Keep focusing on equity, access and opportunity
By Dennis L. Carpenter, Ed.D.
A few weeks ago, our school district held four commencement ceremonies with close to 1,400 new graduates earning their diplomas and stepping into their future. I had the pleasure of participating in all four — Lee’s Summit High School, Lee’s Summit North High School, Lee’s Summit West High School and Summit Ridge Academy. Each event was a meaningful celebration focused on our graduates and their accomplishments.
Among our Class of 2018, there are many students who are richly prepared for post-secondary education and careers. I’m honored to say I’ve experienced the excellence of remarkable students from all four school programs including the following new graduates:
- Will Eames, a basketball standout from Lee’s Summit High School. I’ve had the opportunity to observe Will on the court this year and have enjoyed watching this talented young man and getting better acquainted with his family.
- Nia Lange, an accomplished debater from Lee’s Summit North High School. I met Nia earlier this school year, and we had an excellent discussion about her experiences in our schools and her plans for the future.
- Phillip Brooks, a Lee’s Summit West High School three-sport athlete who excels in football, basketball and baseball. It has been great to see Phillip’s success in sports and in school, and I am looking forward to watching him play football at K-State next year.
- Alex Geoghegan, a talented student from Lee’s Summit West High School. Alex not only scored a perfect 36 on his ACT — an achievement that only comes along once every few years in our district, he is a cross country athlete, musician and a National Merit Scholarship finalist.
- Nytassjia Floyd, a recent grad in Kimberly Blevins’ English class at Summit Ridge Academy. Nytassjia and all of the students in this class impressed me with their poetry and other writing and their willingness to be vulnerable in telling their personal stories.
These great students have done phenomenal jobs throughout their school career. They, along with all of our students, make me R-7 proud! Still, the district leader in me can’t help but think about the students I don’t know. Those who aren’t in the approximately 93 percent annually reporting that they are on their way to college, military service or the high-skilled, high-wage world of work. We know these students also exist in our schools even if they are not necessarily in the spotlight. This is why equity, access and opportunity are my focus as your superintendent. Shouldn’t it be all of ours?