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Olathe students nominated for Shooting Star Program

The Arts Council of Johnson County (ACJC) announces 27 finalists have been nominated from the Olathe Public Schools for the 2023 Shooting Stars Awards. The Shooting Stars Program promotes the positive impact arts education has on our students by honoring student achievement in the literary, performing and visual arts, providing students with resources to help them achieve their creative career goals, awarding scholarships for college and supporting teachers with honorariums. 

All finalists will be recognized and Shooting Stars scholarship award recipients will be announced at the virtual Shooting Stars Gala on Sunday, April 2.

“This special recognition program was created in 1997 by former ACJC chairman Bob Endres,” said Sarah VanLanduyt, ACJC Executive Director. “Bob’s vision was to create a program that celebrated young Johnson County artists for their artistic excellence in high school. Only the best of the best high school artists are chosen to participate in the Shooting Stars Program.”

Since its founding, the Shooting Stars program has awarded more than $400,000 in college scholarships and $65,000 in teacher honorariums. At the Virtual Shooting Stars Gala on April 2, 2023, nine first place scholarships of $1,400 each, nine second place scholarships of $700 each and nine teacher honorariums of $300 each will be awarded. The program is supported by Johnson County and area foundations, corporations and individual donors.

Students are nominated by their arts teachers for this recognition. Arts teachers from schools throughout Johnson County are invited to nominate students each year. Students who live in Johnson County but attend school outside of the county also may be nominated by their arts teachers.

To participate in Shooting Stars, students must be in the 12th grade and will graduate in the spring, live in Johnson County, and be nominated by an arts teacher from their high school, and submit an application.

Nominations were accepted from October 28 – November 11, 2022 and applications from October 28 – November 18, 2022. After being selected as a finalist, the high school seniors will audition or submit a portfolio of work for review by independent judges in the following categories.

Literature (3 finalists)

Photography (1 finalist)

Production and Design (4 finalists)

Strings (2 finalists)

Theatre Performance (4 finalists)

Three-Dimensional Art (2 finalists)

Two-Dimensional Art (4 finalists)

Voice Classical (4 finalists) and

Winds and Percussion (3 finalists)

“The arts are essential to supporting critical thinking skills and fostering creativity and community,” said Sarah VanLanduyt, Arts Council of Johnson County Executive Director. “We know that especially during this year students’ passion for the arts is playing an important role; helping them stay connected, career-ready and helping them manage unexpected challenges.”

Nominating Teacher and Schools

Theatre Performance

Ella Bentley, nominated by Dustin Pence, Olathe North High School

Jay Allen, nominated by David Hastings, Olathe South High School

Layla Abu Saada, nominated by Eddie Shafer, Olathe East High School

Olivia Cupp-Korb, nominated by Alisha Morris, Olathe West High School

Voice Classical

Jack Wilson, nominated by Micah Horton, Olathe North High School

Kate Meives, nominated by Laura Klaassen, Olathe East High School

Maddie Blackman, nominated by Laura VanLeeuwen, Olathe West High School

Sydney Muder, nominated by Elise Peterson, Olathe South High School

Production & Design

Claire McLewin, nominated by Amy Hastings, Olathe Northwest High School

Emily Heflin, nominated by Alisha Morris, Olathe West High School

Hannah Willard, nominated by Garry Goddard, Olathe East High School

Katie Bauman, nominated by Dustin Pence, Olathe North High School

2D Visual Art

Ashley Rottinghaus, nominated by Roger Messersmith, Olathe South High School

Christiana McGlocklin, nominated by Abbey Thomas, Olathe Northwest High School

Didi Fu, nominated by Lori Ludwig, Olathe East High School

Karissa Rangel, nominated by Kathleen Bock, Olathe North High School

3D Visual Art

Aubrey Sanchez, nominated by Lisa Hirsch, Olathe Northwest High School

Finn Young, nominated by Lisa Holton, Olathe East High School


Alana Schmalzried-Lugo, nominated by Joel Martin, Olathe Northwest High School

Andrea Allen, nominated by Cecily Mahan, Olathe North High School


Caroline Stickney, nominated by Deidre Zongker, Olathe North High School

Quindale Adams, nominated by Rachel Mulvhill, Olathe East High School

Wyatt Vaughn, nominated by Cindy Roth, Olathe Northwest High School


John Costello, nominated by Melissa Sellers, Olathe East High School

Winds & Percussion

Liam Courson, nominated by Jeff Smikahl, Olathe East High School

Maddie Lauffer, nominated by Chad Coughlin, Olathe South High School

Nithya Kailad, nominated by Josh Maddux, Olathe North High School