Dani Lemon, SHS Class of 2000
A familiar face at SHS is Salina Police Officer Dani Lemon, a Salina South High School graduate of the Class of 2000.
While in high school Officer Lemon took several classes that sparked her interest in criminal justice. While attending Cloud County Community College following high school, one of her professors brought her attention to Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX where she completed their criminal justice program with a minor in psychology in 2005. While attending Sam Houston State, she was employed as a Corrections Officer at the Mens Max prison Ellis Unit in Huntsville, Texas.
Dani returned to position with the Salina Police department in May of 2006.
Lemon states, "While on SPD, I’ve worked every shift, including working as a School Resource Officer for four years, and also a serving as a member of the Honor Guard and Bike Patrol. I am the North Central Kansas Coordinator for the LETR events, (Special Olympics Polar Plunge and Torch Run); I’ve also re-started our “shop with a cop” program which is now Heroes and Helpers with Target!
ADELE STEIN--SHS CLASS OF 2005
Those watching the Grammy Awards Sunday, January 28, 2018 might have seen South High alum Adele Stein playing her cello. She may have played more than once, but she was clearly featured in this performance with Ben Platt. Here’s a link for those who might be interested. It’s pretty cool to see our home town gal on that stage!
Adele plays with the hit Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen – the singer is Ben Platt who won a Tony for his role in that show.
How did you get here? After I graduated from Arizona State University, I moved to Phoenix, AZ, where I continued my career as a freelance musician. I received an email from my half brother, Rudy, asking if I could go to LA to do a sidelining gig with Sting. I immediately emailed back, saying yes, and that is where I ended up meeting the gig contractor who continued hiring me for more gigs in LA. I drove back and forth countless times with little sleep just to continue working for her. After a couple of years, she hired me for a national tour with the band RUSH. That is where I met several New York broadway musicians, became fast friends with all of them and they convinced me that if I moved to NYC, I would get work. So I did, and now I’m playing on a Broadway show.
How did HS activities lead to this opportunity? In high school, I was a member of the pit orchestra for the annual musical all four years. I played under several wonderful conductors over my high school career as well, Karen Chapman, Randy Fillmore and Eddie Creer, just to name a few. I was also fortunate to watch drama teacher Kate Lindsay in action. All of these experiences played a vital role in my education and present success.
Did your high school post-secondary plan change after entering that next step in your life? No, in fact, I was lucky enough to know I wanted to be a professional musician when I was in elementary school.
Advice to HS students when looking at their future and careers? Try to find something you love and work as hard as you possibly can to succeed at it. Be polite, respectful, prepared, consistent, professional and pleasant to work with. Don’t be late, never stop networking. Always have integrity and don’t ever be a pompous jerk, no one will want to work with you. Never forget that you can be replaced and don’t take anything for granted.
"Never say never." Is one piece of advice Alyssa Lane, Salina South High School Orchestra teacher offers to students. "It is really weird to come back to the school you grew up in and take over the program you grew up in… Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would teach in Salina. Everything I have said I would never do, I have done. Be open to what the world throws at you."
Alyssa started violin in 4th grade, joining the Salina Youth Symphony her 8th grade year. “In high school I had no idea what I wanted to do, but knew I loved music so I followed the Fine Arts pathway. By my senior year of high school I was very involved in music; I was in multiple orchestras including the Salina Symphony and the Kansas Wesleyan Chamber Orchestra, which made the choice to go to Kansas Wesleyan easy since I knew a lot of the people already. While at KWU I was in all of the operas, the select choir, chamber orchestra, and Salina Symphony, double majoring in Music Education and Computers. While at KWU I got to conduct the Prep Orchestra, assistant direct the Youth Symphony, and taught private lessons.”
Following graduation from KWU, Alyssa has I hired at Great Bend as an Assistant Orchestra Director. While in Great Bend, she started a select middle school orchestra and was concertmaster of the Barton County Community Orchestra. Additionally, she also secured a grant to start an after school program. Now that Alyssa is back in Salina, she is one of the Directors of the new Salina Youth Symphony Orchestra (Preludio Orchestra).
Ken Hakoda at KWU inspired Alyssa to go into music. Completing her student teaching experience with Smoky Valley schools' orchestra instructor Henry Littich, Alyssa shares, "he is not only is an amazing teacher, but a great mentor. " Another person important in shaping Alyssa's career is Ft. Hays State violin instructor Matt Means. "Taking lessons in the summer during college, he would spend so much time talking to me about what I wanted to do with my life, and how to achieve the things I wanted to do."
Having the opportunity to be the Youth Symphony assistant influenced Alyssa's decision to go into music education. "Starting when I was in high school and through most of my time at KWU, I got to work with the prep orchestra. Working with the students and seeing the ‘A-ha’ moments was one of the most amazing things. I was sold!"
"If I had known then what I know now, what would stay the same or be different? I would have started taking lessons at a younger age. If you really enjoy something you should seek more information and do more of it! If you are interested in something and think it is a career you would like to do, then talk to people who have success in that career and follow them around or see if you can even help them. That is how I know how to do a lot of things that I didn’t learn in school."
After starting at Friends University as a ballet major, Britta Homelvig attended an extra credit lecture given by Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone. As a boy soldier in Sierra Leone, social workers saved Ishmael's life. Britta decided at that moment that she was changing her major to Social Welfare. Transferring to KU, she earned a BS in Social Welfare in 2010.
A 2006 SHS graduate, Britta works for JobPath in Tucson, Arizona where she is the Career Counselor for students enrolled in aviation, electrician apprenticeship, welding, truck driver training and electrical utility technology. JobPath assists unemployed and underemployed adults with higher education and job placement. They contribute millions of dollars annually to the local economy through economic development.
Check out Job Path at jobpath.net
MEGAN VAUPAL, a CHS 2006 graduate works at SeaWorld San Antonio. Currently working with pinnipeds (seal, sea lions and otters) she has also worked with orca, dolphins, and walruses as well. In her internships she worked with birds and manatees. Now a senior trainer, Megan continued her post-secondary education at Butler University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (Behavioral) and a minor in biology. Who knew this is a career option for Psychology majors!
While in high school, Megan swam in the South HS pool every year, which became a major factor in her passing the SeaWorld swim test and acquiring her job.
Alvaro Escobedo is a 2017 SHS graduate who as a senior had the opportunity to take the state-recognized Seal of Biliteracy exam. This assessment not only measures a students ability to speak a non-English language, but also demonstrates the mastery of reading, writing, and spelling. Currently a student at FHSU, Alvaro is working part-time for Hays USD 289 and earning $14 per hour. Watch Alvaro as he explains the Seal and the opportunities it provides.
Knowing since she was a youngster that she wanted to make a career out of dancing, Jenni Waters, 2009 South High School (SHS) graduate, majored in dance performance at college. She also found a love for football while dancing with the SHS Peppers at fall competitions. Now she combines the two by dancing professionally with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Additionally, her interest in journalism led her to a full time job at a sports radio station. Jenni states, “I’d love to continue moving toward sports broadcasting in the future.”
So how did Jenni get to this exciting point in her career? Early steps in high school included Jenni dancing with and becoming captain of the SHS Peppers; discovering an appreciation for writing and designing, she could be found in the yearbook and newspaper classroom before and after school.
In high school, Jenni’s career goal was to be a professional dancer at Disney World and on cruise ships. “I really wanted to find a job that I was passionate about, but also be able to help people and make an impact,” reports Jenni. “Now as a KC Chiefs Cheerleader I get to dance at the games and actively work with our community, youth, and military.”
Pursuit of her dreams requires a high level of commitment and motivation. Jenni explains, “I am a Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleader, receptionist at a sports radio station, a dance teacher, and now in the process of getting certified to teach Pilates. I work multiple jobs because I have many different interests, and each of my jobs matches my priorities. All of my jobs also help me to save money for the future.”
Jenni’s advice to high school students is: “Have an open mind. I was so completely set on one specific career, that I limited myself from other options. It is important to focus on your passions, but also to allow new ones to enter your life as you continue to grow, mature, and blossom. Also, always continue to work hard towards your goals; be perseverant . You may not reach your dream career right out of high school, but that doesn’t mean you give up. It took me a few years of trial and error, failing and getting back up, but I am now well on my path of working in jobs I am passionate about. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t happen for you right away; they will happen when it is the right time.”