year and attended Uniontown High School.

Learning  a foreign language,enjoying the  advancement of educational and cultural opportunities, supporing volunteerism,  enriching someone’s life while enriching your own, these are all the benefits of hosting an international student, according to Janice Rake, coordinator for Greenheart Exchange Program.


Greenheart Exchange Program students seeking host families for the next school year are  beginning to apply now, Rake said.


“The students are happy to live in any type of family scenario: family with or without children, empty nesters, retired couple, single person… does not matter,” said  Rake. “They are just excited to come to America and have the opportunity. Most want to come for the entire school year but some come for only one semester.”


Host families complete an application process which includes a home visit, references and background checks.


“My goal is always to find a good family/student match so it is a positive experience for all involved,” she said.


“The host family provides a bed and place to study, three meals a day and needed transportation as the students are not allowed to drive,” Rake said.


The students bring spending money for personal spending, shopping and entertainment. Greenheart Exchange secures the VISA, arranges the arrival and departures flights, provides health insurance and monitors throughout the year. The student agrees to follow the guidelines of the program. Greenheart requires each student to fulfill some volunteer or community service work and expects high academic and personal standards.


Rake checks in and monitors the students progress throughout the school year, she said.


Included  below are several of the students that have applied so far.


Olga, 16, from Poland, is  an “A” student,  who will come the first semester, enjoys reading, scouting, volunteering with a children’s group, drama, art, sports, nature,  and travel.  She has a fear of dogs until she gets to know them.  She loves philosophy.  Olga attends church sometimes.
Hannes, 16,  from Germany,  is an “A” student.  He loves camping and motocross. His favorite classes are math, physics and PE.  He likes sports but also enjoys baking. He works in a local grocery.  Hannes attends church sometimes.
Alexandra, 16,  from Germany, loves music, sings in choir, plays piano, likes archery, Taikwondo, biking and reading.  She has a “B” average.  She has a mild allergy to fur but  this does not restrict her.  She has a cat.  She is a bit shy but sweet, friendly and open-minded.  She attends church sometimes.
Oliver, 15, from the  Czech Republic,  is a “B” student. He plays piano and enjoys running, movies and music.  He attends church sometimes.
Rebecca, 16, from Switzerland, is a “B+” student. She volunteers with a children’s group, plays guitar, enjoys swimming, reading and cooking.  Her favorite subjects are Latin, French, geography and math.
Nicolas, 15, from  Spain,  is a”B+” student.  He enjoys writing, movies,video games, cooking,  He loves dogs but is allergic to cats.  He wants to study journalism and be a writer.  His religion is Catholic and would attend church sometimes.
If interested in hosting or want more information, please contact Janice Rake, Greenheart Coordinator, or call 620-473-0646.  Information  can be found at the website
Janice Rake is a former teacher and retired postmaster who returned to education when she retired and moved to Redfield.
She was a substitute teacher at Uniontown where she hosted a high school exchange student, Carol, from Brazil.
“I fell in love with Carol and the Greenheart student exchange program,” Rake said.
Since then she has hosted and placed 18 students at various area high schools.
“Every one has been a joy,” she said.
They have come from Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Albania, Vietnam, Thailand, and Hong Kong.
“The students have varied interests: sports, camping, scouts, art, photography, theater, writing, literature, robotics, music, cooking, travel, history, volunteerism, animal lovers,” she said. “They are mature, independent and enthusiastic about experiencing American school and culture and love sharing their culture. They offer diversity and expose our local students to a world outside their own.”
Rafaela Lima, from Brazil, stayed with Janice Rake last year and graduated from Lawrence High School.

“Outstanding” Weekend for FSHS Forensics Team

The FSHS Forensics Team.

The Fort Scott High School Forensics team competed in Chanute on Friday and Saturday as well as in Lawrence on Saturday.

On Friday night at Chanute, in Congress, Lincoln Douglas, and Public Forum Debate: Thade Yates placed 5th in Novice House, Neil Gugnani placed 2nd in Novice house, Jacob Ham and Zach Mundhenke placed 5th in PFD, Audra McFarland and Karina Kantilal placed 3rd in PFD, Grant Feagins and Shekhar Gugnani placed 2nd in PFD, Mark Adams placed 2nd in LD and Rebekah Sweyko placed 1st in Open house.
On Saturday, at Chanute, Poetry: 1st place and state qualifier Chloè Studyvin, Duo: 1st place and state qualifier Chloe Studyvin and Rebekah Sweyko, Impromptu: 1st place and state qualifier Rebekah Sweyko,

Domestic Extemp: 2nd place and state qualifier Rebekah Sweyko,

International Extemp: Novice Shekhar Gugnani takes 5th place!  
At Lawrence High School on Saturday, in Poetry: Placing second and qualifying for state was Brooklyn Lyons and placing first and qualifying for state was Elizabeth Ngatia.

In Prose: Placing first and qualifying for state was Brooklyn Lyons.
In Duo: Placing fourth Audra McFarland and Karina Kantilal and in
Original Oration: Placing first and qualifying to state was Elizabeth Ngatia.
In Program of Oral Interpretation: Placing second was Karina Kantilal.
Finally, in Domestic Exempt and Impromptu Placing first and qualifying for state in both is Mark Adams.

We had an outstanding first weekend out, and we look forward to improving even more as the year progresses.  
Submitted by Angella Curran.

USD 234: Redesigning Future Education?

USD 234 Superintendent Ted Hessong addressing the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce weekly coffee attendees at Fort Scott High School Thursday morning.

USD 234 Superintendent Ted Hessong spoke to the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Thursday, during the weekly coffee, about the need to match what is needed in a society with what schools actually teach.

To get the community involved in the school district’s education redesign, USD 234 is sponsoring what is being called Community Conversations.

Community Conversations dates and locations:

• January 22 –Fort Scott High School

• January 24 –Eugene Ware Elementary

• January 29 –Fort Scott Middle School

• January 30 –Winfield Scott Elementary

All times starting at 6:00 PM.

“Businesses need skilled talent and those are the hardest jobs to fill,” he said.

“We need to make education fit us,” Hessong said. “We need to make changes in education, do something we’ve never done.”

From statistics Hessong presented to the attendees, the top skills that high school graduates lack are: work ethic-professionalism, teamwork-collaboration, verbal communication, ethics-social responsibility, critical thinking-problem solving,  and information technology application, among others.

Some of the school redesign principles that Hessong presented were:

  • an integrated approach to develop student socio-emotional learning.
  • teachers support students to have a choice over their time, place, pace and path.
  • family, business and community partnerships based on mutually beneficial relationships and collaboration.
  • project-based learning, internships, and civic engagement to make learning relevant.

At the Community Conversations, USD 234 is seeking feedback from parents, guardians, business, and community members in these areas:

• Emergency Operations Plan

• USD 234 Mission and Vision

• USD 234 School Board’s Areas of Focus

• What is the role of USD 234’s Preschool –12th-grade educational system in developing an independent, responsible, and productive adults?



Chamber Coffee Jan. 17 at Fort Scott High School

Join us for Chamber Coffee
Hosted by:

USD 234

Fort Scott High School, 1005 S. Main St.
Thursday, January 17, 2019

Click here for USD 234’s website.

Chamber members and guests are encouraged to attend for networking, community announcements, and to learn about the hosting business or organization.
Members may pay $1 to make an announcement about an upcoming event, special/sale/discount, or news of any kind.
Upcoming Coffees:
January 24 – Sharky’s Pub & Grub
January 31 – Southwind Extension District
February 7 – City State Bank
February 14 – Visage Skin Care

FSHS Thespians Qualify for International Thespian Festival


Fort Scott Thespians. Submitted photo. Front row L to R: Mesa Jones, Hunter Adamson, Karina Kantilal, Mary Gladbach, Alyx Brooks 2nd row: Taillyn Harding, Sierra Long, Amber Russo, Mersadie Roof, Christina King, Alexis Williams, Jasamine Thron, Mackenzie Peoples 3rd row: Brian Stumfoll, Lexy Bailey, Brandy Stafford, Avery Dorsey, Daniel Belcuore, Zaria Byrd, Christina Ramirez, Harmony Brown, Angie Bin, Wyntter Snyder 4th row: Mark Bergmann, Levi Bin, Abi Deloera, Jacob Ham, Dominic Cannon, Jo Goodbody, Olivia Wilterding 5th row: Kathelra Murray, Jade Bailey, Carlee Studyvin, Addy Labbe, Ashanti Green, Sage Hill, Mason Moore, Wendy Monahan

The Fort Scott High School Thespian Troupe #7365 has students performing at the International Thespian Festival for the first time in history. After attending the KS State Thespian Festival in Wichita on Jan. 3-5, the troupe brought home a number of significant awards.

Senior Hunter Adamson qualified for Nationals in Monologue (where she performed both a humorous and dramatic script selection) and junior Mesa Jones qualified for Nationals in Musical Solo (performing Breathe from “Into the Heights”). Jones will also perform in the all-state musical production of “Bring It On” that qualified to be showcased on the main stage at Nationals. They compete at the International Thespian Festival at the University of Nebraska in June.

2018 State Thespian Officer Hunter Adamson and 2019 State Thespian Officer Mesa Jones

FSHS also won the Gold Honor Troupe Award (the highest troupe honor) through the presentation of the Honor Troupe Notebook by senior Karina Kantilal. Senior Alyx Brooks auditioned for colleges and received call-backs from eleven schools for her acting audition and from twenty-eight different schools for her lighting design audition.

Hunter Adamson, Mesa Jones, Karina Kantilal, Mary Gladbach, and Alyx Brooks; FSHS Thespians Officers with the Gold Honor Troupe trophy.

The FSHS Thespian President, Adamson, also served as a State Thespian Officer, planning and leading the entire Festival. Jones served as a State Board Member this year and was elected by troupe directors from all over the state to lead as one of 5 officers in charge of next year’s State Thespian Festival. She will attend training at the International Thespian Festival this summer and work throughout the next year to plan. 

Also competing at the State Festival this year were juniors Mackenzie Peoples and Addy Labbe in Musical Solo, Brooks in Lighting Design, and sophomores Amber Russo and Ivy Bailey in the Monologue category.

In all, thirty-five students attended Festival from FSHS and competed in improvised acting, charades, or costuming events at night. Throughout the day, the students attended workshops, met with college representatives, and watched award-winning full-length and one-act performances.

FSHS Drama Director Angie Bin, English teacher Mark Bergmann, and Drama Student-Teacher Wynnter Snyder accompanied the students. Bin presented a workshop on Children’s Theatre as part of the Festival.





State Education Commissioner to Speak to USD 234 Staff and Board

See the source image

Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson will be speaking to USD 234 staff starting at 8 a.m. at the Fort Scott Community College Ellis Fine Arts Center, Friday, Jan. 11.

“We have to meet at FSCC because the high school is hosting the 4A-1A State Debate Tournament,” said Ted Hessong, superintendent of USD 234.  “Dr. Watson will be speaking to the staff about the Kansas State Board of Educations Vision for Kansas schools.

“When Dr. Watson is done speaking, I will take him on a tour of the district. At 10:45 we will go to the district office for Dr. Watson to speak to some of our school board members and some members of the Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Watson and I will need to be at the high school by 11:40 a.m. for the General Assembly of the State Debate Tournament.”

Volunteers Needed for State Debate Tournament at FSHS

The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the
Hospitality Lounge for the
State Debate Tournament
to be held here this weekend
January 11-12, 2019!
Diana Mitchell is chairing this
hospitality project on behalf of the
Chamber and Youth Activities Team.
We could use your time in volunteering
to work the lounge or your donations
of items listed below.
Cell: 620-224-3633
THANK YOU to those businesses and individuals who have already committed to volunteering or donating items.
Times Volunteers are Needed:
Friday @ Fort Scott Middle School:
11am to 1pm
1:30pm to 4:00pm
4pm to 7:30pm
Friday @ Fort Scott High School
11am to 1:30pm
1:30pm to 4pm
4pm to 7:30pm
Saturday @ Fort Scott Middle School
7am to 11am
11am to 1:30pm
Saturday @ Fort Scott High School
7am to 11am
11am to 5pm
Dry Coffee Creamer
Coffee Stirrers
10-12 Lg. Bags of Chips
Oranges, Apples, Bananas
Cookies, Brownies, Sweets
Bottled Water
Clorox Wipes
Please click here to email Diana with times you can work or items you can donate. Monetary donations also welcome, made payable to the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, and we can purchase items needed.
Physical items or monetary donations may be dropped off at the Chamber through 5pm Thursday.
Contact Lindsay Madison at the Chamber with any questions, 620-223-3566, or

Uniontown Hires New Science Teacher

Andrew Ables stands in front of his biology room Tuesday afternoon. He was recently hired as a new science teacher at Uniontown High School.

Andrew Ables, 30, was hired at a December USD 235 Board of Education meeting as the new Uniontown High School science teacher. He will teach biology, 7th-grade science, and advanced biology.

“We were unable to find a licensed teacher first semester,” said Brett Howard, USD 235 superintendent. This, following former science teacher Sarah Sutton’s departure to teach at Fort Scott Community College starting last summer.

The science position was left open.

There is a shortage of teachers in Kansas, Howard said.

The district turned to Southeast Kansas Education Education Service Center, also known as Greenbush, to fill in the gap.

Through Greenbush Blended Learning,  school districts can provide subjects such as foreign languages, advanced mathematics, and sciences they would otherwise be unable to provide, according to its’ website

Ables hales from Norton, KS with a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education from Fort Hays State University.
“I (taught) my first five years in Stockton, Kansas,” Ables said.
“My family situation changed,” Ables said. “I married a Fort Scott native. We couldn’t find a house in northwest Kansas. She already had a house here. There happened to be a job opening.”
He is married to  Ashlee (Phillips) Ables and has two daughters: Caroline-four years old and Harper- six weeks.
Asked what motivated him to become an educator, he replied “Having an immediate impact on lives at one of their most important stages.”
His top priority for the classes he will teach is to prepare his students for college, he said.
Teacher in-service in USD 235 starts today, Jan. 2, and classes start on Jan. 3.

Constitution Speech Contest for High School Students In February

The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program is “A Constitutional Speech Contest” is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States among high school students.

Your Fort Scott American Legion Post 25 is seeking local oratorical candidates for the upcoming American Legion Oratorical competition.

American Legion Post 25 Oratorical candidates must be a Bourbon County student in grades 9 – 12. All public, private and home school students are eligible to compete in the Oratorical competition.

The American Legion Oratorical competition begins at the Post level, with the local winner competing in a district competition against other district winners. The district winner then competes against other district winners at a state competition. The state winner then competes against other state winners at the National American Legion Oratorical competition. The National 1st Place Winner receives $18,000 with lesser cash prizes for other finalists.

An American Legion oratorical competitor must present a Prepared oration of 8 – 10 minutes in duration and a Assigned topic oration of 3 – 5 minutes in duration. All topics are based upon the Constitution of the United States and are selected by the National American Legion organization. All oratorical competitors throughout the United States will use the same topics through all levels of the competition.

It is expected that the local competition will be in early February 2019 with District and State competitions following shortly thereafter. The National American Legion Oratorical competition is scheduled for April 5-7, 2019 in Indianapolis.

Interested local students should contact American Legion Post 25 Commander Carl Jowers at Commander Jowers will provide you with more information about the Oratorical Competition.

Carl Jowers. Commander

Fort Scott American Legion Post 25

FSHS Prom Fundraiser: Sticky Buns, Order by Dec. 19

It’s a Sticky Buns Fundraiser to support
FSHS Prom!
Place your order today!
Deadline Wed. Dec. 19th.
Sticky Buns, made fresh & local
by the talented Aleta Banwart,
are perfect for the holidays!
Rounds are $8, Pans are $15.
Order with or without pecans.
Make all checks payable to FSHS.
Payment preferred before order deadline.
Deadline to order: Dec. 19th
Pickup: Dec. 22nd, 2pm at FSHS
For more information,
contact Emma Martin: 620-215-4668
or Lauren Madison: 620-215-0802.
To place an order, clickhere.
(Save the date for Prom & Walk-in,
Saturday, April 13, 2019)

Eurgene Ware Students Christmas Carol Downtown

Fifth- graders Kathryn Williams, Ali Simhiser, and Payton Bowling caroling downtown during Mistletoe on Main December 13.
Back Row: Aubrey Yarick & Lanie Jackson Front Row: Madi Davis, Karlee Hereford, and Keri Crisler serenading at the Fort Scott National Historic Site Visitor’s Center during Mistletoe on Main December 13.

Ali Simhiser, Grace Anderson, Delci Tucker, Delaney Tucker, Keith Tucker, and Dana Tucker singing downtown carols during Mistletoe on Main December 13.

Submitted by Mary Jo Harper.