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One of our very own students, David Conkling, is working towards his Eagle Scout badge. He has chosen to help Oakhill through his project. We are so grateful to our community for being able to give back to their school. Below is a letter from David to the Oakhill community.
Hello Oakhill Families,
I hope you are having a wonderful summer!
My name is David Conkling, I started Oakhill when I was 2 years old. I am almost all the way through Oakhill and have had many wonderful teachers. These teachers I have had have made me who I am, Mrs. Ferris, Mrs. Trager, Mrs. Tenner, Mrs. Clevenger, Mrs. Bock, Mrs. Manley, Mrs. Wills, and Mrs. Mackey. They have taught me so much through the years and I really appreciate all they do for us. The good thing about middle school is that you have all the teachers working hard to help you. And then you have Mrs. G who makes sure that you stay on track. I have grown up at Oakhill and will graduate this year. I also started as a Tiger Cub Scout at ODS and I am now a Boy Scout and I have obtained my rank of "Life".
"Life" rank is before Eagle, but to get to Eagle I need to do a project to benefit an organization that I care about, and I chose to build raised garden beds for the outdoor gardens at ODS. I remember when I was in 1st grade-I think-and my family came to help Mrs. Newhouse put mulch in the gardens on a hot summer day, the Farm 2 School healthy lunch program started using the food that the students grew to put in our lunches and to teach us how important healthy, organic fruits and vegetable are to our diets. My project helps to support the lunch program and the cooking classes for the entire school.
My project is going to be at both campuses but it is the same project. I will be making 11 raised cedar garden beds. The lower school building will get 8 2x8 beds so the younger students will be able to reach across to use the entire bed for planting. There will be 3 4x8 beds at the middle school.
As part of my eagle project, it is necessary to raise money to complete the project. I need to raise $4500.00 for the material costs. I am asking for your support to help complete this project for the school. If you would like to help, please send all donations to Dorothy Beckham or donate now. Thank you for your help. My plan is to get started on this project soon and have it ready for the students before school starts back up.
Yours in Scouting,
If you are interested in helping fund David's project, click here.
Drake, tell us about your business venture, For the Record.
For the Record started around May of last year and we have nearly tripled our business and equipment since that time. I started the business on my own, managed & paid for everything, and have turned the debt into profit fast. It's a great business to be in and I'm sure I'll continue For the Record well into college. Oakhill taught me how to manage this business with independence and flexibility; I couldn't have done it without Oakhill!
How's business going?
Business has been going very well, times are usually busier later in the year when my availability is better. Some of our recent events have been DJing for the SJS BBQ team at the American Royal, DJing at Oakhill for the fall Middle School Dance, DJing for the Salvation Army Northern Lights Kettle Run 5K in Zona Rosa, Rancho Grande's Annual Whiffle Ball Tournament, various birthdays and celebrations, and if course the ODS Middle School Christmas Party is coming up! Business is booming and I am currently in the process of purchasing a billboard in the Kansas City area so keep a look out for that! I'm currently looking for more aspiring DJ's to help me out with business because we are so busy! Don't worry about being experienced, I'll train you; if interested give me a holler!
Why is business going well?
Well, talk about For the Record is expanding throughout KC and our new billboard will surely put us right smack in the middle of people's radar. Branding and merchandise are also helping to spread the word with customized shirts, hats, koozies, notepads and everything in between. I currently have a website designer coming up with some new designs! I'm still looking for that perfect DJ name – if any Oakhill alumni or families have ideas, don't hesitate to shoot me an email!
How is your "day job", high school, going?
High School is going very well for me! On the first day of school I was asked to DJ for the first day of school assembly at Pembroke for the entire high school. It was a fun and exhilarating time to say the least! Around the school my nickname is known as DJ or DJ D-Potts; makes it feel just like Oakhill! Pembroke JV Football just finished up with a great season; we're ready for the next one.
I hope you guys are having a great school year; the new building is awesome! Just remember... For the Record, were the best in town.
For more information on DJ Drake, you can check out his website at fortherecorddj.com, Facebook page, or Instagram @for.the.record.dj. To get pricing information or to book an event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Drake at 816-533-2555.
Where's Coach Speer?
We sat down with her to catch up!
Quick background on Coach Lauren Speer.
I am originally from the KC area and lived in south Overland Park and then Mission, KS.
Went to college at Miami University of Ohio where I double majored in Art Education and Art Studio. I was also a captain and 4 year Varsity player on Division I Field Hockey team for Miami.
Tell us about your time at Oakhill.
Worked at Oakhill for 7 years as the head PE teacher and Athletic Coordinator. While I was at Oakhill, we built the athletic program for Middle School and quickly began to have great success in the leagues.
While athletics and sports was my major focus at Oakhill I still managed to find ways to be involved with the arts through the Summer Camp and after school classes.
It was incredibly hard for me to leave the Oakhill family and everything that I had worked so hard at, but we had to make the best decision we could for our family. My husband is a chiropractor and received a great offer to join a practice, Koerner Chiropractic out of Hays, KS. The office was expanding and starting two office in smaller towns, Ellis and Plainville KS. My husband, Gerrad Speer, runs both of these offices and we live in Plainville, KS. One of the selling points for me to move, was I had the opportunity to become a stay-at-home mom with my kiddos, Graham and Eleanor.
What happened when you left Oakhill?
Making the move was difficult at times, because I had so many changes happen all at once. The biggest two changes were: we moved from a large city to a small town with just under 2,000 people and I went from working full time (and a lot of overtime with sports) to not working at all. The best thing was all of the time I was spending with my kids and everything I was experiencing with them. However, I knew something was missing and I needed more. For so long, I was so busy that I pushed aside and stopped working on my art. I have always done Graphite drawings and had just started to show in art fairs before Oakhill. I picked up my pencil and got back into my drawings. I am a realist and draw portraits of people and animals, landscapes so much more! It is still tough to find time to work - days are not options since I have kiddos at home. Most of the time I stay up late and let myself become immersed in my drawings while everyone else is asleep.
I also began to volunteer with the Plainville Memorial Library. They have a great program where they offer FREE classes to the public with all of the materials and supplies ready to go. I have taught a lot of classes from painting on canvas, making wooden pumpkins and snowmen, coloring nights and even doing a mural class. The library is so wonderful for creating this opportunities for the public and even more incredible because they love some of the crazy ideas I come up with!
Even with all of this, I still felt I needed some kind of "work" - something that wouldn't take away from my kids and family. While teaching at Oakhill, I would pay attention to the face painters that came to events and I always thought, "I can do that!". A dear Oakhill friend encouraged me to try it out. I proceeded to watch videos online and started following some incredible face painters. Next thing I know I ordered supplies, practiced on myself and my family and picked up my first event here in Plainville for a Fallfest in October of 2014.
How is business going?
I have now been face painting for a little over 2 years and it is amazing how this hobby/side kick has grown! I book events several months in advance, my summers fill up with festivals and fairs, and I do birthday parties year round. I do all types of events: birthdays, reunions, sporting events (high school and college), town fairs and festivals, weddings, holiday parties.... I have travelled all over the state of Kansas for face painting. It is always fun to look on a map and find out where the next town is! The neatest thing about face painting is that I schedule myself and most of the time the events are in the evening or on weekends so it doesn't affect my family and kiddos too much. I love challenging myself to come up with new designs. I have several people ask if it is hard to paint my own face, but I honestly think it is easier! Face painting combines two things that I love the most: art and kids.
What else do you do with your "spare time"?
My husband and I have also created a small business - Speer Creations. We began this adventure in the summer of 2015. Gerrad has always loved to do woodworking as a hobby. We combined talents for a birthday gift for our daughter, Eleanor. Gerrad built a wooden step stool, I designed the lettering, cut out the letter blocks and I painted it. We posted a picture of the kid's puzzle step stool on my Facebook page and we immediately got great feedback from family and friends. We decided to go with it and now run Speer Creations. We create wood designs for kids including: puzzle step stools, growth charts, pop guns, hair bow organizers, baby doll cradles and kids size picnic tables.
I have always had dreams about where I want to take my art. My drawings have always been a part of it and the face painting is something that has even surprised me! The sky is the limit and I plan to keep growing with my art. I am now looking into teaching art classes and possibly creating an art studio! "All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney
Want to follow Coach Speer and her art? Check out her Facebook pages:
Since last speaking with Coach, she has taken on a new role as Director of the Plainville Recreation Commission in addition to continuing her art and face painting business. Congratulations Lauren on your new role!
Grüezi or Guten Tag mean "Hello" from Dasha!
Dasha McDonald, 2016 graduate and freshman at Pembroke Hill is heading overseas! We asked her to share about this experience that she has coming up next fall.
Tell us about your opportunity to study aboard this fall.
Swiss Semester is a really cool program that I've been interested in ever since I first heard of it from some of my tennis friends, before school even started. Every year, Pembroke sends 2 students to a study abroad program in Switzerland for their first semester of their sophomore year. In Swiss, students live in a resort, that's the main selling-point right there, at the base of a mountain in Zermatt, Switzerland. On weekends, Swiss Semester takes excursions to places like Italy and France to explore the culture of various European cities. Instead of having a regular school day, the Swiss Semester program includes 4 classes in the morning, then 5 hours of outdoor activity (whether it be hiking, skiing, climbing, helicopter rides, etc.), then 2 more classes in school. But, the school run by Swiss is also known to be one of the harder high schools in the world, in a city with no internet access or technological privileges where studying is done from books and essays are written by hand. So that's also taken into consideration (laughs).
How did you apply?
Before I applied, I talked to people that had participated, and it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. To apply, I wrote a total of four essays on why I believed I should get in, who I am as a person, and why I was applying. Oh, and the essays had to be handwritten, a head start into next year's semester! A few weeks later, I found out I, along with one of my close friends, had been accepted! I could not, and still cannot, be more excited to take advantage of such an opportunity life has thrown at me!
Will you miss your family while away?
Of course! But they are even able to come for a visit! Families get to spend a weekend with us and see our program in action! My little sister Katerina is really looking forward to their trip!
I would recommend all students take opportunities like this at any school!
Find out more about this AWESOME program here!
Daniel and Perri Miller
Daniel (Class of 2013) is finishing his senior year at Park Hill South. Highlights of the year have included: finishing his swim career with two All State times, winning Big Cat and being selected for Prom Court. After graduation, he will travel to Ecuador and Peru for about a month. He is going to attend Kansas State University in the fall majoring in microbiology.
Perri (Class of 2010) is finishing her third year at Missouri State University. She is still running and just finished another half marathon. She will be traveling to Ghana, West Africa this spring. In June, Perri will begin Missouri State's School of Nursing program.
Ian is graduating from Oakhill this May and Regan is a current 6th grade student.
Join us for summer fun June 5 - August 4!
This warm weather has us thinking summer and hopefully, you are too! Oakhill is excited about the lineup of summer fun planned for your child this year. You spoke and we listened... so this year, we're bringing back old favorites while introducing new camps and options that are sure to fit any family's needs.
Back for another summer!
- Oakhill On Stage
- Lego My Chess Camp
- KC Cupcakes
- CO2 Dragsters
New in 2017!
- Job Shadows for Middle School - 9th Grade
- Tennis Camps with our friends at Gladstone Community Center
- Challenger Soccer Camps
- Done in a Day Camp Sessions
We're also excited to bring our hot lunch program to summer this year! For $5 per day, your child can eat lunch prepared by Oakhill Food and Beverage... what a great value! Be sure to find us on Facebook and share how you will be spending your #45summerdays with Oakhill.
Why choose an independent private education?
By choosing an independent private education, you have the opportunity to choose a school whose philosophy, values, and teaching style fit your child. Independent private schools can also offer your family small class sizes, excellent teachers, and high academic standards.
Oakhill Day School is a place where children discover themselves as learners in a community where they feel valued and known. We invite you to learn more about the active learning that happens here!