Shawnee Mission Education Foundation Hosts Fall Breakfast with Surprise Scholarship Announcement

students receiving scholarship offers
LauraADM Harsch

The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation hosted its annual Fall Breakfast, highlighting the 50th anniversary for the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD). While the event honored the district’s legacy of excellence, one emotional highlight brought a stunning announcement about the future for thousands of current Shawnee Mission seniors.

Foundation staff members introduced a new initiative called Scholarship Shawnee Mission. Through this program, the SMSD provides universities and colleges information about seniors whose parents have opted to participate, Edward Marquez, Program Officer and new staff member, with the Foundation explained.

“It occurred to me a while back that bright and hardworking students should be recruited by colleges in the same way they recruit student-athletes,” Marquez said. “We believe colleges should be competing over our students and not the other way around. It eliminates barriers in the college admission process and opens up possibilities some students could never have dreamed.”

Foundation Executive Director Kim Hinkle shared that so far more than 27 universities and colleges are participating. Shawnee Mission students have already received more than $581,000,000 in scholarship offers.

On stage, Jetzel Chavira, Shawnee Mission West senior learned she received scholarship offers in a combined total of $710,430. Tijesu Ono, Shawnee Mission North senior, learned he has received scholarship offers totaling $886,250. Hinkle announced that Foundation staff will be visiting each Shawnee Mission High School in the month of October. They anticipate informing more than a thousand seniors they are receiving scholarships.

“This is just the beginning of this exciting and life-changing initiative,” Hinkle said.  “We are so thrilled to be able to make such a significant contribution to so many of our Shawnee Mission students.”

Dr. Mike Fulton gave the keynote speech at the Breakfast, highlighting the work of the district in adopting and implementing the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan.

“At the heart of our plan are the three objectives: every student having a personalized learning plan, every student being college/career ready and every student having the interpersonal skills important to life success.”

While many schools are much older than 50, on July 1, 1969, 12 elementary school districts and the Shawnee Mission High School District were unified into the present Shawnee Mission School District #512, Kimberly Hinkle, Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, executive director shared as the event opened.

Because of this milestone the event opened with a tribute to the “Legacy of Excellence” over the last 50 years. Special guests who shared memories included retired math teacher, track and field and cross-country coach, Van Rose, who retired from Shawnee Mission Northwest.

“My students and runners are still taking care of me,” Rose said. “They are my ophthalmologist, my doctor, my dentist and one former student built my home.”

Senator Audrey Langworthy, a Shawnee Mission North alumna, and retired Kansas State Senator advocated for public education and students during her term as senator. She encouraged guests to support the Foundation and its many wonderful student-focused initiatives.

The Foundation hosted more than 1,000 guests for this milestone celebration raising more than $150,000. Nearly 400 students from all five high school attendance areas participated with performances and presentations throughout the event.

Click here for more information about the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation.

Students and staff onstage at the Foundation Breakfast
Internship Presentation
Senator Langworthy and Jeremy Higgins