Brandon Lee White, a motivational speaker, brought his “Own It” message to Pleasant Lea MIddle School on Oct. 23. Mr. White encouraged students to focus on the positive, believe in themselves and support one another. He spoke to all seventh- and eighth-graders during a morning assembly. The speaker’s visit was coordinated by the school’s counselors.
Bernard Campbell Middle School launched its Kindness Challenge 2.0 on Oct. 18 with messages focusing on the power of kindness and empathy. Students were asked to “live everyday the Mustang way through kind words and actions.”
Students were also asked to spread kindness in the community by placing door hangers around town. Parents were encouraged to take the door hangers to work and place it on a colleague’s door or place it on the neighbor’s door.
The school’s goal was to blanket Lee’s Summit with kindness. In addition, students surprised bus drivers and cafeteria employees with sweet treats thanking them for their hard work.
Members of Lee’s Summit High School Tiger Smart celebrated Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23 through 27 with a variety of activities. The school’s Drumline and members of Tiger Smart assisted with the Red Ribbon Week assembly at Woodland Elementary School. Tiger Smart members also created a visual representation of the hashtag #drugfreeiskey on the LSHS Field House windows.
The Pleasant Lea Middle School football team recently took a break from knocking pads and helmets together and stepped off of the football field to serve in the community.
On Oct. 14, 20 PLMS football players and coaches spent a few humid hours on a Saturday helping to beautify a Lee’s Summit park’s trail system. Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation staff member Brooke Chestnut helped coordinate the effort that took place at Charles Hartman Memorial Park while Parks and Recreation staff member Liz Drentlaw met the team at the park and helped direct the work.
The task: to move a mountain of mulch that had been dumped in the middle of the woods and spread it out along the hiking trail in areas where the mulch had become thin or had washed out. Players used wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels they had brought to help them complete their task.
Despite the humidity, players worked hard and even showed signs of enjoying what they were doing, every now and then breaking out into song and talking about their favorite sports teams.
“It was very fulfilling to have hikers and joggers come down the trail while we were working and thank the kids for the work they were doing,” said Matt Sisk, PLMS teacher and football coach. “The kids were able to see the impact they were having on these people firsthand.”
Mr. Sisk added that the coaches were proud of the students and their commitment to service.
“While this service day helps us build a tighter sense of community among our players, the coaches really want our athletes to see the larger picture at play here of doing things that benefit other people and the community we live in and not just doing things that benefit only ourselves,” he added. “The kids took to the work and the trail looked really nice when they were finished.”
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Aquatic Center hosted a free clinic for adults on Oct. 14. The event was designed for adult swimmers from novice to advanced who were seeking to improve their swimming skills.
The event focused on body balance and position, stroke rate, stroke length, rotation and timing to significantly increase swimmers’ mechanics, speed and overall efficiency.
Although the clinic was free for all participants, the swimmers were encouraged to “pay it forward” by helping others in the community.
Instructors for the clinic included Bill Ryan, former high school, collegiate and Venezuelan National Team coach; Seth Musser, Lee’s Summit High School swim coach; Doug Hayden, Missouri Valley Masters Swimming masters coach; Rich Baldwin; and Marie Tabler.
Based on the enthusiastic response, Kwasi Pryor, R-7 aquatics director, is planning future “pay it forward” free clinics for adults and children.
For more information about the Aquatic Center programs, visit https://aq.lsr7.org/. The center offers swimming lessons, leagues and aqua aerobics as well as party/event rental.
Bill Ryan talks to participants at the clinic.
Trailridge Elementary School hosted the fourth annual Trailridge FIRST Lego League Rumble on Oct. 21. A total of 17 robotics teams from throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area participated in the practice tournament. Among the teams were six from the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.
FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The international robotics competition seeks to encourage students to go into science-related fields.
Suicide prevention, awareness and related mental health issues are all at the forefront of discussion in our community and Lee’s Summit CARES is taking its role in the conversation seriously. On Nov. 1, Lee’s Summit CARES will sponsor a community conversation that will focus in on the topics of mental health and our youth and teens in Lee’s Summit. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov 1 in the Council Chambers of Lee’s Summit City Hall, 220 SE Green Street.
The community conversation will feature six panelists, including two neurologists and suicide prevention advocates, two mental and behavioral health specialists, a family practitioner and a representative from the Lee’s Summit Police Department. The panel will discuss mental health and suicide prevention for young people and what it looks like in our community. The conversation will be opened up for question-and-answer time so audience members can be involved in this timely and important conversation. The event is geared towards parents and community members.
All are welcome, but space is limited. RSVP to LSCares@rediscovermh.org.
In coming months, Lee’s Summit CARES will be organizing a Suicide Prevention Advisory Committee to analyze the needs of our community and adopt a suicide prevention program. Anyone who is interested in volunteering for this program or donating to this cause can sign up by visiting the website LSCares.org.
Lee’s Summit CARES Director Rachel Segobia said this is a conversation that simply must happen in our community. “For more than 30 years, Lee’s Summit CARES has worked to create a healthy and safe community for children, youth and families of Lee’s Summit,” she said. “With suicide now the second leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, mental health and wellness is a vital piece of the conversation. This event is designed to answer the pressing questions and concerns that parents and community members are struggling with following the recent loss of young lives to suicide. However, it is only the first piece of a bigger conversation that Lee’s Summit CARES Partnership to Prevent Risky Behaviors will be addressing over the course of the next year. We have to begin to analyze what mental health looks like in our young people and how Lee’s Summit can implement a cohesive, community-wide mental wellness and suicide prevention program moving forward.”
ABOUT LEE’S SUMMIT CARES: Lee’s Summit CARES is a non-profit community coalition dedicated to preventing youth substance use and violence, empowering positive parenting and promoting exemplary character.
Lori Danella, assistant director for nutrition services for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, was named a Fuel Up to Play 60 Champion through the program. Fuel Up to Play 60 is sponsored by the National Football League and the National Dairy Council in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Mrs. Danella was recognized at an Oct. 3 ceremony held at Arrowhead Stadium. The event included more than 50 educators from Missouri and Kansas participating in a Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Advisor Training Camp.
During the past five years, Mrs. Danella has helped 16 schools secure more than $135,000 in funding to implement the program in Lee’s Summit R-7 schools.
“Lori’s passion for healthy students and school meals inspires others to take action,” said Robyn Stuewe, Midwest Dairy Council program manager. “Honoring her as a Fuel Up to Play 60 Champion was an easy decision.”
Mrs. Danella has been with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for 10 years and has worked in health and nutrition for 19 years. She serves as Fuel Up to Play 60 advisor for all Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary and middle schools. In addition, she is active in the School Nutrition Association and has served on the organization’s executive board.
“I am very passionate about healthy eating, nutrition education and increasing physical activity,” Mrs. Danella said.
Through Fuel Up to Play 60 last year, more than 13 million students from across the country ate more nutritious foods while increasing their physical activity.
Race for the Future, a 5K run/walk held Oct. 14, raised over $54,000 to benefit the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation and the Carrie Foresee Memorial Scholarship Fund. A total of 966 runners and walkers registered for the 5K event. Another 74 registered as Dream Partners, and an additional 70 participated in the Kid’s Dash.
Total proceeds over the race’s 21-year history are nearly $475,000. The popular metro-area event is held at Lee’s Summit West High School. A photo gallery and race results are available at www.lsedfoundation.com.
A competition for student/staff participation (including 5K runners, walkers and Dream Partners) was also held on race day among Lee’s Summit R-7 schools. Westview Elementary School won first place honors with 93 of their staff and students participating in the 5K or Dream Partner categories. Second place honors went to Woodland Elementary School, third place went to Hazel Grove Elementary and fourth place was awarded to Pleasant Lea Elementary School. The first and second place schools receive traveling trophies. In addition, the first place school receives a $1,000 grant, the second place school receives a $500 grant and the third and fourth place schools each receive a $250 grant from the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation.
The event involves more than 80 volunteers and approximately 50 Friends of the Foundation sponsors. In-kind gifts and concessions for the Race for the Future were provided by Freestyle Graphics, Panera, Hy-Vee, LaMar’s Donuts, Farmer Brothers Coffee and Rockhill Orthopaedics.
The Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation is a non-profit, 501c3 organization established in 1993 to raise and manage resources in order to expand educational opportunities. The Foundation is a way for citizens to invest in today’s youth, tomorrow’s leaders and the future of Lee’s Summit by making tax-deductible donations which are utilized for non-recurring expenses. Donations help provide educational experiences above and beyond the core curricula and help initiate programs that challenge and encourage students at all levels. Over the last five years, the Foundation has awarded more than $3,068,000 to Lee’s Summit R-7 students and schools via PEAK Grants, classroom technology, school programs, student assistance and scholarships to graduating seniors.
The Carrie Foresee Scholarship Fund was established in memory of Carrie Foresee, a former Lee’s Summit High School student. Carrie died Sept. 3, 1996, as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident. Funds from Race for the Future support scholarship opportunities for graduating seniors as well as classroom grants and technology.
For more information about Race for the Future or student scholarships, call Sheryl Franke, Foundation director, (816) 986-1015 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Summit Lakes Middle School PTA collected 1,478 pounds of new and gently used clothing to help students in need. The clothing, which was collected during October parent-teacher conferences, went to Just One, an organization designed to support the needs of Lee’s Summit R-7 students.
Families were asked to donate fall and winter clothing with an emphasis on items that would fit a middle-school age child. Other clothing items were also accepted.
SLMS grade-level teams competed during the clothing drive with the winning team from each grade level earning an ice cream celebration. Winning teams were the 7 Falcon and 8 Blue.
“I think the clothing drive was amazing,” said Nick Harris. “We had so many more clothes than expected — it wouldn’t even all fit into one car. And the best part was my team won.”