CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Community leaders in education, business and nonprofit groups gathered last week to celebrate the spirit of Carl Junction at the 21st annual Community and Education Awards Banquet hosted by the Carl Junction Chamber of Commerce and the Carl Junction School District.

More than 200 people gathered April 21 at the Hope City Church in Joplin for the annual event.

“It’s when the community and school district collide and get to celebrate each other,” chamber President Cavanaugh Studyvin said. “It’s so important to celebrate the last year, celebrate our businesses, celebrate the teachers that really make this community a better place.”

School awards

Superintendent Phil Cook handed out awards to the people who make the schools function:

• The Pat Owen Support Staff of the Year Award winner was Melissa Gilbreath.

• Elementary Teacher Impact Award winners were Bethany Drew, in the early childhood and kindergarten-first grade classes; Emily Brachter, in the primary, second and third grade classes; and Janet Warner, in the intermediate classes.

Brachten won the Elementary Teacher of the Year honor.

• Secondary Teacher Impact Award winners were Maeve Sahni in the junior high school, and Adam Berkowicz and Tinsley Rutledge in the high school.

Secondary Teacher of the Year and the District Teacher of the Year was Tinsley Rutledge.

Community awards

Studyvin announced the winners of seven community awards:

• Henkles Ace Hardware won the Excellence in Customer Service Award.

• Journey through Slime Event Studio won the Rookie of the Year Award.

• Chase Craft won the Chamber Member of the Year Award.

• Crazy Llama Coffee won the Business of the Year Award.

• Jo Kleinsorge won the Citizen of the Year Award.

• Hope4You Breast Cancer Foundation won the Nonprofit of the Year Award.

• Carl Junction School District won the Innovation in Service Award.

The chamber also announced two Carl Junction High School seniors who won $500 scholarships from the chamber. They are Lillian Petry and Jordan Woodruff.


Studyvin said the Citizen of the Year and Chamber Member of the Year awards are special and go to people who go out of their way to help make the community a better place.

Kleinsorge, with Just Call Jo Homes and Real Estate, said she was shocked when she learned she had won Citizen of the Year.

“It’s not something I expected obviously,” Kleinsorge said. “We have wonderful people in the community, so it’s a pretty high standard to be named Citizen of the Year. It’s always nice to be nominated, and you always wonder who the person was who nominated you and that’s an honor, but to actually be selected, that’s really nothing I expected at all.”

Kleinsorge said she and her business team enjoy giving back to the community and supporting efforts to make Carl Junction a better place to live.

“We’ve built a business,” Kleinsorge said. “It helps support our families and travel and pay for college, and to me, you give back to the people who helped you get there.

“We do have a unique bond in that community. I think people feel at home, and I’m not a born and bred Carl Junction resident. We moved there when our kids started school so they went through the entire school system, but I think Carl Junction has a way of making people feel at home, so we all like to work together and support each other and turn out for each other.”

Travis Bolin and his daughter, Amelia Bolin, 11, took home the Rookie of the Year honor for creating the Journey Through Slime Event Studio, a business that was termed innovative and creative.

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