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June 1, 2017
Harvey County IndependentJune 1, 2017 Harvey County Independent

Smith Closes Books On 35-Year Teaching Career

Posted 6/5/2017

JANA Smith has retired after 35 years as an elementary school teacher in Sedgwick. JANA Smith has retired after 35 years as an elementary school teacher in Sedgwick. By Pilar Martin

SEDGWICK—When she first started school, Jana Smith didn’t want any part of it.

“I hated it. I kept going back home, and my mom would just march me back,” she said. Smith began her school career at Bentley in the first grade. She said back then they didn’t have kindergarten.

It wasn’t until third grade that her attitude changed. “I had a really sweet teacher, Mrs. Evans, who taught me to love school,” Smith said. That change would find Smith still in a classroom, 35 years later. Smith spent her final day as a teacher, last Thursday, May 25.

And what’s more amazing is that 35 years of teaching was centered within 15 miles of where she grew up. Her family moved Sedgwick in the sixth grade, and she graduated from high school there. After high school, she attended Hutchinson Community College, and then completed her bachelor’s degree at Bethel College in Newton.

Smith began her teaching career in Sedgwick. She started out as a part-time kindergarten teacher. She has taught kindergarten through sixth grade, and for the past 25 years she’s taught kindergarten or first grade.

Smith even taught her own children, Erika and Ty. Erika went on to become a teacher as well and teaches third grade at Sedgwick. “I asked to have my own children and they let me. I think it worked out well, although I was harder on them than other students,” Smith said.

She has even taught three of her grandchildren, Dalyn, Hadyn, and Weslyn Anderson, all Erika’s children. Dalyn just graduated from KSU, and Hadyn and Weslyn are still at Sedgwick. “It was fun because I got to know all of the kids through my children and grandchildren,” Smith said.

And some of her students besides her own are now teachers at Sedgwick. Katie Davison Wendler is one of Smith’s former students who now teaches at Sedgwick.

Smith and her daughter Erika, even got their Masters degrees together from Wichita State in 2004.

“Erika wanted to do it and she convinced me to go to school with her,” Smith said.

Teaching has changed a lot as you can imagine in the past 35 years. Smith said the biggest change is technology. “When I first started out, we had one computer in the teachers’ workroom, and we took turns entering information,” Smith said.

She now has a laptop and uses 10 iPads and a smart board in her first grade classroom. Teaching outcomes have changed too. “We only taught consonants in kindergarten when I started. Now the students have to know their vowels, and how to read when they enter first grade,” Smith said.

And students are writing sentences in the first grade. “We worked on a puzzle about summer fun. Once they have completed the puzzle, then they will draw a picture of what they want to do this summer. After that, the students will write two to three sentences to describe their pictures. They have to know a lot more at an earlier age these days,” Smith said.

Smith is not quite sure what she will do now that her teaching career is at an end. “I love to garden, work with flowers, and do yard work,” she said. “We have some updates that are planned for the house.” Her husband Terry retired in February.

Superintendent Larry Roth said Smith will be missed. “Jana Smith has touched many futures during her time at Sedgwick,” he said. “Over the past few weeks, I have had several of Mrs. Smith’s former student share the impact she had on their lives. Her time as an educator has been time very well spend.  She will be missed here at 439.”

Smith does know that she and her husband will do a little traveling. That first trip will likely be around the middle of August. “I don’t think I can be around when school starts in the fall. I don’t think I can be in town that first week of school,” she said.

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Protector Statue Back Home After Determined Effort By Residents

Posted 6/1/2017

THE Protector has a new home in front of Halstead Heritage Museum and DepotTHE Protector has a new home in front of Halstead Heritage Museum and DepotBy Pilar Martin

HALSTEAD – An iconic piece of Halstead history has been restored and is in place at a new locale.

The Protector statue that once stood at the Halstead Hospital Park was installed in front of the Halstead Heritage Museum and Depot, 116 E. First, last Thursday.

The Protector was designed and built by renowned Bernard “Poco” Frazier. It was originally placed at the Halstead Hospital on Sept. 23, 1960.

Back in August 2011, vandals tried to remove the statue from its original place at the hospital park. In doing so they damaged the statue, breaking an arm and the cross off.

Getting the statue renovated and installed has been a labor of love for Halstead resident Phil Adams.

Adams brought up the idea to other members of the Halstead Historical Society six years ago. Adams thought the statue should be repaired and put back up somewhere in Halstead. He found a place in Lawrence, Kansas that could repair the statue. Eugene Wendling donated $6,000, so the statue could be fixed and put back up.

The whole project was not without varying opinions. There were members of the Historical Society who did not want anything to do with the statue. Some thought it was more a religious symbol and not something the group should be involved with.

But those in favor prevailed. Adams contacted contractors who could build and install a base for the statue and also worked with local artists, enlisting their help on how and where to place the statue.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.

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Halstead Pays Tribute For Memorial Day

Posted 6/1/2017

THE rifle guard fires off a salute at Halstead Cemetery. THE rifle guard fires off a salute at Halstead Cemetery. HALSTEAD—Members of the Halstead community gathered together Monday morning to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation. Short Memorial Day services were held at Pine Park and Halstead Cemetery in remembrance.

“We honor the memory of those who gave their lives in service to our country, and of those others who have dropped their burdens by the wayside of life and are gone to their eternal rest,” Larry Denno told those who were gathered. “May the ceremonies of today deepen our reverence for our departed friends and comrades.”

At Pine Park, veteran Gary Wright read the names of those listed on the memorial who lost their lives in service. Wright’s brother, Richard, is among those who were killed in combat in the Vietnam War.

“From this list it is a test that freedom is not free,” Wright said. “It comes with an ultimate price paid by those who died, and also contributing to our freedom are those who served their country.”

Father Jeffrey Fasching from Halstead Catholic Church prayed for those who have passed away.

“Look kindly upon all your servants who have gone before us, now freed from the bonds of mortality, and count them among your saints in Heaven,” he prayed.

At Halstead Cemetery, the speaker was Jennifer Watkins-Spire, a 1990 graduate of Halstead High School who served as an army medical specialist, administrative specialist and personnel specialist, where she was awarded the army accommodation medal and the army achievement medal. She was later commissioned as a second lieutenant in army nurses’ core.

Watkins-Spire praised these heroic men and women who responded to extraordinary circumstances to protect our nation.

“They rose to the nation’s call because they wanted to protect the nation which has given them and us so much,” she said. “We have awarded medals to many soldiers and added their names to monuments to honor them for their bravery, but nothing can ever replace the hole left behind by a fallen service member.”

The ceremonies at Pine Park and Halstead Cemetery both ended with a salute from the rifle guard and Halstead High School students Kayla Newman and Emma Caldwell playing Taps on the trumpet.

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Scammer Poses As Sheriff's Office Calling About Warrant

Posted 6/1/2017

By Jared Janzen

NEWTON—The Harvey County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about a scam where someone claiming to be from their office is calling people saying they have a warrant and need to pay a certain amount of money to avoid arrest.

“We know for a fact this is a scam,” said Melissa Flavin, public information office for the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office received three reports on May 23 from Harvey County residents who had received a call like this. All three reports came within an hour of each other.

The story varied slightly each time, but according to Flavin, the caller would tell people they had one or more warrants for their arrest due to missing jury duty or missing a subpoenaed court appearance. The scammer asked the potential victims to meet in person to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,900.22.

Flavin said this is not how the sheriff’s office handles warrants. They do not make phone calls but instead show up directly at a person’s house and take that person into custody when they have a warrant. Furthermore, she said a person cannot pay off a warrant without going to jail first.

The sheriff’s department is not currently using any other means to let people know they have a warrant, although in the past they would send postcards. Flavin said people with warrants issued against them are generally aware of the reason without notification because they know they did something wrong.

“Usually if someone has a warrant they should have an inkling of it,” she said.

Common reasons for warrants are if a person does not pay a medical bill or traffic ticket.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.

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