Orange sunflowers dotted the crowd around Platte County High School during the annual Pirates Hall of Fame induction on Friday, Feb. 2.
The flowers were worn in honor of the youngest inductee, Landon Jaros, who died in 2016 at the age of 4, after he was diagnosed with leukemia.
“Landon always wore a smile no matter what he was going through,” said Nick Jaros, Landon’s uncle who accepted the honor on behalf of the family. “Most of the time he had a big thumbs up to let others know he was hanging in there. We choose to remember him in this way. As a family we promise to continue the tradition of helping others in this community who are in need or going through difficult times. By doing this Landon will continue to inspire others to be better.”
Landon touched countless lives around Platte City and in the seven months between his diagnosis and death, rallied community support from far and wide.
Landon was described by many as a ball of fire and frequently tagged along behind his father Todd, an assistant coach on the Pirates football team.
“If any of you ever had the pleasure of meeting Landon Jaros or if you were even in the same room you would have taken notice,” Nick Jaros said. “This child was the most gifted athlete. I have had the privilege of seeing many professional athletes go on to fulfil their dreams and none were more gifted than Landon. The names you see on the banners on the walls of the school, the records and accomplishments, however long lived or short lived, they all probably would have fallen to the boy named Landon Jaros.
The posthumous induction brought tears to the forefront of many gathered, Nick Jaros read a letter from Landon’s parents Todd and Megan and nearly reached the end before succumbing to the emotions himself.
“We’re honored to receive this on his behalf,” Nick Jaros read. “There’s not another city in the world we would have rather raised our son. He was a Pirate to the core from the day he was born. He was proud of this school, proud of how his dad was part of this program.”
Also inducted were Robert and Camelia Barmann who have been active in the Pirates Booster Club for many years. Robert Barmann is the CEO of Wells Bank in Platte City and has supported Platte County throughout his tenure with the bank. The Barmann’s children were all on hand for the induction and next year when their youngest, Janessa, graduates, will wrap up 14 straight years of having a student in Platte County High School.
“That’s a big accomplishment for us we think,” Robert Barmann said. “With four kids going through high school we have had a lot of opportunities to volunteer. As we wind down with Vanessa, we will continue to volunteer to say thank you to the coaches who were such a big part of our children’s lives.”
Binny Pearce was also honored as the final member of the 2018 Pirates Hall of Fame class. Pearce began her teaching career at Platte County High School when it was still at the original building. Pearce eventually spent more than two decades with the district before retiring as principal of Platte County High School in 2002.
Pearce oversaw many changes including the start of project based learning and the expansion of the school’s industrial technology offerings and A+ program participation.
“My fondest memories I have are the students, who were so special,” Pearce said. “To see kids stretch and become more than they thought they could be. Those are the special ones.”