Band and Choir Excel at State Competition

April 10, the WHS band and choir travelled to Louisburg, Kansas to compete in the State Band and Choir competition.

The band received a superior I rating for its performance of Brighton Beach and Call of the Wild.

The choir, just 2 points short of a I rating, received a II with its performance of Caledonia and Diraiton.

“I thought the band and choir performed extremely well,” band and choir director Richard Philbrook said.

“The band is definitely on a path to making a tradition of getting a I at state.”

Philbrook spoke with Louisburg’s band and choir director and was told that ‘The Wabaunsee High School choir was one of the best choirs he had heard all day.’ “I am proud of both groups,” Philbrook said. “Not only did they travel well, but they also performed well.”

Smart not anticipated to return as WHS boys basketball coach

Boys basketball coach Chris Smart will not return next season.

The school board voted on rehiring winter head coaches at Monday night’s board meeting. Wrestling coach Joey Heersche was the only WHS coach on the list, which was approved unanimously.

Principal Jan Hutley and athletic director Jeron Weisshaar declined to comment.

Reflecting on the team’s season, Smart said “We made huge strides this year. I think that’s what I’m most disappointed about is that I won’t get to continue that. Not only as basketball players but maturing as people.”

Smart ends his time at WHS with a record of 5-19.

The district is currently searching for a replacement. The new head coach will be the charger’s  third in three years.

— Laurel Barber, @Lawl_e_20

WHS hires band, choir director

Jamie Rogers has been hired as 5-12th grade Band/Choir teacher, starting in the fall of 2019.

Rogers grew up near Eskridge, where he attended school through junior high, and graduated from Mission Valley High School in 1995. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree at Kansas State University. While attending K-State, he participated in the marching band, as well as vocal and instrumental ensembles. He has been a teacher at Mission Valley since 2006.

Rogers is passionate about music and has known from a young age that he wanted to teach music.

“I have known since seventh grade that I wanted to be a music teacher. Music is something that I have always enjoyed and felt I excelled at. One of the most enjoyable aspects of teaching music is the relationships and bonds formed with the students,” Rogers said.

Outside of education, Rogers still conveys his love for music, as he performs in a bluegrass band called Rickety Downspout.

“We enjoy playing rock, country and originally-written music in a bluegrass style. I also enjoy gravel road bicycling. If you see someone riding a bicycle out in the Flint Hills, it just might be me,” Rogers said.

Rogers does not foresee any major challenges transferring from Mission Valley to Wabaunsee, as he has co-directed a shared concert with the two schools for the past five years.

“I have already enjoyed getting to make music with many of you. I have always been impressed with Wabaunsee student musicians and I’m excited work more closely with you,” he said.

According to Rogers, any changes from previous years will be minor.

“I hope to stay at Wabaunsee for a long time and use my teaching experiences to gradually make the program my own over future years. We will not march a halftime show this coming football season but I would like to prepare some sort of halftime show with the high school band.”

“If there is no established drumline, I hope to get one started — people love drum lines. With the choir, I hope to get them singing in the community and sharing performance experiences with vocal groups from other schools soon.”

Current director Richard Philbrook is excited to hand the reins over to Rogers at the end of the year. “I have a lot of respect for Mr. Rogers, and have known him for a number of years. He really knows his stuff, and has the respect of other professionals in the area, so I think it will be very positive.”

Rogers hopes to adapt quickly to the culture at WHS. “I like the history-rich Wabaunsee community and look forward to learning the traditions. I look forward to becoming part of and contributing to the community in every way that I can.”

— Kendyl Bolinder, @Bolinderkendyl

USD 329 board approves staff changes

The USD 329 school board made several employment decisions at last week’s board meeting. The board approved the hiring of current Mission Valley teacher Jamie Rogers as 5-12 choir and band teacher. Rogers will replace the retiring Richard Philbrook.

The board also hired current student teacher Cara Flach as preschool teacher and current elementary special education teacher Kolby Harris for 5th grade.

The board accepted the resignation of special education teacher Callie Taylor and assistant football coach Adam Laubert. Both are moving at the end of the year.

WHS is still looking to fill several positions for the 2019-20 school year, including special education, family and consumer science and several coaching positions.

WHS to switch from block to 7-hour schedule

WHS will have a new schedule format next school year.

The current schedule format at WHS is an 8-hour block schedule. Students have four classes each A day, and four different classes the next day with a 45 minute Adviser Base period between 1st and 2nd block every day.

The new schedule beginning next school year will be a standard 7-hour schedule with an Adviser Base period every day.

“The primary driving factor in my mind and I think in the staff’s mind is ultimately ‘What is the best case scenario for the success of kids academically?’” principal Jan Hutley said. “That is the number one thing we’re looking at, it’s what’s best for the kids. I want you guys to do well.”

The suggested new schedules included an 8-hour standard schedule, blended block schedules that included both block and standard days and the 7-hour standard schedule.

“The schedule has been looked at in the past,” Hutley said. “I don’t think anything prompted it with me. I think that conversation had already started before I got here.”

With the 7-hour standard schedule, there will be an increase in student time in each class by about one hour every week. Currently, students have about 3.5 hours of each class a week, not counting classes missed for any absences. With the new 7 hour schedule, that time will increase to 4.5 hours in each class per week.

“I think it will improve the students academically as they will retain information better when they see the subject every day instead of the current every other day,” math teacher Roger Alderman said.

Along with the core classes hoping to benefit from the change in the schedule format, classes such as weights are looking forward to seeing students more consistently.

“Weight class will be able to have more of a routine,” physical education teacher Garrett Eck said. “The shorter class times will allow workouts to be more intense as there won’t be a need for long break times.”

With the schedule change, students will have one less elective class each semester. The loss of a class each year requires a change in graduation requirements, which the school board approved last week.

Along with one less elective, senior hour will no longer be an option for eligible seniors and changes will also be made to the way teacher aides are assigned.

However, despite having one less class offered each day, there are no foreseeable changes in classes offered at WHS.

“I don’t feel like in the long run, if students do an appropriate job of planning, that the loss of elective opportunities is going to be an issue,” Hutley said.

Students are doing preliminary enrollment this week, which will allow the school to build a 7-hour schedule before the end of the year. Possibilities include moving advisor base to the end of the day and moving band and choir to the end of the day.

— Hannah Mumpower, @Hlmump01

FCCLA dominates district competition, Conrad elected district president

Autymn Schreiner, Alexis Hafenstine, Kassidi Huff, Kinsey Stuewe and Jessica Vanstory presented STAR events at the state capitol for Day on the Hill. Fifteen WHS STAR events qualified for state competition. Follow @WabaunseeFCCLA on Twitter for more club news and events.

Of the twenty-three members competing in STAR events, fifteen qualified for the State Leadership Conference in April.

Ten of the members competing were also freshmen, with five qualifying for state competition.

“It was a great learning experience as a freshman in FCCLA,” freshman member Kara Hafenstine said. Hafenstine qualified for state with her partner freshman Sydney Holthaus. They competed in Chapter-In-Review Portfolio.

FCCLA also had its District D elections the following week. Freshman candidate Kaelyn Conrad was selected as the district’s president.

“I spent a lot time preparing for elections,” Conrad said. “I wrote my speech, studied FCCLA facts and had some of my friends ask me interview questions that the judges might ask.”

Conard is also the first freshman from WHS to become elected as District D president.

“Some of my duties include deciding a district theme for next year and organizing the 2019 Fall Leadership Conference,” Conrad said. “I’m also really excited to get to know the other officers, and represent our district at the state competition.”

The club is also selling Alma Bakery cookie dough to raise funds for the cost of State Leadership Conference and the banquet in April.

— Abby Oliver, @Abby Oliver

Alderman a National Merit Finalist

Senior Maddie Alderman and her parents Sara and Roger Alderman, learn that she has been named a National Merit Finalist for 2019.

Senior Madison Alderman has been named a National Merit finalist for 2019.

She was first named as semifinalist last fall.

“When we took the PSAT as juniors, it was like the application to become a semifinalist,” Alderman said.

Alderman completed an essay, resume and found references to become a finalist.

Being a finalist could mean scholarship money. There are 15,000 finalists and about half should receive scholarships.

“It’s a highly respected, sought-after honor by students whose academic achievement is exceptional,” principal Jan Hutley said. “There are rigorous requirements and students must maintain those requirements throughout their high school careers.”

— Abby Oliver, @AbbyOliver27

Scholars Bowl places 5th at state

Jarett Bolinder, Luke Barber, Maddie Alderman, Dillon Spellman and Sean Dugger do a buzzer check before beginning play at the state scholars bowl meet in Inman. The Chargers went 4-1 in pool play and finished 5th overall. Photo by Jan Hutley.

Team to graduate 6 seniors

The Wabaunsee Scholars Bowl team ended its season with a 5th place finish at state.

Seniors Maddie Alderman, Luke Barber, Jarrett Bolinder, Sean Dugger, Dillon Spellman and junior Eleanor Badeker traveled to Inman Elementary School to compete in the state meet after qualifying by placing 2nd in the regional meet. The state meet would be tough as it included eleven other teams who placed in the top three from other regional scholar bowl meets including teams like Wichita Independent and Goessel.

“I felt excited and much more nervous than I ever had,” Spellman said.

The format of the state meet is similar to the format used by the regional tournaments. The teams were separated into two pools and the teams competed in a round-robin with the top three teams from each pool moving on to the championship rounds.

WHS won its first four matches of the tournament against Syracuse, Sacred Heart, Oswego and Sublette. The last round of pool play would be against the other undefeated team in the pool, Wichita Independent.

The Chargers gained a lead in the first few questions but would be overtaken quickly after Independent correctly answered nine consecutive questions. Independent won 30-95. WHS would move on to the finals with a 2nd place finish in pool play.

“It felt good to go to the finals,” Spellman said. “But getting destroyed in that final match was very discouraging.”

The championship rounds began with a match against Sublette, a team that got 3rd in the same pool. A tough set of questions would result in a very close round with only a 10 point difference. WHS took a first-round loss of 20-30.

The next match would be against Heritage Christian Academy, a team who placed 3rd at the Wabaunsee regional. Once again, a tough set of questions would produce a 20-point difference, but another loss with a score of 20-40.

A rematch Wichita Independent would be the next match and would prove to be a difficult with Independent interrupting most of the questions. Another loss with a score of 20-100 would put the team in a poor spot for placing.

“When we lost three and still had one of the top teams to play, the mindset changed to get at least one win,” Alderman said.

Northern Heights, the champion of the Wabaunsee regional, was the next team up. The questions in the round may have been difficult, but WHS would overcome the challenge to gain its first victory, 40-10. Another win would make it possible for a top four finish. The last match of the meet would be against Goessel, first place of the other pool during pool play. WHS would fight hard but would prove to be tough a result in a loss with a score of 40-70.

“I thought we tried our best but it was disappointing coming up short,” Bolinder said.

Heritage Christian finished first in 2A after handing Wichita Independent it’s only loss. Independent  finished 2nd and Sublette finished 3rd.

A 5th place finish is one of the many accomplishments the team gained throughout the year. WHS finished second at Council Grove, league and regionals as well as coming very close to entering in the final rounds in two meets. Alderman would lead the team through the year as captain, scoring 1650 points. Spellman scored 755 points, Barber scored 160 points, Bolinder and Dugger scored 100 points each and senior Jessica Vanstory got 10 points.

“I knew this would be a strong team because we returned so many talented players from last year. I think they were really driven and competitive. We were only a couple of questions away from a better finish against some of the best teams in the state,” scholars bowl coach Brendan Praeger said.

— Sean Dugger, @seandugger01

Band, choir teacher Richard Philbrook to retire at end of year

Music teacher Richard Philbrook directs the choir on February 13. Philbrook is retiring at the end of the year after 43 years in education. Photo by Kendyl Bolinder

Music teacher Richard Philbrook has announced his plans to retire at the end of this school year.

Philbrook has taught 5-12th grade at Wabaunsee for 11 years, but has been teaching band and choir for a total of 43 years. His favorite thing about Wabaunsee is the students, and the special bond he’s formed with them over the years.

“That’s not just the requisite answer. That is truly how I feel. I have never taught where, top to bottom, the students were as kind, considerate and respectful as they are here. You guys are just nice people, seriously. So many of my colleagues never got to experience people like you, and I feel sorry for them,” Philbrook.

“He’s very dedicated to music. I’ll miss his stories,” junior baritone player Brendan Dugger said.

“I’ve had him since fifth grade. It’s going to be weird adapting to someone else’s teaching style,” junior trumpeter Falish Willier said.

WHS principal Jan Hutley and WJH principal Steve Oliver are interviewing candidates to fill Philbrook’s position.

After his retirement, Philbrook plans to travel and spend more time with his family, and will occasionally step in as a substitute teacher as needed. He will continue performing in professional music groups.

— Kendyl Bolinder, @Bolinderkendyl

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