KC SuperStar semifinals go virtual; Shawnee Mission parent featured on NBC; JoCo Developmental Supports receives $25,000 for COVID-19 response

KC SuperStar Semifinalists recorded their performances at the White Theater using social distancing. The recordings will be available for the public to observe online next month. Pictured above, Regan Dreiling, senior at Saint Thomas Aquinas, on stage for her recorded performance. Photo courtesy Jewish Community Center.

KC SuperStar semifinals go virtual during COVID-19 pandemic

KC SuperStar, the Jewish Community’s Center’s annual high school singing competition, has pivoted to a virtual format for the semifinals.

Twenty-three area high school students were chosen in preliminary auditions in early March for the annual competition, in a format similar to “American Idol” or “The Voice.”

The public will be able to view the 23 performances online from June 1 through June 10 and cast their vote through a link posted on the Jewish Community Center’s website. The KC SuperStar Top 10 will be announced on June 15 through a livestreamed event, and the top winner of the competition receives the Edward and Ellen Rose $10,000 scholarship.

Several seniors from Shawnee Mission and USD 232 school districts are semifinalists this year, including:

  • Lucy Brock, Shawnee Mission School District
  • Bryson Kendall, USD 232
  • Emma Mathieson, Shawnee Mission School District
  • Alexa Morgan, Shawnee Mission School District
  • Aggie Williams, Shawnee Mission School District

In NBC News segment, Shawnee Mission parent Katrina Pickens talks about challenges of remote learning

In a segment on NBC News about whether schools across the country will re-open this fall, Shawnee Mission parent Katrina Pickens spoke about the challenges of remote learning.

“It’s just very hard to put them into a schedule at home, you know, where there’s always other distractions,” she said.

Kansas may allow in-person classes to restart in August.

JoCo Developmental Supports receives $25,000 grant to support COVID-19 response and recovery

The Johnson County Developmental Supports received a $25,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation’s Impact and Capacity Grants initiative, which will support COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, according to a press release.

Since employment programs are temporarily closed, the funds will go toward “nutrition expenses, supplies and resources for individuals receiving support in their homes,” according to the release. JCDS Executive Director Chad VonAhnen said the department is grateful for partners like KHF who have helped JCDS to fulfill its mission during the pandemic.

“The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 has changed how we provide services to many of the people who rely on JCDS for care,” VonAhnen said in the release.

Nonprofits and government organizations can receive up to a $25,000 one-year COVID-19 response and recovery grant from the KHF initiative. There were 477 proposals from organizations throughout Kansas that applied for the program, and 91 are receiving grants, according to the release.