The Kansas State High School Activities Association has given the Mavericks one more achievement to savor from last year, as the new school year begins.

It’s almost time to start a new school year, but accolades from the previous year continue for Kiowa County High School students. The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) announced August 8 that Kiowa County High School was commended for their 2018-19 success in Fine Arts. There was one winner of this award, six finalists, and ten schools that would be commended for their efforts. The list is full of large schools in areas much bigger than our county. Some of the fine arts programs at KCHS include choir, band, drama, and forensics.
The band program at Kiowa County received a 2 rating on their marching performance at the state fair, as well as a 2 at SPIAA league band. There were also several students who took solos or small ensembles to contest and received 2 ratings, according to band director Tyler Axe, who is entering his second year at KCHS.
Some highlights from the last year include five students making District Honor Choir, with three students qualifying for All State Choir over the last two years. Several students have participated in and excelled in solos and ensembles. The choir received a I rating at State Large Groups.
“I have been truly blessed to work with an amazing group of students over the last several years. These vocalists have a great work ethic along with a desire to be excellent and their many accomplishments are a reflection of these qualities. My upperclassmen have also been good leaders and role models and I am excited to see what new things we can accomplish as we head into a new school year of making music together,” said choir director Kim Stewart.
There are more than 20 students annually participating in choir. Musical talent was noted in September when the school put on the play, “Snoopy!!! The London Version,” as the first musical production of the vocal department. The KCHS forensics team has more than 30 members with a good mix of newcomers and upperclassmen each year. These numbers led to a successful season for the Mavs, winning or finishing high in every tournament they competed in. The SPIAA League tournament is full of tough competition, and the Mavs took home the crown for the 2019 season. There were also several top 6 individual event finishes at the 2019 1A State Tournament including Ben Stewart - 6th Place Prose, Regan Rhodes - 6th Place Poetry; 2nd Place, Prose, Brecken VandenHoek - 5th Place Poetry, Camden VandenHoek - 4th Place Serious Solo Acting, Alex Friesen & Brecken VandenHoek - 3rd Place Duet Acting, Allison Kirby & Eli Francis - 5th Place Duet Acting, Ben Stewart & Braiden Merhoff - 3rd Place IDA, Eli Francis & Alex Friesen - 4th Place IDA, Ashlind Gumpenberger - 3rd Place Impromptu, Allison Kirby - 4th Place Informative Speaking, Nathaniel Enfield - 5th Place, Original Oration. This hard work was enough for a 1st place finish by over 100 points, giving the KCHS Mavs the 1A State Title.
Sometimes in rural areas, the Fine Arts get overlooked for sports or other programs, but the recent award from KSHSAA affirms that all of the performing arts programs at KCHS are important and thriving.