School starts today in some districts

School is starting in some districts in Wyandotte County.

It’s the first day of school in the Turner and Piper school districts.

The Turner school district has school today, Aug. 10, for students in first through seventh grades and ninth grade. On Thursday, grades seven to 12 will attend school all day. For more details on other grades, see https://www.turnerusd202.org/.

At the Piper school district, there is a half-day of school scheduled Wednesday for some students. The first full day of classes is Aug. 11. For more information on the grade level schedule, visit https://www.piperschools.com/.

In the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, the first day for kindergarten through fifth, sixth and ninth grades will be Monday, Aug. 15. The first day for all remaining students will be Tuesday, Aug. 16. The district is holding family advocacy days Aug. 10 to 12. For more information, see https://www.kckschools.org/.

In the Bonner Springs school district, classes begin Aug. 17. For more information, see https://www.usd204.net/.

Pirates, Braves track and field athletes qualify for state meet

Piper junior Grace Hanson had plenty of speed left to put a gap between herself and the field at the end of the girls’ 1600-meter run. Hanson won both the 1600- and 3200-meter races after competing in the KSHSAA state swim meet in the morning. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Bonner Springs and Piper high schools competed Friday in the KSHSAA 5A track and field regional meet at De Soto, one of four regional meets around the state. The top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet in Wichita May 27 and 28.

The Piper Pirates took third place in the boys’ and girls’ team competitions, trailing Mill Valley and De Soto in both. Bonner Springs finished eighth in the girls’ standings and ninth in the boys’.

Here are the qualifiers for each event, with their qualifying position, school and grade.

Girls’ 100-meter Hurdles
2 Jenna Knight, Bonner Springs 11
3 Sophia Derks, Piper 11
4 Genevieve Kulas, Piper 10

Boys’ 110-meter Hurdles
1 Jayden Henry, Piper 10

Boys’ 100-meter Dash
1 Divante Herrig-Brittian, Piper 12

Boys’ 4×800-meter Relay
1 Piper

Girls’ 1600-meter Run
1 Grace Hanson, Piper 11

Boys’ 4×100-meter Relay
1 Piper
2 Bonner Springs

Girls’ 400-meter Dash
3 Ryann Clark, Piper 11

Boys’ 400-meter Dash
1 Grant Lockwood, Piper 12

Boys’ 800-meter Run
3 Grant Lockwood, Piper 12

Girls’ 300-meter Hurdles
2 Jenna Knight, Piper 11
4 Genevieve Kulas, Piper 10

Boys’ 300-meter Hurdles
4 Jayden Henry, Piper 10

Girls’ 3200-meter
1 Grace Hanson, Piper 11

Girls’ 4×400-meter Relay
3 Piper

Boys’ 4×400-meter Relay
2 Piper

Boys’ High Jump
3 Cooper McWilliams, Bonner Springs 12

Girls’ Pole Vault
2 Kaitlin Lindstrom, Piper 12

Boys’ Long Jump
4 LaMar Lynch, Piper 10

Boys’ Shot Put
4 Aaron Henson, Piper 10

Girls’ Shot Put
3 TyJanae Hooks, Piper 11
4 McKenzie Campbell, Bonner Springs 10

Boys’ Discus
4 Camden Beebe, Piper 11

Girls’ Javelin
2 Kylie Brockman, Piper 10

Girls’ Discus
2 Mariyah Noel, Bonner Springs 11

Piper senior Grant Lockwood ran in the boys’ 400-meter dash. Lockwood won the event with a time of 49.31 seconds. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Bonner Springs junior Jenna Knight, right, and sophomore Esther Solomon Holland ran in the girls’ 300-meter hurdles. Knight placed second in the event, and Solomon Holland placed fifth. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Piper boys’ 4×100-meter relay team (Dominique Herrig-Brittian, Grant Lockwood, LaMar Lynch, Divante Herrig-Brittian) posed together after winning the race. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Piper senior Divante Herrig-Brittian leaned across the line ahead of Highland Park’s Tyrell Reed. Herrig-Brittian won the event with a time of 10.92 seconds. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Piper sophomore Jayden Henry ran in the boys’ 110-meter hurdles finals. Henry won the event and also qualified in the 300-meter hurdles. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Piper sophomore Kylie Brockman threw in the girls’ javelin. Brockman finished second in the event with a distance of 124-feet, 5-inches. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Bonner Springs junior Mariyah Noel placed second in the girls’ discus with a throw of 122-feet, 7-inches. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Piper senior Ryann Clark burst out of the blocks to start the girls’ 400-meter dash. Clark placed third in the event with a time of 1:00.59. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Piper junior Grace Hanson posed with Mill Valley’s Katie Schwartzkopf after the two finished the girls’ 3200-meter run. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Piper girls’ 4×400-meter relay team (Addisyn McCarty, Ryann Clark, Kylie Rice, Genevieve Kulas) posed together after taking third place to advance to the state meet. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Piper freshman Malia Martin ran in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Bonner Springs junior Jason McConico ran in the boys’ 300-meter hurdles. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Ella Buff passed the baton to Genevieve Kulas in the girls’ 4×100-meter relay. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

PIper junior Camden Beebe threw in the boys’ discus. Beebe placed fourth with a throw of 136-feet, 1-inch. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

Bus driver kept Piper students safe during Wichita tornado outbreak

A DS Bus Lines driver, Roger Smith, kept Piper High School choir students safe when they found themselves in the middle of a severe weather outbreak in Wichita on April 29.

The Piper students were going to a choir competition, and Smith navigated around multiple tornadoes in the Wichita area, including a massive EF-3 tornado that caused extensive damage in Andover, Kansas.

Smith was driving south on I-35 towards Wichita, with a bus loaded with 30 students that were members of the Bella Voce and Music’N’Motion varsity choirs from Piper High School. They were on their way to the State Solo and Ensemble Contest.

About 40 miles out from Wichita, the weather began to turn sour, including heavy rain and intense wind. Choir Director Shelly Cole received communication from her colleagues who were already at their hotel in Wichita that tornadoes were confirmed in the area, and that hotel guests had been evacuated to severe weather shelters.

As weather conditions continued to deteriorate on the interstate, Smith did everything he could to try to keep the bus steady, but the ride was shaky enough that some students started to exhibit motion sickness symptoms.

Near the El Dorado, Kansas, turnpike exit (about 18 miles northeast of Andover), the decision was made to try to pull the bus over and seek shelter. But they didn’t have any luck accessing the roadside shelters, so they were forced to attempt to navigate around the severe weather and find shelter elsewhere.

As Smith stayed laser-focused on keeping the bus on the road, tornado warning alerts buzzed across multiple devices in the bus. This indicated that a tornado had been reported nearby. Cole enlisted the help of students Brody Lanter, senior; Jackson Morgan, sophomore; and Brylee Pryz, junior, to assist in monitoring weather radar apps, and navigating Smith to alternative options to seek shelter.

The students found a nearby Walmart, and gave turn-by-turn instructions to Smith to guide him as the bus rattled violently around them. Navigating during this time was particularly challenging because electricity in the area was spotty, and many street lights were inoperable. Upon arriving at the El Dorado Walmart, Smith and Cole ensured that all the students made it safely inside before parking the bus.

After the all-clear was given in El Dorado, Smith, Cole, and the choir students made the final leg of their trip into Wichita, with no injuries reported.

“I have been the choir director at Piper for 22 years, and have been teaching for 27 years. This is hands down the scariest thing I have experienced,” Cole recalled.

Smith was grateful for Cole, and the students that helped him get everyone to safety: “They were calm as a cucumber.”

He also remarked on how impressed he was with the bus’s durability: “I’d like to say thank you to Thomas for designing and manufacturing such a strong machine. That bus really took a beating that day, but it held up well.” Smith was driving a Thomas Saf-T-Liner® C2 School Bus during the trip.

Smith, Cole, and the three students who helped navigate were all honored at the May 9 Piper School District school board meeting. Superintendent Dr. Jessica Dain declared, “On behalf of the Piper School District, we want to commend our community heroes, and thank them for their service to the community.”

“At DS Bus, our core values are family, safety, service, and respect,” John Schueler, DS Bus Lines director of safety and training, said. “Our driver Mr. Smith exemplified all four of those values during this experience, especially safety. We never want to hear stories of students getting in harm’s way, but we’re glad in this instance that Mr. Smith, Mrs. Cole, and those brave students kept cool heads and found the way to avoid danger.”

Smith served in the U.S. Air Force for six years, as an electrician for 30 years, and has been driving buses for more than 10- years. He has lived in Kansas most of his life and is no stranger to severe weather.

  • Story from DS Bus Lines