Archive for Thursday, August 20, 2009

Convocation sets tone for an inspirational year

August 20, 2009

Two homegrown examples show that De Soto USD 232 faculty and staff need look no further than their own classrooms for inspiration.

Interim Superintendent Ron Wimmer introduced two district students — one legally blind and the other a cancer survivor — to faculty and staff Thursday during the district’s convocation at De Soto High School.

After De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson, Shawnee Mayor Jeff Meyer and Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland gave opening remarks related to inspiration, Wimmer the stories of two young, inspirational students in the district.

The first was Dane Dunham, a legally blind Mill Valley High School student. Dane, Wimmer said, has never let his disability slow him down.

Dane’s heroes were his mother, Kristen, and his “second mom,” Debbie Porter — Dane’s paraprofessional his entire school career.

“Blindness is just a characteristic, just like being short or tall,” Dane said when speaking to the audience.

Kristen Dunham, Dane’s mother, shared her son’s top-10 list of inspiration in USD 232. The list included many activities teachers did for students, as well as kind gestures directed toward Dane.

The next story Wimmer shared was of Cade Stapp, a Prairie Ridge Elementary second-grader.

Cade was diagnosed with cancer when he was 5 years old. He’s been through chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant. His illness resulted in missing most of his kindergarten year in the district. He received homebound instruction to keep on track through his treatments. He was able to attend first grade at Prairie Ridge last year with Shelee Brim as his teacher.

“She taught him so many things, and he taught her things,” Wimmer said.

Cade has been cancer-free for two years and entered second grade this week. Joining him in the classroom will be Anna Sahaedeo, his homebound teacher two years ago.

Wimmer presented Porter, Brim and Sahaedeo with $200 classroom grants to help other students. They also are recipients of the district’s new inspiration awards.

The district also presented Dane with a $100 Visa gift card and a collection of Harry Potter books on audio. Dane had told Wimmer his third hero was Harry Potter because he does things just because they needed to be done.

Cade received a $100 Visa gift card and four tickets and a parking pass to see the Kansas City Royals.

At Monday’s De Soto Board of Education meeting, Wimmer presented a final Inspiration Award to Alvie Cater, district director of communications.

“I couldn’t have done that (put on the convocation) without Alvie,” Wimmer said. “He puts the best face on every situation. Alvie this is my way of saying thank you for all your help in making this a successful program.”

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