Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science prepares to honor 3rd graduating class

The 27 members of the 2013 class of the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science will walk across the stage at Commencement beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, in the Fort Hays Ballroom on the second floor of the Memorial Union.

This is the academy's third graduating class. They arrived at Fort Hays State University, home of KAMS, in August 2011. Following in the tradition of the first two classes, members of the 2013 class gave themselves a name: Voyagers.

"Nine students out of the 27, exactly one third, will remain here at FHSU," said Ron Keller, KAMS director. "Three will be going to Kansas State University, five to the University of Kansas, two to Wichita State University, one to the University of Rochester, one to Iowa State University, one to Rice University, one to the Missouri University of Science and Technology, one to Rhodes University in Tennessee, two to the Colorado School of Mines and one to the University of Denver. One of our 2013 graduates is undecided between FHSU and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology."

Dr. Edward Hammond, FHSU president, will give the address at the KAMS Commencement. Two students, Katharine Goebel, El Dorado, and Alec Weaver, Olathe, will give speeches on behalf of their class. Faculty will be in full regalia, and students will wear gowns and mortarboards. A large reception will follow the graduation ceremony in the ballroom. Students will showcase memorabilia from their two years in KAMS and other accomplishments.

The academy's co-founders, Dr. Donald Norwood and Professor Jerry Magliano, will also be present.

"All the students plan to attend the KAMS Commencement and their high school graduation ceremonies," said Keller. "This class has been extremely active in and around the campus. They have served in the FHSU Student Government Association, as officers in other student organizations and in civic projects."

Some of the many notable accomplishments by members of the Voyagers class include:
· Deborah Denny was named a National Merit Finalist, and Morgen Smith and Rex Miller were named National Merit Semi-Finalists.
· Lexia Aurand been named a Dane G. Hansen Leader of Tomorrow, one of only 10 individuals per year who receive the award.
· Morgen Smith was recognized as a Kansas Governor’s Scholar as one of the top 1 percent of high school seniors.
· Steven Powell released a music video in late March.
· Hayley Disney and Quentin Aker were finalists in the Stockholm Water Challenge; they were recognized with the U.S. Army Certificate and cash award, they were finalists in the Bio Genius Competition, and they were second overall in Division I at the State Science and Engineering Fair.
· Bliss Betzen and Cera Smart placed third in the Kansas Academy of Science 145th annual meeting and undergraduate poster presentation.

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 students in the Voyagers class have been active in Custer Hall Council, the Residential Hall Association, Student Government Association, Pre-Med Club, Chemistry Club, chorale groups, marching band, orchestra, Christian Challenge, intramurals, the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, the American Democracy Project, FHSU Electric Car Team, Astronomy Club, Fort Hays Honor Society and many others.

"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 really embraced their research, which is a key component of the KAMS experience."

Voyagers, the Class of 2013, are listed alphabetically by last name with sponsoring high school (in bold), parents and hometown:

Quentin Aker, Northeast Magnet, Steven and Suzan Aker, Wichita.

Lexia Aurand, Republic County, Clay and Gina Aurand, Belleville.

Bliss Betzen, Parson High, Ron Betzen and Kim Foister, Parsons.

Emily Cress, Sterling High, Galen and Edith Cress, Lyons.

Eric Crook, Ottawa High, Craig and Sara Crook, Ottawa.

Amber Curtis, Bucklin High, John and Sherry Curtis, Bucklin.

Deborah Denny, Lyons High, John and Mary Denny, Hutchinson.

Hayley Disney, Washburn Rural High, Barry and Jeanne Disney, Topeka.

Joseph Dougherty, Anderson County Jr/Sr High, Joseph and Rachel Dougherty, Garnett.

Samantha Elledge, Clay Center Community High, Michael Elledge and Mary Roth, Green.

Andrew Foust, Augusta High, Nathaniel Foust and Sonya Elliott, Augusta.

Katharine Goebel, El Dorado High, Thomas and Cecilia Goebel, El Dorado.

Alex Hatfield, Bluestem High, Dennis and Melissa Hatfield, Leon.

Jessica Hayes, Buhler High, Devon Hayes and Stephanie Neushafer, Buhler.

Joshua Hoover, Washington County High, Gerald and Jill Hoover, Washington.

Dallas Hyder, Olathe East, Robert and Sonja Hyder, Olathe.

Jinho Jung, Yusof Ishak Secondary School, Paul Jang (uncle) and Hwang Yongnam, South Korea.

Tengzhi Liu, Guangzhou Xiehe High, Chunming Liu and Feng Chen, China.

Rex Miller, Olathe North, Fredrick and Julie Miller, Olathe.

Trisha Penning, Atchison County Community High, Thomas and Theresa Penning, Atchison.

Steven Powell, Maize High School, Regenald and Kathy Powell, Wichita.

Laura Rokey, Sabetha High, Thomas and Rebecca Rokey, Sabetha.

Cera Smart, Royal Valley High, Jay Smart and Melissa Slater, Mayetta.

Morgen Smith, Holton High, Porter and Terri Smith, Holton.

Brandon Tomas, Northeast Magnet, Jorge and Tina Tomas, Wichita.

Alec Weaver, Spring Hill High, Gregg and Janice Weaver, Olathe.

Luke Wright, Abilene High, Bruce and Lisa Wright, Abilene.

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