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Satanta Students Among Southern Plains Iroquois Activities Association 2019 Big Read Winners

By Ryan Burrows

The (Southern Plains Iroquois Activities Association) SPIAA Big Read project, patterned after the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program, was developed in 2016 and implemented in 2017 with purpose of broadening student understanding of themselves, their communities, and the world we share. The project has also served to connect students and teachers from schools across the league. The result of these connections has been meaningful collaboration and, more importantly, friendship.

In its first year, SPIAA high school students read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. For this year’s project, which was expanded to include students in grades 6-8, high school students read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and junior high students read Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Ten high schools and nine junior high schools participated in the 2018-2019 Big Read activities, which included culminating events for both high school and junior high students held at Kiowa County and Satanta, respectively, and a project competition.

Projects from across the league were evaluated at Bucklin High School on January 9, 2019, by committees of SPIAA English language arts teachers. Winners of the project contest, which included entries that ranged from traditional literary analyses to digital performances, were recognized at the SPIAA league basketball tournaments and their work was displayed at United Wireless arena.

SPIAA English teachers are currently working with the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum in Waukegan, Illinois, to find other avenues for the publication of these student projects. The museum is considering the publication of some of the literary analysis pieces in their newsletter and on their social media pages and have requested images of student art projects for inclusion in their communications as well.

Titles for next year’s Big Read have also been selected. High school students will participate in a Big Read of Homer Hickam’s 1998 memoir entitled Rocket Boys, which is also published under the title October Sky. Junior high students will read Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. Both of these titles offer cross-disciplinary connections, especially between English language arts and science, and its organizers seek to deepen its impact in the years to come.

Because such projects are not without costs, the organizers of the Big Read have established a fund to help defray the expenses of future projects. Those interested in supporting the project financially can send donations to Satanta High School (PO Box 69, Satanta, KS 67870) with “SPIAA Big Read” written in the memo line.

SPIAA Big Read Junior High Project Winners

Digital Category, Group Division

1st place: Jaxon Koehn and Max Moore, South Gray

2nd place: Harmoney Beery and Sara Fehr, South Gray

3rd place: Vi Helm and Kaylee Moyer, South Gray


Digital Category, Individual Division

1st place: Ashlee Nagore, Bucklin


Creative Writing Category, Group Division

1st place: Daelyn Katz, Kiera Fuller, and Makenna Scott, Bucklin

2nd place: Jalen Hensley, Samuel Allen and Kira Marsh, Bucklin

3rd place: Ryan Friesen and Justin Fehr, South Gray


Creative Writing Category, Individual Division

1st place: Max Moore, South Gray

2nd place: Kara Kunselman, Satanta

3rd place: Naley Dyck, South Gray


Non-fiction Category, Individual Division

1st place: Sean Wagner, Satanta

2nd place: Anna Clingenpeel, Satanta

3rd place: Kacen Anthony, Satanta

4th place: Alexa Montserrat Salcedo-Pena, Satanta

5th place: Madison Ross, Satanta


Performance Category, Group and Individual Divisions Combined

1st place: Rylee Ott, Kiowa County

2nd place: Ryleigh Foster and Jacelyn Huelskamp, Fowler


Art Category, Individual Division

1st place: Aeva Alvarado, Bucklin

2nd place: Maylea Alexander, Satanta

3rd place: Arnoldo Renova, Minneola

4th place: Judy Redecop, Kiowa Co.


Art Category, Group Division

1st place: Jaron Lindsay, Halie Feikert, and Emery Commerford, Bucklin

2nd place: Miranda Salas, Juliana Carbajal, and Ebony Torres, Satanta

3rd place: Yasmin Morales and Karely Chacon, Satanta

Interactive Category, Individual Division

1st place: Paige Duncan, Pawnee Heights

2nd place: Alyssa Clark, South Gray


Three-dimensional Art Category, Individual Division

1st place: Connor Berger, Minneola

2nd place: James Littlewood, Fowler


SPIAA Big Read High School Project Winners


Audio Visual Category

1st place: Nathaniel Enfield, Kiowa County

2nd place: Kimble Martin, South Gray

3rd place: Laverna Koethler, South Gray


Photography Category

1st place: Carl Kunselman, Satanta

2nd place (tie): Debbie Peters, South Gray

2nd place (tie): Kathryn Spainhour, Kiowa Co.

3rd place: Sarah Hubert, Kiowa Co.


Creative Writing Category, Short Story Division

1st place: Elizabeth Selbe, Minneola

2nd place: Ashton Reh, Kiowa Co.


Creative Writing Category, Poetry Division

1st place: Grace Lang, Minneola

2nd place: Jacey Wideman, Minneola

3rd place: Ethan Reed, South Gray

4th place: David Dyck, South Gray


Nonfiction Category

1st place (tie): Maverick Flax, Minneola

1st place (tie): Ella Burrows, Satanta

2nd place: Erier Tarango, Satanta

3rd place: Addison King, Satanta

4th place: Darvin Puerto, Jr., Satanta

5th place: Jody Zimmerman, Satanta


Two-dimensional Art Category

1st place: Lisa Fehr, South Gray

2nd place: Allison Kirby, Kiowa County

3rd place: Sicely Jackson, Satanta

4th place: Patty Anurat, Fowler


Three-dimensional Art Category

1st place: Ellery McMurry, Kiowa County

2nd place: Luke Ballard, Kiowa County

3rd place: Madison Yost, Kiowa County