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Alumni Association keeping classmates connected

Posted on Apr. 25th, 2013
Chuck Kurtz
Whether you’re a recent graduate of one of the four, soon-to-be-five, Olathe high schools or an old timer who graduated from Olathe High School prior to 1981, the Olathe School District provides a way for all Olathe alumni to keep in touch.

The Olathe Public Schools Association, which has a link on the school district’s website, has a board of directors all of whom are graduates of Olathe schools. The association helps with school reunions, provides scholarships, and honors Olathe school alumni through several events. The district’s Community Development Office manages alumni data for directories, invests for ongoing scholarships, and assists class presidents with reunion planning or other tasks.

The association operates a booth during the Johnson County Old Settlers Celebration, designs and installs a historical timeline of the district at the Education Center, and each fall the Association sponsors a banquet where former graduates are inducted into the Wall of Honor.

The purpose of the Wall of Honor is to recognize Olathe School District alumni for their lifetime achievements. To perpetuate the district’s tradition of excellence and to help inspire current students, outstanding alumni are selected annually by the Olathe Public Schools Alumni Association for the Wall of Honor recognition.

Candidates must be graduates of Olathe public schools, must have graduated at least 20 years prior to the nomination, and must have attained a high level of achievement in at least one of the following areas: personal and/or professional life; community/ humanitarian service; or lifelong commitment to educational excellence.

The first class of honorees was inducted in 2007. Additional graduates will be selected each year by a committee of the Olathe Public Schools Alumni Association. Nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis.

The association has a touch-screen kiosk and plaques honoring each inductee in the lobby of the district’s Education Center, 14160 Black Bob Road.

The association’s executive committee is Ed Badsky Jr., president, Olathe High School Class of 1966; Candy Shipman Birch, vice president, Olathe High School Class of 1969; Jill Tobler Erickson, Treasurer, Olathe High School Class of 1972; Diane Gossage, secretary; Bob Courtney, historian; and Ken Roberts, past president, Olathe High School Class of 1963.

Board members are:

Nichole (Alexander) Asquith, Olathe East High School Class of 1997; Susan (Ingold) Brooks, Olathe High School Class of 1981; Mary Jean (Davidson) Cochran, John P. St. John Memorial High School Class of 1941; Marlene Colgan, district Web manager; Mark Davis, Olathe High School Class of 1968; Hazel (Blackwell) Hendrix, John P. St. John Memorial High School Class of 1952; Stan Hughes, Olathe High School Class of 1973; Traci Jensen, Olathe South High School Class of 1987; Ann (Rossman) McCort, Olathe High School Class of 1973; Heather (Devocelle) Schoonover, Olathe High School Class of 1988; Carol (Caenen) Wheeler, Olathe High School Class of 1968; Ivan Wicke, John P. St. John Memorial High School Class of 1954

There are several aspects of the association. They are:

Alumni may sign up for text or email alerts about alumni association events by visiting our Olathe Alert page and clicking the Alumni Association box.

The Olathe Public Schools Alumni Association has established a bank account for funds collected by Olathe alumni classes. Class officers interested in putting their reunion money in the account for future reunion use should contact Diane Gossage at (913) 780-8182 or Checks should be made out to the Olathe Public Schools Alumni Association with the school and class year in the memo line (example: ON Class of ’61). Designated representatives for the class may request their money later by contacting the Community Development office.

The alumni association executive board includes recent and distant graduates, as well as a number of district staff who will support the organization on a long-term basis. Ed Badsky Jr. is president. Ken Roberts chairs the Scholarship Committee and Carol Wheeler is chair of the Reunions Committee. Susan Brooks heads the Recognition Committee.

Alumni association brochures are given to all seniors prior to graduation in an effort to gather future contact information. Brochures are also provided to classes hosting reunions.The names and addresses of nearly 40,000 Olathe graduates are maintained in a database which will be used for future alumni directories.

Please let us know if your class is having a reunion. The basic information will be posted below, on the cable Channel 18 throughout Johnson County, and on the districtwide calendar of events.

School-related memorabilia dating back to the turn-of-the-century is on display in the Education Center, 14160 Black Bob, Olathe. These include a 1910 bid to build the original Central School, and a graduation program from 1891.

A timeline depicting the district’s history (pictured) was installed in fall 2010 in the hallways of the Education Center.

For more information about the Olathe Public Schools Alumni Association, or to update your mailing address, contact Diane Gossage via email at or call (913) 780-8182.

Reunions taking place this year are:

Olathe High 1963 Sept. 5-7 Karen Sutton,, or (816) 665-5674
Olathe High 1968 Oct 4-5 Oct. 4: Uncle Buck’s. Oct. 5: St. Andrews Golf Course. Mike Newson,
Olathe High 1978 June 15 Connie Campbell,
Olathe North/South 1983 Aug. 2-3 Olathe North/South Class of 1983 Facebook site or Susan Lyman,
Olathe North 1988 Sept. 6-7 Jim Bradford,
Olathe South 1988 homecoming weekend Heather Schoonover,
Olathe East/North 1993 Sept. 6-7 Send current contact info to