Schnee honored through prestigious award

Sophia Comas, Features Editor

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Manhattan High Special Education and Interpersonal Skills teacher Kim Schnee has been recently awarded the Susan M. Scott Community Leadership Award.

Schnee’s work with IPS and Special Olympics has made her the perfect candidate to receive the award, as well as her seven-year partnership with Kansas State University Leadership studies professors Dr. Andrew Wefald, Associate Professor, and Mike Finnegan, Assistant Professor.

“It’s one of the most amazing partnerships because both of those guys are so easy to work for but I also think that we’re all on the same page, which helps,” Schnee said. “They didn’t have to convince me and I didn’t have to convince them. We knew what we wanted to get out of our partnership and it was very easy to do.”

The award is given through the Staley School of Leadership Studies at K-State, an organization set on shaping the youth of today into strong independent leaders.

“I used to have an after-school club and he would bring his beginning leadership students in,” Schnee said. “They’d do a leadership lesson for us.”

Students enrolled in the course have an opportunity to use their acquired skills with Schnee and her students, whether through events like Special Olympics or other fun activities the class has planned.

“We play softball in the summer through Parks and Recreation in their adult league,” Schnee said. “Those students come out there and cheer us on, which nobody ever goes to those games, which is great so we get some fans.”

Her work with those students has been so influential that some still stay in contact with Special Olympics athletes despite not being in the class anymore.

“Dalton Risner… met one of my athletes five or six years ago it seems like,” Schnee said. “[Risner] goes over once a week to see him… [Risner] goes over to his house and hangs out with him and brings him ice cream.”

Despite her contributions that have qualified her for this award, it still comes as a bit of a shock to her because of the previous recipients, such as Sen. Tom Hawk and City Commissioner Usha Reddi.

“I’m absolutely shocked that I’m going to get this award mainly because of the people who have gotten it before me,” Schnee said. “I’m just like ‘are you kidding me’.”

Despite the anxious nerves that accompany her shock, Schnee is also completely honored to be recognized by this award.

“I’m very humbled and very flattered,” Schnee said. “Yikes, I hope I don’t have to give a speech.”

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Schnee honored through prestigious award