Hall of fame inductees to be honored Friday
Homecoming week started Monday at Tonganoxie High School and will continue with the Friday football game at Beatty Field.
That day also will be a homecoming for some former educators and others who will be recognized as the second class of the USD 464 Education Foundation Hall of Fame.
The education foundation will have a reception 3-5 p.m. Friday at the Myers Hotel for the honorees and their families. Refreshments will be available. A dinner for the honorees and their families at the hotel will follow the reception. Induction will take place at halftime of the football game that evening.
The foundation also will be the host to the second annual Academic Achievement breakfast at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Tonganoxie Middle School commons and gymnasium. This event honors Tonganoxie USD 464 students who have achieved exemplary scores on state assessments. The cost of the breakfast is $15 and it serves as a fundraiser for the foundation. Sr. Mary Pat Lenahan, professor of education at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, will be the speaker.
Criteria considered by the selection committee for the hall of fame include outstanding service to the district by teachers, administrators and staff; outstanding contributions to education in the community by school board members and other citizens; and outstanding achievements by alumni of Tonganoxie High School, especially in the area of education. Each Hall of Fame honoree or a representative will receive a plaque during the induction ceremony, and another plaque will be displayed prominently at the high school near the Performing Arts Center.
The foundation in 2011 is also starting an Alumni Achievement award. This honor will be given to a graduate of Tonganoxie High School who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in areas such as career, community involvement, service and family.
The following are 2011 Education Foundation Hall of Fame inductees:
Don Conrad (deceased)
Don Conrad worked for the Tonganoxie School District for 35 years, beginning in 1954. Conrad also occasionally drove buses for the district, including on some senior trips. Upon district unification in 1966, he became the district maintenance director. He held the position until his retirement in 1989. In July 1966 while mowing school district property, Conrad was involved in an accident with the tractor and he received burns on more than 60 percent of his body. After spending more than two months in the hospital and undergoing multiple operations, he returned to his position with the school district in January 1967. In 1981, a scholarship was established in Conrad’s honor to provide financial aid for students to attend technical or professional schools. Conrad took great pride in maintaining school facilities and treated all staff members and students with respect.
Jean Morgan Harman (deceased)
Jean Morgan Harman graduated from Kansas University in 1941 and began her teaching career in Beattie. Although she had never played basketball, she was selected to be the Beattie High School girls’ basketball coach. She had a passion for learning and learned all she could about basketball. She led her team to two winning seasons. She came to teach in Tonganoxie in 1944. At the homecoming dance in 1945, she met her future husband, Gordon Harman, a local farmer. During her 38-year teaching career, Harman taught at all levels from elementary school through high school. She earned a master’s degree in special education with an endorsement in reading from KU. Harman started the Title I reading program at Tonganoxie Elementary School and received the Master Teaching Award from the state of Kansas in the early 1980s. She also received the Tonganoxie La Sertoma Youth Service Award and the La Sertoma International Organization Outstanding Community Leadership Award in 1984. Harman served as president of the Tonganoxie Education Association for many years and she served as president of District No. 6 Uniserve in 1976. Harman was an advocate of educating the whole child, and she believed that great teachers must know their students and adapt their teaching techniques for each child.
Phil Jeannin is a 1967 graduate of Tonganoxie High School. Before his senior year, he attended Jarbalo High School and then came to Tonganoxie High School upon district unification. After teaching in Herington for one year, Jeannin returned to Tonganoxie to teach and coach. During his 35-year teaching career in Tonganoxie, he at one time or another served as physical education teacher for kindergarten through ninth grade, taught American History, taught driver’s education, coached various sports for both boys and girls in grades seven through nine, worked the clock for high school games for many years and served as the middle school athletics director. Jeannin was a member of the Kansas Coaches Association and the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. He has conducted a first- and second-grade basketball clinic for the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission and has also refereed youth basketball games for the TRC for many years.
Myrle Pettingill Leavitt
Myrle Pettingill Leavitt is a 1947 graduate of Tonganoxie High School and was class valedictorian. She began working for the Tonganoxie school district as a cook in 1957 and later worked as a library para at the elementary school. After working in the school library for several years, Leavitt also became a school bus driver. For 25 years she sandwiched her work in the library between her morning and afternoon bus routes. After retiring from the library, Leavitt has continued driving a school bus. In addition to her regular bus routes, she has logged many miles driving buses to various school events. This is her 42nd year of driving buses for the Tonganoxie school district.
Originally from Americus, Ga., Mildred McMillon and her husband, Pete, moved to Tonganoxie in 1967. She served on the Tonganoxie USD 464 school board for 11 1/2 years and then served on the Kansas State Board of Education for 12 years. Later, she served another four years on the local school board, and she just retired from that position in the last year. McMillon also was five-time president of the Tonganoxie school board. Among her many accomplishments, Mrs. McMillon served on the Confidence In Public Education Task Force, the Milkin Foundation for Scholarships for Teachers, and the National Education Commission of States, for which she also served as treasurer. McMillon also helped with new statewide assessment of student performance, new methods of school accreditation, a new process to accredit school teachers and administrators, national recognition for leadership in emphasizing student performance, greater recognition of teachers and a commitment to place new technology in classrooms.
Arthur “Bo” Himpel
The inaugural Alumni Achievement Award will be given to Arthur “Bo” Himpel. A 1937 Tonganoxie High School graduate, Himpel worked in the aircraft industry in California and then served in the Army during World War II. After the war, Himpel worked as a painter in California for 13 years before returning to the Tonganoxie area. He farmed in this area for seven years and then worked as a construction contractor for eight years. In 1974, he opened Himpel Lumber in Tonganoxie. He sold the lumberyard in 1983 to Charlie and Sheri Ussery. Except for a brief retirement in 1986, Himpel has continued to work at the lumberyard. He was active in the local chapter of VFW for many years and he played a major role in the creation and maintenance of the VFW Park in Tonganoxie.