Thursday, May 17, 2018

Seventh-grade student receives surprise scholarship through Starlight





by Mary Wilson

A stunned seventh-grader from Grandview learned last week that her dream of singing and acting professionally are coming true, thanks to Starlight Theatre and the Vincent Legacy Scholarship.

Since 2006, Starlight Theatre in Kansas City has awarded Vincent Legacy Scholarships to qualified and deserving middle school students throughout the metropolitan area. The needs-based scholarship was established with a generous donation from former Starlight board member and longtime supporters Greg and Rebecca Reid. It provides ethnically-diverse youth in Kansas City the opportunity to pursue professional training in the performing arts.

During a special surprise assembly in front of her peers, Erica Brown discovered her hard work had paid off to the tune of a $2,500 scholarship. Brown has been performing since she was a young girl, and has made her mark at Grandview Middle School by not only landing the lead role in Annie, Jr. this year, but also entertaining her fellow students by singing in the cafeteria on Tuesdays.

“Scholarship winners are selected not only because they exhibit passion in the arts, but they also have to be excellent students, have strong school attendance record, and give back to others through community service,” said Richard Baker, President and CEO of Starlight Theatre. “Erica’s level of singing and performing made her a perfect choice for our scholarship.”

According to Assistant Principal Tim Moore, Brown is respected by her teachers because she is an active participant in class and is very involved in many school activities. Moore said Brown will likely achieve much success in her future endeavors. She aspires to one day be an instructor in the arts.

“Thank you all so very much,” said Brown. “I’m really excited, and I just want to thank you.”
To qualify, students in grades 6, 7 and 8 must also be nominated by a current instructor, have strong grades, and audition for Starlight’s scholarship committee.

Each $2,500 Vincent Legacy Scholarship, funded in memory of Greg Reid’s infant son Vincent, is administered by the Starlight Education Department, and funds are applied to the scholarship recipients’ performing arts training during their middle and high school years.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Education Foundation celebrates two decades





by Mary Wilson

The Grandview Education Foundation is celebrating 20 years of service and dedication to the students and faculty of the Grandview C-4 School District. On Thursday, April 26, current Foundation supporters and founding members gathered to celebrate the beginnings of the organization.

Former Grandview Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thornsberry was instrumental in the start of the Grandview Education Foundation (GEF), which was officially established in 1997. He shared how GEF began, and applauded the volunteers whom over the last 20 years have made the Foundation successful.

“I certainly want to begin my comments by congratulating those of you who have taken the Foundation and made it a success over the years,” said Thornsberry. “It is certainly reflective of the interest and the hard work that many of you have done. Really, it’s the work you’ve done and your efforts, rather than the idea and the concept, which should be celebrated.”

Prior to 1997, the late Roy Meyers, of Meyers Real Estate in Grandview, would drop by Thornsberry’s office to talk. According to Thornsberry, Meyers was one of a group of historically significant Grandview residents who were passionate about the community and the school district.

“Why Roy selected me and would visit with me, I don’t know,” said Thornsberry. “He was not visible in a lot of community activities or offices, but he was vitally interested in the image of the school district and the image of the community and how they fit together.”

Over time, the two talked about different ideas to help improve that image, and that’s when the idea of an education foundation surfaced. At the time, Thornsberry says there may have been only one other school foundation in the area. After discussions with other community leaders, it became apparent that the idea would be supported.

“I retired in 1997, right as this was getting started,” said Thornsberry. “A lot of the organization’s beginnings and board actions probably happened after I left. I do remember that everybody that we mentioned the idea to were very positive about it and would support it going forward.”

In the last 20 years, approximately $1,077,567 has been contributed to enhance the educational opportunities for students in the Grandview C-4 School District. Grandview Education has awarded more than 157 teacher and staff grants, and administered over $300,000 in student scholarships.

“There’s several people who deserve a lot of credit for the beginning, or the idea of the foundation,” said Thornsberry. “This is the first school activity that I’ve attended in 21 years of retirement. I’m really proud of our school district. I’m proud of this community, and I congratulate each of you who have worked to make the foundation a success.”

Current Grandview Superintendent Dr. Kenny Rodrequez has been active in support of the Grandview Education Foundation during his time in the district, according to GEF President Cindy Bastian.

“I don’t think that we can accomplish the things in this district that we need to without an active foundation,” said Rodrequez. “This one, in particular, has proven that on many occasions. We can’t accomplish our ultimate mission of educating every one of our kids without the support of the Foundation.”

Rodrequez said that the foundation is much more than providing scholarships for Grandview’s students and teacher grants; GEF is active in the community and provides support in the schools.

“We are still reaping the benefits of the creation of this foundation,” said Rodrequez. “But, ultimately, our kids are seeing the benefits. On behalf of the school district, thank you for everything that each of you have had to do with this.”

Bastian announced a new GEF scholarship, in honor of founding and current member Kathy Meyers, who has dedicated many years to the Grandview C-4 School District. She served as a Board of Education member and former president, currently works for the district, and is a Grandview alum.

“Certainly there are many people in this room who deserve this,” said Meyers. “Thank you, Dr. Thornsberry, for giving my dad an ear, and thanks to everyone all the way to the current Board, because it takes a lot of people, a lot of time and energy and a lot of dedication, and that’s what we have here. I can guarantee that my father would be very proud of what GEF has done over the last 20 years.”

Grandview Education Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to partner with the Grandview C-4 School District and the community to enhance educational opportunities for students and staff in the district. For more information, visit www.grandviewedfoundation.org.