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

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.

Students prepare for winter choir, band concerts

Emma Alderman, Tara Quintanilla, Bernice Poulter, Gabby Simmons and Kimi Buchanan sing during choir practice at WHS. The choir performs December 17 in the auditorium. Photo by Abby Oliver.

Concerts to feature Christmas classics

As Wabaunsee students prepare for winter concerts, one teacher is directing his first winter concert, while another is preparing for his last.

Maple Hill Elementary performs Tuesday in Maple Hill and Alma performs Thursday in the WHS auditorium. Both shows begin at 7 p.m.

Elementary music teacher Peter Ruby likes the challenge of directing young students.

“Young students definitely enjoy to wiggle when singing, but their enthusiasm is contagious. It’s apparent they love what they are doing and I am very excited for them to show their parents what they are capable of,” Ruby said.

The students will perform a selection of Christmas songs, including  “Christmas Makes me Sing,” “A Gift for Santa,” “Bubble Wra,”, “Simple Gifts” and “Little Drummer Boy.”

“I have challenged the students, especially 4th grade, with difficult music and they have risen to the challenge,” Ruby said. “I’m proud of their hard work and determination, especially their perseverance through struggles.”

First grade students from Alma Elementary practice for the winter concert Tuesday afternoon in the WHS Auditorium. Photo by Sarah Vanstory and Hannah Ratts.

Wabaunsee Middle and High school teacher Richard Philbrook is preparing for his last Christmas concert before retirement.

“They will perform everything from traditional, like Carol of The Bells, to some modern-sounding arrangements with some new songs. A wide variety, from old favorites, traditional, to modern.” Philbrook said. “They’re working very hard, starting with the logistics, and fine tuning a couple of notes.”

— Jayna Keller, @whscharger

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