Archive for Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heard on the Hill: 5-year-old KSU fan refuses to color Jayhawk in class; reader asks about KU’s helium connection; Engineering Expo coming soon

February 16, 2012


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• Perhaps you’ve heard of the 5-year-old girl from Olathe who’s a Kansas State University fan and who doesn’t like to color Jayhawks.

If not, you should go read this blog post from young Emma Burton’s mother.

Essentially, young Emma was asked to color in a Jayhawk on Kansas Day, and she refused. The whole amusing story is at the blog post.

Her parents met at Kansas State, and it appears that Jayhawks don’t get too much love in the Burton household.

Kansas State’s president apparently wrote her a letter offering a scholarship for 2025. But that was a joke. Presumably.

Wildcat fans everywhere — even including “Modern Family” actor Eric Stonestreet — have taken an interest in the story, and young Emma was apparently honored at the KU-Kansas State game on Monday.

I have no idea who Emma’s teacher is, but I say don’t cave. University presidents and Hollywood actors be darned. Stand by your guns. I’ve even got a suggestion for the next coloring assignment.

• An alert reader wrote to Lawrence Journal-World headquarters here at Seventh and New Hampshire after reading this recent story on a helium shortage.

That person felt compelled to remind the world of the connection between KU and helium.

“Professor Cady is the man that discovered helium---right? That was taught us when we were taking chemistry classes at KU back in the 1940s,” the person wrote.

My fuzzy memory recalls hearing something like that from someone walking backward by Bailey Hall on a campus visit to KU once, too.

As it turns out, that’s kind of true, and kind of not so true, at least according to this article from the Journal-World in 2005, around the 100th anniversary of the discovery.

According to the article, Hamilton Cady, on Dec. 7, 1905, in Bailey Hall, and an assistant discovered “significant amounts of helium in a natural gas sample” from Dexter, a town in southeast Kansas.

The gas had previously been discovered, but was thought to be rare on Earth.

No word (that I can find, anyway) on if they tried to inhale any of the gas and talk to each other in that high, squeaky voice your uncle always made at parties.

• It’s time once again for the KU engineering school’s annual Expo, a two-day, student-run event designed to spark an interest in math and science.

More than 1,000 students from elementary school to high school will be participating in competitions and taking in displays.

Think Popsicle-stick towers, pasta bridges and egg drops. That sort of thing.

It’s set for 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 24 and 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 25.

The chief administrative officer of Black & Veatch, Jim Lewis, will speak at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 24 at the Lied Center.

Here’s some more information.

• You’ll find me doing lots of stuff here at Heard on the Hill World Headquarters at Seventh and New Hampshire, but you’ll never find me coloring a Powercat. I’m too busy taking your tips that you send to


Robert Rauktis 6 years, 4 months ago

Give the girl red and blue crayons and have her color a wildcat. (Do you capitaliize the "W"?)

question4u 6 years, 4 months ago

What a weird story. It's definitely sad that a 5-year-old would hate any drawing that much, but it sounds as though the mother acted logically and responsibly: pointing out the girl's rudeness and asking her to apologize and do the assignment. It's the teacher who seems bizarre. It's a little unusual to ask kids to color a university mascot, but insisting that they do so instead of offering an alternative? Making a 5-year-old cry over the issue and complaining angrily to the mother? Let's hope that there's more to the story, and this teacher really isn't as bad as she sounds.

You'd think that hating rival universities would only happen in a world where there weren't many other things to hate.

gsxr600 6 years, 4 months ago

brainwash =/= ability to follow directions and color within the lines

By the way this article has been in the top stories on Yahoo for the past 3 days.

evilpenguin 6 years, 4 months ago

Then what do the kids who don't support a college team get to color in? Why does it matter what they color in? The kid could have colored the picture in in whatever colors she wanted and not been any less creative. Little bit of an overreaction from everyone.

newmedia 6 years, 4 months ago

No honey, that is not a clown with a big hat. That is a Ichabod...

Sarah Wallace 6 years, 4 months ago

You have got to be kidding me! This wasn't about pledging your loyalty to a school. This was about doing an assignment. My 13-year-old is morally opposed to algebra. Should I give her a high five if she throws her homework away and causes a scene in class?

MarcoPogo 6 years, 4 months ago

Yes. Algebra can go outside and kick rocks.

Alfred_W 6 years, 4 months ago

The teacher was just doing her job under No Child Left Behind and making sure the kid met basic intelligence standards by picking KU over KSU.

mom_of_three 6 years, 4 months ago

I remember being her age and coloring the Jayhawk as part of the Kansas history day assignment, because we are the considered the JAYHAWK state. It has nothing to do with the schools or mascots really.
It was on Kansas day, people. I thought her mother and the teacher handled it well.

Linda Endicott 6 years, 4 months ago

We had to draw and/or color jayhawks every year in school...

It's part of Kansas has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with either university...

However, it does make me wonder exactly what her parents are teaching her at home, if she's this rabid about a sports team already...

tolawdjk 6 years, 4 months ago

I did the same thing when I was kid. Both my parents are KSU alum. Didn't think my dad would approve.

Of course I got better.

Vaildini 6 years, 4 months ago

Growing up in Lawrence and being a Jayhawk I think it's funny. Everyone who is into sports makes funny little comments about there favorite team and rival. I do think it's funny that they choose the KU game to honor her at the Octagon of Broom. haha They should have waited for a game they could win.

Tyson Travis 6 years, 4 months ago

Imagine my surprise this morning when I awoke early and was watching the national news, can't remember whether it was CNN or ABC World News Now, but there was the story about a little girl who wouldn't color a Jayhawk, trashed it, and showed her scribbly efforts at coloring a PowerCat. They sure bring them up partisan early, don't they? Jayhawk(ers) have been identified with Kansas for about 150 years now, lots longer than PowerCats have been around. KU used to be called KSU early in the last century. In the future, maybe this school district should print both on one sheet of paper and have the students color one or both, depending on which is their favorite. I don't mind being in favor of one's school, but in our family, all KU grads, we cheer for KSU unless they're playing KU, heck we even cheer for MU under the same circumstances. After all, they both share the six letters of the state, and down south where I now live, they just tacked an "AR" on the front of it so all my dogs in the hunt have something in common.

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't think it was the actual refusal to color it, but the rudeness. The mother did the teacher a big favor. She made her daughter understand that she can't be rude. It's just a mascot for pete's sake, and her daughter needs to realize sportsmanship and politeness. The teacher didn't ask her to do anything illegal or immoral. Tone down the school rivalries people. It's pathetic.

And I'm actually proud that Kansas fought to be a free state. Did anti-slavery sometime go to far? Yes. But so did the pro-slavery people, and they were doing something much more immoral by owning human beings. Hurrah KU Jayhawkers! and hurrah anti-slavery jayhawkers!

DillonBarnes 6 years, 4 months ago

Wow, nothing else to argue about on the forums today?

JackMcKee 6 years, 4 months ago

attention whoring mom has a spoiled brat of a child. Film at 11.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 4 months ago

haha! bring it, kid! I'm a gonna take your wildcat & color it crimson & blue.

gccs14r 6 years, 4 months ago

No different from religious fanaticism. It's sad that she learned hate at such a young age (thanks to the parents), and over something so trivial. The teacher should have chosen something else for the students to color, rather than a Jayhawk.

McGee 6 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like the teacher could have done a better job explaining the Kansas history of the Jayhawker to the students. Maybe having them color something that resembled the original Jayhawker illustration rather than the current KU Jayhawk logo (if that's what happened) would have helped the students to differentiate between the two.

Tyson Travis 6 years, 4 months ago

My second post on this, I suggest they stay away from sports logo stuff and color in something from Kansas history, then draw a lesson from it. They could color in the state flag, a buffalo, a picture of the Flint Hills (should keep KSU happy), or even the famous Curry mural of John Brown from the state capitol (providing no one objects to them learning about an executed felon from 1859.)

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