RELAY - End of School '22

Great Bend USD 428 - News and Highlights

Starting off summer with celebrations!

It is the goal of the monthly RELAY to connect our staff with news and highlights from across our schools and community. There are so many successes, positive stories, and virtual smiles to share!

We hope you enjoy this brief update. Take a moment to learn something new, celebrate with a colleague or friend, and pause to see the good happening all around you.

In this issue:

  • Quick Reads
  • In the News, 2022 Employee Recognition
  • Perfect Attendance Bike Program
  • Let's Celebrate - Summer Birthdays
  • District Highlights
  • Community Resources

Have a GREAT Summer!

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SupportLinc now available to all USD 428 Employees

Life can be a juggling act. It takes time and energy to balance your work, family and personal challenges. To help you manage life’s daily challenges, USD 428 Great Bend is pleased to announce the SupportLinc employee assistance program (EAP). SupportLinc offers confidential and professional support, at no cost to you or your family.
Visit Support Linc

web access log-in: usd428 (no password neccessary)

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2022 Employee Recognition Banquet

USD 428 proudly celebrates the careers of 12 teachers and staff members who are set to retire at the close of the 2021-2022 school year with an impressive 331 cumulative years of service to the field of education.

An Employee Recognition Banquet held on Wednesday, May 4 at the Great Bend Middle School celebrated retirees as well as teachers who have completed 25 years in the profession.

“This group of dedicated teachers and staff have made a tremendous impact on education in their years of service,” said Khris Thexton, superintendent of USD 428, “This is always a special evening to pause and appreciate their individual career accomplishments as well as the cumulative ‘good’ they have done for our students, district, and community.”

Denise Boone

Denise Boone has been with USD 428 for 18 years as a school psychologist, serving students across the district and cooperative. When asked about positive changes observed during her tenure, Boone commented, “the growing awareness of social/emotional stress on a student’s ability to be academically successful is promising for current and future students.” Boone also shared that “working with students of all abilities has always been the best part of my job.”

Marilyn Holinde

Marilyn Holinde worked for 28 years for USD 428 in a variety of positions - Bus Driver, Copy Center, and Food Service Driver. She was commended for her positive and "can-do" attitude by her former supervisor, Cody Schmidtt. In retirement, she plans to spend more time on the road traveling and with family.

David Meter

David Meter, GBHS activities director, has worked in nearly every building in the district during his 43-year career. He began as a physical education teacher at Roosevelt Jr. High and after completing his Master's Degree from Fort Hays State University taught PE at several elementary schools while simultaneously coaching football, basketball, and track for the Great Bend High School Panthers. Meter was the principal at Park Elementary for 11 years before moving to Great Bend High School where he would spend 22 years as the Activities Director.

“You can’t find a better colleague or friend,” said Tim Friess, principal of GBHS.

Meter’s career has seen significant improvements to GBHS facilities and programs. Some of these include developing the first-class weight room, construction of the PAC, and enhancements at Memorial Stadium which include a larger grandstand, turf football field, and LED lighting. While these improvements are notable, Meter considers himself “thankful and blessed for the opportunity to work with hundreds of students, staff, board of education members, parents, and community members for over four decades.”

“The people in Great Bend are the reason Cindy and I have stayed in this community,” said Meter.

Kathy Moore

Concluding her career of 37 years, 6 of those at Great Bend High School, Kathy Moore has taught PE, Art, K-12 Spanish, and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). Moore developed strong relationships with her small classes and hopes she inspired students to continue their educational journey.

“Spanish is my first love,” said Moore, “but teaching EL challenged me and gave me a sense of urgency about helping students learn.”

Sheryl Neeland

For 39 years, Sheryl Neeland has been caring for students both ‘at the moment’ and ‘for the future.’ Neeland began her career as a Kindergarten teacher and school nurse, serving 6 different buildings, before delving into the position of school counselor at GBMS for 29 years.

“As a counselor, Sheryl has had an impact on hundreds and hundreds of kids,” said David Reiser, principal at GBMS, “middle school is a transitional point in life and she’s used her big heart for kids to help them develop emotionally and socially, learn to resolve conflicts, and meet their unique needs. Her sense of calm will be missed in our building and district.”

Jay Schneider

Jay Schneider has worked for USD 428 for 6 years, beginning his career at Riley Elementary for two years and then at Eisenhower Elementary. When asked about his favorite memory, he commented, "The kids are the most important part."

Deb Stanton

Deb Stanton has been a special education teacher for 41 years, spending 29 years in USD 428 at Great Bend High School, Riley Elementary, and Eisenhower Elementary. When asked about memories from her career, she spoke highly of the paraprofessionals who worked in her classroom throughout the years.

Lana Wolf

Lana Wolf has been the center point of the GBHS activities office for 34 years.

“Lana created this position,” said Tim Friess, GBHS principal. “Every process you see, the countless activities added over the years, she’s been at the center organizing it all.”

“I always looked forward to the beginning of a new school year,” said Wolf. “I loved seeing the staff return, students back in the halls, and the excitement of the fall sports season.”

Celebrating 25 Years of Teaching

Terri Rous, Barton County Special Services & Ellinwood Schools; Dan Heath, Great Bend High School; Karen Clark, Great Bend High School; Deena Smith, Jefferson Elementary School
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Free Summer Eats!

USD 428 Food Service is ready to serve our community children this summer!

  • June 6 - June 30: 5 Elementary Locations, 11 am - 1 pm

  • July 5 - July 29: Eisenhower, Park, & Riley 11 am - 1 pm

Each weekday, USD 428 Food Service will provide free meals for ALL Children 18 years of age and younger at elementary school locations from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm in the gyms. Children will be provided with a to-go lunch and a breakfast pack. They can choose to eat in the gyms or take the meals home.

*Summer School Students (June) and REACH Participants (July) will be invited to eat meals on-site in the cafeteria, they will not receive to-go meals.

Parent Pick-Up Permits will be allowed again this summer. Parents/Guardians will bring all children for the first time with them to their preferred school location. This allows parents/guardians permission to pick up meals without the children present. Parents/guardians MUST have this permit with them every day to pick up the meals, with no exceptions.

**NEW this summer, permits can only be used at the location where they are issued. Meaning, that parents cannot switch their pick-up location. Permits for families utilizing Jefferson & Lincoln in June can be reissued for another location in July.

These meals are FREE to all children, no income guidelines, and no registration or paperwork. We highly encourage all our families to eat with us.

See you this summer!

Kristy Alvord

Food Service Director

This program is a federally funded program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services. USD 428 is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Perfect Attendance Bikes

For nearly a decade, a dedicated group of community volunteers has been motivating Great Bend students to make attendance at school a priority through the Perfect Attendance Bike Program.

In 2022, 28 bikes were awarded across USD 428's elementary schools to recognize all students with 100% attendance. The effort is supported by 29 community donors and businesses. The Great Bend Pilot Club also joined the effort and provided a fitted helmet to accompany the new wheels.

The group also extends gratitude to the parents and guardians who support and encourage their students to attend school every day and arrive on time.

Businesses or individuals who are interested in supporting the Perfect Attendance Bike program can make donations through the USD 428 Education Foundation.

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Closing a chapter, four decades in the making

For 40 years, Kay Tracy has been an engaged member of the Lincoln Elementary family. Tracy's son Joey began kindergarten in 1982 in Mrs. Harper's class followed by three additional children, and 6 grandchildren. When her grandson Jaxon Tracy celebrated his 6th-grade graduation from Lincoln Elementary on May 23, 2022, it concludes 40 consecutive years of attendance by a total of 10 family members.

"When I asked my kids and grandkids about their favorite memory of Lincoln, they all said their kindergarten teacher," said Tracy.

Offering a mother and grandmother's perspective, Tracy shared that her most treasured memories of Lincoln are the relationships she's built.

"I could always call at the drop of a hat and be welcomed with kindness," said Tracy. "It's been a very good experience."

In addition to family members, Tracy operates an in-home daycare that serves several Lincoln families. While a significant chapter closes this year, Tracy knows she'll remain connected to Lincoln in several ways. A hint for the next chapter, Tracy has a great-grandaughter who will likely be a Linion Lion in three years.

Pictured left: Kay Tracy and her husband Joe, and their four adult children.

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Welcome, little ones!

Do you have a celebration to share?

If you have a birth announcement, anniversary, personal accomplishment, or a celebration to share with your 428 family - please email to be included in the monthly RELAY!
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JAG-K Graduates 100% of it's Senior Class Members!

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Jonas Kinder Talent Show Performance 2022
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Explore Great Bend Calendar of Events

Community events and coupons for local businesses too!

Be sure to follow Explore Great Bend on Facebook for news and events!

Final Fridays on Forest

Friday, May 27 on Forest Avenue

5-9 pm

Featuring music by Lightfoot & Buehler

Learn more, Click Here

June Jaunt, June 3-5

Make plans to attend the 2022 June Jaunt in Downtown Great Bend, KS June 3-5. Jack Kilby Square will be THE PLACE for live music, entertainment, and more!

  • Car Show
  • Free Outdoor Movie
  • Paint in the Park with Dilly & Doc
  • Inflatable Zone
  • Zoo Activities
  • Business Olympics
  • Homebrew Concert
  • Scavenger Hunts

To view the full schedule of events, click here.

Quality of Life Survey

Below is a link to the Great Bend Quality of Life Survey. The advisory committee is looking for community feedback on projects that will impact community quality of life, creating both immediate and long-term plans. It is quick and easy to complete! Don't delay, the survey closes next week.

Great Bend Quality of Life Survey

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Share Your Stories and Activities - Summer fun TOO!

It only takes a few minutes to share the GREAT things happening in your classroom! Email high-resolution photos and a quick caption and we'll share it with the community on social media!

Quick Photo Caption:

"Students are learning _______________, by doing ______________."

Submit News to

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