The Harbinger Online

News Briefs Issue 14


photo by Megan Biles


After nine years as an economics, international relations and U.S. history teacher, David Muhammad announced on April 2 that he will be leaving East, taking on a new job at LEANLAB.

LEANLAB is an organization based in Kansas City, Mo. that works with kindergarten through 12th grade schools to bridge the achievement gap within them. The organization finds entrepreneurs with innovative education ideas to help pinpoint specific problems in schools, such as a lack of technology, and help find a solution for them.

At LEANLAB, Muhammad will be the Manager of Collaborative Partnerships. This position entails finding schools needing technological and educational innovation and pairing them with up-and-coming entrepreneurs that have ideas for improvement.

“We take people from all over the country that have different nonprofits, innovation and entrepreneurial ideas that are affecting education,” Muhammad said.

While still in the realm of education, this new position focuses more on relationships. Muhammad will be responsible for building trustworthy bonds between the schools and the organization, making sure the entrepreneur-school pairing is a working partnership.

Along with matching schools in need to their best means of solution, Muhammad plans to make a bigger impact on the community through this job in ways that he couldn’t while teaching at East. By connecting with the entire city, he believes that he and the schools he works with will be able to grow.

“I don’t want to just service Shawnee Mission East kids,” Muhammad said. “I want to be able to service kids throughout Greater Kansas City.”



The city of Prairie Village will be turning the vacant lot located at 67th Street and Roe Avenue into a new park. Wassmer Park will be a three-acre park set to open in late summer or early autumn this year.

Prairie Village mayor Eric Mikkelson and the city council chose to name the park after former mayor Laura Wassmer. According to Mikkelson, Wassmer was a fitting name considering the work Mayor Wassmer did to improve Prairie Village and its parks.

“In Laura Wassmer’s case, it was particularly appropriate [to name the park after her] because she was a champion of parks during her years on council and as mayor,” Mikkelson said.

The new park will feature two play areas — one for children ages two to five and another for children ages five to 12 — a display garden, public restrooms and two solar-powered shelters.

According to Mikkelson, the solar-powered shelters will benefit the environment of the city in contrast to electric energy.

“[The shelters are] going to remove a substantial amount of carbon from the atmosphere to help alleviate the impact of global climate change,” Mikkelson said.

Along with the play areas, garden and shelters, the park will also include a historical monument dedicated to Faith Lutheran Church. Mikkelson wanted to thank the congregation for opting to provide more green space for the city instead of residential development.

“[Faith Lutheran Church] wanted [their lot] to be a park, and so we’re going to commemorate the history with a little marker,” Mikkelson said.



The Southeast Asian country of Brunei under Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah instituted a law that allows same-sex intercourse to be punishable by death of stoning on Apr. 3.

In response to the new law, many worldwide protesters, LGBTQ+ supporters and celebrities have begun boycotting hotels owned by companies located or based in Brunei.

European protesters stood outside the Dorchester Hotel in London and the Hotel Athenée in Paris — two hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency. Additionally, Brunei tourism advertisements were taken out of all London Underground public transport trains.

Celebrities like George Clooney, Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John also shared the news of the hotel boycott on Twitter to spread the word, speaking out against the homophobic law.

An honorary degree given to the Sultan of Brunei, the country’s national leader, by the University of Aberdeen in Scotland is being called for revocation in response to the law.

Virgin Australia, an Australian-owned airline, also ended a deal with Brunei’s airline Royal Brunei which allowed Virgin employees discounts on Royal Brunei flights.

Brunei is a member of The Commonwealth, which is a political association consisting of mostly former territories of the British Empire. Many protestors believe that Brunei should no longer be allowed in The Commonwealth due to their conflicting views with the other member states.

Gay-Straight Alliance sponsor and English teacher Melinda DiGirolamo also spoke about the anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

“It saddens me that something as basic and fundamental as love becomes part of the political and legal discourse,” DiGirolamo said.




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