KSHSAA honors Performing Arts as top program in Kansas

Story by Braden Benson

In August, KSHSAA honored Pittsburg High School with the Performing Arts School of Excellence award. The program was presented with a plaque recognizing their success during halftime of the Oct. 1 home football game. 

A total of 40 schools in Kansas competed for this award. 

“They told us the day before [they presented the award] that we’re going to have to be there early. I was talking to [someone, and they] were like ‘it might be a KSHSAA award,’” senior Kate Thueson said. “Next day when we go in, there’s KSHSAA people. It was a KSHSAA award.”

 The debate and forensics, theater, and music were all recognized by this award.

“[For] the [debate] team as a whole, it just felt very rewarding,” four-year debater Owen Miller said. “It was just really great to finally see that sort of thing, because usually Pittsburg doesn’t get that sort of recognition on a state level.” 

According to Thueson, for the theater side of fine arts, this award feels appropriate. 

“I was very excited [and] I feel like we have worked really hard this past year. We’ve gone through a lot, [and] it was hard. Losing [Greg] Shaw was very difficult on all of us,” Thueson said. “But I feel like we worked really hard and deserved it, for sure.”

According to vocal teacher Susan Laushman, the fine arts program is intact and interactive with each other. Laushman contributes the program’s success in part to the collaboration between members.  

“I take pride in the performing arts faculty,” Laushman said. “We’re a close group and that’s a bit rare.”

According to senior Mallory Womeldorff, each segment of the fine arts program shares something in common.

“I think the forensics, choir, instrumental and [theater, all] deserved the award,” senior Mallory Womeldorff said. “All of us sacrificed a lot.”