USD 231 Examples of Excellence

December 2021 and January 2022

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USD 231 is proud of the accomplishments that occur daily in our classrooms and buildings. We are frequently notified of awards received, generous donations by members of our community, and other occasions that warrant special attention. The USD 231 'Examples of Excellence' newsletter is produced to share the stories of our student and employee successes!​

Share Your Story with Us!!!

Do you have a 'feel-good' story or accomplishment to share? Let us know by submitting the information HERE.

Arts Council of Johnson County Recognizes GEHS Students

Arts Council of Johnson County Names 2022 Gardner Edgerton School District Shooting Stars Program Finalists

OVERLAND PARK, KS – January 2022 – The Arts Council of Johnson County (ACJC) announces three finalists from the Gardner-Edgerton School District have been nominated for the 2022 Shooting Stars Awards. The Shooting Stars Program promotes the positive impact arts education has on our students by honoring student achievement in the literary, performing and visual arts, providing students with resources to help them achieve their creative career goals, awarding scholarships for college and supporting teachers with honorariums.

All finalists will be recognized and Shooting Stars scholarship award recipients will be announced at the virtual Shooting Stars Gala on Sunday, April 3, 2021.

“This special recognition program was created in 1997 by former ACJC chairman Bob Endres,” said Sarah VanLanduyt, ACJC Executive Director. “Bob’s vision was to create a program that celebrated young Johnson County artists for their artistic excellence in high school. Only the best of the best high school artists are chosen to participate in the Shooting Stars Program.”

Since its founding, the Shooting Stars program has awarded more than $400,000 in college scholarships and $65,000 in teacher honorariums. At the Virtual Shooting Stars Gala on April 3, 2021, nine first place scholarships of $1,400 each, nine second place scholarships of $700 each and nine teacher honorariums of $300 each will be awarded. The program is supported by Johnson County and area foundations, corporations and individual donors.

Students are nominated by their Arts teachers for this recognition. Arts teachers from schools throughout Johnson County are invited to nominate students each year. Students who live in Johnson County but attend school outside of the county also may be nominated by their Arts teachers.

To participate in Shooting Stars, students must meet these criteria:

> be in the 12th grade and will graduate in the spring;

> live in Johnson County, Kansas;

> be nominated by an Arts teacher from their high school, and submit an application.

Nominations were accepted from October 29 - November 12, 2021 and applications from October 29 – November 19, 2021. After being selected as a finalist, the high school seniors will audition or submit a portfolio of work for review by independent judges in the following categories.

“The arts are essential to supporting critical thinking skills and fostering creativity and community,” said Sarah VanLanduyt, Arts Council of Johnson County Executive Director. “We know that especially during this year students’ passion for the arts is playing an important role; helping them stay connected, career-ready and helping them manage unexpected challenges.”

2022 Shooting Stars Program Finalists,

Nominating Teacher and Schools

Theatre Performance

Brooklyn Drabant, nominated by Jason Hagg, Gardner Edgerton HS

2D Visual Art

Emily Schutzel, nominated by Toni Britt, Gardner Edgerton HS

Winds & Percussion

Jillian Velazquez, nominated by Will Biggs, Gardner Edgerton HS


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GEHS Students Earn Scholarships

The Johnson County NAACP hosts a scholarship essay competition for students in area schools each year. The recipients of the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy and Scholarship read their submission at a dinner hosted by the NAACP. This event is the largest and most prestigious MLK Celebration in Johnson County.

The dinner was held on Monday, January 17 with Governor Laura Kelly, Senator Roger Marshall, Attorney General Derek Schmidt as well as many other local city leaders in attendance.

GEHS students Samantha Avila and Kayla Newman were the Gardner Edgerton winners of the scholarship and did an excellent job of sharing their essays at the large gathering.

Congratulations to both GEHS students!

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Join us in thanking our Board of Education

Public education is the backbone of American society, and local school boards are deeply rooted in U.S. tradition. In fact, in 1966 the people of Kansas amended our state’s constitution to specifically call for local public schools that are ‘maintained, developed and operated by locally elected boards.’

The seven individuals on our board of education are responsible for setting the vision for our local education program and partner with staff and other members of the community to provide the facilities and infrastructure to achieve that vision.

Their service to our school district is voluntary and they spend hundreds of hours serving our schools. They research, study, and then discuss issues so that they can make informed decisions on countless complex challenges. Too often we forget about the personal sacrifices school board members make.

Each board member is a strong advocate for the success of every child in our schools. They spend hours in meetings and on committees, and also advocate for our schools with elected politicians by speaking out against budget cuts or pushing for policy and program reforms.

Our board of education includes Lana Sutton (President), Tom Reddin (Vice President), Greg Chapman, Jeff Miller, Kristen Schultz, Robin Stout and Katie Williams.

January 2022 marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to shine a light on how local boards prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. Please join with others throughout our district and state to thank the people who provide leadership for our public schools.

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Blazers of the Month (December)

In an effort to recognize GEHS students who are exceeding expectations, teachers/staff take time each month to submit the names of students who are worthy of recognition and go above and beyond by displaying positive, noteworthy character traits. There is no limit to the number of students a staff member can recognize!

All nominees are then invited to a celebration in the Lecture Hall, during Seminar, on the first Monday of the following month.

Congratulations to the following students - recognized in December:

Danica Bogard

Hannah Boldin


Javier Castenada

Eduardo Cifuentes Tobias

Julian Cisneros

Caroline Clarke

Josephine Coffelt

Kenadi Crowder

Shelby Davis

Ashley Felix-Basto

Rhi Folsom

Sophie Gascich

Hunter Gray

Theoden Hall

Carson Hilton

Payton Hofer

Emerson Holle

Trinity Hudson

Ali Jennings

Jay Jensen

Lily Kepler

Felix Kester

Dawson Lasley

Nathan Lee

Will Lewis

Jack Lloyd


Marques Martin

Abbi Oldham

Jason Pitts

Brooke Privat

Riley Proctor

Anthony Ross

Rylee Salazar

Ethan Sanders

Kyleigh Spengler

Maddi Trout

Daniel Wahl

Jessie Warrick

Camden Wells

Share Your Story with Us!!!

Do you have a 'feel-good' story or accomplishment to share? Let us know by submitting the information HERE.