Rooted in Tradition: Finding Our School Community at Wichita Collegiate


This article is sponsored by Wichita Collegiate School and written by WCS parent Charlie Ramseyer.

Finding Our School Community at Wichita Collegiate

We are getting ready to enter one of my favorite times of the year. For my family, and so many others, the months of November and December are full of time spent with your favorite people, reflecting on fond memories, and building on treasured traditions. Maybe it has something to do with my years as a history teacher, but I love looking back through time, not only to see how far we’ve come but also because I believe that comfort and stability can be found in understanding your roots and celebrating your traditions. So, it isn’t surprising that when my husband and I started looking around at area schools for our own kids, I wanted to find a place that valued their history, traditions, and community as much as we valued ours. 

Growing up in a smaller town about an hour outside of Wichita, I always looked at Wichita as the big city. I was (and still am) very proud of my hometown and often tout the benefits of growing up in a smaller community. Beyond the support that came with knowing so many of the people I grew  up around, the ability to create memories and share traditions with people both ahead of and behind me in school was one of my favorite things. When I first met my husband, a native of Wichita and a Wichita Collegiate alum, I remember him saying he felt like he, too, grew up in a small town. At the time, I laughed off his comment because there was no way growing up in “the big city” was in any way similar to my experience in a small town. Then we joined the Collegiate community, and I understood what he was talking about. 

 When we toured the Early Childhood building with our oldest daughter, I was quickly impressed by all of the special events they talked about. I once heard that for early learning environments to be meaningful, they have to be memorable, and I knew immediately that Collegiate took that to heart. From big events like Read and Romp Day to smaller events like the Pancake Race, I knew this was the type of environment that would engage my kids in their education from the start. Along with the events and the memories came many invitations for parents to be involved, and we quickly found the school community we were hoping for. We now have our third child going through Collegiate’s Early Childhood program, and I can say without a doubt that my kids’ love of learning is built on the strong foundation laid in that building.  

When our oldest daughter finished kindergarten and moved onto Lower School, I was afraid I would be leaving behind the community and traditions that I had come to love. Each year I watched as parents grieved the “end of the traditions,” like our Mother Goose Parade or the Turkey Tango. I admit I was one of them. But what I’m guessing those other parents quickly found, just as I have over the last two years, is that there are incredible traditions waiting around every corner at Collegiate. From the 1st grade play to the Dr. Seuss breakfast, I find myself not grieving what we have said goodbye to nearly as much as I anticipate what lies ahead. And it isn’t just me. Our girls already talk about their excitement for the 2nd grade Salute to America program or what roles they might have in the 4th grade musical. Now that they are buddies to younger kids, they happily reflect back on who their reading buddy was when they were in preschool. They tell me all about seeing their picnic buddy walking between classes or playing in the band at the home football game on Friday night. Now, when I reflect on my husband saying Collegiate felt like a small town, it all makes sense: the community is small, tight-knit, and exactly what I wished for when we first started our school search six years ago. 

Deciding where you will send your kids for school is hard. The decision is weighed carefully because the reality is that your kids will end up spending more of their days there than they will at home with you. Knowing this, we wanted our kids’ days spent at a school that holds dear values we share, and I am so grateful to have found that at Collegiate. I love their history. I love their traditions. But the best part is that as much as my kids remember past events fondly and look forward to experiencing the next big tradition, I know they love every day in between more.

Wichita Collegiate School empowers all students to lead lives of impact by partnering with our students, faculty, families, and community.

Contact Kathy Rukes at [email protected] to learn more about how Collegiate can partner with you to provide your child with an exceptional education.

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