Thursday, December 14, 2017

Grandview leads the way in STEM education

Project Lead the Way President and CEO Vince Bertram discusses the impact his program has made on districts across the country. On the panel discussion with him are: Zakery Smith, Belvidere 4th grade student; Brenda Naranjo, Grandview High School PLTW student; Chianti Harris, Grandview High School PLTW student; Josiah Scott, Grandview High School PLTW student; Patti Lindquist, Grandview High School PLTW teacher; Michael Smith, 5th grade PLTW Launch student at Belvidere; and Tyler Stolberg, Launch Lead Teacher at Belvidere.

by Mary Wilson

Elementary classrooms look much different today than they did 30, 15, or five years ago. A glimpse inside Tyler Stolberg’s fifth grade classroom at Belvidere Elementary in the Grandview School District will not show students at their desks in rows, the teacher standing at the front of the class while students take notes as he lectures, or even a traditional chalkboard.

Stolberg’s room, to the untrained eye, may seem like complete chaos. Some students are standing in small groups around their desks; others are lounging on a rug in a corner. IPads are powered on and students are loudly engaged in their assignment, while Stolberg mills his way around (and over some), to help answer and guide the students in their project.

Three years ago, Stolberg began integrating Project Lead the Way (PLTW) into his fifth-grade classroom. He began with two launch modules, infection detection and energy and collisions. The next year, he added a third module, and the district added two more teachers to launch the program in their classrooms alongside Stolberg. His students have outperformed the district average in testing scores.

“I’ve kept adding to it from there,” said Stolberg. “It’s really been blossoming and our students are getting great opportunities from it. Not only is it a part of my science curriculum, but now, with what we’re doing in the classroom, it’s a part of our entire curriculum. We’re tying it into everything.”

The Grandview C-4 School District prides itself on being a leader in innovative teaching and learning practices in all classrooms.  In fact, the district was one of the first in the area to implement Project Lead the Way; and by the 2018-19 school year, PLTW will be expanded into all schools and implemented at every grade level. The PLTW Launch program empowers students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects, and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them. It allows students to engage in hands-on activities in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science.

“The district’s commitment to PLTW is more than 10 years in the making,” said Grandview C-4 Superintendent Dr. Kenny Rodrequez. “PLTW has provided additional opportunities for all of our students to have engaging classroom environments where they can solve real world problems while critically thinking and collaborating with each other.”

On Thursday, December 7, PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram toured Belvidere, visiting the district’s innovation classrooms, which are designed to provide out-of-the box instruction to students.
PLTW, now in its 20th year of operation, is a nonprofit organization which focuses on the belief that all students, of every age, need access to real-world, applied learning experiences that empower them to gain the skills they need to thrive in college, career, and beyond. Upon hearing of the program, Bertram, a principal at the time, implemented it into his own school.

“Within a year, we had 300 students in Project Lead the Way,” said Bertram. “I discovered, as a young principal, that students were dropping out of school simply because they were bored and school wasn’t relevant. I saw something really powerful.”

In 2011, Bertram took the lead position for the PLTW organization, with a goal to expand the program and transform education in the country. To date, roughly 300,000 students in 2,000 schools are impacted by Project Lead the Way programming this school year. The program is seeing tremendous growth and positive results from each district using it.

“We have teachers across the country that believe in this work and have created regional collaborations of this model,” said Bertram. “I think it’s that vision, from a regional perspective, that shows why this work really matters. It’s about amazing teachers. When we can put that combination together and provide relevant curriculum and professional development, we can do great things.”

Bertram said that the PLTW mission and goal is to make the program available to every student in America. Project Lead the Way promotes, according to Bertram, a great K-12 experience that, in turn, leads to a great adult life.

“The relevancy of what students are learning today matters for a lifetime,” said Bertram. “You don’t learn math so you can take a test. You learn math so you can solve real-world problems. You learn science to apply it in the real world. There is a greater purpose in all of this.”

When Rodrequez became superintendent in Grandview, he told his staff that if certain programs were available to students at one school, he wants those same programs available at all schools. The plan was to implement PLTW Launch for fifth graders at one school, and then expand and build it into other schools in the district.

“We want every one of our students to have the opportunity to be exposed to the Project Lead the Way modules,” said Rodrequez. “This is what we consider to be the best in education. The kids deserve that. They love it; it is engaging and teaches them a lot of different things that we can’t quantify in other areas.”

Rodrequez said that PLTW is working in the district thanks to the teachers who have embraced the programming. Recently, the Grandview School District was recognized by Project Lead the Way for offering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) classes to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Grandview is one of 45 districts in the state to be designated a 100-percent access district by PLTW.

Monday, December 11, 2017

MoDOT sees continued challenge with current transportation funding

by Mary Wilson

Missouri Department of Transportation’s budgetary shortfalls have been no secret over the last several years, with attempts at tax increases turned down by voters and creative planning processes for additional revenue on the table. However, MoDOT area engineer Matt Killion told members of the Grandview and South Kansas City Chambers of Commerce last Friday that they’re making the most of their current funds.

“Transportation funding continues to be a long-term challenge here in Missouri,” said Killion. “We’ve, in a way, leveled out. We’re in good shape to maintain what we have today in the condition it is today.”

Missouri has the seventh largest road system in the nation, but is number 47 in terms of dollars-per-mile funding. The state’s fuel tax has not seen an increase since 1996. The average Missouri driver pays about $30 per month in state and federal fuel taxes and fees. When commercial motor vehicle fees and federal general revenue transfers for transportation are included, the average climbs to $48 per month. After distributions to other entities that are required by law, and payment of debt, MoDOT receives less than 60 percent of these funds to design, build, operate and maintain the system.

“People are also driving more fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Killion, “which in turn brings less money to MoDOT. We see all the revenues from the fuel tax, so as drivers are turning to more fuel-efficient vehicles, that is decreasing.”

Killion said that since the last tax increase, revenues have outpaced inflation. The cost of concrete for MoDOT has doubled, while asphalt prices have tripled. Bonds issued in the early 2000s are also being paid back currently.  All of MoDOT’s revenues, about $2.5 billion, come from state and federal fuel taxes and state registration and vehicle fees.

“Almost $1 billion of that, right off the top, is distributed to cities and counties for their road systems,” said Killion. “The bulk of the rest of the money is spent on our construction program.”

MoDOT has a list of high-priority unfunded needs, including improvements to I-70 and other projects that spur job creation and economic activity. To help with the funding shortfalls, a transportation task force, including Representatives Joe Runions and Greg Razer from the area, was developed to come up with a plan of action to present recommendations to the Missouri legislature by the end of this year.

Upcoming MoDOT projects in South Kansas City and Grandview include: the completion of the 155th Street bridge over I-49 (ribbon cutting scheduled for Friday, December 15, at 11 a.m.), continued I-470 bridge rehabilitation, I-49 resurfacing from Blue Ridge to 163rd, 71 Highway resurfacing from Bannister to Swope Parkway, and I-435 resurfacing from Bannister to Stadium. The larger project in the area will be I-435 from State Line to I-49, the biggest in the district’s 5-year plan, is called the South Loop Link project.

“This stretch of road (from State Line to I-49) sees 138,000 vehicles per day,” said Killion. “It is the second-most traveled route in the region.”

The bridges at Holmes and Wornall will be replaced, and a lane will be added between State Line and 103rd. The $70 million project will be a design-build, according to Killion, with a fixed-cost, best value approach. The biggest impact to travelers in the area will be only one lane of closure at a time for a 60-day period. Construction will take place over the next two years and wrap up in 2020 with minimal traffic impacts. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Lee’s Summit developer seeks annexation of 96 SKC acres

by Mary Wilson

Members of the South Kansas City community have been keeping a close eye on a development off of I-470 and View High Drive in Lee’s Summit, which primarily sits in the Hickman Mills School District. Paragon Star is a projected 210-acre, $400 million multi-phase mixed-use development that will feature a sports and recreation complex including soccer fields, entertainment, and will serve as a major trailhead to the Little Blue Trace and Rock Island Corridor trails.

The developer of the project, Flip Short, is a Lee’s Summit businessman who started a lab company, Viracor, which he sold a few years ago and has since begun a handful of other businesses, including Paragon Star. Short was also the developer behind the Lee’s Summit Magic Tree, which sits on the southern edge of the Paragon Star property at the northeast corner I-470 and View High Drive. The Magic Tree is used to raise funds and goods for philanthropy.

“We plan on Paragon Star being the country’s number-one-used sports facility,” said Bill Brown, project coordinator.

The sports complex will include 10 artificial turf regulation fields and three junior fields, a clubhouse and cantina with viewing decks, and an entertainment district with multi-family housing, lodging, office, dining, boutique retail and entertainment venues. The location also serves as the intersection of the Little Blue Trace Trail and the Rock Island Corridor Trail, and the developer plans to extend the trails through the Paragon Star project with a trailhead.

The project’s current 120 acres is fully in the City of Lee’s Summit, and along the north side of the property is the city limits. According to Brown, the developer would like to go north into 95 acres of South Kansas City with additional development for the project.

“It is a gorgeous piece of property, but it is a very difficult one to develop,” said Brown. The City of Lee’s Summit posted a request for qualifications from development teams to propose a use for the 80 acres owned by the city, and Paragon Star was ultimately selected and will purchase the city’s portion of the property. Short owns another 20 acres, while the remaining will be leased from Jackson County.

A Community Improvement District (CID) has been developed for the property with sales tax generated on the property being captured, and it will be owned and maintained by that CID. The developer would also like to restore the Little Blue River that flows through the property, including building two new bridges and raising flood plain elevation. Local incentives in Lee’s Summit have also been included in the development of the site, including a tax increment financing plan (TIF) and a one-cent transportation development district (TDD) to pay for site infrastructure.

“Over the course of the last six years, we’ve had a lot of public discussions in and around Lee’s Summit,” said Brown. “We’ve had a very public process and each step has required a public process to go through to get the approval of the CID, the TDD and the TIF.”

As part of the process, Paragon Star developers met with the City of Kansas City to discuss standards of the road that will travel through the project. According to Brown, it was suggested from Kansas City staff to annex the area where the initial parkway through the project begins (currently in Kansas City, MO) in order to work with one public entity.

“That got us to thinking into the next phases of the project and what we wanted to do,” said Brown. “We were getting interest in putting other things in the project, and we were simply landlocked at 120 acres. We were already looking north into Kansas City property. We needed another way into the project (from the north), and we began to think there was a way we could catch fire and meet a lot of mutual goals.”

Short has since purchased a portion of the 96 acres to the north in Kansas City and is under contract for the remaining acreage. The goal is to create a parkway through the entire project that will connect I-470 and Bannister Road, paid for by the developer. The City of Lee’s Summit has given the initial nod of approval for annexation of the Kansas City 96 acres, which, if approved in Kansas City, will not change school district boundaries.

“Our application (with the City of Kansas City) is for 98 acres, but in reality only 46 of the 98 acres is developable,” said Paragon Star’s general counsel Christine Bushyhead. “The remaining is that beautiful hillside and other topography that won’t be developed.”

A traffic study will be completed that will determine the impact from the development onto already existing thoroughfares. The developer will also complete right-of-way improvements, and the major parkway through the development will be built to Kansas City standards with a cooperative agreement.

Brown said that there is a timing issue for the developers, who completed a ground-breaking ceremony in November of 2016. Before grading can begin on the initial project, the developers would like to incorporate the additional 96 acres into the grading.

“That’s why we just said, ‘time out,’ on the project, let’s work through the process and see what happens and we’ll make a decision after we go through the annexation process before we make a decision as a developer,” said Brown. “We’re ready to move forward on a lot of the work right now, but this question about the annexation does impact how we proceed.”

The annexation application with Kansas City was unanimously approved by Kansas City Planning Commission. On December 13, 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, Paragon Star will present to Kansas City’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee. That meeting will be open to the public. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Slain homeless woman to receive proper burial

by Mary Wilson

Chances are, if you’ve spent any time in downtown Grandview or along Blue Ridge over the past several years, you’ve likely run into 64-year-old Karen Harmeyer. Known in the community as a friendly, down-on-her-luck homeless woman, Harmeyer said she used to work as a nurse before her life took a turn.

Harmeyer was found murdered on July 19, her body discovered in a wooded area behind a church on Blue Ridge by those who checked on her regularly. Since then, due to no known relatives, her remains have been held at the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s office.

A group of local pastors and community members gathered together this week to give Harmeyer a proper funeral. With her remains being released to the community members, a service has been arranged for Tuesday, December 5, from 5-6 p.m., at Faith Ministries Community Church, 12222 Blue Ridge Blvd. in Grandview.

“We all feel very strongly that despite her chosen lifestyle, Karen deserves the dignity of a proper funeral and burial,” said local business owner Michael Lane. “There is nothing anyone can do about her senseless demise, but as community we can make sure she is laid to rest with the respect and dignity every human being deserves.”

The community is invited to Harmeyer’s memorial services, arranged with the help of Grandview Police Chaplain Lenny Laguardia. McGilley and George Funeral Home has donated a plot for her remains and Harmeyer will be laid to rest in Belton Cemetery.

“We cannot allow an act of senseless evil be the legacy,” said Lane. “Through her tragedy we as a community can show that good is more powerful then evil.”

Last month, Jackson County Prosecutors announced charges against Frederick Scott in connection to Harmeyer’s death. Scott is also facing charges in several other deaths in the South Kansas City area, though it is unknown what his involvement was in Harmeyer’s murder as details connecting Scott and Harmeyer have not been released. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Grandview teacher brings peace into classroom

by Mary Wilson,

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has selected Grandview teacher Amy Cameron to serve in the 2017 Peace Teachers Program. The Peace Teachers Program is rooted in the conviction that educators can be pivotal in bringing peace themes into their classrooms, schools and communities. At a time when violent conflict regularly dominates headlines, USIP believes that teachers are the key to helping young people obtain the knowledge, skills and perspectives to envision a more peaceful world and their part in creating it.

The Peace Teachers Program selects four outstanding American middle and high school educators each year to receive training, resources and support to strengthen their teaching of peace. Over the course of a school year, these teachers develop their understanding of international conflict management and peacebuilding through online coursework and other USIP opportunities; discover new ways to teach about conflict and peace, and identify concrete actions for integrating these concepts and skills into their classrooms; build connections with like-minded educators and with USIP through monthly virtual meetings; and serve as ambassadors and models for global peacebuilding education in their schools and broader communities by sharing their experiences and strategies on USIP’s website, at conferences of educators, and in a special closing program in Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled to work with these four outstanding educators this coming year. They have each excelled at bringing a global perspective to their teaching, and they have exciting ideas for integrating issues of conflict and peace into their students’ work,” said Megan Chabalowski, who manages the program for USIP’s Public Education department. “We know from working with previous groups of Peace Teachers that they are going to have a great impact on their students’ growth as peacebuilders.”

The program is part of USIP’s public education work. Grounded in the Institute’s original mandate from Congress, public education serves the American people, providing resources and initiatives for K-12 students and educators, as well as others interested in learning about and working for peace.
Cameron wrote curriculum for her high school British and World Literature students using the book What Is the What, written by Dave Eggers, which is based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese child refugee who immigrated to the United States under the Lost Boys of Sudan program. Last school year, after the students read the novel, Cameron invited a Lost Boy from Sudan to come and speak with her classes.

“The conversations we have while reading this book are great,” said Cameron. “Our kids are global citizens now. When I’m teaching them, we study South Sudan and the conflict.”
Throughout her research for the curriculum, Cameron came across an essay contest through USIP. Having been listed as the sponsoring teacher for student submissions over the years, Chabalowski reached out to Cameron to find out what was happening in her classroom.

“I told her that in our World Lit classes, we talk about conflict being everywhere and that we can’t isolate ourselves from it,” said Cameron. “In Grandview we can’t be isolated. I want my students to feel like they are part of a bigger picture. The South Sudanese just lends itself to such a great study of conflict.”

With many of the Lost Boys from Sudan ending up in the Kansas City area, Cameron’s students are able to relate to their stories. Chabalowski, after hearing from Cameron about her curriculum, convinced her to apply for the Peace Teachers Program.

“If I had read the other teachers’ (who were previously selected) submissions, I probably wouldn’t have done it. But I did it and I was just humbled when I found out that USIP had selected me,” said Cameron. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Cameron’s essay focused on how she applies lessons of peace in her classroom in order to help her students feel more connected and to feel that something else is more important than them. Next semester, Cameron will include a project-based learning design in which students will study how to become peacebuilders in the world.

“I’m going to let them run with it. There are a thousand different avenues that they can explore,” said Cameron. “It’s all high-interest with the kids. The relevancy now, when there’s so much conflict, a lot of our kids can relate to these things personally.”

While doing an activity that coincided with the International Day of Peace this year, Cameron and her students discovered that 162 nations are currently in some sort of conflict. Each country in conflict will receive a colored tack on the map in Cameron’s classroom, eventually filling most of the map.

“The idea is to show that they are all in conflict,” said Cameron. “We’ll focus on how to be a peacebuilder in the classroom and how that translates to the community and the world.”

As part of the Peace Teachers Program, Cameron has received a number of resources to help her incorporate peace building into her everyday teaching. The other teachers selected for this year are from Montana, Florida and Oklahoma, and the four speak monthly to discuss what may or may not be working in their respective communities.

“Grandview is on the map for this,” said Cameron. “I’m really psyched for it. The attention between Washington D.C. and Grandview that we’ll receive, to me, is huge.”

As one of the four high schools in the country being represented in the Peace Teachers Program, in December, USIP representatives will visit Grandview High School and speak with Cameron’s students.

“This is so relevant right now. With our kids, a lot of times they are reflecting what is happening at home,” said Cameron. “Their concerns should be our concerns. The kids have definite opinions, but they also feel hopeless. Hopefully there will be a time in our lives when we won’t have 162 countries in conflict, but that won’t happen until it happens everywhere, when people feel like they have a say; when we feel more secure in our own communities.”

Cameron is excited to see what direction her students take with the peacebuilding lessons. Every day, as Cameron teaches World Literature, she explains to her students different perspectives and that the world is much bigger than the community they live in. Her classes will begin reading What Is the What in February.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Grandview School Board President resigns

by Mary Wilson,

After being selected to fill the vacancy left by former Grandview School Board member Rachel Casey in 2013 and serving five years, President WayneTerpstra has submitted his resignation. According to Terpstra, a change in jobs and more travel on his schedule to help grow the company he works for led to his departure.

“I didn’t want to resign, but with me being gone all the time, it would have been more of a detriment to the Board and to the district than me staying,” said Terpstra. “In the last five months at work, we have hired in national sales guys, and with me being the resident expert, I am the guy that has to do out and do the training with the new sales force.”

“I wouldn’t be able to give them the support that they need,” he added. “It is best for me to step aside, allow them to reorganize and let someone else step in. I know it was a shock, but I felt it was the best time with no real issues for me to make that move.”

With Terpstra’s resignation, the Grandview Board of Education reorganized at their October 19 meeting. Leonard Greene will now serve as President and Ron Haley as Vice President. Terpstra’s unexpired term lasts through the next Board of Education election on April 3, 2018. Current board members will interview interested candidates who apply for the position.

“I feel pretty bad, because I’ve never quit anything and resigned in midterm,” said Terpstra. “I teach my kids when they start something they need to finish it. I just didn’t think I’d be able to give them the time and attention that they deserve.”

Terpstra said that he’d like to see someone from the community who has the time to be active and involved in the district step up to fill the vacancy.

“I never knew what the education system even was until I got involved in Board of Education,” he said. “I had no idea. You just take your kids and send them to school and expect someone to educate them. In today’s society, you just can’t do that. Our kids need guidance and advice to help them succeed.”

“I have a tremendous respect for the educators,” Terpstra added. “To get into the nuts and bolts of the administrators and staff, what always amazed me is the amount of attention and how they’re born to be in that position. It’s incredible to me.”

Interested applicants for the vacancy should submit a letter of intent to be considered for the available Board of Education position by November 17. Guidelines for the vacancy position are on page 2 of the print edition. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Santa Fe Christian Church’s Final Homecoming Celebration

by Mary Wilson,

Hard work, dedication and a few tears paid off for one South Kansas City woman this past weekend. The culmination of research and interviews with locals came to fruition as Diane Euston, a local high school teacher and avid historian, along with members of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) Little Blue River Chapter and the Historical Society of New Santa Fe, held a homecoming ceremony for a former South Kansas City church.

On Saturday, October 7, the Santa Fe Christian Church received a permanent marker dedicated to the education of visitors to the area about the history of the landmark lost. Euston provided the history of the church to roughly 150 visitors who attended the ceremony.

In 1869, members of the Bethlehem Church of Christ organized a new congregation. The church organizers believed that the church community needed a burial ground for their loved ones, and in 1885, the New Santa Fe Cemetery was established. An adjacent lot was used for building the church. The Christian Church at New Santa Fe (later shortened to the Santa Fe Christian Church) was dedicated in 1892, and thrived through the years due to the hard work of the pioneer community.

“Every Friday, the women of the community would take fresh farm goods, like milk and eggs, by horse and buggy to Westport to sell to support their church,” said Euston. “The little church was the only true remainder of the town that was once here and attending the church became the reason to return to this community.”

Euston added that the church was a gathering place for the community. As the area changed from a farming community to suburbs of Kansas City, the Santa Fe Christian Church welcomed new members. In 1965, a group of men with no attachment to the pioneer families legally incorporated the name Santa Fe Christian Church out of a home in Grandview.

“The new group essentially took the name that was already being used,” said Euston. “These pioneer families were unaware of the incorporation and what the future held.”

On November 14, 1969, at approximately 7 p.m., a fire started in a defective heating system, damaging the north side of the historic church. The fire chief stated that the structure was not severely affected and that the church could be restored to its former glory.

“It became clear, very clear, that not everyone was willing to save the little Santa Fe Christian Church,” said Euston.

In the spring of 1970, a secret vote was held to raze the church, and a restoration committee was quickly formed to prevent that from happening. The committee determined that if the funding was available to make the repairs to the church, there was no reason to destroy it, and they worked to raise money to save the building.

The restoration committee met with the trustees of the church to try and reason with them. According to Euston, one stated that the building would always smell like smoke, while another stated he was looking toward the future, not the past. In October of 1970, three trustees of the Christian Church at New Santa Fe signed a special warranty deed that dissolved the former organization. All legal rights were then given to the Santa Fe Christian Church, the same church organized in Grandview in 1965. One of the members said during a deposition that he believed what he was signing was simply a release of trusteeship.

“He had no idea that he had signed the church away to this new organization,” said Euston. “But that’s what happened.”

Estimates to fix the damage to the church were between $3000 and $10,000. Insurance paid the church over $20,000, and that money was in control of the new organization. Instead of repairing the old church, they bought the lot next door for $7000 and began construction on a new church.
Meanwhile, funds were still being raised to help restore the damaged building by the restoration committee. On February 7, 1971, they met with the new leadership to plead their case one last time to allow their church to be restored with private funds. The restoration committee and their supporters tried to vote, but were not allowed because they hadn’t been active members of the new church for at least 90 days. The vote proceeded without them and in the end, 17 out of 20 members voted to raise the church.

On February 12, a restraining order was filed against the Santa Fe Christian Church to stop demolition. The next day, February 13, 1971, Judge Richard Sprinkle signed the filed restraining order and at 10:36 a.m., the injunction became official;  the Santa Fe Christian Church was to not be touched or destroyed. However, at approximately 9:30 a.m. that same day, demolition of the Santa Fe Christian Church had already started.

“66 minutes. All of this fight came down to just over an hour,” said Euston. “I can only imagine the shock and heartache that was left behind after this church was reduced to a pile of rubble.”

The restoration committee wasn’t going to give up their fight, and filed suit against the new church. A resolution was found four years later with the creation of the New Santa Fe Cemetery Association. The small burial ground was all that was left of the community, and it became their mission to save it from the new organization.

“In 1975, for $1, the new church organization sold the cemetery to this new committee,” said Euston. “Even as I recount all that I’ve learned, it still gives me goosebumps and it still shocks me. This church should still be standing. This is a revival, not of religious proportions, but of recollections, memories and the importance of preservation of historic landmarks. Today, we need to stand in celebration of a landmark lost.”

A common theme for the month of October for the Santa Fe Christian Church was homecoming celebrations. An annual homecoming service was held, drawing a large crowd of former members and friends of the church and provided fellowship for the entire community.

“A homecoming in southern church tradition is about the celebration of memories past,” said Euston. “It’s about finding a reason to gather together and reminisce. It is also a celebration of the future.”

Approximately two years to the day after the church was bulldozed, the Little Blue River Chapter NSDAR was being organized in Grandview. It would take another 42 years for the New Santa Fe Historical Society and the local NSDAR chapter to come together to apply for a special grant project to celebrate the historical value of the church that once stood on the grounds of New Santa Fe.

“Little Blue River, in 40 years, had never tackled anything like that before,” said Margo Aldridge, Regent with the Little Blue River NSDAR.  In 2015, Aldridge contacted Trailside Center volunteer Ann O’Hare to see if she knew of any local projects that needed funding.

The project received $1844 in an education grant from DAR and was sponsored by the local chapter. The project was originally submitted in 2015, and after being turned down the group resubmitted in 2016. They were notified in March of this year that the Santa Fe Christian Church dedication was approved for funding.

The final homecoming for the former members of the Santa Fe Christian Church revealed a permanent marker dedicated to its memory.