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The Chronicle

The Student News Site of Olathe North High School

The Chronicle

Leaving Legacies

Throughout most people’s high school careers, they try and do everything they can to be involved with their school. Within the student-teacher duality, there are individuals who go above and beyond. The ones who are remembered. The ones who leave a legacy.

Ralph Dennis, Olathe North alumni, served as an Olathe educator for 43 years, from 1948-1991, leading him to be inducted into the Wall of Honor in 2012, being recognized for his communication skills with others, inside and outside of school in the Olathe area.

Dennis grew up south of Olathe in Parsons, Kansas. Dennis’ nickname “Deadeye” has lived on with him since grade school when given to him in a recess game of chase-and-capture. Continuing a name for himself, Dennis was student body president sophomore year at Parsons Junior College. After graduating from Parsons Junior College, Dennis attended his last two years of college at Pitt State University. Dennis earned many other awards, including Olathe’s community pride award and Olathe’s Citizen of the Year Award. 

Dennis’ legacy was more important to Olathe than most people recognize. Dennis had a special relationship with everyone and the way he connected with others. Students and teachers felt comfortable talking to him because he lifted others up. Dennis was and still is a prime example of someone who was always involved with the community.

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Former Olathe North alumni, Sarah Hanson had a special relationship with Mr. Dennis. 

 “When Olathe needed an MC or if they needed a voice, a guest speaker, Mr. Dennis for all of Olathe, was always ‘Hey we need to see if Mr. Dennis is available,'” Ms. Hanson said.

Dennis participated in events like graduations, parties for birthdays and retirements. Dennis contributed at his church teaching Sunday school for 31 years and ushering 56 years. The Olathe Recreational Program was organized in 1956 and run by Mr. Dennis for 13 years. He was known to always be “that guy.” Dennis didn’t just show up to the events, he also connected with people and actually used to carry around “angel coins.” Angel coins were used by the former history teacher to acknowledge others of their kindness and stand out from others in a positive way. 

“He made you feel like no matter what you’re doing, you’re doing the right thing,” Ms. Hanson said.

On January 5th, Dennis’ legacy and sportsmanship award will be spotlighted to the good to come not only out of the community but Olathe North. All prior award winners and their families will attend this ceremony. They have been given the opportunity to have their names engraved in the Ralph Dennis Sportsmanship Award in recognition for their encouraging interactions with others.

This focus of the Ralph Dennis Sportsmanship Award has since shifted to the Olathe North men’s basketball team.  Players are chosen based on who honored Dennis’ legacy in his sportsmanship not by a player’s skill on the court, but how their impact off the court has influenced the community through giving back. According to Dennis, important parts of life are “love, purpose, and hope” and he wanted to make sure to spread all three to his students.

Dennis passed away on November 6, 2023 at 97 years old. His legacy will be honored at the boy’s Varsity basketball game against Olathe West on January 5 at 7:00 PM. 

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Grant Likes
Grant Likes, Sports Writer
Grant Likes is a Sophomore and this is his first year on the Chronicle staff. He is looking forward to seeing how the newspaper works and learning to improve different skills. He also is very excited to use the technology and get to work. He is also involved with Baseball outside of school.

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