The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation (SMEF) hosted a breakfast on Wednesday, Sept. 25 to celebrate the various areas of excellence of the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD). The breakfast began at 7 a.m. at the Overland Park Convention Center. Proceeds to the breakfast went to support the grants and scholarships that the SMEF awards.
SMSD’s new superintendent Dr. Jim Hinson gave his State of the District Address during the breakfast and spoke about the accomplishments of the district and the goals for the school year. He honored the various accomplishments that the students of the district, including junior Elizabeth Barnickel and seniors Grace Heitmann, Danya Issawi, Brooks Kendall, Madeline Peters, Ada Throckmorton, Karl Walter and Jessica Young. They were all representatives for their various activities and sports.
Junior Akshay Dinakar was also honored at the breakfast and played his violin at the beginning of the event. The varsity Lancer Dancers also performed with the SM South Heritage singers, the Apache Elementary choir and the Ray Marsh Elementary choir accompanying them.
Dr. Hinson spoke of several new programs that will be beginning this school year. The first one he introduced was the My Pals Volunteer Program. The program takes volunteers in to work with students across the district in various activities such as mentoring, tutoring, talking about careers and being lunch buddies. Dr. Hinson spoke of a man who volunteers through the program every single day from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Dr. Hinson also spoke of the newly created Shawnee Mission Care Fund. The fund benefits students with needs that cannot be given by the district, such as food for the weekend or dental assistance. The goal is to raise $25,000 and Dr. Hinson implored the guests to pledge to donate. By the end of the breakfast, people had pledge enough to make it halfway to the goal.
Throughout his address, Dr. Hinson incorporated technology to get feedback. At specific moments, Dr. Hinson asked questions which guests voted by texting their answers to a number. He asked questions like, “Of these four areas, what should be the district’s number one focus?” The results were displayed a couple minutes later.
The breakfast concluded around 9 a.m.