A Kansas teacher is putting down the ruler and picking up a microphone in hopes of winning a national singing contest.
Jennifer Kunz is a special education teacher at Conway Springs High School.
“I wanted something that was a challenge. Every day is different in the classroom and I enjoy working with kids,” Kunz said.
After 19 years in the classroom, Kunz has decided to chase another dream. She has entered the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo National Anthem Contest.
Two grand prize winners will have the chance to perform the national anthem at the rodeo in Las Vegas in December of 2018.
“Some of the biggest stars are there in the rodeo. A lot of the people that my kids look up to, so it’s kind of neat. They would be super excited if I got to meet some of those people and watch them compete,” she said.
Kunz’s family is a rodeo family. Each of her four kids have or still compete.
“It has taught us a lot about hard work, responsibility,” Kunz said.
The long-time teacher said she’s now hoping her hard work will pay off. She’s spent decades perfecting her rendition of the national anthem.
“I encourage my students all the time that they can do anything they set their mind to. They can have dreams, they can have goals and this is one of mine so I really want to try to go after it,” she said.
Ashley Showalter of Buhler and Janie Matile of Holcomb have also entered the competition.
Showalter said she was in elite vocal groups in high school and college. She has also had the opportunity to sing the national anthem at a number of sporting events including at Wichita Thunder games, Wichita Wingnuts games and KSU volleyball games to name a few.
“It’s the most important song to our country and I truly feel honored each and every time I am asked to do it,” Showalter said.
Showalter made the top 8 in the 2017 contest.
“Entering this contest again this year means another chance for the opportunity to not only get to sing in Las Vegas, but more importantly, to honor the men and women who courageously fight for our freedoms every single day,” Showalter said.
“It is a very powerful song. It takes a lot of power and always in my mind, I’m envisioning those people who have made those sacrifices,” Kunz said.
KSN reached out to Matile, but has not heard back.
Fan voting to determine the top 30 ends September 13. Fan voting for the top 2 recipients begins September 26.