In Shawnee Mission, the mission is to help every student achieve “Unlimited Possibilities.” This mission was at the heart of the 2021 Shawnee Mission Education Foundation Fall Breakfast.
Through storytelling, surprise announcements, and a featured conversation with students and new Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard, the virtual breakfast made it clear just how bright the future is for students in the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD).
Surprises for seniors
One moment during the Foundation Breakfast proved to be a surprise for both the crowd and an SMSD student.
Carlos Mata, a Shawnee Mission North senior, learned live on stage that more than 30 colleges and universities across the country have offered him more than $1.6 million in scholarship offers. As he heard this surprise announcement, he was joined by educators who have supported him since he began as a kindergartner at Nieman Elementary School.
“I am positive there are huge opportunities in store for your future!” Kim Hinkle, executive director of the Foundation, expressed to Mata.
This amazing moment was just a small preview of what lies ahead for Shawnee Mission seniors this fall. This October, the Foundation will be bringing scholarship offers to more than 1,800 Shawnee Mission students at every SMSD high school, as part of its Scholarship Shawnee Mission program.
“We will be sharing just how much colleges want our incredible Shawnee Mission students,” shared Ed Marquez, program officer for the Foundation.
Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard
The virtual event marked the first Fall Breakfast in her role as superintendent for Dr. Michelle Hubbard, who used the occasion to highlight the strategic work of the district. Dr. Hubbard joined a conversation with Shawnee Mission students Beatrice Turley, a senior at Shawnee Mission West, Grayson Kerwin, a senior at Shawnee Mission East, and Solomon Washington, a senior at Shawnee Mission Northwest.
“Student voices are important and when I was asked to speak, I knew I wanted it to be a discussion where I answered questions that are important to you as students,” Dr. Hubbard expressed.
The student interviewers asked questions about the district’s strategic plan objective and personalized learning, the $264 million bond passed by voters in January, Real World Learning, and about how students and staff are working to overcome challenges brought by the pandemic. Dr. Hubbard thanked the Foundation and students and staff for all they are doing to keep SMSD strong.
“I know that by sticking together, caring for each other, and supporting one another, we will form an unbreakable bond that will see us through together,” Hubbard shared.
The SMSD learning experience
The Fall Breakfast also provided a glimpse into the learning experience over the past year in the SMSD. Here are just a few highlights:
- Westwood View Elementary students helped share a song composed by music teacher Michael Mirsch and custodian Mike Williams to bring a smile each day to students and staff.
- Nathan Mestel, an eighth-grader at Westridge Middle School, shared his business plan idea, which he called “The Milk of Human Kindness,” to address the food waste crisis. Earlier this year, Mestel earned a $2,500 prize in the Next Great Idea competition, which will help him make his business plan idea a reality. This was part of the Research and Development Forum, held through generous support of the Regnier Family Foundation.
- Highlighting the district’s Real World Learning initiative, Tiffany Dixon, business teacher, and Julius Saisi, a senior from Shawnee Mission West, shared how students are developing actual businesses in her classroom.
- Afa Akwanka’a, SM East junior, shared how an internship at Midtown Signs in Kansas City helped him learn important problem-solving skills and earn a Market Value Asset.
- Breakfast hosts Immaculee Muragizi, SM Northwest senior and Luis Montanez, SM North junior, along with Turley, Kerwin, Washington, Saisi, and Mata, highlighted how Leadership Shawnee Mission has strengthened their interpersonal skills and helped prepare them for college and career.
Click here to watch the full program, featuring student musicians from Shawnee Mission Northwest and Shawnee Mission South high schools and so much more!