A thank you to the Kansas State University family.

A few weeks ago I posted about Emma getting in trouble at school. I had no idea how many people would read this story. (Hi newcomers! It’s two posts down, by the way.)

Right after the Kansas Day school incident, my father-in-law encouraged me to send Emma’s Jayhawk story over to the President of KSU, Kirk Schulz. I figured why not? He would probably get a chuckle out of it. The worst that could happen was no response.

A week and a half later, I received a sweet email from Mr. Schulz to Emma –

… I hope that Emma will join us in Manhattan in a few years – she will find many like-minded people at K-State!

That was so cool. An email from the President of K-State to put in Emma’s memory box. Emma was happy the “principal” of K-State liked what she did.

The next day, Emma received a package from Manhattan, Kansas. We let her open it. It was a gift from Dr. Pat Bosco, VP for Student Life and Dean of Students.


Emma’s eyes lit up when she saw a huge powercat from K-State! She later pinned these up on her bedroom wall. Scott and I were speechless. What an awesome school to do this for a little girl! Completely made her (and our) day.

That night I received an email from the athletic department. Emma’s story ended up in the AD’s office. I was told that Emma was the hot topic within the department for days. They talked about how nearly every kid in Kansas has been asked to color a Jayhawk in elementary school. And Emma actually said NO. Wildcat nation fell in love with her.

The AD wanted to show Emma a “thank you” for her support of K-State. I got to speak with them today and they asked if her and the family could come to Manhattan on Monday night for the KSU/KU game. Emma will be featured as the “Fan of the Night”. The PA will say a few words about her and her story. Emma is very, very excited. The whole family is very, very excited! She has been to basketball and football games before and loves the entire experience. Emma even gets excited at the mention of just “going to Manhattan”. She asked me if I thought she could meet Willie, the Wildcat. I told her I’m sure K-State could arrange a meeting for her. Then she gave me her Frank Martin “stare”.

This is just crazy. To quote my husband, “I’m so amazed at the generosity of KSU’s administration.” And I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone at K-State. I’m at a loss for words for the amount of support Emma has gotten from this. I honestly had no idea what impact Emma has had. K-State is truly one giant family spread around the world. We have each other’s backs. And I know for a fact Emma will stand up for her family and the CATS whenever she needs to.

37 thoughts on “A thank you to the Kansas State University family.

  1. JT says:

    Emma’s story needs to be a children’s book. “Don’t color a jayhawk.” And published in a format so that every small child in KS receives one. Now I’m wondering if an app or website would work better. Teach the kids to be polite but firm about not coloring jayhawks.

    I hope they show her on TV while y’all are there, that would be great.


  2. Jclantz says:

    I run one of the residence halls on campus and this story crossed my desk from one of the students in my building. It has been the talk of my building for days now! Students are in love with what Emma did! One commented to me that they want Emma’s autograph. Several students in my building will be sitting together at the game Monday and I fully anticipate the student section going absolutely nuts for her.


  3. Kaela says:

    That a girl Emma! I totally did something similar when I was in Elementary school with a reading project we had where the award was a Jayhawk patch, everyone knew how KSU proud I was and knew that I didn’t want it so at the ceremony they made a big deal out of it and I promptly got rid of it haha. Go Emma and Go Cats!


  4. Maggie says:

    And this is why I went to kstate! Love how the kstate family supports each other and the faculty go out of their way to make everyone feel appreciated! Way to stand up for what you believe in Emma!


  5. Kelli says:

    Just saw this on facebook and am so proud of your little one! My husband and I are both KState grads and now live in NW Iowa but make it back for all home football games and some basketball games! Our boys are HUGE wildcat fans as well and I only hope our boys will stand up for themselves if ever asked to color Cy the Cylone 🙂 Way to go Emma…we’ll be sure to watch the KState/KU game on Monday!!!


  6. Several of the staff at the K-State Olathe campus, read your story and we got the biggest kick out of Emma’s determination to remain a loyal K-State fan. Please come by one day with your family, we will give you a personal tour of our new building and have lunch with us!

    Andrena Keesee
    Facilities Mgr.
    K-State Olathe


  7. LC says:

    I assume this was a school project that included the jayhawk because historically Kansas has been called the Jayhawker State and Kansans are sometimes referred to as Jayhawks. So, the jayhawk was being colored for a historical reason, not stating a liking of one university in Kansas over another? Don’t get me wrong, this is a cute story, but it is history and sometimes we have to do homework we don’t want to. To be fan of the week for not doing something you were asked to do in school relating to our state’s history seems a bit silly to me, and may be teaching the wrong lesson.


    • BlackCats says:


      The cartoon rendition of a “Jayhawk” is trademarked property of Kansas Athletics, Inc. It has nothing to do with the history of Kansas. If she was asked to color a civil war soldier with a light blue shirt, navy knickers, red socks, red belt and refused to do so, I would agree with you. But she wasn’t. She was asked to color propaganda, and that’s wrong. She stood up for herself, even when it was hard (which actually makers her a lot like the historical jayhawkers you reference), and that is a great trait for anyone to have.

      I’m just guessing, but you probably grew up in Kansas and was taught your rendition as fact. There in-lies the problem. I attended elementary school in Texas where I learned alllllllll about Texas history. Then I grew up and learned the facts about Texas history. Big difference. I’ll admit, as I sit here typing in my KSU fleece from Manhattan, I’m a bit biased towards this story and it’s outcomes. If it helps one Kansan to learn a little truth about their State, then great.

      K-State Proud,



  8. Shannon Dikeman says:

    This is AWESOME! We told our children when they were young that to be able to attend Kansas State University they had to have all “A’s” in school otherwise they would have to go to KU. It apparantly worked, they both were excellent students and both graduated from Kansas State University. Probably wouldn’t win parents of the year awards for that but…


  9. I would love to have Emma on our K-State podcast. Just quick couple minutes on the phone that I would record and put on the show. Shoot me an email to set up a time if you’re interested.


  10. Cristina says:

    Wow!!! what an awesome little girl to stand up for what she believes, I am a TRUE JAYHAWK FAN, but i have 2 daughters that Are K-State Fans, WE are a house Divided….. Have an awesome Time at KSU/KU Game…….I will be cheering my Jayhawks, but thinking of an awesome k-state fan….


  11. Becky says:

    Emma has become the student body hero I think. Heard this story from our daughter who is a senior this year and doing her student teaching this semester. Pretty cool story! Way to go Emma!!


  12. Kay Arbuckle says:

    My daughter, a 3rd year vet student at KState, sent me the link to Emma’s story. As a public school teacher of almost 30 years, I was thrilled and delighted to see Emma’s story. I grinned and laughed out loud. You and your husband must be amazing parents to have a child so young stand up for herself. I love the response you have gotten from the Wildcat Nation. My only disappointment in the whole story is in Emma’s kindergarten teacher. To her I say, “Loosen up and enjoy your students’ indiviualities! “


  13. Absolutely love this story!

    My name is Casey Dwyer, and I work as an office assistant for Dr. Pat Bosco. When I was helping prepare Emma’s letter/package the other day, our office manager filled me in on the “Jayhawk rejection” story– I couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the day.

    I’m also serving as one of the co-chairs for this year’s K-State Proud campaign, and I would love to send Emma a shirt! If you’re not familiar with Proud, feel free to check out the website at http://www.k-stateproud.org — it’s really a fantastic campaign that’s all about the family atmosphere and sense of caring you find at K-State. Definitely something unique to our university.

    Here’s the website for kids sizes; just let me know which one she would need via email, and I’ll get it sent out!

    Thanks for sharing the story; what a wonderful memory to have! =)

    K-State Proud,

    Casey Dwyer


  14. What a great story! Good on Emma for standing up for what she believes in. My daughter had the same assignment, but KSU grad for a teacher, so she came home with a purple jayhawk. =) EMAW!


  15. Cindy says:

    What an awesome story!! I am a teacher and would never have anyone color a jayhawk!! This is such a wonderful thing for your daughter – I know she will have fun at the game – I will be there cheering the CATS and Emma on too!


  16. Hi Julie! My name is Tom Roesler and my wife and I own a small business called A House United. We are a K-State family and got tired of seeing all of those House Divided license plates, so we started something for K-State families like ours (and yours!). Like the rest of the Purple Nation, we absolutley love the story you posted about Emma. It reminds me of when I was a kid and refused to call myself a Jayhawk in grade school on Kansas Day. Purple pride is awesome! Your family represents what we’re all about and we want to send you some free gear! We call it a family pack…novelty plate, window decal and shirts for everyone! Email me at Tom@ahouseunited.net and we’ll work out the details! We hope you enjoy the game tonight…we’ll be cheering on the Cats (and Emma!) together! Go CATS!


  17. Leah says:

    Having Emma honored at the K-State vs. KU game tonight was absolutely perfect. The whole student section was rooting for her and extremely proud of her. She’s already an amazing Wildcat, standing up strong for her values and wearing purple well! Purple Pride – EMAW


  18. Jodi says:

    I don’t know you guys, but I’ve seen Emma’s story floating around. First, I have to say: I think I laugh harder every time I read it. (Probably because I also have a kindergartner, so I can relate) and also – I love that people commenting on the Yahoo page are talking about what a great mom you are. Letting Emma recognize her response was “disrespectful” (though I could argue that) and make nice. It’s the best way to work in this world. Thanks for making my week.


  19. Erin says:

    I teach middle school in the Olathe school district and I sure hope Emma is a future student at my school! We have too many KU fans there 🙂


  20. Lori Rognlie says:

    So proud of Emma !!! I’m 54 years old and I too HATED coloring that stupid Jayhawk during Kansas studies when I was a kid.

    Just wondering if Scott is the same Scott Burton that graduated from Shawnee Heights High School in Tecumseh, KS?


  21. msumissa says:

    I just wanted to say Great Job! as parent. It is hard to walk the line between making sure our kids stand up for what they believe in and respecting authority. You balanced it well! As an MSU Spartan family living 20 minutes from the UofM, it can be a challenge! Good Job Emma!


  22. Maribeth Reimer says:

    I would expect no less from K-State and its Administration, Athletic department and Staff for how they celebrated your daughter’s love and stance she took for K-State! Way to go! It is something that only us K-Stater’s can fully understand!

    Maribeth Reimer
    KSU ’86


  23. John Warrior says:

    You have probably had more than enough comments about Emma’s experience but I’m going to add my two cents anyway. I graduated from K-State in 1975 and I’ve been a proud Wildcat ever since. There were some bad years when our football team was awful and it was kinda hard to wear purple but I did it anyway. And then Bill Snyder showed up and made it much easier to wear purple with pride. My daughter is 28 years old and it didn’t work out for her to attend K-State but she is as big a fan as I am so I’m proud to say that I have raised another generation to support the Wildcats. I love to go to football and basketball games in Manhattan with her and I enjoy everything about going out there but I have to admit that the part that really chokes me up is when they sing the school song after the game and they get to the part that goes “… thy children shall swell the cry…”.

    Yeah, there is something to the Purple Nation business. Way to go Emma! You made us all proud!


  24. Marie says:

    Julie and family–
    What great story this is. Emma’s passion for her team is an inspiration, and gives new meaning to the word “fan”! I work for Old Navy marketing and we’d love to show our support for Emma and K State by sending her some Wildcat apparel (some of which you can see here http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/search.do?searchText=kansas+state&searchDivName=&submit.x=12&submit.y=9). If you think she’d like it, let me know, mespinel@olson.com. Take care!


  25. The funny thing is, Dr. Bosco would still remember her and your whole families’ names if he saw her attending college at KSU. Dr. Bosco’s memory is one of the seven wonders of KSU!

    I’m proud that you’ve raised such a loyal fan.


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