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

Juniors prepare tasty STAR project

Juniors Eleanor Badeker and Macy Falk put the finishing touches on a cheesecake for their STAR event. They substituted peanut butter with sunflower butter to suit people with peanut allergies. Photos by Hannah Mumpower.

‘Indulgent Dessert’ addresses food allergies

Juniors Eleanor Badeker and Macy Falk made a delicious creation for their FCCLA STAR event.

Many FCCLA members compete in STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) events, which cover a wide variety of topics related to Family and Consumer Sciences. Events are separated into three divisions: Junior division which covers students in the 6-9th grade, Senior division is open to 10-12th grade and the Occupational division is open to any student who intends to pursue a career that is related to that event.

STAR events can be done either individually or in groups of up to three people. They usually begin with a planning process and can include multiple elements such as speeches, research, visuals, presentations and various other elements. After completing their STAR events, students will then present these elements to judges at District, State and even National competitions.

Wabaunsee FCCLA has 23 members competing in STAR events this year. On February 6, these students will take their STAR events to Districts at Nemaha Central. To move on to the State competition in Wichita on April 7, students must place 1st in their event at Districts with a score of 85 or above. If they place 1st or 2nd at the State competition with a score of 85 or above, students will then move on to the National competition in Anaheim, Fla. in July.

Juniors Eleanor Badeker and Macy Falk are participating in the Food Innovations Senior STAR event. Food Innovations recognizes participants who demonstrate knowledge of the basic concepts of food product development by creating an original recipe, testing the product with sample groups and creating a marketing strategy. They demonstrate their knowledge of food science, nutrition, food preparation safety and product marketing. Participants must prepare a display, suggested product packaging and an oral presentation.

The sunflower cheesecake, and “indulgent dessert,” features a crushed Oreo crust, homemade toffee and caramel sauce with semisweet melted chocolate chips.

“This year we were assigned to do an indulgent dessert,” Badeker said. “We had to modify it and make it our own. We came up with an idea because it had a personal connection to my allergy. Obviously with my allergy there are a lot of things that I miss out on, so we decided to create a dessert that people with nut allergies could safely have that would be similar to something that they can’t usually have.”

Badeker and Falk are taking the recipe for a peanut butter butterfinger cheesecake and are creating what they call a Sunflower Cheesecake. “The steps we take are to do the planning process first and then make the food item and have certain people judge them and then we make the food item again,” Falk said. “We took a peanut butter butterfinger cheesecake and replaced the peanut butter with sunflower butter and the butterfinger with a toffee that we made ourselves,” Badeker said.

Badeker and Falk have made their Sunflower Cheesecake two times. Each time they made it, they had it tasted by a sample group of WHS staff and students including those with nut allergies and those without. They had the tasters fill out a review sheet each time they sampled the cheesecake. After the first sampling, changes were made to the toppings of the cheesecake. Using the information from the review sheets, Badeker and Falk were able to refine their recipe in order to create a better tasting end product.

Falk and Badeker drizzle caramel sauce to complete plating their dessert.

Badeker and Falk believe that STAR events are well worth the effort. “STAR events help with your public speaking and help build your leadership skills by taking initiative and creating a project,” Falk said. “It is a great opportunity to develop skills in speaking and doing projects,” Badeker said. “They give you an opportunity to create something and also see new places and have new experiences while working on them. The only con would be that it can sometimes be hard to find time to work on the event among all of the other responsibilities you have.”

— Hannah Mumpower, @Hlmump01

FCA adopts a family for Christmas

Wabaunsee’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter is helping with Wabaunsee’s Santa Express and Adopt-A-Family this Christmas season.

“Our FCA chapter has adopted a local family. So our members went out and shopped for the family. We then began to gather and wrap the presents. Pastor Jamie Bonnema will deliver them to the family,” FCA sponsor Jeanne Parry said. This is Parry’s second year as the club’s sponsor. “We assisted Santa Express last year by delivering presents, although this year adopting a family was really important with our members.”

WHS STUCO and FCCLA are participating in another Adopt-A-Family as well. FCA members also believe they can experience life lessons through assisting with these organizations.

“I think it is important for high school kids to learn to appreciate how lucky we have it in life,” senior Kinsey Stuewe said. Stuewe has been a part of the club for two years now. “Doing this project shows to respect everyone at all times because you never know what they might be going through.”

WHS FCA has also made some big changes inside the club as well, with recruiting new members. Parry believes the upperclassmen of FCA have the most to do with this drastic increase of membership.

“Our membership has grown from 0 to 30 in this past year,” Parry said. “I think we have a strong upperclassmen leadership that joined at the beginning of last year. They have really developed and outreached to fellow students.”

WHS FCA also hosts 5th quarter gatherings after athletic events, and a “See You At The Pole” welcoming all students before school.

— Abby Oliver, @AbbyOliver27

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