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Jazz on the Lawn – a perfect evening for a springtime break

Brendan Garrison and daughter Shannon Leeann Garrison
Brendan Garrison and daughter Shannon Leeann Garrison

The 10th annual Jazz on the Lawn event offered students, faculty and staff a welcome springtime break to enjoy family, friends, food and music.

An annual rite of spring for the School of Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Jazz on the Lawn offered about 100 people an opportunity to share barbecue and listen to music provided by the jazz combo from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Add to that, the student government was selling UMKC t-shirts, polo shirts and water bottles to raise money for the School of Education Student Government and Alumni Board Scholarship, an endowed scholarship. And, they were giving away raffle tickets to those in attendance for a chance to win a Kindle.

Brendan Garrison – outgoing president of the SOE’s student government – was able to relax and take this opportunity to meet others he normally would not have a chance to meet. For instance, retired Missouri Senator Yvonne Wilson, who attended the event as the UMKC Alumni Spotlight Award recipient. Garrison was pleased to meet someone of her standing “who was so friendly.”

Katie Bruns, a senior at the UMKC School of Education and vice president of the School of Education's student government

Katie Bruns, a senior at the UMKC School of Education and vice president of the School of Education’s student government

It also let him share time with fellow students. Since Brendan is a junior, majoring in elementary education, he spends his days in the field while the underclass students are on campus. One of the brightest spots of the day for Garrison was that he could invite his family to Jazz on the Lawn, and the star of the gathering was his 15-month-old daughter, Shannon Leeann Garrison.

Soon-to-be alumna of the school, Katie Bruns, will graduate next week with a degree in elementary education and a teaching position at the Brookside Charter School. Bruns also will complete her first grade student teaching assignment at the M. E. Pearson School in Kansas City, Kan. on April 27.

Julie Kohlhart, PhD in Counseling Psychology student at the UMKC School of Education

Julie Kohlhart, PhD in Counseling Psychology student, School of Education

For her, the highlight of the evening was to see some of the professors – like Drs. Valerie Blackwell and Dianne Smith – “who’ve made us ‘us.’”

Bruns – who currently serves as vice president of the SOE’s student government – was able to share in the recognition of the incoming slate of officers. Also, to have a chance to spend time with the graduate students, as well as her other classmates, made the evening even more special.

“All of us students at the School of Education have an opportunity to share tales about our students, and since we have the same goals – ‘working to serve students’ – we enjoy listening to stories about our kids.”

UMKC School of Education faculty, staff, students, and alumni with Kasey Kangaroo holding their hands up in celebration

Kasey Kangaroo celebrates with the School of Education alumni.

Off to begin her doctoral internship in clinical psychology at K-State, Julie Kohlhart has attended Jazz on the Lawn for the past four years, and it allows her an opportunity to spend time with peers and friends with whom she’s shared classes.

Kohlhart works in Academic Affairs. She also teaches psychology as a graduate assistant, and the event let her interact with other faculty from the SOE’s counseling and education psychology department. Since this is her last year here, she invited the four other students who entered the doctoral program with her, and all were able to enjoy the food, the music and the camaraderie – all of which were excellent.


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