Around Town 2

Shawnee Mission Ed Foundation Among Top in Nation

The nation’s only annual study and ranking of K-12 education foundations has ranked Shawnee Mission Education Foundation fourth in its division and 42nd in the nation.

The study includes education foundations in the top 200 largest school districts in the nation (by student population), as well as other top-performing foundations in smaller school districts.

“Achieving this ranking is a testament to our community and shows the depth of commitment to quality education,” says Linda Roser, SMEF executive director. “We’re thrilled to make the Stepping Up list for the first time and that SMEF is the way for this community to say great education matters, district-wide.”

“The Shawnee Mission community is generous in its support of public education,” says Dean Davison, president, SMEF Board of Directors. “We’re proud our foundation is ranked among the best in the nation, and are committed to keeping the support growing for the next generation of students.”

WWI Museum Breaks Annual Attendance Record

The National World War I Museum and Memorial recently announced the Museum’s 2015 attendance reached 257,830, breaking the previous record of 235,271 set in 2014.

“We are extremely pleased to announce an attendance record for the second straight year,” says Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor. “Without question, the global community is embracing the centennial commemoration of the Great War, which is reflected in our attendance.”

In addition to breaking its attendance record, the Museum also set a record for public program attendance and for website traffic and social media traffic as well.

The Museum was ranked as one of the top 25 museums in the U.S. by TripAdvisor for the second consecutive year in 2015. The Museum is in the midst of the Centennial commemoration of World War I (2014-19) and will offer special exhibitions, guest lectures, programs and other events during the next four years.

New Coffee Services Partner 
with Shawnee Mission Health

The Mother Earth Coffee brand has been busy brewing in preparation for the launch of its first retail café presence. The company’s flagship cafes recently opened in cooperation with Shawnee Mission Health, with locations at Shawnee Mission Medical Center as well as SMH – Prairie Star in western Lenexa.

Mother Earth Coffee will operate two new kiosks at SMMC, including one at the main entrance and a second near the hospital’s cafeteria. The cafes now serve about 3,000 employees plus hundreds of patients and visitors every day at the hospital.

“Opening inside a hospital is the perfect way to expand Mother Earth Coffee because our story is about goodness and organic production and sustainable coffee operations,” says Scott Presnell, director of marketing for Mother Earth Coffee. “We recognize that by using all natural materials in our products, we’re a good fit for those who value wellness, quality and freshness.”

Register Today for 
Gen-Real Conference

The Olathe Bible Church invites area women and teenage girls to save the date for their GenReal Conference being held February 26 and 27 at the church’s Olathe location (13700 W. 151st St.) The conference will take place on Friday from 7-11 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

GenReal (genuine & real) is a multi-generational conference designed to give answers to female-specific issues from the Bible. The GenReal conference will be packed with energizing teaching of the Word, music, games, gifts, coffee bistro, brunch, and hanging out together. Plus, every girl’s conference needs chocolate! Learn more at

Permanent COACH Store Open 
at Legends Outlets

Luxury brand COACH has opened its permanent store in a new, larger location at Kansas City’s Legends Outlets. COACH committed to a permanent location at Legends Outlets based on the tremendous response to its temporary pop-up store and high demand for its designer apparel and accessories at significant savings. The permanent COACH store introduces its popular men’s collection, which joins a wider selection of multiple product lines for women including high-end leather goods, gifts, handbags, footwear, apparel and accessories at up to 70 percent off regular retail prices.

St. James Standout Named 
Player of the Year

In its 31st year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, announced Jenna Gray of St. James Academy as its 2015-16 Gatorade Kansas Volleyball Player of the Year. Gray is the third Player of the Year to be chosen from St. James Academy.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Gray as Kansas’s best high school volleyball player.

The 6’1″ senior setter led the Thunder to a 43-1 record and the Class 5A state title this past season. Gray has maintained a 98.4 weighted GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics, the Ronald McDonald House and has participated in a service-mission trip to Alabama.

Gray has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at Stanford University.