Posts Tagged ‘Hickman’

It was a busy day for me Thursday, starting with the school board meeting and ending with Jonathan Sessions‘ Campaign Kick-Off. Sessions will be running against Philip G. Peters Jr. for the 1-year term membership and his journey to election began Thursday night.

PS Gallery on Broadway was packed with local art and local supporters within a half-hour of the 6:30 p.m. start time. It was clear upon entering the room that Sessions is no ordinary candidate. Through a crowd of 20-something supporters, you’ll find Sessions, an MU and Hickman High School graduate, who is looking to represent his hometown at 27 years old.  However, Sessions and his supporters are seeing his age as an advantage.

Dolores Hemphill, a friend of Sessions, spoke at the event.

“I believe his age places him in a unique position,” she said.

Much to Sessions’ surprise, he had those exact words written in his speech as well. Unlike other candidates, Sessions believes his time spent in Columbia Public Schools as a student gives him a “fresh and informed perspective.”

I was able to talk to some of his friends and co-workers who were in attendance. A former classmate and now co-worker, Stephen Griffard, thought it made sense that Sessions was running. “He stretches himself to the max,” Griffard said.

Jack Clark works on the Comprehensive Plan Task Force alongside Sessions. Clark has a grandchild that will be entering the Columbia School District soon.

“It’s wonderful to have a young person involved in making Columbia a better place, especially for kids,” Clark said.

I even met Sessions’ grandmother. She grabbed my hand and looked at me with pride only a grandmother could have. She said that she was extremely proud and happy to be at the event supporting her grandson.

Sessions was all smiles throughout the night, announcing 47 more days until the election. “The average voter isn’t from my generation,” he said as he pointed to voter registration forms. “I need your help to win.”

Look for more candidate coverage on ColumbiaMissourian.com as well as at Jonathan Sessions’ profile that will run next month.

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The smell of spray paint filled the commons of Hickman High School on Thursday as students worked to finish their class homecoming floats for Friday’s parade.

Fred Thompson, student government adviser to the sophomore class, helped his students with their float, urging them to take notice of the horizon line and make it even.

The juniors plan to win the competition; Thompson said he trained them well last year.

Junior Larissa Owen said she hopes her class can win the float-building competition all three years.

“Last year the sophomore float won, and this year the junior float’s going to win,” she said. “Nobody thought we were going to win last year.”

The senior class was dismissed shortly after the Thursday float building had begun, finishing their float of a Kewpie-looking strongman holding a dumbbell in one hand and the Gateway Tech mascot, a jaguar, in the other. The Kewpies play Gateway Tech on Friday night.

The junior float read, “Beat The Jags!!!” in black letters across the top of the float and featured a kewpie riding a circus elephant that was one step away from stomping on a jaguar. Balloons in the shape of footballs trailed up from the kewpie’s hand with “2011” written on them in black marker.

Hickman’s homecoming theme was “The Circus,” but the dance committee changed it at the last minute to “Graffiti Dreams,” Owen said. To go along with the new theme, each class made a graffiti-themed banner to paste on the back of their float.

The sophomores had the most work to do Thursday afternoon but finished everything on time. Their float read, “HHS, Get ‘Em” and featured a Kewpie standing on a football field, holding a jaguar by the neck with a ring of fire in the background.

The floats will be featured in the homecoming parade 3:15 p.m. Friday in downtown Columbia.

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This week, Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools celebrate homecoming. Activities for queen candidates, theme days and assemblies culminate in a parade Friday and dance Saturday.

Hickman’s special events include a car show and powder puff football game. Rock Bridge hosts “Reading with Ritter” and a bonfire.

Although each celebrates in its own way, the tradition of homecoming and focus on school spirit exists no matter the school.

Rock Bridge started homecoming week with a nostalgic “story telling” activity. Lunch began with groups of students forming in the commons outside the cafeteria. Talk centered on the queen candidates and what they’ll wear on pajama day.

Posters with illustrations from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” hung on the walls among fliers that displayed information about club meetings and homecoming week, and promotions for senior class rings.

In one corner was a group of students at a table, signing people up for the blood drive. Opposite was a photo display of the nine queen candidates: Kelsey Brockman, Adrienne Schmidt, Hannah Campbell, Taylor Lightner, Monique White, Georgie Zitsch, Heather Eaton, Lauren Croll and Victoria Yu.

“It’s emotional,” Arianna Alioto, 15, said, “there’s kind of a lot that goes on during homecoming.”

Four wooden benches, filling with students, surround a rug – traditional for “story time”  – centered by a metal stool where Principal Kathy Ritter will read “Where the Wild Things Are” to students.

“If you need a cookie, just raise your hand,” smiled Ritter before starting.

Each year, the school’s student council plans homecoming. They came up with “Reading with Ritter” and decided to provide cookies as a special treat.

“It brings back preschool memories,” Alison Reynolds, 15, said, “but I think a lot of people forget about that book. So the decorations help us to remember.”

Besides the high school students, 13 children from the Title I Preschool Program joined the group, listening to Ritter as they sat on the rug in front of her.

When students came to ask Ritter to read the story, she says she remembered having the book at home. Originally, her copy of the book was a gift to her sons from their aunt at Halloween.

“The children’s book is perfectly suited to homecoming. It’s the imagination part, but also the coming home part that makes the story fit,” said Ritter.

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The Columbia Public School District changed the guidelines to the discipline policy on Monday. The following changes are from a news release:

School Safety a Priority for Columbia Public Schools
Consequences for Fighting

The Columbia School District must provide a safe and positive learning environment for all children. School district administration is concerned about the increase in fighting on school grounds and at school activities. Inappropriate behavior distracts from the learning opportunities of students and will not be tolerated. In response, the following consequences will occur for students in grades 8-12:

  • Participation in a fight: minimum of a 10-day of out-of-school suspension.
  • Participation in a fight and non-compliance with faculty and staff who become involved in the incident: automatic 10-day out-of-school suspension and request for extended suspension by the Superintendent.
  • Participation in a fight and assault or physical endangerment of faculty, staff or other adult: automatic 10-day out-of-school suspension and request for extended suspension by the Superintendent that could result in suspension for up to one school year or 180 days.
  • All incidents will result in referral to law enforcement.
  • Direct or indirect participation of students who encourage or promote fights will not be tolerated and students will be subject to disciplinary actions.

The changes were made before Wednesday’s fight at Hickman High School, which led to eight arrests.

The new guidelines mandate an automatic 10-day suspension for students involved in a fight. Is this punishment too harsh? Will tougher punishments deter students from entering in fights?

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The family of Diamond Thrower and Ray Magruder issued a formal statement today about the meeting between the police and family members. The statement is below.

“Diamond Thrower and her family would like to thank Captain Tom Dresner (Interim Chief of Police) & Captain Zim Schwartze from the Columbia Police Department for arranging a meeting to provide the family an opportunity to have open dialogue in regards to recent events that occurred at Hickman High School. Although the investigation is underway, we feel as though the meeting with Tom Dresner & Captain Zim Schwartze was productive and brings hope of change and resolution. As an end result of the meeting, there were key objectives worthy of follow ups that Diamond Thrower’s family looks forward to receiving from the Columbia Police Department in the coming days and/or weeks.”

-Danielle Boenisch

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Capt. Tom Dresner’s statement about Hickman fight

The link above will display a PDF version of the release sent to the Missourian from Capt. Tom Dresner of the Columbia Police Department. The story about the Hickman fight is here, and reporter Danielle Boenisch’s reporting timeline is here.

Here is today’s story about the investigation of Friday’s fight.

Stephanie Call

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Hickman High School administrators, Assistant Superintendents Dr. Lynn Barnett and Dr. Wanda Brown, and Interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Ritter held a debriefing meeting last Friday to discuss the altercation at Hickman the day before that resulted in the arrest of six students, according to Barnett. At the meeting, attendees were asked to make suggestions for ways to improve safety. Discussions included adding an additional resource officer to Hickman and the possibility of installing metal detectors. No policy changes were made. Policy changes must be approved by district administrators and the school board. As of now, there are no plans for changes. There have been no other school debriefing meetings in the district this year. According to Sgt. Eric White of the Columbia Police Department, each high, junior and middle school has one resource officer. The school district also hires outside security off duty police officers.

Ten arrests have been made since Aug. 22, 2008.

  • Six Hickman High School students were arrested after an altercation at lunch on Sept. 11.
  • A 17-year-old Rock Bridge High School student was arrested on Sept. 11 for allegedly bringing a knife to school.
  • A 10-year-old Grant Elementary student was arrested for bringing bullets to school.
  • A Hickman student was arrested on Sept. 8 for carrying an unloaded gun in his backpack.
  • A Hickman student was arrested on Aug. 22 after pulling out a gun at the football jamboree.

According to White, it is normal for altercations to occur at the beginning of the year as students become acclimated; however, it is uncharacteristic this year because of the weapons.
Barnett also said that none of the six incidents since Aug. are related.

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