Born to Run

First grade student Briggs Ibarra runs at Alma Elementary School during running club. The club runs inside when the weather is too cold. Running club is one of three clubs started at AES this year. Photo by Emma Alderman.

Running club encourages active lifestyle

The track became filled with elementary children and teachers on January 7 as the Running Club by the Alma Elementary School began.

The Running Club was started by a group of teachers who wanted to give their students an opportunity to have an after school activity while teaching them life lessons. As part of the Leader in Me program, the students expressed their opinions about not having enough activities after school.

“Being active, healthy, creating a family environment, and making a positive attitude towards running is our goal,” Alma Elementary second grade teacher Melissa Castillo said.

The club begins with everyone gathering together and stretching before heading out together towards the track. Runners receive a string to be attached to their wrist after every lap completed. At the end, the amount of strings are used to determine the completed distance. The runners can then see if they had made their goals for the day.


“We hope to teach them how to set goals and how to improve themselves while not competing with others and beginning healthy habitats,” Alma Elementary kindergarten teacher Sara Alderman said.

The Running club joins along the two other clubs created this year, Robotics and Reading club. Offering different types of activities as well as being one of the first clubs of the school introduced a few challenges. Organizers said having a large turnout made organizing these clubs difficult.

“It went smoothly. It was exciting to see everyone from all kinds of ages from the community,” Alderman said.

Many of the young runners found that the club was fun and anticipated on running with the club whenever they could. “I think it’s really fun because I just like running a lot,” fourth grade student Adalynn Miller said.

“I try to get one more lap every time,” fourth grade student Colby Taylor said.


The club meets Monday and Wednesday from 3:30 to 4:30.

“They seemed to look forward to it all day, they were smiling about it. There was lots of encouragement from everyone and support,” Castillo said.

Running will take place at the track, or inside the elementary school if weather is deemed too cold.

“Anyone is invited to join us at the track,” Castillo said. “Even though it is called a running club, it’s not just running, it’s moving in general.”

— Sean Dugger, @seandugger01

AES book club encourages reading for fun

Alma Elementary School has started a book club to encourage a love of reading.

The voluntary and is offered to third and fourth graders.

Third grade teacher Emily Hess started the club this year. At the beginning of the school year, the elementary teachers came together and brainstormed ideas that they were passionate about.

“I always liked reading and I thought it would be nice to focus on reading for enjoyment instead of for school,” Hess said.

Students have only had one meeting so far. The meetings are once a month on the last Tuesday of the month lasting from 3:40 to 5. At this meeting out of the ten third and fourth graders that signed up, nine showed up.

For the first meeting the members discussed their first book, “Wolf Hollow” by Lauren Wolk, had snacks and played games. It was an open discussion and Hess said they had a lot to say.

“I liked playing games, especially ‘I have, who has’ with the book,” third grader Sasha Willier said.

The members do have to purchase each book that the club decides to read, which was made clear when forms were first sent out. Hess hopes that in the future she can get the books donated or for less now that she knows how many members there are.

Along with discussing the book at the first meeting, the club also talked about the future for the club. They figured out what future books they wanted to read and they also started to plan a school wide bookmark contest. With the contest, all kindergarteners to fourth graders will get to design a bookmark that the members will judge. Then the winner’s bookmark will be printed for the entire school to enjoy and use.

Hess also hopes that she can get the club involved with the community. She thought about the possibility of a book drive, so students have books to read during the summer.

— Kaytlyn Meseke, @kaytlyn_nelle

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

Opinion: WHS Pep Club needs to try harder

Wabaunsee has the worst student section in the Mid-East league.

When the team travels to other schools the first thing you notice is the many students in the student section cheering for their team. On a few occasions, the other teams have student sections that travel with the team. The Wabaunsee student section is very weak compared to other area schools. The handful of students attending every game just sit on their phones while the team is playing.

When the student section gets into the game it makes the game more fun for the players and fans. Nothing is more fun than being out on the court and having the crowd get super excited over anything that happens. Hearing the roar of the crowd just gets the blood pumping.

The rest of the crowd can be as weak as the student section. During time outs and breaks, the cheerleaders do their best to get the crowd going, but it doesn’t always work. Standing to clap might seem like a lot of effort after a long day, but if you aren’t there to support the team, what is the point?

With around 50 players on both of the basketball teams, there could be around 100 students in the pep band and the student section. Students can start by cheering with the cheerleaders and standing when the band plays. Even if no one around you in standing and cheering, be the person to stand and get everyone around you to stand. It starts with one person to break the ‘awkwardness’ and get everyone else to do it.

We have home games on Thursday and Friday to get the crowd prepared for the possible home game next Tuesday in the first round of Sub-State.

Let’s be honest, nothing else is happening in Alma, Kansas. Come out and support the teams. You might have some fun.

— Laurel Barber, @Lawl_e_20

Editorial briefs: Chargers bring home several awards

Don’t foul a Charger

Juniors Maddy Hutley and Rhett Murray took home the gold at the Royal Valley Basketball Tournament free throw contest. Hutley shot 13 out of 15 free throws. Murray tied with another competitor in the first round of shooting and had to shoot 10 extra free throws in a sudden death round. He went 10 for 10 at the line securing a win. Junior Hannah Mumpower also took home a first place medal in the free throw contest at the Lyndon JV Basketball tournament. She went 17 for 25 in the first round, tying with another competitor and came back to shoot 21 out of 25 in the final round. Congrats to all three of these individuals!

Abby Oliver Sets New Record

Senior Abby Oliver set a new record for WHS last week at the Lyndon basketball game. Oliver scored a total of 40 points in one game, beating the previous record of 39 points held by 2018 graduate Karsen Schultz. Oliver also recently surpassed 1,000 career points scored. Oliver achieved this milestone at the Mission Valley game. Congrats Abby on these accomplishments!

State Scholars Bowl

Scholars Bowl placed 5th at State to end its season. WHS Scholars Bowl qualified for State after finishing in 2nd place at the Regional Tournament hosted at Wabaunsee. After going 4-1 in pool play, the team advanced to the championship rounds. With 6 members graduating the varsity team is wide open next year, so study up.

League Wrestling

Wabaunsee Wrestling had three wrestlers place in the top three at League Wrestling Friday night. Sophomore Eli Mumpower placed 3rd in the 132 lb weight class, sophomore Derek Wallin placed 1st in the 160 lb weight class and sophomore Koby Corp placed 2nd in the Heavyweight weight class. All wrestlers will compete at Regionals this Friday at Rossville. The top four wrestlers in each weight class will go on to compete at State in Hays February 22.

STAR events

WHS FCCLA took 23 members to compete at District STAR Events in Manhattan on February 8. These members competed in 13 various events, 8 of them going on to compete at State Events in Wichita in April.

The editorial represents the opinions of the Charger staff.

Miss Rodeo KS visits Wabaunsee elementary schools

Miss Rodeo Kansas Brooke Wallace speaks to Alma Elementary School students on Friday. Wallace, a former classmate of Alma fourth grade teacher Brooke Janssen, spoke about rodeo events and her duties as Miss Rodeo Kansas.” The students enjoyed it,” Janssen said. “They saw her as a celebrity, which she thought was funny.” Janssen said she invited Wallace because she knew it was her job to spread knowledge about rodeo. Wallace also visited Maple Hill Elementary. Photo by Emma Alderman.

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

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