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EN 2015 - 2016

A Letter from the Head of School


The Independent School is a private pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade school that provides a superior, independent, college preparatory education, serving a diverse student population in a safe, supportive community conducive to the intellectual, emotional and physical growth of each Independent student.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Graduation 2016......................................... 3 Congratulations Class of 2016.............. 4 Alumni Highlights...................................... 6 Financial Highlights.................................. 8 Leadership Giving Circle........................ 9 Becoming Fine Artists............................ 10 Athletic Accolades................................... 12 An Amazing Year...................................... 14 Celebrating 35 Years of Excellence... 16 Class Notes................................................. 17

Sending a very special thank you to our talented editors, compilers, graphic designers, writers, reporters and photographers that have assisted in creating this publication for our most dedicated community.

As we celebrate the close of the 35th anniversary of The Independent School, I reflect back on all we have accomplished this year. I continue to have great pride in the achievements of our students and our staff. Top state awards were won in academics, athletics, technology, and fine arts contests. We had a National Merit Scholarship finalist, and 15 AP Scholars in the class of 2016. Independent continues to enhance our programs and facilities. A sense of enthusiasm is evident to anyone who attends a school event, distinguishing us from all others. Independent is truly a welcoming community. The Independent School has an impressive history and promising future. While proud of where we are, I continue to aspire to where we can be and how we can improve moving forward. The 2016-2017 school year will see us focusing on upgrading communications, expanding marketing, improving curriculum, with a goal of increasing enrollment, and ultimately, growing our dedicated and talented student body. I hope you enjoy this edition of the Pen and find the information interesting and stories inspiring. It is certainly a great time to be Independent, and I look forward to the journey ahead with each member of our Panther community. Respectfully,

Dr. Milt Dougherty Head of School

CELEBRATING THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL’S GRADUATING CLASS OF 2016 Senior Class President, Cathy McCurley, invited Colonel Albert G. Miller of McConnell Air Force Base to deliver this year’s commencement speech. The Air Force strategist and commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing offered words to live by. He compared the skills of flying a tanker to personality traits each of us should value including integrity, service before self, and excellence in all future endeavors. As is tradition at Independent commencement ceremonies, the National Honor Society President, Student Body President, and Senior Class President spoke. Common threads of the speakers included thanking the faculty and their families for their support, encouragement and high expectations.

Casey Shaw, National Honor Society President

Ayden Bolin, Student Body President, shared his appreciation of school spirit, “You can see this spirit around every corner. The essence of our school is a full student section at a game, and then the quiet students picking up abandoned candy wrappers from the bleachers afterwards. It is a group of dedicated students coming to school on a Saturday morning to plant flowers and water trees. It is a teacher staying late after school to help just one student understand a difficult concept.” Ayden concluded with defining how Independent and his classmates are one of a kind, “Your permanence has already been carved through your caring and uniqueness. Looking out at my graduating class, I don’t recognize anybody as average, and we are surrounded by no average school.” Cathy McCurley, Senior Class President, Ayden Bolin, Student Body President encouraged her classmates to take a mental picture, to remember the moments of graduation, embrace the here and now, but to remain ambitious. “I encourage you to go into the world, confident, bold and enthusiastic. Do not allow the fear of failure to get in the way of your ambitions, and do not allow the desire to grow up keep you from enjoying your youth.”


ADMISSION POLICY: The Independent School admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.

Jane Shaw, Chair Jill Mitchell, Vice Chair Rolf Gunderson, Secretary Jay Allen, Treasurer Gwynne Birzer Alice Daood Jane Link Andrew Nichols Janet Robl Susan Santo Stephanie Scheck Greg Sevier Todd Shadid Julie Sheppard John Stancin Leslie Toubassi Elizabeth Wickham

National Honor Society President, Casey Shaw, shared his appreciation for the support, unity and Guest Speaker, Colonel Albert G. Miller individual encouragement he received during his time at Independent. He reminisced about breaking a pencil sharpener as a second grader in Mrs. Smola’s class. Mrs. Smola challenged Casey to repair it because she knew he could. This experience highlighted how our teachers engage each student, “All of the people here take the time to learn about the students, and this allows them to know what they need to do in order to allow us to succeed.” Casey said, “It’s also important to note that this is the same woman that accurately predicted that I would become a National Merit Scholar.”

Cathy McCurley, Senior Class President

We look forward to the future adventures of the Class of 2016, and we hope they all dream big.


We would like to thank the 2015-2016 Independent Board of Trustees for contributing their time and talent to our school. A special thanks to Board Chair Jane Shaw. We would also like to recognize retiring board members for their longtime dedication to Independent: Jane Link, Janet Robl, Greg Sevier, Elizabeth Wickham.

The Class of 2016 in Numbers:

• Average ACT score = 24.7 (national average = 21). • Average SAT score = 1779 (national average = 1497). • Awarded over 3.4 million dollars in institutional scholarships. • Performed over 5,000 hours of community service. Thank you for making us Independent Proud!

Class of 2016 4

Aizehaer Ainiwaer University of Arkansas Jonathan David Anderson-Lusk Wichita State University Colton Frederick Bauserman ◆ McPherson College Ayden Connolly Bolin vn◆ University of Puget Sound Evan Stuart Boorigie Wichita State University Monte Loren Brzon Oklahoma Wesleyan University Walker William Chandler Oklahoma State University Tianai Chen ◆ Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Noelle Maria Cundiff Wichita State University Abbey Clare Daley n◆ Brigham Young University

Erin Madison Dean Oklahoma University Nicholas Cade Dotson v◆ Southern Methodist University Jackilyn Rae Dougherty v Fort Hays State University Chad Patrick Eikleberry ▶◆ University of Arkansas Geanina Lynn Estes Oklahoma State University Matthew James Fox ◆ Colorado State University Michael James Gallagher Undecided Yufei Gao ◆ Worcester Polytechnic Institute Justus Devine Gaphardt Friends University Emme Lynn Goodin n◆ Kansas State University

Set Myint Moh Htut ◆ Wichita State University Hao Huang Undecided Hannah Marie Hutchinson Hesston College Daniel Jay Kamen ◆ University of Kansas Pilar Jean Karlin vn◆ Lewis & Clark College Jennifer Elise Kroeker vn◆ Purdue University Matthew Warner Link vn▶◆ Wichita State University Matthew Layton Lucas ◆ University of Kansas Brandon Li Ma ◆ Wichita State University Megan Elizabeth Maska Kansas State University

Sarah Renee Mayer v◆∆ Davidson College Mary Amanda McCoy ◆ University of Kansas Catherine Amanda McCurley n Rockhurst University Toni Thelma Melhado New York University Audrey Kendall Mohr University of Arkansas Makenzie Grace Moore Emporia State University Justin Michael Newman v◆ Oklahoma State University Mollie Annabelle Rundstrom Wichita State University Connor Brooks Sevier McPherson College Casey Rutledge Shaw v◆✳ University of Oklahoma

Jakkaphan Sribamrung Boonwattana High School, Thailand Nicole Rose St. Clair Wichita State University Robert William Steere v◆ University of Tulsa Dylan Francis Stump University of Kansas Christopher Charles Taylor Undecided Tiffany Le’Nae Taylor Undecided Nathan Choudary Tokala v▶◆∆ Wichita State University Huy Gra Tran Savannah College of Art and Design Duy Khanh Tran Wichita State University Alex Patrick Varenhorst v◆ Wichita State University

Shase Trenton Williams Oklahoma Wesleyan University Tessa Paige Williamson University of Kansas Rachel Leigh Zeserman Savannah College of Art and Design Ashton Lauren Zinda Undecided

v National Honor Society Member  Student Council Member ▶ Kansas Board of Regents State Scholar w Kansas Board of Regents Scholars Curriculum ✳ National Merit Finalist ∆ National Merit Commended Scholar 5

Life After The Independent School: Dr. Josh Steere (‘05)

obtained his undergraduate degree from Creighton University and his medical degree with the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago. He is specializing in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Josh is the son of John Steere. John teaches AP Government, AP US History, and coaches Mock Trial and Debate. Josh has alumni siblings: Jennifer (’12), who graduated from the University of Tulsa, married this past spring and works for FOCUS Catholic Ministries, and Robert (’16), who will attend the University of Tulsa in the fall. Why did you choose a career in medicine? My mom, Diane Steere, is a family physician. I grew up with a first person view of what medicine is like. She has a tremendous passion for her patients and cares for them throughout the stages of life: from newborn infants to senior citizens. Some of the infants from her practice are actually children of patients she cared for when they were infants. She does amazing work. Growing up with her sparked my interest. I was attracted to orthopedic surgery because musculoskeletal pain and disability impact the day-to-day lives of so many people. Debilitating hip arthritis can affect whether a senior citizen is able to live and function independently, for example. A hip replacement can be life changing for that person. Orthopaedics is a challenging field that strives to help people return to work, sport, church or any number of personal activities in a more meaningful way. We are fiercely proud of your recently well-reported work! Yes, it was a very special case with a very special young man, Zion, who had lost his hands at a young age due to infection. His case was the first pediatric hand transplant performed in the world. The incredible team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia consisted of dozens of surgeons, physicians, nurses, therapists, and other health professionals. The team was led by Dr. Scott Levin, Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery at University of Pennsylvania. He has said to us as residents, “Preparation is the only ‘short cut’ we have in surgery.” What I found remarkable about Zion’s case is the amount of preparation by so many people. Several rehearsals helped coordinate the roles of the large team of surgeons and nurses. Each operative team developed checklists to make sure that each part of the procedure was executed precisely and efficiently.


Zion was an all-star throughout his recovery. He has a sharp personality and sense of humor far beyond his years. He would regularly make jokes with the team on rounds. Everyone loved him. Whenever Zion spoke of his recovery, he always acknowledged and praised his family for their support and courage. This is a huge testament to his maturity and character during such a time of uncertainty. Was there a teacher who made a difference for you at Independent? John Steere was my teacher long before I started at Independent. My mom and he are the two central people in my life. We shared successes in debate, mock trial, and NHS. His classes were definitely hard, but taught me how to think and write clearly which is invaluable. He is famous for getting “sidetracked” from his government lectures when students ask interesting questions about current events or world affairs. His gift as a teacher is knowing how getting “sidetracked” can stimulate curiosity and interest in the subject and actually make learning fun. Ernie Drowatsky was a principle reason I came to Independent. I clearly remember shadowing his class as an 8th grader. He was lecturing about cell membranes which was sprinkled with dry humor and was surprisingly to me quite engaging. At the end of class, when his diagrams all came together into an elegant illustration of a cell membrane worked, I remembered thinking, “Wow, I want more of this!” His instruction ultimately helped me to place out of two semesters of college biology. His biology and physiology classes at Independent were my first introduction to medical science which ultimately propelled me into a career in medicine. Eric Swenson was my football and track and field coach. Swenson is an excellent motivator. Whether a student was team captain or a freshman trying a sport for the first time, he tailored his coaching in subtle ways to help that person succeed. In this way, he has a gift at guiding athletes to develop their own powerful internal motivational voices. What message would you like to tell current Independent students? I’d tell high school students that the most important part of high school is to find something that makes you excited to learn, and then to engage in that as much as you can. Better yet, find a way to make everything exciting to learn about. Success in any field relies on constantly asking questions and figuring out the answer. That’s how you grow. The teachers at Independent are especially good at this. When setting a trajectory for the future, consider how the work you do will enrich the lives of others. Whether or not this includes a religious or spiritual motive, strive for a life and career that is interconnected with the community. This purpose-driven foundation is often the most sustaining force in the long hours of education and work and ultimately, hopefully, the most rewarding. See Zion’s Story here:

Alumni Highlights Danielle Allen (‘12) her senior year, was Independent’s National Honor Society President and this past fall was our alumni speaker for our 35th Founder’s Day ceremony. This spring Danielle graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Near Eastern Studies and is fluent in Arabic. Danielle served as House Manager of Cannon Dial L Eating Club, and played softball for Princeton, who won the Ivy League Championship this year.

Tell us a little bit about your family. I’m the daughter of physicians who live in Wichita. They are restoring a 1920’s home in Crown Heights. Mom (Dr. Lovelle, plastic surgeon) and Dad (Dr. Allen, Ophthalmologist) didn’t push me toward medicine. My mother took the chance to dance ballet on Broadway, interrupting her studies. My father knew he needed to switch universities, so he worked as a flight attendant for few years during his undergraduate years and met my mom at Columbia University in medical school. I’m not a doctor, but I did graduate in four years! Truly, they wanted me to follow my skills and interests. What does “Eastern Studies” encompass as a major? Near Eastern Studies can be difficult to define, and one of the most fulfilling parts of studying my subject was recognizing its depth. We studied Middle Eastern Affairs, ancient history and modern politics, oil culture, war, religion and family. Tell us about the Princeton “Junior Project.” Princeton education includes a Junior Project (JP) requiring productive deep research into a subject matter related to one’s major. I did two JPs focusing on the role of Media and the 24 Hour News Cycle during the Gulf War, and Palestinian Cinema both as it’s portrayed in Western Culture and by Palestinian people. I visited Palestine and was truly taken hold of by the concept that there actually were armed watchtowers over playgrounds and children willingly showed videos of their friends who had died in conflict. It’s a very different life for kids in Palestine than for kids here in the United States. What’s next? This summer, I’m shadowing staff with the Music Theatre of Wichita, learning and working on a plan. In 2015, I traveled to Qatar, Jordan, and Palestine on my own, using some contacts my mother provided for me to help me navigate. I found that the Arab world has specific views on media and the world and they often portray them on stage. For my thesis, I studied The Collateral Repair Project, an organization providing therapy for Syrian refugees. I am inspired to piece together a connection between performing arts and helping refugees. I’ll travel this coming winter to make more specific plans. How has being an Independent student affected your college experience? Independent has community, culture and stories for everything. If you are interested in something as an Independent student, you do it ALL THE WAY. Emily Vayda ‘12, a classmate, was interested in recycling and sustainability. She trained our entire school on more responsible behaviors and it really changed me. As House Manager at my social club in college, I revamped the recycling program because of Emily. I still have the “I pity the fool who doesn’t recycle” Mr. T shirt from Emily’s program. Independent made lessons real and made them count. Was there a teacher who made a material difference for you at Independent? There are two who come to mind: Mrs. Cole taught me freshman and sophomore year. She showed me how to use my education to find more out about the world than the assignment at hand. She talked with me about Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism and culture when we discussed religion. It’s because of Mrs. Cole that I investigated and chose Near Eastern Studies. She was helpful. She taught me so much it was humbling, and kind. Mr. Steere was my Debate, Forensics and Mock Trial coach/teacher. I have always had a lot to say. Mr. Steere showed me how to focus, funnel, narrow, and condense. He taught the very real skill of constructing a solid train of thought and always thinking critically. When making an argument, am I arguing for true solvency or just arguing? That’s a lesson I’ll take with me in every aspect of my life. What message would you like to tell current Independent students? GET UNCOMFORTABLE early! I once walked into the wrong class freshman year, and saw that someone was reading a poem by Maya Angelou to the group. I was embarrassed at first, but sat down and listened, and then I raised my hand and asked some questions. Being UNCOMFORTABLE is sometimes a good thing and is sometimes exactly what you need to be. If you’re not sure about something, go to whatever it is or apply for whatever it is with a friend. Just GO! Do it! 7



Becoming Fine Artists

Congressional Art Awardee

Recent 2016 graduate, Mary McCoy was recognized as a Future Influential Kansas Artist at the Congressional Art Show. “I grew up loving to draw and being creative. When I began taking art classes in high school my passion to create really began to grow. I have learned so much about painting, drawing and creative techniques and skills over the past four years. I am very thankful for the constant support from my family and the staff at Independent.” This fall Mary will study Visual Arts at the University of Kansas. “For me, creating is not only about technique but more importantly it is about creating ways for people to connect to the work through color, light, line, and emotion. I hope that my art can help people find those connections and understand that there is a place for all voices in our society.”

Rachel Manning (‘12) headed to

National Scholastic Awardee! Kylie Mitchell was awarded

a National Gold Medal from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her painting The Shape of Things. National Scholastic awards have recognized talented teenagers since 1923. This year, nearly 320,000 works of art and writing were submitted by students in grades 7 through 12. Kylie was the only middle school student from Wichita to receive the honor. She joins a legacy of celebrated authors and artists including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote and Ken Burns.

New York City to pursue her dream of becoming an accessories designer at the Fashion Institute of Technology. There, she majored specifically in accessories design and was taught how to design and construct handbags, footwear and belts. She states, “I graduated with my Bachelors of Fine Arts with a minor in Art History, a certificate of athletic footwear, and five internships under my belt.” Rachel is now an Assistant Designer at Rosetti, a handbag company owned by Global Brands Group which is located in the Empire State Building. Rachel will be helping to design handbags for the Rosetti Brand, which is sold at JCPenney, Kohl’s, Sears, Amazon and others! In the future, I hope to start my own company where I will design fashionable accessories that double as defense weapons for women.”

Mary McCoy ‘16 Congressional Art Awardee

Eleena Amirani- Painting Meghan Ariagno- Drawing & Illustration Emma Lowrance- Mixed Media Kylie Mitchell- Painting Rachel Manning ‘12

Upper School Gold Key Winner: Rose Palmer- Wax Sculpture

KSHSAA State Vocal and Instrumental Awards

After earning a superior rating at the KSHSAA Regionals several Independent students were invited to attend the KSHSAA State Music Festival. Instrumentalists receiving the top rating of superior for their performance at state include: Jenny Kroeker on piano, Casey Shaw on flute, Samir Melhado on alto saxophone, Graham Potter on euphonium, Matthew Kroeker on alto saxophone, and David Anderson-Lusk on marimba. Concert band also received superior ratings for the third year in a row under the direction of Mr. Joe Clements. The following students received a superior rating for their vocal solos: Chase Farha, Emma Gunderson, Maria Nowicki and Abbey Daley. A Women’s Trio consisting of Emma Gunderson, Maria Nowicki, and Abbey Daley received a superior rating. Finally, the entire Chamber Choir attended State as two small ensembles. Both the Women’s Ensemble and the Men’s Ensemble received superior ratings for their performances under the direction of Mr. Matt Hanne.

CPMSL Music Festival

Erin Fleming (‘12) recently graduated

Erin Fleming ‘12 with mom, Dana Mastio

The honor of receiving an invitation to the SCKMEA and KMEA State Honor Choir and Band requires students to audition. The Independent School had vocalists selected for the KMEA All-State Honor Choir. Ayden Bolin received this special invitation and Maria Nowicki was selected as an alternate. Students invited to sing in the KMEA Regional Women’s Honor Choir included Abbey Daley, Brenna Donnelly, Emma Gunderson, and Maria Nowicki. Ayden Bolin and Matt Fox performed with the SCKMEA Mixed Choir and Matthew Kroeker was selected to play the alto saxophone for the SCKMEA All-District Band.

Christine Roberts (‘11) graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance

from DePaul University in 2015 and is currently working on her Master’s of Music at Michigan State University while teaching private voice lessons. Christine’s dream has always been the operatic stage. She identified her career path as a freshman at Independent, “My very first week of high school I was cast as the lead female in Oklahoma! It was definitely this show that made me realize that singing was something I couldn’t live without.” Christine appreciates Independent’s opportunities, “I owe my intense passion, dedication, and drive to the faculty at The Independent School that pushed me to achieve more than I thought was humanly possible in both the classroom and extra-curriculars. For example, I was involved in sixteen shows in the drama department in my four years of high school. These experiences have created a work ethic that has proven to be invaluable as I pursue a career in fine arts.”

Under the direction of Mr. Hanne and Mr. Clements the Middle School earned top ratings at CPMSL. The large choir, 6th hour small choir ensemble, 7/8th grade concert band, small flute ensemble, and alto saxophone soloist Peter Daod, all earned 1 ratings. All eight vocal soloists also earned 1 ratings, they included: Jonah Bolin, Max Dedo, Julia Douglas, Diana Florican, Hannah Hecox, Ava Kliewer, Edward Sturm, and Malina Wagner.

SCKMEA Choir/Band and KMEA All-State Choir

Erin shared how Independent prepared her from high school to college level courses, especially English, “It was surprising to see the amount of college students who did not know the difference between MLA and Chicago Style formats. I am beyond thankful for the lessons I learned at Independent, and I would not trade that time for the world!”


Each year Independent Middle and Upper School students enter their art in the National Scholastic Awards competition. This was an extremely successful year for Independent.

Middle School Gold Key Winners:

Rachel continued, “TIS honestly prepared me for college so well that it felt easy. Also having such small graduating classes gave me 40 or so friends that all still meet up on summers and holiday breaks. TIS taught me what a real friendship is; one that doesn’t break over distance or fade away. The people I graduated with were the most caring and loving human beings and I feel TIS was a huge part of creating that community and mindset for all of us.”

from the University of Kansas in Theatre Design and works for LDF companies as their wine representative and Social Media Coordinator. Her mom, Dana Mastio, shared that she wasn’t surprised when Erin majored in Fine Arts, “Erin has always been a very creative and innovative person. Even as a child, her imagination was always at work. As she grew older, that was carried out in everything she has done like the hot pink walls and zebra print wallpaper in her bedroom!”

National Scholastic Awards

Jester Awards

Christine Roberts ‘11

The Jester Awards program is designed to celebrate excellence in high school musical theatre. This year Independent received five Jester nominations for the musical Oklahoma! Congratulations to all who were nominated: Cameron Vance (Curly) - Leading Actor Jacki Dougherty (Auntie Eller) - Supporting Actress Emma Gunderson (Ado Annie Carnes) - Supporting Actress Joshua Larson - Choreography/Staging Joshua Cain - Lighting


Lower School Sports

Athletic Accolades

Anna Riedmiller continued her strong tennis season earning her second Single’s State Championship. Anna dominated the tournament winning all four of her matches without the loss of a single game and leading the Girls’ Tennis Team to a 3rd place State finish. Football exploded at the end of the season and the team won their first playoff game in school history against Cheney (17-13). This led to the first home playoff game in school history against Halstead. It was a season to remember as they finished as Bi-District Champions! Boys’ Soccer finished a winning season, going 10-6 and hosted a first round playoff game. The Panthers lost the game to Andover Central and look forward to another successful season with Coach Eusebio Plaza.

The Boys’ Tennis Team, went into the Independent hosted 3-2-1A State Tournament at Riverside Park as the 3A Regional Runner-up and finished in 3rd place with Wonjoon Cho placing 2nd. Wonjoon also was the Central Plains League and Regional Champion.

College Signings The Girls’ Swim Team had five swimmers qualify for the State Tournament in Topeka this spring. Freshman Madison Martin continued to break and re-break her own school record in the pool seemingly every meet. She placed 3rd in the 100 breast at State, beating her own school record and finishing with a personal best time. Colton Bauserman- Soccer McPherson College

The story of the year in Girls’ Golf was sophomore Winnie Shaw. Winnie finished 3rd in State, while also managing the Football Team and competing in doubles at the State Tennis Tournament. Both Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball squads had great seasons, both finishing with winning records and advancing past the first round of Regionals. The Boys’ Team finished as Regional Runner-up while the Girls’ Team won more games in school history than anyone can recall. This included hosting and winning the first round postseason game. Wrestling was marked by some great individual performances. Freshman Bryce Bowman wrestled his way to the Central Plains League Championship in his weight division and Junior Dylan Vance took runner-up at League. Dylan also qualified and competed at the State Tournament. Dylan was the first wrestler in five years to qualify for State!

Connor Sevier- Basketball McPherson College

Congratulations to the 8th Grade Cross Country Team who maintained their Central Plains League Championship. From right: Miles Martin, Pierce Taylor, Jonah Bolin, Aidan Scott, Marco Rudy, Edward Strum, and Nick Jackson.

Shase Williams - Baseball Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Ranked #1 for much of the season, the Baseball Team once again won League handily. While a tough Regional loss kept the Panthers from the State tournament, it was still a memorable season. Track and Field had two Central Plains League Champions. Zach Hole took first in the 3200 meter run and Megan Ferguson was the pole vaulting champion who also set a new school record. Hayden Chase, Colton Bauserman, Chris Taylor and Shase Williams earned a 2nd place medal in the Boys’ 4x100m Relay at State.


Join us

Lower School Girls Softball 2nd Place Winners!

September 2, 2016 for Founder’s Day and our first home football game against the Chaparral Roadrunners! 13


Debate State Champions

Independent Debaters won the 3-2-1A four-speaker State Championship Tournament. Congratulations to Neema Fathi, Matt Link, Graham Potter, Casey Shaw, Robert Steere, Nathan Tokala, and Coach Steere.

Founder’s Day 2015

A special thanks to the Garvey family and the Independent community who made our 35th Anniversary Celebration memorable. All six of Mrs. Garvey’s children came to dedicate the Upper School in their mother’s name and provide “I am loved” buttons to all the students and faculty in honor of Mrs. Garvey’s educational philosophy.

National Merit Scholars Casey Shaw was named a National Merit Finalist (top <1% of the nation), and Sarah Mayer and Nathan Tokala were named Commended Scholars (top <5% of the nation).

Food City

The first all school Food City competition collected 9,184 items, with the Middle School taking 1st place. Thanks to the families who donated and to Middle School history teacher, Mr. McIntire, for allowing students to shave his head as part of their reward!

Teaching Awards

Mr. Dave McIntire was awarded the winner of the Kansas Council for Social Studies Cromwell Excellence in Teaching and Mr. Mark Andra was recognized as the local Barnes & Noble Teacher of the Year.

Storytime Village Partnership

Upper School students shared their time with under-served K-3 students in the Wichita community working to improve reading levels.

Community Classrooms

Middle and Upper School science programs at the Sedgwick County Zoo gave students the advantage of learning in a different environment. A new 6th grade class at the zoo is the only school of its kind in Kansas. Upper School students have been fortunate to be a part of a variety of coding and app development projects with SNT Media. Additional community classroom partners include Exploration Place, Wichita Center for the Arts, the Wichita Swim Club, the Cosmosphere and Vype Magazine.

Blankets for the Wichita Children’s Home

Independent 5th graders delivered fifty handmade blankets to the Wichita Children’s Home, setting a record donation.

The National Council of Teachers of English Honors Literary Magazines

The Upper School magazine, Echoes, received Superior, the highest award in the state for the tenth year in a row! Congratulations to advisor Mrs. Amanda Evans, and editors Malak Youssef ‘15 and Bree Wiseman ‘15. The Middle School magazine, Blue, was awarded the honor of Excellent and recognized as one of the top four magazines in the state. Congratulations to advisor Mrs. Debra Cole and editor Abigail Ottaway.


Stuff the Bus Charity Challenge

Mrs. Wilson’s third grade class donated the most items to the annual Stuff the Bus charity over the holidays. The class won a tour of iHeart Radio and Krispy Kreme donuts for their generosity.

Delegates to Ford’s Theatre Program

Peter Daood and Madeline Rowley were selected to present their speeches on the Ford’s Theatre Stage and on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

Scholars’ Bowl State Champions

The Upper School Scholars’ Bowl team of Sarah Mayer and Casey Shaw (co-captains), Malar Muthukumar, Graham Potter, Nathan Tokala, Max McIntire (alternate), and Coach Huggins won the State Championship. The team went undefeated in State Championship play and also were League and Regional Champions.

CPMSL Academic Day Honors

Students took 1st place in the Art and Math competitions at the annual CPMSL Academic Day.

CPMSL Scholars’ Bowl Champions

Congratulations to the 8th grade Scholars’ Bowl team for winning the League Championship: Brandon Cope, Peter Daood, Linnea Kirsten-Westgard, Madeline Rowley, Andy Shields and Edward Sturm.

Math Relay Medals

Thirty-eight Upper School students represented Independent at the Pittsburg State Math Relay Competition. Overall, Panthers took home twenty-three gold medals, nineteen silver medals, and eighteen bronze medals. In the 5-team events, Independent received four gold medals and one bronze.

Mock Trial State Championship

The Mock Trial team of Emma Gunderson, Pilar Karlin, Sarah Mayer, Graham Potter, Casey Shaw, Robert Steere, Nathan Tokala, Cameron Vance, and Coach Steere became State Champions! This is Independent’s seventh consecutive Mock Trial State Championship!

Late Night Fun

More than thirty students in 4th - 6th grades had the sleepover of a lifetime at the 1st Pantherzzz Lock-In. The event raised nearly $4,000 for the Annual Fund!

Hoops for Heart and Jump Rope for Heart

Lower School students raised more than $8,000 for the American Heart Association through Hoops for Heart and Jump Rope for Heart. Top fundraisers from each grade threw a pie at Mrs. Bates and Mrs. Ballowe.

Thank you Mrs. Marcia Smola for sharing your love for 30 years!

Technology Awards

Upper School students Colton Bauserman, Matt Fox, Rose Palmer, Blaise Webster, and Shase Williams took 1st for their Texting & Driving video at the Kansas State Technology Leaders/ MACE Digital Media Competition. They took home an additional award for their Humane Society video.

Girls on the Run

Girls in grades 3 - 5 participated in the Girls on the Run 5k. This program offered a unique opportunity to learn about social issues, plan, and volunteer for a service project, while training to run a 5k.

Wishing you a happy retirement! 15




Caught at 2015 Homecoming! From right: Maddie Level (‘13), Lueke Anderson (‘13), Matt Loveland (‘13), David Watson ‘(13), Jacob Wilson (‘07), Erin (Tuttle) Wilson (‘09), Cassie Heflin (‘13), Tirza (Heflin) Labato (‘07), Pearce Ramsey (‘07), Brian Cornwell (‘09), Jonathan Nichols (‘07), Mariya Chulichkova (‘11), Anaya Pierson (‘11), Matea Malinovic (‘11), Nicholette Stacey (‘08), Armaan Armirani (‘15), Bryant Robertson (‘15).



Trent Christensen was a member of the very first Independent School graduating class! Since his graduation, Trent


has become a highly skilled plumber and has performed intricate plumbing jobs in locations ranging from the frozen North of Alaska to the fiery South of Tanzania (along with nearly fifteen places in between!) Trent, along with his wife Ruwez and son, currently live in Pristina, Kosovo.


Jesse Dawkins graduated from SMU with a finance degree in ‘10, and then received an MBA from Wichita State in ‘13. Jesse has been working at Textron Aviation in Wichita as Senior Manager of Strategic Planning. He leads a team that supports new product development, mergers and acquisitions, market insights and business objectives.


Alyssa Penner just bought a house in Seattle, where she has lived for the past six years. She is

loves living by beautiful Lake Washington. Her long-time partner Ragnar Thorisson died this past February after living for many years with an aggressive form of leukemia. Alyssa is grateful for all the love and support she received from Kansas during his illness and after his death. She works as a Senior Academic Adviser at the University of Washington and supports college students in achieving their academic and professional goals. Alyssa Penner ‘06

Andrew Maness partnered with Pit Rho Corporation in 2013 to launch computer software that specializes in real-time predictive analytics. The company’s flagship application performs thousands of calculations per minute to determine the optimal strategy for NASCAR and INDYCAR teams during automobile races. Andrew’s current project within the company is “Rightswise”—a software terminal that valuates hundreds of sports media properties based off several quantifiable factors. Recent projects include an application to locate undervalued mineral properties and a dashboard to determine optimal conditions for potable water technology.

Andrew Maness ‘06

Jordan Riggs lives in southern California and serves as Lieutenant in the Navy, flying the E-2C Jordan Riggs ‘06

Hawkeye. He is currently deployed on the USS Ronald Reagan and will return home later this summer.


Chyna McRae joined Placester, a technology startup, in 2013 and now serves on the strategic partnership team overseeing the highest value accounts. She was the twenty-first employee of the company that now employs more than 170 people.


Dominique Bias​ works for Better Homes & Garden Real Estate. He is engaged to Kayla Clasen a​ nd is looking forward to launching his first fashion line this fall.​

Alex Learned was engaged on April 30, 2016, and is opening up Redrock in Texas and Kansas City. Steven Wells will marry Aleigh Pote in a September ceremony in Cancun. Congratulations Steven and Aleigh!


Evan Fahrbach is the Sports Director at KCD Enterprises, a group of radio stations based in 1983




Over 35 years, our school logo has grown and changed just like our students. Special thanks to Gardner Design who created our new school logo!

Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He provides radio play-by-play for Bartlesville High School and won the Oklahoma Broadcasters Association award for best sportscast in 2016! Evan Fahrbach ‘09


David Hahn plans to graduate from Syracuse University with JD/MBA December ‘16. He had the privilege to ceremoniously walk for graduation in May and spoke at the business school graduation as well as sang the National Anthem and Alma Mater.

non-profit management. He currently works at Operation Wildlife as Lead Supervisor and is blessed with unique wildlife interaction such as becoming the foster parent of infant raccoons, training birds of prey for public education, and interacting daily with a bald eagle.

Danielle (Heflin) Stafford loves being a full-time nanny to her one and

a half year old niece, Lilyana. She also works part-time as a personal trainer at the YMCA. Danielle married Zack Stafford on March 26, 2016. He is currently an A&P Mechanic at the Cessna Service Center after serving four and a half years in the US Air Force as a mechanic. David Hahn ‘09 with his proud parents.

Hannah Pierangelo graduated from the University of Kansas in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a minor in English. She was a member of The Kappa Tau Alpha Honor Society and was among the top 10% of her graduating Journalism Quinn Kastner ‘12 class. Upon graduation, she received the Gerald Funk award for Outstanding Magazine Writing, and the Henry and Jessie Jacobs Prize in poetry. She also entered a national contest hosted by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and her new magazine idea won first place. This summer, Hannah is traveling, relaxing, and looking for a job in the magazine industry.

Aaron Moses was honored this past year with the Kansas Association

Chiefs of Police Gold Award for distinguished service. Along with that, Officer Moses also received the Wichita Police Department Bronze Wreath of Merit and Life Saving Award. Recently, Officer Moses was caught on camera dancing at a community BBQ and the video went viral. It was featured on CNN and The Today Show and viewed by more than 20 million people around the world.

Michael Patton this fall will be joining a doctoral program in neuroscience at the ​

Quinn Kastner is pursuing business and economics degrees, and plans a career in wildlife conservation/

Zach and Danielle (Heflin) Stafford ‘09

Jennifer (Steere) Wurth graduated from Tulsa University with a degree in Political Science early in May. Jennifer married fellow Tulsa University graduate, Connor Wurth on Memorial weekend. The newlyweds will be FOCUS missionaries at DePauw University in Indiana starting in the Fall.


University of Texas health science center in San Antonio. He is also a published science author.

Sammi Brandyberry will graduate from McPherson College with a Bachelors of Science in

CLASS OF 2010 Aaron Moses ‘09

Business Management and Accounting May of 2017, and then pursue her Master's in Library Science at Emporia State University the next fall. Sammi recently accepted the position of Assistant of Library Services at McPherson and is now engaged to Tyler Henning with a fall wedding planned.

Ross Phillip Orlando recently started his role as Admissions Operations Coordinator for Northeastern

University's College of Professional Studies in Boston. He is also working toward a Master's in Nonprofit Management at Northeastern University. He recently became engaged to Alyssa Frey, whom he met six years ago at college orientation.


Colten Anderson is a recent graduate of Kansas State University and is working as a design engineer at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita.

Will Hartenstein graduated from the University of Kansas in May 2015 and is pursuing his Juris Doctorate at Washburn University in Topeka. He expects to graduate in the spring of 2018 and plans to work in the public sector. This summer, he worked as an intern at Kansas Legal Services in Wichita.

Caroline Lincoln moved to Denver following her graduation from the Business School at the University of Kansas in

May 2015. She is currently working for the corporate headquarters for Chipotle Mexican Grill as a Marketing Operations Consultant. In Caroline’s free time, she keeps herself busy with hiking, skiing, farmers markets, park days and enjoying all that the amazing things Denver has to offer.

Corey Palmer began his post Independent education at Wichita State University. After three

years, forming two rock bands that fell apart, he decided it was a time for a change and transferred to the University of Hawaii aiming to get into Graduate school to study Chiropractic. He loves the ocean and decided to Google “The most exotic chiropractic school in the world.” Results landed New Zealand College of Chiropractic, where Corey is in the second of the four-year program pursuing a doctorate for Chiropractic. He said, “When graduating from TIS, I would have never imagined becoming a surfer, Chiropractor, or living in New Zealand!”

Corey Palmer ‘11

Jeb Park married Jenna Carr, from Memphis, Tennessee, in June. They are living in Grapevine,

Jenna and Jeb Park ‘11

Texas. Jeb and Jenna graduated from Oklahoma State University with degrees in Hotel Restaurant Administration in 2014. Jeb is an Operating Partner/District Manager for a Franchise Restaurant Group that owns and operates Firehouse Subs and Jenna is a corporate meeting planner for Deloitte Accounting at the Deloitte University campus.


Samantha Carter graduated with distinction from the University of Kansas Business School with degrees in Finance and Supply Chain Management. She was part of the Finance Scholars Program, a competitive program that selects around twenty qualified students from a pool of eighty applicants in their junior year of study. This program aims to place and prepare Jayhawks for the competitive investment banking industry. In July, Sam began her career as a financial analyst at George K. Baum Capital Advisors in Kansas City.

Nicole Fox graduated summa cum laude in May 2016 from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

Nicole Fox ‘12

Connor and Jennifer (Steere) Wurth ‘12

& Mass Communications with both a Bachelor's and Master's degrees. She’s served as co-producer and director for Cronkite News, ASU's newscast that airs nightly on Arizona PBS. Nicole took second place at the College Television Awards (the College Emmys) and first place at the Broadcast Education Association's Festival of Media Arts, and starts her career as a production assistant with ESPN.

Tyler Henning and Sammi Brandyberry ‘13

Mackenzie Cole is a rising senior at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and will graduate

in May 2017 with a BA in Drama with a minor in Women's Studies. Throughout her Vassar career, Mackenzie has directed, stage managed, and production managed numerous full length theatre productions. Mackenzie studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark and is currently employed as the Company Manager at In Loving Memory Adirondack Theatre Festival. Upon graduation this upcoming spring, Mackenzie plans to move to New York City for graduate school to pursue a master's degree in Performing Arts Management/Arts Administration. No one had expected Mackenzie Cole ‘13 Austin Jester is a Senior at University anything was wrong of Tulsa working toward his degree in mechanical engineering Sunday evening as Mina with a minor in business administration. Austin has an internship studied online for her with John Zink Hamworthy Combustion, a subsidiary of Koch history final and reminisced Industries. about her middle school years with one of her best CLASS OF 2015 friends, however, early Elizabeth (Liz) Jarvis plans to graduate in Monday morning, May 16, 2016, Mina passed away 2019 from the Air Force Academy in Colorado peacefully in her sleep of a heart condition. Her Springs with a declared major of Operations beautiful hazel eyes, quiet demeanor, and great Research. This year, Liz played on the club smile will be greatly missed. Mina was born on volleyball team and enjoyed some travel time. February 18, 2000 in Wichita, KS to Farnoosh and This summer, Liz had the amazing opportunity Shadi Farahnakian and was the caring and loving to participate in parachute training, earning her older sister of Nura Farahnakian. Mina’s life was jump wings with five jumps. For the rest of the filled with many friends who spoke at her funeral, summer, she will be in cyber training and encouraging others to model Mina’s non judgeLiz Jarvis “15 survival training (not quite as exhilarating). mental kindness, positivity, and special gift of making Moving forward, Liz hopes to continue volleyball others feel good about themselves. Mina, often seen and, if she’s extremely lucky, be a part of the wearing a headband to hold back her long brown parachute team. hair, was wrestling team manager, played the drums, and enjoyed exchanging percussion instruments with Aaron Merriman received a $15,000 academic other musicians at the back of the band. She loved scholarship based on his high school GPA and World-Wide Wrestling, was a driven honor student, college admission test scores during his freshman and adored her cute, little dog, Roxy. Mina, who had year at the University of Mount Union. He also attended The Independent School since pre-kinderAaron Merriman ‘15 was named to the Dean's List in 2015-16. garten, will forever be remembered for her lovable personality and positive influence.

Mina Farahnakian



8317 East Douglas Wichita, Kansas 67207 ...... 316.686.0152

Save the Date!

Homecoming October 7, 2016

Special Recognition and Hospitality for Alumni

Profile for The Independent School

The Pen - 2016  

A magazine of The Independent School. Includes stories of achievement and accomplishment for each division, athletics, fine arts and academi...

The Pen - 2016  

A magazine of The Independent School. Includes stories of achievement and accomplishment for each division, athletics, fine arts and academi...