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LBW's Kindergarten Student of the Year: Emma Burton

Meet Emma Burton of Olathe, Kan., my new favorite kindergarten student. Emma "fought the law" of her kindergarten class in order to stay true to her school -- Kansas State. As recounted on the Bug Bytes blog written by her mom, Julie, Emma's class recently participated in Kansas Week, where they learned about the state animal, tree, bird, and so on. Although Kansas has several state schools, including the University of Kansas and Kansas State, Emma's teacher decided for whatever reason that the class must use crayons to color in a picture of the University of Kansas' Jayhawk mascot. Five-year-old Emma, a die-hard Kansas State fan, however, was not having any of that.

Emma's mom says that when she went to school to pick Emma up, kids ran up to her and told her Emma was crying. She found Emma being escorted by the teacher, who was also holding piece of paper with an uncolored-in Jayhawk. The teacher told Emma's mom, Julie, that:

Emma would not color this Jayhawk today with the rest of her class. She told me she would not color it. She told me she does not like KU and her family likes K-State. She asked me for a K-State picture instead but I told her this was her only option. She took the paper, crumpled it up and threw in the trash can. I asked her to get it out of the trash can and she told me no then refused to speak to me the rest of the day. I told her I would have to have a chat with you about this and she will need to color this tomorrow during recess.

The teacher told Emma that coloring in the Jayhawk did not mean she had to like KU and that she could throw it in the trash when she got home. Emma told the teacher "she wouldn't bring a Jayhawk in her house."

At home, Julie told Emma that she and her husband were proud that Emma fought for her school and did not back down, but that Emma didn't have to make a scene about in school. Would she please just color the Jayhawk for her teacher?


Julie warned Emma she might get sent to the principal's office.

I don't care. I'm not coloring it.

Using Kissinger-like diplomacy, Julie finally persuaded Emma to color in the Jayhawk provided Emma could also color in a K-State Powercat and wear a K-State shirt to school the next day. The Powercat she colored, along with an apology note for not coloring the Jayhawk, is below:

Emma did color in the Jayhawk, as well. Then she took it home and threw it in the garbage can. Emma refused her teacher's request to color in some additional Jayhawks that day from a coloring book with the rest of the class, as she said she "would not color two Jayhawks."

A few weeks after the Jayhawk-coloring incident, Julie updated her blog to say that Emma had received an email from Kirk Schulz, the President of K-State saying "I hope that Emma will join us in Manhattan in a few years -- she will find many like-minded people at K-State!" She also received a nice letter and a gift Powercat from Dr. Pat Bosco, K-State's VP for Student Life and Dean of Students.

Finally, the K-State Athletic Director asked Emma and her family to be their guests at the recent K-State vs. Kansas basketball game and honored Emma as the "Fan of the Night."

On behalf of LBW, I would simply like to say: Emma, you are awesome!

Posted by Bruce Carton on February 15, 2012 at 04:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)


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