RELAY - April 2023

Great Bend USD 428 - News and Highlights

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:

  • Calendar Highlights & Quick Reads
  • Spelling Bee, Family Tra·di·tion
  • BOE Meeting Highlights
  • Investment Challenge Results
  • Let's Celebrate - April Birthdays
  • School Highlights
  • Community Resources
Big picture

Let the Good Times Roll!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for a fun afternoon at Walnut Bowl before heading off on spring break!

Employee Appreciation Event Winners:

  • Classroom Pizza Party: Dorothy Leidig, Park
  • PJ Day: Eric Dowson, Park
  • Staff Donut Delivery: Donna Becker, GBHS
  • Classroom Sonic Run: Michelle Daniel, Riley
  • Building Sonic Run: Lucero Chavez, Central Kitchen
  • Classroom Donut Delivery: Holly Johnson, GBHS
  • $100 Collaborative Classroom Budget: Shelly Post, Helping Hands

GB Swag Winners:

  • Lisa Daniels, GBHS
  • Karen Barrow, Food Service
  • Wendy Popp, GBHS
  • Garrett Dykes, GBHS
  • Megan McGuire, Eisenhower
  • Ashlynn McCarty, BCSS - Ellinwood
  • Doug Disque, Central Kitchen
  • Barb Austin, GBHS
  • Traci Burns, DEC
  • Jessica Delgado, Riley
Big picture

Next word, please spell … Tra·di·tion

For one Great Bend Family, excellence in spelling is a tradition. Following in the footsteps of his two older sisters, Christian Garcia claimed top honors at the Barton County Spelling Bee in February and advanced to the Sunflower State Spelling Bee held at Newman University on Saturday, March 25, 2023.

The competition involved 86 spellers from across the state and lasted 13 rounds. Garcia made it to the fourth round and placed 37th.

Jazmin Garcia was the first sibling to win the Barton County Spelling Bee in 2014, followed by Jacklyn in 2019 & 2021.

“Spelling is something we’ve practiced together,” said Jacklyn Garcia. “At home, I took on the role of ‘pronouncer’ and would randomly select a word off the list and ask Christian to spell it. It’s really cool to see the names of all three of us on the spelling bee winner list.”

“It’s okay if you don’t win,” Jacklyn added, “going to the state bee, in itself, is a grand accomplishment.”

All the Garcia siblings attended Riley Elementary where Christian is now in the 5th-grade with his twin sister, Jennifer. Jacklyn is a Sophomore at GBHS, and Jazmin graduated from GBHS in 2020.

Tyler Nolte, from Nemaha County was named the 2023 Sunflower State Spelling Bee Champion and will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee this summer in Washington, D.C.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee states that the purpose of the bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

The Barton County Spelling Bee is organized by the Kiwanis Club of Great Bend. For more information, please contact USD 428 at 620-793-1500.

Big picture

Board of Education Meeting Highlights

The USD 428 Board of Education held its monthly luncheon meeting at Jefferson Elementary School on Tuesday, February 28 at 12 noon.

BOE Members and guests enjoyed Walking Tacos for lunch and a building report from Jefferson Staff & Students.

Report Highlights:

  • Kindergarten: Mrs. Westerhaus, teacher, shared information about purposeful centers and how they are supporting learning in her classroom.
  • First-grade students from Mrs. Foster's class shared "Why I Love Great Bend" stories they wrote recently.
  • Special Education Technology: Mrs. Kriegh and a student helper, showcased how the touch-screen "tv" works in her classroom to provide engaging academic content for both ELA and math.
  • Fifth-grade: Students shared and demonstrated what they learned in a recent robotics unit. In their hypothetical scenario, they use robots to collect pollution from the sea after a tsunami.
  • 6th-grade: Two students showcased their space display, one example of the interactive science fair that was recently hosted at Jefferson for all students to enjoy.


Grants & Contributions: The following were approved by the BOE.

  • Christine Simos wishes to contribute a 15’x 60’ artificial turf to the new Barton County Special Services Preschool. The contribution is valued at $5,000.
  • Eisenhower Elementary School wishes to accept $ 200.00 from their PTO for Family Formal Night (contribution for DJ fee)

Great Bend High School
wishes to accept the following contributions:
  • GBHS Choir $395.59 Applebees Giving Tuesday Fundraiser
  • GBHS Choir $1,105.54 Pizza Hut Fundraiser
  • GBHS Forensics Coach, Kim Heath, wishes to apply for a “Roads to Nationals” grant from the William Woods Tate, Jr. Memorial Fund that if granted, provides $250 up to $1,000 to help students attend the National Speech & Debate Tournament.


Personnel Report: Approved by the BOE

Licensed Resignations:

  • Mr. Nathan Broeckelman, Math at GBHS
  • Mrs. Tami Schepman, Instructional Coach at GBMS
  • Mrs. Tricia Reiser, USD 428 Assistant Superintendent

Licensed Appointments:

  • Ms. Jamie Sorenson, 6th-grade at Jefferson Elementary
  • Ms. Kieara Kaufman, 1st-grade at Eisenhower Elementary
  • Ms. Mayra Reyas, Kindergarten at Eisenhower Elementary
  • Ms. Bradyn Houlteberg, Vocal Music at Jefferson Elementary
  • Mrs. Samantha Nicholson, 4th-grade at Lincoln Elementary (TA to Teaching Program)
Jefferson BOE Meeting
Big picture

Investment challenge brings stock market to life for GBHS students

Learning the risks and rewards of Wall Street, 270 students at Great Bend High School recently participated in the Sixth Annual Legacy Financial Solutions Investment Challenge.

Utilizing an online platform called How the Market Works, participants started the month of February with $100,000 virtual cash to “invest” at their discretion. While the online trading platform provides research tools, investment content, and real-time trading to simulate participation in the stock market, students and staff members have the opportunity to test their own strategies and experiment with their investments.

At the end of the month-long simulation, the top three student winners were Braxton Love, first; Dustyn Epp, second; and Kyler Harris, third.

“The popularity of the investment challenge has grown substantially in the past six years,” said Lacy Wolters, GBHS career/ACT coordinator. “It’s exciting to see students participate year-after-year, as well as their enthusiasm grow for personal finance and the stock market.”

“The investment challenge allows students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to a realistic simulation, and even if they’re not enrolled in a personal finance class they can still participate,” said Wolters.

“It’s our goal to give students a real-life foundation in the world of investments and financial planning,” said Matt Hiss, investment advisor representative with Legacy Financial Solutions. “As participation grows, the excitement tells us we are offering a program where students both learn and enjoy. We enjoy partnering with the school to give students and staff members this experience.”

The Legacy Financial Solutions Investment Challenge awarded the following prizes to the USD 428 staff winners, Daniel Schneider, first place; Jason Duvall, second place; and Andrea Bauer, third place.

For more information on the Great Bend High School Personal Finance and Investing class or the “How the Market Works” simulation, please contact Lacy Wolters at 620-793-1521. For information about Legacy Financial Solutions, call 620-792-6333 or visit their office at 2001 Broadway Ave in Downtown Great Bend, KS.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Welcome, baby!

Miraya & Kasey Starnes welcomed a sweet baby boy to their family on March 22. Theo is loved by his siblings, Kilian, Ramsey, and Lilith.

Theodore (Theo) Kade Starnes

Born March 22, 2023 @ 3:07pm

10lb. 3oz.

21.5 inches long

Miraya Starnes is an Elementary Art Teacher for USD 428. Congratulations!

Do you have a celebration to share?!

We want to celebrate with you! Please send announcements such as engagements, marriage, birth, etc. to for inclusion in the monthly RELAY Newsletter. This is an opportunity to share both personal and career announcements.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Team Riley "Kicks the Habit" Kickball Tournament!

Big picture

Eisenhower Celebrates!

Big picture
Big picture

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!

Big picture
Big picture

Share Your Stories and Activities!

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

Big picture
Big picture