The 20 members of the 2012 class of the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science will walk the stage at the KAMS commencement beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 5, in the Memorial Union's Fort Hays Ballroom on the campus of Fort Hays State University, home of KAMS.
This is the academy's second graduating class. They arrived at FHSU in August 2010 and, turning an action of the first class into a tradition, gave their class a name: Trailblazers.
"Nine students out of the 20 will remain here at FHSU," said Ron Keller, KAMS director. "Two students will attend Georgia Tech, three will attend Kansas State University, one will attend Kansas University, one will attend Oklahoma State University, one will attend Rockhurst, one will attend UCLA, one is still deciding between KU or the University of Washington, and one will attend Washington University in St. Louis."
The two going to Georgia Tech are Soo Bum Kim, South Korea, and Cole Mosier, Holton. For both, Georgia Tech has been a lifelong dream, and both wanted to come to KAMS specifically to get the credentials necessary to get into Georgia Tech.
At the commencement Dr. Edward Hammond, FHSU president, will give the commencement address, two students, Rachel Schmidt, Atchison, and Shaley White, Leoti, will give speeches on behalf of the class. Faculty will be in full regalia, and students will wear gowns and mortarboards. A reception will follow the graduation ceremony in the Ballroom of the Memorial Union.
The academy's co-founders, Dr. Donald Norwood and Professor Jerry Magliano, will also be present, as will Kansas Regent Kenny Wilk.
"All the students plan to attend the KAMS graduation along with their high school graduations," said Keller. "This class means a great deal to us. They have embraced the Academy experience and have set the bar at a very high level. They have been a joy to work with and to be around and will be missed dearly."
The Kansas Board of Regents sited KAMS on the FHSU campus in 2008 following a selection process. The Kansas Legislature established the academy to promote mathematics and science education, to reduce the "brain drain" in which many of the best and brightest young Kansans go away to out-of-state universities and never return, and to promote economic development by providing a well-educated workforce.
Dr. Roger Schieferecke, KAMS associate director for student services, said that students in the Trailblazers class have been active in many activities, including Custer Hall Council, the Residential Hall Association, Student Government Association, Venturing Crew, Pre-Med Club, Chemistry Club, chorale groups, marching band, orchestra, Christian Challenge, intramurals, Hispanic American Leadership Organization, American Democracy Project, FHSU Electric Car Team, Astronomy Club, Fort Hays Honor Society and many others.
"They have embraced being immersed into the college environment and have become leaders across campus," he said. "These students will leave KAMS poised to become leaders within their local, regional and global communities."
"They have flourished as individuals and will make everyone proud of them as they go forth to continue their education and establish their careers and their lives," said Keller. "This class has been awesome. We could share their stories forever. They have embraced the true sense of what students at the Academy are supposed to embrace."
Trailblazers, Class of 2012, are listed alphabetically by last name with sponsoring high school (in bold), parents and hometown:
Justin Arnspiger; Ashland High School; James Arnspiger and grandmother Mary Hughes, Ashland.
Peter Betzen; Parsons High School; Ron Betzen, Fall River, and Kim Foister, Parsons.
Krysten Brake; Kinsley High School; Joseph and Stephanie Brake, Kinsley.
Bria Carder; Eudora High School; Kevin and Lanette Carder, Eudora.
Jonathan Folkerts; Hays High School; Tim and Melanie Folkerts, Hays.
Kaylin Hawman; Trego County High School; Jason and Liz Hawman, WaKeeney.
Clint Herrmann; Sabetha High School; Patrick and Donna Hermann, Sabetha.
Taylor Kane; Scott Community High School; Todd and Rose Kane, Belle Plaine.
Abbey Killinger; Silver Lake High School; Amy Killinger, Topeka.
Soo Bum Kim; Donghwa High School; Tae Yoon Kim and Eun Hwa Park, Namyangju, South Korea.
Alex Lee; Lansing High School; Terry and Clare Lee, Lansing.
Nyasha Maforo; Winfield High School; Jacob and Virginia Maforo, Winfield.
Manvitha Marni; Blue Valley High School; Sitarama and Radhika Marni, Leawood.
Alondra Meraz; Hugoton High School; Alfredo Cantu, Hugoton, and Rosalva Gonzalez, Hugoton.
Cole Mosier; Holton High School; Michael and Amy Mosier, Holton.
Rachel Schmidt; Maur Hill-Mount Academy; Dean and Teresa Schmidt, Atchison.
Kara Schnake; Augusta High School; Ken Schnake, Wichita, and Tammy Schnake, Kechi.
Logan Smith; Elkhart High School; Byron and Teresa Smith, Richfield.
Elsie Suhr; Sabetha High School; John and Lisa Suhr, Sabetha.
Shaley White; Wichita County High School; Jan White, Leoti.