Category Archives: Belton

BEF to Induct Four Into the BHS Hall of Fame

The Belton Educational Foundation will honor four new inductees into the Belton High School Hall of Fame at the All Class Reunion and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at noon on Saturday, Aug. 5 at Belton High School.

Established in 1998, the BHS Hall of Fame honors the lifetime achievements of those who have distinguished themselves in their professional careers, for service and contributions to their communities, or in other ways that reflect positively on the educational foundation received at Belton High School.  Nominated by community members, family and or peers, Hall of Fame members are determined by committee. The committee consists of current Hall of Fame members, school district staff and members of the community.

This year’s inductees are:

Louis Wilckens, 1961-2000

LouisWilckensLouis Wilckens began his career in 1961 in the Belton School District teaching science in the Junior High School on the third floor of what is now the Administration Building. During the early seventies, he moved to the high school where he taught Biology, Advanced Biology, Physiology, Physics and Chemistry. His innovative style of teaching kept students engaged in activities which enabled students to experience science.  He started a Science Olympiad team after school and participated in contests throughout the Kansas City area, usually placing in the top three schools.  He would also take his advanced classes to the elementary schools where they would work with younger students on various science experiments. Louis loved teaching and science, but most of all, he loved his students.  He carried this love outside the classroom, officiating football, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, baseball, and softball.  He also taught Sunday school to high school students in his church for many years.

Mr. Wilckens retired from teaching in 2000 but continued his service to the Belton School District by volunteering his time as a YouthFriend in various buildings, and received Volunteer of the Year for the 2002-2003 school year.

His other honors include recognition from the MSHSAA for 25 years of officiating young athletes in interscholastic programs; Certificate of Appreciation from the Missouri NEA for his 39 years dedicated to the teaching profession in public schools; and Resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives for 39 years of teaching in the Belton School District.

Eric E. Hankins, Class of 1945

Eric HankinsEric Eugene Hankins was a lifelong resident of Belton. He attended Belton High School, graduating early in April 1945 to join the United States Navy during WWII. During his time at BHS, he was active in Future Farmers of America.

After returning home from the Navy, Hankins attended Kansas University to study Engineering.  In 1950, he was hired by Westinghouse as a jet engine blade grinder, but was quickly promoted to engineering technician, where he subsequently designed fuel nozzles for the Saturn V rocket that put Neil Armstrong on the moon on July 20, 1969. For this effort, he received a congratulatory call from the White House on that historical day. In 1957, Westinghouse offered Hankins a position in their Atomic Energy Division in Pittsburgh, PA, working on the Polaris IBM, however, he declined the offer in favor of returning to Kansas City to work for Benson, Boeing, and other defense contractors until returning to the family farming business. In 1971, he and his wife moved to Henry County, Missouri where they operated a fescue seed buying station for Pennington Seed Inc., until his retirement.

Mr. Hankins passed away in September 1998. He is survived by his wife, Marguerite and five children: Debbie, Eric, Victoria, Keith, and Clayton.

Karen Fletcher, Class of 1979

KarenFletcher-webDuring her time at Belton High School, Karen was active in marching band, concert band, track, soccer and a member of the National Honors Society. Soon after graduation, she entered the workforce, working in accounts payable at several local businesses before settling at King Louis International where she stayed for 23 years. During that time, she rose up the chain from accounts receivable clerk to office supervisor. When the company closed their doors in 2006, Fletcher went back to school, graduating from Longview Community College in 2007 with an Associates of Applied Science and Business Management Degree.

In 2008, Karen and her husband, Jeff, purchased Kansas Business Forms & Supplies, Inc. from her uncle and moved the company from Wichita, KS to Main Street in Belton where it continues today as Fletcher’s Forms, serving Belton and surrounding areas. As President and Chief Financial Officer, she has been instrumental in growing the business to its current success, acquiring two other business to incorporate into the operation.

Ms. Fletcher is very involved with the community. She has served as an officer for the Belton Historical Society, as a board member for the City of Belton’s Zoning Board of Adjustments and the Belton Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, she was elected to the Belton School District Board of Education where she continues to serve today as well as Board Liaison to the Belton Educational Foundation Board of Trustees.

Kevin Murphy, Class of 1992

KevinMurphyDuring his time at Belton High School, Kevin Murphy was best known for his athletic achievements, which included being selected to the All-Conference team and team leader for three consecutive years as well as named Varsity Pitcher of the Year in 1992.

Motivated by his love for the game, Murphy turned down a full academic scholarship to the University of Missouri to walk-on at Pittsburg State University and continue his baseball career. He quickly established himself as a team leader. In his senior year, the team went on to play the best season in school history culminating in the school’s first trip to the NCAA Division II World Series Regional. Murphy went on to finish his Pitt State career as the All-Time School Leader in Career Winning Percentage by a Pitcher. During this time, he also received numerous academic awards, graduating with a degree in Accounting with a 4.0 GPA.

After college, Murphy continued to be heavily involved in coaching Belton youth in Little League Baseball, Flag Football and Basketball and was named Coach of the Year by the Belton Parks and Recreation Department.

Murphy’s professional accomplishments are also significant. He has maintained a very successful accounting career, being named CFO for an 80+ million dollar General Contractor in 2003, where he stayed until starting his own financial consulting firm in 2008.

2017 BHS All Class Reunion set for August 5

The 2017 Belton High School All Class Reunion and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 5, @ noon in the Belton High School Commons (801 W. North Ave).

Belton High School alum from all classes are welcome, with a special tribute to the Class of 1967.

Tickets may be purchased online or at the door:

Early Bird Tickets are available through June 30 for $12

Tickets purchased July 1 or after are $15

Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $20

Doors to the event will open at 10:30am.

Lunch will be served at noon followed by the program and induction of the 2017 BHS Hall of Fame members.

A tour of the old Belton High School will take place promptly following the event.

Purchase Online Tickets Here

Belton Educational Foundation awards Belton School District with over $29,000 in grant funds

IMG_0153On April 4, the Belton Educational Foundation Board of Trustees surprised teachers in the Belton School District with over $29,000 for 14 innovative grants.

The goal of the Foundation’s Teacher Grant Program is to help educators enhance instruction by providing funding for innovative learning programs. All teachers in the district are given the opportunity to apply for a grant. This year, 39 applications were submitted from across the district for a variety of projects.

“Thanks to the continued support of our generous donors, we are proud to support our educators by funding these innovative learning experiences for the students of the Belton School District,” said Krista Watkins, Executive Director.

Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over $330,000 in grant funding to the Belton School District. For full details about the 2017 Teacher Grant winners and programs, visit or call (816)348-1150.

The 2017 Grant Award winners are: 

  • Emily Wills, Kristin Cummings & Jan Hardee, Grace Early Childhood Center – $1806.95
  • Alexandria Jorgensen, Art Teacher, Scott Elementary – $2000
  • Madison Steffen, 3rd Grade, Scott Elementary – $2294
  • Jade Wunder, Miranda Russell and Naotasha Landrum, Gladden Elementary – $1379.99
  • Cathy Cisetti, 3rd Grade, Gladden Elementary – $967.77
  • Ami Henry, 3rd Grade, Hillcrest STEAM Academy – $2000
  • Lisa Albright and Michele Dooley, 6th Grade, Hillcrest STEAM Academy – $2250
  • Tanya Appling, Librarian, Hillcrest STEAM Academy – $5000
  • Sonya Abdelgawad, Jane Scudder & Betty Rickman, Hillcrest STEAM Academy – $2500
  • Bethany Kelly, Mike Williamsen & Melanie Ryberg, Hillcrest STEAM Academy – $2499.25
  • Kristine Spiers, Phys.Ed., Kentucky Trail Elementary – $1732.40
  • Laura Harmon, 4th Grade, Kentucky Trail Elementary – $767.78
  • Kaylin Blankenship, 3rd Grade, Kentucky Trail Elementary – $1987.90
  • Clare Nicholson, Special Education, Belton Middle School/Freshman Center – $2085

Small Card, Big Results: 2017 Major Saver Campaign

The Belton Educational Foundation is offering Major Saver cards for sale through the Belton elementary and middle schools. Students will receive the sales packets on Tuesday, April 4th and continue selling the $15 discount cards until Friday, April 14th . Proceeds from the sale of Major Saver cards directly support the participating schools and the Belton Educational Foundation.

We have a great card this year! The 2017 participating restaurants/establishments include: Sam’s Club, Price Chopper, Skyzone Trampoline Park, Brewbakers, The Little Pig BBQ, Buffalo Wild Wings, Big Daddy’s Donuts, Tara’s Café and Malt Shop, IHOP, Papa Murphy’s, Pepperjax Grill, Jose Pepper’s, 54 th Street Grill and Bar, Sonic, Burger King, Golden Corral, Mitchell Theatres, Papa Johns, Aaron’s Family Fun Center, and High Blue Wellness Center.

2017MajorSavorcardfront 2017MajorSavorcardback

Major Saver cards can be purchased via cash, check or online at The online sale can be credited back to a particular student and school. All cards purchased online will be mailed directly to the customer.

Major Saver cards can also be purchased, and credited to a student, through the Major Saver App. Once the free app is downloaded to an Android or iOS device, buyers can choose a Major Saver card through the “buy cards” tab on the app. Once the buyer completes the transaction the offers will be stored in the Major Saver App. Buyers can then redeem offers directly from the app and do not need a physical card.

Major Saver stresses safe selling and discourages door to door campaigning. The company encourages students to sell to family members, church patrons, neighbors, other adults the family may know; and to always make sure their parents are involved.

Please consider purchasing one or more Major Saver cards this year to help benefit the Belton Educational Foundation and participating schools.

Thank you for your support!

Foundation accepting 2017 BHS Hall of Fame Nominations

The Belton Educational Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2017 Belton High School Hall of Fame. Each year, the Hall of Fame honors the lifetime achievements of those who have distinguished themselves in their professional careers, for service and contributions to their communities, or in other ways that reflect positively on the educational foundation received at Belton High School. The deadline for nominations is April 30. Nomination forms can be found online at or by calling the Foundation office at 816-348-1150.

Teacher Grants Making a Difference

In March of last year, the Belton Educational Foundation awarded over $29,000 in teacher grants for various innovative programs. Last month, several members of the Foundation Board of Trustees, along with Executive Director, Krista Watkins, visited a few of the classrooms who received grants to see teachers and students in action, and how the new programs are being implemented.

JasmineBrothersKentucky Trail Elementary kindergarten teacher, Jasmine Brothers, received a grant for $1,763 to purchase Reading Mentors, a hands-on electronic device that engages students in developing early reading skills such as building letter recognition, letter sounds, and creating sight words. Since implementing the devices at the beginning of the year, student proficiency for letter sounds increased from 10% to 63% by the end of second quarter. The devices are also used in a small group setting for students to learn specific skills. The results showed an marked increase in proficiency with letter sounds. According to Ms. Brothers, the most improvement has been with mastering sight words. With the devices, students are able to put sight words together, see the word, and hear it through the Reading Mentor, which has led to an engaging and more hands on type of learning that benefits many of her students.

Kentucky Trail Elementary librarian, Bethany Villaverde and computer lab teacher, Matthew Garrison, received a grant for OSMO iPad game systems, which uses technology to enhance learning in such areas as spelling, logical thinking, math, and engineering for grades K-4. Students are able to use these devices during library time in what is called Maker Spaces, different stations where students can “make” different things as a hands-on learning experience.KTVillaverde

“The OSMO devices have definitely increased the students’ engagement,” said Villaverde. “They are able to work independently at their own pace and self-check their own work.” As they progress through activities, more difficult levels and tasks are unlocked so students are constantly challenged as they increase their skill level and confidence. “We are so thankful for the grant that allowed us to purchase the OSMO systems. They are used daily and we look forward to using them for many years to come”.

Funding for programs like these would not be possible without the generous support of our donors. Thanks to their contributions, we are able to continue our mission to provide funding that enriches educational opportunities to maximize the learning potential of every student in the Belton School District.

More classroom grant updates to come! Stay tuned!

2017 Teacher Grant Applications Now Being Accepted

teachergrants2009-1Applications for the 2017 Teacher Grants are being accepted now through February 1. All teachers in the Belton School District #124 are eligible to apply.

Click Here to submit your application.

BEF launches #GivingTuesday Social Media Campaign

kristaselfieThis week, the Belton Educational Foundation will kick off its #GivingTuesday campaign to encourage spending with a purpose. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday, Nov. 29, can harness the power of social media to inspire the Belton community to help support our mission of enriching educational opportunities to maximize the learning potential of every student attending the Belton School District. 

You can help us spread the word and create awareness by participating in our #BSDunselfie photo campaign for a chance to win our giveaway! To enter, follow these steps:
1) Whether you are a past, current, or future donor, take a picture of yourself holding a sign with the hashtags #BSDunselfie and #GivingTuesday stating that you support the Belton Educational Foundation on #GivingTuesday and why. Giving to the BEF can be anything from money to food for the Pirate Pantries, or volunteer time.
2) Post to Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn (make sure to tag us-Twitter: @beltonedfound; Facebook and LinkedIn: Belton Educational Foundation).
3) E-mail or message the post to us to be entered into the drawing.
4) Share, share, share! Encourage your students, co-workers, family, and friends to take part as well!

Each post equals one entry to win a basket of goodies from BEF at the end of November. Questions? Contact Krista Watkins, Executive Director, or 816-348-1151.

BHS Class of 1976 to host 40th reunion

The Belton High School Class of 1976 will celebrate their 40th class reunion on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15.
Friday Oct. 15 will be a gathering at Frankie and Johnnies Bar & Grill (17207 US-71 Highway, Belton) @ 7pm.
Saturday’s event will be at Eagle’s Landing Golf Club (4200 Bong Ave, Belton), starting at 6:30 p.m. Includes dinner and cash bar.
Tickets are $35 each. For full details and/or to RSVP, visit or contact Sherrie (Ogden) Herrick at or 816-686-9001.

Foundation raises over $73,000 at Back-to-School Gala

The Belton Edgeneral2016galaucational Foundation hosted its annual Back-to-School Gala and Auction at Loch Lloyd Country Club on August 27, raising over $73,000 to support its mission to enrich educational opportunities and encourage innovation to maximize the learning potential of every student attending the Belton School District.

Over 180 guests enjoyed a silent auction, dinner and program. This year’s theme was “Roots to Grow and Wings to Fly”. Speakers included, Foundation Board President, Dr. Kenneth Southwick, Executive Director, Krista Watkins, and Belton School District Superintendent, Dr. Andrew Underwood. Belton High School student and scholarship recipient, Shannon Coupland, shared her experience at a summer engineering camp offered through Washington University. High school teacher and grant recipient, Adam Arnold, spoke about the BHS Cyber Pirates robotics team and their incredible success. The night concluded with the event’s live auction, presented by Robert Mayo of Mayo Auctions.  Dr. Underwood and Ms. Watkins also presented the winner of the Jon S. Ferguson Excellence in Teaching award to Mill Creek Upper Elementary fifth grade teacher, Jill Beck.

We want to express our heartfelt thanks to all our sponsors, generous donors, and contributors to the silent and live auctions, who helped make this event an outstanding success. It is because of the generosity of all our donors the Foundation continues to reach new heights to provide new and innovative opportunities for our students.

The 2017 Back-to-School Gala and Auction will be August 26 at Loch Lloyd Country Club.

If you would like to be a part of our continued success, you may donate online at or call us at 816-348-1150.

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