Battle High School commemorates its first four-year students’ graduation

COLUMBIA — “It’s a bittersweet thing,” Battle High School Principal Dr. Kim Presko said at the graduation ceremony of the school’s first four-year students at Mizzou Arena on Saturday morning.

The new graduates of Battle High School, 307 of them, proudly received their diplomas, many with outstanding achievements during their high school days.

“We’ve had them the whole time we’ve been at Battle High School. They are instrumental in creating the traditions at Battle High School as well as some of the culture that we have,” Presko said.

Mekhia Thompson, one of Battle’s graduating students, said that the programs the school offers have helped her better prepare for her future after high school.

“I’m in AVID, which is a college readiness program. That has definitely helped me with gaining knowledge that I’m going to take to college,” she said. Thompson will be attending the University of Central Missouri to major in interior design this fall.

Kham Thang, another new Battle graduate originally from Burma, has appreciated the school’s diversity. “It changed me a lot,” Thang said. “We meet a lot of people from different backgrounds.”

Thang decided to be a medical assistant, which he did not think he would do when he started high school.

“The school changed a lot of my ambitions,” he said. “At first I wanted to be a graphic designer, but I changed it to nursing. I always want to help others so it is a great way to do that.”

According to Presko, the majority of the new Battle graduates will pursue higher education at colleges or technical schools, while others will go into the military or the workforce.

“Today is a happy day. Just anxious to see about their future successes and accolades that they will get,” Presko said. “They have such bright futures ahead of them.”

Supervising editor is Hannah Black.

Providence project expected to be done by fall

COLUMBIA — Long-planned work on Providence Road north of Stadium Boulevard began this week and will continue through the early fall.

The construction started Monday morning and will include new traffic signals, turn lanes, a sidewalk and crosswalks. The work was approved by the City Council in June 2013 and is intended to improve traffic flow on Providence and access to surrounding neighborhoods.

Traffic backing up from the intersection of Stadium and Providence often blocks access to and from side roads into the Grasslands neighborhood west of Providence and MU east of the street, city officials said.

Barry Dalton, spokesman for the Columbia Public Works Department, said there will be restrictions on left turns into some side streets without traffic signals.

“There’s a lot of traffic coming from Stadium and Broadway, so that’s a very dangerous turn,” Dalton said.

All lane restrictions on Providence are in effect during overnight hours from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to avoid possible traffic congestion. Side-road access to Turner Avenue will be restricted until about June 15. The same will be true for Kentucky Boulevard and University Heights until about June 30, weather permitting.

This $4 million project is scheduled to be finished by fall to minimize inconvenience to residents and students.

“We’re doing this work over the summer to try to avoid as much as possible students’ being in school. There still may be some overlap but that’s part of the planning to try to do that in the summer period,” Dalton said.

Bryant Gaines, project manager for contractor Sam Gaines Construction, said he hopes the work will be done this September.

Specific project improvements include:

  • Installation of traffic signals along Providence Road at Burnam Road and Turner Avenue.
  • Removal of existing traffic signals at Providence and Rollins Street.
  • Construction of a sidewalk along the south side of Burnam Road from Birch Road to Providence.
  • Enhancing crosswalks at the signalized intersections at Turner and Burnam to meet or exceed current standards, including pedestrian signals.
  • Extending the southbound right turn lane onto Stadium from Providence Road.
  • Converting the intersections of Providence with Bingham Road and Kentucky Boulevard to right-in/right-out/left-in. The intersections of Providence Road with Rollins Street and Brandon Road will be converted to right-in/right-out.

No additional roadblock is planned at present but more side-street closures on Providence are expected during construction. Updates on the project’s progress are available on the Public Works Department website.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

Hidden street poems are ready for readings in the rain

COLUMBIA — If you don’t usually go walking in the rain, you might want to make an exception.

Sidewalks in downtown Columbia have been decorated with hidden poetry, and, because the poems are painted on walkways with a clear water repellent spray, the words are only visible when the sidewalk gets wet.

The hidden poems, aptly called “raining poetry,” were placed by staff members at The Missouri Review, a literary magazine, in an effort to remind people of the purpose of the magazine and encourage enthusiasm for literature. In all, there are nine poems spray-painted around Columbia. The locations of the hidden poetry sites will be revealed, starting Thursday, through a live streaming event on The District’s Facebook page.

Each poem is matched to a location that connects in some way to the poem’s words or meaning. For instance, a poem outside of Hitt Records written by Victor Hernandez Cruz reads: “A piano is talking to you, thru all this, why don’t you answer it?”

Kyle Cook, co-owner of Hitt Records, said the hidden poetry is an effective marketing tool for local stores as well as a good campaign for the community.

“I am sure that it is going to make people stop right there in front of the store,” he said.


Supervising editor is Allison Colburn.