CHENEY, Kan. (KSNW) – KSN also traveled to Cheney this week to share stories of why the community is great as part of our 3 in the Community initiative.

Cheney looks to beat Andale

Cheney will take on Andale for the Friday Football Fever Game of the Week. Cheney is 5-1 and is looking to knock off the Indians, who have won 44 straight games.

Students take interest in engineering and coding

Cheney students are learning about coding and engineering. The district’s robotics program started as a club in 2005. It involves both middle and high school students.

Each year, teams get a new task of creating a robot that will complete a task. This year, the bots have to pick up mini frisbees and shoot them into goals.

“It keeps a lot of people active, and kids that may be don’t go and do shop classes, but they want to build stuff. They can come in here and learn the basics of stuff,” Weston Hill, Cheney junior, said.

The robotics students at Cheney are so good that a couple of teams have qualified and competed at world competitions.

Cardinals Nest provides to students in need

Cheney is home to a Cardinals Nest, which provides students in need basic necessities.

Meredith Beavers teaches family and consumer sciences. She says the district sends some kids home with backpacks full of food.

She adds that the number in need doubled this year.

“We think it could be inflation-related stuff with COVID. We have a lot of families that have lost their jobs. We have families that travel to Wichita every day and are paying more for gas, and some of those things are taking a backseat, so we’re just kinda helping provide some of those items,” Beavers said.

A stuff the bus event was held by students where items like shampoo and conditioner were donated. The items will go into the Cardinals Nest. While it is available to students whenever, the district store will be open on Nov. 18 for anyone in the district.

Kansas Teacher of the Year finalist

Cheney may be a smaller district, but it has plenty of great educators. Mallory Keefe teaches preschool. The preschool teacher is in her eighth year of teaching and her fifth in Cheney.

This year, Keefe was named a finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year. She says while she was surprised her name came up, she was not shocked to see someone from Cheney get the honor.

“I think between community support and really great administration that makes your teachers feel valued and worthwhile, and we have the things that we need to teach. I mean, it doesn’t surprise me that Cheney is getting these recognitions,” said Keefe.

This is Keefe’s eighth year of teaching and her fifth year in Cheney.

“I love learning and a love what I do, so I think a lot of that plays into not being burned out and enjoying what you do, so always kinda looking for new things and just enjoying my time with the kiddos,” said Keefe.

Keefe is not the only teacher from Cheney who has been recognized. Last year, a fourth-grade teacher was also named a Teacher of the Year finalist.

Electives in fine arts

Cheney is honing in on electives with fine arts. Upper-classmen are leaving their market on their alma mater with Cardinal Art.

Juniors and seniors pick a famous artist, say van Gogh or Picasso, and paint a cardinal in their style.

Their piece is then added to a mural in the school for everyone to see.

“It’s something we’re kinda known for. People come in here see all the cardinals. I always see people standing around trying to figure out what artist is that and who painted it,” Shane Montgomery, Cheney High School art teacher, said.

The mural got its start more than 20 years ago. Today, it contains more than 200 pieces of work.

Student wins award for composing a symphony

Cheney senior Lauren Lofton writes and composes his own music. He is so good that his 35-minute symphony won the Kansas Music Educators Association composition competition in January.

This school year, Lofton’s band teacher enlisted him to write the marching band’s halftime show. The senior says he is not entirely sure where his love for music comes from.

“When I was younger, I was just scrolling through the internet, Oh MuseScore that’s what I originally used to write my music, so I downloaded the software and just input music from maybe Beethoven or Mozart, and then from there, I was like I can replicate this, and I started creating my own music from that point,” Lofton said.

Lofton is now working on a first for the district, a musical piece that will be a collaborative curriculum with all students in sixth through eighth grades.