The Kansas Scholastic Press Association congratulates Barbara Tholen from Lawrence High School on winning this year’s Ad Astra Award. This award honors individuals who have continually made efforts to improve his or her journalism program and make significant contributions to the profession of advising in Kansas.
Tholen has done considerable work to grow the journalism program and publications at Lawrence High over her years there, but her dedication doesn’t stop there. Both Tholen’s colleagues and students admire her efforts to connect with each student and create a positive classroom environment.
“She cultivates an environment that is equal parts safe, welcoming, educational and inspirational. Her room is a place where you can learn to be independent, yet learn you are never alone” wrote Connor Schmaus, Tholen’s former student.
Tholen’s work goes beyond Lawrence High School. Tholen also took on the task of heading another publication at Lawrence Free State High School after their adviser went on leave for health reasons. Tholen helped the student editors finish their yearbook that had fallen behind due to online learning, and has continued to mentor the long-term substitute and advocate for the Free State publication staff.
“As a result of the dozens of hours Barb worked over the summer without compensation, our publication earned the top rating Kansas Scholastic Press Association can award: an All Kansas. Our subscribers received a book that encompassed the wide range of experiences Free State High School students had in a year that ended in a complete 360 from how it started” wrote Laurie Folsom, the adviser Tholen assisted from Free State High School.
Tholen’s work inside and outside the classroom has gone above and beyond her job description, and the Lawrence community has felt the impact of her work. The Kansas Scholastic Press Association extends our congratulation and highest praise to such an outstanding educator and adviser.