Around Town 22

SCA Senior Recognized as National Merit Scholar Finalist

Summit Christian Academy (SCA) is pleased to announce that senior Carolyn Herrera has advanced to Finalist standing in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. This distinction places her in a group of roughly 15,000 students representing less than one percent of U.S. high school graduating seniors.

Last September, Herrera was notified that she was in the top 3-4% of the 1.5 million entrants and had qualified as a Semifinalist, meaning that she was one of the highest scoring entrants in Missouri. Herrera advanced to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and other requirements: including a letter of recommendation, student activities and leadership, and her own essay.

“It’s not at all surprising to see Carolyn in the National Merit Finalist standing,” says SCA Secondary Principal Emir Ruiz-Esparza. “She has always demonstrated an incredible tenacity academically and as a National Merit Finalist, her God-given talents intellectually are validated as well.”

The Summit Church Hosts Feed The Need Banquet

The Summit Church (Lee’s Summit United Methodist) hosted their annual Feed the Need banquet at John Knox Pavilion in February. The event raised $60,000 that will be given to local charities fighting hunger, homelessness and poverty. The evening included a silent auction, formal dinner and finished with a live auction. All auction items were generously donated and monetary donations were accepted leading up to the event. The 2016 recipients include Lee’s Summit Social Services, Hillcrest Transitional Housing, Neighbor2Neighbor, Lee’s Summit Elementary and Project HOPE.

Local DAR Chapter Honors Teacher And Students

The Prairie Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) honored three Lee’s Summit students and a faculty member at the chapter’s recent President’s Honors and Awards Reception.

The three seniors received the DAR Good Citizen Award, a national program intended to encourage and reward the qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism, all aspects of good citizenship.

Students were selected by their school’s faculty members as exemplifying these qualities were Hannah Schloman, Lee’s Summit High School; Simon Ales, Lee’s Summit West High School; and Jonghae Lee, Lee’s Summit North High School.

At the reception, Todd Fenske, an educator at Pleasant Lea Middle School, was honored as the Prairie Chapter Outstanding Teacher of American History. He is lead teacher of the school’s history department and has been a Lee’s Summit R-7 educator for 22 years.

Homes for Our Troops

Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) is a nonprofit organization that provide accessible, mortgage free homes for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. These homes are meant to restore the soldiers’ freedom and let them easily be able to be with their family and enjoy their freedom that they so selflessly fought for in their time in the military.

Recently, two local businesses have contributed to building a new home for Marine Sgt Dustin Johns and his family in The Hide Away subdivision off of 50 Hwy. This home is being built by Tyler Sallee of Sallee Homes. Budget Blinds will be providing window treatments that will be made with features to make them easily accessible for the home owners. All involved are proud to be providing a quality product for Sgt Johns, his wife, Melissa and new daughter, Piper.

November 12th, 2011, started out a regular day for Marine Sgt Johns, a technician with the 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company. He was clearing an area of explosive hazards in the Sangin Valley, Afghanistan, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). Suddenly it was not just a regular day. The explosion resulted in amputation of both legs and two fingers on his right hand. After the amputation Sgt Johns had to learn to walk again on his new prosthetics which proved to be difficult in his multi-story home. He did all he could to adapt but a new home that is made for him will make life much better.

For more information go to

Page Turners: Resident Publishes Book

Raven Thornheart of Lee’s Summit is a proud mother and grandmother of a large brood, which is where she found her inspiration to write The Maddox Family Chronicles, a three-book fictional series centering around the nine brothers of a wealthy, blended, rags-to-riches family. The first novel, The 9th Brother, centers on the unexpected return of one of the brothers, who was taken away years prior, and the fight to lay to rest long buried generational demons. It’s a story of hope and the power of family ties.

Published by Global Publishing Group and are available in ebook and print from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, NACSCORP, Baker & Taylor.

Paragon Star Moves Forward

Paragon Star received another major boost with the support of the Lee’s Summit City Council, who approved the project’s $13 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) application to assist in providing financing for the innovative sports complex, village and major trail head located at View High Drive and Interstate 470. The March 10th 7-0 vote for approval by the Council follows a unanimous 11-0 recommendation by the TIF Commission on Feb. 17.

The TIF approval follows earlier approvals by the City Council to establish a Regional Transportation Development District and Community Improvement District to support the $212 million first phase of the projected $400 million project located at the western gateway to the community.

Pleasant Lea Student Wins County Spelling Bee

Sophia Hoffman, a seventh-grader at Pleasant Lea Middle School, captured first place at the Jackson-Clay County Spelling Bee, qualifying for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Sophia will travel to Washington, D.C., for the national competition, scheduled for May 22-27.

Sophia won after 17 rounds at the event in addition to five preliminary rounds held earlier in the month. To secure the county championship, she correctly spelled the word “torpid,” which means lethargic.

This is Sophia’s second time to qualify for the national bee. She also won the county bee in 2015 as a sixth-grader at Highland Park Elementary. At the national event last year, she correctly spelled her words during the second and third rounds of the national competition. In 2014, Sophia won second place in the county event after she and another student gained national attention during a 95-round marathon. Sophia and Kush Sharma, a Kansas City middle-school student, both were featured on the regional and national news two years ago after competing against each other in a record-breaking county bee.

Sophia’s older sister Jordan Hoffman won the county bee three times, participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2010, 2011 and in 2012. During her final year, she placed eighth in the final rounds at nationals.

Coming Soon: Paradise Park Creates Tactical Laser Tag Attraction

The old fire station next to Paradise Park has been undergoing some radical transformation that will soon offer an adventurous type of “mission-based” laser tag designed to appeal to older kids, teens and young-at-heart adults, of course.

This higher-tech type of game takes the laser tag experience to a whole new level. It brings realistic ballistic weapons, strategy and fun to life with a real-life, video-game style facility and game play.

The realistic challenges, achievements and numerous missions assigned offer a strategic challenge, more than just point and shoot. Participants must complete a mission by working as a member of a squad, developing and executing a plan to meet the goals within a time limit. They employ teamwork, leadership and strategic thinking skills while building camaraderie and having fun.

Paradise Park is located at 1021 NE Colbern Road in Lee’s Summit. The new facility sits on the northeast corner of the grounds. For more information, call 816.246.5224 or visit

LSWHS Student Selected To Attend National Conference

Davis Perry, a senior at LSWHS, has been selected as one of 25 young adults in Missouri to attend the Conference on National Affairs (CONA) in Black Mountain, N.C., in July. This is the fourth consecutive year that Davis has been selected and his third time attending.

This year he will be writing legislation to remove the penny and nickel from US currency. CONA is a national assembly of 600 young adults, sponsored by the YMCA.

Local Landscaping Company Under New Ownership as Second Nature Outdoor Living and Landscaping

Formerly Turf Designers, Second Nature Outdoor Living and Landscaping is now under new ownership and management. The landscaping design and lawn maintenance company has been serving Lee’s Summit for over 20 years with beautiful landscaping, hardscape design, complete outdoor living creations and lawn maintenance services. Second Nature is now owned by Todd Sexton, a Lee’s Summit businessman who purchased Turf Designers after experiencing the high level of talent from the team working on his own outdoor living and landscaping project. With two other successful Lee’s Summit businesses, Todd Sexton is establishing a company-wide gold standard in every facet of the business. Learn more about this company at, email them at, or give them a call at 816.844.7764 for free estimates.