Category Archives: Schools

Parkade Elementary to host Spring Festival



Parkade Elementary is hosting its annual Spring Festival from noon to 3 p.m. May 21.

The school has been hosting the Festival for more than 10  years as a way for teachers and students to have fun together.

“As teachers, it’s fun to have the students see us in a more fun environment, and it’s fun for us to see them in that environment,” said Emily Noelker, learning specialist and PTA member at Parkade Elementary.

The festival is opent to students, families and community members.

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Rock Bridge’s Niyonzima Etienne named Gates Millennium Scholar



Rock Bridge High School senior Niyonzima Etienne was named one of the 1,000 nationwide recipients of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The scholarship will pay for Etienne’s undergraduate education at Missouri State University, where he plans to earn a degree in construction management.

According to the program’s website, the scholarship can be used at the university of the recipient’s choice, and is awarded based on academic achievement, community service and leadership potential.

Niyonzima Etienne

Etienne, who was born in the Congo, was a refugee in Tanzania until he moved to the U.S. with his family in 2007. When he came to Columbia, he spoke no English. But he was a quick learner, and soon wanted to teach English to other African refugees in the area.

In an interview with Etienne earlier this year, he said the three needs of refugees that must be met for them to have successful lives in the U.S. are English language skills, transportation and employment. Etienne began teaching refugees English in his living room every week. He also travels to churches and hospitals with them to act as a translator. In February, he was helping 10 families.

Earlier this year, Etienne was named one of six distinguished finalists in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The program honors middle and high school students for outstanding community service.

Upon receiving a construction management degree, Etienne hopes to employ refugees to help build structures in their communities. Etienne will graduate from Rock Bridge on May 21.

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Filed under Columbia-Boone County, Rock Bridge—Green Meadows—Bedford Walk—Cedar Lake, Schools

Columbia students raise money for Japan



Since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan’s east coast and killed more than 10,000 people, Columbia Public School students have initiated a number of ways to raise money for Japan relief.

The combined efforts of Columbia’s public schools have raised more than $4,500 to donate to the American Red Cross for Japan relief, and money is still trickling in from schools across Columbia.

A fundraising campaign for Japan at Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary School began with Rhonda Hafner’s second-grade class. The second-graders focused on Asia during the school’s multicultural night on April 28, so when Hafner started a penny drive for Japan, it fit in nicely with the class project.

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Filed under Blue Ridge—Oakland, Schools

Parkade Elementary to host Field Day



Parkade Elementary is hosting its annual Field Day from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, on the school’s playground and fields.

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Filed under Parkade, Schools

Russell Boulevard secretary buys new mascot costume in memory of her father



Inside a closet in the front office of Russell Boulevard Elementary School, a wide-eyed, oversized raven perches atop a shelf filled with spare paper, pens and highlighters.

Mary Lamberson, Russell Boulevard’s secretary, pulled it off the shelf carefully. She ran her hand over the orange beak and patted the black feathers down a bit. She held up the head of the raven costume.

“So this is Rusty Raven,” Lamberson said. “It’s our new mascot costume.”

Lamberson looked at the bird and smiled. “We’re going to have a lot of fun with it here,” she said.

Until this year, Russell Boulevard had never had a costume for its raven mascot, which has represented Russell since 1985. However, when Lamberson’s father, Martin Mahula, a former principal and teacher, died at the end of December, she knew exactly how his memory should be honored.

“I had been looking at these mascot costumes for the school for quite a while,” Lamberson said. “But they were pretty expensive. Anyway, my sister and I decided that with his memorial money, this is what we would get.”

Lamberson said the purchase was fitting, as making children happy was a particular pleasure of Mahula’s.

“He was a big kidder and joker,” Lamberson said. “And Russell was just a big part of his life. My kids went here, and I work here, so my folks came to Russell activities with my children and me. …. He would like that the raven makes children laugh.” Continue reading

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Filed under College Park—West Boulevard, Schools

Grant Elementary prepares centennial celebrations



The school year may be winding down, but Grant Elementary has several events in the works for its centennial celebration.

The school will have 100th birthday celebrations throughout the school day on Friday, May 13, including special guests, treats and games, according to the school’s newsletter. The day will culminate in Funesta, which will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event will feature booths with games, and there will be food available for purchase.

The school’s big Centennial Celebration will take place on from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 at the Blue Note, 17 N. Ninth Street. Admission is free, and there will be food, kids’ activities, live entertainment and a silent auction.

For more information or to register for the event, visit

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Jefferson Junior to fundraise at golf scramble



In honor of the centennial of the Jefferson Junior High School building, the school is trying to raise 100 $100 sponsorships for its golf scramble fundraiser on Saturday, May 14.

Assistant Principal Thaddues Hamilton said the event, which is open to the public, has about 55 to 60 $100 sponsorships so far. He said the fundraiser’s proceeds will go to the school’s booster club to help replace scoreboards and backboards in the gym and upgrade weight room equipment.

“It’s to help raise money for the kids at Jeff Junior and to help provide them with the best facilities that we can,” Hamilton said. “That’s the true benefit of that afternoon of golf.”

Hamilton said anyone is welcome to participate in the golf scramble, which will include lunch, a raffle and a silent auction. Attendees should sign up by Wednesday, May 11.

WHAT: Eighth Annual Cyclone Golf Scramble
WHEN: Saturday, May 14, lunch at 12:30 p.m., golf at 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: A.L. Gustin Golf Course, 18 Stadium Blvd.
COST: $65 per player, $260 for four players
HOW TO SIGN UP: Fill out a payment form and turn it in to Assistant Principal Thaddues Hamilton at Jefferson Junior, 713 Rogers St., by Wednesday, May 11.
HOW TO DONATE OR SPONSOR: Fill out a form and send it to Assistant Principal Thaddues Hamilton at Jefferson Junior, 713 Rogers St.

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Filed under Columbia-Boone County, Douglass Park, Schools