Retired Employees Offer Scholarships

Four 2011 graduates of the Olathe high schools were awarded $500 scholarships by the Olathe Public Schools Retired Employees Association. OPS-REA conducted fundraisers through Outback Steakhouse restaurants, a Bunco night, and performances at MidAmerica Nazarene University’s Bell Cultural Events Center.

These efforts fund scholarships for Olathe graduates intending to pursue education degrees in the state of Kansas.

This year’s recipients were Anna Zoller of Olathe East High School who will attend Pittsburg State University, Jordan Dringman of Olathe North High School who will attend the University of Kansas, Alexx Burnside of Olathe Northwest High School who will attend Emporia State University, and Elisabeth Phillips of Olathe South High School who will attend the University of Kansas.

Vivian Sill was the Scholarship Committee chair, Marsha Stoker was the Fundraising Committee chair, and Judy Rapp was OPS-REA president.

Recipients of the 2011 scholarships

(Photo: Fundraising Chair Marsha Stoker, Anna Zoller, Elisabeth Phillips, Alexx Burnside, Jordan Dringman, OPS-REA President Judy Rapp, and Scholarship Chair Vivian Sill.)

Former Student Funds Four Scholarships

The Olathe Public Schools Retired Employees Association received a large donation to its scholarship program from a former Olathe School District student.

Hsaio SuHsaio (pronounced Sha) Su was a student at Oregon Trail from 1983-85. He spoke some English when he came to Olathe from Taiwan, and was placed in the gifted program in eighth-grade because he excelled at math and science. One of his independent projects in Vivian Sill's gifted program was to design a chess board that would allow three people to play against each other at the same time.

After ninth grade, Hsaio's family moved from Olathe. When he graduated in 1988, he chose Cal Poly Tech in California from a number of full scholarships.

He and Sill reconnected via Facebook and she mentioned her involvement with the retired employees' scholarship program. Hsaio donated $2,000, which will fund a year's worth of scholarships. The organization gives a $500 award to a senior at each of the four high schools in Olathe who is pursuing a career in education.

"I've always felt that teachers in America are under-appreciated," he wrote in a letter with his donation. "So this is just my small way of saying thanks to all of you, for being my teachers."