Senior Makayla Wagner meets birth family

Over winter break, senior Makayla Wagner met with her birth mother and sister for the first time since being adopted by Heather and Jack Wagner in 2002.

“We adopted Makayla on the very first national adoption day that Shawnee County observed,” Heather Wagner said, “that was October 18, 2006.”

Prior to contacting her birth mother, Makayla knew relatively little about her birth family. “I didn’t know a lot, not a lot at all,” she said. “I was very young.” Makayla even had doubts about ever getting in contact with them. “I didn’t think that they wanted to talk to me or that they didn’t even want to meet at all.”

In order to meet or contact her birth mother, Makayla had to be eighteen. “When we adopted the kids we told them that when they turned eighteen, if they wanted to find their birth families we would help them do that,” Heather said. Makayla came to her mother shortly after her birthday in October and said that she wanted to find her birth mom. “I asked her how she wanted to proceed,” Heather said. Makayla wanted to talk to her grandmother, who was her foster parent prior to being adopted.

“We went up and we started talking to my mom. Makayla had some questions, they were answered, and then we actually found their family on Facebook,” Heather said. Makayla then corresponded with her birth mother for the first time since being adopted.

Makayla’s fears soon turned into excitement after reaching out for the first time. “Me and my grandma and my mom reached out to her,” she said, “She told me she was really excited because we hadn’t talked in years, but she was kind of nervous.”

Heather said she was excited for Makayla. “I have been totally OK with both of my kids finding their birth families. If they want to find them great, if they don’t that’s fine too,” Heather said. “I have had the opportunity and been blessed to raise them and keep them alive.”

When details were finalized, Wagner, accompanied by her mother, met with her birth mother and sister. “I was kind of nervous to meet them but also happy,” Makayla said.

“It went well, we laughed a lot.” “My favorite part was hanging out with my sister and going to Chuck E. Cheese’s.”

Heather said meeting them was a wonderful experience. “We laughed, we cried, I finally for the first time got to see how Makayla was made up.” Heather Wagner said she can see many similarities between Wagner and her birth family. “It’s just been a wonderful experience for us.”

“It has created a whole new world for Makayla,” Heather said. Makayla is often excited, but still gets a little nervous, but has learned so much. “When you are adopted there’s a lot of unknowns, like family history but by meeting them she has had the opportunity to learn.”

Makayla plans to stay in contact with her birth family as they are planning to moving to Kansas City. She hopes to make many new memories and learn more about her family history.

“If you ever have the opportunity to adopt a child, I think that is one of the best ways if you can’t have children of your own to become a parent,” Heather said. “They deserve forever families, just like you have yours and I have mine.”

— Emma Frey, @_emmafrey_

Wabaunsee district hires social worker

Wabaunsee gained a new staff member, Melissa Watson, as the district Crosswinds School-Based Case Manager.

Watson will continue working with her current Crosswinds clients, some of whom are in Wabaunsee schools. She will provide social and emotional support to any K-12 students. In the future, she hopes to provide group work and in-service trainings.

Annie Frank, who is employed by the district’s service education cooperative with Rock Creek and Wamego, will still work primarily with students on IEPs.

Watson said her role will provide several benefits to the district. “The number one benefit will be bridging the services between the school and Crosswinds. I will be able to provide services to students that might not be able to get services and facilitate the referral process for Crosswinds. Another benefit is I am more accessible for crisis situations and I am able to implement necessary interventions.”

Staff members have been instructed to complete a Google Form recording observations of students displaying red flags. They will refer any students who exhibit alarming behaviors, such as isolation or other apparent struggles to Watson. Teachers are urged to call, text, or email her in crisis situations, when immediate help is needed.

“I am working with teachers and principals to identify crisis situations that may need immediate assessment and interventions that I can provide,” Watson said.

— Kendyl Bolinder, @BolinderKendyl

Editorial Briefs: Winter weather not cooperating

Winter weather causes headaches

Snow on Fridays is a tragic waste of a potential snow day. It also stinks for wrestling to lose meets. Basketball games at Royal Valley this week have been moved to Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, but might still be affected by the weather. We hope things cooperate this weekend, or maybe the snow will stretch into next week so we can play video games and binge Netflix on a snow day.

Staff taking new jobs

It’s sad to see Delfelder and Lawrence leave, but we’re happy for both of them. Good luck in new positions and careers!

Girls tearing up the court

Girls basketball is ranked #4 in 2A in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll. They’ll face tough competition this week at the Royal Valley Tournament.

No dancing at WHS

NHS had to cancel the Winter Royalty dance after the games Friday. While most students were ready to head home after a long week, it’s a shame that NHS lost its biggest fundraiser.


Juniors spent Tuesday morning taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). It’s good to get an idea of our strengths, but the test process was confusing and unorganized.

The editorial is the opinion of the Charger staff. Send letters to the editor to

Technology director, English teacher to leave WHS

Two Wabaunsee staff members will be leaving the district for new opportunities.

Technology director Austin Lawrence announced he is leaving after nine years serving on the Wabaunsee staff. Lawrence accepted a job as I.T. Director at Hanover-Barnes-Linn school district in Hanover, where Lawrence and his wife Cindy are from. They plan to build a house and raise their family there. Cindy, who currently teaches fifth grade math and science at Paxico Middle School, will stay until the end of the school year.

“What I’m excited about with this new job is that it’s basically an opportunity to come in and improve another school district,” Lawrence said.

Although Lawrence is excited about this job opportunity, he says he will miss Wabaunsee greatly.

“The things we go through in life are sometimes bittersweet, and we all have them. This is one of those moments for me. I really cannot put into words how great all of you have been over my nine years here. You are a great group of people to work with and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors,” Lawrence said.

English teacher Laura Delfelder will be attending Veterinary School at Kansas State University this fall. She has wanted to be a vet her entire life, so this was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. She is excited to continue her education, because she really enjoys learning. She’ll be at WHS for the rest of the year.

What Delfelder will miss most about teaching is her students.

“I’m gonna miss my students. That’s like the one thing that makes me almost want to cry thinking about,” Delfelder said

“I’m going to miss my English classes, but can’t wait to move onto the next chapter.”

— Kendyl Bolinder, @BolinderKendyl

New P.E. teacher starts at WHS

P.E. teacher Garret Eck works in the weightroom during body fitness. Eck graduated from Emporia in December. Photo by Sierra Quathamer.

Eck hopes to promote fitness

New P.E. teacher Garrett Eck’s workout habits show that he is passionate about his subject.

“I decided to go into body fitness because I was originally out of shape and it really brought back my life and I wanted to help people get back in shape and push themselves in the weight room,” Eck said.

Eck replaces interim teacher Shanna Perine, who held the position for the first semester this year.

Eck attended Cloud County Community College to play baseball where he got his associates of science. After CCCC he went to Emporia State for his Bachelors of science in secondary education and minor in coaching. Eck student taught at Emporia High School and was an assistant football coach.

Eck, who graduated from Marysville in 2013, was intrigued by the job at Wabaunsee because it is a small school like where he is from and it was a great opportunity to teach right out of college.

His goals for the semester include getting more weight classes and more students in class instead of just having a couple of students in each period.

Challenges Eck has faced from starting later in the year are that the students already have a routine that they were used to and learning everybody’s names.

“My biggest goal for the year is to turn things around to get the kids to where they want to lift. They just want to go play games out in the gym. I want to get more kids in weights overall,” Eck said.

— Laurel Barber, @Lawl_e_20


New Spanish teacher starts at WHS

Spanish teacher David Amer addresses his Spanish 1 class. Amer graduated from Washburn in December. Photo by Sierra Quathamer.

Amer hopes to have fun in class

New Spanish teacher David Amer looks forward to teaching at Wabaunsee.

Amer filled the teaching position held previously by Kathy Hendricks who had served as an interim Spanish teacher. Along with all Spanish classes, Amer will also be taking on a freshman adviser base class and serve as a freshman adviser.

Amer, originally from Kansas City, is a graduate of Bishop Miege High School. Amer participated in baseball, football and wrestling in high school. He also enjoys working on cars and working out. Amer’s current hobbies include spending time with his fiancé, listening to music and following Royals baseball. “I also like to cook, play guitar, and am training my dog so she can be a therapy dog one day,” Amer said.

After high school, Amer moved to Topeka and attended Washburn University where he earned a degree in Spanish with an emphasis in Education. Amer student taught at Seaman High School this past semester.

Amer decided to become a teacher after helping coach the baseball team at Bishop Miege during the summer of his freshman and sophomore years of college. “I really enjoyed the experience of being able to work with young people,”Amer said, “and I know high school especially is an important time to have positive supportive influences in your life. I hope to be a positive and supportive person to students here and help them get where they want to go in life.”

Amer is looking forward to a good year at Wabaunsee. “I chose to come to Wabaunsee because it is a great opportunity to gain experience fresh out of college,” Amer said, “and I have the support and chance to try some non-traditional Spanish methods in the classroom. My goal for this semester is to teach you guys a lot of Spanish, have fun in class and have a lot of smiles.”

— Hannah Mumpower, @Hlmump01

Editorial Briefs: new pass system mildly annoying

Online passes are annoying

Students are crying because in the time it takes to fill out the QR code pass for the bathroom, they have already peed their pants. The new system is better than filling out paper passes, but we still think it can be streamlined. We hope the kinks get worked out in the next few weeks.

Homecoming candidates pull names from Winter Royalty

A couple of the Homecoming candidates pulled their names from consideration for Winter Royalty, giving new students a chance to win a nomination. We’re torn on whether this should be an official rule or not, but we applaud the students who made the decision. Good luck to the Winter Royalty candidates Friday night!

We miss Winter vacation

What is the point of having two days of school after Christmas break? We could have just gone a few days later before break and then continued with a full week after New Year’s. Fortunately, it looks like this will be fixed on next year’s schedule.

WHS welcomes New teachers

We’re glad that Perine and Hendricks stepped up last semester to teach P.E. and Spanish, but it’s nice to have teachers who are here on a more permanent basis. Congratulations to Mr. Eck and Mr. Amer on their first teaching jobs We hope you have a great experience at WHS.

Staff repairs commons ceiling

The custodial staff worked over break to repair damage to the commons ceiling. It’s a tough job caring for several old buildings in the district, and we’re happy when the district can find a way to stay on top of the challenges.

Binge this

After binge watching new things for two weeks over break, our opinion is to stay home and watch season 3 of “Series of Unfortunate Events” on Netflix instead of going to the theatres to watch the terrible “Holmes and Watson.” Other official endorsements from the Charger include “Birdbox,” “Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour,” and “Dumplin.”

The editorial is the opinion of the Charger staff. Send letters to the editor to

Government class proposes changes to student handbook

Changes include dress code, parking rules and college visits

The students of the WHS Government class have made proposals for changes to the student handbook. The changes will be reviewed by Principal Jan Hutley, and if accepted will take effect in the next school year.

The students reviewed the handbook and looked for policies that could be changed to better serve the student body, as well as outdated rules that needed to be updated. “The students basically go through the legislative process,” government teacher Jess Rutledge said, “Introducing an idea, talking about it as a committee, and then writing it out for a bill, and then we send it to administration which we kind of treat like the executive branch.”

The administration then either approves the suggestions, which become “laws,” or vetoes them. Rutledge said this allows the students to better understand the legislative process. “It’s one thing to teach them about how laws are made,” Rutledge said, “so for them to physically do it and then see what all goes into it, all the various angles they have to look at, I feel like they really enjoy that.”

Proposed changes to the handbook include entries about the dress code, grading policies, parking lots and college visits. There are also proposed updates to outdated parts of the handbook such as lunch cards that are no longer in use and the correction of the table of contents.

The decision making process was largely left up to the students. “I try to stay out of it as much as possible,” Rutledge said. The students had to take the responsibility of choosing reasonable options that they believe will pass.

There was a lot of debate about suggestions. “Some people expanded on their opinions but others just said the same thing over and over,” senior Dillion Spellman said. In the end, the classes had two lists of changes to propose. “We were mostly pleased with the things we came up with,” senior Jessica Vanstory said, “most of all of us came to an agreement.”

The handbook assignment is different from past years. “The past four years what we’ve done is a bill to change WHS for the better,” Rutledge said. Of those presented over the years, one bill of suggestion was accepted by the school “administrative branch.” “It’s interesting because we’ve had a change in administration,” Rutledge said, “and with it being a different project I’m interested to see what Mrs. Hutley and the school board’s input will be.”

Hutley said she will take the student’s proposals into consideration when she reviews the handbook for changes. “It’s their school too, and I value what they have to say about the policies,” Hutley said.

— Eleanor Badeker, @ellybadeker

2B proposals

Dress Code:


Remove the following restrictions on these dress codes from the handbook, under the condition that they are not a distraction:

  • Jackets/Coats
  • Gloves
  • Hats/Beanies/Bandanas
  • Key chains
  • Dyed Hair Colors


Update the shorts policy to read as follows:

  • “Students are not allowed to wear shorts that are shorter than a 3-inch in-seam and are showing anything above the upper-thigh.”

GPA Policy:

The following should be the updated for the section titled “Weighted Grades an Honor Grades”:

  • The following weight formula is used to figure grade point averages at WHS-
    • Weighted Classes:
      • Physics
      • *NOTE- the following classes are still listed in the student handbook as classes that are offered for a weighted grade, but currently not available at WHS-
        • AP English
        • Calculus
    • The Weighting is as follows-
      • “A”= 5 points vs. the current 4
      • “B”= 4 points vs. the current 3
      • “C”= 3 points vs. the current 2
      • “D”= remains 1 point
      • “F”= remains 0 points
    • Honors Classes: Students will have 0.5 added to their GPA for the following classes-
      • Anatomy
      • Spanish II, III, and IV
      • College Algebra
      • Stats & Trig
      • Advanced Biology
      • College English
      • *NOTE- the following classes are still listed in the student handbook as classes that are offered as Honors Classes, but currently not available at WHS-
        • French II
        • Pre-AP English III
        • College Trigonometry

Parking Lot Permission

Under the “Student Driving” section in the handbook, it states that students are not allowed to go to the parking lot, and/or their vehicles, without permission from the office. We would like to amend this section to read as follows:

  • ‘Students will not return to their vehicle without permission from the office, or without a written pass from their classroom teacher, or until school is dismissed.’

College Visits/Military Policy:


  • Change the wording in the handbook to read as follows in regards to the policy on the amount of dates allowed for a student to miss school in regards to college visits, and/or military requirements-
  • Students are allowed 6 excused college visits, or, military visits/affairs while they attend WHS.
  • Students must present signed college visit form/military form on their visit and return it to the office upon their return to school.
  • Students are responsible for all homework missed during this absence.
  • Any additional excused visits must require either of the following for administrative approval-
  • Military requested attendance
  • Contact from the college specifically pertaining to the student


Work Study/Senior Hour Policy:

The handbook requirements for both of these policies should remain the same, with the exception that students are allowed to enroll in both, provided they meet all other existing requirements to be in good standing with the school and on course for graduation.

  • As it relates to the Senior Hour policy, we would like to specify that students are NOT required to be at school until the start of second hour classes.

Open Lunch:

Currently, the handbook does NOT place any restrictions on students, during open lunch, using a non-motorized bicycle to transport themselves to and from eateries. We would like to add the following policy in regards to open lunch transportation-

  • Students that are able to go off of campus during the lunch period may do so using the following modes of transportation-
    • Non-motorized bicycles
    • Non-motorized scooters
    • Non-motorized skateboards
    • Heelys
    • Non-motorized Rollerblades/Rollerskates
    • Students are NOT allowed to use the following to transport themselves-
      • Any motorized transportation

Needs Updated:


  • Change “Powerschool” to “online gradebook”, because we do not use powerschool anymore.
  • Remove “student lunch cards” from the handbook, as they are no longer used.
  • Change the listed days for ZAP to stating that it is on Tuesdays & Thursdays.
  • Revise the online handbook to the current edition
  • Current “Table of Contents” is incorrect with its information. This needs to be remedied.


4A Proposals 


College Visits/Military Policy:

  • Change the wording in the handbook to read as follows in regards to the policy on the amount of dates allowed for a student to miss school in regards to college visits, and/or military requirements-
  • Students are allowed 5 excused college visits, or, military visits/affairs while they attend WHS.
  • Students must present signed college visit form/military form on their visit and return it to the counselor upon their return to school.
  • Students are responsible for all homework missed during this absence.
  • Any additional excused visits must require either of the following for administrative approval-
  • Military requested attendance
  • Contact from the college specifically pertaining to the student



Ineligibility Policy:

  • The following should be added to the WHS ineligibility policy:
  • Two or more ‘D’s- After eligibility is run, students have one week of probation to bring up their grade in ONE of the two classes. If they do not come off probation at the end of the next week, they are officially ineligible for the next week.
  • Two or more ‘D’s WITH an ‘F’- Students are ineligible immediately. This includes participation in all school activities, athletic and non-athletic. The only exception to this is prom.
  • Additionally, we would like to add that students must be allotted four complete school days to raise their grades. This would be an addition to the stipulation that students must also be given two assignments to raise their grades.



Vocational Class Requirements:

  • Our class would like to change the section in the handbook regarding required classes. We would like to reduce the amount of vocational class requirements as follows:
  • Reduce the required amount of Vo-Ed elective classes from two to one credit. This would also increase the elective credits required to graduate from nine to ten credits.
  • Students would also be allowed to take four or more Vo-Ed classes, but would not be limited with what other core classes they would be able to take.



Hall Pass Policy:

  • Currently, the hall pass policy is predicated on students having their planners signed by the office, classroom teacher, or administration. We would like to update this policy to reflect as follows:
  • Written Pass Permission-
  • Student will have a completed pass slip from their classroom teacher, allowing them to go to another location (including, but not limited to; classrooms, the office, library, or to their vehicle).
  • Teachers are not only responsible for filling out a pass slip for the student, but are also required to phone the destination said student is going to visit, to make them aware the student is on their way.
  • Restroom visits and needing a hall pass slip are at that teacher’s discretion.



WHS announces winter royalty candidates, spirit days

Students vote for candidates Thursday morning in Cassell’s room. Someone placed posters campaigning for senior Maddie Alderman outside the building.

Winter Royalty

WHS announced the Winter Royalty candidates Thursday afternoon.

Queen candidates are seniors Maddie Alderman, Alyssa Lohmeyer, Kassidi Huff and Kylie Evans.

King candidates are Luke Barber, Connor Brown, Tanner Imthurn and Austin Magette.

The winners will be crowned January 11 at halftime of boys varsity basketball game against Rock Creek.

Spirit Days next week are ‘Merica Monday, Country vs Country Club Tuesday, Workout Wednesday, Dress to Unimpress Thursday and Class Color Friday (Freshman white, Sophomores Black, Juniors blue and Seniors red.

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