Neosho Schools reorganize board, recognize programs

Seth Kinker
Neosho Daily News

The Neosho Board of Education met on Apr. 19, reorganizing the board after the recent elections, recognizing some of the districts programs and their successes and getting an update on the Performing Arts Center (PAC)

First, with the same number of candidates running for the number of open seats, Steffen Wiest and Dan Haskins were sworn in again as members of the board.

Then; Jonathan Russell was elected board president, Wiest was elected as vice president and Haskins was elected as secretary.

Next, the district recognized several programs and their students for their achievements this year that included the FFA program, choir, band and the wrestling team.

Members of the Neosho FFA program were honored at the Apr. 19 board meeting.

Four FFA members received the Missouri State FFA degree, the highest degree that FFA members can receive from the state association,  four more will be recognized on May 1 at the state convention for their proficiency award applications placing them in the top 16 in their respective categories,  the entomology team competed last weekend in the state entomology contest at the University of Missouri and placed 12th, another member placed in the top 16 for her speech on an Agriculture topic, the poultry team placed third in the state this year and another member was selected for the Missouri Agribusiness Academy that selects the top 30 agriculture sophomores across the state to attend an academy during the summer.

“I think the biggest thing for me, to see all the kids out here tonight, is how proud I am of each and every one of them,” said Haskins. “You represent us as a community and your families. We’re proud of what you do for us, I know all of our programs bring such honor to our school district. Thank you very much for that.”

“Our Agriculture program never disappoints.,” added Russell. “It’s a point of pride for the city of Neosho and the school district.”

Both the choir and band programs touched on the largely virtual aspect of this year recorded and done over zoom.

Members of the Neosho choir program were honored at the Apr. 19 board meeting.

The choir program had six members selected to the all-state choir and had five students compete in the state solo ensembles contests. Four ensembles also earned a gold rating.

Members of the Neosho band program were honored at the Apr. 19 board meeting.

The band program’s district honor band and orchestra were selected from recorded auditions. For states, with the mission to make it as live as possible, auditions were recorded virtually and uploaded to a cloud-based storage system as their “take” to make it as live as it could be.

Six students and a percussion ensemble were state medalists and also received a division one superior rating at districts.

Members of the Neosho wrestling team were honored at the Apr. 19 board meeting.

Eight wrestlers were also recognized for being the latest crop of state qualifiers for the successful program.

“I’m very proud of the way they stepped up with things that were not easy to work around with the unique season,” said head coach Jeremy Phillips on his state qualifiers. “These guys that stayed with us and demonstrated loyalty and persistence despite things that were out of our control. We qualified eight and the teams that we were batting against and the top teams that finished at the tournament qualified 10, 11 and 12.”

During the administrators report, Wiest and Haskins asked about seeing more of how the goals that were listed were being worked towards.

Superintendent Dr. Jim Cummins responded that they recognized that request that had been heard in recent months, but that teachers and administrators were finishing up the most challenging year they had been through.

He added that they will continue to improve the provided board reports so they would be able to see that progress and that they heard them loud and clear.

“It’s not that we don’t believe it happening,” said Haskins. “I know this year has been challenging, but we have to hold ourselves accountable. One thing I am concerned about is as our kids move forward and in 10 years and it’s like, ‘well I’m class of 2020, 2021 so I get to have an asterisk by my name because I had to deal with the COVID pandemic,’ those employers aren’t going to care about that. We need to make sure they’re ready to rock and roll. I know they’re doing the work. I just want to be able to prove it to everyone else, because I know it’s happening.”

A virtual rendering of the inside of the PAC, pictured is a view from the stage.

A facilities update from John McNabb of Sapp Design centered largely around the PAC, its bidding timeline as well as construction.

The drawings are slated to be open for bidding in the third week of May through Branco and open for four weeks. In the third week of June, Branco will choose the bid with construction starting 30 days shortly that.

McNabb also added that they anticipated about 18 months for construction once the project begins.

McNabb then went over a rendering of the PAC that the board had seen before with updates on the envisioned exterior and interior.

After the slides with the updates, McNabb used a program to go through a virtual tour of the inside of the PAC that could show you the view from the stadium seating inside to standing on the stage and looking out at where people will be seated.