The "Manhattan Optimist Club Bulletin": Vol 2024 #2: 10-11-23

Posted October 17, 2023

VOLUME 2024          October 11, 2023         NUMBER 2

President Bill Wisdom welcomed the membership and guests, followed by a reflection and the Flag Salute.

Student of the Month

Thad Hall outlined the Manhattan High School Student of the Month Program.  The program recognizes Manhattan High School seniors who make a difference in their community through volunteerism and leadership of activities that have a positive impact on the MHS or Manhattan community.  The goal of the program is to inspire and encourage youth to get involved in their community in an effort to benefit others.  Applicants submit a résumé and are judged by a committee.  Recipients receive $100 to donate to the organization of their choice and are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship as the overall yearly winner.  Anvesha Sharda was introduced as Manhattan High School Student of the Month.

Anvesha Sharda, Manhattan High School Student of the Month
Two of Anvesha Sharda’s goals she has adopted are Wabi Sabi (to find peace in imperfection) and the Burnt Toast Theory (that redoing the toast cost you five minutes that may have saved you from a later serious mishap).  She has attended 530+ Zoom meetings since COVID 19 began and has traveled to 16 different destinations since 2020.  She has experienced at least 50 Rush Hour watches at MHS since her junior year.  In her free time, she takes pictures of everything and travel’s when she can.  She also enjoys watching Bollywood movies and documentaries, as well as “Outdoorsy Activities.”  She likes to volunteer helping others, such as food drives, care packages etc.

She is involved in Climate Action, advocating for better climate policy and environmental awareness.  She feels all youth should get a chance to learn debate and communication skills.  She has a humanitarian focus and was a member of the Environmental Club at MHS which led to her to International Humanitarian Law Youth Action Campaign around the theme “Armed Conflict and the Environment” and was part of the International Federation of Red Cross Campaign work with Kate Forbes efforts to be elected to president.

Anvesha debated for two years, but couldn’t fit it into her schedule, her junior year, so she and another student created the Fremont Debate Academy for middle school students and had 80 students involved in the program.  She was the director for Kansas and joined the Executive Board as Vice President of National Programs.  She also participated in the Model United Nations and was a delegate for four years.  This year she will be the Secretary General and will help plan the model UN.

Her passion is medical research, where she has worked with Dr. Kalyani Pyaram in Immunology and this year with Dr. Bethany Plakke in Psychology, and also attended the International Science and Engineering Fair with 1,700 other students from 60 different countries.

Her future plans include a major in Biomedical Engineering on the Pre-Med Track with minors in Data Science and Neuroscience, then pursue a M.D./Ph.D. 

Anvesha Sharda, Manhattan High School Student of the Month

She would like a career that lets her practice and research simultaneously.  Finally, when she retires, to travel and start a party-planning small business.

Her “Influencers” include Douglas Andresen, MHS science teacher, Lisa

 Bietau, gifted facilitator, and also her wonderful parents.

Her favorite quote is “Sometimes being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.”

Anvesha received $100 to be donated to the charity of her choice; she chose to donate it to MHS’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA).


Heather Peterson introduced Andrea DeJesus, the “A” in A & H Farms, whose mission is Growing food, fun, and memories.

Andrea DeJesus, Co-owner of A & H Farm
The A and H stands for Andea and Hugo, parents of this family and the leaders of the A & H family farm business.  One set of Andea’s grandparents started fruit and vegetable farming in the 1940’s and the other side of the family has been farming since before they immigrated to America before 1900.  They started as a fall festival in 2010 but have worked to be a year-around operation.  Andrea and Hugo feel that the farming gene has been passed down to each generation.  They are thrilled that their children are now growing up on the family farm.  They have eight children ages 20, 18, 13, 12, 10, 9, 6, and 5.  Last year, they welcomed their first grandbaby.  The kids can be found working on the farm or at the market.

Currently, Andrea is the President of the Downtown Farmers’ Market of Manhattan and works closely with other farmers’ markets to implement the SNAP program at the markets.  She also sits on the International Agritourism Board (NAFDMA) as the treasurer.

A&H Farm was presented with the inaugural Governor's Distinguished Business Award by Governor Laura Kelly on September 29, 2023.  The award will be given annually to recognize a best-in-class company or individual making a significant impact on their community and on the economy.

A & H Farm was voted as one of the Top 10 Must See Places for Farm & Ranch Experiences in Kansas according to Travel Kansas.  They strive to live up to their promise to grow the best food, fun, and memories. 

A & H Farm operates and has activities all year:

2021 Corn Maze
Spring: Baby Animal Days; Hoppin in the Hops and Easter events; Begin large construction projects; Start fruit and vegetable production

Summer: Lavender field; Heavy fruit and vegetable production; Touch a tractor; Farmers’ dinner feed

Fall Activities: Corn maze; Pumpkin patch; Corporate events; Sunflowers; Scary-oke!; Fun Fall Saturday’ Line Up

Winter Activities: Farm store focuses on retail and education; Cocoa with the Grinch; Winter Wonderland; Small holiday closure

Activities are available for adults as well as children. They have many farm animals, as well as 400 budgies birds in a large enclosure.

She concluded with “All dreams start somewhere, ours is deeply rooted in community.”  Agritourism has been, and is, increasingly important to their farm operation.  Below is a link to A & H Farm’s website:

Member Spotlight: No Member Spotlight this week.

Guests:  Bill Wisdom introduced Anvesha Sharda, MHS Student of the Month, and her parents, and Andea DeJesus, A & H Farm.  Greg McCune introduced Matt Bulk, who is a potential member.

Club Stuff/Announcements:

Clyde Scott presented Bill Wisdom with a refurbished Optimist Bell.
Clyde Scott presented Bill Wisdom with a refurbished Optimist Bell.

Bill Wisdom announced the Chili Crawl is Saturday.  Ticket sales are going well and he reminded the volunteers to be at the Yard Bar not later than 3:00 and see Bill after the meeting if you have a question about your location assignment.

Thad Hall presented Heather Peterson with a $20 gift card for the recruiting contest.  Also, Hoop, Holler, & Shoot contest has had a few changes this year.  KSU is only going to give the contest two games and we are redoing how we do the program this year.  The finals will be at the two games at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday, November 28th at 7:00 pm and Monday, December 18th at 6:30 pm, but we will need to find a home for the semifinal contests.  All the grade school shoots are scheduled, so if you can help, please sign up. 

Link to Grade School Hoop, Holler, & Shoot Contest schedule information

President Wisdom reminded the group that Bewitching in Westloop will take place on October 31st, 4:00 to 6:00 pm.  He also complemented Greg on the Marathon success and Greg McCune noted the Marathon Fundraiser for October 7th went well and the Optimist received a check for $500.

President Wisdom announced the Optimist Board meeting will be Oct 17th at 6:00 pm at Optimist Park.

Membership dues are due starting October 1, 2023.  The dues for Regular members is $135.00 and the dues for Life members is $105.00.  Give them to Clyde at the Wednesday meetings or mail to:

Manhattan Optimist Club, PO Box 623, Manhattan, KS 66505-0623

Adjourned with the Optimist Creed

Next Week’s Meeting:

October 18th 7:00 AM Meeting: Program - Vivienne Leyva with Riley County Public Works Department “Computer Scams.”

October Meeting Schedule:

October 25th Noon Meeting: Program – David Starks, Sr. District Executive with the Coronado Area Boy Scouts of America “Boy Scouts of America Overview.”

November Meeting Schedule:

November 1st 7:00 AM Meeting: Program - Youth of the Month Presentations, Frank Bergman & Marlatt Elementary Schools. Sharon Fincham

November 8th Noon Meeting: Program - Student of the Month Presentation & Mike Dodson, “Veterans Day Recognition.” Jerry Banaka

November 15th 7:00 AM Meeting: Program - Jim Franke, “What’s Happening with the Christmas Tree Lot.” Bill Wisdom

November 22 10:00 AM at Optimist Park:  Jim Franke/Bruce Bidwell, “Working the Christmas Tree Lot” – Lunch Catered! Bill Wisdom

November 29 7:00 AM Meeting: Bill Wisdom, “Business Meeting.”

October Birthdays