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The Hesston Record
347 B Old Hwy 81
Hesston, KS 67062
(620) 327-4831

USD 460 Welcomes New HMS Principal

Posted 7/24/2015

Brandon Simmelink was picked out of a group of about two dozen applicants who applied for open principal job at Hesston Middle School.

The Great Bend native knew he wanted to become an educator since he was in second grade.

"I was fortunate to have an outstanding teach, which is what led me toward a career in education," he said.

He attended school in Valley Center before graduating from J.I. Case High School in Racine, Wisconsin. He earned his bachelor's degree in elementary education at Bethany College, where he lettered in track. He has spent the past six years as assistant principal and activities director at McPherson Middle School.

"He had good experiences that we felt like fit well to the system we have here in Hesston," said Superintendent Ben Proctor.

Simmelink was one of four applicants who was interviewed by three different groups of interviewers. Proctor, curriculum consultant Darla Smith and two school board members formed one leadership team. The two other groups were included the middle school's building leadership team and an administrative team comprised of middle school Principal Alisa Krehbiel, high school Principal Ty Rhodes and Clint Stoppel, activities director and assistant principal.

"We were pleased with the overall quality and especially of our finalists," Proctor said.

Proctor said the interview process had been a common practice for job applicants to USD 460.

"It's probably more extensive than what a lot of districts do, but it's worked well for us."

Simmelink said Hesston was a desirable district in which to work.

"The community has a reputation for having high standards and strong support, thus creating great schools, great programs, great teachers and great students," he said.

He and wife Lisa, an elementary music teacher, have two children, ages 9 and 6. He enjoys golfing, hunting, being outdoors and reading a good book. Most of his time, however, is spent attending children's activities and being with his family. The Simmelinks recently returned from a trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and Las Vegas.

Simmelink said he would be spending the next couple of weeks learning the processes that are in place at the middle school, getting to know the staff and hopefully starting to meet some students. His first official day is Aug. 3.

"Hesston Middle School is a great school, so I hope to be able to start meeting with our building leadership team to begin to look at what we can do to continue to build upon the great foundation that is already in place," he said.

Proctor said all four finalists had positive attributes, as did others who weren't granted interviews. He said he looked for qualities that will make the district better.

"You get some really new ideas when you bring in people," he said. "We want new ideas. That's how you get better. That's the ultimate goal."



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New Cheer Coach Hired At HHS

Posted 7/24/2015

The Hesston Swathers Cheer Squad finally has a new coach. Nicole Roth was approved by the USD 460 School Board at the Monday, July 13 meeting as head cheer coach.

Roth, a 2014 graduate from Northwest Christian University, recently relocated from Oregon to be closer to her husband, Brandon’s, family.

“I’m excited to get connected. I love the community and I’m excited to be part of it this year,” she said.

In addition to taking on the position as cheer coach, Roth is a preschool teacher at Cooper Early Education Center in Newton.

Roth said she was impressed with the squad’s dedication to cheer throughout the summer, despite not having a coach.

“They’re a great group of girls that were already prepping for football season.  That was one reason I took the position.  I saw their dedication. I’m looking forward to see what they’ll bring to the table,” she said.

As a new coach, Roth said she and the girls will spend time getting to know each other and how the squad works as a team.

“I”m excited to get to know them.  Stephanie [Wray] and Diane [Jost] told me I have a couple leaders on there - I have my go-to girls.  I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of stunts they have.  I’ll be getting used to some of the things Hesston does, like Meet the Swathers and Lil Cheer Camp,” she said.

Roth added she is not without support, “I have so much help from parents, Diane Jost and Stephanie Wray.  I feel confident we will start strong.”

Like her predecessors, Roth said fans can look forward to sharp performances.

“I’m confident in making sure the cheers are on point.  I did dance in high school and feel confident in that and stunting,” she said.

Roth  and her squad have a great deal of work ahead, as football season is fast-approaching.

“My concerns, for right now, is not having our first official practice and not knowing what they already know. There are a few new girls and it is late in the season already, but I’m excited,” she said.

As a three-year cheer and four-year dance veteran, Roth realizes the importance of cheer at events.

“I really enjoy that cheerleaders support every team as much as they can. They get the crowd going. I feel like, with out them, it would be pretty quite,” she said.

As a leader, Roth has an open-door and open-mind policy.

“I’m approachable and a good communicator.  I like to keep in contact wit the parents,” she said.

With football kickoff just around the corner, Roth is grateful for the dedication of the girls throughout the summer.

“I’m excited to get to know them and be with them. I just can’t speak enough about their dedication so far.” 

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Youth Still Lovin' The Real H-Town

Posted 7/24/2015

This summer, 12 Hesston youth had the opportunity to take a look behind the curtain on many Hesston businesses and city functions during the sixth annual Lovin The Real H-Town Camp, sponsored by the Hesston Community Foundation and coordinated by Director Susan Lamb.

The dozen middle-school age campers each had their own reasons for joining the week-long exploration of Hesston. 

“It sounded fun and it has been really enjoyable,” said Gracie Daves.

Getting outside and exploring the community was not only a way for kids to plug in to their community, but also unplug from their devices.

“I thought it was cool because it was something to do other than to watch tv and play video games,” said Hannah Finley.

Isaiah Schertz added, “I came because I felt like I should be ‘lovin the real H-town’ and wanted to see what it was about.”

Throughout the week-long camp, which took youth to over a dozen Hesston businesses, campers had the chance to go where few residents are allowed.

“The kids talked a lot about being able to get behind the scenes. They said things like, ‘Iv’e been here before but I haven’t seen this part,’” said Lamb.

During the heat of the day, Lovin The Real H-Town kids had the chance to cool off in some of the most secure places in Hesston.

“The coolest thing I learned was I really liked to see the vault at Citizen State Bank,” said Magie Carlson. 

J.D. Short added his favorite secure stop was Hesston PD, “The police department, we got to see all the tools, like the speed monitor.”

For camper Ryan Waggoner, it was difficult to pick only one camp highlight.

“There were a lot of things, everything was really cool. It was fun at Excel seeing the lasers.  My dad works at AGCO.  And, at First Bank, we got to see $2,000 in different bills; $2,000 in $1 bills is huge,” he said.

Lamb added each of the three banks in Hesston work hard to present different behind-the-scenes looks at the banking industry.

“It is always something very different.  It isn’t just ‘Oh, we’re going to another bank.’ They each have something unique about their bank they bring to the forefront and it is always something the kids think is cool,” she said.

While Excel Industries is a well-known economic powerhouse of Hesston, Lovin The Real H-Town campers took a look at the nuts and bolts of the manufacturing operation. 

“I was surprised to see how the mowers were put together,” said Cora Yoder.

Lamb commented, as an adult, she was also in for a surprise at Excel.

“I had no idea they were up to 935 in employment,” she said.

Touring Hesston College continued the camper’s education on the history of the town, and the departments within the college.

“I didn’t know there was a medical center in the Friesen Center.  I’m not related to those Friesens, though,” said Hannah Freisen

While many campers were seeing businesses they frequented and knew of in a new light, Sarah Georgiou discovered Prestige Printing for the first time.

“I didn’t know we had a printing place.  It was cool because they printed these huge posters,” she said.

With surprises at every turn, campers came to appreciate the diversity of businesses in their community.

“I learned we have a bunch of businesses I didn’t know about,” said Drew Hiebert. Evan Fuqua added, “I never knew how many businesses there were.”

Even after six years as the director, Lamb still appreciates not only the wonder of the campers, but the continued support of local businesses.

“For me, what I love, I’m still fascinated by each place.  It never seems boring to me. That  might be seeing the kids be excited about it. That’s what makes it interesting every year - they are so excited.

“These places all do such an exceptional job in personalizing the experience for these kids. They work really hard to put a thumbprint on it and we appreciate it immensely,” said Lamb. 

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Blood DriveStill On Despite Construction

Posted 7/24/2015

Construction will not cancel the Hesston Red Cross Blood Drive on Monday, July 27.  Hours for the blood drive will run 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Hesston Mennonite Church.

Donors and volunteers are advised, N. Main Street from Randall to Academy will be closed.  Traffic for the drive will be routed down to the south side of Hesston on Hickory Street and then north on Main Street to the church.

Blood donors must be at leas 17-years-old and weigh 110 pounds. A single donation can help save up to three people. 

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