Maintenance a financial challenge for Wabaunsee School District

A hole remains open in the ceiling of Mr. Praeger’s classroom on the third floor of WHS. A rolling trash can is brought in whenever it rains. The roof is one of many maintenance challenges facing USD 329.

USD considering options to maintain buildings

USD 329 faces maintenance challenges and is considering an extension of a bond issue to pay for solutions.

“The building was built in 1937,” WHS custodian Tim Songs said, “so it’s always challenging when there’s a problem.”

“The biggest problem is the roof,” maintenance manager Freddie Johnson said. The clay tiles high school roof leak, and the underlayer becomes saturated with water and splits open. This can be seen in the form of brown water stains on the ceiling tiles, or in more extreme cases such as the hole in the ceiling of one teacher’s room.

“To fix it right,” Johnson said, “we could take the clay tile off and replace it with tin. That would alleviate a lot of problems.”

The old high school building is not on the Register of Historic Kansas Places, so there are no restrictions on what can be done to the building. “The boiler system will have to be replaced,” Johnson said.

While some of the problems are cosmetic, others affect the way the building is used. For instance, the heating system in the high school auditorium has been broken for several years. A school assembly Wednesday was moved to the gym because it would be too cold to have students in the auditorium.

Funding for maintenance is provided by the capital outlay budget, which also provides for salaries of maintenance and custodial staff, transportation, and performance uniforms. The capital outlay budget would pay for maintenance repairs such as a toilet going out.

But for certain large expenditures like the roof or boiler system, capital outlay is insufficient. “To replace the roof at the high school,” superintendent Brad Starnes said, “it would take around $160,000.”

Another large expense is the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The systems installed with the last bond issue have outlived their life expectancy. To help pay for these things, the board is considering extending a bond issue for another seven years, which would raise about $2-3 million without raising taxes from the current level.

The district also faces a decision about Paxico Middle School. Parts of the building and facilities need to be repaired, so the board is considering the district’s need for the building. The board has also been looking into studies that show that when a student transitions into another building, there is a drop in academic success before it rises back up. Potential plans would keep fifth grade students in elementary school and move sixth grade students to the junior high.

It is an ongoing process to look for solutions to maintenance problems, and several options are under consideration.

“We don’t want to put money into something that we won’t have in the future,” Starnes said.

— Eleanor Badeker, @ellybadeker

Former WHS student developing rap career

Former Wabaunsee student Mason Schwemmer, also known as Schwem, is a local artist making his start in the music industry. Check out his new album “L;FE” November 30. 

Q: What made you want to go into music?  A: Music has always been the only piece of my life that feels free/ comfortable. I’ve never felt in place doing stuff like work, school, sport, to even kickin’ it with friends. I want to do music so I can help people help themselves, just like I’ve done. I feel like I was meant to create this music that brings people together and builds them up. Although I’m not religious.

Q: When and how did you start recording?  A: I started recording myself in 2015, but I started going to a recording studio in 2017, to improve quality because I wasn’t really doing it right. To start I used a program called audacity, fruity loops, and a $70 mic from a music store and just my computer, and some random soundproofing material like egg cartons.

Find Shwemmer’s work on Spotify, Youtube, iTunes, and Google play, or see him live the following dates:

Nov. 30 –  Topeka – Album Release Party & No Industry Standard Tour

Dec. 1 – Topeka – with Haystak

Dec. 21 – Topeka – with Twisted Insane

Dec. 22 – Kansas City – with TWISTED INSANE

Q: How did you get your rap name? A: I originally went by schwemdalabim then I kind of got sick of that so I changed it to Schwem. It’s part of my last name.

Q: What are you currently working on? A: I’m about to push out my 2nd album on all platforms like iTunes, Spotify, etc… and I’m working on finishing a mixtape that’ll come out after the album.

Also work on doing bigger shows.

Q: What are some challenges people don’t know?  A: I gotta say the most challenging part of making music and pursuing it as a career is keeping your head in it. As someone who struggles with depression pretty often, it gets difficult to continue to put yourself in that mind state. Confidence, Energy, & Passion are things that a successful artist must constantly strain & rebuild.

You have to stay motivated.

Q: How has your work progressed throughout the years?  A: It’s becoming very diverse in style compared to older songs I’ve made to open the demographic to a less specific audience. I’ve also been trying to focus on quality and professionalism.

Q: How are you marketing your music? And where do you see your music taking you?  A: Marketing through social media like Facebook, Snapchat,Youtube & Instagram. My distribution is handled through a company called DistroKid. Honestly I see myself going all the way. I’ll either die rich or get famous after I pass.

Q: Do you see this turning into a career?  A: That’s what I’m trying to do.

Q: What are you going to do to turn this into a career?  A: I’m always trying to find different ways to market.

Q: Do your album names mean anything?  A: My new album is L;fe. I called it L;fe because it tells a story, it’s like an emotional journey, sort of like an odyssey. It’s how you wake up and it’s like the boiling point. Then throughout the day it like fluctuates. It just happens everyday its like a cycle. That’ what my album is about.

Q: Do you have any songs that mean anything to you?  A: All my songs mean something special to me in a different way. My favorite song is nosebleeds, I like the way it sounds it’s fun to sing.

Q: What are some steps to getting a producer/record label?  A: Just reaching out, doing shows, and talking to people you don’t know. Whether it be face to face, over facebook, just trying to reach out and it just comes together.

Q:  Do you have any advice to younger kids wanting to do something like this?  A: Ain’t nothing but to do it. Just stick with it.

— Laurel Barber, @Lawl_e_20

FCCLA Knowledge Bowl team advances to nationals

Alexis Hafenstine, Jessica Vanstory, Luke Barber, Autymn Schreiner and Eleanor Badeker pose after advancing to nationals in Knowledge Bowl. The team will compete this summer in Anaheim.

The WHS FCCLA Knowledge Bowl team punched its ticket to nationals.

After a victorious weekend, the team will be competing in Anaheim, Calif. this summer.

Five FCCLA members traveled to Louisville last weekend to compete in the Lifesmarts knowledge bowl at the National Cluster Meeting. The team consisted of seniors Luke Barber and Jessica Vanstory and juniors Eleanor Badeker, Alexis Hafenstine and Autymn Schreiner.

In October the team took an online test and scored an 89, the top score of the cluster and second overall in the nation. This score was then added to the results from the quiz bee that the team participated in on Saturday at cluster. The quiz bee is where members from each team separated into their different areas of expertise and answered a set of 10 questions. With a score of 60, WHS kept its number one position at the meet.

After advancing to pool play, WHS played out three rounds of knowledge bowl. They were able to stay at the top of their pool advancing them to nationals this summer. They received second overall out of 26 teams that came all across the country.

Captain Autymn Schreiner felt the team did an awesome job through different phases of competition. “Even when we were losing in some of the buzzer matches we stayed calm and came back every time. I feel like we were never really worried about losing, we knew we could do it,” Schreiner said.

FCCLA adviser Diane Breiner said she was proud of how the team competed. “They did amazing,” Breiner said, “They were number two out of six of the teams to advance. They were number two out of 26.”

WHS will compete at the National Leadership Conference in Anaheim in July. There they will compete against the 5 others from Louisville, 6 others from the cluster in Arizona and the 4 teams who will compete for a second chance in an online test later in the year. “We are very excited to see them represent Wabaunsee,” Breiner said.

— Kaytlyn Meseke, @kaytlyn_nelle

Willier raising money to study abroad

A WHS student is seeking funding to study abroad.

Junior Falisha Willier is in search of funds to study abroad through the American Field Study Homestay Program. Willier hopes to spend 4-6 weeks in this program in Tuscany, Italy during the summer of 2019.

Willier will fly to Rome and attend a week long language camp before driving to Tuscany where she will live with a host family. She is hoping to take a lot from this experience. “I just want to learn new cultures because I feel like we’re a little unexposed to other cultures,” Willier said. “It also looks really good for college.”

The program alone will cost $8,650 which does not include airline fees and transportation. Willier has planned many activities and fundraisers to raise money for the trip. This Saturday, November 10, Willier will have an Italian Dinner at the Alma Community Center from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for kids 10 and under. Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and a dessert will be served. Willier also plans to host a Paws with a Clause holiday photo shoot for pets and a Parents Night Out event where childcare will be provided for parents wanting a night out.

— Hannah Mumpower, @Hlmump01

Letters awarded at fall sports night

Wabaunsee’s four varsity fall sports awarded letters in a ceremony Tuesday night at WHS. Coaches of each team talked about their program’s accomplishments.

Cross Country
Sean Dugger
Brendan Dugger
Luke Stuhlsatz
Bryce Tharman
Austin Henderson
Isaac Lira
Eli Mumpower
Peter Stuhlsatz
Alex Warner
Elijah Wade
Jessica Vanstory
Maddy Hutley
Sierra Quathamer
Kimi Buchanan
Emma Frey
Emma Alderman
Ashlyn Dugger
Cecelia Emmert
Kyndal Maike
Cade Oliver
Tanner Imthurn
Jace Reves
Travis McCall
Jackson Frank
Conner Brown
Dalton Turner
Brayden Meseke
Eli Wollenberg
Austin Magette
Derek Wallin
Dawson SChultz
Austen Bonnette
Logan Brown
Aiden Boeckman
Jakob Schutter
Keaton Johnson
Austin Miller
Noah Mills
Jarett Bolinder
Frank Gilbert
Adam Miller
Daniel Flach
Football Managers
Macy Falk
Alexis Hafenstine
Kinsey Stuewe
Auty Schreiner
Megan Strait
Kassidi Huff
Emma Michaelis
Kylie Evans
Kinsey Stuewe
Autymn Schreiner
Natalie Moser
Kaytlyn Meseke
Kendyl Bolinder
Raegan Feyh
Lily Ogden
Mayah Mumpower
Alyssa Lohmeyer
Abby Oliver
Auty Schreiner
Megan trait
Laurel Barber
Macy Falk
Alexis Hafenstine
Jordan Magette
Maddy Wertzberger
Will Glotzbach

New books available in the WHS library

New works include young adult series and non-fiction

Last week, several new books arrived in the WHS library.

The process of purchasing new books for the library begins with recommendations from both students and teachers. Brendan Praeger and Laura Delfelder provide most of these recommendations, as the current English teachers at Wabaunsee. Librarian/Media Tech. Heather McCreight then adds books to the list based on suggestions from students throughout the year.

McCreight then researches reviews of each book to find out what they cover. “I usually read the first chapter of each book,” McCreight said, “I look at what the book covers and the different topics included in it.” She also consults Praeger to decide the final list. Once the books are approved, she orders them.

New additions include the Silo series, a self-published dystopian novel about a civilization living in silos following an apocalyptic dust storm. “Station Eleven” is another dystopian novel following a flu outbreak. Non-fiction book “Adrift” tells the story of a man lost at sea and “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” follows one woman’s search for the Golden State Killer. Norse Mythology is a retelling of mythological stories by Neil Gaiman.

“I try to choose books that I’m familiar with that I think the students will enjoy,” English teacher Brendan Praeger said. “I think we have a good selection of classics, but we need to keep up with new books, especially in the non-fiction genre.”

The library budget recently increased to $2,500, which not only covers new books, but also magazines, newspapers and any other supplies the library needs. This shipment of books totaled $677.12.

To recommend your own book or series, simply talk to McCreight and she will add your suggestion to the list.

— Emma Frey, @_emmafrey_, Photo by Kaytlyn Meseke

Recently added books:

11.22.63 by Stephen King

Adrift by Steven Callahan

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

How to be Good by Nick Hornby

Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

More Than This by Patrick Ness

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

United As One by Pittacus Lore

Valley of the Horses by Jean Auel

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

Character is Destiny by John McCain

The Silo Series (Wool, Shift and Dust) by Hugh Howey

Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore

Hello Universe by Entrada Kelly

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Land of the Painted Caves by Jean Auel

Mammoth Hunters by Jean Auel

Plains of Passage by Jean Auel

Rest of Us Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Station Eleven by Emily Mandel

Why Character Matters by John McCain

CAD building model of WHS

Luke Barber and Dillon Spellman work on the base for a model of the WHS main building. “We build stuff, make stuff, and draw stuff,” Barber said.

Students hope to compete at tech fair

CAD students are creating a model of the main building of WHS.

Computer Aided Drafting students Luke Barber, Sean Dugger, Dillon Spellman and Kinsey Stuewe have been working on a model of the main building of Wabaunsee High School. The model will be 4 percent scale or 1/24th the actual size — roughly 5 by 6 feet.

The students are taking on the project in hopes of competing in a competition at the Fort Hays Tech Fair April 21. “We were on our way home from the Tech Fair last year and Luke was like ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a 3D model of the whole town?’ And we had to talk him down to one building and that’s the building we chose,” Stuewe said.

Sean Dugger and Kinsey Stuewe measure Brendan Praeger English classroom for the WHS model. “A lot of the measurements don’t make sense,” Dugger said.

The students measured every inch of the building because no plans of the building exist. The CAD students are using a computer aided drafting system called Autodesk Revit to create the building plans. The plans will then be used to create the model, a mostly wooden structure with 3D printed plastic pieces.

“Most of the students on this project are in their third year,” CAD teacher Amy Cassell said. “So this project adds that extra level to the class.”

The students have experienced a few issues while working on the model. “One of the biggest struggles was not being able to find the original plans for the building,” Stuewe said, “So we then had to go measure everything.”

The students plan on having the exterior of the plans done by winter break and have the rest of the spring leading up to the Tech Fair to finish the interior of the building.

— Hannah Mumpower, @Hlmump01

Scholars Bowl returns 5 varsity players


Seniors Jarett Bolinder, Jessica Vanstory, Luke Barber, fourth grader Keaton Mulanax, Dillion Spellman, Sean Dugger and Maddie Alderman pose on Halloween. Mulanax dressed as Bob Ross, the hero and mascot of this year’s team.

Scholars Bowl goes 3-2 at first meet

Scholars Bowl team started the season Thursday with a 3-2 record at the Silver Lake Invitational.

The team defeated Silver Lake, 55-20, Rock Creek, 60-45, and Topeka High, 50-10. The losses were to Burlington, 20-70, and St. James Academy, 40-50. The Chargers were tied for 2nd in the pool, but did not advance to the finals after margin-of-victory was used to break the tie.

The team of Maddie Alderman, Sean Dugger, Luke Barber, Dillon Spellman, Jarrett Bolinder, and Sierra Quathamer includes five returning members of last year’s team which placed 4th at State.

“We had strong first few rounds, they were very close. With five seniors we’re bound to do really well,” senior Maddie Alderman said.

The team will have plenty of practice time before the next varsity meet on November 29.

The JV team traveled to Frankfort on Monday. The team of Emma Alderman, Ryan Grutsch, Reagan Kelley, Mayah Mumpower, Justin Carlson and Grace Spellman finished with a 7-2 record and tied for second in their pool, but also lost due to a tie breaker. Carlson led the team with 250 points followed by Kelley with 100.

“It was an encouraging start,” coach Brendan Praeger said. “We don’t have a lot of varsity opportunities for underclassmen this year, but the JV meets are a great opportunity to learn how the meets work and to start developing strategy. We’ll have to work hard to reload next year.”

— Jayna Keller @whscharger

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