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Kids celebrate state's birthday

Elementary school students across Marion County celebrated the state’s birthday two days early Friday with special presentations honoring Kansas history.

At Marion Elementary, students visited stations focused on pioneer games; the Santa Fe Trail, which traversed the northern part of the county; the state’s official amphibian, the barred tiger salamander; and sunflower art, presented by the high school’s art club and art teacher, Kylie Schroeder.

The salamander, a nocturnal creature living near bodies of water, became the state’s amphibian in 1994 after a campaign by elementary school students statewide.

At Centre, students made presentations in which they portrayed various historic figures with ties to Kansas, including disappeared aviator Amelia Earhart, aircraft and car manufacturers Clyde Cessna and Walter Chrysler, basketball inventor James Naismith, abolitionist John Brown, and president and five-star general Dwight Eisenhower.

They also sang songs for which they wrote new words. The presentation concluded with students and guests singing the official state song, “Home on the Range.”

Teacher Stacey Tischhauser and music director Amy Harms organized the program.

Students at Hillsboro Elementary School had Kansas Day learning activities all last week.

Second graders did several things through the week, principal Nathan Hiebert said. One day, students dressed in “Kansas-ey” costumes, such as cowboys and ranchers. Another day, they dressed as Kansas sports teams.

Students talked about state history and did various Kansas-themed art projects.

“Each grade kind of did their own individual things.” Hiebert said. “There were different activities that teachers have compiled over the years, things they have found work better for that grade level.”

Hiebert enjoys seeing students learn about Kansas Day.

“I think it’s a fun way to celebrate,” Hiebert said.

Kansas was merely a territory when Marion, then known as Marion Centre, was founded in 1860. It became the 34th state Jan. 29, 1861, after a long battle between pro- and anti-slavery forces, who eventually secured the state’s admission as a free rather than slave state.

Last modified Feb. 1, 2023

 

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