Earn an A+

(Family Features) Back-to-school season means it’s time to get back to the business of learning. This year you can ace your back-to-school shopping excursion with these time- and money-saving steps that can make getting the whole family ready for a new school year a breeze.

Start with a list.
Walking into the store without a list is an open invitation for impulse buys and forgotten items that end up costing you more time and money with a return trip. Create a thorough list by categorizing all the items you’ll shop for, such as supplies, electronics and clothing. If you want to take an extra-organized approach, try color coding items by the section of the store where you would expect to find them.

Set a budget.
Knowing what you can afford to spend ahead of time can save regret and returns after you shop. Calculate how much you’ll need to cover all the items your students truly need, then tack on some room for wants. One must-have is a high-quality backpack, like the High Sierra Access Backpack, which includes a dedicated storage area for your child’s laptop, among other features. If your total budgeted expenses exceed your available funds, consider browsing weekly circulars to keep your budget in check.

Explore your inventory.
It may be buried under a summer’s worth of knick-knacks, but digging out the supplies your child cast aside at the end of the last school year may be worth the effort. Items like scissors, rulers and protractors may not need to be replaced every year if they’re still in working condition. Assess what items you have that can be reused and those that need to be replaced for the new school year.

Cut extra stops.
Dashing all over town to find all the items on your supply list is not only time-consuming, it’s unnecessary. At stores like Office Depot and OfficeMax, you can find all the academic tools and supplies your student needs to head back to the classroom. What’s more, a store that specializes in school supplies will have a broad selection and ample stock of the essentials.

Try online shopping.
When you know exactly what you need, shopping online is a great time-saving solution. Online shopping makes it incredibly simple to keep tabs on your budget before you make purchases and easily keep track of the items in your shopping cart. If you need to hand-select a few items in person, you can always take advantage of a “buy online, pick-up in store” option. This service lets you do your shopping from home with just a quick stop in-store to pick-up your purchases.

Buy in bulk.
It may seem counter-intuitive when you’re trying to trim your spending, but if you can swing it, go ahead and buy extra items that you’ll likely need to replace mid-year. The sale prices during the back-to-school season aren’t likely to repeat during the school year, so in the long run you’ll save money and avoid a last-minute shopping trip on a busy school night in the future. Items like Stellar fashion notebooks, which give note-taking a fashionable twist, are great to have on hand throughout the school year.

Research specials and promotions.
For many stores, the back-to-school shopping season is second only to the holidays. This means you can expect widespread sales, promotions and special deals, such as “deals as low as a penny.” Some states also offer tax-free holidays near the beginning of the school year, which are honored at multiple retailers and generally restricted to school-related purchases like clothing, supplies and some technology.

Weigh quality vs. quantity.
When you have a lengthy list of items to purchase for each child, it can be tempting to cut corners and skimp on spending. In some cases, being cost-efficient is smart, but do your research beforehand to avoid selecting items based solely on price. Value and quality don’t always go hand-in-hand and if you buy an item that falls apart or breaks down quickly, you may end up spending more to replace the items later. While it may be simpler for students to use printers and other machines at school, an all-in-one Epson Expression EcoTank Wireless Printer at home can be a convenient solution when late-night homework is bearing down.

Make dollars do double duty.
While most families expect to spend a sizable amount on back-to-school purchases (nearly $700, according to a 2016 survey by the National Retail Federation), making that money go a little further can soften the blow. You can help improve education in your community by shopping at stores that give a percentage of proceeds back to local schools. Programs vary; in some cases, you can even designate proceeds to the school district of your choice.

Take more notes on smart back-to-school shopping ideas and deals at officedepot.com.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Office Depot

Job-Hunting Students Unaware of a Top Hiring Sector

(Family Features) A national survey reports that students getting ready to enter the workforce are often overlooking one of the top hiring sectors – agriculture.

The research, sponsored by the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program, found that agriculture is not being considered by many high school and college students, despite it being one of the country’s major industries. In fact, only 3 percent of students recognize the agriculture industry as a top hiring sector.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, employers have nearly 60,000 job openings in agriculture annually, but only approximately 35,000 students with the proper training and education to fill these jobs each year.

Part of the awareness gap may be attributed to a lack of understanding of the varied job prospects and technology focus in the agriculture industry. Fewer than one in five students (19 percent) students surveyed felt they understood the career opportunities in agriculture, and only one in three students (35 percent) described agriculture as a technology-driven industry.

However, today’s agriculture industry offers a wide array of career paths for individuals with interest in technology, science, education, agronomy and business – among other fields. From agriculture economists and agronomists, to crop consultants, food scientists and engineers, experts in multiple fields – especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas are needed to drive innovations growers need to feed the world’s growing population.

To help close this gap, the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, awards scholarships to help develop the next generation of agriculture leaders. Students looking to pursue higher education in an agriculture-related field of study from a two- or four-year program or trade school are eligible to apply for a $1,500 scholarship until Feb. 1, 2017.

“The field of agriculture provides many exciting and important career opportunities for today’s students, and we feel it’s important to support youth who are pursuing their studies in this growing and dynamic industry,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president.

To find more information or to apply for the program, visit www.GrowAgLeaders.com, or learn more about the program at Facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.

Monsanto Fund

Students Prosper from STEM Education

(Family Features) Education is particularly critical for today’s students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, as the number of jobs with an emphasis in STEM is expected to grow significantly over the next 10 years, according to the National Science and Math Initiative.

With the right funding, schools across the country are putting an emphasis on STEM education and looking for new ways to make a difference in the lives of their students and their communities. For Rochelle Middle School in Rochelle, Illinois, a $25,000 grant from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, enabled the school to enhance its science curriculum by exposing students to STEM-related career opportunities and preparing students for the workforce. The program included the purchase of a 3D printer to introduce students to the technology and bring their designs and ideas to life.

Shortly after the program began, the students learned about a local farmer who lost his arm in an accident while working in the field and they began working on a program to use the 3D printer to build a fully-functioning prosthesis for him.   

Other Americas Farmers Grow Rural Education grants have helped schools expand their science curriculum by building greenhouses, continuing a remote-operated-vehicle science program, developing a livestock learning laboratory on a high school campus and others.

“STEM education is a vital foundation for the future of students and communities,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. “With the support of local farmers, we are proud to provide resources to engage and excite students in their STEM educations, and help them understand practical applications of their studies.”

Since starting the program, Rochelle Middle School’s parents and teachers have noticed a change in students, as they seem more engaged and excited to learn. Many even stay after school for an independent study course with their science teacher.

“The grant helped enhance our STEM offering to students and show them what their futures could hold,” said Vic Worthington, Rochelle Middle School science instructor. “In middle school, it’s easy for these students to go to school each day, but not understand the full picture of possibilities of their futures. Through this program, schools are able to put possibilities in front of students they couldn’t have previously dreamed of.”

The Grow Rural Education program is seeking nominations from farmers through April 1, 2017, to help provide rural public schools with funding for STEM projects. Since the program began partnering with farmers in 2011, more than $11 million has been awarded to help rural schools in need. To learn more about the program or how farmers can nominate a school near them, visit GrowRuralEducation.com.

Monsanto Fund

Grown-Up Christmas List

As Christmas somehow continues to sneak up on us, I have been asked several times what my Christmas list includes. I can think of a number of treasures that I think I really want, but as I continue to get older, grow in my profession, and, as my marriage ages, I am finding that the things I want, I either buy for myself or realistically talk myself out of.

When it comes to my family’s traditions, the adult couples draw the names of another couple, and then we all buy gifts for the nephews and niece.

As an adult, it is quite easy to sift through my list of possible wants and think to myself, “This is crazy, I could get this for myself, if I really needed it.” Or, “Who am I and what have I done to receive these gifts?”

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Grown-up Christmas List” sung by Amy Grant. In the lyrics, Amy wishes that: “No more lives torn apart/That wars would never start/And time would heal all hearts/Everyone would have a friend/And right would always win/And love would never end.”

I must admit, that just like Amy, these are really the things that I want. So, in the spirit of grown-up Christmas lists, here is mine:

1. I want my students to know they are loved by me and by a saviour who loves them more than anyone ever could.

2. That my students would fully understand that the people they are, who they truly are, is enough. They don’t need to act a certain way, or put up a front. Their true selves are beautiful!

3. That people, all over, would just be nice to each other; genuinely nice!

4. That our world would be a place that isn’t scary and isn’t full of such awful conflicts.

5. And finally, that everyone would get to experience, at some point in their lives, the feelings of 100 percent pure joy!

I am so excited to see and experience the blessings that the Christmas season brings. I know that along with receiving a couple of goodies off my want list, I can be actively working towards checking off a couple items from my grown-up list.

We live in a time where genuine niceness, love, and joy are gifts that anyone would be lucky to receive.

Keep this in mind as you go about preparing for, and celebrating this holiday season with those closest to you!

Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This essay originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Wichita Family Magazine.

Youth Entrepreneurs Students Claim Top Recognition in Business Plan Competition Finals

Final Flyers judges Dave Coyle, Stephanie Galichia, Matt Michaelis and Chuck Mackey, reviewed student presentations and business plans at Final Flyers in Wichita. Several students, including Michele Valadez, claimed top recognition in the competition.
Final Flyers judges Dave Coyle, Stephanie Galichia, Matt Michaelis and Chuck Mackey, reviewed student presentations and business plans at Final Flyers in Wichita. Several students, including Michele Valadez, claimed top recognition in the competition.

Youth Entrepreneurs (YE) held the final round of its annual business plan competition, Final Flyers, on June 2 at Emprise Bank in Wichita. The organization awarded a total of $7,500 in capital grants to winning students from Kansas and Missouri.

Sixteen out of 1,100 students from greater Wichita/Southcentral Kansas, Kansas City metro, Topeka and Southwest Kansas high schools participated in Final Flyers. Each participant had eight minutes to present his or her business plan to a group of judges, followed by eight minutes of questions and answers. The judges awarded five students $1,500 in capital grants, including Michele Valadez, East High School, for Catch My Bus.

“The Final Flyers serve as the capstone of the yearlong Youth Entrepreneurs program. It’s inspiring to see Youth Entrepreneurs students put their learning from in and out of the classroom into action and see real, tangible results,” said Phoebe Bachura, Youth Entrepreneurs executive director. “The lessons students learn from this course not only help them integrate into the business world following graduation, but also help them solve problems, and provide them hope and tools to pursue higher education, entrepreneurism and more.”

Additionally, Jon Bachura, YE national outreach director, delivered the keynote presentation at Final Flyers.

Sixteen students from Kansas and Missouri high schools competed in the final round of Youth Entrepreneurs business plan competition, Final Flyers. The organization awarded a total of $7,500 in capital grants to the winning students to go toward higher education or business capital.
Sixteen students from Kansas and Missouri high schools competed in the final round of Youth Entrepreneurs business plan competition, Final Flyers. The organization awarded a total of $7,500 in capital grants to the winning students to go toward higher education or business capital.

“In any market, most people are of the opinion they are buying goods. In reality, they are buying knowledge. The logistics and ideas it took to get that product to the point of sale is more powerful than the dollars it took for the end user to purchase it,” said Jon Bachura. “It represents a shift in mindset, which is something we focus on in our classes. Knowledge is more than just power; it is capital.”

Final Flyers was sponsored by Emprise Bank. Students participating in Final Flyers placed first and second in regional business plan competitions where they received up to $1,000 for higher education or business capital.

What to Do?

By Kendall Vogts

What to do? As a teacher, enjoying his or her summer break, that seems to be a question that comes up often and is usually followed by a smile or smirk and glazed over eyes as they wander off into the world of beautiful, student-free possibilities.

From the months of August through May, teachers are busy with everything school, but in June and July, things are different!

Now, as an auntie of young and school-aged children, I understand perfectly, have seen and have experienced summer activities for children. The goal is to keep the kids busy with fun, adventurous, silly, outdoorsy, educational and time-consuming activities. This list might include trips to the pool, the zoo, children’s museums or the park.

Parents or caretakers plan crafts like painting, sidewalk chalk and making your own silly putty. There might even be that carpooling parent, like my oldest sister, who spends time shuttling kids to library time, swimming lessons, dance lessons and gymnastics.

Needless to say, painting a picture of what students do during summer break could be pretty easy.

But what about the educators? What do we do? For some non-educators, I think they picture us sleeping in, shopping, eating out and watching TV. While those things might happen a smidge of the time, there are many other things we enjoy doing or must do in order to prepare for the next school year.

To start out, on our time off, we travel! We plan vacations with our loved ones, and we let loose a bit. My husband and I will be heading to Kansas City to Schlitterbahn with friends and will take an anniversary vacation. We also hop in the car and visit our family members. By the time summer is over, I will have visited my oldest sister and her family in Minnesota. I will have driven south to Oklahoma to visit my middle sister’s family. And I will have made it to my hometown to see all of the family that live there.

Also, we work on our homes. During the school year, there is a lot of time spent away from our houses. I don’t think people realize this, but most days, I spend more time at school than I do my own home! Sometimes, educators are lucky just to make supper for our families and spend a couple hours with them before we head to bed, only to start the routine over again.

So during the summer, we garden, paint walls, re-arrange furniture, finally complete that Pinterest craft we’ve had our eyes on, de-clutter and enjoy being able to live in our own space and not our classrooms.

Next, we prepare for the next school year. While at the beginning of our summer vacation, we want to be as far away from anything school related as possible; however, we eventually have to bite the bullet in order to be fully ready for our next round of kids. We meet with our partner teachers to plan lessons, we set up our classrooms, we copy notes and forms that each student will need, number our books, set up our progress monitoring tools and so much more.

Finally, this year especially and in the state of Kansas, teachers on their summer vacations have worried about their jobs and the future of education. Teaching is my and my husband’s job. We need our jobs to pay off student debt (which will increase because to make gains in this profession, you must continue your education), to pay for our cars, insurance, our new home and the other means by which we live.

I can see how, looking from an outsider’s perspective could be considered selfish. “They are only teaching for the money.” At that I might give a chuckle because of the amount on the paystub I get each month.

But the questions remain: Didn’t I get into education for the kids? To teach them English, as well as how to be contributing, awesome members of society? And the answer to all those question is yes! And that is why as teachers during this summer vacation we are concerned about the future of education in the State of Kansas. We are required to do so much, with students who may or may not even what to be there, with so, so little in the way of support and supplies. Public education is important. School is the safest, most consistent place for a majority of students out there.

Parents and guardians, think about those things while our kids and teachers are on summer vacation.

Regardless of the role — parent, student, or educator — summer vacation is a special time. It gives everyone the opportunity to relax, decompress, make memories and prepare for the upcoming school year.

As you are helping your student get ready for 2016-17 school session, remember their teachers. Their summers are spent doing much more than wondering, “What to do?”.

Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.

Online enrollment for 2016-17 will begin July 11

Online enrollment for the 2016-17 school year will be available July 11. All parents with a ParentVue account will be able to complete standard enrollment forms, pay for enrollment fees and school meals, and fill out free and reduced price lunch forms from a computer. Parents are encouraged to use this service in order to streamline the enrollment process. Parents new to the Wichita Public Schools are encouraged to set up a ParentVUE account at their child’s school during in-person enrollment.

In-person enrollment is August 8 – 10. The Wichita Public Schools will have consistent enrollment times at all schools to make it more convenient for parents who enroll multiple children at different schools. The enrollment times are: 

  • Monday, August 8: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 9: Noon – 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 10: Noon – 7 p.m.

The first day of school for all students is Wednesday, August 24 with a half-day orientation for 6th and 9th grade students on Tuesday, August 23.

Youth Entrepreneurs students soar to victory in Regional Flyers Competition

YE-4wYouth Entrepreneurs (YE) held The Flyers, a business plan competition serving as the capstone of the yearlong YE program, on April 27 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Wichita Airport. In categories ranging from art to agriculture, YE students dreamt up business plans and presented them for the chance to win scholarships and capital grants.
Forty-three students from Wichita-area schools were selected to take part in this year’s event, where they competed for regional honors and the opportunity to move on to the Final Flyers competition on June 2 in Wichita.
Each student had eight minutes to present his/her business plan to a group of judges. First-place winners were awarded $1,000, second-place winners $750 and third-place winners $500. Winners for four groups of students, include:
YE-1w1st Place:
Michele Valadez, East High School, for Catch My Bus; Whitney Clum, Northwest High School, for Cover to Cover; J. Larkin White, Winfield High School, for A to Z Assistants; Jenna Majors, Winfield High School, for Jenna’s Little Pitchers
2nd Place:
Paige Gray, Southeast High School, for Path to Success; Shane Bosely, Augusta High School, for Hi-Sight Imaging; Caitlyn Meraz, North High School, for Bombshell; Tayla Mallernee, Campus High School, for Rapid Ready
3rd Place:
Natalie Samuelson, Andover Central High School, for Keys w/ Ease; Brett Kabler, Andover High School, for The Escape ICT; Ashley Marlowe, Andover Central High School, for Strides Equestrian Center; Carly Flake, Andover High School, for Activus Physical Therapy Practice
YE-2wYouth Entrepreneurs provides high school students with many tools that help them in school and life,” said Phoebe Bachura, Youth Entrepreneurs executive director. “The Flyers in particular give students the opportunity to put business skills into practice. From preparing a business plan to delivering ideas to a panel of judges, students take away lessons that transcend the classroom and benefit them as they strive to make their entrepreneurial aspirations a reality.”
YE staff also presented awards to Wichita’s Volunteers of the Year, Woody Swain, Swain Farms, LLC, and Seth Konkel, Ilusion Productions; and Teachers of the Year, Hollie Ricke, Andover High School; Janet Hartley, Wichita West High School; Erin Wohletz, Little River High School. Westar Energy and Don Sherman, VP community relations & strategic partnerships, received the Community Partner Award. Additionally, YE Academy participants and scholarship winners were recognized.
YE-3wThe Flyers Wichita was sponsored by Independence Community College.

Business professionals help Gardiner students ‘Read to Succeed’

Diane Iseman, Women’s United volunteer, reads with a Gardiner Elementary third-grade student.
Diane Iseman, Women’s United volunteer, reads with a Gardiner Elementary third-grade student.

Twenty-three professional women are taking time out of their busy schedules each week to help Gardiner Elementary third-grade students improve their reading skills. Members of United Way’s Women’s United, The Pando Initiative and First Wesleyan Church volunteer their time to work one-on-one with students to help them become better readers and to also be role models.

The volunteer program began as part of United Way’s Women United “Read to Succeed” program. The group’s focus this year is early childhood literacy. Studies have shown that having a student read at grade level by the end of third grade has a great impact on a student’s success in school and in life. Once the United Way’s Women United program began, other community groups joined the program.

The volunteers received specialized training from Gardiner staff on what to look for when a student reads aloud to them.

“They are not just listening to them read, they are listening to identify specific items where a child has deficits and coaches them so we can give them the proper support to succeed,” said Gardiner principal Heather Schwartz.

“We can see that it’s making a difference. Our students’ reading scores are going up,” Schwartz said. “We cannot express how much we appreciate their efforts.”

Price-Harris marks 25 years of Bridge to Bridge run

Price-Harris students start the 25th annual Bridge to Bridge Walk/Run.
Price-Harris students start the 25th annual Bridge to Bridge Walk/Run.

Students at Price-Harris took part in a yearly tradition that promotes wellness and fun. The students took part in the one-mile Bridge to Bridge Walk/Run, which takes place between a foot bridge and a street bridge on the property.

It started 25 years ago by Molly Lavacek to create an event to tie into the Olympics. The annual tradition not only promotes wellness, but honors two students who passed away while they were attending Price-Harris. Drawings representing the two students are on the sleeves of the t-shirts worn by the students and staff.

The students look forward to the race each year and are very excited when they cross the finish line.

Hadley students take off to wrap up Flying Challenge

A Hadley Middle School student smiles after riding in a plane to wrap up the Airbus Flying Challenge for the school year.
A Hadley Middle School student smiles after riding in a plane to wrap up the Airbus Flying Challenge for the school year.

Sixty students from Hadley Middle School got a birds-eye view of Wichita to wrap up its year-long Airbus Flying Challenge, a partnership between Hadley, Airbus, the United Way, the Pando Initiative and Wichita State University. The Airbus Flying Challenge matched Hadley students with mentors from Airbus. The students and their mentors have been meeting throughout the year. The final event was taking students up in an airplane, provided by Kansas State University-Salina. It was the first time many of the students had flown.

The partnership encouraged students to learn about careers in aviation and engineering and to see how math, technology, science and engineering can be used every day. But for many students, it was also an opportunity just to talk with a caring adult.

This is the fourth year for the Airbus Flying Challenge.

Southeast seniors say goodbye to their old school

Southeast principal Lori Doyle talks with students during the Senior Breakfast.
Southeast principal Lori Doyle talks with students during the Senior Breakfast.

It was a bittersweet day for seniors at Southeast High School. As the more than 300 soon-to-be graduates gathered together during the Senior Breakfast, they reflected on their future, but also the past as the last class to finish in the current Southeast building.  The new school at Pawnee and 127th St. East is scheduled to open in August.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to close out this school. There is a lot of history in these walls,” said senior Tanner Schartz. “I believe we did the school justice by representing the senior class well.”

“It’s crazy to think that this is the last time to walk these hallways,” said senior Ira Hines. “It’s an honor to be the last senior class here, but I know the other classes are excited to be in the new school.”

“I’ve met a lot of wonderful people here at Southeast and I’ve had awesome teachers and that’s what I’ll walk away with. We have that Southeast bond that won’t change,” Hines said.

“The seniors are humbled to be the last senior class here, but they are also excited for their friends to be in the new building,” said principal Lori Doyle.

“We will continue the traditions of Southeast to the new site, and we’ll also start new traditions and create new memories,” she said.

The current Southeast building will become the WPS Administrative Center.

Wichita-Area Summer Activities for Everyone

By Kendall Vogts

May is finally here, and it seems like even though there were few April showers to bring May flowers, everything is slowly, but surely budding out and blooming. As I’m writing, it seems that the trees, that just days ago were bare, are green, leafy and blowing in the breeze! Spring, to me, is always a time of life. Winter months bring the death or hibernation of things when it comes to nature, but spring is the start and return of life!

As I’m joyous about all that spring brings, the teacher in me is squirming, itching and wondering if my face could sink anymore; if the bags under my eyes could get any bigger. Let’s face it, by mid April, the students are mentally done. The teachers… oh, that probably hits shortly after, if not by the first of May. The school year goes by so quickly. It seems like we have just started, and then it’s Thanksgiving break. And then before we know it, it’s February. After February, however, it feels as though the school year slows down, and by May, it’s as if time is crawling by.

Needless to say, summer break is a big deal, for students and teachers alike. We busy ourselves teaching and learning a year’s worth of content in nine months, and for students who are any bit behind, they have to work twice as hard with their educators. So as school comes to a close, treat your student to something special, something to reward them for their hard work, something totally un-school related.

Here is a teacher’s list of summer approved activities! As I have gotten to know my eighth grade students, I am pretty confident in saying that most, if not all, of these activities could be student approved!

Take a trip to the Sedgwick County Zoo. I am so impressed with the grounds, the animals and the activities they have at the zoo during the summer!

Make a day of it and go to a water park or a swimming pool different than the ones you and your family frequent.

Go on a walk or a bike ride and stop by a local splash pad or spray park.

Take a picnic lunch and head to the lake. If boating or jet skiing aren’t for you, grab some fishing poles and head to the docs, or take your bathing suits and swim near the beach.

Head to the Cosmosphere or Strataca (the salt museum), both located just up the road in Hutchinson, Kansas. Both have awesome opportunities for families!

Take an afternoon and go paint some pottery at Color Me Mine, right there in Wichita.

Plant a garden at home. Make a goal of using home grown produce during the summer or plant your own pumpkins to prepare for the fall.

To free your mind and unwind during the summer is not the huge task it seems to be. I understand that even after school’s out, kids remain busy, and it might seem that they are even busier. However, as a teacher, I see the benefits of taking a moment, slowing down and reconnecting with family. Make new memories and get to know more about your kids! As they grow, they see, hear and experience more than you would imagine. Take the time and make your own summer to-do list, or use mine and cross off a few of my to-dos. You might just see the editor and I on our trip to the zoo!

Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.

Earhart students test environmental knowledge

Earhart students work as a team to answer questions during the school’s annual Environmental Bee.
Earhart students work as a team to answer questions during the school’s annual Environmental Bee.

Students at Earhart Environmental Magnet tested their knowledge at the school’s Environmental Education Bee. The student-teams were divided by grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-5 and answered questions focused on science and environmental themes. The questions became harder and more extensive answers were needed in the higher grade levels.

KWCH meteorologist Mark Larson was the host for the Bee.

This is the third year for the Environmental Bee.