Special to The Hays Daily News

The Board of Directors of Kansas Next Step Inc. recently announced the Star Students and Teacher of the Month for November.

This month's K-8 Student of the Month is Bryce Hickman, an eighth-grade student at Thomas More Prep-Marian Junior-Senior High School. He has been active in band, athletics, Student Council and CYO. His academic success has also earned him recognition on the Bishop's Honor Roll. Hickman's positive attitude, friendliness and desire for excellence in his work are among the qualities cited by TMP staff as part of his nomination for the award.

The High School Star of the Month for November is Mackenzie Fitzgerald. Mackenzie is involved in Science Olympiad, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Scouts, scholars bowl and March For Life. She is also among several TMP students who are studying Greek, an offering outside the normal school schedule. In addition to receiving three TMP student commendations this year, Fitzgerald has been named to the Academic Honor Roll, and she has earned the Girl Scouts Bronze Award.

This month's Star Teacher of the Month is Rene Burns, a third-grade teacher at O'Loughlin Elementary School. Burns is a member of the O'Loughlin PTA and has worked outside the classroom with the Hays Recreation Commission and Teaming Up for Tots. She has been recognized as the Hays Recreation Commission's Instructor of the Year, and she's received the Horizon Award from KSDE.

Hickman, Fitzgerald, and Burns will each receive a monetary prize along with a certificate of recognition.

Kansas Next Step is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting and facilitating the exploration of unique and exciting educational opportunities for motivated learners.